Men's Cancer affects more than just the patient
Maggie Angus’ husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and the resultant treatment, treatment side-effects and post-treatment care caused her to seek others in similar situations to compare notes from the point-of-view of the “other half”. This has led to the establishment of a Gold Coast Partners-of-men-with-prostate-cancer Group. Maggie takes up the story below.
The diagnosis of my husband’s prostate cancer last year was the start of a journey neither he, nor I, were prepared for. In the last month he has also had to contend with the removal of a basal cell carcinoma and a melanoma.
While it is a traumatic time for men following diagnosis and coping with incontinence and erectile dysfunction following surgery, it can also be a confronting time for spouses and partners. I know it was for me. You need to deal with so many unexpected issues and half the time they just seem to creep up on you without you even realising they’re coming. Then you become aware that you don’t really know too much about the after effects of Prostate Cancer and just need someone to talk to. It has the potential to change the landscape of your relationship.
Never for a moment did I consider calling the men’s support network here on the Coast (sorry fellas), as I would not have felt comfortable discussing my concerns with another man. According to the author Marianne J. Legato “When men are stressed they tend to go it alone. By contrast, women respond to stress by reaching out to other people, especially women. They bond, they talk about the issues, and they recruit help.
For me that someone was a friend called Joy, whose husband is a prostate cancer survivor of 6 years. This led to me think that other women must be in a similar position of feeling alone, isolated and needing to share their feelings with someone.
Following a radio interview and several published articles, women started calling. There was obviously a need for a Prostate Cancer Support Group for Partners on the Gold Coast. This photograph shows several of the ladies at the Coffee Club at Australia Fair who met each other for the very first time with a common bond of being a partner to someone with Prostate Cancer. It proved to be a special time of sharing and getting to know one another.
Informal and friendly meetings are held on an ad hoc basis at a coffee shop near you! Call Kerry to arrange a coffee catch up which provides an opportunity for partners to discuss the affect Prostate Cancer has on their relationship, themselves and their family, in a friendly environment.
More formal meetings may occur in the future which may include information and education about Prostate Cancer and provide strategies that address caring for the carer and understanding for partners of men with Prostate Cancer.
A special thank you to all the men involved with Gold Coast Prostate Cancer Support and Information Network and other groups in Queensland who have offered their support, encouragement and advice on getting started. Also to the Cancer Council Queensland office in Southport for the use of their rooms and for their help and guidance in forming the Gold Coast Prostate Cancer Partners Support Group.
"We are each other's greatest gift"
Location of Meeting
Cancer Council Information Centre
Corner Short Street and Marine Parade
0412 717 710