a selection from:
Man to Man: Surviving Prostate Cancer
by Michael Korda
continuing Part II - Surgery
Page 117 - (go to page 116)
''How could he do this to me?'' is what a lot of women must feel,
yet they cannot say it out loud, or even think it, without feeling
guilty. Fear — fear of the unknown, fear that he's going to die, fear
that even if he doesn't die he will emerge from all this a different person — breeds anger, as fear always does, made stronger in this case by
the fact that it can't be expressed.
It's strange, I think, that nobody has written about this side of
prostate cancer. Surgeons — mostly men, since urology remains a
largely male specialty — ignore it completely. In their view, the
woman's role is to be supportive during the surgery and caring after ward, part cheerleader, part Red Cross nurse. To judge by the books
on prostate cancer and the advice to patients handed out prior to
surgery, one would suppose that every marriage is a bedrock-solid
equal partnership, but in real life this is hardly always the case.
The truth is that prostate cancer inevitably involves the most difficult and frequently unresolved areas of a relationship. The direct
threat to a man's sexual identity and ability to perform can hardly fail
to have an effect on the relationship. Women must ask themselves
how impotence, if it results, will affect the relationship, how they will
feel about it themselves, how it will change things. Questions are
likely to include: ''What will he be like if he can't have sex?''; ''How
will I feel about that?''; ''How will we handle it?''
It goes without saying that men who can talk to their wives freely
about their innermost feelings and fears, not to mention their sexuality, will do better in facing the problems of prostate cancer than
those for whom this is not the case, but, frankly, how many people
can say that about their marriage? Mostly, these are exactly the subjects that men find it difficult to talk about and share with their
wives. The mere fact of being diagnosed as having prostate cancer
is not likely to transform the average husband into a sensitive, articulate man, eager to discuss his darkest fears at length with his
Selections reproduced at www.phoenix5.org with the kind permission of the author.
Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Success Research Corporation