You may be thinking, “WHAT? She’s not the one with prostate cancer. What kind of support does she need? I’m the one who needs the support.”

That’s what I thought when I was first diagnosed and then treated for prostate cancer. More accurately, I didn’t really think about Cindie and what she might be going through. My focus was on me: confirming the diagnosis, evaluating treatment options, selecting the best alternative, undergoing treatment and the recovery phase. I also wondered if the cancer would be eliminated and how our sex life would be impacted. I did think of Cindie some, but we agreed that it was more important to focus on me. After all, if I didn’t live, I wouldn’t be around to focus on her.

I began to think differently about a year after treatment. One day, Cindie let me know how much she cried while I was undergoing surgery. This conversation led to her sharing the whole range of emotions she experienced after my diagnosis and treatment. She explained that she didn’t want to put an additional burden on me by sharing her feelings at an already stressful time. She didn’t believe I had the additional capacity to also focus on her needs.

Based on my experience, consider the following after the diagnosis and during the treatment/recovery period:

  1. Determine a way you can place some focus on your wife/partner. If you don’t, who will? There’s a lot of support directed at men to help them emotionally and clinically. Much of this support is an integral part of the medical process and easily identified. Not so for women. Make sure she takes care of herself and seeks professional help as necessary. Taking care of her well-being is an important factor in your recovery.
  2. Recognize that both you and your wife/partner are impacted by the cancer diagnosis. You both have needs that must be addressed in your relationship. Mutual, active support of each other builds the intimacy and closeness required in a thriving relationship.
  3. Many women have the tendency to be caregivers, often at their own expense. Assist her in moving from the role of caregiver to more of a care partner. This will give her permission to receive from you and participate in a different way.
  4. Include your wife/partner in the entire process. Ask her help in making key treatment decisions. Share your feelings with her, in addition to asking for and offering support.
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Steve Frohman and Cindie Hubiak co-authored an article for Choices, a newsletter published by Patient Advocates for Advanced Cancer Treatments (PAACT), about their path to reigniting passion in their relationship following Steve’s bout with prostate cancer. They share their personal stories, as well as tips to help couples who are struggling with intimacy. To read the full article, click here or on image.

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Steve FrohmanSteve Frohman, prostate cancer survivor and co-founder of Solutions for Intimacy, authored an article for Green Living Magazine about his experiences with intimacy following cancer, as well as tips to help others overcome similar challenges.

Click here to read the article.

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A Woman's Guide to Thriving after Prostate CancerMary J. Lore,  creator of the Managing Thought® process and internationally recognized executive mentor, writer and public speaker, has recommended A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer on her blog. She says the book is a valuable resource for women and men alike: “Her book isn’t just for women. It’s for men who want to empower the women in their lives and ensure their relationships thrive.”

To read more, visit Mary’s blog.

 

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Cindie Hubiak, co-founder of Solutions for Intimacy and author of A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer, was featured on Sonoran Living on ABC 15, Phoenix. She provided moms with tips on how they can make themselves a priority – and explained why that’s so important.

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By Cindie Hubiak

We’ve all been there. Continually saying “yes” to requests we know we don’t have time for or putting our desires on hold to help others pursue theirs. We over commit ourselves and give up what we enjoy to make others happy.

Too often, women place the needs of loved ones above their own, disrupting an essential life balance. While it may be necessary to temporarily set aside your own needs during one of life’s many challenges, it shouldn’t become the norm. In order to live a thriving life, you must take the time and care to explore your passions and satisfy your own needs.

Taking time to make yourself a priority often enables you to become a stronger support as a mom, wife, partner and friend. You will feel more connected, confident, inspired and joyful. Here are five tips to help you get started:

  • Schedule time for yourself – Set aside time each week or month that is just for you. Be sure your family honors this time and understands you are unavailable. This is your time to do as you wish. Explore a new hobby or simply catch up on some much-needed R&R.
  • Get physical – Whether it’s dancing in the privacy of your room, yoga, jogging or hiking, find an activity that you enjoy and makes you feel good. Physicality increases confidence and improves overall health.
  • Ask so you can receive – Often we try to do it all. Learn to ask for assistance when needed and then graciously receive it! This will help you ease stresses and free up more time in your schedule.
  • Journal – Journaling can help you connect with your inner voice and quiet your mind. It also provides helpful answers and assists in the process of self discovery.
  • Find something you’re passionate about - Many of us spend a lifetime revolved around caring for others. It’s time to focus on you and get inspired. Create a list of projects you’d like to explore. Use your scheduled time to experiment and purse these new opportunities.

 

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Solutions for Intimacy Co-Founder Cindie Hubiak was invited to present to National Bank of Arizona’s Women’s Financial Group. At “Wine, Art & the Keys to Living a Thriving Life” on April 25, Cindie helped attendees understand what it means to live a thriving life, and how to accomplish it. She says three keys to living a thriving life include:

  • Ending fear with knowledge
  • Staying in the present moment
  • Grieve and lean into the pain

If you’re interested in hosting Cindie as a speaker, email info@solutionsforintimacy.com with details about the event.

National Bank of Arizona Women & Wealth Series

Cindie Hubiak (left), Artist Bertica Garcia Dubus

Cindie Hubiak

Cindie Hubiak

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Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network, one of the country’s largest and most-respected prostate cancer support groups, hosted Solutions for Intimacy Co-Founders Steve Frohman and Cindie Hubiak at an Arizona chapter meeting on April 24. The couple shared their personal experience with prostate cancer – both pitfalls and triumphs – and provided tips on how attendees could improve their relationships and revive intimacy.

If you’re interested in hosting Steve and Cindie as speakers, email info@solutionsforintimacy.com with details about the event.

Us TOO Chapter Event

(From left to right) Jim Kiefert, Immediate Past Chair on Us TOO Board of Directors; Cindie Hubiak; Ed Kaps, Co-Founder of Us TOO

 

Us TOO Chapter Event

(From left to right) Tom Kirk, Us TOO President/CEO; Terri Likowski, Us TOO Chapter Services Program Manager; Cindie Hubiak, Steve Frohman

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By Cindie Hubiak

When men undergo treatment for prostate cancer it is quite common for them to withdraw emotionally. In fact, Steve and I began to live more like roommates than lovers. We didn’t connect outside of household responsibilities and conversations about what each other did during the day. This can be true of any relationship regardless of the presence of prostate cancer, though it is more common following the diagnosis and treatment.

Of course this can wreak havoc on one’s self-confidence. I began to feel unattractive and found myself grappling with bouts of anger over our lack of deep, meaningful conversations and the disappearance of our sex life. Over time however, I found ways to communicate my needs and as a result our relationship strengthened and we no longer live like roommates.

Dialoguing About Sex

First and foremost, take care to avoid attacking your man about his lack of interest – keeping in mind this is a natural reaction for men in this situation. I suggest venting to a medical provider, counselor or good friend. Getting your frustrations out of the way will enable you to be more supportive of your man’s recovery.

When you do decide to have the dialogue with your man about sex, but find yourself not knowing what to say to get your needs met, consider using the request format:

  • Set a goal for the conversation.
  • Start with a statement such as, “I want to schedule some time to talk to you about something important to me.”
  • Explain your feelings without placing blame: “I’m feeling unattractive and hurt because I feel undesired sexually. I’m not blaming you, but I want you to ______.”
  • Determine what you require as a woman and ask if he’s willing and able to provide it for you.
  • Negotiate a plan of action that suits both of you.

Ask For, Accept and Give Compliments

Receiving compliments from your man may make a significant difference in your self-confidence and how you feel as a woman. If he agrees to give you sincere compliments, accept them graciously. Let him know how good his compliment makes you feel. Oftentimes we retort with counterproductive responses such as, “You really like this dress? I feel fat in it.” Just respond with a “Thank you!” By reinforcing his positive behavior, you will keep the compliments coming (I realize that sounds a bit like Pavlov’s “conditioned reflex” concept, but it works).

Remember the compliments should go both ways. Try giving him more than you normally do with the understanding he is going through a tough time as well.

Understanding your man’s loss of desire and clearly communicating your needs can save you a lot of pain and frustration. Work together to discover ways he can help you feel desired and provide him guidance. If you’ve experienced this, what approaches have you found to be effective for you and your man?

 

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The Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association hosted Solutions for Intimacy Co-Founders Cindie Hubiak and Steve Frohman on April 18. They shared their personal stories of overcoming prostate cancer with 150 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and provided tips on how to support patients through intimacy challenges.

Learn more about the couple’s journey:

If you’re interested in hosting Steve and Cindie as speakers, email info@solutionsforintimacy.com with details about the event.

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