DEAR HARRIETTE: After hearing about "Black Panther" Chadwick Boseman’s untimely death due to colon cancer -- at such a young age -- I’m kind of freaked out. I’m in my 50s, and I have never had a colonoscopy. I was afraid of the test since you have to be anesthetized. Plus, I don’t think my insurance covers it. I’m a pretty healthy guy, so I didn’t think much of it -- until now. If somebody who looks so healthy could succumb to this disease, I think I need to get tested. But part of me is too scared to do it. What if I am sick? I am a single dude. I don’t have the support system to deal with an illness. Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. -- Scared
DEAR SCARED: Don’t let your fear paralyze you. Colon cancer can often be successfully treated if you catch it early. Let Boseman’s untimely death serve as a wake-up call to you to get tested. You should have a complete physical and a colonoscopy to learn the status of your entire body. Please know that your fear is normal, especially after learning of this young man’s passing. But let it motivate you, not stymie you. You are worth it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Being quarantined at home with my husband all these months has been tough. I hear other couples talk about how great it is to be with their best friend and how much they have enjoyed each other. That is not the case for me. Don’t get me wrong. Some days have been good, but plenty of others have not. My husband picks at me constantly. Anything I do or say wrong, he immediately pounces on. I always have my back up a little so that if he throws some kind of verbal attack, I won’t be too wounded by what he says. I don’t mean to sound like a drama queen, but it’s hard to have somebody criticize you all day long. What can I do to handle this better? -- Verbal Attacks
DEAR VERBAL ATTACKS: This long stretch of isolation has been difficult for all of us, especially those in abusive relationships. In order to maintain your personal peace of mind and safety, you need to handle this situation differently.
First, think about where you might be able to go if you truly cannot take it anymore. Do you have a friend or family member you can stay with if needed? If not, you can find a shelter that may provide you temporary safety. Check out www.domesticshelters.org.
Before leaving home, consider responding to your husband differently. When he says hurtful things, tell him how his words make you feel. Ask him to speak to you in a kinder way. Or tell him you can’t hear him when he’s yelling or complaining. Tell him you have to leave the room and maybe you two can talk when things aren’t so heated.
Seek out a therapist. Now you can even get one on the phone, though in most states doctors' offices are open. Going outside to a therapist’s visit may be helpful for you.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)