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by Abigail Van Buren

Lump in Her Breast Puts Fear in Woman's Heart

DEAR ABBY: I recently felt a lump in my breast. It doesn't really hurt, but I know it's there. I stand a very good chance of having cancer because my mother passed away five years ago with breast cancer.

Right now, I'm trying to handle it on my own, but I'm getting cross and downright hateful with my husband and children. I love them dearly. I know this can't go on forever.

I watched my mother die a very slow and painful death, but just the thought of going to a doctor scares me. On the other hand, if I do go to a doctor and he says it's cancer, he might have to remove my breast, and if he does, I'm scared my husband might not love me anymore, or he might leave me.

What should I do? -- SCARED TO DEATH

DEAR SCARED: Do not wait another minute! Call your doctor. Tell him exactly what you have told me, and make an appointment to see him as soon as possible. Early detection has saved the lives of many with cancer. Don't think of anything except getting to your doctor for an examination immediately.

I am sorry you didn't sign your name, because I want very much to talk to you. Please write again after you've seen the doctor. I want to stay in touch with you.

DEAR ABBY: After nearly 10 years of marriage, I told my husband I was leaving. Before I even found a place to move to, he kicked me out. After I relocated, we started seeing each other again, and within a week, we were back where we started -- fighting.

They say there's a very fine line between love and hate. I still don't know which side I'm on. I have filed for divorce, but I feel lonely and hurt. He was fantastic in bed, and just the thought of being intimate with another man nauseates me. Also, why risk AIDS for sex that may not be any good?

Abby, after 10 years, I wouldn't even know how to act on a date. I can't live with him, but I can't live without him. Is this normal for someone who has just split up, or do I need help? -- IN LIMBO IN TACOMA

DEAR IN LIMBO: Not being able to live with or without someone is an old refrain I hear often. And the love/hate ambivalence is as old as the hills. Your feelings are normal -- and you do need help. Get professional counseling. If money is a problem for you, check with your local YWCA and ask if they offer free counseling.

DEAR ABBY: As parents of children who are 35 and 44, it seems awkward -- even ridiculous -- to refer to them as "our child" or "our children."

In current usage, a "child" is a very young person. In searching for a more grown-up word for them, we finally agreed on "chult" -- a contraction of adult and child -- or "chults" for adult children.

What do you (and your readers) think? -- OHIO PARENTS

DEAR PARENTS: I doubt if "chult" would catch on. When referring to your adult offspring, why not say "our son" or "our daughter"?

By popular request, Abby shares more of her favorite prize-winning, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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