Cancer through the eyes of a husband, my wife’s breast cancer journey

12 July 2019

It all started with a lump in the right breast that was noticeably growing daily. A biopsy revealed that the tumour was cancerous and positive to three receptors and it needed to be removed asap. But first we needed chemo to shrink the tumour as it was now 75 x 50mm. 

The first chemo almost didn’t happen as my wife’s blood count was low. This is when we realised this was serious. We debated with our oncologist and eventually we continued with the first chemo. Lucky for us the blood count improved and we were able continue with the full treatment.

We had just dodged our first bullet. From now on we needed a plan.  The anxiety we had just experienced was horrific. We needed to change our mind set if we had any chance of beating this. We needed to manage what we could control and not worry about what we had no control over.

Don’t worry about blood test, bone scan or CT scan results.  Once we had a result, good or bad, the sooner we could plan the next step. Knowing is better than not knowing. The result wasn’t the issue, anxiety and managing stress were, so how do you mitigate these feelings.

Understand and be prepared to ask the medical team any questions, as you need to have confidence in them. If it is not working or you are unhappy, change your doctor. They are there to help and will not be offended. We were very open with everyone. This way we never had to confront someone who didn’t know where we were at.

We set goals. At the time we owned a retail shop. We sold the shop. My wife had always wanted to be a qualified primary school teacher. We enrolled at university. This also gave her something to focus on and stopped the mind wandering. Chemo is hard, but this was the drive to get out of bed and to keep going. After three years she qualified and was given her own class.

Well before we started losing the battle with breast cancer my wife wrote future birthday cards for her daughter till she was 21. This was hard, but so rewarding and another box ticked. I never asked how are you feeling? I saw my role was to support and create a positive environment for everyone, as this would be the best way to beat this disease.