Dear Annie: I have been married to "Sherman" for 10 years. It's a second marriage for both of us, and together, we have five children.
The problem is my in-laws. They are nice people and would do anything for us. However, I think they are jealous that I have a good relationship with my grandchild, while they don't get to see theirs that often. My daughter-in-law works full time and goes to school at night. Why shouldn't I help her out? But whenever I babysit, either my in-laws or my husband makes some snarky remark.
They also seem to think our yard belongs to them. They plant bushes on my lawn because "they were on sale." And Sherman will automatically defend his mother if I stand up for myself. He never does this for me.
I have started to distance myself from my in-laws, and I resent Sherman's defense of his mother when she says something unkind. I have asked him to go for counseling, but he says, "I don't have a problem." Any suggestions? - Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: Your problem is Sherman. When he doesn't defend you to his parents, they think it is perfectly OK to continue making unkind remarks and overstepping boundaries. He is perfectly content to leave things as they are. But he DOES have a problem: His marriage is in trouble. If Sherman refuses to go for counseling, please go without him. Learn what you are willing to tolerate, whether you can effect change with your in-laws and how to communicate your needs more clearly.
Dear Annie: Please help make young women aware of uterine cancer. My 29-year-old daughter was diagnosed with stage-four uterine cancer last September. Some physicians think because you are young, you can't have cancer. This is not true. My daughter's symptoms were irregular bleeding and severe pelvic pain. The doctors kept prescribing birth control pills or hormones.
After several years, several physicians and several medications, she finally saw an ob/gyn at the University of Louisville who did a biopsy of her uterus - and then we received the devastating news. She was treated aggressively and is fighting every day to get better. She is such an inspiration. She had surgery several months ago, and they removed all the cancer in her abdominal cavity. But she still has it in two inoperable lymph nodes in her chest and is taking chemo.
If this story will help just one person or physician take that extra step, maybe another young woman won't have to go through what my daughter has.
P.S.: Since I started this letter, I have learned that my daughter's cancer has spread again. I beg you to get the word out. - Louisville, Ky.
Dear Louisville: Our hearts our breaking for you. Uterine cancer (also known as endometrial cancer) is most common in women over 55 years old, so doctors don't often consider this when they first see a younger patient with symptoms. But if you believe something is wrong, be persistent. Doctors aren't infallible. Risk factors include endometrial overgrowth (hyperplasia), obesity, women who have never had children, periods beginning before age 12, menopause after age 55, estrogen therapy and a family history of the disease.
Common signs are abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain with urination and sex, and pelvic pains. The National Cancer Institute (1-800-4-CANCER) offers a free booklet at cancer.gov.
Dear Annie: This is for "Wish I Could Turn Back Time." I, too, am 63 years old. Twenty-five years ago, I was convicted of a nonviolent felony. I did not go to prison. I had a job for many years with great reviews and was liked by management. When they started a program to fingerprint everyone, I was let go. In California, a felony cannot be expunged. Once you make a very bad decision, as I did, you are NEVER forgiven. - California
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.