- Question from Summer: My husband is very down at the moment and I don't have the energy to pep him up because I am using all my energy to keep myself together. What could help him?
- Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. I would encourage him to continue with the activities that have traditionally helped him—getting together with friends, or playing sports, for example. If these coping mechanisms are failing him right now, he needs to be encouraged to seek professional help. He could start by speaking to his wife's medical team to see what they have to suggest. I've just begun a spouse and partner group, and it's been a wonderful opportunity to give these men a safe place where they can share their feelings without worrying that they're burdening their wives or girlfriends. It's often helpful for a patient's spouse to just talk to the medical oncologist. It is too burdensome for the patient to be the "cheerleader" and keep the whole family afloat.
- Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. Sometimes husbands feel very powerless, and it's not a comfortable feeling. If they can be told where to get information, they can feel that they are participating a little more. The website www.breastcancer.org is one place where husbands can get reliable, expert information about what's happening with their wives.
- Diane Thompson I've talked with many women who don't understand why their husbands are so frustrated. I often talk to them about the wonderful ability their husband may have to fix things. If a man is used to fixing the sink when it leaks, for example, it can be very frustrating not to be able to "fix" the person he loves. Therefore, I really encourage husbands to look for the support that we've just talked about.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Overcoming Depression featured Rosalind Kleban, M.S.W., Diane S. Thompson, M.D., and Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answering your questions about medication and lifestyle changes that can ease depression along with to put hope, fun, and pleasure back into your life during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2003.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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