He Says, She Says
Last updated: March 2023
They say there are two sides to every story. As a caregiver for my husband, a prostate cancer survivor for 14 years, I’ve witnessed our physical, mental and emotional challenges as together we battle this disease. But as I said, there are two sides to every story. Here are just some thoughts about how I would see his story as well as my story.
How he sees prostate cancer vs how I see it
He says: I’m angry that I have this cancer. I’m angry I can’t do the things I want to do. I’m angry that I don’t feel well. I’m angry you have to do things for me, and I’m angry you don’t always do them the way I would. I don’t like having to depend on someone else to do what I used to be able to do myself.
She says: I’m angry you have this cancer. I’m angry that it has limited your abilities and impacted your energy and how you feel. I’m angry that you get mad at me because I have to do some of the things that you can’t do for yourself, and I may do them in my own way, not yours. I can understand your anger but don’t like it.
He says: I’m afraid. I’m afraid of all these tests I need to take. I’m afraid while I wait for the results. I’m afraid of more surgeries, more medicine, more side effects. I’m afraid that I may not win. I’m afraid of the future.
She says: I am so afraid of what you’re going through. I’m afraid that you may not be able to handle another surgery or combat the side effects of your new medicine. I know it’s so much for you to handle, for both of us to handle. I’m so afraid of the potential of losing you, of a future without you.
Feeling hopeless at times
He says: I often feel so hopeless, so out of control of my own life. I feel hopeless that doctors are doing procedures that make me feel worse, not better, knowing that in the long-run, these are supposed to help heal me. I feel so helpless that I need to depend so heavily on someone else, not on myself.
She says: I feel so hopeless that I can’t help you more than I do, can’t make you better, can’t help you heal. I try to do whatever I can, but I often feel it's not enough, that it’s inadequate, yet I don’t know what else I can do or how else I can help you. I feel hopeless in trying to help you manage this disease.
But also finding hope
He says: Today, I feel hope. Today I feel that my treatments are beginning to work. Today I feel that my energy has returned just a little bit, which to me, is a wonderful improvement and makes me hopeful for continued stamina. Today I feel hope that my life is not over, that cancer is not the victor. Today I see hope. Today I feel hope.
She says: Today, I feel hope. I see your smile and hear your laughter, the way it used to be. I’m hopeful that the difficulties presented through your treatments are beginning to wane, that you are starting to see the positive results of what can be called suffering with purpose and with an end goal in mind. I feel hopeful that our life can return to some semblance of the way it was before this awful disease became part of our vocabulary, part of our everyday existence. Today I see hope. Today I feel hope.
Two sides to every story
Yes, there are two sides to every story. Sometimes the sides are remarkably similar, sometimes they don’t connect or merge in any way. But realizing that there are two sides, both credible, both justified, both heartfelt, is I think the first step to moving forward together to fight the battle.
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