Preparing for a consultation
Preparing for a consultation can be very useful. It will help you and your doctor better address your questions and concerns. It can also help you prepare for treatment and the possible side effects.
Here are some ways to prepare:
- Write down the questions you would like to ask the doctor. This will help you remember things that you want to ask. Writing down questions can also help organize your thoughts.
- If you can, take someone with you to the visit. It is good to have someone to discuss what the doctor said, and you’ll probably remember different things.
- Ask for information about your specific type of bladder cancer.
- If the doctor uses words you do not understand, ask for an explanation.
- Tell your doctor what medicines you take, including any nonprescription medicine and supplements. Some of these medicines can affect your treatment.
After the consultation:
- Search the Internet or go to the library for more information about your type of cancer. Be aware that not all information online is of good quality. Your doctor or health care team can point you to reliable websites.
- Patient organizations can offer support and information.
- Discuss the possible financial consequences of your treatment with your health care team. They might be able to direct you to people or places where you can get advice about your economic situation or even financial help.
- If you would like a second opinion from another specialist, you can ask your health care team for a referral.
Support after surgery
In the first days or weeks after surgery, you may need help with everyday activities. If you can, ask family, friends, or neighbours to help you with things like buying and carrying home food, cooking, cleaning, and gardening. You can also ask your health care team for information about professional home care.
After surgery, it is common to experience fatigue. You might feel more tired than usual, be out of energy, and have trouble concentrating, and it does not get better after you sleep. Most people experience fatigue for 1–2 months after surgery.
The following strategies can help you deal with fatigue:
- Write down things that give you energy and give them priority during the day or week.
- Get help with household tasks like cooking, cleaning, or gardening.
- Take short naps several times during the day.
- Try to be as active as you can. A short walk every day is better than a long walk once a week.
- When planning social activities like a trip or a visit, keep in mind that you may need time to rest during the day. Discuss this with your family, friends, or caregiver so that you can plan ahead. It is important to tell them when you are feeling tired.
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during and after treatment. Find an activity that you enjoy doing. If you have questions about what types of physical activity you can do, ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist.
Try to eat a balanced diet with a mix of vegetables, some fruit, and dairy. Also include starchy food like bread and potatoes, rice or pasta, and protein-rich food like meat, fish, eggs, or legumes. Try to eat less sugar, salt, and fatty food. If you have any questions, ask your doctor to refer you to a dietician.
If you smoke, try to stop. It may help you recover faster after treatment.
After surgery, you may worry about your prognosis, postoperative voiding, sexual activity, relationships with family and friends, and the impact of cancer on your social or financial situation.
It is common to worry about the cancer coming back. Most people who have been diagnosed with cancer, or their loved ones, will probably have these worries and thoughts. If you feel worried, contact your doctor and find out the risk of cancer recurrence. You can also ask the doctor about psychological support if you would like to talk with someone. A patient organization can also offer support.
Cancer treatment can affect your sexuality. Feelings of depression and fatigue can also have a negative effect on your sex life. If you feel the need to have someone to talk to, you can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist. If you have a partner, it is important to talk with them about your feelings. There are many ways in which you can be intimate. If it is difficult for you to be sexually active, be near each other, touch each other, give and take hugs, and just sit or lay down close to each other.
The side effects of treatment can make it difficult to fully participate in social and economic life. Changes in your daily life as a result of the disease or the treatment can lead to isolation. Talk to your doctor or nurse. They can help you find the support and treatment you need.
During treatment, you will be away from your work. Talk to your boss about the best way for you to get back to work. Perhaps you could work part time or in a different function.
Discuss the possible financial consequences of your treatment with your health care team. They might be able to direct you to people or places where you can get advice about your economic situation or even financial help.
A cancer diagnosis can make you look at life in a different way and you may realise you now have different priorities. This can affect your work or relationships and can make you feel disoriented and uncertain. Talk to family and friends and take all the time you need for this process. If you do not feel comfortable addressing these issues with those close to you, you can ask your health care team for a referral to a psychologist. The psychologist can give you the tools to deal with these feelings and help you to realise the changes you want or need.
Support for family and friends
A cancer diagnosis affects not only the patient but also the people around them. As a loved one, you can offer support in many different ways. Sometimes you can help with practical things like laundry, gardening, or grocery shopping.
It might be helpful to go to the doctor together. You could offer to drive to the visit or help formulate questions to ask during consultation. Being there for the consultation can also be supportive. You may remember different things or focus on other details that you can later discuss together. You could also ask the doctor how the treatment may affect your lives in terms of caregiving and psychological effects.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be very emotional for everybody involved. Cancer treatment is intense, and your life may change suddenly. Questions about prognosis, effects of treatment, and death will come up. As a friend or a loved one, you can be there and listen. You don’t need to have the answers.
If you feel you need somebody to talk to, approach your family doctor or the medical team to get support and referrals. Patient organizations also offer support for family members or friends of people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Support for partners
A cancer diagnosis can put pressure on your relationship. Often talking to each other becomes more difficult because of the time and energy spent on treatment. You may decide to discuss any difficulties with a therapist.
You may experience a similar degree of stress, anger, and depression as your partner with cancer. You could feel exhausted, both physically and emotionally. This can be a result of the responsibilities of caring for your partner and taking on extra tasks at home. Be sure to make time for yourself and think about your own wishes and needs.
Cancer treatment can affect your sex life. Try to talk to your partner about your feelings. There are many ways in which you can be intimate. Be near each other, touch each other, give and take hugs, and just sit or lay down close to each other.
It is normal to worry about being left alone. If you feel you need somebody to talk to, approach your family doctor or your spiritual advisor. Patient organizations also offer support for partners. They can also help you find people or organizations who that can help you with practical details like legal and financial issues.