- Question from Rob: My way of dealing with my wife's breast cancer is to learn as much as I can about it. But my wife doesn't seem to want to know anything. She just wants to do whatever the doctor says, without asking any questions. How can I get her to be less passive?
- Answers - Marc Silver Different patients have different styles, and everyone copes differently. I heard of one woman who deputized her husband and sister to ask questions for her. They even went to one information-gathering appointment without her. Before a doctor's visit, you might ask your wife if she has any questions she wants to ask. You can write them down and remind her gently of those questions at the visit. I've also learned in researching my book that some patients don't want information and want to do what the doctor says, and that's how they cope with their breast cancer.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. If you go to the doctor with your partner, you should rehearse beforehand how much each of you will say, or if your wife wants you to say anything at all. You don't want her to feel inadequate or criticized when you start prompting her to say certain things. It can feel embarrassing, or she might feel inadequate if you overstep your realm. The whole idea is to empower the woman who's dealing with breast cancer in that setting, and not to diminish her. A good conversation about your plan of action ahead of time can make this possible.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Family and Loved Ones featured Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2004.
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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