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Readers Respond: Best Ways to Support Your Spouse

Responses: 14

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Updated November 25, 2008

Have you supported a spouse, family member or friend through breast cancer? Send in your tips for ways to be supportive. What is most effective? creative? appreciated? I Give Support By ...

THIS IS VERY VERY HARD

I HAVE BEEN THERE FOR MY WIFE OF 39 YEARS. WILL MY WIFE EVER BE THE SAME? HIGHS, LOWS, LIES, VERY VERY NOT MY WIFE, ANY HELP NEEDED.....
—Guest PATRICIA

Helping my Friend

When I first heard my friend had Triple Negative Breast cancer, I was selfish. What does that mean for me. But as I learned about the disease, talked to my friend, I realized I can still be her friend through this fight. I went to chemo with her-where I told jokes through the whole scary process. Had dinner at her house. I send her a prayer, a text, a funny story, words of encouragement or some gossip everyday at four a.m. I figure she needs people thinking about and supporting her 24hrs a day, and since I'm awake at four, I'll take that shift. I actually believe we have become closer through this all. In adversity, you learn who you are and who your real friends are. She will not fight one minute of this battle alone!
—Guest Terry

Why won't anybody talk about prevention

Over the last 30 years there has been tremendous improvements for the treatment of breast cancer. Many of us , including me, owe our lives to these improvements. Also promotion of early diagnosis and education about breast cancer saved many lives. However even today , breast cancer treatment is still brutal. It consists of poisons, mutilation and burning. In the shade of mammogram what is lost is prevention. Today almost all women believe there is no way to prevent breast cancer except some pseudo-medicine like eat broccoli a lot, exercise, breast feed your kids for a prolonged time( like it is possible in todays modern life) , have children at 16 year (excuse this is called teenage pregnancy , in our modern society it is supposed be avoided). everybody thinks only thing that can be done is early diagnosis. I have nothing against early diagnosis or mammogram. It is great. Actually there is very effective FDA approved medications to prevent breast cancer in high risk women.
—Guest Burcu Ozdemir

Being There

Some great points are here already, the best being to listen and go along with the person having treatments. The last thing you want to do is put more stress on them to participate in what you may think they would like to do!!
—Haralee

Daughter Provided My Support

Congrats to all spouses who stand by and get your wife through this battle! I wasn't so lucky! Now 39, & a 3 year survivor, My husband of 20 years left me and our teenage daughter to battle on our own...I am a survivor in more ways than one!!!
—Guest Melanie

The Rough Road Ahead

I appreciate all of the heart felt information I have just read through. My wife was just diagnosed this week. She works in cancer treatment and the shock of having to be a patient is still very raw to the both of us. We have two young children (2yrs and 9 months). After reading the immense support and dedication in the previous Knights and supports and I wondering how to balance keeping my children's childhood as happy as possible while being there for every moment of my wife struggle. We are still waiting for the final staging and entire prognosis.....waiting has not been a comfortable place to be in mentally. I look forward to reading about other peoples challenges and triumphs. I am going to be the positive one for my beautiful wife and my wonderful children.
—Guest Chad

Support on all Levels

When I first heard of my wife's disease I was devastated. I broke down - she held me up! Now I have to be strong emotionally, physically and spiritually. I can only draw my strength from up above and her from her courage to fight on. I've taken a hands on approach to be more proactive with everything but not stepping over certain boundaries as to take away her independence. This I can only speak from because we're in the beginning phases. More to follow as we continue this Journey together. The info shared here has been uplifting and informative. Thanks to everyone that has left a comment - it helps. Now if I could only get some sleep when this chapter of our lives is done. I always told her: It's till Death do us apart - not this disease - because the shoe could easily be on the other foot!
—Guest Jay

Trying to Be Solid

I am struggling big time to always be the solid one. The strain is immense, but since i am not the one who has to go through it, i stay silent for fear of sounding shallow and self absorbed. I feel like a zombie some days on the inside - although i put on a good face on the outside. How do men or how do spouses do it? how do we handle all that pressure? Some days i feel like bursting, some days running away and some days depressed....all while keeping a positive face and attitude and ensuring nobody knows.
—Guest jake

Starting the fight

I just started the process of absorbing the fact that my wife has cancer. After a year of setbacks/bumps in the road, this is the most challenging. We have a wonderful relationship and will draw from our faith and close bond to beat this. I ask for any and all help while we face this challenge together.
—Zenlike

For Our Knights In Shining Armor

As a breast cancer patient, I have to say this article is very good advice. Just being there for me was a full time job. My husband followed these recommendations and it made the world of difference to me. We had never had a challege like this in our relationship before, and quite frankly I was extremely worried that he would not be able to handle it. But he was there for everything. And on those days that I said I wasn't going to go to chemo or whatever, he listened to what I had to say, continued to get ready and gently suggested that I hurry so that we wouldn't be late. He found a way to make light of some of the more unusual side effects and keep me laughing. He also told me I looked sexy. I don't know if it was true or not, but just hearing things like that made me feel much better about myself. I don't know how I would of gotten through this without him. Don't underestimate the effect you have on your loved one. These suggestions are great advice.
—Guest guest eileen

A Prayer for the Care Giver

To all those who wrote in their comments: I will include you in my prayers. For protection and for strength. I see knights in shining armor, I see an evolution in our men. Bless you, you are actively and gracefully making the world a better place. Your efforts and the love you have for your spouse goes beyond the two of you. Thank you.
—Guest Edee

Wanted to be there

I really wanted to be there for my wife during this horrible time of our lives. I originally viewed it as WE had breast cancer. Our life styles changed. Whatever we read in the fight against Breast Cancer, we both did. I found out quickly though that there is very little acceptance for an involved spouse. I asked to be with her for all the non-invasive procedures or at least be as close as the operator. Talk about an uphill battle. I was not allowed to be there during the fight for any of the diagnostic tests like MRI, ultrasounds or base line Mammograms. I went into a very deep depression. I didn’t want to, but it just happened to me. She did not need to deal with my depression and her breast cancer. Now 2 years later I’m still mad at the medical community for putting my wife through this. I’m so glad that the above writer was able to be with his spouse during her fight; I wish I could have been. In Asheville N.C., the medical system does not see the value of including the spouse.
—donniewaid

Standing by her

I would like to tell you about support for a woman with breast cancer. Support is so important and I have worked with my wife since she was diagnosed in 1989. Being with her and holding her hand is something one needs but they also need support when getting all the tests. We have had breast cancer return 4 times on the same side. My biggest problem is being with her. I keep on all the people involved with the test and they are getting better but I do wish they would know that support is important. I have gone in with her for CT scans and held her hand and last week I was with her for a mammogram - she was tired of it all.Support is a necessary medical help. After 2 sessions of radiation I stood with the operator and made my wife feel more comfortable. Thanks as so much can be done to help a cancer patient.
—Guest Harold

My wife and MBC

I try to manage as much as I can i.e., household chores, finances, errands, appts scheduling, medications, rest, sleep, to allow her as much free time to do what she enjoys i.e., walks with friends, reading, cooking, quilting, etc. In the time left, I try to keep myself in good physical/mental condition. There are many challenges and it isn't easy i.e. mood swings, frustrations, etc. I have become her CAREGIVER and try to be the best that I can. After 40 years of marriage she says (smilingly) that she'll keep me on for a few more!!!! I guess I'm not doing all that bad as her CAREGIVER!! P.S. I spare no effort to make her laugh! AND I always conceal my tears...........
—Guest bert

I Give Support By ...

Best Ways to Support Your Spouse

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