A hand squeezing a lemon into a glass next to a pitcher of lemonade.

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemonade

I was talking to one of my friends who have psoriatic arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease that I have had for over 30 years. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes swelling, joint pain, and stiffness. He has a very bad case of this that almost cripples him.

Asking yourself "why me?"

One day he said, "Diane, do you ever asked yourself, why me? Why is my body working against me for the second time?" I didn’t understand what he meant until he said I was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had just turned 62.

This was the first time cancer had hit so close to home for him. He is such a kind, caring, and unselfish person. While we both were trying to process the news; I just keep remembering how much he has already suffered in his life. How could these two diseases adapt to each other? The odds just seemed so high to me.

A missile over prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is exclusive to males since it occurs in the prostate. More common among older men from middle age and typically symbolic in its early stages. It easily progresses without being detected. By the time symptoms show, it might have already reached an advanced stage. Therefore this is why we always say to get checked early.

Some symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the pelvic area, lower back, hips, upper thighs
  • Bone pain
  • Trouble or painful urination
  • Blood in semen
  • Erectile dysfunction

When treatment is available but complicated

Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to draw a straight line for navigating the complex road of recovery for a psoriatic arthritis patient who now has to battle prostate cancer. It’s almost as though the treatments run against each other. Immunosuppressants are required to help manage the inflammation of your skin and joints which suppress the body’s immune system. With cancer, you need a strong immune system to fight cancer.

The doctor told him it was a slow-growing tumor. The doctors warned it would be dangerous to take him off the immunosuppressants immediately. Furthermore, making him choose between crippling pain in his joints with a possible flare-up, and growing cancer seems like asking him to choose between the less of two evils.

What helps during those trying days?

  • Working toward staying in a positive mindset can help. He doesn’t want to keep talking about his illness; he just wants to live.
  • He loves life and values every second of it.
  • He has learned about his illnesses, such as my pain, medication, wellness and spirituality.
  • He’s not afraid to die but wants to live of course.
  • You don’t have to walk on eggshells around me. I won’t break and I know I’m sick.

What has struck me the most is this man’s love for life. Not the kind of love where he hangs on for dear life but a love that is so powerful and uplifting. I remember sending him a text message one month later to check in on him. He said that he still has his family, friends, and is still breathing. Things will not be the same for him. A long way to go, he just needs to take things one day at a time.

Take life one day at a time

There are his bad days and I hope his positiveness and tenacity will be enough to get him through this. He told me he takes one day at a time and then there are days he just takes what life throws at him.

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