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by Abigail Van Buren

War Zone Romance Will Be Put to the Test at Home

DEAR ABBY: A close female friend moved near me with the intention of starting a serious relationship. We're in our 20s and finishing college.

"Hallie" has just been diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. While her prognosis is fairly optimistic, her doctors say she'll be unable to have children. Hallie loves kids. Knowing she can't have any has broken her heart. I love kids, too, but it's not an absolute requirement for me.

I just started student teaching and can't be there for her during her chemo treatments and doctor visits. Last night, after a few days of pushing me away, Hallie offered me an "out." She told me I should think carefully about everything before deciding to go through all of this with her. I want to be with her in every way I can, but I can't help wondering how things may change for both of us if she beats this. -- TORN APART IN MICHIGAN

DEAR TORN APART: Hallie is an intelligent young woman. She understands the strain a diagnosis like hers can place on a relationship, so do as she has asked. If she beats the cancer, and you stay together and decide to marry, you will be like many other childless couples -- deciding whether to remain childless, adopt or hire a surrogate. You will also appreciate more fully than most what a gift each day you have together really is. And you'll love each other until death do you part.