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The Male Perspective: Caregiver
Your wife has just been diagnosed
with breast cancer.
Welcome to one of the hardest experiences you and your
wife will ever go through. Nothing can truly prepare you
for this. But, if you and your wife face this with the
right attitude, it can become (as incredible as this may
sound) one of the most rewarding experiences you will
When your spouse is diagnosed with breast cancer, your
life is going to change. Some husbands choose to gloss
over their wife’s problem. Other husbands jump right in
and take a very active part in the decision-making and
healing processes. Finally, there are the husbands who
are a combination of both. They may leave the decision
about the treatment up to the wives, but they are there
for emotional support.
When I first heard the news that my wife had cancer, it
was if I could not inhale-only exhale. The news was
devastating beyond comprehension. The first question
that crossed my mind was would I still have my best
friend in a year or would she become another depressing
statistic? After a few hours, I was able to snap back to
reality and begin to help my wife face her fears.
Because of the type of cancer and the size of the mass,
she was scheduled for a modified radical mastectomy in
two days. We did not have time to get a second opinion,
but we were able to ask some other oncologists questions
about what was going on and felt somewhat comfortable
with our decision.
However, if you and your wife do not feel comfortable
for any reason with a doctor’s diagnosis or prescribed
treatment, definitely seek another opinion and ask as
many questions as you deem necessary. There is no such
thing as a stupid question when it comes to the health
of our loved one.
After the surgery is over and the healing begins, you
may get more overwhelmed than you ever could have
imagined. You will need to be there to help your wife do
things that she can no longer do alone. Things that were
so simple for her, before.
If you have the joy of having children, as we do, the
work that you do never seems to end. Combine this with
still having to go to your regular job, and you will
soon find that there is no time in the day for you. When
this cycle continues for an extended period of time, you
can reach the edge of an emotional cliff. You may suffer
emotional exhaustion, or as the professionals call it,
What seems to make things worse is that people are
constantly asking in-depth questions about how your wife
is doing, but few, if any, about how you are doing, when
people did ask me how I was doing, I almost felt selfish
or as if I was complaining when I told the truth.
You should not feel selfish. When people ask how you are
doing, be honest. Being honest helps to cleanse the
emotions that are built up inside.