Why Cancer Survivors Don’t Need New Year’s Resolutions

Why Cancer Survivors Don’t Need New Year’s Resolutions

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer

How many of your 2018 New Year’s resolutions have you broken so far? For me, the answer is zero. My failure rate in completing New Year’s resolutions was awful, so I stopped making resolutions.

I’m not alone in my inability to keep new years resolutions. According to one news report, “Research shows that 25 percent of people abandon their resolution in just the first week and 60 percent abandon them in six months.”

My success rate in setting New Year’s goals was much higher. I was curious why I couldn’t keep a New Year’s resolution, but I could achieve New Year’s goals. I googled the topic. To my surprise, there were dozens of articles to choose from. Apparently, a New Year’s resolution is a wish. Setting a goal involves making a plan. Those of us who are cancer survivors need specific plans rather than wishes.

For some of us, the plans involve continuing the fight against prostate cancer with additional aggressive treatment. For those who’ve completed their treatment, quality-of-life issues often exist, such as bladder or bowel problems, or erectile dysfunction, which profoundly affects our self-esteem and intimate relationships.

To cope successfully, we need to learn new ways to live with the post-treatment side effects. This doesn’t come naturally. It takes time, effort, information gathering, and support. For some issues, medical intervention or surgery is required. For all of us with prostate cancer, our plans should include at least one (and more than one for others) PSA check during the new year.

Every PSA check is a vivid reminder that our cancer could return. Recurrence anxiety is something the majority of cancer survivors experience at one time or another. The good news is there are ways to reduce your recurrence anxiety.

If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions in order to navigate the challenges of living with cancer, they’re likely to fail. The goals you set are more likely to succeed. For a successful year, setting specific goals for your set of circumstances, challenges, and opportunities plays an important role.

Following are a few of my goals I successfully carried out in my seven years as a prostate cancer survivor.

Work less

I was able to cut my time at work by two days, giving me four days a week at home. I did spend some of that time working at home.

Travel more

My wife and I purchased an RV. We plan to spend time with and without our grown children camping. Our recent trip to Yellowstone was a highlight event in my life in 2017. I’m planning a cross-country prostate cancer survivor information and book tour after I retire.

Ending my time living with erectile dysfunction

By undergoing penile implant surgery. Ending my four-year journey with erectile dysfunction and getting back what treating prostate cancer took away was not only a highlight of that year, it was a highlight of my life!

Write a book

My book was for men and couples living without a prostate. It was never in my life plan to write a book about life before, during, and after prostate surgery. Yet, I was so frustrated and angry about the lack of information, my wife and I wrote this book. At the time, I thought this was my first and last book.

Write a second book

Four years after a successful double nerve-sparing prostate surgery, I was told I’d be impotent for the rest of my life. I was needlessly devastated. Months later, I read about penile implant surgery. When I called the physician who told me I’d be impotent the rest of my life, I discovered he was a penile implant surgeon! My wife and I now enjoy the best sex of our 37-year marriage. We decided to write a second book to get the word out about living with erectile dysfunction or regaining erectile functioning through surgery.

Write articles

So far, I’ve written more than 50 for Prostate Cancer News Today!

Take care of my health

In addition to my yearly physical and a PSA test, I’m going for a colonoscopy this month.

Make time with family a priority

Since my prostate cancer diagnosis, I’ve been blessed with three granddaughters. Three of our children live in California. The fourth lives in Illinois.

My wife and I have flown to Illinois multiple times to visit our son, his wife, and newborn granddaughter. Each year, we look for opportunities to create lasting memories.

Grow in faith

My cancer journey is a faith-based mission, with the goal of reaching thousands of men and couples coping with cancer.

There are hundreds of articles written to help you create successful and doable goals. Here’s a link to five golden rules.

As the new year begins, I encourage you to develop specific goals for 2018.


Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Prostate Cancer News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to prostate cancer.

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