Finding out that your partner has breast cancer is not only extremely traumatic for them, but for you too. In months following a diagnosis there will be many ups and downs and the partner of a woman afflicted with breast cancer will have a lot to deal with.
It’s easy for it to all become overwhelming because it is such a demanding role, looking after their needs while also dealing with your own anxieties, fears and trying to stay positive. You might also have to handle abuse from your sick partner as they may go through a lot of pain and you are the one around them most of the time. As a partner of someone afflicted with breast cancer it’s actually important that you look after yourself and your partner equally. You don’t want to burn out and find yourself resentful of your partner.
There are a few ways to relieve the stress you feel, this article will detail a few of the best approaches to dealing with cancer diagnosis of loved ones.
The first thing you need to do is become very organised. Get a calendar and mark important upcoming dates in their treatment process and dates where important tests and results land. If there is a surgery, write down those dates and the estimated recovery time needed post surgery. You will have to take note of what dates you can be available and what scheduling conflicts you have. If you can’t be there to take your partner to chemotherapy, for example, it’s best to know of this well in advance.
Add other important dates to the calendar like birthdays, work conferences, school holidays, anniversaries. Basically you need to get a timeline and schedule for all of the big events onto paper. You do this to expose any conflicts and to give the family a sense of certainty. Knowing what important events are coming up in the next few months is extremely helpful and nothing is more panic inducing than trying to organize events on the fly and dealing with scheduling issues on the day.
Take that down to the next level and do weekly schedules on top of that. You need to be specific about times of appointments, when you need to pick up children, when you need to meet people etc. You need every appointment for the next 7 days to be planned out and noted. Again, you are looking for scheduling clashes and sorting them out well before they become a problem.
You should also look for help. Relatives, friends, colleagues and your boss might all be able to help you once they know your circumstances. Perhaps a relative can take your kids to soccer practice or the boss can give you more flexible work hours so you can make a chemotherapy appointment. You have to ask for help before people can offer it!
Another important tip is to make some time and space for yourself! You will suffer a lot of stress because your loved one is suffering through this terrible illness. So to give yourself a breather and relax, you should devote some time to yourself every couple of days. Either by yourself or with a group of friends. Make sure you include the time in the schedules that you have already made up because this is an essential activity. You need to rebuild your energy and the best way is to take a quick time out.