Wife and husband walking to a ledge about to cross a deteriorating rope bridge

Newlywed and Prostate Cancer

What do you do when you are a newlywed and find out that you have prostate cancer? This is my father's story that I would like to share. He got married at 75; he outlived his 2 previous wives. The lesson learned is that we can get a bad diagnosis and still live a happy life.

Facing diagnosis hand-in-hand

My father was married a few months upon his news of his prostate cancer. We were worried because he was already a throat cancer survivor. He didn’t see this coming. How do you tell your new wife that you have cancer? First of all, most people think the worse. Will you beat the cancer? Will you survive? How will you take the treatments? Has it spread through to other parts of the body?

We all went to tell her the news together. They had known each other since high school. When she first heard it, we could see the hurt in her eyes. No one wants their loved one to go through pain and suffering. They were newly wedded and wanted to spend the rest of their life together happily. I know they both did not want this disease to rob them of their happiness.

Putting faith in action

I had to ask myself, how do you deal with a bad diagnosis when you’re newly married?

  • Put your faith in motion and pray all is well
  • Support your spouse
  • Be empathetic when they are having treatment
  • Set a day aside especially for them to make them feel special
  • Continue showing love
  • Keep optimistic and they will remain positive
  • Make each day count as a gift
  • Don't take each other for granted

My father’s wife really had to put these steps in motion. We never know the outcome of any diagnosis. She said she always put her faith in action and she had a support group; her family. She kept positive and showed my father love. This was touching for me because we want the best for our loved ones. A lot of times people show their fear, they are not supportive and all this makes a huge impact on the outcome. I’m happy to say that their years together continue to grow.

It has been several years since diagnosis and treatment. Thankfully because of the love he continues to heal from the side effects of the radiation. Their marriage continues to be a one of gratitude and not taking each other for granted. Unfortunately, everyone’s stories isn’t like this but I’m very happy that these newlyweds are still enjoying their marriage and not letting prostate cancer define their happiness. They both just turned 84 years old in March.

Lessons from my father

My father told me that his diagnosis isn’t who he is. The lesson that my father has taken away from this experience can teach us all some valuable lessons. He has taught me to face my fears head-on. Don’t think the worst but think of a good outcome. He has taught me that we are stronger than we realize. Who would have thought as a 2-time cancer survivor he would have anything positive to say; he has given me great lessons on courage and hope.

It takes courage to get a diagnosis, and go through months of radiation and not knowing whether it would ever show up again. He has taught me that love is such a powerful force when you are going through treatments. However, prostate cancer had no final say as to who my father is. Let us not look at our diagnoses as the end all, but a beginning of an experience that we can come out of and share the positive nuggets with others and give them courage along their journey. Yes, he had those days of being beat down, exhausted, low energy, lack of appetite, but he never let it stop him and change who he was.

My father is a very strong man. He will tell you that this is a journey and you will have some mountains to climb along the way. As his caretaker, he lets me know to reach out to others and it’s ok to struggle. If I learned nothing else in this life, I will remember these words he said to me, “It’s ok to be vulnerable with your partner”. I loved my father. He is very wise.

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