What can partners do to help?

Annie GayedAnnie Gayed Member Posts: 206

Hi all

This is Annie from BCNA’s Policy Team, and I’m writing this post because I need your help.

We are currently putting together some information to help partners of women diagnosed with breast cancer, because we know they can also find it really hard to cope.

We want to include some suggested things/tips that partners can do to help women, because many partners tell us that they want to help but don’t know how.

So I’m throwing it over to you. What did your partner do to help you during your breast cancer journey? Or… what do you wish they did do, that would have helped you get through your journey?

It can be anything – big or small, that helped you through your diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.

Thanks all!

Now over to you…..

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Comments

  • TanyaTanya Member Posts: 395
    edited March 2015

    WELL.........My partner was my rock when I was diagnosed, however nearly 5 years, it was only on a recent visit from Jacque's Strap that he finally had the chance to talk face to face in someone that has been through the whole experience.  It was the first time that he has had someone to talk to and was a really powerful experience for him.

    So given his recent experience we need more one of one, (again I am not sure how to make this happen) maybe a forum for men.  Face to face contact for men.

    I have some more ideas, but this is just to get the ball rolling, I am trying to finalise my End of financials year accounts:( so should be working.....he he. lol

    Back soon.

     

    Tanya xx

  • Mich xMich x Member Posts: 1,553
    edited March 2015

    My partner has just been there and no complaints.  He is my rock.  He makes jokes to keep me laughing.  He just takes it on the chin when I having a bad day and I get a bit grumpy.  He doesn't bite back just lets it pass cause he knows I am doing it tough and will get over it.  He doesn't have to say a lot but if I need to talk he will answer me honestly.  He has shown no signs of loving me less because I am unwell, fat, bald with no eye brows and lashes, he loves me for who I am inside cause I am still the same person he fell in love with.  He is a very compassionate, loving and understanding and would do anything for me and he knows if the shoe was on the other foot I would do the same.  We are lucky to have found each other. 

    On a personal note, there has been no pressure on me with regards to our personal life in bed.  He doesn't push me and accepts when I say I am tired etc..  He knows things will get better and our life in that department will return to how it was.  That I think is a hard thing for men to do, to not put pressure on us in that department and to not make us feel guilty when we are not forthcoming. 

    He has shown little fear when things have been tough and I have been very unwell, even if on the inside he is frightened he manages to keep control.  That has helped me get through those bad times.

    Don't get me wrong he isn't a total saint in any way but I am very lucky to have him in my life and especially at this time in my life. 

    Mich xo

  • Annie GayedAnnie Gayed Member Posts: 206
    edited March 2015

    Thanks for the reply Tanya - especially with your financial accounts to sort out. I don't envy you :)

    Glad to hear that your partner was able to talk to Jacques face to face - some partners tell us that really helps. We'll definitely include some information about where partners can go for support, both professional as well as peer support.

    Looking forward to hearing your other ideas, and what, if anything, your partner did to help you...

  • adeanadean Member Posts: 1,041
    edited March 2015

    My husband has also been amazing , I dont know if it sounds right to say but he actually liked the fact Ive now had to ask him for help. as I think my independence was a pain to him. If anything he has continually told every person along the way how fantastic the cd that you supply in the my journey kit was, Ive discovered its still in the car in the cd player. Maybe a booklet geared up for men, or my husband would do a survey on line. my husband is shy around strangers so this suited him, every medical person spoke to both of us at appointments, and I made sure I asked hubby to come to everyone. Perhaps educating drs nurses etc would be a good thing about not isolating the men, I remember a nurse asked my husband if he would like to assist her to check my wound , I think that was special. Like mitch my husband has not even asked to be intimate, but the other day I said would you like to feel my scar and touch my breast he cracked up laughing and said thats a good pick up line. I just needed him to know its ok.  Im sure everyone has good ideas         good luck adean

  • adeanadean Member Posts: 1,041
    edited March 2015

    My husband has also been amazing , I dont know if it sounds right to say but he actually liked the fact Ive now had to ask him for help. as I think my independence was a pain to him. If anything he has continually told every person along the way how fantastic the cd that you supply in the my journey kit was, Ive discovered its still in the car in the cd player. Maybe a booklet geared up for men, or my husband would do a survey on line. my husband is shy around strangers so this suited him, every medical person spoke to both of us at appointments, and I made sure I asked hubby to come to everyone. Perhaps educating drs nurses etc would be a good thing about not isolating the men, I remember a nurse asked my husband if he would like to assist her to check my wound , I think that was special. Like mitch my husband has not even asked to be intimate, but the other day I said would you like to feel my scar and touch my breast he cracked up laughing and said thats a good pick up line. I just needed him to know its ok.  Im sure everyone has good ideas         good luck adean

  • adeanadean Member Posts: 1,041
    edited March 2015

    My husband has also been amazing , I dont know if it sounds right to say but he actually liked the fact Ive now had to ask him for help. as I think my independence was a pain to him. If anything he has continually told every person along the way how fantastic the cd that you supply in the my journey kit was, Ive discovered its still in the car in the cd player. Maybe a booklet geared up for men, or my husband would do a survey on line. my husband is shy around strangers so this suited him, every medical person spoke to both of us at appointments, and I made sure I asked hubby to come to everyone. Perhaps educating drs nurses etc would be a good thing about not isolating the men, I remember a nurse asked my husband if he would like to assist her to check my wound , I think that was special. Like mitch my husband has not even asked to be intimate, but the other day I said would you like to feel my scar and touch my breast he cracked up laughing and said thats a good pick up line. I just needed him to know its ok.  Im sure everyone has good ideas         good luck adean

  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,623
    edited March 2015

    My husband gave me a lot of hugs and cuddles and reassured me I was still beautiful.I sure felt ugly being bald and missing a boob! He took over answering the phone and filtered the calls - I sometimes didn't want to talk. He stepped up on the domestic front and brought me endless cups of tea in bed. He drove me to doctors visits,hospital and treatments and stayed with me. This was good because you feel a bit  vulnerable at such times and you don't always take in all the info. Ah,PAPERWORK AND FILLING IN FORMS,PAYING MEDICAL BILLS, he did all that- what a relief!  If I got an attack of the miseries in the middle of the night he would just hold me and tell me it would all be ok - that helped me.

                                                                regards,Tonya

  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,623
    edited March 2015

    My husband gave me a lot of hugs and cuddles and reassured me I was still beautiful.I sure felt ugly being bald and missing a boob! He took over answering the phone and filtered the calls - I sometimes didn't want to talk. He stepped up on the domestic front and brought me endless cups of tea in bed. He drove me to doctors visits,hospital and treatments and stayed with me. This was good because you feel a bit  vulnerable at such times and you don't always take in all the info. Ah,PAPERWORK AND FILLING IN FORMS,PAYING MEDICAL BILLS, he did all that- what a relief!  If I got an attack of the miseries in the middle of the night he would just hold me and tell me it would all be ok - that helped me.

                                                                regards,Tonya

  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,623
    edited March 2015

    My husband gave me a lot of hugs and cuddles and reassured me I was still beautiful.I sure felt ugly being bald and missing a boob! He took over answering the phone and filtered the calls - I sometimes didn't want to talk. He stepped up on the domestic front and brought me endless cups of tea in bed. He drove me to doctors visits,hospital and treatments and stayed with me. This was good because you feel a bit  vulnerable at such times and you don't always take in all the info. Ah,PAPERWORK AND FILLING IN FORMS,PAYING MEDICAL BILLS, he did all that- what a relief!  If I got an attack of the miseries in the middle of the night he would just hold me and tell me it would all be ok - that helped me.

                                                                regards,Tonya

  • Annie13Annie13 Member Posts: 110
    edited March 2015
    Like others above, my partner has been my rock. He is a funny, funny person, and makes me laugh all the time, which helps immensely. He has driven me to all my appts and taken notes in my book if I'm lying on the table! Over the first few days he set his alarm for every few hours, even during the night, to give me pain medication. He propped up my pillows at the right angle each night to minimise the pain. He screened calls, but also called all the important people when I didn't want to talk to keep them in the loop about everything. During the first 2 weeks after my op he made sure a family member or friend was with me at all times - we called it my 'care schedule'!. When in hospital he came in each day and washed my face, moisturised it, dry shampoo my hair, put deodorant and lip gloss on - it made me feel a million dollars at the time. He also snuck me some KFC into the hospital one day!! I gave him a small list of things I needed from the chemist and he went straight out and got them. He swung by the dr when I needed to new script to pick it up for me. He arranged for the house to be cleaned from head to toe. He walked the dog, which I usually do. All this, and my journey has really only just begun. I am truly blessed. xxx
  • Mich xMich x Member Posts: 1,553
    edited March 2015

    Hey Annie

    Yes your man sounds like a real Gem!!!!  Congratulations, like me you managed to choose one of the real good men out there.  We are so lucky and a bit spoilt I would say.  This marraige is second time round for me, can't see my first hubby doing anything to help me and think he would have been the kind to walk away as he wouldn't be able to cope with it but thank god I won't ever have to worry about him cause I am so lucky to get a second chance with a very special man    :-)

    Good luck on your journey. 

    Mich xoxo

  • katokato Member Posts: 42
    edited March 2015

    My hubby was a big help during the process, but I felt it was really important for him to spend some time just for himself.  He was there if I needed him, but by having some time for visiting friends and not talking about BC he would come home relaxed and ready to help. 

    The other fantastic practical thing he did was buy me a teddy bear. It seems so minor but I cuddled that teddy through hopital stays, sleepless nights and horrible chemo days. It made me feel so loved and secure. I can understand why kids love cuddling their special toy.

  • Annie GayedAnnie Gayed Member Posts: 206
    edited March 2015

    Hi Mich

    Thanks for your comment. Sounds like your partner knows when to let things go when you're having a hard time. I also love that he makes you laugh, which is awesome! Thanks also for including the more personal stuff, which we'll definitely cover in the resource because we know it's a really sensitive issue and can be a point of tension between couples.

    Annie :)

  • Annie GayedAnnie Gayed Member Posts: 206
    edited March 2015

    Thanks for your comment Adean. Wow - it's great to know that the CD we include for partners in the My Journey Kit was so helpful to your husband. We will be most likely be developing a fact sheet for partners, and in it we will suggest that partners check out the CD you mentioned.

    I think you touched on a really important point about involving partners during medical appointments. The research shows that partners can feel really 'out of control' during the breast cancer journey, but providing them with information really helps. Often partners want to come along to appointments but are unsure if they can... some want to ask questions during medical appointments but again are unsure if they should or not. We'll encourage them to go along to medical appointments and ask questions (with the woman's permission). They can also help women by writing information down, because women tell us that sometimes it's hard to 'take it all in.' Thanks again for your suggestions Adean, you've been a great help.

    Annie :)

  • Annie GayedAnnie Gayed Member Posts: 206
    edited March 2015

    Hi Tonya,

    These are all very practical tips, and will be good for us to include in the resource for partners. It's amazing what a cuddle can do, isn't it? I think this is also a great thing for partners to do when they don't know really know what to say. The help with paperwork and the phone is something we didn't have on our list, so I'm glad you brought it up.

    Thanks for your great suggestions Tonya!

    Annie :)

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