, Salem, MA

Fighting breast cancer

October 16, 2012

In sickness and in health

After Marsha Dale called her husband, Marc Silver, at work to tell him she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, she thought maybe she had reached the wrong husband.

Silver’s first reaction? “Ooh. That doesn’t sound good.” He recalls hanging up after the conversation and staying the day at work.

Silver wasn’t looking to be callous — he didn’t know how else to react. He reacted, he said, by not reacting. This was Labor Day weekend 2001, and it wasn’t until they visited with doctors and Silver heard the word “mastectomy” that he sprung out of denial.

During his wife’s treatment, Silver, an editor at National Geographic, found himself desperately wanting a book that gave advice to breast cancer husbands.

In spring of 2002, as Dale finished up her active treatments toward what had been stage 2 cancer, Silver drafted a book proposal. His book, “Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond” (Rodale Books) was published in September 2004.

Silver’s book tells the story of his family’s battle with cancer, but he also interviewed nearly 100 couples and found that everyone coped with breast cancer differently.

“You’re in a daze,” Silver says. “You get hit so hard and sometimes you don’t know why you’re reacting the way you are.”

Silver recalls the first time he cried after his wife was diagnosed.

“I was driving around doing errands and listening to Ray Charles. All of a sudden I heard these strange sounds in the car and I was like, oh my God, I’m crying.” Silver says. “I remember I didn’t tell my wife about it — I was afraid she’d think ‘Whoa, he’s losin’ it.’”

When dealing with cancer, you can feel like all the humor flies out of your life, Silver says. Hair was a sensitive issue for Dale once she started losing it, but the couple found a way to sneak in some humor when it came to wigs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fighting breast cancer
Local News

Local News
  • 140724_SN_DLE_PEM1-1 Peabody Essex Museum severs ties with Gordon College

    SALEM -- The Peabody Essex Museum announced Thursday that it had ended its longstanding collaboration with Gordon College and its museum studies program, saying the school's attitude toward gay and lesbian individuals conflicts with its fundamental values.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 7 Stories

  • Cop wants pension credit for lifeguard work BOXFORD -- A veteran Boxford police officer is trying to boost his retirement pension by getting credit for his summer job as a lifeguard nearly four decades ago. In a letter to a state appeals board, John Iannazzo said working as a lifeguard for the

    July 25, 2014

  • 140724_SN_DLE_BRIMBAL3 Residents skeptical of Brimbal Avenue plans

    BEVERLY -- Neighborhood residents turned out in healthy numbers Thursday for an open meeting to see and discuss new design plans for the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange. Concerns ranged from biking and pedestrian safety to tax dollars spending a

    July 25, 2014 6 Photos 9 Stories

  • 140724_SN_DLE_GRIFFIN6 Peabody's new police chief receives upbeat welcome

    PEABODY -- More than 100 family, friends, well-wishers, city officials and police officers lined Wiggin Auditorium in City Hall yesterday afternoon to applaud the swearing in of former Salem Capt. Thomas Griffin as the city's new police chief. "Today

    July 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • 140721_GT_MSP_MARKETBASKET_04 [Duplicate] Ousted CEO bids for Market Basket Arthur T. Demoulas' offer to buy the rest of the supermarket chain embroiled in a widespread protest and boycott was met with elation, and then a reality check, protest organizers said Thursday. Demoulas announced his offer Wednesday night, though he

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo