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how can i help my girlfriend cope

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2001

My girlfriend who now lives out of state just had an emergencey mastectomy, and is going through the first of her treatments starting tomorrow. She is going into this with an extreme negative atitude and while i am on the phone with her i try to be as positive as possible with her-but she is seeiming so distant now; saying that we wont have a future now and that she is worried that I will not love her due to the fact of her appearance now, even though i have assured her that I am more concerned with her health more than anything. I have offered her to move here with me so I can assist her with her treatments if need be-but I am worried that i am going to lose her because of this-She feels she would more or less be a burden on me----women can you offer me any type of advice with this matter?

Posts: 292
Joined: Oct 2000

Well,you must love her very much. I know of alot of people who have gone through what we have and their husbands/boyfriends have deserted them. We are the same person we always were only minus one less body part to wash! Your girlfriend will go through a depressed period, especially if you are not with her, but stay strong and positive for her.She will probably need constant reassurance that you love and need her. It took me almost a year to be comfortable with my appearance in front of my husband. I used to get upset when we watched tv and there was the usual buxom skinny blond, and here i am overweight from chemo, only one boob and bald. But now i dont care. I am all real and still kicking. I would suggest going through some of the older posts ,finding the good ones and printing them off for her to read.She has to realize that she is still a strong ,beautiful woman who has alot to give to the world and to you. Chemo can be tough, I know i always felt like a burden to my husband, but then he said to me one day" You coddle me and wait on me hand and foot if I have a sniffle, so now it is my turn to look after you so you can get strong again to look after me!" Try to make her realize that you are only doing for her what she would insist on doing for you. Are you going to see her before or after she starts chemo? She will probably loose her hair, and well, you know how women are with their hair!! When you see her for the first time she will be watching your eyes and your face very closely for any signs of pity or rejection, let your love for her shine through your eyes and in your smile as you hug her and tell her how much you love and need her.
My husband uses humour to keep me going. he holds me and lets me cry my heart out when I have to, but when i am just feeling blue, he makes me laugh, he does not let me get down in the dumps. When I first had my mastectomy I was afraid of what it would do to my marriage, things were rocky alot of the time, but one day he came to my hospital room with a basin of warm water and soap, closed the curtains and gave me a sponge bath and the look of love on his face and in his eyes put my fears to rest. We are so much closer now, I thank God everyday for someone as understanding and loving as my husband, and my sons. I hope that in some way I have helped. Keep in touch with us and we will help you both through this. If you want a mans point of view, let me know and I will put my husband on. Stay strong, God Bless and love to you both.

Hugs from Tiger

Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

Dearest peep,
Unfortunately this feeling of being a burden and not be loved because of cancer and missing breasts is the first step in acceptance. I have had a double mastectomy never thinking I would morn their loss. I didn't have an attachment to my physical being so thought nothing of it. I wanted them both gone at the onset of my cancer. I too had to get over it and have managed to avoid more surgery, so no reconstruction for me. I couldn't help but think I was going to die. In one case I probably should of. In your girlfriends case it appears she is in shock from the whole experience. I on the other hand seemed to just resign to the FACTS and was determined to get through all I had to. What ever that was, I only prayed I had the strength to endure it all. I learned really quick what I had control over and the things I did not. Life became so much clearer to me. This is a hard one to swallow but some how we all seem to work through the things we are faced with. This site is proof of that. (If only you all could know how you have helped me.) :) You are a good friend and she too will realize this. All you can do is be there, more often than not, just to listen.
Best to you and your girlfriend.

Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2001


I, too, am sorry to hear of your girlfriend's diagnosis and surgery. Unfortunately, I cannot give you any more advice than....DO NOT GIVE UP ON HER. She may not realize it just yet, but she really needs the support and love of someone like yourself.....NOW more than ever. Have you been to see her since all of this has taken place? Perhaps you should go to her for a visit and a long talk as soon as you can swing it. Talk out the WHOLE situation. She obviously needs to see the love in your eyes--I mean, the phone is great, but seeing the love in your eyes, even after the surgery might really help. I, too, felt so much shame about my appearance after my surgery that I wasn't too sure about how my husband would react to my "new" look. What really helped me, though, was the fact that he was there in the hospital with me when the surgeon changed my bandages before I went home. I was a bit uneasy about him being there, but I left if to him as to if he stayed to watch or not. He saw me before I could even think of looking at myself. I will always remember looking into his eyes as this was being done and having him look back and tell me that he could live with it. I am very small chested, so I don't really look much different with my clothes on--just don't wear anything form fitting right now. Enough of me (if you want to know more about my beginnings here, go back and read my post from 2/20), though. Go to her--let her see the love in your eyes for HER. I would reitterate the advice of the others---just be sure that you try not to let your initial eye contact go to her bustline. Gaze into her eyes and let her see the love in yours. Give her a plan to have her move to be with you--living arrangements, doctors, employment, etc. My husband wasn't too happy when I told him I wanted him to make some of the decisions---he thought I was turning all submissive on him!! (That's another story, though.) I just told him that I wanted him to TAKE CARE OF ME---I was very scared. This was even before we knew I had cancer---I told him this before I went to the hospital to have what we believed to be a cyst removed. I guess what I am trying to say is that perhaps what your girfriend really wants (and needs) is to have you take care of her but she feels guilty about it having to be because of cancer.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. If you truly love, her, be patient and keep letting her know you are there for her. I do hope that I have helped you in some way. Please feel free to contact me through this site or privately through the e-mail here. I would be most happy to help in any way that I can. Regardless, please know that you and your girlfriend are in my thoughts and prayers. Seek His guidance through this---HE won't let you down. My prayers are for the Lord's loving arms to hold you close and give you peace, comfort, and strength as you face this disease together (hopefully). Don't give up on each other and on your love. Let us know how things are going.


Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2001

Honey I'm trying.....I really am. Just give me some time to try and get over the worst of this please....Just let me keep feeling your smiles when we talk.....I ask you to bare with me........question is...how long are you willing to wait??

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