Key to Discuss Emotional Health with Doctor
Rarely when one visits a physician do they delve into their personal life and deeply personal feelings. However, in the case of a cancer diagnosis it is critical, in my personal opinion, to open up emotionally with a cancer care team. I feel that nothing should be considered as “too private” to openly discuss with an oncologist.
Early on in my cancer treatment, I was unwilling to open up to my cancer care team about my emotions concerning my cancer diagnosis. Despite the fact I was coming to tears at times, I was not going to let anyone see the true nature of my feelings and thoughts as it pertained to my medical condition. Most all of us are very private individuals, and we tell ourselves we will deal with this on our own terms.
I am here to confess, many times we are not equipped to personally deal with all our problems. We may need professional assistance when it comes to processing a prostate cancer diagnosis. This situation within itself lends us to become vulnerable to physical, mental, and emotional attacks. Personally, I did not handle this juncture of my life particularly well.
The deeper into my treatment I ventured, the more I became emotionally isolated, and I began to internalize my feelings concerning this very traumatic event. I had pent-up anger concerning many issues that result from prostate cancer.
The loss of being able to perform sexually with my wife was one major source of frustration and anger I was trying to internalize and deal with completely on my own.
This had brought me to a dangerous time in my treatment. Even at times, I had thought of self-harm. It was at this lowest point in my treatment that I came to the realization that I needed someone to talk to concerning my most secret feelings.
During my next visit to the oncologist, I spoke openly with him as it related to my emotional feelings that had increasingly turned dark and very negative. As I write this, I can recall my palliative care physician asking me, "What is going on with you?" He told me I seemed like a completely different person, as I was no longer smiling or showing any positivity.
Releasing my emotions
Thanks to my honesty with my doctor, they immediately found me the help I needed with a therapist. As I began to speak with the therapist, it all spilled out of me and I even began to cry. Just having someone to listen to these critical concerns aided me in the greatest way possible. The more I truthfully confided to my therapist, the lighter my burden became upon my heart.
I have come to believe it is a critical aspect of our cancer treatment to seek a healthy outlet for our emotions. In my opinion, I feel it is of the utmost importance that a prostate cancer patient seek out an avenue for relating feelings verbally. I believe family members sometimes may not be able to separate their personal feelings from the situation, which may actually lead to more anxiety.
In closing, I urge my fellow cancer warriors to seek mental and emotional help the very second they become overwhelmed with the strains of cancer treatment. The whole process can lend itself to feelings of inadequacy or a negative self concept. We are in this situation through no fault of our own, and we must learn to ask for assistance.
Do you feel heard and understood by your doctor?