Dear Abby: Earlier this year, my sister “Kathy” was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation, and will begin reconstructive surgery soon.
Because of her diagnosis she encouraged me to visit my doctor for an exam. When I did, they found a lump, which needs further testing. I have chosen not to share this with my family because my sisters and parents have been deeply affected by Kathy’s diagnosis, and I don’t want to cause them needless worry.
My husband is angry and he said that because Kathy is their favorite they wouldn’t be concerned anyway. I thought it was insensitive and cruel to me, but more to the point, I felt he wasn’t thinking about how upset my doing so might make my family. Am I wrong to feel this way?
Needs further testing
Certainly not. Your husband’s comment illustrates the importance of keeping one’s mouth firmly shut if one can’t think of something helpful or supportive to say. It almost appears that he is angry at you for the questionable test result.
I can’t blame you for not wanting to upset your already stressed family at this point, but if more testing confirms that you, too, have breast cancer, I think it’s important that you let them know — especially your sisters, who might want to be screened sooner than later.
I hope your husband’s apparent inability to support you emotionally during this difficult time is an aberration, but if it’s not, you will need to find support elsewhere.