Reactions to Being Diagnosed

Reactions to Being Diagnosed

In our society, all types of cancer bear so much stigma. We are used to such a strong association of cancer with death, it can be very hard mentally when you first get the news. So much so that we may fail to hear all of what other information we are told at the time.

Everyone has a different journey, but it takes most of us some time to come to terms with what we’ve been told and start thinking about what next steps will make the most sense for us to take.

We recently asked members of our community how they reacted when they were first diagnosed. While the type of reactions varied as much as the men who responded, there are a few themes that emerged:

Being and feeling alone

Community members shared what it is like feeling alone with your diagnosis news:

“I was alone when the Doctor told me. I went numb and did not hear anything the Dr was saying. I went to my car and cried. I was devastated. When I regained my composure, I called my wife to discuss next steps. I would recommend you have a support person with you when you see the Dr for your test results.”

“I was alone too, and I also cried once I was back in my car. I too agree with having someone with you for this. I honestly thought it was a mistake. How could I, someone who kept himself fit all of his life have cancer?”

“I was alone with my family doctor. Was not surprised. I was told I had a very Aggressive cancer. 9 on the Gleason scale. Then a bone scan. In my bone and Lymph nodes.”

“Sat there numb, then I sat down and cried, got in the truck and went to … Not going without a fight.”

“SHOCKED and Overwhelmed! My father had died from it 6 yrs prior.”

It is normal for a man battling prostate cancer to sometimes feel isolated from his “healthy” friends. While it can be easy to isolate from family while being worried about a cancer prognosis or next treatment decision, you will find that it is helpful to talk about these concerns when you are ready. There are a variety of ways to seek emotional support if you need it. With this support, over time you may find that you become more comfortable talking to a spouse or family members about your fears, concerns, and other issues.

Feeling overwhelmed, but then hopeful

Members of our community also shared the importance of turning the situation around, dealing with the present, and fighting back:

“Thought my life was over, but I’m not going down without a fight.”

“I prayed. I gave it over to God. I did what the doctors said to do. I prayed. I was healed. I prayed.”

“Yesterday was the second time I was told that my cancer is back. Felt like the world came crashing down on me. Lucky my wife was there this time. Now I have to make one of the biggest decisions of my life.”

“Shocked! Wife lost it and then I said, what’s next? It didn’t sink in right away but I was blessed. The process was smooth and everything went well.”

Support matters

For those men that had the support of a spouse or other family members, it is always good to hear that you had support from others when you needed it. In spite of the initial fears, the overwhelming sense of panic and anxiety about what is next, many men make it through surgery or other treatment and have a better prognosis than they originally thought. That doesn’t make the struggle any easier, only different than your initial fears.

We encourage men to reach out to others for support, whether it is an online group like ours or an oncology social worker or counselor, or supportive friends or family members. Even if you made it through the diagnosis stage without support, you may find a supportive spouse or friend is important for helping with treatment decision making or other parts of your journey with prostate cancer.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • lawrencewilliams
    3 months ago

    my journey started in May of 2018 when my primary care dr. called and said not to worry but my psa was elevated(4.2). my annual digatel exams were always normal and he said we should see an urologist. I did and he suggested a biopsy to see if any thing was there. I did (early detection) and the result came back one core out of 12 positive . so now he (urologist) says watchful waiting . I am 67 and in good health so, what am I watchful waiting for. haven’t had a day without thinking (cancer) ever since

  • Richard Faust moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi Lawrence. Your apprehension and concern with active surveillance or watchful waiting is completely understandable. Knowing that there is a problem and doing nothing seems counterintuitive, but that doesn’t mean it is not a good option. Treatment options and decisions are truly personal and a lot of variables can go into decisions. Do you know the change in your PSA? What is your Gleason score in the one positive core? You may already have much of this information, but this article gives an overview of active surveillance: https://prostatecancer.net/treatment/active-surveillance/. You may also want to seek out the thoughts/opinions of others who have tried active surveillance. Wishing you the best and please feel free to keep us posted on how you are doing – we’re here for you. Richard (ProstateCancer.net Team)

  • ninaw moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi there, @lawrencewilliams, thanks for sharing your journey here. Watchful waiting can be a strange mental game, or torture, depending how you look at it. You might be interested in some of Will’s early articles, sharing here: https://prostatecancer.net/author/Will-Jones/. He was on active surveillance for quite a while before his numbers went up. – Nina, ProstateCancer.net Team

  • fredschneeman
    9 months ago

    I had my wife with me and that was the biggest help . We turned it over to God and have a large prayer support system . He is getting both of us through this . I am not giving up . The night before we went back to the Urologist for biopsy results we got a message on a medical portal stating I had Metastatic prostate cancer that news rocked our world . It felt like a punch to the gut . We prayed a lot and the next dat the Urologist told us it was treatable ,and the Lord has provided ever since .

  • JoeMurphy
    9 months ago

    Good luck. Hope all goes well Have a great day

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