I had no idea how I could help

"Victoria and I have been together since we were 17 and married for six years and although we both had demanding careers, we were at the point of really settling down and starting a family. It all started when my wife Victoria mentioned that something didn’t feel right in her left breast. Our doctor quickly referred us to a consultant who immediately sent Victoria for a scan and a biopsy. We were both called back into the consultant’s office and I noticed that a breast care nurse was also present. The doctor told us that they had seen something they didn’t like and this made me feel frightened, as you know when they use a phrase like this they are often trying to soften bad news. When the results of the biopsy came in they confirmed breast cancer and when I heard this my whole world fell apart, I was shocked and surprised and didn’t know what to feel. I wondered how I was going to help Victoria, I simply had no idea." 

Preparing for surgery and chemotherapy

"The doctor's told us that they wanted to carry out an operation to examine Victoria’s lymph nodes first, then she would undertake chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before having surgery to remove it. Before she started her chemotherapy course, Victoria and I went shopping for a wig and we tried to make it fun but I must admit that I really didn’t think that I would be doing something like this at our age."

Counselling at Breast Cancer Haven

"Victoria took the chemotherapy well, the after effects would hit her 24 hours later but she said with one of the treatments it was just like having flu with aching limbs. I felt terrible for her but she was remarkably sanguine and it was during this period, that we started visiting Breast Cancer Haven. Victoria benefitted from a whole range of therapies and for me the counselling gave me a chance to open up and expose my emotions. I think it’s a guy thing not to show emotion and although I was very close to and well supported by my parents, I didn’t want to upset them.

After Victoria had her breast surgery, the doctor told us we were free to get on with our lives. I was over the moon at this news. Going through something like breast cancer does put a huge strain on your relationship; you have to put things like ambition and dreams for the future on hold."

Look after yourself so that you can look after your partner

"Breast Cancer Haven offers you a chance to release your emotions and however much you think you may not need that, at least give it a try. I was sceptical before I came but the counselling was fantastic and at the time you don’t realise how mentally draining going through something like this is. Don’t be afraid to let out your emotions and look after yourself so that you can look after your partner. Breast Cancer Haven helped us to support each other much better. I would say to anyone who may be the partner of someone going through breast cancer, don’t be afraid to ask for help especially as Breast Cancer Haven really understands what you are going through and offer invaluable support."

If you or a loved one are affected by breast cancer, contact your local Breast Cancer Haven centre to access our free support services today