You’re dealing with one of the hardest challenges that you’ve ever faced.
The love of your life has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s an overwhelming and frightening time for both of you.
You may find it especially difficult as a partner to be standing on the outside, unable to conquer the disease that is attacking your lives.
And while you may feel hopeless and have no sense of direction, simply being there by her side will help her move forward.
You can also take the following tips to offer breast cancer support:
1. Put her needs first.
While it’s true that breast cancer is going to have a major impact on both of you, your needs are going to have to take a backseat for now. No matter how anxious or frightened you are by this diagnosis, it’s important to be brave for your partner.
She’ll be leaning on you it the toughest of times and needs to know you’ll be there for her when the going gets tough.
2. Be flexible with your schedule.
There’s going to be many, many medical appointments on the calendar. Treatments could include radiation and chemotherapy as well as the possibility of surgery. Your partner is going to need downtime, which means your schedule will change as well.
Talk with your employer about taking time off. The Family and Medical Leave Act offers federal protection, allowing up to twelve weeks off from work. Your employer isn’t required to pay you during this time, but you can’t lose your job.
It will bring you peace of mind to know that you have a considerable amount of time at your disposal. Use it for visits to the doctor, treatments, and recovery.
3. Take on more responsibilities at home.
If your partner is like so many others out there, she’s Superwoman. If you live together, assure her that you will be there to help take care of the chores and the daily tasks required – keeping home life as peaceful as possible.
You may have never been a fan of dishes or laundry before this diagnosis, now is the time to move into these roles to prevent her from feeling like her disease is burdening your living situation.
The goal is to take a load off her shoulders because despite what she’s battling, she will always worry about a clean kitchen and folded laundry.
4. Build Your Partner’s Confidence.
Your loved one is going to go through serious changes while she is fighting the disease inside her body. She’s likely to lose her hair. She may need to have one or both breasts removed. You need to be reassuring in telling her more than ever just how beautiful she is. Spoil her with new pajamas or clothes that make her feel good. Look into wigs, scarves, and head coverings that are attractive.
Treat her to a visit to the spa for a facial or create an at-home spa in your bathroom for a fun and relaxing night in. Compliment her on her strength and build her up every day. Leave her notes around your home telling her how much you love her. Make a list of her favorite movies and find the time to enjoy them together.
5. Don’t Be Overly Concerned About Sexual Intimacy.
When you put your partner’s needs at the top of the list, it will require adjustment when it comes to sexual intimacy. She may not be emotionally ready to connect while she is struggling with breast cancer.
You need to be understanding and patient at this time — her health has to be your top priority. If you plan on having children, also be fully informed of the impact cancer treatments can have on fertility.
6. Be Your Partner’s Advocate.
Your wife or girlfriend may feel like her world has been turned upside down as she faces various doctors and schedules appointments. You need to speak for her when she’s overwhelmed.
Make sure you have a list of questions. Speak up on her behalf. If you don’t like the answers, keep asking. Always ask for a second opinion. If your partner is experiencing any type of problem, talk to her specialists to find solutions.
7. Take Time to Do the Things You Enjoy Together.
Don’t let cancer totally put your life on hold. There’s going to be bad days when your partner won’t feel well enough to get out of bed. However, there will be good days as well.
Make the most of those days, choosing activities that you enjoy as a couple. When you’re at home, be sure to keep up your normal routines, whether it’s a movie night on Fridays, ice cream sundaes on Sundays, breakfast in bed on occasion, or reading the morning paper together. Remind your partner that life goes on as you face this challenge together.
8. Don’t Be an Island.
People often tend to close themselves off from others when they’re dealing with an illness. Don’t make that mistake. Open your hearts as you enlist the aid of friends and family. Remember that they feel the same way you do.
They just want to help in any way possible. Others may be able to help with errands or occasional appointments. Your partner may just want to enjoy their company during visits. Don’t turn away offers to help out. When you need a break, call on someone you can count on to come through so that you have the chance to recharge.
And, when you need a break, call on someone you can count on to come through so that you have the chance to recharge.When you need a break, call on someone you can count on to come through so that you have the chance to recharge. Click To Tweet
9. Stay Positive & Tell Her You Love Her Daily.
Your positive attitude will rub off on your partner. Pray with her. Encourage her. Look for the bright side. She may feel miserable and unloved while she’s fighting breast cancer. Make sure she knows how much you love her and always will.
10. Occasionally, buy her small, unexpected gifts.
Every woman enjoys gifts. Why not shop for her favorite fragrance or buy her a wonderful scented candle?
Are you a cancer patient or survivor?
Maybe you are caring for someone who is fighting cancer.
What have you done to support this person? How has it helped?
About the Author:
Chris Barry is a freelance writer based currently in Montreal, Canada.
You’ll find a sampling of his articles on his website.
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