Being alone even in your personal residence during the nighttime can be dull or frightening. However, adhering to the following steps may contribute to overcoming the anxiety that goes along with empty nesting.
Plan outings each week. Call up friends well in advance to schedule dinners, movies, poker nights, etc. Not only are they times enjoyable and a great opportunity to socialize with friends, but they also reduce the amount of time you have to spend alone.
Find a source of entertainment in the late evening / night. For some this may include watching a popular television show or film, reading a book or magazine, knitting, drawing, or a different hobby. If you truly enjoy your selected hobby, your time alone will be transformed from something to dread to something to look forward to.
Go to bed early. This will also minimize the amount of time you have to spend by yourself.
Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep. If you are afraid of doing this when it gets dark, lock up your house before dusk. Set your burglar alarm and make sure you are in close proximity to a working phone at all times.
* If you live on your own, try buying a pet. A pet can make an excellent friend.
* Keep quiet music on in the background if you're not actively listening to music or watching TV. This really helps a lot.
* Homely smells help too. Like maybe an apple-cinnamon scented candle.
* Learn to be your own best friend:
o Remind yourself of the good things that happened during the day
o Actively appreciate the good things in your life. (A good book to show you how this works is "The Power of Appreciation" by Noelle C. Nelson and Jeannine Lemare Calaba.
o If you have a spiritual way of living you can consciously merge with your cosmic friends or you can enjoy some OBE-Excursions. (Read "Astral Dynamics" by Robert Bruce)
* Don't get a pet if you smoke a lot.
* Also, pets get lonely too. Keep background music on for them if you're gone all day, and make sure they can see out of 2 different windows and have some sunshine.
Cope With Being Alone At Night
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Being alone even in your personal residence during the nighttime can be dull or frightening. However, adhering to the following steps may contribute to overcoming the anxiety that goes along with empty nesting.
Posted by Jane at 1:05 PM
Prostate cancer can't be prevented, but you can take measures to reduce your risk or possibly slow the disease's development.
- Eat well. High-fat diets have been linked to prostate cancer. Therefore, limiting your intake of high-fat foods and emphasizing fruits, vegetables and whole fibers may help you reduce your risk. Foods rich in lycopene, an antioxidant, also may help lower your prostate cancer risk. These foods include raw or cooked tomatoes, tomato products, grapefruit and watermelon. Garlic and some vegetables such as arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower also may help fight cancer. Vitamin E has shown promise in reducing the risk of prostate cancer among smokers. More research is needed, however, to see whether vitamin E might be effective.
- Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can help prevent a heart attack and conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. When it comes to cancer, the data aren't as clear-cut, but studies do indicate that regular exercise may reduce your cancer risk, including your risk of prostate cancer. Exercise has been shown to strengthen your immune system, improve circulation and speed digestion — all of which may play a role in cancer prevention. Exercise also helps to prevent obesity, another potential risk factor for some cancers. Regular exercise may also minimize your symptoms and reduce your risk of prostate gland enlargement, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Men who are physically active usually have less-severe symptoms than do men who get little exercise.
- Ask your doctor about taking an NSAID. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might prevent prostate cancer. These drugs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs inhibit an enzyme called COX-2, which is found in prostate cancer cells. More studies are needed to confirm whether NSAID use actually results in lower rates of prostate cancer or reduced deaths from the disease.
Research on prostate cancer prevention has shown that the drug finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) may prevent or delay the onset of prostate cancer in men 55 years and older. This drug is currently used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss in men. However, finasteride has also been shown to contribute to increasing sexual side effects and to slightly raise the risk of developing higher grade prostate cancer. At this time, this drug isn't routinely recommended to prevent prostate cancer.
Posted by Jane at 12:45 PM
There's more than one way to treat prostate cancer. For some men a combination of treatments — such as surgery followed by radiation or radiation paired with hormone therapy — works best. The treatment that's best for each man depends on several factors. These include how fast your cancer is growing, how much it has spread, your age and life expectancy, as well as the benefits and the potential side effects of the treatment. The most common treatments for prostate cancer include the following:
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)
External beam radiation treatment uses high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells. This type of radiation is effective at destroying cancerous cells, but it can also scar adjacent healthy tissue.
The first step in radiation therapy is to map the precise area of your body that needs to receive radiation. Computer-imaging software helps your doctor find the best angles to aim the beams of radiation. Precisely focused radiation kills cancer in your prostate while minimizing harm to surrounding tissue.
Treatments are generally given five days a week for about eight weeks. Each treatment appointment takes about 10 minutes. However, much of this is preparation time — radiation is received for only about one minute. You don't need anesthesia with external beam radiation, because the treatment isn't painful.
You'll be asked to arrive for therapy with a full bladder. This will push most of your bladder out of the path of the radiation beam. A body supporter holds you in the same position for each treatment. Ink marks on your skin help guide the radiation beam, and small gold markers may be placed in your prostate to ensure the radiation hits the same targets each time. Custom-designed shields help protect nearby normal tissue, such as your bladder, erectile tissues, anus and rectal wall.
EBRT can cause mild side effects, but in most cases they disappear shortly after your course of treatment is finished.
Side effects of EBRT can include:
- Urinary problems. The most common signs and symptoms are urgency to urinate and frequent urination. These problems usually are temporary and gradually diminish in a few weeks after completing treatment. Long-term problems are uncommon.
- Loose stools, rectal bleeding, discomfort during bowel movements or a sense of needing to have a bowel movement (rectal urgency). In some cases these problems persist for months after treatment, but they improve on their own in most men. If you do have long-term rectal symptoms, medications can help. Rarely, men develop persistent bleeding or a rectal ulcer after radiation. Surgery may be necessary to alleviate these problems.
- Sexual side effects. Radiation therapy doesn't usually cause immediate sexual side effects such as erectile dysfunction, but some men who've had the treatment have sexual problems later in life.
Radioactive seed implants
Radioactive seeds implanted into the prostate have gained popularity in recent years as a treatment for prostate cancer. The implants, also known as brachytherapy, deliver a higher dose of radiation than do external beams, but over a substantially longer period of time. The therapy is generally used in men with smaller or moderate-sized prostates with small and lower grade cancers.
During the procedure, between 40 and 100 rice-sized radioactive seeds are placed in your prostate through ultrasound-guided needles. The implant procedure typically lasts one to two hours and is done under general anesthesia — which means you won't be awake. Most men can go home the day of the procedure. Sometimes, hormone therapy is used for a few months to shrink the size of the prostate before seeds are implanted. The seeds may contain one of several radioactive isotopes — including iodine and palladium. These seeds don't have to be removed after they stop emitting radiation. Iodine and palladium seeds generally emit radiation that extends only a few millimeters beyond their location. This type of radiation isn't likely to escape your body in significant doses. However, doctors recommend that for the first few months you stay at least six feet (1.83 meters) away from children and pregnant women, who are especially sensitive to radiation. All radiation inside the pellets is generally exhausted within a year.
Side effects of radioactive seed implants can include:
- Urinary problems. The procedure causes urinary signs and symptoms such as frequent, slow and painful urination in nearly all men. You may require medication to treat these signs and symptoms. Some men need medications or the use of intermittent self-catheterization to help them urinate. Urinary symptoms tend to be more severe and longer lasting with seed implants than with external beam radiation.
- Sexual problems. Some men experience erectile dysfunction due to radioactive seed implants.
- Rectal symptoms. Sometimes this treatment causes loose stools, discomfort during bowel movements or other rectal symptoms. However, rectal symptoms from radioactive seed implants are generally less severe than with external beam radiation.
Hormone therapy involves trying to stop your body from producing the male sex hormones testosterone, which can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. This type of therapy can also block hormones from getting into cancer cells. Sometimes doctors use a combination of drugs to achieve both. In most men with advanced prostate cancer, this form of treatment is effective in helping both shrink the cancer and slow the growth of tumors. Sometimes doctors use hormone therapy in early-stage cancers to shrink large tumors so that surgery or radiation can remove or destroy them more easily. In some cases, hormone therapy is used in combination with radiation therapy or surgery. After these treatments, the drugs can slow the growth of any stray cancer cells left behind.
Some drugs used in hormone therapy decrease your body's production of testosterone. The hormones — known as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists — can set up a chemical blockade. This blockade prevents the testicles from receiving messages to make testosterone. Drugs typically used in this type of hormone therapy include leuprolide (Lupron, Viadur) and goserelin (Zoladex). They're injected into a muscle or under your skin once every three or four months. You can receive them for a few months, a few years or the rest of your life, depending on your situation.
Other drugs used in hormone therapy block your body's ability to use testosterone. A small amount of testosterone comes from the adrenal glands and isn't suppressed by LH-RH agonists. Certain medications — known as anti-androgens — can prevent testosterone from reaching your cancer cells. Examples include bicalutamide (Casodex) and nilutamide (Nilandron). They come in tablet form and, depending on the particular brand of drug, are taken orally one to three times a day. These drugs typically are given along with an LH-RH agonist.
Simply depriving prostate cancer of testosterone usually doesn't kill all of the cancer cells. Within a few years, the cancer often learns to thrive without testosterone. Once this happens, hormone therapy is less likely to be effective. However, several treatment options still exist. To avoid such resistance, intermittent hormone therapy programs have been developed. During this type of therapy, the hormonal drugs are stopped after your PSA drops to a low level and remains steady. You will need to resume taking the drugs if your PSA level rises again.
Side effects of hormone therapy can include:
- Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Reduction in muscle and bone mass
Certain hormone therapy medications can also cause:
- Liver damage
Recent reports have shown that men who undergo hormone therapy for prostate cancer may have a higher risk of having a heart attack in the first year or two after starting hormone therapy. So your doctor should carefully monitor your heart condition and aggressively treat any other conditions that may predispose you to a heart attack, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking.
Surgery to remove the testicles, which produce most of your testosterone, is as effective as other forms of hormonal therapy. Many men are not comfortable with the idea of losing their testicles, so they opt for the above-noted methods of lowering testosterone in the body. However, removing the testicles has the advantage of not having to have an injection every three or four months and can be less expensive. The surgery can be done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.
Surgical removal of your prostate gland, called radical prostatectomy, is used to treat cancer that's confined to the prostate gland. During this procedure, your surgeon uses special techniques to completely remove your prostate and nearby lymph nodes. This surgery can affect muscles and nerves that control urination and sexual function. Two surgical approaches are available for a prostatectomy — retropubic surgery and perineal surgery.
- Retropubic surgery. The gland is taken out through an incision in your lower abdomen that typically runs from just below the navel to an inch (2.54 centimeters) above the base of the penis. It's the most commonly used form of prostate removal for two reasons. First, your surgeon can use the same incision to remove pelvic lymph nodes, which are tested to determine if the cancer has spread. Second, the procedure gives your surgeon good access to your prostate, making it easy to save the nerves that help control bladder function and erections.
- Perineal surgery. An incision is made between your anus and scrotum. There's generally less bleeding with perineal surgery, and recovery time may be shorter, especially if you're overweight. With this procedure, your surgeon isn't able to remove nearby lymph nodes.
During either type of operation, a catheter is inserted into your bladder through your penis to drain urine from the bladder during your recovery. The catheter will likely remain in place for one to two weeks after the operation while the urinary tract heals.
Side effects of radical prostatectomy can include:
- Bladder control problems (urinary incontinence). These symptoms can last for weeks or even months, but most men eventually regain bladder control. Many men experience stress incontinence, meaning they're unable to hold urine flow when their bladders are under increased pressure. This can happen when you sneeze, cough, laugh or lift something heavy. In some men, urinary incontinence doesn't get better and surgery is needed to help correct the problem.
- Erectile dysfunction. This is a common side effect of radical prostatectomy, because nerves on both sides of your prostate that control erections may be damaged or removed during surgery. Most men younger than age 50 who have nerve-sparing surgery are able to achieve erections afterward, and even some men in their 70s are able to maintain normal sexual functioning. Men who had trouble achieving or maintaining an erection before surgery have a higher risk of being impotent after the surgery.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALRP)
This is a relatively new procedure for removing the prostate. For robot-assisted laparoscopy, five small incisions are made in the abdomen through which the doctor inserts tube-like instruments, including a long, slender tube with a small camera on the end (laparoscope). This creates a magnified view of the surgical area. The instruments are attached to a mechanical device, and the surgeon sits at a console and guides the instruments through a viewing device to perform the surgery. So far, studies show that traditional open prostatectomy and robotic prostatectomy have had similar outcomes related to cancer-free survival rates, urinary continence and sexual function one year after surgery. Longer term outcomes are not yet known.
The PSA blood test can help detect prostate cancer at a very early stage. This allows many men to choose watchful waiting as a treatment option. In watchful waiting (also known as observation, expectant therapy or deferred therapy), regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and possibly biopsies may be performed to monitor progression of your cancer.
During watchful waiting no medical treatment is provided. Medications, radiation and surgery aren't used. Watchful waiting may be an option if your cancer isn't causing symptoms, is expected to grow very slowly, and is small and confined to one area of your prostate.
Watchful waiting may be particularly appropriate if you're elderly, in poor health or both. Many such men will live out their normal life spans without treatment and without the cancer spreading or causing other problems. But watchful waiting can also be a rational option if you're a younger man, as long as you know the facts, are willing to be vigilant, and accept the risk of a tumor spreading during the observation period, rendering your cancer incurable.
This type of treatment uses chemicals that destroy rapidly growing cells. Chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating prostate cancer, but it can't cure it. Because it has more side effects than hormone therapy does, chemotherapy is reserved for men who have hormone-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
This treatment is used to destroy cells by freezing tissue. Original attempts to treat prostate cancer with cryotherapy involved inserting a probe into the prostate through the skin between the rectum and the scrotum (perineum). Using a rectal microwave probe to monitor the procedure, the prostate was frozen in an attempt to destroy cancer cells. This method often resulted in damage to tissue around the bladder and long-term complications such as injury to the rectum or the muscles that control urination.
More recently, smaller probes and more-precise methods of monitoring the temperature in and around the prostate have been developed. These advances may decrease the complications associated with cryotherapy, making it a more effective treatment for prostate cancer. Although progress continues, more time is needed to determine how successful cryotherapy may be as a treatment for prostate cancer.
Gene therapy and immune therapy
In the future, gene therapy or immune therapy may be successful in treating prostate cancer. Current technology limits the use of these experimental treatments to a small number of medical centers.
Posted by Jane at 11:31 AM
It's always tough to be the third wheel, but if you follow these tips, you will survive!
Let the couples have their alone time. If you were in a relationship, you wouldn't want a friend tagging along with you all the time either.
Expand your friendship boundaries! Go above and beyond when making new friends. Mix & mingle with other single people. Being around couples too much will just make you feel bad about yourself.
Don't take sides when couples are fighting unless you know both sides of the story, and even then, try and stay out of the fight. While the couple may eventually settle the problems between each other, they might still remember who you sided with during their conflict.
Don't feel sorry for yourself. Just because everyone around you is dating doesn't mean you should be too. Think about the couples around you. Is their relationship really what you desire, or are you just jealous? Don't get into a relationship just for the fun of it. You'll only end up hurting others and yourself.
* Be friendly! Smile at cute guys/girls and don't be afraid to make the first move!
* Don't try and steal your friends' boyfriends/girlfriends. Likewise, don't try to ruin any relationships either.
* Talk to your friends. Just because they're in relationships doesn't mean they're not your friends anymore. If possible, discuss common topics such as movies, television, sports, etc.
Posted by Jane at 11:03 AM
Complications from prostate cancer are related to both the disease and its treatment. One of the biggest fears of many men who have prostate cancer is that treatment may leave them incontinent or unable to maintain an erection firm enough for sex (erectile dysfunction). Fortunately, therapies exist to help cope with or treat these conditions.
The typical complications of prostate cancer and its treatments include:
- Spread of cancer. Prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs or travel through your bloodstream or lymphatic system, affecting your bones or other organs. Treatments for prostate cancer that has spread can include hormone therapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Pain. Although early-stage prostate cancer typically isn't painful, once it's spread to bones it can be. Not all people with cancer that has spread to bones have pain, but in some cases, pain is intense and doesn't go away. Treatments directed at shrinking the cancer often can produce significant pain relief. Medications ranging from over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription narcotics can alleviate pain. If your pain is severe, you may need to see a pain specialist. While it's not always possible to make all of your pain go away, your doctor will work with you to try to control pain to a point where you're comfortable. If you're in serious pain, tell your doctor. Pain can be controlled, and there's no reason you have to suffer.
- Difficulty urinating (urinary incontinence). Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause incontinence. Treatment depends on the type of incontinence you have, how severe it is and the likelihood it will improve over time. Treatments include behavior modifications (such as going to the bathroom at set times rather than just according to urges), exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles (commonly called Kegel exercises), medications and catheters. If incontinence continues for a prolonged period without getting better, your doctor may suggest more aggressive procedures. These may include implanting an artificial urinary sphincter, placement of a sling of synthetic material to compress the urethra, or the injection of bulking agents into the lining of the urethra at the base of the bladder to reduce leakage.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence. Like incontinence, ED can be a result of prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Medications and vacuum devices that assist in achieving erection are available to treat ED. Medications include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra). If other treatments fail, penile implants can be inserted surgically to help create an erection.
- Depression. Many men may feel depressed after a diagnosis of prostate cancer or after trying to cope with the side effects of treatment. These feelings may last for only a short time, they may come and go, or they may linger for weeks or even months. Talk to your doctor if you have depression that interferes with your ability to get things done or enjoy your life. Treatment such as counseling or antidepressant medication can make a big difference.
Posted by Jane at 10:30 AM