Monday, October 3, 2011

Definition of Home

"Her skills were so rare, so needed for the poorest of the poor, and even at times in the royal palace, that she felt valued. Wasn't that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are valued?"
― From Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese regarding the character Dr Kalpana Hemlatha (aka, Hema) reflecting on her adopted home in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia vs Madras, India.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Service and Joy

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

From goodreads.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Compassion Is Good For Your Health

"That human beings have an innate instinct for compassion is not something anybody needed science to prove, of course. But research is beginning to answer one vexing question: Is compassion a fixed personality trait, locked in by nature and nurture, or can higher states of compassion be cultivated? Scientific studies suggest that we can learn to be compassionate and that compassion can even physically change the wiring of our nervous systems."

This is from an interesting article by Larry Gallagher in the July/August 2011 issue of OdeWire

Friday, August 12, 2011

Coping Lifeline: My Treatment Notebooks

One of the things I did to keep some kind of sanity was to dedicate a series of notebooks to my treatment and healing process. On each notebook's cover I'd write the time spanned within. Anything to help me stay organized.
I used the notebook to take any and all notes before, during and after medical appointments, and if I happened to write a note on some other piece of paper, I'd tape it on the appropriate page to keep everything together....
...I'd also use it to track the cornucopia of medications you end up taking when going through chemo and after surgery... each one has its own lifecycle, so I'd end up creating a list with open checkboxes that I'd fill in once each drug was taken.
This was very handy when trying to stick to the prescribed schedule for certain drugs:  I learned the very hard way that if you stuck to the schedule you could gain more power over a given side effect, and when that side effect is intense pain or nausea you definitely want to do everything you can to maximize the "helper" meds. Tracking the meds was also helpful when I needed to talk with my MDs and/or Nurses about side effects: I'd be able to give them the info they needed to help me.
Another thing the notebook was great for was tracking phone calls, messages and conversations with my medical team. If I had a question about a side effect between two chemo cycles, I'd write it down, call the Doc's office and if I had to leave a voicemail, I'd note it in my notebook. Then, when they called back I'd know why they were calling me! (If you've gone through chemo, you've probably had at least one or two episodes of "chemo brain," yes?!)
I would also write notes to myself as I did in one of the pictures I attached -- "Feeling NAUSEOUS! ... I was not eating anything throughout the chemo. NEXT TIME MUST snack throughout!" This helped me learn from my mistakes and improve my experience as best as possible.
Finally, as I write this, I'm glad I did this and kept the notebooks, as I'm able to refer to them and share some tips with anyone whom (I think it's "whom," not "who"!) this might help.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Science and Nature

To science's deep frustration, nature regularly confounds our attempts to predict its next move.

― Susan Casey, The Wave.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Death Valley

image“The Valley was a place made for loners. You could share it only with someone who viewed it in the same perspective-not as endless miles of coarse, dead landscape but as a starkly beautiful wilderness teeming with life. To him it seemed almost sentient, as if deep within its ancient rock was something that approximated a soul.”

― Bill Pronzini, The Other Side of Silence
 Image source.

Friday, February 11, 2011

October 2010-For Once, Not So Deeply Affected by The Pink

I've hated October for the past 10 + years because I couldn't stand the constant reminders to be Aware of Breast Cancer, it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all.

I was already very much aware of it, thank you very much. And, I was actually trying to decrease my Breast Cancer Awareness in the hopes of decreasing my Rampant Cancer Anxiety of the "my elbow's sore, so I must have elbow cancer" variety (it was tendonitis, of course).

This year, surprisingly, it's not bothering me. Maybe deciding to share some thoughts is allowing me to kick its ass (BCAM's, that is), and therefore not be so bent out of shape by all the pink ribbons, pink events, pink t-shirts.... all that damn pink!

Or maybe, better yet, I've traveled far enough on this path, processed so much suffering (yes, I used the S-word!), that the knee-jerk PTSD-style reaction to all that Pink Ribbon Fever has decreased significantly.

It's called HEALING, Baby!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Faith In Humanity

“There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.”
 Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom