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.
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.
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.
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.