DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister has battled cancer twice. She is healthy now, but both diagnoses were shocking to the family, and we are so grateful she is with us today. My mother wants to have every family member's blood tested to see if there are any other indications of disease that we do not yet know about. Everyone is for this except for my sister. She believes that everyone is going to die and constantly thinking about mortality doesn't allow you to live your life to the fullest. She is a grown woman who has been impossible to convince. My mother is now fighting with my sister because my mother thinks she has the right to know if my sister has a high probability of becoming sick again. People are choosing sides; although I think my sister should give us peace of mind and take the test, I don't think attacking her is the way to do it. How can I step in and smooth this whole thing over? -- Testy Family, Salt Lake City
DEAR TESTY FAMILY: It is understandable that your mother wants to figure out how to gain control over what must be the scariest challenge your family could imagine. And yet your sister is the one who has been battling the disease. She has every right not to want to undergo more tests. Your mother should give her some space. Chances are, your sister's doctors have checked her for most illnesses through the course of treating her.
You can talk to your mother and ask her to stop pressing your sister about this test. Whoever agrees to take the test can share the results with her. Recommend to your mother that she support your healing sister by giving her space.