Jun 302010

Here’s a very important piece I happened across in today’s Oz. Most unlike the Oz, I know, but from time to time politics must be seen to take a backseat to more important societal issues and I tip my hat to the editors.

Breast Cancer, or indeed, any form of the insidious disease, must by definition have tremendous impacts on a sufferer’s psyche. As the partner of an individual who was diagnosed with a triple negative breast tumour in August last year, I can attest to how the disease and it’s horrifying treatment regime can impact on the afflicted, both physically, and mentally. I could easily go into long-winded definitions of what I mean, based on what I’ve witnessed first hand, but that would be unfair and invasive of another’s privacy. Suffice to say, that when one is confronted with one’s own mortality, by a branch of medical science which openly admits it has no answers and very, very little understanding of the disease they treat, the fear factor is overwhelming. ‘Am I going to die?’ must seem like an ever-recurring question. To those of us not afflicted, such a question might seem silly. Of course we’re going to die, but none of us knows when or how. To be confronted with the ‘how’ and have the ‘when’ suddenly accelerated into one’s face has to be terribly daunting.

I’ll simply say this. Had my partner been offered proper psychiatric counselling at the outset of her diagnosis, with ongoing consultation throughout the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, I’d like to think our marriage would still be in one piece. As it stands today, apparently we’re separated & living under the same roof, with her believing I wasn’t supportive enough, understanding enough despite my being there with her all the way, at every treatment or appointment I could manage. It might be because I’m male & absolutely hopeless at understanding females, as all we males are constantly told, or maybe it’s due to my innate desire throughout adversity to keep things as ‘normal’ – whatever ‘normal’ is – as they can be despite both people’s world’s being totally devastated.

Whatever it is that I didn’t do or say or partake in, I’m absolutely certain that having toxic chemicals pumped into your body, and severe 3rd degree burns incurred from radiation, not to mention surgery whilst the regime doing these things to you can’t explain itself or give the answers you want, has to have deleterious impacts on a person’s state of mind & self. If your significant other is going through what mine has just been through, make sure & certain that some form of psychiatric help is made available. You may not be able to force a horse to drink, but at least having water has to be a better start.

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