8/3/2013 10:59:00 AM Annie's Mailbox for August 4, 2013
Dear Annie: I am a 60-year-old woman and just found out that there's a small chance I may have uterine cancer. I'm scheduled for additional tests. I haven't told friends or family because it seems too early to push the panic button. I told my husband, of course, but his response left me hurt and confused. His only reaction was to ask whether our insurance would cover any costs. At the very least, I could have used a hug or some show of concern. After I told him how much his lack of response hurt me, he apologized and said he was scared, too. He is a great guy, but empathy has never been one of his strong suits.
The problem is, I am still very hurt by his initial reaction. Every time I think about it, I want to cry. -- Still Hurting in Texas
Dear Still: What a difficult time this must be for you. Please forgive your husband for his thoughtless response. When confronted with such potentially devastating information, it was easier for him to focus on the cost rather than the possibility that he could lose you. You already know that empathy is not his strong suit, so help him out a little. If you need him to comfort you, teach him how to do it. We think he will want to rise to the occasion.
Dear Annie: My sister always leaves big tips -- like $5 for a cup of coffee. She also is overly generous in other ways. She gave our teenage niece several pairs of expensive boots and was furious when the girl then sold them on eBay.
Six years ago, my sister let her house go to mold. When the local police began asking about her, I stepped in and found someone willing to buy her home and rehab it. She has since lived in an extended-stay hotel and is now on anti-depressants.
I recently met her for lunch. We both ordered soup for a total of $8. I left a 20 percent tip, but as I was walking out the door, I caught her checking out my tip and then adding to it. She brags about her big tips. Frankly, I don't want to meet up with her anymore. How should I handle this? -- Indy
Dear Indy: Has your sister been screened to see if she is bipolar? Her anti-depressant may not be adequate. We know her behavior is irritating, but please don't cut her off over this. It is a minor annoyance to you if she overtips, but your presence may be a major source of support for her.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Frustrated Daughter-in-Law," who said her mother-in-law has anxiety and self-diagnosed fibromyalgia. Your comment that Mom "may like her maladies" made it sound as if we have a choice in the matter.
Fibromyalgia can be a disabling disorder. Anxiety, depression and irritable bowel are all very real components of the illness. I am only in my mid-50s and also find it difficult to exercise. I don't leave the house unless I have to or unless it is for something I really enjoy.
When you have fibromyalgia, you learn to budget your energy. You owe a lot of people an apology. -- In Her Shoes
Dear Shoes: Our comment had nothing to do with the legitimate pains of fibromyalgia. We know that many people suffer from this energy-draining illness. But Mom has not seen a doctor about her various maladies and is unwilling to be tested. She doesn't actually know what's wrong and is self-diagnosing in a way that allows her to maintain her current status. There could be something else going on that can be treated, and she should be willing to find out.