Coping with Cancer Can Wear You Down

Coping with Cancer Can Wear You Down
For five consecutive days, I dealt with troublesome and life-altering side effects from my most recent surgery, a cholecystectomy. During that time, I learned valuable lessons about coping with cancer, or any chronic disease that affects you every minute of your day and night. It took less than five days for me to reach a place of total exhaustion. On one of those days, I needed to accomplish something so I could feel useful. I decided I had enough energy to walk to my driveway so I could  install an "I love Cavalier King Charles Spaniels" license plate frame on my daughter's car. As I bent down, two things happened. First, I leaked a bit of urine. This was a reminder of one of the unwanted changes in my life that occurred after my prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer. Then, I began burping. This was a reminder of a side effect from a recently prescribed medication that absorbs excess bile secretions from my liver. These two events occurring back-to-back gave me an epiphany. The training I received as I earned my master's degree in social work was incomplete. For decades, I believed what I learned about crisis resolution, which says that the more crises you successfully resolve, the greater your capacity and skills for dealing with a future crisis. It sounds like a great theory, but I came back into the house with a new understanding that there are times when a series of consecutive and unwanted changes will leave you vulnerable to feeling totally wiped out and worn, no matter how many crises you've successfully resolved. There was no doubt in my mind that the past few days with little or no sleep, an inability to eat (I lost seven pounds in a week), constant pain, an inability to go to work, unrelenting fatigue, and multiple trips to the bathroom
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One comment

  1. Roger Lama says:

    Thanks for the information. I had my radical prepubic prostatectomy March six and I had a biopsy Gleason score of 9 , aggressive cancer outside the prostate gland and I just finished seven weeks of radiation therapy treatments for the cancer that has spread to my bladder.
    I was told because it was aggressive agent orange prostate cancer that the nerves to my penis were not spared and cut into my sphincter and I have to wear adult pull up diapers and I have to go to bathroom all the time and I been so depressed that all I can do is lay in bed all day and night for as long as I can and it is killing my neck and left shoulder and arm and it hurts so bad and my whole left side is affected and I have copd and emphysema and I have lots of difficulty breathing. Just going twenty feet to the bathroom wears me out and difficulty breathing even when I lay back down in bed I can’t breathe and have to get back up and go to bathroom but I sometimes pee my pants at least once a day and dribble every time I get up or cough and sneezing and I don’t know what I’m doing. Being a disabled Vietnam and Cambodia combat wounded veteran with ptsd and three children passed away with no one to help me.

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