“How can I support my man?” is a common question from wives and partners who are coping with prostate cancer. Here are some tips to help.
Before choosing treatment
It may help if you are the designated “information searcher” for your loved one.
While you are both under a great deal of stress, it may be easier for you to do most of the information gathering and reading.
It can be exhausting and overwhelming for him. You can also help by streamlining the information.
Suggest that you accompany your loved one to all his doctor visits, if you can.
If he agrees, write down any questions you both have ahead of time. This will help you remember to ask them.
Two sets of ears are always better than one, especially when you’re nervous. It also helps to write down everything that the doctor tells you.
Become his “personal assistant.”
This means volunteering to be the one to keep track of all the medical appointments, insurance forms, and other paperwork.
It will be one less thing he has to deal with.
Encourage your loved one to join a support group.
If he’s open to it, it may help him to be able to talk to other men who can understand what he’s going through. He may also prefer to discuss sensitive issues with another man.
Right before treatment
- If your loved one is undergoing radical prostatectomy, it may help if you are the one to purchase his incontinence briefs for him. It is something that he may not want to be reminded of prior to his surgery.
- If your man is having radiation treatments or hormone therapy, he may get fatigued during the course of his treatment. Volunteering to take on some of the jobs that he normally does around the house (like taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn), may give him a bit of a break.
- Learn about all of the potential side effects from the treatment your loved one chooses. This will help you keep an eye out for any warning signs.
- Put together a list of friends or relatives you can call upon if you need help while your man is recovering. For example, if you need someone to stay with him while you run to the store when he’s first home after surgery.
Take care of you
Make sure you have a good support network for yourself. You can’t be there to support your man with prostate cancer if you don’t take care of your own needs.
There may also be times when you will want to discuss your personal concerns — or perhaps even fears — with someone other than your loved one.