DEAR ABBY: I'm 13 and I have cancer. My mom thinks I don't know, but I do. I heard the doctor say I was better off without any meds.
I have made a choice not to fall in love, and not to tell even my closest friend that I'm only going to live to be about 25-30 years old. My friend can't understand why I am always sad and have never wanted a boyfriend. How do I tell her to stop advising me to be happy and cheer up, and to someday open my heart to love without telling her about my short life? -- MADE MY CHOICE, ANYWHERE, USA
DEAR MADE YOUR CHOICE: If ever I heard about a girl who needs to have a talk with her mother, it is you. I don't know what you think you overheard the doctor telling her, but it is very possible that the "meds" he was talking about had nothing to do with cancer. I would hate to see you ruin your teen years because you jumped to a conclusion based on a misunderstanding -- so please speak up NOW!
DEAR ABBY: Today, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Day. On this day, communities all over the USA and the world will sponsor events to shed light on the growing and tragic issue of elder abuse.
Your readers, young and old, should be aware that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 5 million seniors are abused each year in the United States. And this is only the tip of the iceberg, since only an estimated one in five cases of abuse is ever reported to the authorities.
Elder abuse can be financial, physical, emotional or sexual, and it also includes people who are neglected. But elder abuse is preventable -- public awareness and education can help people learn the warning signs. For more information on what readers can do to join the fight against elder abuse, visit www.centeronelderabuse.org.
Thank you, Abby, for all you do to help keep our seniors safe. -- LAURA MOSQUEDA, M.D., GERIATRICS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE
DEAR DR. MOSQUEDA: If publicizing your message and your website will help some of these vulnerable hidden victims, I am more than pleased to help.
Readers, the elderly -- unlike child victims of abuse -- can slip through the cracks because too often they become invisible. Either they drop out of sight, or no one suspects what is going on until it is too late. Old people have been found stashed in garages, suffering from bed sores, malnourished and lying in their own waste. If you suspect abuse, please report it so it can be investigated. All you have to do is call Adult Protective Services. Every state has an agency that provides this.
DEAR ABBY: When I married the first time, I wore my mother's wedding gown. She and Dad had a happy marriage. They were married 47 years when Dad died.
My first husband and I divorced. We had two boys. I don't think either of my children would want the dress. In fact, I don't think ANYone would want it because the last time it was worn led to divorce.
What should I do with the dress? I only have two nephews and a step-granddaughter who is 5. I could save it for future grandchildren, but I think the divorce issue is a spoiler. -- JINXED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR JINXED: Why not donate the dress to a charity? If it's in good condition, I'm sure some young woman who can't afford to buy one would love to have it. And once it's out of the family, the "jinx" would be dissipated, canceled out by your generosity.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)