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by Abigail Van Buren

Cancer Patient Discusses Too Much Detail in Public

DEAR ABBY: A dear friend has been battling cervical cancer. Her condition has left her dependent on a colostomy bag. She's not shy about discussing it on Facebook and in public, where she speaks loudly. I have tried to be understanding and supportive, but there are limits.

My problem is, she's hell-bent on making sure I see this colostomy bag by frequently checking to see if it's full, even after returning from the bathroom where I'm certain she checked it. More recently, we were at a restaurant and she exposed her bag in full view of others while they were eating. (The bag was full!)

Not only was it disgusting, it's also unhygienic should the bag become disconnected or rupture. Am I insensitive for thinking this is inappropriate and that she should excuse herself to go to the bathroom? -- NAUSEATED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR NAUSEATED: No, I don't think you are insensitive. While a colostomy bag is nothing to be ashamed of, because it involves human waste, decorum dictates that it be kept away from the dining table. Have a frank talk with your friend, tell her her behavior is inappropriate, and ask her not to do it in front of you.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Health & Safety