DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister is pregnant and has cancer. Her doctors said her hormones could speed up the growth of her cancer and the baby may not survive the treatment for the cancer. The father is not in her life, so I’ve been attending all of her appointments, and she’s turning to me for advice. She’s had a lot of trouble with pregnancy and thinks that this is her only chance to have a baby. She is willing to risk her life for the chance to have a baby. She really wants to leave a legacy on this Earth. But that just means me having to give up my sister and take care of her baby when she is gone. I think she should take care of herself firs and try for a baby later in her life when she is healthy. That’s just my opinion; should I tell her what I think, or leave it up to her? -- Save My Sister First
DEAR SAVE MY SISTER FIRST: You need to have an in-depth conversation with your sister about her intentions, her health and the future. First, ask yourself if you can assume responsibility for her child if she dies. If so, you will need to make sure your sister has set up resources to help you. If you do not think you can handle a child, you will need to talk to your sister about adoption.
You have to be specific and real with your sister about the future. If she dies, what happens? What can you handle? Include doctors’ recommendations in your discussion. What are your sister’s chances of survival if she terminates the pregnancy? All tough questions, but all necessary.