Undergoing treatment for prostate cancer can be just as grueling emotionally as it is physically for many men. There is the uncertainty that is a part of any cancer diagnosis, as well as the overwhelming task of deciding on the appropriate treatment and putting together a plan that is aggressive enough to manage your disease as well as still allow you to go about your daily activities with as much ease as possible. For men, there is also the added emotion of facing such a personal cancer and perhaps sometimes feeling the lack of dignity associated with treating a cancer that can easily affect their sex life as well as their fertility.
Caring for someone who is undergoing prostate cancer care can be equally challenging. We all want to do right by our loved ones and give them what they need to get healthy and feel as well as possible. In so doing, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves along the way as we give everything we have to the person who is ill. This is natural and something that happens to many caregivers. It’s important to put a plan together that allows you to give your loved one what they need and still care for yourself in the process.
Put a schedule together and stick to it as much as possible. Cancer treatment requires many trips to the doctor – not only for procedures when they are required but also for follow-up visits. It’s important for someone to accompany the patient to these visits – not only for physical support but also to offer another set of ears. There will be many answers to questions and many instructions. It’s important that everyone is on the same page with regard to information and having someone else there to think of questions is certainly a help. If you are unable to make certain appointments with your patient, call upon another friend or family member who can step in to help.
Take time out. You are surely doing all you can to make sure your loved one is comfortable, well-fed, and is taking any medications he should be taking. You are helping to schedule appointments and accompanying him to those appointments. So be sure to do right by yourself as well and take some time outs along the way. Make sure you are also eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, and having some alone time to recharge your batteries.
Seek out help. Cancer patients are often told to seek out peer support groups or specially trained counselors. This is equally important for support people. Find a support group for cancer caregivers or seek out a counselor where you can have a place to release your fears, frustration, and more. Unless you are as healthy as you can be you are simply unable to provide the best care for anyone else. Making yourself a priority is a gift to you as well as your cancer patient.