DEAR ABBY: Six months ago I found a lump in my breast. After a diagnosis of cancer, I decided to have a radical mastectomy. My husband and I told no one except our closest relatives.
My sister-in-law got up in church and announced to the entire congregation that I'd had surgery. My mother told all my acquaintances and even an old boyfriend.
I am very upset about this. No one should discuss someone else's medical matters unless given permission (and had I been asked, I would have said emphatically, "No!").
I feel betrayed and hurt, and I find it hard to be civil to my sister-in-law and mother now. I'd really like to move away and never see any of them again. I think they used me to get attention for themselves.
Please tell your readers to consider the person who is ill before talking about private family matters, and to ask before announcing them publicly. -- HURTING IN KANSAS
DEAR HURTING: If you told your mother and sister-in-law that you wanted your surgery kept confidential and they betrayed your confidence, then what they did was wrong. You have my sympathy for your painful ordeal.
However, I hope that you will reconsider your stance on this and not let your anger stand between you and your family. You all need each other right now. Consider the idea that they were acting out of love, and were seeking prayers and support for you from the community, as well as trying to cope with their own fears.