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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Size Is No Deterrent in Her Search for Lasting Love

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my boss was diagnosed with cancer. She had major surgery and a round of radiation therapy. Last week, her doctor discovered a mass, and after biopsy, she may be going in for more surgery.

I am finding it difficult to show much empathy for my boss. Despite having had the disease she continues to live an unhealthy lifestyle. She still smokes, has a couple of drinks a day and eats a lot of red meat. I don't drink or smoke and I'm a vegetarian, so I can't understand why a person would risk her health by doing these things.

We have received several newsletters at work from our insurance provider on how to prevent cancer, but she hasn't taken any of the advice. Abby, it's not like I have come right out and said, "It's your own fault," but it's frustrating to listen to her problems when she won't try to live a healthy lifestyle. She's generally whiny to begin with, and now she seems to want everyone to feel sorry for her.

What do I need to do to be more sympathetic? -- TRYING IN TEMPE

DEAR TRYING: You don't know what caused your boss's cancer and neither do I. Some people who live a healthy lifestyle get cancer anyway -- and that includes teetotalling, nonsmoking vegetarians. Please try to remember that -- and then think about karma. If you do, it may help you become more sympathetic and less judgmental.