Dear Abby: Should she tell dying friend's family that she is dying?

DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend, "Lindy," who is dying from liver cancer. She could no longer eat or drink even before the chemo was started, and she sleeps most of the time. The chemo has done nothing more for her than make her lose her hair.

Lindy is adamant that she'll beat the cancer. To that end, she wants nothing "negative" passed on to outsiders, including her relatives, who live eight hours away. She has no family here except her boyfriend, whom she won't allow to talk to her doctor. He refuses to go against her wishes.

I am torn between being loyal to my friend's belief that she'll get better, or notifying her family about how sick she really is so they can visit her before she passes. If they come, Lindy will be furious (if she's still coherent). But if they don't have the opportunity, it will be unfair to them.

My heart tells me to call Lindy's family and tell them to consider a visit sooner rather than later. What do you think?

- CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: I think that if Lindy were as close to her family as you imagine, they would have some inkling that she's ill. That you are aware of her illness shows how much she trusts you and cares for you. The people who are most important to her know about her condition, so please respect her wishes.