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Help for my husband
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FrancieToo posted:
Hello,

I would like to support my husband so I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

His PSA went from 4 to 5 in a 6 month period and then went to 6 in a matter of two weeks. He has an appointment with the urologist on the 19th of Oct. He is very scared, and as such, he doesn't want to talk about it with anyone, including me. I've researched a little so I know that if it is cancer, chances are, he will be cured. However, I also read a few things that are troublesome, with some of the treatments. I asked my husband if he wanted to know anything that I've read but he answered with a firm, "No!"

What is the best thing I can do to support him as he goes through this process?

Thank you,
Fran
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RandomPseudoNym responded:
It's not uncommon to be uncomfortable with the prospect, and with talking about it.He certainly does not sound ready to talk right now.

And the fact is (as far as I can tell) there are (different) troublesome things with ALL the treatments (including "non-treatment" or watchful waiting.)

However, it's also not uncommon for that lack of comfort in talking about it to lead to issues with treatment or treatment choices - there are many points where simply talking about things with your doctor can lead to choices that better suit what you want (or a choice to find another doctor who's more on the same page with you), but being too embarrassed to do so can lead to long-lasting problems, or choices that are not ideal for your particular case.

I certainly felt like my dignity was the first casualty of the disease, right about the point where it got to biopsy time.

I've had my wife along for most of the appointments as we've picked our way through this. Having an extra brain and set of ears is terrifically useful in sorting through it, and it will affect you both.
 
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FrancieToo replied to RandomPseudoNym's response:
Dear RandomPseudoNym,

Thank you for your reply. I want nothing more than to be there for my husband every step of the way. He is now, and always shall be, the light of my life. It pains me beyond words that there seem to be little that I can do for him. The last thing I want to do is to add to his embarrassment. My fear is that because he doesn't want to know anything, he will be ill-prepared to ask important questions when we see the doctor. I have bearly scratched the surface on this issues and what I have read, often leaves me confused.

He said at this point, he isn't worried about dying; rather, he is afraid of everything that comes first. Am I better off waiting for him to ask for my help or should I go ahead and ask my questions when are with the doctor?

You have no idea how much your reply means to me!

Thank you!
Fran
 
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Golfer2011 replied to FrancieToo's response:
Francie,

Finding out you have cancer is a blow to anyone who hears the news. I heard it last October, and it's a process that some people take longer to accept than others. I was originally very angry as my cancer was caused by Agent Orange. However, anger and denial gets you nowhere. I would recommend that you go with your husband to support him and ask the questions that are important to both of you. My wife was with me and she was a wonderful source of support. Good luck and God speed. Bill
 
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FrancieToo replied to Golfer2011's response:
Oh Bob!

Thank you for that advice! I am sorry that you have cancer and that it was caused by Agent Orange. I was talking with a gym buddy who also got it from AO.

I do think my husband is both in denial and very angry. If I could take this on for him, I would - in a heart beat!

I don't know what questions are important to my husband since he won't talk about it anymore. He did the first few days but now, he doesn't want to discuss it. I do understand; I just want so much to help. I guess at this point, I have to respect his wishes. Maybe he will surprise me and speak up when we are with the doctor. Maybe before the visit, I will ask my husband if it's ok for me to ask questions to the doctor.

Bob, I am happy to know that your wife was so very supportive. Maybe she could give me a few pointers.

I wish you a full and lasting recovery.

Blessings,
Fran
 
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FrancieToo replied to FrancieToo's response:
Sorry that I got your name wrong, Bill!!!
 
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Golfer2011 replied to FrancieToo's response:
Francie,

I spent about two weeks on the net reading everything I could on prostate cancer and treatment alternatives. I think if you have the time it would be a good thing to do, as it would give you the information you need to ask questions, that will lead you to the best treatment choice. Again, good luck. Bill
 
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Zenlife1 responded:
Hi Fran,

My wife has gone with me to every appointments including the biopsy where she held my hands and chatted with the doctors during the procedures. At each appointment, I found that I was unable to process all the information given to me by my doctors. Amidst discussions of treatment options, risks, and side effects my coping mechanism was to stop processing information at different points during the doctor's visit. I was unaware that I was doing this! Thankfully, my wife methodically asked all the questions and categorize the answers for more research or follow up. She fearlessly asked for a second opinion and all the dreaded questions -- what happens after the surgery.

Denial is not a luxury that you can afford. Humor is a great anesthesia. My wife is no longer embarrassed to utter words like continence, rigidity, penile or erectile.

The best thing that my wife did for me was her clinical approach to learning about my cancer. She researched, read professional blogs, personal blogs, and even watched the actual surgery on YouTube. No questions is too trite for her. Her preparation made the fear of the unknown more bearable for both of us.

Give your husband time to process and take the mental walk of life after treatment. It is a lot to handle, but with the love of your life by your side, the walk is not as arduous.

Best wishes, Zenlife1

Humor is great medicine. My surgery went very well, but
 
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Zenlife1 replied to Zenlife1's response:
My surgery went very well, but no reading can prepare you for the mental fatigue which in some way is worse than the physical discomfort.
 
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FrancieToo replied to Golfer2011's response:
Thanks, Bill. I have been reading and reading and reading. I am making a list of my questions. Bless you!
 
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FrancieToo replied to Zenlife1's response:
Dear Zenlife,

It's good to know that your loving wife was such a comfort to you. I hope to bring my husband a sense of peace through this horrendous process.

Since we began on this journey, the mental process has proven to be draining, just as you said. I know we are only in the beginning stages so I guess the worst is yet to come. I will try to prepare myself as best as it is possible.

I want to thank everyone for all of your wonderful sugestions and for sharing a few of your experiences. Coming here was by far, the best thing I did.

If it pleases you, please pray for us and know that I will be praying for you.

Blessings,
Fran
 
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az4peaks2 replied to FrancieToo's response:
Hi Francie, - Although you can't significantly help your husband until he is willing to share his feelings and to accept yours, Prostate Cancer (PCa) is a "couples" disease and can also effect you and your marital relationship.

You have been given some suggestions that can be helpful, IF he allows them to be executed. Both you and he can use guidance, as do all newly diagnosed patients and their loved ones. The problem is that you nor he yet know enough to make solid judgments about the veracity of the varying statements that you will read on sites, such as this.

Begin by reading the following article and use it as a starting point for systematically learning about the disease in a more organized fashion. I will help in any way possible and would be happy to talk with you and/or your husband, if he is willing.
I,m not new at this, I have been studying, educating and counseling people about PCa for over 13 years. Due to length limitations imposed by WebMD, I will need to Post the forementioned article separately, in the following Post titled:

What EVERY newly diagnosed Prostate Cancer (PCa) patient needs to know! - - I hope you find it helpful! - John@newPCa.org (aka) az4peaks
 
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az4peaks2 replied to az4peaks2's response:

What EVERY newly diagnosed Prostate Cancer (PCa) patient needs to know! by John E. Holliday, FACMPE


First, ALL Prostate Cancer patients should determine the basic diagnostic realities of their specific disease and understand its relative significance. In my opinion, EVERY newly diagnosed PCa patient needs to gather the following data, to even START your considerations.
I would suggest you begin by acquiring the following diagnostic results.
(1) What was my last PSA prior to diagnosis? (If available, previous PSA readings with dates are helpful). Either get copies or write them down.
(2) What is my complete Gleason SCORE? (Primary Secondary GRADES = Gleason SCORE) ie: (3 3)= 6, (4 3)= 7, etc.
(3) What is the clinical STAGE assigned to my Prostate Cancer? (ie: T1c, T2a, T3b, etc.)
(4) Obtain a copy of the Pathology Report from the Biopsy, which should be available from your Physician. It can contain helpful information, now and in the future. Keep it for your records!
These 4 items, when coupled with your age and ethnicity, will provide the BASIC information necessary to BEGIN to truly understand what the status of your disease is thought to be, at the time of your diagnosis. When embarking on any journey, when trying to determine the route you want to take, you must first determine where you are NOW, and this is that START! Without knowing this basic information, and understanding its relevance, informed decisions cannot be made and the applicable relevance of gathered information remains undetermined.
If a man has been diagnosed with early stage disease, as approximately 3 out of 4 men presenting today are, there is usually no urgent reason or necessity, to make a hurried, uninformed decision. If you feel rushed, pressured or remain uncertain as to whether you know enough to feel relatively comfortable with your choice, wait until you are.
Obviously, however, there is no reason to unnecessarily prolong the decision making process beyond that reasonable time frame needed to acquire, and to understand, such information. Delays should NOT be the result of unwarranted procrastination. With this basic information, the educational learning process can begin and more INFORMED decisions are then possible.
I will be happy to answer specific questions that anyone may have. - John@newPCa.org (aka) az4peaks
 
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FrancieToo replied to az4peaks2's response:
Dear John,

The information you provided is invaluable to me! Much of my confusion stems from not knowing what to do, in what order, where to go for specific and relevant answers and what is important relative to where we are in this process. I wish my husband would speak with you but he isn't even close to talking about it... yet. I think he is waiting to see what the biopsy reveals. It's my hope that if he indeed has cancer, he will be willing to become actively involved.

I want to make sure that I ask the important questions to his physician but I need to know what "is" important.

I am going to print out your post and keep it for my research. I appreciate your reply and I will be in further contact with you after his Oct. 19th appointment.

If you could give me a list of questions that would appropriate for our first visit, I would be grateful. I am assuming the physician will set up an appointment for a biopsy. Are they any specific questions I should ask before it is preformed?

Thank you SO much,
Fran
 
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RandomPseudoNym replied to FrancieToo's response:
Assuming it's OK to post links to other resources, I thought this one was helpful - it's by an anonymous urologist (ie, not trying to drive his business, and not proposing to offer anyone specific medical advice as a blog post - but quite helpful in general.) Nothing to do with me, just something I thought was helpful to read on top of all the other stuff I've read from here and elsewhere.

http://myprostatedoc.blogspot.com/

Thinking back lo, these 2-4 months ago, I was really more numb than wanting to talk about it (or research it - but my wife did) in the phase where we had bad blood tests in hand, but the biopsy hadn't happened yet - and while I wasn't too surprised by the positive result, there was still an anger/denial/expletive-spewing phase once it did come in, though it hit in waves, not all at once or even right away. What the <bleep> did I do to have cancer at 47, etc, etc. I didn't grit my teeth and start posting here until after I had the bad news in hand and had to start coming to grips with it.

Regarding the biopsy, one thing to have done (thanks to the other folks right here) is to get a second opinion on the pathology, preferably from one of the major cancer centers where a pathologist that specializes in PCa can look them over - because what is and isn't a cancer cell, and what Gleason score it is is a matter of opinion/judgment.

And I'll sound (if you have read other posts here) like a broken record, but walking briskly is supposed to help, getting weight off is supposed to help (in general) and is particularly helpful for surgical options, and it gives something to do that isn't just stewing about it, avoiding it, or researching it and hitting your head against the wall asking why me!

http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20110524/brisk-walking-may-help-keep-prostate-cancer-in-check

UsToo is a national PCa support group which may have local meetings in your area (but check first - I had to let them know that the local group they listed near here had apparently stopped meeting some time ago, per the receptionist at the place they claimed to meet on the night they claimed to meet.)

http://www.ustoo.org/

You may also (or instead) have a local PCa support group. Your hospital or urologist's office might be able to connect you if you don't find them yourself.

Best of luck with it.


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