A Prostate Cancer Patient Journey, a Spouse's View - Becky McLain
As a partner of someone with prostate cancer, Becky McLain shares a glimpse of what it is like for her as a spouse of someone with prostate cancer and for her entire family after diagnosis.
Becky McLain, spouse of a prostate cancer patient
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Becky McLain: My name is Becky McLain and I am here because my husband has prostate cancer. As a partner of someone going through prostate cancer, it's a different process, different perspective. No person is an island, and so even though they have that diagnosis, in a way you do as well because you walk alongside them. Or, your whole family is really involved. So, I think it's important to find support for yourself as well. Often as the mom or the partner, you're supporting your spouse but you're also trying to take care of children and helping them process emotion. So, it is important for you to find a group of people that you can just be raw and honest with, and not have to try to protect them. I think that's something important.
Each person is unique. What is going to bring energy to one might not to another, so I think you need to figure out yourself where you're going to get that strength and support. For me, my faith is huge. I couldn't do it without my faith. I have an incredible group of friends. We meet weekly. They have been a great source of strength. Try to walk, try to eat healthy. Those things, try to do that as well. I think the other thing is to celebrate. There is good in the midst of this, and to take those opportunities to celebrate. Little things are big things. I know when Mark was going through radiation, we had celebration Friday. He would have it five days, Friday was the last day that week, and we would do something fun. So, just to try to build those into life because life does continue.
Again, find that support. Make sure you're taking care of yourself. Also, I think communication. What that person is going to need from you is going to vary from day to day. It may not just be one thing. It might be multi-level. From one day it's, "I need you to listen to me," another day it's, "I want to forget about this. Let's just pretend it's not happening." So, being sensitive to that and communicating, I think that's important.
For me, I am an organized person so that felt natural to be the note-taker, and help put together a list of questions, also to consolidate the story because if you're going for a second opinion or you're switching doctors, you need to have that story. So, taking on that role. But again, I think you need to play to each others' strengths and figure out that piece. I also think it is, and I've said this too, just to have that second set of eyes and ears, and to be able to process that together later. My advice for someone going with someone would be, organize some questions. Organize your information. Take as many notes as you can, and you're writing fast and when you're in that moment, it feels overwhelming because there's so much, but then being able to process it together.
I would say, have hope. Have hope. It's a challenge, it's a journey, but there is also joy in the midst of it. So, never give up that hope.