Beyond Prostate Cancer

Over the past few months, folks unexpectedly have been offering many unsolicited comments all indicating that I now appear more relaxed, happy, and in apparent good health. The many comments started me thinking about some of the changes I have been making since my last round of stereotactic radiation for prostate cancer in 2023.

Choosing to be proactive

One huge change was deciding to sell my New England home of 37 years and move to the state of Virginia. The decision to move was made before I had any inkling that my prostate cancer would return for a third time a year later.

This time rather than choosing to be emotionally upended by the unexpected and untimely diagnosis, I decided on a proactive approach. I changed MDs and moved to a new treatment center. I decided to embrace life versus falling into a state of depression. Winters in Virginia after all are much milder than in New England. That difference allowed me to spend more time outdoors hiking and walking versus staying home and in front of my wood-burning stove.

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I started working out every morning on the stationary bike after coffee and breakfast. Soon I was feeling better physically and sensed something was happening mentally as well. One morning, for example, I found myself going up a flight of stairs taking 2 steps at a time and not feeling winded. The combination of daily walks along with the exercise bike routine helped me overcome any lingering traces of depression due to the returning prostate cancer.

What else helped me

Being outside in the winter months allowed me to meet more people in my new neighborhood. My jogging partner, an 8-year rat terrier, also loved to stop folks along the way to get her much-needed AM belly rubs along with the occasional treat.

In addition to meeting new people, moving to VA brought me physically closer to my daughter and grandchildren who suddenly were miles closer. The arrival of my new life partner from CT and her involvement with neighbors and community events brought more social interactions into both of our lives. Suddenly we were attending shows, concerts, and more.

On a whim, we also decided to take some golf lessons so that we could join neighbors for a few casual rounds where all agree that "best ball” is always the next starting point for the next stroke on the green.

Deciding to reengage life

So back to my initial question as to why folks were noticing positive changes in me. It started with deciding to focus on the positive things in life. That positivity drew more positivity into every other aspect of my life. I am exercising more, eating better, and staying hydrated.

Following the death of my wife and following my other cancer treatments, I retreated into isolation versus being socially engaged. For me, breaking out of that self-imposed confinement began with physical movement and looking for just one positive thing every day. The more I discovered and moved the better I felt. I found myself reading more and at the same time taking some needed "me" time for relaxation and meditation.

What people were seeing in me was quite simple: I decided to reengage life, let go of the past, and enjoy what life still has to offer.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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