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How to Find Emotional Support When Your Partner Has A Cancer Diagnosis


I consider myself to be a spiritual person. I love crystals, incense, candles and oracle cards.  Each Monday I draw an oracle card for reflection. This week I drew the "Orphaned Card". I had to sit and reflect on what this card was trying to tell me, I’m not an orphan. In fact I am surrounded by so many loving and caring family and friends.

 

Then I realised, there’s a sense of loneliness that you can't explain when your partner has been diagnosed with cancer, especially one as rare as Rods, Cardiac Angiosarcoma. Whilst all your friends and family are extremely supportive, there’s a slight disconnect now from the relationships you had with them all before. 

 

You try to carry on relationships as best you can, but at times you feel yourself slipping away and gravitating toward a new group of people. A group that no one really wants to belong to and yet here we all are.


It is with these people that we feel we can be truly vulnerable.  We often try to shelter our family and friends from what we are feeling and how we are doing.  I talk about this all the time, they love us so much and watching us go through this cancer journey, is traumatic for them.

 

I had one of my best friends say to me recently; I think you forget that I’m here for you.  I told her that I don’t forget, I’m just trying to protect her from my sadness and fear.  So, I had to sit with this knowledge, that I’m protecting my family and friends from my true feelings. This is where it becomes hard when most of my friends hold spiritual beliefs themselves.

 

You see in our quest to hold our vibration high; many people believe if we think negative thoughts we will start to manifest them.  I believe differently. I believe if we do not express our negative thoughts, then they start to manifest in other areas of our lives, including illness and dis-ease. But sometimes when I’ve wanted to talk to my friends about how I’m feeling, especially on a bad day, it upsets them, or they end up feeling down and sad.  So, I’m learning to hold back on what I’m really feeling and have found the following useful for helping me find emotional support whilst supporting Rod through his cancer diagnosis.


Using a journal to self-reflect on the cancer diagnosis


Using your journal is an excellent way of releasing what is in your mind and once it’s down on paper you can separate yourself from it. It gives me the opportunity to read it back at a later stage and see how far I've come, how much I've grown through this cancer journey and my journal allows me a safe space to be completely honest with myself without fear of judgement. If you don't know how to get started with a journal, just write what your feeling in this moment. I try not to overthink it, but then I do ask myself some self reflection questions such as:


  • What is it about this moment that makes me feel this way?

  • How can I support myself through these feelings I am experiencing right now?

  • If I was my best friend, what would I say to myself right now?

  • What is one thing I need right now?



Cancer diagnosis support groups


Support groups are highly beneficial.  I follow a few support groups on Facebook, but I only really interact in a couple that are specifically related to Rod’s particular cancer diagnosis.  I find this is more helpful for me as we ask specific questions, share our stories, celebrate our successes and support each other through the low times. On the other had though, too many support groups can be overwhelming and in my opinion, I would recommend limiting the amount you join.


"Human connections are deeply nurtured in the field
of shared story " - Jean Houston

Connect with others whose partners have a cancer diagnosis


The other thing I’ve found is to talk to someone who is going through a similar journey to your own.  I have a couple of people in my circle that share this in common.  It is with these people that I can be completely open with, without the fear of judgement. There is a sense of security in the feeling of connection. Connecting with others especially in person, gives us a sense of feeling validated and heard. Our feelings matter without feeling guilty of upsetting another.



Vulnerability Takes Courage


Being vulnerable takes courage and it can be difficult to share your most inner thoughts, but as I said to my husband Rod the other night when we were talking about needing to be honest with others who ask how he's doing that not everyone knows how to handle our thoughts.  Many struggle with how to respond or are fearful of saying the wrong thing.  This is something I will talk about in my next blog “How to support someone who is living their life alongside a cancer diagnosis”.

 

In the meantime, I am trying to hold onto the relationships that I value most and am so grateful for the family and friends that I do have in my life. If


Living Our Lives Alongside A Cancer Diagnosis
Rod & Christine Keep

you are in a similar situation, please know you are never alone and I am always here to chat.

 

Much love ~ Chris x

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