Dear Annie: I am the middle sister of three. My mother has always favored my younger sister, "Louise," despite periods of seriously bad behavior. Mom has bailed Louise out of numerous poor financial decisions. She also takes her and her son on cruises and buys them expensive presents.
I recently found out that Mom is giving Louise a regular monthly allowance. This is creating some resentment. I feel I'm being punished for working hard and making better choices. Mom says she'll make it up to me when she passes, but I doubt there will be much left at the rate Louise is bilking her.
I make an effort to include my mother in everything with my family, but Louise only spends time with Mom when she's being treated to a shopping spree. My older sister is in desperate need of assistance, and I want to ask my mother to match what she gives to Louise. Am I being fair or greedy? I am hurt and confused about what to do. — Distressed Daughter
Dear Daughter: This has nothing to do with fairness. Your mother is playing favorites, and your resentment is perfectly understandable. Nonetheless, it's Mom's money. She is not obligated to give any of her adult children an allowance, and if she wants to give everything to Louise, that is her choice. If it alienates her from her older daughters, that is the sad consequence.
Dear Annie: I'd like to warn your readers about a common, potentially deadly, but highly treatable disease: hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC). Most people have heard of iron deficiency anemia, but few have heard of the opposite condition, which is also known as iron overload disease or iron storage disease. It causes people to absorb too much iron from a normal diet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one million people in the U.S. have the gene mutation that can cause hemochromatosis. It is most common among people whose ancestors are of Irish, Scottish, British or Scandinavian ancestry. In fact, the mutation is often called the "Viking Gene."
This disease is often overlooked or misdiagnosed by doctors because the symptoms can be vague. They include chronic fatigue, weakness, fibromyalgia, arthritis and joint pain, hypothyroidism, diabetes and high blood sugar, impotence, infertility, bronze or gray darkening of the skin without exposure to the sun, heart arrhythmia or fatal heart attack, chronic abdominal pain, as well as jaundiced eyes and skin. In advanced cases, there can be liver failure including cirrhosis and primary liver cancer, the need for a heart and/or liver transplant, and premature death.
I lost my dear mother to hemochromatosis in 1999. Through genetic testing, I found out that I am a "silent carrier." Testing is not done routinely. The blood tests are: serum iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity), percent of saturation, serum ferritin, and an HFE gene mutation DNA test. The good news is that there is a simple, effective and relatively inexpensive treatment: bloodletting or blood donation.
Readers who want more information can contact The American Hemochromatosis Society. — Sandra Thomas, President/Founder, American Hemochromatosis Society
Dear Sandra Thomas: Thank you for alerting our readers to this hard-to-diagnose but easily treated disease. We hope they will check your website for more information.
Dear Annie: Please tell Lonely in Pa., the 50-year-old virgin, that one way to expand his search for a partner is through Internet dating sites. These sites are especially helpful for mature singles and sometimes lead to marriage. I'm a pastor and have officiated at marriages of those who first met on the web. — Dave in Maryland
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.