|
|
The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • When your wife has breast cancer

    • email print
  • A man caring for his wife (or mother, or sister, or girlfriend) through breast cancer finds himself facing the unknown, too. How can a guy best help her while also getting the support he needs? We asked men who’ve been through the experience for their advice.
    - Keep living your life: “I found it really easy to not want to go to a business meeting or to something because my wife had breast cancer. But I didn’t think that was fair. It was like letting breast cancer win. Don’t succumb to the cancer. Live your life as normally as possible,” says Bruce Sokol, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 at age 35. She died from the disease after battling it for five years. Don’t run yourself ragged though, Sokol says. Between her doctors’ appointments and your busy life, it’s important to schedule downtime. Battling breast cancer can be a yearslong experience and you don’t want to burn out.
    - Create time for you: Most men who support women through breast cancer cope best through exercise or talking to friends than by participating in formal support groups, according to a study published in Oncology Nursing Forum. Paul Atkinson, whose then-girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42, found relief by working at a job he loved, through talking to supportive colleagues and by taking his dog for regular walks in the park. “Sometimes you need someone to talk to, maybe another guy who’s dealt with it. Or maybe you need an escape so you don’t have the stress and mental anguish building inside,” he says.
    - Listen to her: “No matter how much information you find, you really have to be there for her. You may not understand what she’s going through, but be there to listen intently. Be part of the conversation,” Atkinson advises.
    - Accept offers of support: If someone offers help, accept it, even if you think you can do it all by yourself, says Basil Tatsis, whose wife Jackie died in 2008 after battling breast cancer for six years. “People need to help themselves more than the patient sometimes. Most people cope and do the best they can, and with some help from the outside, you manage.”

        calendar