Gransnet forums

Should I tell my sons?

(34 Posts)
Millie8 Fri 11-Jan-19 19:25:45

Sorry if this is a bit long but I'm worried and would appreciate your advice especially if you have experienced similar.

My 65yr old husband had stents fitted in his arteries in 2004, due to slight chest pain while he was out running. The Cardiologist said if he had been a couch potato he wouldnt have got the warning pain and the problem would have gone unnoticed until it was too late. He is tall, slim, very active, runs for 90 mins 3 times a week plus other excercise and has done this for the last 40 years. He can't eat fatty food, doesn't drink or smoke (for 40 yrs ). Has low cholesterol, good BP, is on statins and asprin. As you can see he is doing all the right things but he had a slight heart attack this December. He had more stents inserted and all is well now, there was no damage to his heart. Both Cardiologists said the only reason for the heart attack is family history - his father died age 62 after heart attacks and strokes and lead a very unhealthy life. This is why H has always taken care of himself as he doesn't want to end up like his Dad. There is nothing that can be done for our two boys in the way of prevention except to have healthy lifestyles.

My problem is, H wont tell our 2 boys - he looks at it as a weakness (typical alpha male!!!) But I think they have a right to know so they can make adjustments to their lives if they want to, especially as they are both planning to have children. They dont smoke but do like a drink and junk food and one does shift work.

Do you think I should tell the boys and swear them to secrecy? I want them to be aware but will it worry them too much? If we kept it secret, things have a way of getting out and I would hate them to find out we had kept it from them. What if similar happened to them and we haddn't warned them. If it was my Dad, I would want to know. I think everyone should know their familys health history.
Please dont suggest persuading H to tell them, I have tried all reasoning and he is adamant. angry.

tanith Fri 11-Jan-19 19:32:59

Sounds very selfish of your Husband but I don’t know if I’d tell without his sayso.

Madgran77 Fri 11-Jan-19 19:33:17

Is your DH thinking about this from the perspective of his sons having the same chance to take care of themselves that he had? If not then he is a very silly and selfish "Alpha Male" - I don't mean that unkindly...just that he needs help to look at this from others perpectives rather than just his own! I would work on that one with him.
IF he won't change his mind then, if it was me, I would tell your sons but I would also tell your husband (their father!!) what you are doing and why. Explain why you have to do this for your sons, from a health perspective so that they have same choices as he had ...and tell him that much as you love him, on this occasion you HAVE to put your sons interests first!

Niobe Fri 11-Jan-19 19:35:07

I would tell them and then the decision about their future lifestyle is up to them. Your husband is being a selfish git by refusing to tell them about the risks he, and his genes, have passed onto them.

Baggs Fri 11-Jan-19 19:37:14

Knowledge is power. Tell them.

notanan2 Fri 11-Jan-19 19:41:27

If you tell them he will stop telling you!

merlotgran Fri 11-Jan-19 19:41:43

They're not just his sons, they're your sons too. Their future health is bound to be of concern to you.

I would definitely tell them.

mumofmadboys Fri 11-Jan-19 19:43:54

What does your DH not want passed on to the boys? The fact he has had a heart attack? Do the lads already know about the stents? If it is the former you could tell the boys the importance of looking after themselves in view of the family history.

sodapop Fri 11-Jan-19 19:48:17

I agree with Madgran your sons need to know and its quite selfish of your husband to keep this to himself. I can understand why he feels as he does but he needs to put his own concerns to one side for the sake of his children. You need to tell them even if it makes your husband angry.

Jobey68 Fri 11-Jan-19 19:50:52

Absoloutely I would tell your sons, it’s madness not to. Think about if something happened to one of them that could maybe have been prevented if they had been forewarned.
Couldn’t imagine my husband having this attitude for a minute but if he did I would 100% ignore his wishes and tell my boys.

cornergran Fri 11-Jan-19 19:53:33

I’m wondering if your sons know about their Grandfather’s health history? Would your husband object to you sharing that?

I’m struggling to understand his objections unless he sees anything other than perfect health as failure and a weakness, so somehow shameful? If I’m honest I’m not sure what I’d do in your position. I suspect I would tell my sons, understanding family health patterns is important and without accurate knowledge they can’t care for themselves.

EllanVannin Fri 11-Jan-19 20:02:05

We've come a long way in cardiology and many of those who died after heart attacks 20/30 years ago would possibly have been saved using the procedures that are used today,i.e.stents/balloons/open heart, triple and quadruple bypasses.

Those with a predisposition to heart problems due to genetics have every chance of leading a normal life and any problem isn't likely to occur until well into old age. Chances are it could miss a generation as these things sometimes do.

Menopaws Fri 11-Jan-19 20:15:53

Tell them definitely

M0nica Fri 11-Jan-19 20:19:42

Without a doubt I would tell your sons. It is not just a question of living healthy lives, it is possible if you share with them the family history (father and grandfather) and they tell their GPs about the family history they can have regular screenings to check on all the relevant factors - cholesterol, blood pressure and other tests I do not know of.

My DiL's father died of bowel cancer at the age of 40, his father died of the same disease and his brother has had it as well. DDiL and her sister have had genetic tests that show that should be OK, but they are still called in regularly for screening tests, so that if they do start to develop it, it can be treated very early.

Have you pointed out to your DH that his silence is putting his son's lives at risk?

BlueBelle Fri 11-Jan-19 20:33:10

So your husband had stents inserted in 2004 and had a slight heart attack and more stents in December and the son’s know nothing you must be a very secretive family wouldn’t you normally tell your children when their father was taken into hospital for an operation Didn’t they ask ? Id have been the first person my mum or dad would have rung if the other was ill

Sussexborn Fri 11-Jan-19 20:39:58

I wouldn’t hesitate to tell my children.. How would you live with yourself if one of them was seriously ill or even died because of your OHs dubious male pride. A GP I worked for said that the best way to avoid heart problems was to choose your parents wisely!

Hopefully you can talk this through and he will realise just how risky his attitude might be. My friend’s sister had a sudden heart attack and died. My friend and two siblings chose to have heart tests and two decided that ignorance was bliss!

FlexibleFriend Fri 11-Jan-19 20:54:23

I have an auto immune condition discovered after my second stroke aged 58. I've always eaten really healthily and did lots of exercise. I was mega fit. Both my sons are aware they could have inherited it and neither eats as well as me or is anywhere near as fit as I was. The tests will only show if they currently have it and not if they'll go on to develop it later on. They've both said they don't want the tests and both wish they didn't know what it may lead to. I don't understand it but at their age they can figure it out for themselves, I certainly can't make them have the tests. My Gp knows and will keep offering the tests but there's nothing else I can do. That's blokes for you.

FarNorth Fri 11-Jan-19 21:10:20

The Cardiologist said if he had been a couch potato he wouldnt have got the warning pain and the problem would have gone unnoticed until it was too late.

Does your DH genuinely want to leave his sons unaware that this could happen to them?

I'd try to get him to look at it from their point of view. If that didn't work, I'd inform him that I'd be telling them so they could make their own decisions on whether to do anything with the information.

Twin2 Fri 11-Jan-19 21:21:39

Although not quite the same I found out my brother had had stents by someone who thought I knew. I was hurt he hadn’t told me and when asked why he’d not said anything he said he didn’t want to worry me or our siblings. I have told my sons and in your position I would definitely tell them. You know if you told them and asked them not to say anything whether they would agree,but it could easily get back to your husband inadvertently from their partners and this could cause more problems. As MadGran77 says tell your husband why you’ve had to do what you’ve done.

MargaretX Fri 11-Jan-19 21:30:26

You can do too much exercise you know. I know two men who fell off their mountain bikes and one died and the other had a stroke.
I can't understand how the sons missed that their father had had stents put in. Where were they? And why weren't they told when it happened.

Such a health freak must be difficult to live with and obviously putting himself under stress. The couch potatoes may out live him.

Blencathra Fri 11-Jan-19 22:31:34

I would tell them- I wouldn’t hesitate.

Millie8 Fri 11-Jan-19 22:55:35

Thank you all for your very wise words, I agree with you all. When he had the stents in 2004, it wasn't an emergency and he was booked in as a day case and the boys were teenagers and at school. I did actually tell them but I'm not sure how much they took in or wanted to know then. This time they live miles away from us and while in hospital H begged me not to tell them and I agreed as I didnt want to cause more stress.
I will take your advice and try again with the points you have raised and if he's still adamant, I will tell him I will tell them.
Thank you all again, you have been a big help.

Anja Fri 11-Jan-19 22:58:47

I’d tell my husband that I was going to tell my sons. There are many contributory factors to heart disease. Yes, one is genetic and perhaps his ‘alpha male’ approach to life isn’t helping either.

Facts need to be faced.

Luckygirl Fri 11-Jan-19 23:14:43

Just do it - tell them. You have the right to make such a decision of behalf of the children whom you love - better for them to have the chance of their lives being saved than to pander to a bit of macho nonsense. He has the right not to care about their welfare - it's a shame. but there you are - but you clearly do care so just get on with it.

I assuming that what he won't tell them is the family history and that the stents and heart attacks have not been kept from them - or have I got that wrong?

They need to know the lot; and only you can tell them if he is so intransigent. I am surprised that you can take his alpha male nonsense so lightly, as your exclamation makes seem to imply. Does his pride trump their health and well-being? - I do not think so.

SpringyChicken Fri 11-Jan-19 23:57:05

Your husband looks after himself to prolong his own life but your sons don't have that privilege? How could he live with himself if they died suddenly? Tell them, it's the decent thing to do.