“When your wife is fighting a life-threatening disease, you want to be at the top of your game,” writes Marc Silver in Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (And Yourself) through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Beyond.
Marc’s wife, Marsha Dale, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. He was a true partner, supporting Marsha as honestly and faithfully as he could—feeling his way at every step of the process. His motto: “Shut up and listen.” To save other husbands the stress and confusion he faced, Marc, a journalist with more than 30 years experience, wrote an excellent book that was my own husband's guide.
In a blog post on caregiving on breastcancer.org, Marc writes:
I was my wife’s strategic adviser at doctor’s appointments, taking notes and reminding her of questions she wanted to ask (but never asking for her). I was her lover, reassuring her that even with a bald head, she was beautiful (and she was!). I was her supply sergeant, dashing out to find ginger candies she craved on a cold winter’s night. I was her confidant, listening to her honest emotions and fighting the urge to say, “Cheer up honey!” when all she wanted to do was talk about how much cancer sucks.
So today, I offer tribute to all the Marcs out there—the husbands, lovers, partners, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, parents, ministers—who walk with us down the breast cancer path. We all need, in some form or another, an adviser, lover, supply sergeant, and confident. And those who step up to the plate to stand by us when we need them, who hide their own fears as they try to quell ours, who strengthen us when our spirits are limp—you are a blessing. And you are blessed.