Dear Annie: I have a sister who has had six surgeries to beat two types of cancer. She has residual complications but is working forward. I have been with her through all her surgeries and rehab. I live on the West Coast, and she lives on the East Coast.

I have called her every day since her first diagnosis. Now that she has had a relapse, she is blocking me out. She is hostile and acts as if she is frustrated with me. I am not sure if I should stop calling and just express that I am here if she needs me. Yet, I don’t want her to feel deserted, as she has no friends or family nearby.

Not sure how to handle this, Annie. I would appreciate your advice.

— Just Love My Sister

Dear Just Love My Sister: My heart breaks for both of you. This is a very difficult situation for your whole family. Sometimes hostile and frustrated people are really just scared people. And she is understandably very scared right now. Also, various illnesses, and their associated medications, can exaggerate feelings of anger and hostility.

Try to remember the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people.” Your sister is in pain right now and pushing you away. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with what she is facing.

Yes, you should absolutely express that you are here for her if she needs you. Ask her what she would like for you to do for her. If it’s to limit your calls for the time being, then send her love quietly, either in the form of prayer or meditation.

I know it is hard, but try not to take her actions personally. Just let her know how much you love her and that you are available for her in any way she needs.

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Dear Annie: I overheard a young mother telling friends that she gives her 1-year-old melatonin at bedtime. She does this so that she can get a good night’s sleep. I mentioned this to some other ladies, and they said they had heard of other mothers doing this. I was shocked.

We all have natural melatonin that dissipates as we age; hence, age-related sleeping problems are not unusual. I was hoping you would post this and get some answers from medical experts.

I would think this could cause a lifetime of sleeping problems for these children. If the body is prematurely given sleep hormones, then could it stop producing them naturally early on? This is awful. Are medical professionals warning young parents about this? I am not a medical professional, but common sense tells me this is not good.

— A Mother’s Intuition

Dear Mother’s Intuition: Giving a 1-year-old melatonin — or any supplements — without consulting a pediatrician is not a good idea.

If you are having trouble getting your child to sleep, then come up with a plan with your medical practitioner. Sleep-training techniques can include creating a bedtime routine, adjusting nap schedules or limiting exposure to light before bed.

I would love to hear from pediatricians and children sleep specialists. Thank you for raising the issue.

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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane

A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to The opinions expressed are her own.