January 23, 2017

His Prostate Diagnosis. Her Stress.

If your husband has prostate cancer — or any pre-cancerous prostate condition — then your loved one’s cancer is your cancer, too. The  “in sickness” part of your wedding vows has just been epitomized.

Songs of undying love and sonnets of passion don’t compete with the tangible expression of incontinence diapers, catheter pouches and being rear ended with needles.

As a wife or partner to a man with dangerous a prostate condition, it is often your responsibility to process the information, emotions and complicated symptoms. Sometimes the paperwork degenerates quickly into an unintelligible tangle, but you give strength to your husband by giving in such a tangible way. By becoming a medical advocate and the one in care of finding and supervising treatment, you are a blessing to your husband.

I hope to offer a little help to those women who often go unnoticed when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer or a serious prostate health condition.  Wives and others care for those they love that are suffering, listen to them, cook special foods, bear fears and be a constant cheerleader – sometimes without much acknowledgement.

Dealing with Fear and Anxiety

While men are facing their own fears and anxieties about their future and their health, the fears and own concerns of their wives and partners can be just as great.

Cancer greatly impacts both partners in a couple regardless of who actually carries the diagnosis. This is particularly true of prostate cancer, the “relationship cancer.”

Since girlhood, many women are taught to appear as if everything is always under control—even when nothing could be further from the truth.

If you look at the top stressful events of life, having a cancer diagnosis or major healthy threat ranks near the top.  Thoughts like these often surface:

  • What happens if the treatment isn’t successful?
  • Will we ever be close again?
  • What if the cancer has spread?
  • What if the cancer returns?
  • What happens if I lose him?

There is an expression called “self-talk” that can be a valuable tool when you find yourself listening to the anxious talk inside of you.  The story of “thousand mirrors” serves to reflect how our attitude can change what we see is around us:

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The House of a Thousand Mirrors

Long ago in a tiny village, there was a place called the House of a Thousand Mirrors. A little dog decided to visit the house. He was an unhappy dog, and his natural expression was a cross between a scowl and a sneer.

As he entered the large house, he saw a thousand mean- and scary-looking dogs staring back at him. He immediately backed away and let out a low growl to protect himself, and just as he did, all one thousand of the mean dogs growled back at him. He ran out of the house immediately and thought, “What a terrible place that is. I’ll never go back there again.”

Not long afterward, another dog decided to visit the house. As he approached, he saw how beautiful and inviting it looked and couldn’t wait to go inside. He smiled and wagged his tail in anticipation of his adventure. As he pushed open the door, he was greeted by a thousand dogs with wagging tails and big smiles approaching him. Of course he was thrilled; he had a thousand new friends he was sure would become his buddies.

The more positive you can be right now, the more smiling puppies you’ll have to cheer you on.  The lesson learned here is what we choose to give is truly what we receive in return.

Attachment is the Road to Healing

What you tell yourself and how you communicate with men is another challenge in having a loved with dangerous prostate health.  Let’s start off by saying your husband

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