Two weeks into my husband's diagnosis of stage 4 PC. I would like suggestions about handling anxiety. Mine and his. I am scheduling my own dr. appt. because I'm settling into a near constant state of panic and it's getting harder to act normal and strong for the family, let alone have on-topic conversations where necessary. I feel like tears are ten seconds away at any given time and I don't even want to know what my blood pressure is. I don't think anyone can tell but it's not good or helpful.
My doctor will have his ideas but I'd really like a different perspective before seeing him. This isn't depression so I don't think I'm looking for an anti-depressive but something specifically for anxiety... I can't be loopy or tired, need to be functional. Anyone taking something helpful or have a wife taking something you're happy with?
Any restrictions or considerations for my husband on Lupron? How are the guys handling anxiety?
Right now alcohol is a favorite and that can't be a permanent solution.
It is so very normal for you and your husband to feel both anxious and sad now.I know how the ruminative thinking becomes noxious and can take over one's life. Alcohol and sedatives only put it off, and it comes back stronger afterwards. In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the U.Mass Medical School began using a technique called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction on cancer patients to help relieve their physical pain and psychic distress. Since then, Mindfulness has become a mainstay for treating both patients' and caregivers' suffering. It can become a mind-healthy habit in about 6-8 weeks.
My psychotherapist taught me how to practice Mindfulness to relieve anxiety. It taught me how to recognize distressful thoughts, feelings and sensations and to adopt an attitude of detachment from them before they can take over and get in my way. Once you get the hang of it, it works and works quickly (it's never quickly enough!). It actually changes the brain (neuroplasticity), as well as reducing stress hormones and improving immune function.
UCLA has a Mindfulness Awareness Research Center that offers free podcasts. The Cancer Support Community's Benjamin Center also has many guided Mindfulness techniques available online. There may be places in your community that offer free support to cancer patients and caregivers. I've found that learning it in a group was particularly helpful if such a group is offered where you live.
Here are some references if you want to learn more about it. It's one psychotherapy that actually has a lot of scientific research behind it.
This one demonstrates an effect on the immune system and has a link to a free full-text article:
This one has some good explanations and its effectiveness in actual clinical use:
These looked at the effect on stress hormones and immune function, as well as quality of life:
And here are a couple that document its effectiveness in reducing anxiety and fears:
Last edited by Tall Allen; 10-01-2012 at 10:19 AM.
I know what you mean by kickstarting it for the first few weeks. Sleep is so important to good mental health. I now practice Mindfulness to get me to sleep in minutes (it's useful for a lot of things). I kickstarted with an occasional .5 mg Klonopin, an anxiolytic benzodiazapine, to get to sleep, and a half a pill during the day if needed. I'm sure that Xanax would work as well.
I wish I'd known about Mindfulness when first countenancing surgery!
Instead, I dug out my old self-hypnosis tape for sleeping that I bought during my corporate days. Investigating further, I found other audio material that stimulates desired brain wave patterns (theta for relaxation).
You are so right about getting sleep. By the time I went for surgery, I had progressed from being an emotional wreck to taking it in my stride. I made an amazing recovery and was work-ready 2 weeks after my op.
I augmented my sleeping audios with a subliminal positive thinking audio, for playing during the day and a suite of relaxation brain wave audios for after work naps: no sleeping meds needed.
Even though I am over the worst for now, I'll be looking into Mindfulness.
I can totally relate to your anxiety. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. This week we found out that the cancer has spread to his bones and he has a mass blocking his right ureter. I have an anxiety disorder and my husband takes care of me. I have been going out of my mind with fear over losing him.
I know how you feel, Therese. I am in a similar position....and my husband also has blockage of the ureters.
I took Tall Allen's advice and joined a Mindfulness Based Stress Relief program at a cancer center nearby. Fortunately at no cost to me but such a program is invaluable, I think.
I have been twice now and see that this can help. There are others there with serious problems too and it has helped me put things into perspective. Everyone is learning how to cope with some pretty scary stuff.
Another thing I am trying to do is to be in the moment and to set aside my anxieties to the best of my ability and to enjoy this time we have together. No one knows what the future holds and so we might as well not project.
I also know that there are a number of treatments for advanced prostate cancer now that were not available a few years ago.
I hope you feel more at ease soon.