It's time for women to really discuss and share how their diagnosis makes them feel and its affect on the loved ones in their lives.
Giuliana Rancic and her husband following her double mastectomy.
We have started off the dialogue with a couple tips for the sassy-single chick or the long-haul relationship...
If you are a single-mingler, take advantage of your independence by really focusing on YOU during your journey. It is really important to be focused on how your lifestyle and your activities make you feel inside and out. Maintaining a healthy social life is important as long as you are getting all the R&R you need and deserve, so be mindful of your schedule and don’t overload yourself. If you are interested in dating, GREAT, go for it!! The excitement of meeting new potential partners may help give a little extra positivity and good energy! Worried about when and how to tell your partner about your diagnosis? Here are some tips:
- Comfort first. Some women feel that when they are on a date, they need to tell the other person right away about their diagnosis. It has been suggested that before you jump into this topic, be comfortable with the person first. If you have already established some mutual respect and interest, this may be a good foundation to have the conversation. You will know quickly what kind of person they are, so trust your judgement. When did you tell the guy you were dating about your diagnosis?
- Practice makes perfect: it has helped some women to practice telling neutral people about their diagnosis before doing the same on a date. Some women join social clubs in their city and use this as a great opportunity to explore how to tell people about their cancer and how to gauge reactions. The more comfortable you have become talking about your diagnosis in a social setting, the easier it will be to discuss it on a date, and likely – you will put your date more at ease if you aren’t as nervous as he is already! What lines worked best for you? Do you have suggestions for others that may be wondering “What am I going to say?!”
- Be truthful and honest. If you are ready to discuss your diagnosis with the guy you are dating, it is advised that you be truthful and honest. If this guy is the ONE for you, the real truth may surface later and have an impact on the trust in your relationship. It is always best to tell it as it is when you are ready.
- YOU come first, ALWAYS. Never forget that you, and your health, are paramount in this situation. If something in your dating life isn’t working for YOU or is having negative effects on your journey, end it. Dating can always resume when you are in a different headspace or stage. Dating should be lifting your spirits, not dragging you down!
Are you in a long-term partnership? Are you concerned about how your man will react to your diagnosis and the extra support you will be looking to him for? We always hear of the disheartening stories of husbands leaving their wives in this time of need. Luckily, this is not the dominant trend and most partnerships become stronger when overcoming challenges together—but, it does take a lot of work on both parts. Here are some ways that the two of you can get through this life obstacle together – and be the better for it:
- Communication is KEY. As with all relationships, communication is key, but in this stage of your life, it is increasingly essential. It is important that you tackle this illness together every step of the way. If you allow yourself to talk to your partner about your thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes, you will be able to rise to the occasion from a mutual ground. At the same time, don’t forget that your partner needs your support too. Make time to listen to his concerns, whether it is about your diagnosis or maybe an issue he is having at work. You may decide that setting aside an hour or two in the evening is beneficial for you to spend some quality time and provide the venue for these conversations. It has been found that mutual constructive communication leads to less distress and more satisfaction for the patient and her partner. How did your partner support you day-to-day? Do you have any suggestions about how to establish balanced relationship during this difficult time?
- Learn together. It comes highly recommended that both the patient and their partner attend doctors appointments together whenever possible. You may feel less stressed about your demanding treatment schedule, while your partner will feel at ease to be in-the-know about your progress. This will help establish some balance in your relationship as you move forward through the journey. Another great idea is for your partner to be your official note-taker. Oftentimes, medical information dished out by your oncologist or surgeon can be daunting or difficult to digest, especially if your treatments are making you feel blurry. Having him take this active role will allow you the opportunity to read-over the information at a later time, and will give him a sense of purpose. What role did your partner play in your treatment? What worked for you as well as him?
- Maintain a physical connection. Approximately 28% of women undergoing cancer treatment report having a definite or serious sexual problem. Whether it relates to some undesirable physical side-effects of treatment or a loss of libido, the physical connection between you and your partner may not be as strong as usual. While treatment may affect your desire or ability to enjoy intercourse, it does not affect your human need for physical touch and closeness. Make a point to engage in hand-holding, kissing, cuddling, and hugging as much as possible. If you are not finding your sexual drive compromised, ensuring a healthy sex-life could help you in a number of ways. It can increase or maintain your self-confidence and decrease your stress to help you tackle your toughest days. What helped you and your partner remain physically connected? What tips do you have for women to feel their sexiest?
- Breast Cancer Husband: http://www.breastcancerhusband.com/about_the_book.html...available at the Compassionate Beauty Library in our store!
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