DEAR ABBY: A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I'm only 34. That's what I keep repeating to myself -- I'm only 34. I feel lost. I'm mad at God and have lost my faith. I keep wondering "Why me?" "Why my family again?" "Why stage 4?" I cry alone in an empty house because I don't want to stress out my kids and my husband.
The support groups are 30 minutes away and feature mostly breast cancer patients and survivors. I'm a nurse, and I feel out of control. All my decisions are being made when I'm unconscious or barely out of anesthesia. My world has been turned upside down. I'm not hanging on well at all. Because my control is slipping, I have lost my grasp on the person I once was. I was a strong woman. I don't know what to do. Help! -- NURSE WHO IS NOW THE PATIENT
DEAR NURSE: Right now you are feeling vulnerable, which, under the circumstances, is normal. You should not be crying alone or isolating yourself as you have been doing. You need more emotional support than the support group you belong to can give.
It may help you to contact the American Cancer Society because it provides support and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to those facing cancer. Trained cancer specialists are available via phone or live chat and can offer you not only accurate, up-to-date information, but also connect you with valuable services and resources. The phone number to call is (800) 227-2345, and the website is cancer.org. Please don't wait to reach out. My thoughts are with you.
DEAR ABBY: My in-laws take frequent vacations and ask my husband to dog-sit. He always says yes. They are gone seven to 10 days at a time and I don't think we should feel obligated to always agree. My husband says that since we're family it's our duty.
Abby, they can well afford to kennel their dogs, and I don't think they'd be offended if we said no. But my husband thinks I'm heartless for being OK with his parents' dogs staying at a kennel for so long. I maintain that it's not my problem.
This disagreement comes up every two to three months (every time we have the dogs). I am not willing to do this anymore. I'm not sure how to discuss this topic because, so far, nothing I have said has gotten me results. We already have dogs of our own, and kids as well, and the additional dogs disrupt our routine. -- FREE PET SITTER
DEAR SITTER: For your in-laws to expect you to take care of their dogs every time they decide to leave town seems excessive. However, I can understand why they would prefer not to kennel the dogs if they can leave them in a home environment instead.
Because it bothers you, rather than try to dissuade your husband from being so agreeable, tell him he can dog-sit at his parents' house, or from the moment the dogs arrive they will be his sole responsibility. And then stick to it.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)