I was going to write about working without wearing any pants, and how pantsless careers are sort of ideal, but instead I am going to offer some thoughts on death and dying.
Most of my mornings begin like this: the low-impact sport of serving up espresso drinks at my daughter’s school followed by a cool down period of errands on the way home. Sometimes, since this is Los Angeles and there is always a bit of traffic to contend with, I have time for a phone conversation or to catch up on my quota of NPR. The ride home also gives me time to ruminate on important issues and subjects for my blog. Sometimes a conversation sparks a new thought process, twists the direction I had planned on going or otherwise derails what would have been a perfectly good fluff piece. By way of example, I recently conversed with my mother about my father’s final days, thus running the train of intention for this post completely off the rails. Continue reading The End of Life and How to Die→
Staring at my budget with blurred eyes and a brain addled by a host of fun chemicals, I have to pinch myself and remind myself there are reasons that I chose the long game; there are reasons I passed over GoFundMe or GiveForward or any of the other single-goal fundraising websites my friends have used wisely to bridge specific financial gaps. I’ve seen those sites work super effectively, raising $3,000 or more in less than a week while targeting figures high enough to cover a host of potential costs ahead. For those friends, who would be “out of the woods” in a few months or so, where all their resources will be expended in a concentrated time, I think the outreach and the community reciprocity is amazing and a great testament to compassion within our social groups. But I’m not hard-wired that way, and my condition is not so neatly tied up in a closed time-frame.
Longer stretch, earning smaller frequent support goals
At this point, though it could change, I am on this merry-go-round every three weeks until I die — preferably quite a few years from now. And while I am still riding my chosen horse (a big, jet-black unicorn with a dangerously sharp silver horn, if you must know), I have a lot that I want to accomplish. I can’t manage a job for more than an hour or two most mornings, so I haven’t been traditionally employed for over two years. And yet, I have so much work to do! Like my book on living well with advanced cancer, getting on with life in spite of new limitations and finding the very best of ourselves along theway. Continue reading Support My Site in September and get My Book Free!→
I was going to title this post “Why I Love Parabens.” I had been reading up on them lately for a number of reasons, mostly surrounding a largely unfounded controversy surrounding a type of lip balm my daughter had been using. In the case of the lip balm, the “paraben-free” product was being accused of harboring mold with the implication being that this was a manufacturing defect. Examination of the claims revealed, however, that the mold was most likely the result of misuse or poor storage of the product which, due to the lack of effective preservatives, would be expected to mold if it was exposed to moisture and kept in the dark. This does, however, beg the question as to why a lip balm, of all things, would be sold without effective preservatives to protect against mold.
The answer, of course, is the unwarranted vilification of parabens. The natural cosmetics industry, and perhaps more accurately the Environmental Working Group and other activist organizations have been disseminating information about parabens for over a decade now, describing how they are endocrine disruptors and probably cause cancer. And this is where we get to the point of where science is occluded by hype, to the detriment of the consumer, the patient, the regular person on the street…Continue reading Parabens, Fear and Junk Science→
There is room for a great social media app here, so officially I’m announcing “Infusions With Friends” — everyone needs a game to play while they’re stuck in treatment and when you begin to realize how many people are not only going through chemotherapy at the same time as you, but often having their treatment on the same day, it just makes sense that we ought to be able to hook up and make a game out of it. And if for whatever reason, one or another of us cannot join in the treatment fun as scheduled, it still is nice to have a way to feel inclusive and play along from home.
When I got up this morning, I anticipated that two of my friends were likely to be “joining” me in chemo today — one from a a state to the north, one well to the east. It felt good, like there was some camaraderie there, full of mutual encouragement and good times, opportunities to share the view on Facebook or comment on how the mornings were spent with family before going in. And I usually find room for a few jokes around a “cocktail” theme or to comment on the need for better spa services. Sure, my material is starting to wear a little thin, which is all the more reason to get an appropriate app to market quickly. And the play at home feature would have been especially useful for me today, as I discovered that neither of my friends would be joining in from their respective clinics. One was simply a scheduling difference — she goes in tomorrow. The other had some issues with his bloodwork; last week when the same issue prevented his treatment, I thought he had simply lucked out with a week-long vacation from treatment, and I was secretly excited to get him on my schedule because I’m selfish and bored sometimes. So here I was this morning, luxuriously relaxing in my heated, vibrating lounge chair, feeling vaguely lonely in spite of the cheerful nurses and their needles. Continue reading Infusions With Friends→
Today I had the pleasure of going in for a CT scan, which I mean literally, as in I enjoy the experience. It is a brief scan, takes less than fifteen minutes in the actual room, but for some reason I always find it quite relaxing. The parts leading up to the scan aren’t quite as comfortable. Like choking down the solution that will make me light up from the inside…
Drinking barium sulfate has become somewhat less disgusting since they introduced the mochaccino flavor, it’s true. One of the ladies in reception noticed my second bottle of the morning during my check-in and mentioned that she heard it was “pretty good.” I told her that “more palatable” was a better description, but it is admitedly a huge leap over the nasty flavors offered just a few months ago. Just one additional way in which science is continuing to earn that motto, “better living through chemistry.”
And the fasting; I hate the fasting. Not that I can really complain about four hours between 6:30 and 10:30 in the morning — since these are my usual hours between breakfast and my late-morning snack, I got off easy today. My scans are usually a bit earlier and I can’t sneak a meal in, but today I got lucky. That’s why, I suppose, I was in an especially good mood upon arrival. Continue reading Scanning the Options→
If we, as a society, could allocate just an additional $120 million each year toward research and development of new cancer treatments, that would seem like a great idea. Because there is a lot of money out there already directed at existing therapies, running clinical trials of proven concepts and supporting the refinement of effective treatments already in existence, it also seems like a great idea to take this $120 million and direct it toward new concepts and approaches that are not yet mainstreamed into Western Medicine. This is the reason, I suspect, that over the past twenty years or so, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has morphed into Integrative Medicine and has been granted enormous research subsidies and acceptance within many mainstream health institutions. Allocating even a mere $120 million is a huge responsibility, so it also seems like it would be a great idea to carefully vet the areas on which the funding will be spent.
Here is some amazing news: the actual amount of government funding for research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015 and 2016 has reached $369 and $378 million annually, according to the National Institute of Health. This should be a Golden Age of Medical Advancement! Sizable annual funding being made available outside of the mainstream of modern medicine must be the answer to why there has been no definitive Cancer Cure.
Will New Attitudes and Regulatory Oversight Hit Delete on Photo Retouching in Print Ads? | Adweek. It’s true, people do make unhealthy lifestyle choices based on images that they see in print, especially advertising media that purport to show the ideals of beauty. As amazingly idiotic as it may seem, there are still plenty of people who will overlook the obvious nature of retouched images and still consider the ideal plausible; starvation, manic exercise, dubious diets and loads of money wasted on beauty products are the result of this determination to fight against reason and strive for an impossible body image.
As much as I am inclined not to do this sort of thing, I will occasionally share info about companies I actually use. This is one of them: Overnight Prints. The pricing is pretty awesome, especially when compared to the local printers I was just bidding out and the big online behemoth, VistaPrint, which I have used for “free” items in the past… They seem to run lots of specials, but the best part appears to be simply the superior product at a highly competitive price.
Fear mongering, as you should know by now, is one of the top ways that people or corporations get you to buy. This is true politically as well as economically, so it is always worth reminding ourselves that panic is a reaction that circumvents intellect. Sometimes it is certainly warranted, but (hopefully) not often. So, when being approached with an idea or a product that is presented from a fear-based perspective, always think twice and look closely.
Here is an interesting example that I came across online: Survival Joe’s Newsletter. It even comes with one of those handy newfangled barcode links for those of you who have a free smartphone in your hand as you read this.
It’s a glaring bit of reality that most – AND I DO MEAN MOST – blogs on this InterWeb Highway exist only to direct you to links intended to help their owners profit somehow. I’m not quite sure what makes the technology tick on these things, but when I am researching one topic or another for valid reasons entirely my own, I am disproportionately directed to web sites that make no sense whatsoever. These are “robo-sites” that have been culled by a computer program in order to appear original, or compiled by some worker in a far-off land who may or may not have an actual grasp of the language in which the web page is “written.”