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5 tips for iLoveStrong Couples need to help battle the Cancer together.

This past season, I really enjoyed the TV show Parenthood, because it tackled the today’s topic,  5 tips for iLoveStrong Couples need to help battle Cancer together.

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http://www.hulu.com/watch/405090

In a recent article in the New York Times, Dr. Shapiro, the author of a new book, “And in Health: A Guide for Couples Facing Cancer Together.” gave advice that can help prevent the diagnosis from damaging one’s most important relationship.

He wrote, “Cancer, is like a tremor that rattles our walls and finds the fault lines that already existed. If we’re not careful, it reaches into our relationships and drags out these subtle differences and magnifies them.”

For most marriages, certain things go unsaid, like certain needs that aren’t being met by the other partner, or accommodating your partner out of fear or conflict. Couples don’t deal with these issues immediately because they feel that there will always be a day to talk about them.

When the Big “C” (cancer) comes or any serious illness for that matter can only exacerbate this issue. Dr. Shapiro, who had cancer himself, stated, “Withholding my feelings was a big mistake. “By not being honest with my wife,” he said, “you can create a wedge in the relationship at a time when you both need understanding and support.”

Cancer can cause people to lose their bearings and to push away those they love and most need to help them through the challenges of treatment. if this is you, here are 5 tips that can strengthen your marriage as you fight cancer together.

  1. Teamwork Is Essential – When a spouse is faced with the challenge of a potentially fatal diagnosis like cancer, he/she will often have difficulty remembering everything doctors tell them and correctly interpreting the information. Couples should see doctors as a team, with one assigned to take notes and both able to ask questions, misunderstandings about diagnoses and treatment options are less likely.If doctors fail to adequately address the patient’s concerns, the couple should decide which partner will speak up. And when both members of a couple are educated about side effects, they are less likely to panic when a symptom develops.
  2. Talk and Touch – A mastectomy affects a woman’s sexuality. A woman may feel less attractive or  desirable after the operation. She may be unwilling or extremely anxious and  self-conscious about her partner seeing her naked. This affects her libido. The  sex drive in mastectomy patients decreases immediately after the operation as  does the amount of sex she has. As the husband, it’s important that whenever and however you can, express and show your love and concern in words, actions and touch. When faced with cancer, Dr. Shapiro’s wife needed him to say, repeatedly, that he loved her. “And she wanted me to take the trash down to the street on time without being reminded,” he added.  “A soft nonsexual touch on the arm or shoulder can be a soothing balm when we feel vulnerable,” Dr. Shapiro wrote.
  3. Mistakes are learning opportunities Couples must rely more than ever on patience and tolerance. “Cancer requires a whole new set of skills at a time when most of us are depleted, distracted and scared,” he wrote. Each person should go easy on the partner when “rookie mistakes” occur, like forgetting appointments, losing things or locking the keys in the car.When people are anxious, they may deflect their feelings to their partner. For example, when couples are waiting for the results of treatment, rather than take out their anxiety on spouses, themselves or anyone else, Dr. Shapiro suggests, “Do exercise, go for walks, see a movie, talk to friends and distract yourself.”
  4. Mind reading is not an option Patients often expect their partners to know how they are feeling and what they may want, then resent it when unexpressed needs are not met.A patient’s ability and energy to perform tasks may change from one day to the next. Patients may feel unsupported if their partners expect them to function normally when they feel awful, or they may resent having jobs taken from them when they feel well. It’s better to ask than to assume. Both should “talk about what needs to be done today and who’s going to do it,” Dr. Shapiro advised. He encourages spouses to repeatedly check in with each other about various tasks.
  5. Prepare for the Unknown No one can ever predict if cancer will go into remission, or will take a turn for the worse.In Dr. Shapiro’s book, he urges couples to have a conversation about end-of-life care, making clear their wishes in case a spouse later faces decisions about life support.“Advanced directives are a lasting gift” for those you love, Dr. Shapiro said. One woman he interviewed lost her chance to spend the last months with her husband in the way she wanted because the doctors pursued treatment even as he was dying.

In the end these 5 tips will strengthen your marriage during your battle with cancer? If you are a person that has battled a serious illness what are some things you suggest that can help you are your spouse become closer?

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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Answer is Definitively Yes! W.W.W.

If you didn’t notice yesterday, the National Football League designates all the games in the month of October by promoting the players to wear Pink. The fact is Breast Cancer can be traumatic for your spouse, especially since if there is no history of cancer in your family.

So besides wearing a Pink Ribbon, or participating in as many Breast Cancer Events, what does your spouse really need from you. (Excerpt from Pam Stephan (About.com)

1. Be There

The person with breast cancer needs you now more than ever. But the patient won’t be fun to be with all the time. So, don’t give into the temptation to hide from the situation by getting busier with work, hobbies, or other things that keep you away from the patient. It’s no fun holding a woman’s head while she loses her cookies, or holding her hand just before she goes into surgery. But she’ll remember what you did for her later.

2. Advocate

Though she may be a fighter by nature, a woman with breast cancer is often in no shape to battle hospital bureaucracies, insensitive doctors, thoughtless nurses, or anyone else, especially you. It’s your job to take her side and ask the hard questions, pound the receptionist’s desk when you’re being ignored, and act in her best interests. Even the best medical care personnel get too busy or preoccupied. And when that happens, you need to act to make sure your patient gets the care she needs.

3. Organize

Maybe you’re not a born organizer. But you can keep track of doctor’s appointments, medications, prescriptions, hospital bills, test reports, and the hundreds of other pieces of paper that a typical treatment sequence for breast cancer generates. Not all of these papers are important, but you don’t want to lose the ones that are. And your patient will be relieved not to have to keep track of them herself.

4. Encourage

There will be times when you both feel like crying. Go ahead. But make sure you’re the one handing out the hankies, not your patient. She needs an emotional anchor, and you’re it, whether you like it or not. Sometimes not saying anything is better than saying the wrong thing. But if you’re there, advocating, and organizing, your actions tell her that you care, even if you don’t have the words to say it.

5. Act Normal

Whatever is normal for you, that is. Cancer doesn’t mean the world has to grind to a halt. If you and the patient have normal routines and things you enjoy doing, try to keep them up to the extent possible. But always be sensitive to physical fatigue, emotional stress, or other reasons for not doing things you used to do, and give into the needs of your patient.

6. Be Honest

Most people today would rather hear the truth about their medical condition than a sweetened-up lie. This doesn’t mean being needlessly cruel, however. When you both face the same facts together, whatever they are, you can act together and stay together through the treatment.

7. Don’t Leave

If you’re like most men, you look to your wife or girlfriend to supply needs or wants you have for affection, companionship, and sex. Some guys have the attitude that, “If a woman can’t give me what I want anymore in these departments, I’d better drop her and find another one.” This is the absolutely worst thing you can do to her at this vulnerable point in her life. A woman can get over cancer, but she’ll never get over the deep and lasting emotional injury you’ve given her if you abandon her now. And neither will you. Don’t do it. Stay with her, even if you’re not that happy with the situation. You’ll both be better off together than you’d be in Splitsville.

8. Ask Your Friends For Help

The two of you don’t have to do it all by yourselves. Friends, neighbors, relatives are there to be asked for help. Not all of them will, but you will be surprised at what some people will do if you just ask them. Seek their help in driving to appointments, staying with the patient while you’re at work, or doing errands you normally do but don’t have time for anymore.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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