A man pushes away dark clouds as he looks up to rays of light shining down on him.

Good Days and Bad Days

The day I heard the words “you have prostate cancer” was an awful, terrible and frightening - a very bad day. I suspect it was for you as well.

Ups and downs

As a cancer survivor currently in remission with an aggressive form of cancer, I freely admit that I have my share of up and down days. There are days when I pull it all together.  The cancer is out of my mind and life is good. Then out of the blue, some meaningless event will trigger my emotions, and that wonderful good day no longer looks quite as good.

In the weeks that followed my initial diagnosis, there were many bad days as I dwelled on my Gleason 9 diagnosis. While going to church should have provided relief and comfort, I found it difficult to be with people. Listening to a sermon or hearing the choir sing was enough to send me over the edge. Tears would well up and then quickly blotted so as not to embarrass myself.

"Why me?"

Over time, folks learned what I was facing and would ask how I was doing. Most of the time it was easy to say "Ok thanks". Silently, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs: “Why Me?” Following robotic surgery, I had hoped the cancer was gone, but as it turned out my cancer decided to hang around for another run at me.

As my post PSA numbers continued to rise there were more and more bad days prior to my routine visit with the urologist. The bad days started when I had blood drawn. The better day arrived about a week later once I learned the PSA rise was not significant...this time.

Bad days began to pile up

Over the next 5 years, I saw my urologist every 6 months as my PSA continued its rise. Then came really another really bad day when I needed to make an appointment with a radiation oncologist. More bad days continued as I imagined the worst treatment outcomes and my imagination took control of my emotions.

All along, friends and family kept encouraging me not to worry. Again, and again I put on a false front. Radiation combined with hormone deprivation therapy for 8 weeks did little to create good days or nights. Yet throughout the 40 treatments everyone expected me to be optimistic telling me...I was in good hands.

New normal

Today living with prostate cancer has become my new normal. Some 7 years after my initial diagnosis I have found a balance. I now understand and accept - some days are better than others.

What helped me has been reaching out to others who also are facing this disease. The more I communicate, speak up and am honest with myself and others the better I feel. I no longer feel the stress of trying to hide what my life is.

I am a cancer survivor

Plain and simple... I am a cancer survivor and if asked how I am doing, my response is: "Well... I am still here and thank you for asking." If I am having down day my response is: "Things could always be better - so how is your day going." I learned long ago most people want to talk about themselves anyway.

Staying active and finding my voice

If I am having a really bad day, I know it is ok to take a walk by myself or simply put on a pair of headphones and get lost in meditation and yoga.

I have discovered that the more open I am and the more active I become - the good days just naturally outweigh the bad ones.

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