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    Old 02-16-2007, 12:08 PM   #1
    npatrick
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    depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    We are now almost 4 weeks post-op. We continue to have alot to be thankful for. First of all, there is still no incontinence. My husband is passing some blood in urine occasionally, which the MD said was nothing unusual. Unfortunately depression seems to have set in...My husbands tells me that the only comparison would be that of a woman having a mastectomy. He feels like he is not complete and worthless. I did not foresee any of these emotional problems. Yes, we did all of the book reading and so forth, but we should have been better prepared. I feel that if there is time that there should actually be some type of mental preparation for this surgery. We are going to talk with the doctor about some antidepressant medication...maybe something for anxiety. I do want to say one thing to you guys out there going through this. When your partner is telling you that they love you no matter what......try to believe them. Does anyone have any other suggestions to make things better?

     
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    Old 02-16-2007, 02:12 PM   #2
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    My husband had his surgery three years ago this next month. If your husband is like mine he was healthy until this cancer surgery. My husband was 51 when he had his operation and it does take some time to get use to. Just the thought of having cancer is pretty scary. My husband found a support group at a local hospital that he attends once a month. It is just regular guys who have gone thru the same thing. I think it helps him alot to talk about it to guys and not just me. Call your local hospital or the American cancer soicety and see if there is a support group in your area. Both husbands and wifes attend ours and see if it helps. I know you have to have the patients to get thru this and your husband and you are not alone. I hope I have helped you with your question Take care and stay safe geifer

     
    Old 02-16-2007, 11:38 PM   #3
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    npatrick,

    Although you don't state this explicitly, I would guess that your husband is grieving the sudden and dramatic loss of sexual function that so often accompanies radical prostatectomy. For most men, this is a very depressing situation, and in that sense, depression is probably a pretty normal response. When I found out that there was a 50% chance I'd end up impotent from this operation, I started getting depressed even before the operation took place.

    I think sending the message "I love you anyway" or "I love you no matter what" can make a man feel even more depressed, because each statement contains the poignent reminder of his loss. It's probably better to just say "I love you", and allow him to grieve. It's only been four weeks. That kind of pain often doesn't resolve itself quickly. It shouldn't be minimized.

    I agree with Geifer that it is helpful to talk with others who have gone through the same thing. As a prostate cancer patient, I know that he is having a normal response, but he might not be feeling "normal" right now.

     
    Old 02-16-2007, 11:44 PM   #4
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    npatrick,

    Although you don't state this explicitly, I would guess that your husband is grieving the sudden and dramatic loss of sexual function that so often accompanies radical prostatectomy. For most men, this is a very depressing situation, and in that sense, depression is probably a pretty normal response. When I found out that there was a 50% chance I'd end up impotent from this operation, I started getting depressed even before the operation took place.

    I think sending the message "I love you anyway" or "I love you no matter what" can make a man feel even more depressed, because each statement contains the poignent reminder of his loss. It's probably better to just say "I love you", and allow him to grieve. It's only been four weeks. That kind of pain often doesn't resolve itself quickly. It shouldn't be minimized.

    I agree with Geifer that it is helpful to talk with others who have gone through the same thing. As a prostate cancer patient, I know that he is having a normal response, but he might not be feeling "normal" right now.

     
    Old 02-20-2007, 05:50 AM   #5
    npatrick
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    Thumbs up Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    Thank you Geifer and All Sevens for your advice. We will be looking into a support group. I feel that this will help us tremendously.

     
    Old 02-21-2007, 08:52 AM   #6
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    I hope that a support group will help try to stay calm and understanding. Sometimes men have to work things out for themselves and I know it is hard to stand by and watch it happen to someone you love. I told my husband remember 33 years ago I told you for better or worst good times and bad and sickness and health and I meant it. Cancer is a tough thing to go thru but together it is better. Godd luck take care and stay safe geifer

     
    Old 02-22-2007, 01:51 PM   #7
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    I was diagnosed and had surgery 3.5 years ago at age 49. I was active, worked 10-12 hours a day, hated being sick and had never experienced any prolonged illness in my life.

    I had surgery on July 2 and told I would go home July 5. I bought supplies for a big cook out on July 5 -when I got home. When we pulled in the drive way, I asked my wife if I could just sit in the car for the rest of my life.

    It was a long month followed by longer months of feeling tired, drained and crying for no reason. I went back to work and it drove me nuts. The issues were petty and senseless - hey - I survived cancer. Large groups bothered me - I wanted to be solitary. It was a full year before I had my stamina back - but my drive and ambition has never returned.

    It was probably 3 months before I realized I was sexually dead. There are a lot of issues than just a cancerous little gland.

    3.5 years later I have taken a lesser job with the same company. I have found some new outside interests. I enjoy life but RRP made an old man of me quickly.

    Things will rebound - keep the faith.

     
    Old 02-23-2007, 04:27 AM   #8
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    Hello.

    I too am 4 weeks post-op today! I may get back to it today.

    As far as your husband's depression is concerned, I can understand it. I am not yet feeling deep depression, but I wonder if I'll ever be physically as normal as I can be. My incontenance is very minimal now with just some slight dripping mostly when I walk a lot. Laying down, sleeping, sitting is OK. The potency I'm told could take several weeks to months to return, so tell your husband to not yet give up. Next Tuesday I will be seeing my doctor to discuss radiation which will be needed in my case, and to discuss potency issues. I think that at that time I'll get samples of Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra to try. I have also invested in a vacuum pump device, and have seen some improvement from using that for just a few days now. Maybe you should consider that option just to get things started. I understand it is very important to get blood flowing as soon as possible to prevent long-term problems. Talk to your doctor about it.

    Good luck, and I'll keep checking on your postings.
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    Old 02-26-2007, 08:28 AM   #9
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    Thanks to RonZ and ProstateC for your postings. ProstateC, I hope that you continue to improve and that things will go well with the medications and pump. We actually had a nice weekend...some fishing, church and eating out. My husband states that he continously thinks about intimacy in a sexual way. I thank you RonZ for showing me that coping will come with time and that it is something that has to be found withing one's self. I will continue to support him. I love him very much...and I meant for better and for worse. Thank ya'll so much for your continued support.

     
    Old 06-11-2007, 01:28 PM   #10
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    I too am about 4 weeks post op. I had a cathater for 15 days, which is longer than normal. I've experienced incontinence, but it is much improved and I'm not worried about it. However, I am extremely depressed over the impotence and the anxiety of not knowing the eventual outcome, which can take months to even years. My situation is compounded by the fact that I'm single and in a new long distance relationship with a woman that I love very much. We enjoyed sexual intimacy very much before the surgery and the loss of it is just about more than I can bear. She is very supportive and has assured me that she loves me no matter what. It's me that's freaking out. I have suffered from depression for many years already and have been on medication for 12 years. This current depression is more severe than I've ever experienced, and my medications no longer seem to be working. I've become needy, clingy and inconsolable to the point that I'm worried about the survival of my relationship. Does anyone know how to find a support prostate cancer survivors support group in Denver?

     
    Old 06-11-2007, 03:12 PM   #11
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    Four weeks may not be enough for the impact of anesthesia on depression to abate, but it is definitely too soon to expect a return of potency. Unfortunately, worry about it can increase the physiological aspects by adding psychological ones. You haven't said what medication you are on, but the SSRI's have an impact on erectile function, as you probably know. If you are on a tricyclic, there are reports of those having a rebound effect for those on them for extended time periods beyond ten years. At least, it is quite possible that your physiological upheaval from surgery is contributing to a biochemical change with neural transmitters. Perhaps a medication review could be helpful.
    It could also be helpful to consider some individual therapy for a short period of time. Though I do not have personal experience, people here report that men seem reluctant to discuss impotence in groups, even groups for those who have had surgery. Your urologist's administrative staff or nurse should be familiar with any support groups in your area.
    Are you on any medication such as Viagra? It is very commonly prescribed after prostate surgery and is thought to help with regaining potency. Also, you seem fortunate to have a sympathetic, significant other. Perhaps a time to be creative during your intimate moments. Perhaps you can figure out something interesting for her Perhaps she can do the same for you. You almost certainly know that you can have an orgasm without an erection.
    You might consider developing a positive phrase to repeat to yourself when depressed about sexual function. For example, something related to the fact that you are going to have a long life with your partner, and you have an opportunity to discover each other psychologically AND the probability of being able to rediscover the sexual aspects of your relationship again in the future.
    One writer describes marital love (Or love of a significant other) as having three parts: 1. Passion (The physical aspects of the relationship), 2. Intimacy (The psychological aspects of the relationship such as trust, the ability to share deep thoughts and feelings, etc.), and, 3. Commitment (The intellectual aspect of a relationship and the cognitive decision that this is the relationship one chooses, "for better or worse"). All relationships vary in the degree to which one or another aspect of the three dominates, with that changing with time and circumstance. Perhaps Passion has been the glue, but that would not be enough to sustain the relationship over the long haul without the others. This is a time when the Passion may either take a back seat or be expressed differently, but it is also a time when the Intimacy and Commitment can deepen substantially, setting the tone for a long lasting and ultimately richer relationship!! Hang in there.

     
    Old 06-12-2007, 08:35 AM   #12
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    rollie07,

    To answer your question, I'm sure there are prostate cancer support groups in Denver. We're not allowed to give web addresses on this board, but a simple web search should give you results. Also, your urologist should know the name of a local group. You might want to try several different groups to see if one is the right fit for you. I never did find one in my area where men were particularly open about adjusting to sexual side effects, but I got other benefits from going to these groups for a while.

    I was also single when I had the surgery (two years ago). Things worked out fine, and I've been in a relationship ever since three months after the surgery. Before surgery, I heard all sorts of patients saying, "I don't know how I would have made it through this without my partner." As a single person hearing this, I really started to freak. But, later, I realized that there were some advantages to being single and starting a new relationship. Like, not having as many expectations or established roles, as in an old relationship. I found a partner who is very open and adventurous, and we were very honest about sex from the beginning. With the help of a vacuum device and some injection therapy and patience for about 6 months, things have been going very well in that department. And, if your potency starts to return on its own, you'll be doing even better.

     
    Old 06-12-2007, 08:36 AM   #13
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    Re: depression 4 weeks post-op prostatectomy

    What your husband's experiencing is not unusual. Anti-depressants to help him through this can't hurt. However the best therapy is the gradual recovery of sexual function with or without firm erections.They'll never be the same but can recover to very satisfactory levels. Howevevr patience, perseverence and gentle encouragement from you are necessary. His equipment has been very traumatized (assuming his nerves were spared) and needs time to heal ---many months to a few years. However its essential that he resume sexual activity (solo or with help) as soon as posible in order to retrain his nerves and restore blood flow to the penis. Anything that stimulates, although recognize that most anti-depressants also reduce libido so discuss this with your physician and ask him to prescribe one with the least effect on libido. He should get over his depression as he begins to realize that life and sex don't end with prostate surgery and life is a lot better without cancer than with it. Good luck and don't lose faith.

     
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