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The New Normal?

Mao Tse Tung wrote that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – but what if we don’t want to make that journey in the first place? A cancer diagnosis is often described as the start of a journey, but it’s a journey into the unknown, thrusting those who make it into painful knowledge that strikes right into our desire to be seen as a person with the power to define our life’s direction. Now that diagnosis is taking away that control and often making us feel us that we are just an object for the medical professionals on which to practice their skills.

How do we retain a sense of control over our destiny and become an equal partner in navigating treatment and so retain a sense of dignity during what can be both mentally and physically most undignified?

Embracing a new phase of life

A prostate cancer diagnosis typically comes as we men are already facing up to the fact that we are not the lithe, agile, and virile young men that we had once been. Many of us are already in mourning for the times when we had boundless energy, speed, and physical resilience so the sudden news that a component is now not only faulty but potentially threatening our life isn’t tough, it’s brutal.

My perspective is that we have first to accept the end of the chapter that was our early middle age. Identify the successes that came in that period and recognize and celebrate them, but don’t dwell on the mistakes – we are all human. A new era isn’t automatically a bad one, it’s just a different one, even if it opens with a bad piece of news. As younger men, we often met a new challenge with brute force – that nut that wouldn’t turn – use a longer wrench, that girl that wouldn’t notice us, be even bolder and daring.

We must find ways to support each other

As we’ve matured we’ve probably found ways of working smarter, not harder – achieving the same result or even better but with less sweat. At a time of great difficulty, we can draw on that greater insight and thus apply ourselves to the many issues that cancer poses to us. Much of what we need to do is gather data about our surroundings, our allies, and our possible routes. At a time when many would rather go into denial, we need to be at our most communicative. We must seek out information from people we can trust, cross-check it and build a map to guide us on this new journey.

The hard moments will pass

With the map in place, we can hope that while we will still have fears we do now have information and with luck people who can support us on the route, we have already started to take. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it tough, there will be moments of huge challenge, massive self-doubt, and great worry. But they will pass. The journey can be made. Be ready to take that first step. Let’s hope the journey is less than a thousand miles.

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.


  • Dennis Golden moderator
    6 days ago

    Once you hear the words “you have prostate cancer” your world is never quite the same.

    First there is the initial shock. As far as I knew no one in my family had a run in with it, so how could this be happening to me.

    My dad passed on early at the age 57 from lung cancer. Years of heavy smoking did not help. Both of his brothers never spoke of prostate and back then I never dared to ask too many questions. Both brothers passed from other causes. To this day no one in the extended family has any idea if anyone other than me has had a run in with prostate cancer.

    After getting over the initial shock, learning more about the disease and then undergoing treatment I found new strength in being an advocate for men and helping them on their journey with prostate cancer.

    Had you told me that 10 years ago I would be doing this I would have laughed . This disease had me start a foundation and take my hen my speaking business in a whole new direction.

    The journey has introduced me to places and to people I would have never met. So far so good. I just keep faith that my last round of treatments has put this thing in long term remission.

    All any of us can do is to speak up and write about the need for men to realize the importance of taking responsibility for their personal health … so few understand the devastating impact they have on their family when they ignore symptoms … children lose fathers and spouses suffer great emotional loss. Keep up the good work here.

    …Dennis( TEAM)

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