Knowing how to deal with possible changes, open honest communication and being compassionate will help you both get through this challenging time.
Take some time to process
With any emotional news, it is understandable to experience a range of feelings from anger, fear, sadness, and even loss. Your relationship is now going through unknown territory. Remember you are not alone and together you can get through this. Take some time to come to terms with the changes and then allow each other to talk freely about worries and stresses.
Remember every year, millions of couples come face to face with a serious medical condition. Everyone is different when dealing with life-changing situations. It is okay if you don't know what to say, both take your time; listen, share, or spend quiet time together. Reassuring your partner that you love and support her or him will give them comfort.
Understanding the diagnosis together
It can be overwhelming seeing doctors and absorbing the information. It would be beneficial if your spouse can attend appointments with you and be another set of ears to listen, and to discuss the next steps. Having accurate and first-hand information about your partner's condition, treatment and needs will give you a better understanding of what they are going through.
It is important to give your spouse time to process their feelings, have quality time with their family and friends, and be able to decompress. We all need time to have some space, relax, and recharge. It also gives you a chance to talk to family / friends, exercise, and process your feelings.
You will get bad days but also remember you will get many good days. Try to take it day by day and stay in the present moment. It's easy to worry, get frustrated, angry and lash out. There are people out there that can relate to what you are going through. You can find the strength, encouragement and support right here - Join the LymphConnect community - register here to share your lymphoedema experiences, stories and top tips.
Ways to manage negative feelings
Coping with lymphoedema and making your relationship work can cause extreme pressure and fears. You can read more here about Understanding the range of emotions that you may feel having lymphoedema.
Common feelings you may have when dealing with lymphoedema in a relationship:
- Feeling undesirable
- Not in control or trapped in your body
- Feeling ashamed and embarrassed of symptoms
- Feeling guilty about not being equal to your partner
- Missing intimacy, emotional and / or physical
- Feeling guilty that your partner has to put up with you
- Constantly judging yourself as not being good enough
This is the time to remind yourself of all the positive and good about you. Talk to each other and express the gratitude of what you both have together, and as individuals.
Resources to help you both
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Don’t sit around and go through this in silence. Share your story. Doing that was a real eye-opener for me
Claudia Lymphoedema patient