What she really needs from you ....... A Journey through cancer with your partner .
So your significant other has been diagnosed with cancer. Your shocked, scared, she's scared and your whole world has been completely rocked . As a partner of having mates in the past with major health scares and crisis... I can relate. Cancer how ever is a completely different journey and no one knows how they will be act or feel until they go through it.
Her initial shock and feeling... " Am I going to die?" will be her first thought. She will be wondering if this is life sentence or a temporary illness that is going to require her every fiber and being in her soul to get through.
The truth is depending on the diagnosis , she truly won't know and neither will you until all treatments and all has been done to remove , stop the growth and prevent the cancer from coming back.
After her initial shock of the diagnosis , then she will go through rapid fast testing , CT scan, bones scans , heart checks, blood work. Fear, worry and space will consume her head. She cant think straight and all her head space is consumed with thoughts of will I win this fight and live. And if she has children this will be her main focus is being here for them and getting through it. That will be her focal point. A mothers love is eternal. It has that inner fighting spirit will shine through . Even on the days when her will to fight or live may be weak. All she cares about know is if she is okay. Her whole world has been rocked beyond measure.
I know the first 3 weeks of my diagnosis I really pondered whether after surgery I was going to fight with chemo and radiation. Or just let nature take its course. My will to fight cancer was obsolete for a few weeks post diagnosis. Having lost my mother and grandmother to Pancreatic cancer. ( one chose chemo ) one didn't and they both passed. Granted however. My grandmother went through chemo over 40 years ago. Much has changed. My mother saw and went on that Journey with her mother and given my moms physical state prior to her Diagnosis in July of 2015. She had suffered a prior stroke so was not strong.
My dear beloved mother choose not to get any treatment post diagnosis of Stage 4 stomach cancer which started in the Pancreas. What I witnessed as a daughter from that day of diagnosis to her passing just a short 3 weeks later. Was nothing short of the most beautiful legacy of unconditional love and support and respects paid by those whose life she so greatly added love , value and care to . My mother was like a Saint. She took in other peoples children all the time. Her love was always supportive and unconditional. No matter who you were.
As hard as it was to watch my mom suffer with her breathing, have them take her off all life sustaining drugs and let her just fade away with morphine and not be able to use the right to die. At that time. Myself as her medical power of attorney felt helpless. It is not what she wanted, but the beauty that was shown. The respects that were paid. The coffee an cookies the nurses brought as they had never seen so many visitors of one women before. 26 in one day! at one point. It all was worth the pain of watching.
There is beauty in death. That we get to see the legacy of ones purpose that they leave behind. After they are gone .
This was a beautiful thing.
My mother never had a significant other in her life before passing. he did have men that loved her and were interested in her. But with her age and stroke I think she thought love was not for her. One man that was in the lodge asked her to marry him 6 moths prior to her passing. he passed from kidney cancer as well. And weirdly enough in the exact same terminal bed and room she passed in.
They were definitely soul mates meeting each other in another life.
I thought I would share this part of my journey as when mothers day is approaching and not everyone is with their parents or maybe loved ones its important that we honor and support the divine feminine on this day. Not all of us are talking with our children, family's are funny, and many have lost their mothers or children. It can be hard day for many. I have learned however to count my blessings and be thankful for those who show up in my life with love, support and compassion as I go through my journey. Those people are truly your earth angels that God has placed in your life at a time when you need them the most. How long they stay well that's god's plan. Not one for you to worry about.
Here's a list of some top things your partner needs emotionally, mentally and physically while she goes through her cancer treatment and journey:
She needs your unconditional love and support . Especially on the hard days when her body is not hers.
She needs to know that you love her and are there for her. Also that you still find her attractive. For many men this is hard and they bail! Especially if she has been told to get double mastectomy.
Understand, that her whole body and world has changed. She feels like she has lost control or will lose control over her physical beauty and self, and she will. She will lose or gain weight. She will look sickly some days. Bright and shiny others.
If she had to have major surgery and has scars and her breasts/ body has changed she will be struggling with her own self body image.
I had major surgery, not a mastectomy but still struggled with how my breast looked after.
She needs you to help around the house or hire help if their are children. Cook meals, clean do laundry especially post op. If you cant do it or don't want to then hire someone or bring in family
Her main goal post treatment or surgery is healing, resting , eating and getting better.
What she needs most is your physical touch and affirmations of you are there for her. Even a back rub, a hand holding and shoulder caress .
You need to realize
As as scared as you are of touching her. She needs your love and touch. To feel like she is still loveable and desirable in your eyes!
Post op she will need you to help be her sounding board and support as she goes through other treatments.
As she goes through chemo she will need you to still help out. There will be days when she feels great and full of sunshine and then there will be days she wants to cry, sleep and heal. She must take this time to honor her body. Remember she truly is fighting for her life. Her friends will show up as women are Trible that way, we are natural nurturers . We care, we heal we support. These are your support system as well.
You as a man need a good solid friend to reflect things off of not one whos telling you to run and head for the heels and find yourself a lover or escort as your manhood needs wont be met anymore. Understand that her sexual needs and affection are also going through change. She may crave sex or she may not. You may be afraid to touch her by fear of hurting her. But trust me if she wants it , give her the love that she needs,. Its a union and a dance and it hard and stressful. But coming together physically is exactly what you both need to reconnect after such a traumatic experience .
Many men struggle with this very thing. They don't see their partner/ wife the same anymore. If your union was already shaky well then this diagnosis will either strengthen it or break it. The statistics of men leaving their partners post breast cancer diagnosis is staggering and painful !
Here are the stats:
89% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive 5 years after diagnosis.
7-46% and 32-45% show clinically significant levels of depression and anxiety.
Partners as well experience this 16-56% struggle with depression / anxiety for fear of losing their partner.
Breast Care ( Basel ) April 2015 : www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/articles
So obviously depending where your relationship is pre diagnosis. Your communication levels and intimate connection are all going to play apart in how your relationship weathers this storm.
My story and experience, I was in a relationship a short time. 4 months . We loved each other or so I thought we did. The connection and chemistry was amazing ! Pre diagnosis we were talking about eventually moving in together as we were together all the time anyway. Sleeping at each others houses. It only made sense to plan to live together. Especially because I was now on sick leave and could not teach through my treatment.
My fiancé proposed to me January 30th . 9 days after my initial diagnosis. I found my lump January 6th 2021 . We got engaged January 30th. Moved in February 16th and everything happened very fast and quick after that. March 2 nd was my surgery, I was at home resting, nesting into our new place slowly and I started to see a complete shift in my partner. within 2 weeks of surgery. His behavior changed, he became disengaged and I soon found within 6 weeks that he had been chatting and pursuing many escorts through out our courtship not only after surgery. After surgery and around his birthday it increased. I saw it all on his phone.
Now let me note. This was not because I did not want to be intimate with my mate, I was practically begging him to make love to me once i felt better and he was scared and disengaged. Why? Because he was already getting it somewhere else. Someone or many had already caught his attention.
He slept on the couch post op for 2 weeks as not to hurt me as he moved slot through his sleep, and clearly had this sexual addiction long before he met me and professed his love to me. Saying that he was never going to leave my side. The reality and truth of that statement soon showed its true colors when he gladly left after telling my son to come help me get him out of the house. He told my son he lost interest in me shortly after surgery were his words.
The last thing I needed going through this cancer journey through a pandemic was a partner who couldn't control his urges and was choosing a very high risk behavior when my immune system was down. I needed to heal and focus on me.
What a women needs is love, compassion and support at this time. She needs affirmations that you are there, Some do not have the emotional capacity to hold that space for someone as they go through illness and that's okay. Its not for everyone. Or everyman. But trust that one day you will go through your own struggles with health and you will be so grateful for the people that god brings into your life at that time.
What we rap we sow. I truly believe this.