"I said to Mary: 'I'm so sorry' because I knew how much this would change our lives," Berk said. "I knew what had happened to me and where we were heading." [from "The Comeback"]
My hat is off to Dr. Berk yet again.
My first thought after being told I had cancer was, "My children! Oh, no. My three children..." Like Dr. Berk, I knew where my family was heading: chemo and sickness, at best. I couldn't work. I needed help caring for my children.
Did I think about my husband? I don't remember. I just can't remember if I did or didn't.
In the months and then years of illness, I tried hard to keep his needs in mind and give him latitude when things didn't go well.
The truth of the matter is that in recent months, 19+ years after my original diagnosis, I am still realizing for the first time -- or hearing for the first time -- about some of the fears he had and hardships he faced.
This is why whenever patients ask me for advice, I make a point of encouraging them to keep in mind that the disease or injury may have happened to them alone, but the illness or survivorship experience happens to all those who care about them.