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Husbands, SOs, Partners Husbands, SOs, Partners

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Unread 01-17-2012, 12:19 AM
Husbands, SOs, Partners

So. How much have you tried to involve your partner in your upcoming surgery and possible post-op issues? What has their response/attitude been?

It's not that my husband doesn't care or isn't interested, but he's not really asking any questions. He's very British and stoic; that may be part of the issue, but perhaps he's waiting for me to take the lead here and - I don't know - hand him a booklet or something.

In a lot of cases, I think the whole topic of our "lunch", as my husband quaintly refers to my workings, is so alien that they simply don't know what to ask. He had never even witnessed a pelvic exam (previously married and 2 kids) until I insisted he join me one time, in my efforts to involve him in my healthcare decisions. While he wasn't traumatized, he didn't realize how much more complicated we girls are.

My mother, of a different generation, feels that this (periods, menopause, hysterectomies) isn't stuff men want or need to know about. I feel strongly that he should at least know what is happening, and prepare himself for how it may - or may not- change our lives.

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Unread 01-17-2012, 01:24 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

I am not married, and my sweetheart lives about 120 miles away, so we only see each other every few weeks. We have been together just over a year. He and I have talked about my upcoming surgery, and about my concerns about both my health and about how it will change things in our intimate life. (Of course, I did ask my doctor about that!)

My dear one has been really supportive of me, giving me lots of hugs and holding me while I cry. I am scared about the surgery, and about that I might have cancer, as well as about how this might affect my kinda new relationship. I did tell him that the doctor said that things will be different "down there" and that it will be like starting all over again figuring out what will be good. My doctor said no sex for 12 weeks!!, to let things heal well. My sweetie said that we would work it out together, and that in fact it might be fun to "start over"

At first I was not sure that I wanted him to come to hospital when I was having surgery, but I decided that him being there would help me be brave, and that while he cannot fix things by making me healthy, he can share in this huge transition by being there for me, and letting me hold his hand before I go. He will be here tomorrow night, my surgery is this Thursday.

I know that not every man might want all the details, and that different guys have different ways of being supportive. If your husband is not comfortable going to the doctor, maybe sharing the hysterectomy booklet, or even letting him look at the sections here that are for men, which seem to describe well what to expect. This is major major surgery and changes our lives
Unread 01-17-2012, 01:40 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

Indigo: Sounds like you've got a real keeper!! Glad to hear he's being so supportive and sweet.

There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe all the wonderful things my husband is, but brilliant, funny, attentive, and thoughtful are a few of them. We've been together for 12 years (married for 1) and he's seen my whole progression from peak-of-health 36 to slowly-starting-to-decline 48. He's held my hand through a lot of the procedures I've had to go through, but this is way different.

He uses humor when he's scared, and while I know he understands that this is serious, I'm not sure he understands how this will impact HIM. He's very much a "cross that bridge when we get to it" kind of man. Perhaps the fact that I am NOT scared, am in fact very excited for my hyst., is allowing him to downplay his concerns.
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Unread 01-17-2012, 04:44 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

Fish, it sounds like your husband and mine have a lot in common. Mine is the type that unless he knows how to fix it, he doesn't want to hear about it. My health issues are something he can not fix so it makes him angry and he shuts off. I don't know why certain men think everything is like a lightbulb.. either it works or it doesn't and if it doesn't, climb a ladder and put a new one in. They don't comprehend that sometimes not everything is as easy as changing a lightbulb. To them though, if it is harder, then they don't want to hear about it.

My husband has run the gamut of emotions. He either is very supportive one day and wants to wait on me hand in foot or other days (usually my bad pain days) he is ready to tear mine and anyone else's head off who comes near him. He is frustrated by the situation and doesn't know what to do to make it better.

I would continue to press yours to learn more just so he can understand what you do need. If he focuses on what he *can* do, it may help him for more in control of the situation and more than just a bystander. Educate him on things that will help and tangible things he can do. Instead of saying "I want you to support me emotionally" tell him "It would be nice if you could make me a cup of tea and maybe rub my back". Those are things that he can do to help and that won't cause him to have to work to hard to figure it out. Tell him you would appreciate him gathering some of your favorite movies for post op healing. Or help you pick out some comfy post op clothes and nighties. Involve him so that after you can thank him. "This robe is so snuggly. It means so much more that you helped pick it out. Thanks hon! I couldn't have done this without you" Trust me, in the long run, it is easier to tell them concrete factual things that they can do. Pose it as, after surgery, I am going to be very sore so maybe if you could help me set up a box of easy to reach items, that would be great. Or like "My staples are going to be very itchy and sore, but I have heard it's better to put ice packs on them. Do you think you can be in charge or making sure I have ice packs ready to go in the freezer?" Involve him by stating what is going to happen and what he can do to help. For your appointments tell him that it is a lot to take in and it's easier if he is there to listen as well so that if you miss something or forget to ask questions, he can be an extra set of ears. I make mine go with because after, I tend to pour over in my head everything that was said and then go "Did she say this, or did she say that?" and he knows because he listened better than I did.

I know I have posted a lot, but this honestly is what works for me and my hard headed spouse. I don't think it is that they don't want to know or help, I think they just don't know what to do even if they did get involved.
Unread 01-17-2012, 09:58 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

My boyfriend and I have been together for three years and I really involved him in every aspect of this. My problems started just before I met him but remained pretty sporatic for the first two years of our relationship. Over the past year things really became bad and I lived in constant pain, every day, for over a year. I went to all my local doctor appointments by myself but I never hesitated to talk to him, in depth, about my diagnosis, treatment, and how I was feeling. It helped me to talk about it and it helped him to understand. He’s a cop and he’s very stoic so he never really had much to say but he would listen for as long as I needed to talk. He never tried to fix me, just listened. It was really wonderful. He would also google my different problems when I wasn't around so he actually became quite educated.

One time, I apologized to him for how much I would talk about everything and he just told me that it helped him understand how I was feeling. He said ‘if you don’t tell me, I don’t know’. We never once had a fight or disagreement during that time and I really think being that open with him helped us stay on the same page with each other. He knew why I was irritable, or tired, or grumpy, or whatever and he never took it personally.

When it came time to make the decision to see the specialist and have the hysterectomy I shed a lot of tears in front of him. Neither of us have kids so it was a huge decision. In the end, he traveled with me out of state to see the specialist, stayed in the room during my exam and ultrasound (I sobbed the whole time from pain), made me laugh while I was doing the bowel prep, spent the night in the hospital with me after the surgery, dressed me when I couldn’t dress myself, and pushed my wheelchair through the airport while carrying all our bags when we traveled home. The only time I’ve ever seen his eyes well was when he kissed me goodbye as they wheeled me into the OR. It was hard for him but he was wonderful and strong for me. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through it without him.

I know all men are different but having such open and honest communication between us really helped make this whole process much easier for me and for us in general. It’s how our relationship works, it might not work for someone else but that’s my experience. Best wishes!
Unread 01-17-2012, 10:40 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners


It is good that you are trying to find ways to involve your husband in your health. You might ask him if he would like to try the website for men:

This site is amazing for answering questions that husbands, boyfriends, partners may have regarding the entire process. Maybe the two of you could sit down together and check it out!!!

to you!!!
Unread 01-17-2012, 10:53 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners


Thanks so much for the link! I'll have him check it out!

I hope I didn't give the impression that my husband is disconnected from this whole event - he isn't - it's just foreign territory for him and involves blood and girl-guts. He still has nightmares about the delivery doctor making him cut the umbilical cord of his firstborn. So as much as I want to involve him, and as much as I know that he'll step up to the plate in every way, I'm also trying not to traumatize him with TMI.

Unread 01-17-2012, 11:05 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

Originally Posted by fishchick View Post

Thanks so much for the link! I'll have him check it out!

I hope I didn't give the impression that my husband is disconnected from this whole event - he isn't - it's just foreign territory for him and involves blood and girl-guts. He still has nightmares about the delivery doctor making him cut the umbilical cord of his firstborn. So as much as I want to involve him, and as much as I know that he'll step up to the plate in every way, I'm also trying not to traumatize him with TMI.

Isn't it funny how men get all freaked out when it comes to "girl stuff".

I hope he checks out the site and can learn more about what is going on, and what to expect!

Best of luck and lots of
Unread 01-17-2012, 11:15 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

Hee. "girl stuff". My darling Dad, the reincarnation of Ernest Hemmingway and most macho man you'd ever met, was father to three girls (god bless 'im) called it "female to your mother", but was always willing to make emergency tampon runs and gave each of us a diamond pendant with the advent of our first period. :-( I miss him. He totally honored women, guts and all.
Unread 01-17-2012, 11:17 AM
Re: Husbands, SOs, Partners

I am so thankful and grateful to my S/O of the last 2.5 years who has been with me as this situation went down hill. I started having issues with my health about a year into the relationship and he has been with me every step of the way. He is not sure exactly what is going on but understands his job is really making sure I make a speedy recovery.

What makes this even more special he is several years younger than me and is still loving me through all of it.

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