Snowflake825
A:

Hi Snowflake,

I am really glad you checked in with these great questions. I will answer both of them here.

First, I am really sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. That is a lot to deal with, for him and for you.

Let's start by talking about him. When someone receives a medical diagnosis, it can turn their lives upside down. It may be a complete shock or, most likely in your husband's case, it is the confirmation of an outcome they had been fearing and hoping wouldn't happen. Either way, a medical diagnosis is a loss. A medical diagnosis means that you won't be living your life the way in which you had hoped and planned. Change is being forced on you, and human beings don't do well with change. And a medical diagnosis means a loss of control. Humans don't do very well with that either.

Your husband may be feeling that loss of control right now. And as a result, he may be wanting to maintain as much control as possible, including how he manages his medical care. He may also be experiencing some denial in that having you go along with his appointments makes the diagnosis all that much more real. There may be a part of him that still thinks that "if I don't make a big deal out of this, maybe it won't be a big deal." Or he may want to "protect" you from having to deal with this new reality. Or he may have questions to ask his doctor that he isn't ready to share with you yet. Yet is an important word here.

The diagnosis is new to him. He needs time to process it. And like any loss, we grieve in our own way, and at our own pace.

Now, for you.

First, what I think you are trying to do for your husband is just incredible. You are being a super supportive partner. That's excellent.

I used the word "yet." Again, your husband is still processing this news. The way he feels now about your involvement in his treatment may evolve over time. He may decide that he wants you to accompany him to his medical appointments, at the beginning or over time. I suspect he may be having some of his own ups and downs right now, and what feels right to him now may soften over time.

I agree, by the way, that it would be a good idea to come with him to his appointments, at least at first. The instructor of the class may emphasize this point. And you might gently remind your husband that the more you know, the more you can team up with him going forward. And teaming up will be so important!

I encourage you to be patient. Let him know you appreciate being able to accompany him to his classes. Remind him that you want to support him in any possible, that you respect his decisions about his doctor's appointments but that you would like to be there with him and, if and when he is ready to have you accompany him, you will be right there with him. Remind him how much you care about him. Be gentle and patient.

And take care of yourself. As you have already experienced, when one member of the family receives a medical diagnosis, everybody in the household is affected. Talk with your husband about how you can support each other. Encourage him to share his feelings and share your feelings. This will take time and, again, patience.

You might want to look into a support from for partners of kidney patients if that is available in your area. And you might want to consider meeting with a counselor to talk and to get support. If you take good care of yourself, you will be that much more able to help your husband.

And stay in touch with us, my friend. You are not alone.

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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arkansasLisa
arkansasLisa May 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm   

Snowflake, I used to work in Nephrology and I would suggest that you look on line for the National Kidney Foundation for information and support. Also, most states have a Kidney Foundation. They often offer support for patients and family members. I hope you can find somegood support.

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