A Husband’s Perspective on Cancer

The diagnosis of breast cancer—or any cancer, for that matter—can be equally devastating for a spouse or loved one. And one man here at LifeWay knows about that.

We sat down with Bill Craig, director of publishing, to get his perspective on his wife’s journey with cancer. We hope his responses will help you as you walk down the same road with a spouse or loved one.

Bill, share with us a little bit about your story and about finding out that your wife, Sarah, had breast cancer. 

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Sarah and Bill with their granddaughter.

Sarah and I will celebrate our 35th Anniversary this January 1, and were high school sweethearts. We’ve been together for 39 years. We have one daughter, Nancy, and son-in-law, Chris, and two beautiful granddaughters Lilli and Emmy.

Sarah was diagnosed after she found a lump in her breast. The diagnosis was a difficult, shocking thing to hear, but just as disturbing was the news that Sarah’s cancer was genetic and our daughter had a 50/50 chance of having the same genetic mutation. It was a great relief to learn that this was one family trait Sarah did not pass down to Nancy.

What would say was the #1 thing Sarah needed most from you as she walked down this road?

Normalcy. . . more than anything else, Sarah needed me to treat her the same in the days after we learned of her diagnosis as I treated her the days and weeks before.  Sarah is a strong and resilient person—the last thing she wanted from me was to be treated as if she was sick or broken.

How did the experience impact your marriage?

I think our marriage has been strengthened through this experience—it has certainly drawn us closer together.

What did you learn about who God is through all of this?

One of the reasons we’ve been drawn closer together is because we’ve learned to trust God in the face of bad days along with good days. We learned together that God is in control and has a plan for us. We may not understand it, but we can trust Him no matter what comes our way. We also discovered how God provides comfort and support through His people, as our church and friends around the country prayed for us and supported us in so many ways.

What one piece of advice would you share with someone whose loved on is battling breast cancer?

I know Sarah would tell them to not allow their experience with cancer to define who they are, and I agree. Help them deal with the doctors, the treatments, the surgeries, and everything else—but remember, there’s still a lot of life to enjoy, people to love, and ministry and work to get done.

So what about you? If you’ve walked down this same road with a spouse or loved one who had cancer, what advice would you share? Tell us below.

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