Resolutions and Feeling Empowered

I try to always select a word of the year and focus on that word throughout the year. And like a resolution, you can really decide to make changes, big or small, or select a word of the year at any time. It doesn't matter when; what matters is your commitment.

If we fail, and we’re all human and we do fail, we can start again any time. Or we can change our direction, our resolution, our word of the year. It’s personal and individual, and there are no defined timelines and no defined rules.

Controlling our mindset

What does this have to do with prostate cancer? Prostate cancer patients may not have a lot of control over aspects of their illness. The diagnosis is made and a treatment plan may follow. There are procedures and medications to potentially consider.

But prostate cancer patients do have a say-so on mindset and attitudes. Some may ponder: am I a victim or a survivor? And how can I look forward, instead of backward?

Our outlooks

I think a place to start is with defining what each term (or maybe, self-designated personal title) means. A victim may focus on the negative and have self-defeating thoughts. This might be a starting place for all cancer patients, and to me, that seems pretty normal. It’s a place I’ve personally visited with my husband’s prostate cancer, and with my own cancer.

But we both made the decision to not live there. That, I believe, is where the survivor mentality comes along. I think someone with a survivor mentality can look at the future and what can be controlled. I think someone with a survivor mentality isn’t defined by the illness, but by living the best life they can.

While it may not feel this way at times, there are things that we can control with cancer. In this country, some people are able to select their own physicians or change physicians if they’re not satisfied with their doctor, hospital, or medical group. Boom: here’s patient empowerment. There are so many decisions to make in determining the best type of treatment for each stage of prostate cancer. Again - boom - patients can control the decisions about treatment, exercising their mentality to choose what they feel is the best option for them personally.

Feeling empowered

There are so many decisions to make with the diagnosis of prostate cancer. One person may have others make those decisions for them, rather than doing what they feel might be the best choice for them. Another person may do their research and be more prepared for consults with their doctors. Certainly the medical professionals can be good resources, but the prostate cancer patient takes an active role in their care.

So after all this, what is my word of the year? This year I’m not limited to selecting just one word, and I plan to keep these words in the forefront of my life for a long time, not just a year. If you guessed “empowerment” or “survivor mentality” as my words of the year, you’re correct. Will you join me?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net 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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