DON'T WORRY, I ADORE BALD MEN! (Danuta)
How did your husband's cancer start?
I persuaded my husband to get tested a year ago. I found out there are PSA tests and you only need to collect some blood. My husband was very reluctant to have any prophylactic tests for prostate (per rectum examination), he abhorred it and refused to go. When I've learnt from my colleague at work that you can test your PSA from a blood sample, I convinced my husband to have such a test.
Did your husband have any symptoms?
No, no symptoms. He urinated normally and experienced no pain. We had no idea at the time that there might be any problems.
Were you interested in PDA tests as a prophylactic measure, just because you were concerned about the health of your husband?
Yes, I became interested in it. I thought – everything is all right, but I wanted my husband to go and have the test just for peace of mind.
I managed to persuade my husband to have the test done. And what came next?
The results were abnormal. He refused to have a surgery and decided to treat himself in his own way. And he did. He was taking various pills and herbs, searched for help on the Internet. He did feel well.
What were the doctor's recommendations when the PSA results arrived?
The doctor advised him to have the lesion removed at a hospital. At this stage, he did not identify any manifestations of cancer. So my husband used natural methods.
Did to object to your husband's non-compliance?
Yes, I did object to it, but I respected his decision. My husband was afraid of surgery. He thought he could have a try and use a non-surgical treatment.
But something has started to change?
Yes. My husband had his PSA retested after 6 months. It turned out his PSA levels increased significantly, and after another 2‐3 months he started rapidly losing weight. That worried me considerably. My father had lung cancer. I saw him losing weight in a similar way. I felt something was wrong and I told my husband to retest his PSA. This time his PSA levels were significantly elevated.
What happened next?
When I saw his PSA reached the level of 600, I knew the news were bad. I knew it was cancer. We immediately went to a private consultation with a urologist and my husband was hospitalized within a month. The doctor told us straight away he needed chemotherapy and perhaps an adjuvant treatment which was available at the hospital to which my husband was admitted.
How did you react to this situation? What did it feel like?
We were all devastated, but we couldn't show it. My husband is optimistically disposed to the world. That's great. He's even more positive than I am.
Have you thought about psychological support?
I have been dealing with my problems myself all my life. I once visited a psychologist, but the result was quite the opposite. It's the same case with my daughter. I just know I have to deal with it all by myself. I don't need a psychologist.
Do you have any special ways to cope with your problem?
We have been happy together, me and my husband. We were married 41 years ago. We never quarrel and are getting along quite well. I am very patient and I can bear a lot. I know this disease has changed my husband, his character is now different, but I just bite my tongue and it's OK!
How to you copy with the side effects of therapy? Do you two talk about it?
No, we don't, but when my husband was losing his hair I told him: don't worry, I adore bald men!
Men say that prostate cancer is an intimate issue because of its location. They believe this disease affects their manhood. Has this topic ever come up in your relationship?
No. I just understand the situation. And I want my husband to stay alive, our intimate life is of secondary importance. If we don't have sex, then we don't. End. Period. You have to accept it.
What would you advise to a woman whose husband struggles with prostate cancer?
It's difficult to give any advice, I would have to get to know the family, everyone is different. But when you love each other and live in harmony, things are much easier.
Did you have to motivate your husband during his therapy, in his struggle against the disease?
Yes. For example I told him about a friend of mine who was fighting a different type of cancer, and lived 5 more years, and I convinced my husband he should continue treatment, that it works one way or another. We also believe in God and our faith helps us cope with things better.
Has the disease changed anything in your life?
We are now aware we may be alive today and dead by tomorrow.