“Stop talking and listen to your wife saying how much cancer sucks,” says Marc Silver, author of How To Be a Breast Cancer Husband. He answers questions you could be too scared to ask.
How do I deal with the news?
Your wife needs husbandly support. The worse thing you can do is go into denial. It may be a human reaction, but it’s a selfish one. None of us want to become caregivers but if your wife is feeling lonely and bereft, she needs comfort from the one she loves.
How do we tell the kids?
If there is the slightest bit of uncertainty, wait to be sure before you break the news. Lay out the facts to them but place more emphasis on the good prognosis. Kids can tell if you’re lying so be honest with them. Have a weekly update with them on the situation.
What do I do when she goes bald?
A man doesn’t expect his wife to have a shiny scalp. Many women find it harder to lose their hair to chemo than breasts to surgery. A bald head is an instant cancer giveaway, the size of her cleavage isn’t. Your wife should be ok to walk around the house without her wig. If you’re a Star Trek fan, tell her you now love her even more bald.
Can we have ‘chemo’ sex?
Can we have sex during chemo is an awkward question to ask an oncologist. It’s possible to maintain intimacy during chemo. The loss of physical touch is a huge loss and if you pull back she’ll think you no longer find her attractive. There are other ways of being connected intimately.