Sunday, December 1, 2013

BRCA1+ Diagnosis Affects My Husband Too: Suggestion on Coping

Honestly I've given this topic a lot of consideration and have held off finishing it for some time.
Me and My Husband (almost 22 years married)

When I was first diagnosed BRCA1+ I really felt like this was MY journey, not his. I felt like this was my "news" to share and not his. And every time he'd tell me about a conversation he had with someone about me I would more or less flip out. The idea that he was talking about his with people, talking about me to people and acting as if this was his problem to deal with upset up a lot.

However, a wise friend shared the following with me after I vented to her and I could not help but share this hear in hopes of shedding light on how my husband, your husband and other BRCA1+ husbands might feel.

This was how my conversation with my friend started:

Tonight Kirk was telling me he shared what I was going through with a couple of HIS friends and for some reason that really bothered me. I had a complete melt down and struggle when he says "we are going through" this to's not his BOOBS that he is removing.

Anyway, I have a "really" hard time with people talking about me and this crazy stuff I'm dealing do you get over that? It's one thing when I talk to people about it, but really bothers me when he tells me he shared with this person or that person. Did you ever deal with that with family or friends? Am I being completely CRAZY?

You are NOT crazy. 100% normal. This emotional roller coaster is just starting. Things that normally don't even get a second thought will rub you wrong and iriritate you. It's ok. Hang on.

You will realize, early on, that NO one, not even your husband will fully understand what you are experiencing. And no matter how hard you try to articulate the physical and emotional suffering you are experiencing they won't be able to appreciate the gravity of the situation. You will go through a phase where you will want to alienate even your closest family and friends.

You may feel violated when Kirk talks about what's happening because he doesn't articulate to others the severity of what you are going through. Mad because he feels like he is going through it too. Pissed because he is sharing with others. But, it took me years to realize they are going through it too. When you suffer, the people closest to you suffer too. I never realized that they were hurt when I couldn't walk or breathe.

Maybe Kirk is telling people as his way of expressing how he doesn't understand what is going to happen to YOU....not the surgery but how it will affect the Lori he he's used too. The Lori he knows. He understands the physical loss of your breasts but not the emotional loss and change in YOU. People fear what they don't know. I think he is telling people in an attempt to mask the fact he is afraid of how YOU will be different not how different you will look. Maybe is is waiting for a response, from friends/family, that will resonate and make him less afraid. Men feel like they have to fix things, provide security... and as your husband he may feel insecure in the fact he can't fix your suffering. He can't give you emotional security. Sometimes letting him 'vent' to others is good because there will be times you won't want to talk with him.

Take comfort in knowing that the reason he is telling friends is that his love for you is so deep, so unconditional that he IS suffering too. Heavenly Father will be your best friend. Ask him for the strength to endure the surgery, pain and emotional roller coaster and the ability to NOT to kill your husband in the process. Wink. Knowing there are things he will never truly understand is half the battle. I recommend you share your blog. This will help him to realize the depth of what you are going through without minimizing your feelings with a shallow response/comment. Make sense?

Tell him now that there will be times you will need space and will shut him out so it takes the sting out of it when it happens. Take comfort in knowing he loves you. We all love you! And always remember... Its ok to get pissed. Your emotions are YOURS. You are entitled to feel the whole range of them. And, at the end if the day don't forget... You are doing this to live longer so that you can spend more quality time with him. Take what resonates and throw out what is trite and doesn't make sense. Trust your heart. Listen to the Holy Ghost and take solace in knowing that at least he cares enough to think 'this' is happening to you both. Sympathy is better than apathy... Any day.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! What GREAT advice. So thankful you had someone to validate your feelings and encourage you while giving such wise council. I have not had breast cancer but have had a debilitating injury that totally changed my (and my family's) life. It is so hard to be strong when you are going through a horrible problem. It is even harder when you realize it effects your family too. I will be lifting you up in prayer.


HELLO....I appreciate you reading about me and my experience with BRCA1 and "everyday life". Thank you for taking the time to comment in the positive (but if you want to be negative I invite you to go read someone else's blog).