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This is the second of three Florida vacations where I became seriously ill while vacationing. 
I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I've been mad, angry, discouraged, and disheartened.
This Bible verse described my attitude to a tee:
"Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them."
Ecc 12:1


For the record, my first few YEARS of living without a prostate didn't give me much pleasure. Especially with the loss of urinary control, ejaculation, and four years of coping with erectile dysfunction.

Can you relate?

Late in the evening, I had the opportunity to connect with a Christian sister in Christ on Facebook. After our uplifting conversation, this event came to mind:
My last visit with my Pastor, Don Nelson was days before he died as a result of cancer.. I wasn't able to understand much of anything he tried to tell me. 

I was able to understand this one sentence:
He said "Rick you've been a good friend." 
Those were his last words to me, and they were/are still treasured.

Shortly after that, he motioned with his hand for his secretary who was also visiting ( she was his secretary for more than 25 years) to come closer to him. She came closer. He waved again, and she came right by his face. He lifted his head and kissed her. After the kiss, his head plopped down on his pillow from exhaustion. Blanche was in tears. She told me she'd remember that kiss for the rest of her life. 

I hope I remember Pastor Don's last words to me, for the rest of my life. The truth is I hadn't thought of that memory or the lesson I’d learned, for many years.

The valuable and life changing lesson I learned that day, (which I'd buried on the back burner of my mind) was this:

It's possible to show other folks your love, and God's love in a meaningful and life changing ways, when almost everything you have is taken away, IF you're creative and use what you have left.

I needed to remember that lesson today. Though I'm mad, frustrated, sleepless, and soon to be cranky. (I’m sure those who know me will find it hard to believe I get cranky)

I still have far more ability at my disposal to show folks my love, and God's love, than Pastor Don did on that day. If you’re reading this, so do you.


What do you know, it wasn’t a wasted sleepless night!

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.
Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:



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I can't count the number of sleepless nights I've experienced since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. There are so many phases of this journey where I've faced hours, days, and sometimes weeks of poor sleep. Here's a few places in my journey. You probably have others you can add.

My sleep troubles began after I went in to my Urologist for a prescription refill. My physician insisted on performing a DRE.

My world was turned upside down when he said he felt a "suspicious lump" which he wanted to biopsy. This was the event, one of many to come, which caused a significant amount of sleep deprivation.

When I went to the front desk to make an appointment for my biopsy I was told the earliest time available was in a month. They scheduled a second appointment two weeks later to discuss my biopsy results. I drove home in a daze. My world was turned upside down. I had a "suspicious lump" on my prostate which could be prostate cancer.

After my first sleepless night, I realized there's no way I'd survive four weeks of waiting for a biopsy, and two weeks after that to receive my biopsy results. Two things become my top priority in life. Getting a biopsy and biopsy results as quick as possible.

I reasoned that if my cancer was large enough to feel, I might be facing a life threatening disease. I wanted to receive a sand begin treatment yesterday, rather than many weeks from today. A night spent awake worrying increased my resolve to receive a diagnosis and treatment immediately. I felt certain my survival depended on this.

Night after sleepless night I imagined thousands of prostate cancer cells with razor sharp teeth, chomping away at the lining of my prostate looking to create a microscopic hole, so they could escape my prostate in order to kill me.

With that imagery in mind, I was more than willing to leave the Urologist who cared for me for more than two decades in order to find another Urologist who could get me tested, diagnosed, and treated, as soon as possible. I found one in a different city, who could get me tested and have the results in less than three weeks. I canceled my original appointments and scheduled a biopsy in another office.

I lost a lot of sleep in the weeks prior to my biopsy, the week waiting for the results, and countless hours of sleep after I was told I had prostate cancer with a Gleason Score of  4+3=7.  This was the beginning of a series of stressful events which resulted in loss of sleep.

Below is a list of events occurring days, weeks, months, and years, after my initial diagnosis which were highly stressful resulting in significant sleep loss.
1. Waiting for my bone scan
2. Waiting for the results of my bone scan
3. Waiting to discuss treatment options after bone scan results came back negative.
4. Time spent researching pros and cons of various treatments.
5. Waiting for appointment at a treatment center
6. Waiting for a pre-surgery exam
7. Waiting for surgery, a minimum of six weeks after a biopsy.
8. Waiting for a post-surgery biopsy
9. Living in diapers waiting to see if urinary control comes back
10. Waiting for the return of erectile functioning
11. Waiting for an appointment for penile rehab
12. Waiting to find an appropriate treatment for ED
13. Waiting for my marriage to return to a familiar place
14. Waiting for PSA testing  results every three minths
15. Coping with the fear of reoccurance.
16. Waiting for penile implant surgery
16. Waiting for intense penile implant surgery pain to end
17. Waiting for penile implant activation 

This is a partial list of the events in my journey with prostate cancer that resulted in significant sleep deprivation .

Given the inevitably, and harmful effects of sleep deprivation, which most cancer patients (and their caregivers experience). I believe assessing the frequency and duration of sleep deprivation is anessential part of treating all forms of cancer.

Sadly, the issue of sleep deprivation is seldom discussed and goes untreated. Most cancer patients and their caregivers suffer through long bouts of sleep deprivation without any assistance.

If sleep deprivation is a problem for you, meet with your physician to discuss the various ways to treat your sleep deprivation.
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:





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Common sense leads me to assume the more you do something the easier it becomes. Why after eight years have passed since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I've discovered that it's more stressful waiting for my yearly PSA test results?

This was the first year I put off my PSA check. For seven consecutive years I've had my test in April. This year I put off testing until July.

According to an article in Zero The End of Prostate Cancer "Fortunately the five year survival rate for men with localized prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. Although up to 40 percent of men will experience a recurrence so it is important to understand your risk for recurrence as well as live your life after cancer."

Is it wrong to assume the longer you live with prostate cancer the greater the odds of experiencing a reoccurance? There's no doubt other factors are involved in addition to the passage of time. Whether your cancer was contained within your prostate, and the stage of your cancer when you were intitally diagnosed impacts the odds of a reoccurance.

In addition to the clinical reasons for a reoccurance, almost all cancer patients have a universal fear of cancer returning. According to an article in Cancer.Net the fear of reoccurance is higher in the first year. I found the opposite is true for me. The longer I remain cancer free, the greater I think my odds are for a reoccurance!

Every day my mailbox does not contain the results of my lab tests, I'm thankful for another day to live in ignorance. 

Unfortunately, I'm also stressed. If there's one thing I've learned about prostate cancer is this, the earlier it's discovered, the better the odds for a successful treatment. I assume this is true about a reoccurance as well.

This year brings a new fear and other diagnosis I wish to avoid. Last year my blood tests revealed I was borderline diabetic. According to Healthline "If you have prediabetes, you should know you’re not alone. In 2015, it was estimated that 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had the condition. That’s 1 in 3 Americans.Having prediabetes doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop diabetes. It’s a warning of what could lie ahead"

Due to chronic back pain, I had three spinal injections of cortisone. One of the dangers of  cortisone is this:
"People on steroids who are already at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes or those who need to take steroids for longer periods of time are the most susceptible to developing steroid induced diabetes."

So you treat one disease only to risk developing another. I don't want bad news. I just retired a few weeks ago. There's a part of me that wants one year of my retirement without any news of a disease old or new that will impact my life. I'd like to live my first year of retirement in ignorant bliss.

What I'd like, conflicts with what I know to be true. Early detection of any disease is better than late detection when damage is done. I compromised with myself. I put off my yearly physical and tests by a few months. Now I'm waiting to receive my lab results. I feel an obligation to my wife, children, and grandchildren to take care of the most precious asset I possess, my health. 

There'll be no riding off into the sunset in my RV, in ignorant bliss. I'm going to face and if necessary treat any issues discovered in my lab tests. If I didn't do that, the lessons I've learned as an eight year prostate cancer survivor would be wasted.
This poll on my Facebook page was answered by twenty folks. It isn't a scientific poll, but it does show I'm not alone in finding that waiting for test results gets more difficult with the passage of time. 

My advice is don't let difficulty, stress, or fear, stop you from doing what you know needs to be done

The question was does waiting for test results get easier or more difficult with the passage of time. Here are the results.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.


Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.


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Coping with prostate cancer is an ongoing challenge that rarely ends when you complete your treatment.

I was reading a thread in a prostate cancer support forum that asked the following question:
Was your greatest battle with prostate cancer:
A. Before treatment. B. During treatment. C. After treatment.
Most of the men chose "C," after treatment because they were living with a host of quality-of-life issues following their prostate cancer treatment.

When I applied the question to my personal experiences as a prostate cancer survivor, there was no doubt that "C" was my answer.

I'm going to supply some abbreviations to make it easier to think about and share some of the quality-of-life issues men and couples face before, during, and after prostate cancer treatment.
  • ED: Erectile dysfunction.
  • UL: Urinary leakage.
  • SE: Side effects of treatment.
  • DT: Distressing thoughts or fears.
  • MT: Marital tension or increased fighting.
  • LM: Lost Manhood.
  • D or B: Divorce or breakup.
  • BP: Bowel problems.
  • LL: Lower libido; a drop or total loss of sexual desire.
  • TS: Trouble sleeping.
  • FP: Financial problems because of missed work or the cost of treatment.
I'm asking everyone who reads this to share when their biggest struggles occurred and to share a few of those struggles.

I'll start. It was difficult and extremely stressful to receive the news that I had prostate cancer, but my biggest battles occurred after my treatment.

I suffered: ED, UL, DT, and MT. We went into counseling.
Also, LM. It took me years to realize my manhood had nothing to do with my erectile abilities.

LL: My desire dropped from a 10 to zero.

TS: There were times I needed prescription medication to help me sleep.

FP: My $6,000 deductible, times two. The first $6,000 went toward surgery. The second $6,000 went for penile implant surgery. Twelve-thousand dollars put a huge hole in my savings account and delayed my retirement plans. 

When did your biggest challenges and struggles coping with cancer occur?
A.  Before. B. During. C. After treatment.

Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award-winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.

The title of their book is:



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The fear of recurrence is on the mind of every cancer survivor. For some, it's an overwhelming fear experienced every day. I'm in the group of men who tucks the fears away. I experience recurrence anxiety once a year, when it's time for my annual PSA check.

This week, recurrence anxiety returned unexpectedly and with a vengeance. I woke up one morning with severe back pain. Because I did not injure my back lifting anything heavy, my first thought was this could be a symptom of the return of prostate cancer.
The National Health Service says "[s]ymptoms that the [prostate] cancer may have spread include bone and back pain, a loss of appetite, pain in the testicles and unexplained weight loss."

Even though I had prostate surgery and the cancer was confined to my prostate, according to an article on Prostate.net, "Overall, a man who has undergone prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer has a 10 to 30 percent chance of experiencing prostate cancer recurrence during his lifetime."

If I weren't a prostate cancer survivor, I'd put my money on a diagnosis of a pulled muscle or a herniated disk. I'd wait a few weeks before calling my doctor. As a prostate cancer survivor, my fear directed me toward the worst-case scenario. I questioned whether my prostate cancer returned. After my third consecutive day of pain, I made an appointment to see my doctor. I was delighted to receive an appointment and an X-ray on the same day.

 I think it's stressful enough living as a cancer survivor. Now I'm coping with both recurrence anxiety and test-waiting anxiety! At the pharmacy, I paid $80 out of pocket for a muscle relaxer and pain medication. That was a vivid reminder of the out-of-pocket expenses involved In treating cancer or any illness or disease.

The next day, I took the day off from work because the combination of medications caused dizziness. I was unsteady on my feet. That was a vivid reminder of the unpleasant side effects of treating prostate cancer, my loss of urinary control and impotence. It also reminded me of the three months I was unable to work and the loss of income after prostate surgery. Most folks experience a significant loss of income while living with cancer.

Since my prostate cancer diagnosis, I've moved from private insurance to Medicare. At this juncture, Medicare will not approve magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This means my physician has no way of knowing whether I have a herniated disk, since it will not show on an X-ray. As I wait (for who knows how long) to have MRI approval, I'm reminded of the hoops that patients with insurance must jump through to get diagnosed and treated.
Lessons learned from cancer survivorship
  • Cancer is a gift that keeps giving in ways I wish I could decline.
  • There are specific symptoms that require me to seek medical attention.
  • Living with chronic pain is miserable. Therefore, it's tempting (but dangerous) to combine medications or take more than the prescribed dosage of pain-relieving medication. Mixing pain relievers with alcohol is never a good idea. Driving under the influence of certain pain relievers is illegal. Asking my wife to drive me to work is always a struggle.
  • Any sudden life-changing symptom is a reminder that my status of good health is fragile and temporary.
  • Waiting for tests and results is a reminder of my impatience. Doing something out of the ordinary or special helps me wait more patiently.
  • When confined to a chair, I remember how comforting it is to for my dog to sit on my lap.
  • Activities such as reading, watching TV, listening to music, engaging conversations, or even talking to my dogs can distract me from constant pain.
  • When my wife asks me to refrain from working on any household projects while I'm home alone, I'm reminded of the importance of respecting my wife's concerns, whether I agree or not.
  • When circumstances are beyond my control, I'm reminded of the importance of prayer.
  • Sometimes not knowing is better than knowing. I'm no longer in a rush to receive bad news. It had been three days since my X-rays, and I was not in a hurry to hear the results.
  • Difficulty falling asleep is a hazard of waiting to hear test results. I hate tossing and turning in bed past 2 a.m.
  • Based on my symptoms, the likelihood of a ruptured disk is much greater than the likelihood of the return of cancer. Knowing this doesn't prevent me from worrying.
  • Cancer survivorship is stressful because of both real and imagined difficulties.                             I received the results from my X-rays. It's not a return of prostate cancer. What a relief!                                                                                                                                 Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first: I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship. The title of their book is: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.


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On June 7 2017, my wife and I celebrated our 37th anniversary. For six of those years, we’ve been coping with the quality of life issues associated with my prostatectomy. For many years, these issues had a negative impact on my self-esteem and our marriage. In order to preserve our marriage, we sought professional counseling. 

Every year since my prostate surgery, it seems I’ve had a new health crisis or surgery. Here’s a few of those medical challenges. I suffered lots of wrist pain for a long time.

 Finally, I went in for an exam. I was told that I needed surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome.

Sometime after that surgery, I tripped over my dog, fell, and injured my shoulder. I was in constant pain and unable to sleep well. It took almost a year to get a diagnosis and finally have a rotator cuff repair. After surgery, I spent almost two months in a sling, then three months in physical therapy.
Each year, a new health crisis has a negative impact on the quality of my life and the ability to enjoy time with my wife. For these reasons, I wrote my wife the following on her anniversary card:
“Today we celebrate our 37th anniversary. I’m not sure whether our best days are behind us or whether our best days are yet to come. Either way, I’m blessed to journey through life with you.” 
Shortly after I wrote that note, I received the unexpected news I need surgery to have my gall bladder removed. My wife and I stopped counting the number of surgeries I’ve had after I reached my tenth surgery.
All of these storms, unwanted changes, sleepless nights, months of chronic pain, multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and illness have taken a huge toll on me, my capacity to function, my ability to enjoy life, my energy level, and my capacity to love my wife.
I have no idea whether we will get a break from health challenges or whether this is the new normal for me and for us as a couple.
If this is our new reality, I believe the best is behind us, rather than yet to come. This is certainly not how I hoped to spend my “golden years.” There’s one thing that has been a blessing through all of these trials.
Thirty-seven years ago, my wife and I made a vow to each other before our friends, family, and God. We promised to stay together in “sickness and in health.” In our youth, and in good health, we had no idea how difficult and challenging keeping that vow would be.
For many years after my prostate surgery, I was convinced  my wife would be better off without me, rather than with me. I’m blessed beyond measure that I'm married to a woman who is committed to keeping her wedding vows.
How you treat your partner as they recover from an illness or surgery can affect how quickly they heal. A recent study found that patients whose partners displayed empathetic behaviors like emotional support, affection, and attention showed improved physical function over time.
There’s a reason your marriage vows included the promise to stay together in sickness and in health. We need each other, and we are more likely to successfully navigate through the storms of life as a team.
I pray those couples tempted to break your wedding vows will reconsider and get help in order to preserve your marriage and keep the marriage vows you made to one another.
It’s my prayer that couples facing the challenges of coping with the unwanted changes brought about by cancer and/or the quality of life issues couples face after treatment, will enable you to grow closer together, rather than further apart.
If your partner made a difference (positive or negative) in the way you coped with cancer, I hope you’ll share your story so other couples can learn from your experiences.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:

This article was reprinted with the permission of Prostate Cancer News Today 

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As a prostate cancer survivor of seven years, I don’t take reaching any milestone or holiday for granted.Therefore, my first thought and feeling is a profound sense of gratitude that I’m alive to celebrate another Father's Day. Prior to my diagnosis of prostate cancer, I never considered living to celebrate another Father's Day was an achievement to celebrate.

As a dad, whether I like it or not, I've influenced my children in both positive and negative ways. From my perspective, one of the worst things I've passed on to my sons is a greater likelihood they'll one day hear the awful news they have prostate cancer.

I don't know why, but on Father's Day this reality becomes a heavier burden:
"Family history is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. A man with one close relative with prostate cancer – for example, a father or a brother – is twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as a man with no family history of the disease."

No father wants his son(s) diagnosed with prostate cancer. I deal with my greatest fear with useless worry. I worry whether my sons will insist on prostate cancer screening on a regular basis. I worry whether their physicians will take their increased risk seriously enough to insist on regular screening. I could write pages about the futility of worry, but thousands of articles are available to address this issue. 

When I get stuck in the worry muck, I turn to two Bible Verses. In the first Bible verse Jesus asks:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Luke 12:25)

It's a powerful question and a good reminder that all my time spent worrying is a waste of time. So if worry is a waste of time what do I do with the very real concerns I have? The second Bible verse gives me a positive alternative to worry:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippines 4:6-7)

An important aspect of my Father's Day is spending time praying for each of my four children, their wives, and my grandchildren.

Prayer is a wonderful reminder I'm not the only Father involved in the life of my children. They have a Heavenly Father who loves them more than me! As I grab hold of that reality, my worry fades away. This enables me to enjoy the day with a heart filled with gratitude that I'm alive to celebrate another Father's Day.

There's one more prayer that's easily neglected or forgotten. I pray that my wife and I, two broken and imperfect parents, receive wisdom from above to become the best parents we can be. We rely on this amazing promise:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)
I shutter to think of my parenting without wisdom from above.

There's one more important Father's Day reflection. I think back to my dad. I sort out the positive memories and experiencs and the negative ones as well. There are valuable life lessons contained in these memoires. Joyful things to do and share, as well as very negative, careless and abusive things I want to avoid, rather than pass on to my family.

If there's conflict and divisiveness, Father's Day is a reminder to do everything possible to be a peacemaker in order to resolve family tensions. The Bible says this about those efforts:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.(Mathew 5:9)

I wish everyone who is a father, or who had a father, a Happy Father's Day. Whether  your father was absent or present, kind and loving, or abusive, alive or dead, there are important life lessons for you to know and grow.

For those who long for a Father's love, you have a Heavenly Father who promises never to forget, leave, or forsake you. It's my prayer you'll experience your Heavenly Father's love for you this Father's Day weekend.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:

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Coping with cancer and the quality-of-life issues we face after treatment is difficult, to say the least. The comments we say to ourselves and/or those we hear from our friends, family, and healthcare professionals have a positive or negative impact on the way we cope with cancer survivorship.

Following are six distressful comments men with prostate cancer hear frequently:

1. My (father, uncle, cousin, etc.) had the exact same cancer and he (recovered or died). What happened to someone else is irrelevant to a cancer patient, at best. It's downright annoying.

2. You're lucky you have the "good cancer." It's as unlikely as hell freezing over as it is thinking anyone diagnosed with cancer feels lucky.

3. You look great! How someone looks bears little resemblance to how someone with cancer feels.

4. If you try this (insert miracle cure), I'm sure you'll be cured. Unless you have earned your medical degree, most folks coping with cancer are not interested in hearing about your thoughts on a "miracle cure."

5. If you had (lost weight or eaten less dairy, sugar, red meat, etc.), you wouldn't have cancer. Blaming the behavior of the person with cancer may ease your fears about developing cancer. It's not in the least bit helpful to someone who has cancer.

6. Double nerve-sparing surgery will preserve your erectile functioning. According to a study titled, "Sexual Dysfunction after Radical Prostatectomy," published in the journal Reviews in Urology, "The recovery of erectile function is agonizingly slow, requiring as long as 18 to 24 months. ... Patients again assume that bilateral nerve sparing is synonymous with preservation of potency, not realizing that few men experience potency that is as good postoperatively as it was preoperatively. ..."
As men diagnosed with prostate cancer, it's important to develop realistic expectations regarding the quality-of-life issues you'll experience after treatment.

It also is important not to hold grudges against friends and family who say things that hurt rather than help us cope with cancer. Most hurtful comments come from a misguided notion of helping or ignorance, rather than an intention to cause harm.

In addition to what we hear from others, how we speak to ourselves impacts our level of stress and distress. A major source of distress comes from a fear of reoccurrence.
In addition to what we hear from others, how we speak to ourselves impacts our level of stress and distress. A major source of distress comes from a fear of reoccurrence.

Following are five unhealthy ways men talk to themselves about prostate cancer:

7. Constantly worrying that cancer will return. This fear is referred to as recurrence anxiety. Many folks with cancer live with a joy-killing fear that their cancer will return. Learning to cope with the possibility of a recurrence may require outside help from a support group or professional.

8. I'm no longer a man. Treating prostate cancer can temporarily or permanently affect erectile functioning. I never knew my sense of being a man was linked to my ability to maintain an erection until I lost my ability to maintain an erection. Men face two challenging tasks. The first involves discovering ways to enjoy sexuality that isn't dependent on an erection. The second involves redefining your definition of manhood. Men unable to successfully meet these two challenges suffer a devastating loss of self-esteem. They frequently struggle with depression.

9. My partner would be better off without me. Men who experience depression due to their loss of manhood believe their partner deserves a "whole man."

10. At least I'm alive. If that sentiment increases your gratitude for being alive, it's a healthy attitude. If the shoulder sentiment leads you to a place of passivity or helplessness, it's causing great harm.

11. I must give up on dating or entering into a relationship. These men believe their inability to attain an erection has totally destroyed their value, so they impose a lifetime sentence of loneliness by withdrawing themselves from dating or seeking a relationship.

Once we develop a negative narrative about ourselves or the way we think others see us, our self-esteem and/or guiding philosophy of life is set in stone.
Without intervention or a purposeful challenge of our negative belief system, we say and do things that fulfill that system.

Today, make a list of the negative things you say and believe about yourself and your identity as a cancer survivor.

I invite you to challenge each and every one of those beliefs with the following statements:

•I'm fighting a war against cancer.

•Despite my fears, I've braved testing, treatment, and lifelong consequences.

•My lifelong quality-of-life issues are battle scars I've sustained fighting this war.
•It takes bravery and courage to fight the war against cancer.

•I've learned important and valuable life lessons about living and dying since my diagnosis.

•I will wisely use my time now that I'm a cancer survivor.

Add a few of your own guiding principles that challenge negative thinking.
Do you notice anything change as you actively challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs?

Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award-winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:







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I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was fifty-seven years young. I believed a diagnosis of any form of cancer was a death sentence. Imagine my pleasant shock and surprise when at age sixty-six I was alive and well when my first Social Security check arrived.

The next day I went for an eye exam. I was certain I needed a stronger prescription. I wasn't seeing words clearly with my left eye. I knew bad news was coming my way when my Optometrist said "I can't get your vision in your left eye better than 20-50. We need to find out why.

I was terrified I could be moments away from receiving a diagnosis of macular degeneration. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I received the news I needed cataract surgery.

My relief, gratitude, and celebratory attitude  over the fact I wasn't going blind, ended abruptly. Soon I found myself feeling miserable about growing old. I'd just finished my third spinal injection for severe back pain few days prior to receiving the news I needed cataract surgery.

My wife who is the keeper of our family history informs me that every year since my diagnosis of prostate cancer, I've experienced some medical emergency or crisis. I know this has taken its toll on me, my wife, and our marriage. I'm a seasoned veteran when it  to surgery. Over the course of my lifetime this will be surgery number sixteen. I'm not the least bit worried about the outcome of cataract surgery.

The success rate for cataract surgery is above ninety-eight percent. The recovery time is short. I was surprised that my level of despair was much greater than the medical challenge before me. I tried a number of ways to talk myself out of my despair.

                     Positive Self Talk Does Squat

According to the literature positive self talk has these benefits:
 "People are becoming more aware that positive self-talk is a powerful tool for increasing your self-confidence and curbing negative emotions." 

I needed to curb my negative emotions so I said to myself:

1. This is a piece of cake compared to prostate or penile implant surgery. If I made it through those and fourteen other surgeries, I've got this.

2. The benefits to this surgery is immediate within a few weeks I'll notice vastly imported eye site.

3. Cataract surgery is as risk free as can be. It's not like prostate surgery where I faced life long consequences.

4. I am grateful that I live in a country and a city where a skilled doctor will restore your vision.

This is the one I expected would turn things around:

5. Diagnosed with prostate cancer at age fifty-seven, I'm grateful that I lived long enough as a prostate cancer survivor to need cataract surgery.

I wish I was feeling greatful. I thought I should be feeling grateful, but I wasn't. I'm feeling overwhelmed and frightened. For the last seven years I've been falling apart piece by piece, at a rapid pace. Every year it's been a new medical challenge, a new surgery, months of chronic pain, and dozens of sleepless nights. My ability to bounce back is rapidly declining. I can't get a break from falling apart piece by piece.

I've  learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes you won't get to where you want to be until you deal with where you are. Whenever you are overreacting to a situation or circumstance, something else, most likely from your past is triggered.

In my situation, I needed to grieve and say goodbye to my expectations regarding retirement. I expected to reach retirement age in good health. I didn't expect I'd be living without a gallbladder, appendix, or a prostate. I never considered the possibility I'd have a penile implant, or I'd be living with chronic back pain. This isn't  my season for positive thinking and gratitude. It  a season for mourning. I can be grateful and sad at the same time.

It's ironic that on the one hand cancer survivorship has made me stronger. On the other hand it's also made me more vulnerable. I feel worn out. I'm emotionally and physically drained, and that's OK as long as I don't get stuck there

We are capable of experiencing more than one emotion, so that I'm capable of feeling greatful and sad at the same time. My plans and expectations for retirement was not how I planned it.


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It won't take too long in your journey with prostate cancer before you'll hear someone say, "You have the good cancer." I understand the person saying that means well. There's some basis in survival rates to think that prostate cancer is the "good cancer."
The five-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is almost 100 percent. Ninety-eight percent are alive after 10 years, and 96 percent live for at least 15 years. For men whose cancer is confined to their prostate, those survival rates are good news, but there are many sides to living with prostate cancer.
According to Cancer.net, for men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate is 29 percent. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States.

Ask a widow or a family member who lost their dad or son to prostate cancer if they think prostate cancer is "the good cancer."

A large percentage of men who choose to treat their cancer aggressively face lifelong quality-of-life issues such as the loss of urinary control, climacturiaerectile dysfunction, and bladder or bowel irritation, to name a few unwanted quality-of-life issues after treatment. Additionally, living with the possibility of a recurrence or a spreading of the cancer takes a toll, every day.

Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of calling prostate cancer "the good cancer" is that the comment convinces those coping with cancer that you are either ignorant or inconsiderate. I can't imagine a cancer survivor saying something so thoughtless to another cancer survivor. It demonstrates such a lack of understanding, that it's a relationship-damaging remark.

I asked men who follow my Facebook Prostate Surgery Support Group for their reactions when someone tells them they have "the good cancer." Here are a few answers I received:
"Yes... I heard that from one of my sisters. Honestly, I was stunned."
"Yes many times from the VA employees."

"Last week a social worker told me well your lucky because it is a slow cancer and I started yelling at her on the phone."

"Used to piss me off now I just chalk it up to ignorance."

"I get that all the time. I tell them that my dad died from it and I got it at the age of 42."
"Many times. Used to piss me off but now I just make a snarky remark like 'trade you.'"

I wonder if healthy people expect that a prostate cancer patient will change his perspective suddenly and feel grateful or lucky after hearing he's diagnosed with "the good cancer."

If you are a cancer survivor, or the healthy partner of a cancer survivor, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no such thing as a "good cancer." So, for heaven's sake, don't ever say this to anyone diagnosed with prostate, or any type of cancer.

If you're a healthcare professional and you've said this to any of your patients, I hope you'll realize that you've made an error in judgment. If you think it's appropriate, apologize to any of your current patients who've heard this from you.

 Expect any patient who's heard you say this to feel angry or resentful. It's possible they may change their mind and entertain the possibility that you are no longer clueless.

If you are a family member or friend and you've told someone who is diagnosed and living with cancer that they are lucky or have a "good cancer," you've probably damaged that relationship, even though you meant well. I suggest you apologize. If you are willing to listen and learn, you can confess your lack of knowledge about coping with cancer and ask what it's really like to be a cancer survivor.

If you're a prostate cancer survivor who has heard all about your "good cancer" and you'd like healthy friends, family, or healthcare professionals in your life to understand there's no such thing as a "good cancer," share this column with them.
If you're holding a grudge or you've ended a relationship because you were hurt, I hope you'll consider forgiving anyone who couldn't understand the difficulties of living with cancer. Cancer taught me that life's too short to hold grudges.

If there's someone you've held a grudge against for not supporting you in a meaningful way, will you take the first step of forgiving them? Once you've decided to forgive someone, will you take the initiative to restore your relationship?

Living with cancer brings more than enough destruction and loss. There's no need to allow your experiences as a cancer survivor to destroy important relationships.
Allow your experiences as a cancer survivor to mold you into a compassionate, kind, forgiving, and loving individual. Those are qualities cancer cannot take away.

Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award-winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:


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