CSN Login
Members Online: 21

Good emotional support for an emotional supporter?

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

Hi everyone. Like many of you, my partner means the world to me. Her father has just been diagnosed with cancer after 6 years of being free of prostate cancer. I know so little about cancer, but I do know a second appearance is quite damning.

I want to be the best partner I can be for her. It seems there are buckets of opinions for how to support a direct loved one through cancer, but I want to know how best to support a supporter. To make things particularly tricky, her and I will be long distance for a month (AUS<->US).

To all of you out there who have had a loved one go through this ordeal, what would you have appreciated from your partner? What can I do? What must I do? What must I never do?

Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

My advice is the same I have been given (My wife has BC).....when she needs to talk, listen, when she needs to cry, hold her. Let her know that you are there with her in this, stand beside her, behind her, and in front of her.
A relationship is 50/50, some times 60/40, and in our case as caregivers 80/20 or more. Understanding when she cant be there for or with you, and when she is down, do the special little things that she would appreciate.
Wish I could do or say more. Good luck and need anything just ask or email


Posts: 5
Joined: May 2010

I want to say how I admire both of you for being there for your partners and not being grievious about it. I know it must be hard for you but to love a person so much as you two love your wife and girlfriend and truly want to be there for them is very inspirational. Its good to hear for I don't have that and truly wish I did right now. I wish the best for both of you and your partners and continue to stay strong. I'm proud of you both.

Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

Thank you...I am doing what I need to do to help her fight.
I hope that you do have some type of local support, this board is great and I love everyone for the advice, information, careing, and encouragement I have recieved.
If you need anything just ask, everyone is here to help the best we can.

Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

Do not tell her to be strong and think positive. It will either depress, upset or annoy her.

Feel free to hug her at any time.

If you're not there, you could send flowers. She wouldn't have to tend them if they were in a vase or in florist's foam and they'd be a reminder that you care about her. (Don't send a plant; it will be something else she has to tend and if it wilts, she'll feel bad.)

If you're away, call and let her talk. If there's a large time difference, remind her she can call when it's the middle of the night her time; that is sometimes the worst time for caregivers and it's comforting to have someone you can talk to then.

If you both feel comfortable about it, boot her out of the house for a while and sit in for her as caregiver. YOu may have to shove her out the door with strict orders not to do errands, but it will be a good thing for her (if you can accomplish that).

Offer to do errands for her like going to the bank or the grocery store or the pharmacy. She'll thank you for it.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2010

You have all given so freely of your most valuable currency, your time, for my benefit. The people on this forum are truly generous. I can only offer my most sincere thanks in return. The price you paid to write those words is surely of far less value than what they are to me and through association; my partner and those immediately around us. This is a new and scary chapter for me, I thank you for brightening the pages.


Barbara53's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

My dad died of cancer 8 years ago, and one of the best things my guy did during Dad's illness was to tell me to "just go." There was never pressure to stay home and attend to everyday life, and I really appreciated the freedom to go.

Now that I'm caring for Mom, it makes my day to find short supportive messages from home on my cellphone when I'm on caregiver duty. I think the partner walks a fine line between providing freedom to go and maintaining a lifeline to normalcy. Good luck. As the song says, when something is wrong with my baby, something is wrong with me.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2015 © Cancer Survivors Network