Tag Archives: Counselling

Decision making and uncertainty

When men get a prostate cancer diagnosis, the next discussion is usually about treatment. The stage of the cancer will determine the type of treatments on offer.  Generally, with a diagnosis of low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer, men will often have several options available to choose from.

Depending on a range of criteria, men can consider active surveillance, surgery, or radiotherapy.  There is also the NanoKnife®, which is currently available in Sydney and Queensland.

Active surveillance delays dealing with the two major side-effects of surgery and, to a lesser extent, radiotherapy – incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Whatever treatment men are looking at, all bring uncertainty.  Common concerns include:-

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • Will the side-effects be worse than expected or not as bad?
  • What is really the best treatment option for me?
  • Will there be other effects from the treatment that I don’t know about?
  • I’ve heard stories about other men – will those things also happen to me?

To work through this maze of questions and worries, it can be helpful to visit a Prostate Cancer Support Group to hear other men’s experiences.  Just remember, every man will respond differently to even the same treatment.  There is no one size fits all treatment. Obtain a second opinion to guide you towards what is best for you, not others.

Even with all the information gathered, there can still be that internal nagging voice – “I’m still not sure”.

Part of the problem is that men, in general, are fixers.  We have a problem and generally we know how or what to do to fix it, but prostate cancer is a whole different kettle of fish. At the low risk stage, men are presented with options, and fixing the problem is not at all straightforward.  There are so many shades of grey.

For many men, they would love to hear “this is the treatment for you, these are the side-effects, and it will work”.  End of story.  Unfortunately, there might still be some level of doubt.  If you can step back for a moment and look at other events in your life where there has been some uncertainty around decision making.  Consider what you did then with the uncertainty, and what you learned that might help you now.

There is no simple answer when dealing with the uncertainty of decision making, and the consequences of that decision, relating to prostate cancer.

If you are stuck in this stage of uncertainty, seek out relevant information, talk to support groups or individuals who might have been in a similar situation.  As uncomfortable as the uncertainty is, be prepared to sit with it, with the anxiety of these uncharted waters.  Talk to your family, or close friends.  The Cancer Council has a help line (13 11 20) where you can talk one-on-one to work through your concerns.

Consider counselling to guide and support you during this transition period, to determine what is the best option for you and that you can you live with the decision that you make.

You don’t have to do this alone, seeking and asking for help shows strength, not weakness.

Lastly, consider visiting the Navigate website, an on-line decision aid for men diagnosed with low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer.  Navigate is a project being run by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and I am the consumer advocate on the project.

Once you are registered on Navigate, you will be selected for further involvement which will go some way to assisting you to make your decision, and hopefully reduce some of the uncertainty that is churning inside you.

International Men’s Health Week 2016

Machine Man - AMSA - Spanner in the Works

When was your last service?

Did you know that this coming week (13th June to 19th June) is International Men’s Health Week?

Did you know that there’s even an organisation that runs the whole shebang in Australia?  Yep, it’s called Men’s Health Week – catchy, eh?  And how do you like Machine Man below?  He comes to you courtesy of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and features on their Men’s Health Tool Box booklet.  Pretty cool.

Australian Men's Shed Association Machine Man

 

Your body is like a car – both require regular maintenance.

So, what better time to ask yourself:-

  • How am I travelling, physically, mentally and emotionally?
  • Is it time for my annual service with my GP?
  • Do I even have a regular GP?
  • When did I last have my chassis checked?  What about my shock absorbers or my oil pressure?  And don’t let me forget my fuel injector!

Who can you talk to about men’s health issues?

As you may know, I work at a multi-modality health centre in Black Rock, Victoria – Shine Health Wellbeing Centre.  I provide counselling, nutritional advice, massage, Reiki, and craniosacral release.  My special interest is men’s health and wellbeing.

For Men’s Health Week at Shine Health, we are giving away free men’s health information packs from this coming Tuesday (14th June 2016).

The first 20 packs will include a $20 voucher for men to use at the Centre.

The pack will also contain a health appraisal questionnaire that you can fill in to give you some idea of how you’re travelling.  Once you’ve collected your info pack and completed your self-assessment, make an appointment to see me (Alan) or Marta, our Naturopath, to discuss the results.

So, if you’re able to come in to the centre, grab your free info pack and get your engine in top gear.  Or give us a call on 03 9589 4549 to make an appointment.

Shine Health Wellbeing Centre is located at 35 Bluff Road, Black Rock (across the road from Cafeteria, where you can get the best coffee ever).

New health centre opening

After one of the longest sabbaticals in living memory, I’m returning to practice and joining Marta and the team at Shine Health Wellbeing Centre in Black Rock.

Shine is a multi-disciplinary health centre and you can visit their Facebook page for more information.  Even better, if you are in the area next Saturday (12th December 2015), you can visit the new premises and meet us, sample some mini treatments and say hello.

Shine Health Wellbeing Centre - open day