The source of all life and knowledge is in man and woman, and the source of all living is in the interchange and the meeting and mingling of these two: man-life and woman-life, man-knowledge and woman-knowledge, man-being and woman-being. – D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English writer
I hinted at this yesterday but it has been beating on my mind all day. When I retraced my steps over the last several months I looked back and wonder how I made it with my senses still intact.
Let me first say that what the men go through when their wives have breast cancer is nothing compared to what their wives or mothers or daughters will experience, but I believe the life partners (I’m mostly talking about husbands) are a critical part of the management when cancer enters a woman’s life. There is no doubt that men get a bad rap about how we react when our loved one tells us that she has cancer in a part of her body that is such an intimate part of our physical relationship. But aside from where it is located, we just aren’t ready for cancer period. Even if we men were better prepared, all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the cart and our reputation as a group would be back out curbside.
I’m not saying we men are the fairer sex. Heck no. We definitely have a few (make that many) flaws. That’s why we love women so much!
What I am saying is that while my wife came home with packets of information and videos, there was nothing for me. Not a word of guidance. I spent hours taking notes at each doctors visit, I ended up having to do lots of research and looking to other women and their spouses for what to do and more importanly what not to do. Its harder than you think. I don’t even think that my wife’s surgeon shook my hand the first time we met. Mind you she is a wonderful lady and we have a great relationship, but I don’t know if the doctors know what to do when the spouse shows up. Rightly so, they spend all the time talking to our wives. They need tools to give us. I don’t need much. All I needed was a one pager. Something that said, the best thing you could do right now is hold your wife’s hand.
Well I gathered a lot of information. Unfortunately I found some good resources after the fact, but I saved them. I have links to most of them in the Cancer Resource Links in the right column of this blog. So if you’ve just found this, take a look at these links specifcally for men. Some come from friends I’ve met and others from research I’ve done:
Some Real Personal Blogs:
Articles Every Husband or Father Should Read:
I hope you all find these useful in your journeys wherever you may be.
Thanks for linking to my site, and with my best wishes to San Francisco from London.
“Not a breast cancer survivor, but a survivor nevertheless.” Yes, I can relate precisely to that view and to your journey.
Fortunately, huge medical advances are being made all the time, and patients are offered more care and psychological support than they used to be. But I don’t think that really applies to husbands yet.
When doing some research to put The Price of Love together, I was amazed to see that well over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the US, and more than 40,000 in the UK. Those are huge numbers, and logically there will be huge numbers of husbands setting out along this path each year as well. Let’s stick together.
All solidarity to you, and warm greetings from a sunny winter’s day in England. I see you’re a runner like me, and indeed I’m off for my lunchtime run across the frosty fields right now…
You are welcome Roads. I love the name. It actually fits with the theme of my site. Running has really been a healing time for me. I like to let my mind wander down a different path than those that my feet take. It really helps me think clearly through the issues I have in life.
My wish is that those 240,000 husbands and partners of those US and UK women get information about what to do as soon as their wives are diagnosed. I hope you had a great run.
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