Sunday, June 1, 2014

Friendship and Cancer

I would recommend Bonnie Draeger's book, When Cancer Strikes a Friend, for anyone looking to make a difference.  It's a great read--yet practical on every level.

Being a friend during cancer is never an easy task, and there are often questions and concerns that strike at the heart of friendship.

For men, especially, the book offers some wonderful options.  Outdoor excursions, movies, books . . . it's all here.  A great read.

As one friend noted:  "Always keep in mind what is most important, and don't try to do too much.  Remember:  Don't think that you have to do more than the friendship allows.  Just be there.  Show that you care."

Indeed . . . and none of us can forget that we may need to have the favor returned some day. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Statistics That Heal

One of the most staggering statistics related to cancer is this:  that more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the disease this year.  This is sobering . . . but glanced at from another vantage point it can also be inspiring to most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

After all:
1. Most women survive their breast cancer.
2. The 1.5 million represents all types of cancer.
3. They are not alone.

The latter reality can loom large for women as they begin the breast cancer journey.  Continue to remind that she is not alone in her fight.  This reassurance can be both uplifting and energizing.  Fighting a battle alone is never easy.  Fighting as a team is quite different.

Another noteworthy is that, overall, more men (nearly 1 out of 2) will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, while less women (1 out of 3) will receive the same news.  So, men can strong allies in the breast cancer fight.

Final stat:  men make a difference--always.

Keep this one in mind as you grow in your awareness and your support.  Keep these stats handy, and make sure she knows she is not alone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


There are many ways that husbands can support their wives through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.  And one of those ways is by walking in those events and gatherings supportive of breast cancer survivors and fundraising for a cure.  There are many organizations (a long list is available in the back of Husband's Guide to Breast Cancer) that raise funds, provide funds, or conduct research or support.

Chances are there are upcoming walks in your area--and, if your wife is at a stage where she can walk--you might make the journey with her.  Walking together will strengthen your relationship and offer a sense of solidarity.

Or, if you are the kind of personality who works well at gathering a team--try forming a larger group to walk with, or for, your wife.  These many friends and family members will have a huge impact.

Finally, don't forget that--even if you don't do a walk--you can still walk.  Walking is exercise.  Walking is healing.  Walking is hope.

Keep moving.   

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Grand Walk

Soon after my wife had achieved full recovery from her cancer surgery (with no chemo) she decided to celebrate by hiking the Grand Canyon from rim to rim (North to South).  She achieved this goal with the help of a good friend.  And, although, I didn't go along on that journey, I was there in spirit.

A few months later, however, I did take the walk with my wife at several cancer-related events.  There was a cancer "style show", a walk for a cure, and a large walk through the streets of Indianapolis for cancer survivors.  I was glad I participated in these, one and all.

Men can be of great support to their wives not only by participating in these events, but more importantly, by walking the walk every day.

During those first months of full recovery, while a woman is working up to full strength, men can lend their greater strength and effort to a variety of projects.  Some of these could be household needs, while others might be work-related or even family-related.

And, of course, if you do have an opportunity to take that Grand Canyon walk, and if your wife is up to it . . . I'd highly recommend making that journey, too. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Pink Ribbon

Sometimes the smallest expressions can mean the most:  a red rose in a vase, a handwritten note left beside the bed, a cup of coffee.  And when it comes to offering support to a woman journeying through breast cancer, all of these gifts can, and more, can speak volumes.

But men can also wear a pink ribbon.  Wearing the ribbon not only represents a sign of solidarity and awareness, but can often be the source of conversation and, in many instances, additional support.  Likewise, wearing the pink ribbon can serve as a reminder . . . men often find themselves thinking about their wives when they wear one.

Amazingly, men also discover that there are many others (in the workplace, in the neighborhood) who have also helped wives through breast cancer.  It's a kind of club . . . not one we would prefer to belong to, but a type of fraternity of understanding, nonetheless.

Don't have a pink ribbon?  You'll have no trouble finding one.  Any cancer organization would be happy to send one to you . . . and your wife likely has one close at hand.

Think pink! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day

Men, if your wife is currently embracing her breast cancer journey (or even if she's now a breast cancer survivor), don't forget that Valentine's Day can be a very meaningful expression of your love and support.  Surprise her with flowers or candy or a special night out, or if you are the creative sort, write her a letter or a poem.

If you wife is currently in therapy or preparing for a surgery, special gifts for this Valentine's Day could include:

* A throw (to keep her legs warm in the hospital or at home)
* A sweater
* Some favorite magazines (that she doesn't subscribe to)
* New books

Use your imagination . . . but extend your support to let her know that you are with her through the storm.  Those small gifts will pay huge dividends when it comes to keeping her motivated and energized by love.  You will truly be her Valentine.

~Todd Outcalt

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

On Being a Support Partner

Need to know how you can help you wife through breast cancer?  Here's a quick video with some helpful tips.