DEAR ABBY: Between juggling the joys and challenges of home life and staying productive at work, it's easy for women to make quick decisions now that could affect their health later on, or to miss early signs of medical problems altogether.
To help women take control of their health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health and the General Services Administration's Federal Citizen Information Center have created the free Healthy Women's Action Kit. It contains tips that can help women of every age. The topics include: buying contact lenses online, mammograms, hypertension, cholesterol, Pap tests, menopause and hormones, and more.
Abby, thank you for sharing this information kit with your readers, and for faithfully introducing all of us to ideas and information to help make our lives better. -- MARSHA HENDERSON, FDA ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH
DEAR MARSHA: I'm glad to help get the word out to my readers during National Women's Health Week that the information is available for them at no cost.
Readers, among the topics Marsha didn't mention that are also included are a guide to help you quit smoking and facts about tattoos, osteoporosis, diabetes and health scams. The more we know, the better we can protect ourselves and the people we love.
The Healthy Women's Action Kits are easy to order. All you have to do is send your name and address to Healthy Women's Action Kit, Pueblo, CO 81009; go online to www.promotions.usa.gov/dearabby.html; or call (888)8-PUEBLO (that's (888) 878-3256) weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. You can also read the publications online in PDF format, download them to your computer and print them. Don't wait, because supplies are limited.
DEAR ABBY: The man I'm in love with, "Butch," is an alcoholic. He refuses to get help and has become verbally abusive. He got a DUI and there's a warrant out for him because he didn't follow through on his court orders. I threw him out after he lost his job.
Butch is homeless now and has taken up with a homeless woman. When he's sober he's a totally different person, and that's the man I'm in love with. I'm devastated by his actions and I want him back.
I am so co-dependent I cry daily about this. I do go to meetings and I'm trying to move on, but I have no friends and don't know where to start to get a life. Butch's behavior is out of control, and it's only a matter of time before he winds up in jail. Could you please tell me what to do? -- LOST IN LOVE IN MONTANA
DEAR LOST IN LOVE: I'm sorry you're hurting, but pleased to know you are going to meetings. At some point they will help you accept that as much as you love the person Butch was, for the sake of your health and sanity you must "let go and let God." Your next step should be to give yourself less time to brood. Fill your non-working hours by volunteering -- at a hospital, a library, a senior citizen's center. That's where you'll meet worthwhile, involved people and start building friendships with mentally healthy people. I promise you the more you put into it, the more you'll receive.
DEAR ABBY: Is there any medical reason why a man or woman needs to wear underwear? -- MICHAEL IN LADSON, S.C.
DEAR MICHAEL: There is no "medical" reason, but there is a sanitary reason, unless you are prepared to launder your trousers every time you wear them to prevent the accumulation of bodily secretions such as perspiration.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)