DEAR ABBY: At the age of 40, I had emergency cardiac surgery followed by an infection, more surgery and six months of difficult recovery. With the help of medical professionals and my husband's tireless care, I finally healed. It's been nearly five years, but I'm back to my "normal" self and can do just about anything I could before. I'm grateful for my life and feel blessed to have recovered from an illness that many have not survived.
My problem: I am very well-endowed. I used to enjoy dressing to highlight my "assets" in a ladylike way. But my once-attractive cleavage is now obscured by deep, severe scarring. On the one hand, my scar is my badge of survival. I don't try to hide it when dressing for work or for leisure. On the other hand, I don't try to flaunt it either.
A season of summer gatherings, parties and celebrations is here, and I'd like to dress for them. Should I stick to high-collared tops (which make me feel frumpy) or wear dresses and blouses that reveal the scars? My close friends are used to them, but I don't want to shock strangers at the hors d'oeuvres table.
This may seem like vanity when so many struggle for health, but it has been difficult overcoming depression after my illness and a long time since I've felt good about dressing up a little. I'd like your opinion. -- WANTS TO FEEL PRETTY AGAIN
DEAR WANTS TO FEEL PRETTY: We are the sum total of our life experiences. Among yours has been major surgery. If you wouldn't mind answering questions about your scars, then wear the low-cut tops you're inclined to. I have seen other women do it. However, if answering questions would make you uncomfortable, consider wearing outfits that highlight your assets in a different way -- or even highlighting different assets.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend, "Regina," who is a wonderful person. The problem is, she has become obsessed with her toddler nephew, "Michael," to the point that she thinks of nothing else. She lives and breathes for him, and our friendship has suffered tremendously because of it.
I love little Michael, too, but I don't want to hear about him 24/7! I have tried changing the subject when Regina starts droning on about every detail of Michael's day, but she always draws the subject back to him. She thinks her sister and brother-in-law can't do anything right for the boy.
Michael's parents are young and work full-time, so Michael is with Regina 50 percent of the time and has been since the day he was born. Regina has no kids of her own and has told me she doesn't intend to -- because she has Michael.
I have tried talking to her about this. Finally, I exploded and told her she has been driving me crazy with talk of nothing but him. She answered that Michael is the only thing she knows how to do right and can talk about intelligently. I think my friend is obsessed. What more can I do? -- ENOUGH ALREADY IN TEXARKANA
DEAR ENOUGH ALREADY: Your friend is less "obsessed" with her nephew than preoccupied. Fifty percent of her time is spent providing child care for him. What else do you expect her to talk about?
I think it's time you cut her some slack. Suggest you do things together that will give her some adult stimulation -- plays, movies, art shows, etc. It could not only save your sanity, it could also improve your relationship and give her something else she can talk about intelligently.
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