Posted: Friday, August 6, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: A year ago, my uncle was released from prison after serving time for sexually abusing a little boy and girl. I have two young children. Anytime my uncle is around and I see him pick up my children and give them kisses, I freak out and yell, “Don’t touch my kids.”
My mother and grandmother think I am being overprotective. They insist he would never hurt my children because they are family and are younger than his usual victims.
I was sexually abused when I was younger and am very sensitive to protecting my children from what I went through. With my children being so young and only one of them just now learning to speak, I am worried that if something happens, I won’t know about it. Am I wrong for being so careful even though my uncle is a close family member? — Protective Mother
Dear Protective: No. The majority of victims know their abusers, and many are family members. Being related does not protect them. Your children are at risk, especially as they get a little older and move into your uncle’s favorite age group. While you don’t have to yell every time he greets them, you should keep your eyes open and not let him be alone with any of your children at any time. If the rest of your family thinks you are overreacting, too bad.
Dear Annie: I have a rare condition called Dercum’s disease (adiposis dolorosa). It is characterized by painful lumps, lipomas or tumors all over the body, weight gain for no reason, overwhelming fatigue and weakness. It can cause severe pain and, as it progresses, disability. It is difficult to lose weight, and strenuous exercise can aggravate the condition.
We go against medical logic. Imagine how hard it is to see a doctor who takes one look and says, “Your health would improve if you’d just lose weight and exercise.” Many of us go from doctor to doctor being insulted but not diagnosed.
Dercum’s was identified more than 120 years ago, but there is still no known cause or cure. It is very rare — perhaps 500 people in the entire U.S. have it. There may be hundreds more who have not been properly diagnosed, because most medical professionals have never heard of it.
I am a group leader for a Dercum’s disease support group (mdjunction.com/dercums-disease) at 1105 Holly Dr., Lafayette, IN 47909. Please check us out if you have questions. Thank you, Annie, for the opportunity to spread the word. — Diane in Lafayette, Ind.
Dear Diane: We appreciate the useful information for our readers and hope any who are concerned about this disease will check out your group.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Married and Alone.” In your response, you suggested she have her hubby’s testosterone checked.
My man got his testosterone checked, and it was very low. There were also outbursts of anger if he was asked about it. We got expensive counseling for anger. It didn’t help the testosterone problem and didn’t do much for the anger problem. The counselor gave no suggestion as to what to do about the low testosterone and, in fact, refused to talk about it, so my man feels he needn’t follow up. Like a lot of men, he doesn’t want to discuss such intimate problems.
I’m ready to go it alone because I’m tired of him picking fights in order to keep me at arm’s length in the bedroom. What’s the solution? — Not Coping
Dear Not: The solution is to see an internist who can test and prescribe medication for low testosterone, something a counselor cannot do. Tell your man you are walking out the door if he doesn’t see a medical doctor. Call in advance, and alert the doctor to the problem in case your guy refuses to discuss it. Assure him he’ll feel so much better if this is taken care of.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.6.10