My husband is going to undergo treatment for prostate cancer in 10 days and this morning, we took a class together at the hospital. They call it “prostate school”, I suppose, to make it sound more fun. Actually, we did enjoy the class and surprisingly, laughed more than once.
I’d like to share with you five life lessons I took away from prostate school today that I believe transcend this experience:
1. The human body is a miracle. We saw diagrams of the human body and discussed in some detail how everything works together. It’s so easy to forget what a miracle each of us is. It was nice to have that reminder.
2. Modern medicine is astounding. My husband is undergoing a treatment in which radioactive seeds will be implanted into his prostate, targeting his cancer with great precision. The cure rate is outstanding – better than 90%. Even Jules Verne did not predict something like that.
3. What we eat matters – a LOT. We met with a dietician who reviewed in detail what my husband can’t eat for the first 30 – 90 days after his procedure. I never considered before the little things that affect our digestion — like whether a fruit has a skin on it (like a blueberry) or that we react so differently to seemingly similar greens (such as spinach and kale).
4. A natural response to losing something is to want it badly. Men who undergo radioactive seed therapy for prostate cancer are placed on a special diet for a few months afterwards. Everyone in the class groaned and grumbled about the foods that aren’t allowed on the diet. We were all saddened that tomatoes are on the taboo list for 90 days. That’s understandable because so many delicious foods are tomato-based. But what surprised me is that my husband seemed especially sad that he couldn’t eat Brussels sprouts for 30 days. Brussels sprouts? For 30 days?
5. Being married to a loving spouse is the best thing in the world. We were three couples in the class together this morning and each wife took time away from work and other activities to sit beside her husband, to learn with him, and to support him. Our nurse trainer on more than one occasion said something specifically to the wives about what we would need to do – drive our husbands home from the hospital, bring their medication with us the day of the procedure, etc. I cannot imagine what it would be like for a man to have to go through this treatment without such support. I am so grateful that I am able to help my husband through this.
My husband and I are optimistic and thanks to prostate school, we feel even more prepared to go through this treatment now. That brings me to my final life lesson from prostate school: Knowing what to expect makes all the difference in the world. – Dr. Laura Hills, Blue Pencil Institute, www.bluepencilinstitute.com.