Side by Side

 
The men of the PCCN Toronto support group meet twice a month. They come to share their stories, their fears and their successes.  An active group, PCCN Toronto sees between 30-40 men at their support groups Tuesday meetings. Tonight is unusual as there are over 50 men and the room is packed. As a woman I’m not allowed into these sessions, it’s strictly for the guys; they need a space to feel comfortable.

I’m ushered into a side room and introduced to the women. Side by Side is the counterpart to the men; they are the wives, girlfriends and partners to the men in the adjoining room.  These partners range in diagnosis – some men were newly diagnosed, others were living with the disease and others were survivors. As I take my place I listen as a woman describes the treatment that her husband decided to go through – HIFU, this sets of a flurry of questions – what were his numbers like? What doctor is he seeing? How did you decide to undergo the expense?

 Within this flurry I realized that the partnership is so often overlooked. We direct our efforts to talking to the men and making sure that they understand the research. But it is often the partners that are actively engaged in doctor’s appointments, taking notes and making sense of the messages. It’s the partner that listens to the fears and drives the road to recovery.  The women in this group were just as fearful as their partners regardless of the disease’s timeline; but their role was one of support and confidence. If they carried the badge of hope and belief then the men would as well.  

Here at Prostate Cancer Canada, (PCC), it’s our goal to look at the man not the disease; and as I walked out I realized that we need to really look at the partnership not just the man. Consider adding a women’s meeting to your support group night. Partnership is the key to survival.
Posted: 2011-10-06 4:57:13 PM
Filed under: PCC, PCCN, Prostate Cancer Canada, support


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