[ Inglese] Care Partner Support: Working Together As a Couple

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Topics include: Care Partners

How do you keep your marriage, family and work life together when your spouse has cancer? On location at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Myeloma Institute, Patient Power Host, Andrew Schorr, interviews multiple myeloma survivor and patient advocate, Stephanie Holmberg, and her husband, Lee.  The Holmbergs share their story on “keeping it the same” for their marriage, their social life, their family,and their faith.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Andrew Schorr here with Stephanie and Lee Holmberg from Edmond, Oklahoma.  Stephanie's been living a number of years now diagnosed at age 35 with myeloma, two young children.  I want to talk to you both for a second about working as a couple in myeloma. So, Lee, what—how do you support your wife in dealing with what's been a terrifying diagnosis for both of you?

Lee Holmberg:

I support her with faith and love. That's basically my start. As a chiropractor I—as a sole proprietor I have to unfortunately be at my office, or we don't pay for medical bills, so her mother has stepped up to be the main primary care for her, and as I can be at home for the kids and do my job.  And then just be for her—be there with her.  

Andrew Schorr:

So how do you able—how are you able to work as a couple?  I mean, you have a marriage, too, and yet you have the overlay of myeloma.  So how do you do that?  How do you work at marriage yet work… 

Lee Holmberg:

Try and keep it the same.

Stephanie Holmberg:

Yeah.

Lee Holmberg:

I don't think we have… 

Stephanie Holmberg:

We haven't changed at all.

Lee Holmberg:

I don't think we ever sit there and look at each other like this is going to change us. 

Stephanie Holmberg:

Yeah.

Lee Holmberg:

I think we just go about our day.

Stephanie Holmberg:

I mean, we still keep our social life and…

Lee Holmberg:

Go to movies, go out to eat. We try to hang out with friends that are more supportive of our issues.  Obviously she—her nightlife is probably not what it used to be because of the drugs. They just fatigue her, so we got to—we want to be around friends that understand that if we're leaving at 9 o'clock and they're still going to stay out and hang out, that they're not going to shun away from us.  So—but as far as us, I don't think we've ever changed.  

Stephanie Holmberg:

Hmm?mm. 

Andrew Schorr:

And as parent to be positive for your kids, how do you do that?

Lee Holmberg:

Well, I think at first we were a little leery of telling the—throwing the C word around—and I mean cancer, not cure—just because of all of things that people take from the word cancer. So as our kids are a little young, I think we've just held that away, just—they know Mommy is—has a bone disease, and we've just tried to show them that you have faith, you pray, you—and you just do the things you got to do. 

Stephanie Holmberg:

And I try to stay as involved in school as I can.  I was my daughter's schoolroom teach—school room mom, homeroom mom last year, which probably wasn't the best idea with my immune system, but I—she really wanted me to do it, and I couldn't tell her no.  So I'm up at their school a lot.  I think that shows them that mom's not just at home sick all the time.  You know, I can't make another excuse today of 

Lee Holmberg:

We don't want this to define us.

Stephanie Holmberg:

No.

Lee Holmberg:

We just try to act as normal as normal can be. 

Stephanie Holmberg:

Right.

Andrew Schorr:

Well, you look pretty normal to me.

Stephanie Holmberg:

Well, thank you.  

Andrew Schorr:

I hope you have a long, long happy marriage. 

Lee Holmberg:

Thank you.  

Andrew Schorr:

And really celebrate those kids growing up.

Stephanie Holmberg:

We will. 

Andrew Schorr:

All the best to both of you.

Stephanie Holmberg:

We will.  Thank you so much.  

Lee Holmberg:

I appreciate you letting us come and do this. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on June 27, 2019