Whether you are struggling with advanced prostate cancer, or a member of your family is, we all know how this journey can be very difficult.

As we look forward to this New Year, 2011, we can be sure that there will be many difficult and down periods, but we should also remember there will also be many up periods where we will enjoy life, health and family.

As an individual with multiple cancers, including advanced recurrent prostate cancer, I want to share some simple thoughts with you about what 2011 can hold in store for all of us.

We all will look for ways to again become healthy, ideally forever. However, we do need to understand that this is probably not a goal that is obtainable, but there are many ways for most of us to extend our life, be healthy and be happy.

We all need to learn and understand what we can control and what we cannot control. Seeking good health is an excellent and achievable goal, but we also need to remember to always be gentle with our self if we falter along the way. Despite the hick-ups we hit, any boulders blocking our way, or detours we are forced to endure, we need to remember to continue to move in a positive direction.

It is always best to map a course that is reasonable, feasible and possible to accomplish. Then, each day, we can make a daily commitment to follow the plan while also making any needed adjustments.

As you wake each morning keep our eyes closed and fill your lungs with a deep breath, be very aware of the air entering into your lungs, filling them up. Appreciate how it feels and remember these feelings mean that you are still alive to greet the day.

Take a second, have a good look at your outlook and attitudes. Ask yourself, do you more quickly find the good surrounding you or do you more readily find the bad? Do you more easily look at the positive things in your live or do you find yourself feeling the negative? Do you view each day as an opportunity for joy instead of being just a debilitating challenge?

To heal, you need to be hopeful and joyful. You need to see the good, the positive and the joy in the world. Healing needs a positive environment; otherwise it isn’t going to happen. To hope to heal we must view our lives and the world with happiness, gratitude and grace. Ask yourself, what am I doing to nurture these qualities? Possessing these qualities can make a transforming difference in every part of your life, in every today and tomorrow.

Having cancer is frightening; you have every right to be frightened. You also have the right to have joy. When the future seems uncertain, your strength is sapped from you, the pain becomes overwhelming and your confidence falters, it is very easy to lose sight of the many gifts you still possess, including the potential that a new day always brings. When we lose that perspective we also lose the day.

Once you lose a day it will never come back, there are no Mulligans, no do-over’s in life. Once a Day is lost, it is easy to find yourself in a downward spiral of losing more and more days that is even more difficult to stop. The loss of one day turns into the loss of many days and then a lifetime.

Remember; do not lose today as the number of todays is limited.

Joel T Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.