Excerpt from “A Woman’s Guide to Thriving after Prostate Cancer,” by Cindie Hubiak.
We’re Prostate Cancer Survivors, Too!
Many books and medical professionals don’t view women as prostate cancer survivors. I strongly disagree. I believe a woman who supports a man through his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can proudly wear the title of prostate cancer survivor.
Without doubt, women affected by prostate cancer want to help their man heal, to “fix” him and make him “all better.” They want their man to regain his health and live cancer-free. Women traditionally play the role of caretaker, wanting family and friends to live happy, healthy lives.
Yet many women don’t realize this critical factor: To help her man get better and live a healthy life, the woman must heal herself first. Yes, healing ourselves comes FIRST!
Often, as women, we don’t like to hear this. We want to tap into our innate urge to turn our attention to our man, nurturing him through his recovery process. Not surprisingly, we tend to ignore our own needs because we’re focused on our man and the rest of the family. We may view our own success based on the apparent success of those around us. Thus, we view our man’s recovery as our own recovery.
In the beginning, I’ve learned, this is an essential approach. Adept at multitasking, we mobilize our lives to reprioritize our activities and help him decide what treatment to choose. Not only do we support our man during his treatment, he needs our support while he’s regaining his health after treatment. Oh, how we love to celebrate the news of his first zero PSA test result!
At some point, though, our man moves out of the danger zone. That’s when I suggest migrating the attention to our own recovery process—which is unwise to neglect, ignore, or postpone. Ever!
Yet, too often, we don’t do this. Instead, we continue focusing on our man, helping him regain his life after prostate cancer. By doing so, we ignore one of the most important parts of his healing process: our own healing. We often hear, “If Mama ain’t happy, no one is happy.” This suggests the value of women living a happy life after prostate cancer.
This guide focuses on how you as a woman can learn to thrive after prostate cancer, not on how you can help your man thrive—although that could well be a by-product of focusing on your own wellness.
Your man’s recovery process may look similar to yours or it may be extremely different. What you learn about your own healing, though, will provide you with many tools that can assist your man with his recovery. He gains the opportunity to thrive because you live a life that’s magnificent!