Breast Cancer Series Part Two; The Husbands
This year an estimated 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
It's a disease that wreaks havoc not only on the patient, but also on their family and their relationships.
Beyond the physical impact of losing a breast there is the emotional toll.
Many women worry about their body image and what their romantic partners might think.
Here is a husband's perspective.
Mike Sipics and Greg Gieringer will never forget the day their wives Deb and Chrissy were diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I had actually missed a couple of calls from her when I was at work," said Mike. "I could tell from her voice it was really bad news."
"We were shocked. You know, I mean, Two people in their 30's with cancer it's just crazy," said Greg.
Mike and Deb have been married 14 years. Greg and Chrissy are practically newlyweds at 3 years.
These guys won't lie to you. They say when they saw the results of the double mastectomy, it was a little shocking.
They say their wives were frightened about their future.
"She was pretty upset, you know, she thought that would affect me with my appeal of her as a woman," said Greg.
"You've lost your breast and they are as you say part of who you are as a woman," said Mike.
Even so, Mike and Greg knew the road ahead would be a hard one.
"I said, 'don't worry about it get better. Get that stuff out of you,'" said Greg.
"I still love you," said Mike. "We had been married 11 years at that point and I am not going anywhere."
Suddenly running the household and keeping the family afloat was a solo operation that fell on their shoulders.
Luckily family and friends stepped up to the plate, making meals and helping with the kids.
This is the advice Mike and Greg have for men who are in love women who have breast cancer.
"Be very supportive, because it's going to be an emotional roller coaster," said Greg.
"You are not the one that has to go through all of the physical aspects of it," said Mike.
"When you go through chemotherapy and you lose your hair and you are getting surgery, it's really troubling for the woman and you have to be there to try to steady them. Which can be hard because obviously it's no picnic for the man either but that's what the spouse is for."
For more information, go to the Lehigh Valley Health Network website.
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