My Turn: A husband’s ‘muddle through’ song

Martina McBride, thank you for singing a song for breast cancer husbands. We really appreciate it, and you are absolutely right, we need to live up to the title: “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”

I only wish that the husband you sang about wasn’t quite so perfect, always saying the right thing to his newly diagnosed wife: “When you’re weak, I’ll be strong/When you let go, I’ll hold on/When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes.”

As a veteran breast cancer husband, I must report that new members of the breast cancer husband club are often clueless about what to do. So, with the greatest respect to McBride, I offer my own breast cancer husband’s song, “I’m Gonna Muddle Through It”:

When breast cancer husbands get the call

The words we utter may appall.

I heard of a guy who asked his gal,

“Cancer, is that like a root canal?”

And a fellow who told his newly diagnosed wife,

“Honey, there’s a Hooters. Let’s stop for a bite.”

And as my wife reminds me, again and again:

“Ew, that doesn’t sound good” was my refrain.

I swore: I’m gonna muddle through it

Though I had no clue how to do it.

I wanted to find a cure for cancer’s woes.

Needless to say, I failed! D’oh!

I said, “Breasts don’t matter” to lessen fear of mastectomy.

My wife asked how I’d feel about a penisectomy!

(Yikes! I tried not to take it personally.)

And I tried really hard to cheer her up

When she just wanted to say how much cancer sucks!

A tip: Laughing at cancer helps beat the blues.

A Dolly Parton wig caused hilarity to ensue.

Oh, and I found a motto to ease all strife:

Shut up and listento your wife.

Marc Silver, an editor at National Geographic Magazine in Washington, D.C., is the author of “Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond.” His wife, Marsha Dale, was diagnosed in 2001 and is today in good health.


My Turn is a forum for readers to recount an experience related to health or fitness. Submissions should be 500 words or fewer, are subject to editing and condensation and become the property of The Times. Email Read more at