Q. My wife got back her biopsy and has her surgeon visit scheduled for the 22nd. She is 52 and I am so scared I cannot put it into words. I know I need to be strong for her and I am in front of her but I cry for hours when I am alone. I need to find a way to put some of this fear away so I can be the man she needs me to be and help her through this. Any advice?
It is a natural reaction to feel scared, especially with a cancer diagnosis. It is admirable that you want to be strong for your wife and give her the support she needs, but what about the support you need? It is helpful to have someone to talk to about your fears, someone who can be objective, someone that you can trust. You may want to join a support group for caregivers or engage in individual counseling or both. CancerCare offers in-person counseling for people in New York City, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. If you live outside of those areas, we offer short-term telephone counseling to help you cope with the cancer experience. In addition, we also offer support groups in three different modalities: in-person (if you live in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut), telephone support groups and online support groups.
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful to you if you feel you need longer term supportive counseling:
- American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS), which offers a free referral service to help you find a mental health professional (psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and other counselors) in your area: 866-276-7443.
- Help Starts Here, through the National Association of Social Workers offers an online directory of clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other licensed professionals. You can search each database for clinicians who have experience in cancer issues.