Dear Jido,

My husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment. He has forbidden me from telling our friends or any members of my family about what has happened. Only one of his family members is aware of what is going on.

His insistence on secrecy is growing increasingly difficult for me. When family members ask why we are not accepting invitations, I mumble a white lie. My husband’s need for secrecy is isolating me at a time when we could both use the support and love from our friends and family. How can I convince him that a cancer diagnosis shouldn’t be treated as a state secret?

Signed, Secretly Ill

Dear Secretly Ill,

Here’s wishing your husband (and all others stricken with that terrible sickness) a complete and speedy recovery.

I can fully understand your husband’s desire for secrecy. He is probably a very proud and strong man (not arrogant, what some would call a mensch) and he does not want to display any sign of weakness or weakening. He might feel that he is invincible and this is affecting him in a way that isbeyond his control.

He may also be a sensitive man and not want others to feel hurt or sad that he is going through trying times. He is willing to take the hit himself and not want to burden others with this temporary problem. As his wife, you must stand by him. Difficult as that might be for you, he needs your support more than ever. It’s been shown over and over that a positive attitude is a key factor in recovering from the problem itself as well as from the periodic treatments.

My advice is to accept his desire for secrecy. You may want to attend an SBH Help Group meeting or have a counselor meet privately with you and him. Hopefully, this condition will pass quickly and life will return to normal with no lasting effects except the further bonding between husband and wife as they weather this storm together.

Refuah shelema, Jido


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Dear Jido

One of the women I work with always smokes in the ladies room. If the smell stayed there I wouldn’t really mind, but my cubicle is close enough to the ladies room, (or maybe adjacent to a common vent), so that I smell the smoke at least a few times a day. The smell really bothers me and I know it’s not healthy. I have tried asking her politely not to smoke where I will end up smelling it and she agreed. Would it be wrong to complain to her boss about it as well?

Refusing to Inhale

Dear Refusing to Inhale,

Simply put, this woman is breaking the NYC Smoke Free Air Act of 2002 and putting your boss and the office personnel in jeopardy.

The best I can do is to refer you to the following website:

The law, which went into effect on March 30, 2003, made virtually all establishments and businesses with employees smoke-free. These include:

• All office buildings, factories, and warehouses.

• All private offices and previously designated “smoking lounges.”

• All food service establishments, restaurants, and catering halls.

To comply with the law:

• Employers must ensure their workplace smoking policy reflects the law.

Employees must be informed about the law, including what they must do to comply with the law. This entails requesting that smokers refrain from smoking inside the workplace and referring to the law and to workplace policy when dealing with their refusals.

• Employers should remind employees that the business or building owner may incur fines in the case of their infractions.

I suggest you print out that page and leave it on her desk. You can sign it – and then she just may get the hint.

Love, Jido

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