Cindie Hubiak has teamed with UsTOO, an international prostate cancer education and support network, to publish a series of articles in their Sea Blue Chapter News newsletter.

In this first article, Cindie shares how she supported her husband through prostate cancer and learned to live a thriving life for herself also. To read the article click here, or the image below.

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The Arizona Republic’s Connie Midey interviews Cindie Hubiak and Steve Frohman about how they repaired their sex life after prostate surgery, and provides tips for overcoming other intimacy roadblocks.

Arizona Republic – Intimacy Rx – 02.10.12

To read the online version, which appeared on USAToday.com, click here.

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By Cindie Hubiak

When it comes to communicating with a significant other, it can indeed feel like we live on different planets (perhaps even Mars and Venus!). It is true that men and women have different communication styles, but alas, we must learn how to transcend beyond the differences to enjoy a thriving relationship.

Endless communication theories and styles float about, so this may require some experimentation to find what best suits you and your partner. For me and Steve, we discovered what works for us, which I will share in hopes of helping you communicate your requirements and desires.

Make a Statement
In general, for both men and women, we found making a statement before asking a question clarifies why you are asking the question and leaves little room for your partner to make an assumption about your intention. This can be as simple as, “I noticed you rubbing your scar from the prostate surgery. Would you like me to put lotion on the area for you?” Had I not clarified the question with a statement, he might wonder why I made the offer, or may assume I want to be intimate together, potentially causing problems if all I wanted was to help eliminate the itch.

This might sound very simplistic, but may prove very effective in a relationship – personal or professional – to help you receive exactly the information you are seeking. When I make a statement, I get the information I want, not what someone thinks I want.

A Formula for Success
When I want to talk with Steve (or any man) about a particular issue, I first take the time to understand what I want out of this conversation. I then ask when he is available to talk. My next goal is to effectively communicate what I want, which I do by:

  • Talking in short sentences
  • Using open-ended questions (ones that can’t be answered with a yes or no)
  • Making sure my questions are non-judgmental (no blaming or assuming)
  • Asking Steve to repeat his understanding of the conversation
  • Finding out if he will support my request and if he needs anything to do so
  • Letting him know what I gain from his help

This may feel odd at first, but in the long run, this formula will help avoid any miscommunications and your man will be more attune to meeting your needs in other areas of your life.

Miller’s Law
Steve and I follow Miller’s Law in which all judgments about what someone says are suspended so that we may first understand them without putting our own interpretations on their message. In this practice you focus on how what they say might be true rather than thinking it’s dumb, false or unwarranted.

Know What You Want
Lastly, take the time to understand what you truly want out of the conversation. It may end up being completely different than what you originally thought. Journaling or talking with a friend about the issue can help you become clear about your intention.

Whatever method you choose, keep your heart and the lines of communication open – it’s the foundation to a strong relationship. I also encourage you to leave a comment with your communication tips. What have you found to be effective, or ineffective?

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By Cindie Hubiak

Valentine’s Day serves as a welcome reminder to reconnect with your partner. To help make this day extra special, I’ve compiled nine tips you can use to revive intimacy and express your love.

  1. Start planning now to eliminate expectations and potential disappointments once Valentine’s Day arrives
  2. Schedule time for intimacy with your partner. Commit to five minutes, two hours or an entire day to spend in a special way. If February 14 isn’t convenient, find a day and time that is.
  3. Agree on a code word to connect you and someone special when you’re with a lot of people. Every time you hear or say your secret word, think of your partner.
  4. Focus on your sense of taste. Observe the flavor, temperature, texture and your expressions. Awareness increases intimacy.
  5. Share one of your dreams with your partner that you never shared before. Intimacy takes courage and practice.
  6. Gaze into the eyes of your partner. Focus on love for a minute, longer if possible, and explore what you experience.
  7. Create a playlist of songs that support intimacy for you and your partner.
  8. Focus on your sense of touch – the feel of your clothing, warm water in the shower, the caress of a loved one. Awareness increases intimacy.
  9. Intimacy is not for sissies! Share your definition of intimacy with your partner. My definition starts with: Into Me See.

For more intimacy tips, check out our Facebook page. We post a new intimacy tip every Friday!

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By Steve Frohman

I’ll never forget that night. It was May of 2007, early on a Friday evening at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. The mood of the group was festive, celebrating the retirement of a business associate.

Prostate Cancer SlideI felt apprehension, as it was still late afternoon in Phoenix. I nervously anticipated a phone call from my urologist with my latest biopsy results. This was my third biopsy over a 15-year period of time. I had a history of an enlarged prostate and high PSA scores, ever since my first PSA test in my mid 40s. When my cell phone vibrated, I quickly stepped into the ballroom foyer to take the call.

Dr. Bans let me know the results of the biopsy were positive, indicating cancer had been found. Although no cancer is good, he explained that my cancer was a less aggressive form. This meant there was time to evaluate and select the best treatment method for my situation. I know he intended this information to be somewhat comforting, and it was in a small way. The fact still remained that I had cancer.

Over the next few weeks and months, I worked closely with Dr. Bans, my wife Cindie and a close friend to put a plan in place. I wanted to further understand and evaluate my situation, select a treatment option and undergo treatment. The treatment I ultimately selected was surgery, and my prostate was removed six months later. I have been cancer free ever since.

Here are six tips to consider if you receive the news of a positive biopsy. While I’m not a medical provider, these ideas have been accumulated from my experience and talking with a number of prostate cancer survivors.

  • Take personal responsibility for your treatment decisions. There is no one course of action that is right for everyone. Every treatment comes with its share of plusses and minuses. Determining what is best for your situation is ultimately your responsibility.
  • Talk with others who have undergone treatment. Some of the most insightful information I received was from those who had been treated for prostate cancer.
  • One second opinion is often not enough. If you evaluate different treatment options, get the opinion of a specialist in each treatment alternative. While physicians pride themselves in making recommendations in the best interests of their patients, they are most familiar with the treatments they offer and are in the best position to address issues concerning those treatments.
  • Select a doctor and treatment facility that has a high volume of patients. You want someone who performs the procedure frequently and specializes in the individual treatment area you select. Ask providers about volumes, their history of results and potential side effects.
  • Anticipate an emotional impact. Be open and share your feelings with others. Let those closest to you understand what you’re going through so they can best support you.
  • Understand the spiritual being within you. Although prostate cancer survival rates are extremely high, I found myself thinking about my own mortality. I gained a fresh perspective on what’s important in life and made some adjustments.

Click to learn more about Steve’s story. We also invite you to leave a comment with your experiences and tips.

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Sonoran Living’s Andi Barness speaks with author Cindie Hubiak about how to live a thriving life and her book “A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer.”

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By Cindie Hubiak

Each Friday, Steve and I post an Intimacy Tip on our Facebook page, @SolutionsForIntimacy. We practice each of these tips ourselves, wanting to reach new levels of closeness within our relationship.

Our Intimacy Tip last Friday, ‘share one of your dreams with someone close to you that you never shared before,’ challenged me more than any of the other tips.  At first, I found it difficult to find a dream that I hadn’t shared with Steve.

As I contemplated this situation, I discovered that I didn’t know what I really wanted. When I hiked Camelback Mountain the next morning, a desire came to me as I watched the lunar eclipse unfold. A big dream sprouted and quickly grew. I couldn’t envision how it could be attained, and I wasn’t sure if Steve would understand. I was afraid to share it with him. I did, though, because I invited all of you to do so.

Our conversation didn’t go well at first. Later I realized I didn’t use the communication technique described in my book. Just when I think I can talk with Steve like a girlfriend, I’m reminded that he’s not. He’s my husband and requires communication in a different way.

Once I picked up the pieces and started over, I overcame my fear a second time and shared my dream with him again. This time he understood and helped me create a vision of my dream that I know can be achieved.

Intimacy takes courage and practice. Dreaming and fantasizing adds a healthy element to a relationship, especially when shared with someone close. I’m going to practice this tip more frequently, allowing my life to thrive even more.

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By Cindie Hubiak

You may have heard of it. You may have even seen it in action in the form of mustaches on men’s faces. I’m talking about Movember, the worldwide movement in which men sport mustaches throughout November to raise awareness for men’s health – more specifically prostate cancer and the other cancers that impact men. The movement started in Melbourne, Australia in the early 2000s as a way to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research, and has grown to a global movement, supported by millions.

Known as “Mo Bros,” the men who opt to participate start the month clean-shaven then wear it proudly for 30 days, supported along the way by the women in their lives known as “Mo Sistas.” When I first learned of Movember, I think it was the Mo Sistas that resonated most with me, simply because the support, strength and knowledge from other women became my rock when my husband was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer.

Through my journey I came to realize that I had to heal myself first before I could help my husband heal. The support of other women was an integral part of this process. Whether your man had prostate cancer years ago or it is a recent diagnosis, it’s never too late to learn how to heal yourself. Tapping the knowledge and support of other women, like Mo Sistas, will be one of the most important things you can do. They can prove to be one of your most powerful allies for turning surviving into thriving.

As women, we can assist each other to heal, and as we do, we learn to provide more compassion to ourselves, and thus the men in our lives. Remember, a woman who supports a man through his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can proudly wear the title of prostate cancer survivor – whether that’s in the form of a faux mustache or by joining a movement.

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KTAR News Radio in Phoenix recognized the efforts of Cindie Hubiak, Solutions for Intimacy co-founder, to raise awareness about intimacy issues following prostate cancer. Learn more in Women Join Men in Fighting Prostate Cancer, by Sandra Haros.

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EmpowHER, one of the web’s largest health and wellness resources for women,  showcased Cindie Hubiak’s personal journey as she learned to “thrive” following her husband’s prostate cancer diagnosis.

Thriving After the Cancer Bomb: One Woman’s Journey, by Lynette Summerill, takes readers through the struggles and triumphs that inspired Cindie to write A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer and co-found Solutions for Intimacy.

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