3 Things You Can Control During Your Prostate Cancer Journey
The feeling of helplessness brought upon a patient and those who love them is perhaps one of the worst parts of a prostate cancer diagnosis. Between the uncertainty of the future and the many changes to your day-to-day life, you may feel as if life is spiraling out of your control.
But there are three things you can control during your prostate cancer journey: your attitude, your diet, and your exercise routine.
You may have just rolled your eyes because the above statement may sound like a truism as innovative as “the grass is always greener on the other side,” but allow us to challenge that notion.
The first thing you should know is that this list of three comes from a patient who was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. Stephen Eisenmann is what we refer to as an extraordinary responder (a patient who has had a remarkably positive response to treatment), but before this response, he and his family were preparing for the worst.
As Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth Eisenmann, recalled, “We got very practical, and there was one point we updated our wills, we got our documents together, our powers of attorneys. We did a lot of that stuff that you don’t want to do, you don’t want to think about, because you don’t want that to be your life.”
Nonetheless, throughout all of this, Stephen and Elizabeth remained optimistic on account of some advice Stephen received from a friend: the three things you can control during your prostate cancer journey are your attitude, diet, and exercise routine.
Long before Stephen experienced his positive response to treatment, he kept these principles top of mind. “If I maintained a positive attitude, restricted my diet to things that were going to be good for me, since I had prostate cancer, and maintained my exercise routine, that I would have a better chance at a better response.”
While Stephen’s exceptional response to treatment is unique (at least for now), the agency he took over his attitude, diet, and exercise are 100% replicable.
Is it always easy to keep a positive attitude in the face of so much trauma? Of course not. Similarly, eating healthy and going on a daily hike might seem frivolous, or “too little too late.” But these three aspects of your life, regardless of how treatment is going, are dictated by you and only you.
Cancer is a powerful disease, but it cannot tell you to put down that forkful of salad. And no oncologist is going to strongly advise that you don’t remain active. So, by taking conscious control of your attitude, diet, and exercise regimen you will find you begin to regain a sense of agency in your own life.
What makes cancer so devastating is not just the toll it takes on our physical health, but the way it manages to disrupt our life while we are still living it. But we can push back on this, in many ways. Attitude, diet, and exercise; those are good places to start.
To get started, see our guides on diet, exercise, and wellness.