DEAR ABBY: My husband was diagnosed with advanced chronic leukemia seven years ago. After two rounds of chemo, he was better for a while but was diagnosed with advanced multiple myeloma a year ago. He has been through almost constant chemo and radiation, lost more than six inches of height due to osteoporosis and fractures, and can barely walk around the house or get in and out of the car for his doctor's appointments. We almost lost him three times, but he's hanging on. For us, this is reality. But we have a teenage daughter, and I still have to work to support us. I do not share this information at work.
A business colleague I'll call "Amy" was just diagnosed with chronic leukemia. It's in the early stages, with no chemo or radiation, just monitoring. Now, in every business call and video meeting, Amy talks about how she is surviving cancer and is going to beat this because she is stronger than cancer. Everyone in the office is talking about Amy being a cancer survivor and saying we should do something for her. It grates on me because my husband is so much sicker, and she's planning vacations and trips to concerts and telling everyone how great she feels. We all deal with disease differently, but I want to tell her to keep this to herself and focus on work. Should I, and if so, how? -- RESENTFUL IN NEW YORK
DEAR RESENTFUL: I sincerely hope you will refrain from doing that. Not all cancers are alike. Everyone's experience with this frightening disease is different. That Amy is doing as well as she is is a blessing. It could also be that she's trying to stay positive, putting on a brave face and living her life to the fullest extent for as long as she is able.
I am truly sorry for your pain. I have "walked a mile in your shoes." It's wrenching and awful. But you will not lessen it by telling your colleague to keep anything to herself. Leave the room instead.