The Pursuit of Happiness: Enjoying Life With Prostate Cancer

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Topics include: Living Well and Patient Stories

How can prostate cancer patients still live life to the fullest during their fight? Prostate cancer patient advocates, Bill Hayton and Rick Dole, share from personal experience ways to live your best life after diagnosis. Noted prostate cancer expert, Dr. Celestia Higano from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, also discusses how your healthcare team can help you cope with mental and emotional stress. Watch now to find out how to enhance your journey; mentally, physically and emotionally.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power in partnership with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. We thank Astellas and Sanofi for their support.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jeff Folloder:

Gentlemen, both of you—you’re living with cancer. What makes you happy right now? We’ll start with you, Rick.

Rick Dole:            

Being alive is happy. I like what I’m doing in life now.

Jeff Folloder:     

Tell me about some of the hobbies that you enjoy doing.

Rick Dole:            

I play the guitar. Soon—we just sold the house and bought a new house in a small town north of here, La Conner, and I’m just now getting into the retirement mode where I can get a rhythm going. 

Exercise, of course—it’s not a—well, every day, I do something that’s exercise. I walk probably eight or nine miles a day, and then I throw in—I do my own personal version of CrossFit. I have those rope things you swing up and down, and all kinds of things like that. I want to get back into riding my mountain bike again. Playing my guitar and music—I have two granddaughters who are becoming excellent musicians and singers, and I’m learning from them now. 

But, that—I’ve had a goal. I used to be nearly fluent in Spanish 30 years ago. I have a goal to become totally fluent in Spanish. I’ve got to start aggressively pursuing that. But those are my hobbies, and just—we have a boat, too. I go boating occasionally. This was a bad summer because of selling a house, but we have a powerboat. We go in the San Juan Islands near here, up into Canada and so on. So, more of that will be coming forth, too.                 

Jeff Folloder:     

Bill, I understand that you like to get your line wet and do a little fishing. 

Bill Hayton:        

I do. First of all, I belong to a gym, so I try to get to the gym. There’s more time for that in the winter than the summer. I’m retired as well, for about seven years now. So, yes, I have a fishing boat. I do saltwater fishing for salmon. I was out—what’s today? Saturday? I was out last Tuesday. Barely legal, but it was. Caught another one that a seal attacked, and all I got was part of the jaw back, and a seal took the rest of it. 

Jeff Folloder:     

Seals have to eat, too. 

Bill Hayton:        

A little piece of fish on the end. Dragged me all over Rosario Strait.

So I try to do a fair amount of that, and crab pots, crabbing, spot shrimp, halibut fishing, when it comes around—I do all of that stuff. I belong to a hiking group in Skagit County. It’s under the auspices of the Audubon Society. Weekly, there’s an organized hike. In the summer, we do the High Cascades. A lot of hikes off of Highway 20, off the Mt. Baker Highway, and in the winter, we do the more lowland hikes, but usually in the five- to 10-mile range with quite a bit of elevation. So that’s been a great activity. 

My wife and I both do that. I have a bicycle. When I get the urge and the time, I ride that. But, stay active—we have a property that seems to require a lot of work, too, to keep the place in shape.

Jeff Folloder:     

These gentlemen are both very aggressive with their cancer condition, but they all seem pretty darn well adjusted to me. They smile a lot. They’ve got activities. They’re engaged in life. One of the parts of treating cancer is the mental and emotional aspect of it. It’s often overlooked. We’re so focused on fixing the physical part of what’s wrong that we don’t take time to think about the mental and emotional part. How do you deal with the emotion and the mental aspects of metastasized prostate cancer with your patients? How do you help them get the help they need?

Dr. Higano:          

Well, it’s different for every patient, I would say. It depends on what their circumstances are, what the rest of their health is, but that always has to be part of our visit together because it doesn’t matter what’s going on with other things.

It doesn’t—I can see with my own eyes, usually, if there’s that kind of distress. They may not always say so, but you can—it’s just something you learn to be sensitive to, and then, there are people who are so fixated on the PSA number, and honestly, that’s partly our fault as doctors because early in the disease, we’re so thrilled when the PSA becomes undetectable, and everybody knows it, and we’re all very happy, but as the disease progresses, we have to de-focus on the PSA. What we need to focus on, I think, is today. How are you feeling today? Is today a good day? If today’s a good day, then it’s a good day. 

I’m not talking about tomorrow, or next year, or 10 years from now, and that’s a hard—it’s something that—We all say, “Live for today,” but most people don’t live for today. And so, it’s a sort of—think something that I like to discuss with patients who need to discuss it is how they can still have a good life. These guys are perfect examples of people who have gone on with their lives in not letting the cancer get in the way too much, and I think that’s the most important thing that we can do, is help people in whatever way they need help to get to that point.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on February 28, 2018