Does Your Partner Understand Your Illness?
As we all know a normal life can be complicated with or without any illness. It just adds on an extra layer when your partner has a chronic illness. Prostate cancer is no exception to this rule. Navigating through the waters of a relationship with an ill person can be challenging to say the least. The helplessness and the strain that comes with caregiving can push the relationship to a breaking point.
Helping your partner understand your illness
I have had a chronic illness for 56 years and of course, I don't understand how it feels to have prostate cancer. Having my illness makes me understand what it’s like to go through a health challenge. There were so many times where I wanted to give up because of some of the ways my past partners treated me and made me feel like an outsider.
Here are a few ways that your partner can show you that they understand your illness and what you are going through.
Dealing with anxiety
It’s normal to feel anxious over a chronic illness. An understanding partner should try to:
- accept that your relationship may change
- watch out for depression
- seek counselling for additional support
- acquire as much information as possible about the illness in order to be able to make the most informed decisions
Practice kindness when communicating
Not talking about how you feel will definitely push a wedge between you both. Sometimes, because of the pain and the helplessness, it is easy to take frustrations out on the closest person to you...your partner. It’s therefore therapeutic to find ways of talking about the different challenges that you are both undergoing.
As a chronic sufferer myself, you may feel like your partner doesn’t understand or listen to you often enough. I had a boyfriend tell me at one time that my illness had turned me into a perpetual complainer he couldn’t handle anymore. Maybe talking about it all the time can be overwhelming, but I had to try to find some balance in all of this.
What are your needs?
It’s important for your partner to be clear about what they need and want. Sometimes they might want to do some things for themselves when they are in a great mood and feeling better that day. However, when they are feeling at their worst, they might need your help and might feel neglected if they are not given the attention they require.
Don't forget about caregiver wellbeing
Whichever one of you giving the care, be careful because forgetting about your own needs is just as important. This can lead to a lot of stress and exhaustion.
Here are a few signs to watch out for:
- such as weight loss or gain
- sleep deprivation
- withdrawal from their friends
- becoming irritable
- loss of interest in hobbies or activities they enjoyed and physical exhaustion
Keeping your finances organized
It doesn’t matter if you have prostate cancer or any illness this may cause one person to not be able to work for a while. That coupled with expensive medical treatments can be straining to couples. Some homes might require remodeling in order to accommodate a wheelchair or what you may need to get around easily; this will incur additional costs. Contact a financial expert if needed to help you through this.
Growing closer together through hardship
Having an illness does not have to be detrimental to your relationship. If you treat each other with understanding, kindness, love, and learn to listen to each other, you can be closer than you were before. It’s not easy seeing someone you love go through any illness, but if you love each other, it’s possible to make it work.
Doing something nice and considerate for each other will go a long way in helping you navigate the maze of being in this together for the long haul. Let your partner know they are still desired.
Have you taken the Prostate Cancer Recurrence Quiz yet?