A Husband's Role (Wife's Perspective)
I survived a whole year of real high highs and real lows. He helped me go through it. He let me go through what I needed to go through.

A husband of a breast cancer patient fills a vital role in the healing process; actually he fills many roles. He must wear many hats and be prepared, without notice, to seamlessly shift depending on the needs of his wife, her health, the needs of the family and the demands of running a household and taking care of children.

He's been both my shield and my sword. He's protected me when I needed protecting and he's been out there getting me what I need. Which has been wonderful, but quite frankly what I would expect. It's what I expected from the man I married almost 20 years ago. -- Randi S.

Most women facing breast cancer treatment are acutely aware of the demands placed on their husbands and the abrupt change in the dynamic of their relationship. Yet because of the toll of the diagnosis and treatment, often they are simply unable to alleviate the burden. Many women find a deeper kindness and solidarity with their partners as they face their cancer diagnosis and treatment. When asked what they most need from their husbands, most women will simply say that they just need him to "be there, be supportive and be understanding."

"It just makes your relationship so much stronger."
"Now that we've overcome cancer, you pick your battles..."
"He's very strong with me, too, when he's had enough, which helps me."
"It's incredibly valuable to know where Jim is and how he's feeling. I need that connection with him."
"He totally steps up to the plate. He held the whole house up and the family, playing mom, dad, and everything else, and he never said a word about it."
"It just affirmed my love for him even more. He was there for me like I knew he would be."
"I feel like Sean was made for me. He helped me navigate it."
"He let me cry for no reason. He let me scream for no reason. He let me go through what I needed to go through."
A Husband's Role (Husband's Perspective)
How do you work through your fears and be supportive at the same time? I felt like I couldn't be honest because I didn't want to put any load on Deb and at the same time honesty is a key part of a relationship. So am I honest? Am I not? How do I sort through that? -- Jim H.
When you care about somebody, you're not going to let them do it alone.

To be needed. To be strong. To be supportive. The husbands and partners of women going through breast cancer treatment are thrown into unfamiliar terrain, negotiating medical appointments, household responsibilities, and children’s schedules. Their love and support is desperately needed. Their tight hugs and whispers of “It’ll be okay,” can bring peace and, for a little while at least, stop the flood of tears or the relentless anxiety. To be the rock of stability in another’s life can bring purpose, meaning, and a sense of being needed., but it also brings awesome responsibility. How can they be the rock, while still being honest about their own struggles with sadness and anxiety?

"Am I going to lose her? What am I going to do if I lose her? I don't want her to be scared that I'm even thinking those thoughts."
"How do you want to fight this? Either it's going to beat you or you're going to beat it."
"In the evenings, I'd go off by myself and just let it sink in. I didn't want her to see how upset I was."
"It's really hard not to problem solve. That's really not what Deb was looking for."
"You just went through a round of chemotherapy. There's ten people that would like to have dinner with us and see us, but maybe it's okay to tell them 'no'."
"I shaved her head and then I shaved mine. We made it this funny, cathartic moment."
"It taught me a lot of lessons about things that I would have never experienced had I not gone through it."
"I wanted to handle things on our own and take care of it our way. Looking back, I think I could have been a little more accommodating."
Before You Go...

We'd love to know what you think!

?

Exit Survey