Abusive dad dying, wants to make amends

I’m 19 years old and haven’t had a real conversation with my father in five years.

Dear Annie: I’m 19 years old and haven’t had a real conversation with my father in five years.

My parents divorced when I was 3, and I saw my father every other weekend until I was 14 and realized he was an alcoholic.

The only time he ever called was to ask me to talk to my mother about dropping the tremendous amount of back child support he owed.

He also became violent toward me more than a few times. We’ve been estranged ever since.

Recently, Dad found out he doesn’t have much longer to live. He has asked to see me so he can make amends. I am not sure.

On one hand, what will I gain by pushing him away?

On the other, if we reconnect, I will undoubtedly grieve over his death.

I don’t want to regret making the wrong decision.

What should I do? — Unsure Daughter

Dear Daughter: Go see him. Believe it or not, you will grieve for your father one way or the other, so you may as well give him the opportunity to atone.

You’ll feel better for having done what you could to effect a reconciliation.

Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to “At the End of My Rope,” who has severe irritable bowel syndrome.

If her medications are not working, perhaps she has been misdiagnosed.

I was told I had IBS and figured out on my own that I have celiac disease (gluten intolerance), even though tests came back negative.

After two years of abdominal pain, night sweats, diarrhea, pain in my legs (apparently a calcium deficiency caused by celiac disease), I am healthy as long as I am strict about not eating white or wheat flour products, barley, rye and oats.

She also should see whether she is lactose intolerant.

Doctors are often too eager to give out medications to fix a symptom rather than have the patient do an elimination diet to determine what the food triggers really are.

Healthy Now with Self-Diagnosis

Dear Healthy: Quite a few readers suggested the writer may have gluten intolerance.

Read on for more suggestions:

From Boston: I, too, struggled with IBS for years and took every medication under the sun.

Nothing helped.

Finally, I realized much of my stress was coming from my emotionally abusive husband.

I filed for divorce and was nearly back to normal the next day.

Florida: I would be up all night in excruciating pain every three days.

Sometimes these attacks would happen while I was in social situations, and that was embarrassing and frightening.

After going to doctors for 25 years, I finally found a cure in a nontraditional manner.

I went to a nutritionist who was also a psychologist and hypnotherapist. I learned to eat according to the glycemic index and lost 17 pounds.

With tapes to use at home, I learned self-hypnosis to calm myself down.

Then, with the blessing of my doctors, I went to a wonderful Chinese doctor for acupuncture and Chinese herbs. It was a miracle!

It took a few months, but I have not had an attack in eight years.

California: I, too, have IBS, but don’t take any medication.

I accept myself as I am. I keep extra pairs of underwear with me and a plastic bag for ones I may soil.

I always keep a bathroom within sight and visit frequently, regardless of how I’m feeling.

I refuse to hurt my health by trying not to pass gas. Trust God and smile.

Shreveport, La.: I am a pharmacist whose 100-year-old mother was diagnosed with IBS 30 years ago.

She suffered with this malady until a year ago, when I suggested to her physician we try her on a probiotic.

Every evening, she takes one unit of Activia (there are others).

Her improvement has been nothing short of amazing.

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.