Just knowing you are there can mean so much to a loved one with prostate cancer. Whether you’re next to him at the doctor’s office or just bringing him a cup of coffee, your support can be a great comfort during a scary time.
In fact, men with prostate cancer who are in a relationship manage side effects more easily and are less distressed by urinary problems, according to a UCLA study. Here’s how you can help your man:
Get the facts. Gathering info can be overwhelming for both of you. Make it easier to grasp by seeking the info that’s relevant to your loved one’s situation now.
Be an appointment buddy. As long as he consents to it, accompany your loved one to doctors’ appointments. Take along a notebook in which you’ve jotted down your questions (see the pull-out section in the center of this guide to help you get started), and write down the answers so you can discuss them together later. Find out about the potential side effects so you can better help him address them.
Help keep things organized. Create a master file or folder with all the documents related to your loved one’s prostate cancer—lab results, insurance information, notes you take during doctor visits, etc. Having all the info at your fingertips eliminates unnecessary hassles.
Take off the pressure—with his okay. Ease his mind by handling the items he usually manages but is currently unable to—like car maintenance, yard care, bill paying. Ask first, though—he may want to continue his regular routine as much as he can.
Keep the mood light. Little things—like watching a favorite TV show, enjoying a great meal or spending time with family or friends—can help your loved one stay upbeat during a trying time. Go with his energy though, and don’t force activities when he’s tired or not in the mood to participate.
Anticipate his new needs. For example, if your loved one is having urinary problems, sit at the back of the movie theater or book an aisle seat on a plane.