In Sickness and In Health: Helping Your Spouse through Breast Cancer
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a terrifying situation, and the support of family and friends is crucial for many people dealing with the disease. For many husbands, it can be difficult to know how to act in order to be as supportive as possible for your wife while still dealing with your own emotions.
The most important step to take first is simply being there for her. While it might be tempting to avoid the situation altogether, being there through surgeries, chemotherapy, and days of intense sickness is the best way to show your support. You don’t always have to have the right words to say, but providing a shoulder to lean on speaks volumes.
Another important step is letting go of the need for control. Husbands are often looked at as the strong leader and provider for the household, but in this instance, a balance is important. While you do want to be there to provide assistance when needed, constantly asking your wife how she is feeling or what she needs can become overwhelming. Make it clear that you are always there to help her if she needs it and allow her to make the calls.
When attending doctor’s appointments with your wife, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Advocate for her and act in her interests, making sure that she is receiving the best care possible from the moment she enters the hospital. Organize her doctor’s appointments, medical bills, insurance claims, and prescriptions to alleviate some of the stress.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your own support system, too. Reach out to friends and family for help running errands, picking up medication, cooking meals, and anything else you need. While it is important to stay strong for your wife during this trying time, it is also important to be honest about your own emotions. You can choose to do this in the best way for your needs, including options like prayer, counseling, or simply talking with loved ones.
If your wife or other loved ones have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are looking to meet with other breast cancer patients, the Women Helping Other Women Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 7pm at the Baptist Women’s Health Center on the second Tuesday of each month.