DEAR ABBY: My cousin, “Hazel,” was recently told by her doctor that she must lose 75 pounds. She tells me that sticking to her diet is almost impossible. Years ago, you printed a prayer for dieters in your column. It was based on the 23rd Psalm. I kept a copy of it for years, but I lost it. Would you please print it again? – SYMPATHETIC IN TAOS, N.M.

DEAR SYMPATHETIC: I couldn’t locate the prayer you requested, but the premise intrigued me – so I wrote one myself. I hope it inspires your friend. I empathize with her. By the way, she’s not alone. I am told that one-third of all Americans are overweight. Read on:


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;

He maketh me to lie down on vinyl-covered gym mats.

He leadeth me to flavored calorie-free waters;

He restoreth my goals.

He diverteth me from the path of midnight snacking for my health’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the alley of the Vendors of Pastry, I will fear no weevil; for thou art with me;

My diet and exercises, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me

Spread with veggies and low-fat protein;

Thou steameth my fish in foil,

My resolve runneth over.

Surely, if I follow this living plan all the days of my life,

My hips will be slim forever.


DEAR ABBY: A little over a year ago, after reading your column about a man who had experienced testicular cancer, I was prompted to examine myself. It was something I had never thought about until that day. Not once had I ever considered the possibility that it could actually happen to me.

Sure enough, I found a large lump that sent a cold chill down my spine. My general practitioner didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. But I was still worried, so I made an appointment for a second opinion with a urologist. He had a waiting list a month long, but the morning after I consulted him I found myself in the hospital having my first surgery.

Now, one year later, after two surgeries and six weeks of chemotherapy, I am 99 percent cured and feeling great.

Thank you, Abby, for raising my awareness about this serious disease. I can’t stress strongly enough the extreme importance of self-examination and early detection. Your column saved my life. – GRATEFUL GUY IN MARYLAND

DEAR GRATEFUL: I’m pleased that my column helped you. The American Cancer Society informs me that when testicular cancer is diagnosed early, it is highly curable. Testicular self-examinations are quick and easy, and should be performed once a month. A simple way to do it is while taking a shower. For more information, contact the American Cancer Society by calling the toll-free number (800) 227- 2345 or visiting the Web site:

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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