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Young Cancer Spouses
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
In most cases, the married couple will
talk some things out, maybe many things. But when
reality comes to pass, action is needed. This is
also where groups like Young Cancer Spouses can offer
support. In Karen’s case, she says the group gives
meaning to what she and Mark went through. “[It]
helps support those who come after me on the journey of
being a Young Cancer Spouse.”
Expectations For The Unexpected
Greg Johnson, Founding Director of Young
Cancer Spouses, refers to his family as “the all
American family.” While after his wife Stephanie’s
diagnosis, they tried to remain so, there were many
things they didn’t expect.
Greg and Stephanie had been caregivers
for his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. While
they knew what a caregiver might be defined as in that
situation, Greg especially got an expanded view.
“I didn’t realize how lonely the job can be.”
People suddenly became afraid they were imposing
themselves. While their intentions were good, no
one seemed to know what move to make, including Greg.
“So we went for six months living in a bubble.”
Within the bubble, this couple found
that they did argue more, and problems took on a new
intensity. The fortunate balance was that they
made more time for one another, enjoying any time they
had, regardless of whether it was a chemotherapy day, or
a “good day.” As he puts it, “Live each day with
no regrets.” This is how they managed to tolerate
the increased tension, which included what and how much
to tell their children.
Luckily, he found the online group and
gained not only support, but eventually the mission that
led him to be Founding Director.
When roads diverge
Matt Herynk, Phd is a founding director
along with Karen and Greg. Matt’s wife was
interviewed several months prior to her passing on
October 6, 2007.
Kara noted that while Matt has spent
time researching cancer treatment on a professional
basis, they will have disagreements on how to proceed
with her treatment(s). It is one thing when both
spouses are uninformed about medical treatment.
Often, they can learn together, starting at the same
point (and sometimes still disagreeing).