Friday, March 27, 2009

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Recently, I've vented about some of the difficulties I've had health-wise. And, as soon as I typed them in my blog, I felt badly about it. Namely, because I don't like to complain. My circumstances are not that bad, especially when you consider others who have it so much worse.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you will remember that my Mom has MS. She's always been a fighter and provided my sister and I with unspoken advice of never to complain. She taught us to think of others who struggle. One moment I remember so clearly as I was growing up, is when she taught me about being a human being of value. She told me, "Empathy is so much more useful than Sympathy." It seeped through my stubborn Aries subconscience and stayed with me all these years.

So, I try not to complain. Especially since my older sister, Tanya was diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year. She turned the big 5-0 this past November and her doctor added the good ole colonoscopy exam to her annual physical. It's a good thing they did because she was at stage 4. When I found out, I felt as if the wind was completely knocked out of my soul. She has always been the healthy one.

This past year, I have seen her go through uncharacteristic bad health. And, I have seen her handle her illness with such incredible faith, grace and humility as well as humor. I sit in amazement at times. She has been in such pain and never complained. No, she instead has chronicled her journey via her blog: Every Problem Has a Gift for You in its Hands. It is truly a fascinating journey as she digs deep in herself and explains what she goes through and her feelings about it.

Oh, and by the way: She is going through her last round of chemo and radiation and had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor (but not before she had a tumor naming contest on her blog beforehand) and to insert the colostomy bag. She is cancer free! So, do yourself a favor: Read her blog. Be good to yourself and get a colonoscopy if it's time to have one or if colon cancer runs in your family. The colon test is NOT painful....honest. Believe me, I wouldn't lie to you.

Hey, it's a fast way to lose 5 lbs, right?

More Musings Later-

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Magic of a Memoir

There isn't any doubt in my mind that everyone has thought about writing or having their memoirs written. If for no other reason, but to announce to the world, "Hey, I was here. And, it mattered to someone."

A memoir to me is sort of like a written document that recants your life and puts the period at the end of the sentence of life. One of the very first memoirs I wrote for a client was meant for something more than this. Much more than this.

I remember a young fellow named Jason Walker of Thomasville, GA emailed me about writing his memoirs. When we first began chatting online, I silently wondered why he wanted to write a memoir when he was only 20 something? As he began to tell his story, I found out that he is one of the oldest if not oldest living survivor of Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. He is a quadreplegic and relies on machines and oxygen tanks to keep him alive.

As I coached him on what he needed to do, he studiously began gathering materials and began to recount stories from his past to me. I wrote at night so I could write for paying gigs during the day. Before we knew it, the book was done. I got to know his mom, his sister and brother-in-law and his niece, Ray his caregiver and his journalist friend in Florida all through his stories. I was also schooled on the perfection of Florida State football.

When I finally got the book published, I asked why he wanted the book written so badly. He stated that he wanted to give other people hope that were going through difficult times. If after reading this book, you're not inspired and humbled, then I don't know what will do it for you. He had mentioned that after he's gone, his dream is for the book to continue selling so that his Mom and Dad can receive the royalties to help out with the mounting medical bills he's accrued through the years.

Well, he befriended me and my partner, Mindy Schwartz. She began working with him on marketing the book and he was thrilled. So, our aim is to make sure that Jason's book continues to sell. 100% of the royalties will go to Jason's parents for financial assistance.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Jason Walker, co-author of "Missing My Body" passed away March 16, 2009 at 9:30pm.


I choose to remember Jason through his own words which will live on:

Make no mistake about it, my life is consumed with worry and contemplation, but it is also consumed with love and joy for this life.

Most people that suffer from a debilitating disease are “stuck” at the first phase of their limitations. If that were the case with me, then this would be the final chapter to this book. So, it is with a very conscience effort that this detail about my life occurs at the beginning of my book. There will be recounting of physical limitations and surgeries and so on throughout the book, but I feel it is imperative that you understand that these events are intertwined with loving, caring family and friends and my beloved animals.

There is a quote that likens my situation to that of a horse race: “Each handicap is like a hurdle in steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along too.”[1]

That is how I choose to live my life, as fluid and graceful, as my body is stiff and confined.

Jason Walker

[1] Laura Moncur’s Motivational Quotations – by Lawrence BixbyMore Musings Later-

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Round of "Remember When?"

Today a friend of mine and I were talking and our conversation meandered to when we were kids. When I think about it, our childhood seems so far removed from today's youth...much in the same way that the middle-aged seemed far removed from my youth.

If you're a 20 or 30-something, you won't get what I'm about to detail for you. Being born in the early 60's was a unique time. We had a youthful president in office, much like today; we had serious political issues happening behind the scenes as well as in front of our eyes just as it is happening today. Yet, we were so innocent. I'm sure another writer will ponder similar thoughts 20 years from now and his or her musings will seem just as dated and melancholy as mine.

Remember When?

You "went outside to play" after school?

You would swing in a tire swing?

You walked to school ? (not uphill or in snow, but you get the idea)

You felt priviledged to ride a bicycle to school?

You gave their friends a ride home on their handlebars?

You were taught to "duck and cover"?

You were taught to say "Sir and Maam" at all costs?

You would receive a spanking?

You prayed and recited the Pledge of Allegiance each day in school?

You watched the astronauts land on the moon?

You laid on the ground and watched the clouds change shapes?

You had to get a TB shot?

You thought that by the year 2000, the world would be at an end, either that or would be like The Jetsons.
Cartoons were of superior quality and not hastily slapped together as they are today?

Bugs as Leopold Stokowski (cartoons were just smarter back then).

More Musings Later-

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My first observation: Today, March 12th is Liza Minnelli's birthday.

My thoughts: Happy Birthday. Please retire.

My Observation: I went to the doctor to have him look at how my foot is healing. He did x-rays and remarked that I now have a hairline of where the break was on my foot. "There's nothing more to do for the foot. It has to heal on it's own. Just give it time. Come back in 6 weeks and I'll look at it again."

My thought: If all it needs is time to heal, then what do I need to see you for?

My observation: If you have a group of women sit at a table and serve them lunch. You will see multiple pairs of eyes casually taking sidelong glances of the other woman's plate. Each woman is thinking to themselves, "Am I eating too much? Am I eating slow/fast enough? Will the other woman think I'm a pig?"

My thoughts: Shut up and Eat.

My observation: You can tell alot about a doctor's office by the tv programs they show for people in the waiting room.

My thoughts: If a doctor's office has Jerry Springer blaring, run. Your doctor will most definitely run tests to see, "Who yo baby's daddy?"

My observation: American Idol is popular as ever. Complete with the choreographed routines with choir-like singing, Ryan Seacrest with his over dramatic "This (dramatic pause) is American Idol!" Simon with his peculiar effiminant gesturing and cattiness and Paula well, being Paula with her musical critiques, "You look beautiful," et al.

My thought: Why?

My observation: there is the time change. We fall back and spring ahead. We have more hours of sunlight when we spring ahead.

My thought: If we have more hours of sunlight, why does the day seem so short?

More Musings Later-

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I would like Whine with My Cheese...

Hello all, forgive my last rant about the PDiddy, Pity Pot Blues. I normally don't go on and on like that about my health. But, I guess I needed to. So, I put it out there, and it served it's purpose. After I wrote the rant, I felt stupid complaining. I felt exactly like this baby in the pic. Why me? Why me? Waaahhhh! Well guess what? Why NOT me? Who am I to be exempt from life's little bumps in the road? So, onward and upward.

Shortly after I wrote the rant, I called Mom. If you remember, she has MS and diabetes and a host of other health issues. The conversation went something like this:


"Hey!, how are you?"

"Fine, and you?"

"Fine. "

"You know you don't feel well! You lie like a rug."


"What was it you said earlier?"

"Uh...hmmm I can't remember. I'll think of it. Remember when? uh...hell, I don't know."

"You said something about ... wait, it will come to me. Who am I kidding? no it won't."

"It will. What was it that you said? I'm trying to remember, hang on."

"Did you know that the police caught that guy that uh....what did he do? Something about Crystal Gayle...uh....or was it Walmart?"

"I love you, I'll think of it and call you later."

"Me too. did I say it or did you?"

"Bye Mom, I love you"

"Bye Taryn, I love you too."

She never fails to make me laugh. Thank you Mom.

More Musings Later-

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I've got the P-Diddy Pity Pot Blues...

Okay, Doc Hollywood (my neuro) said that the honeymoon period of my Parkinson's would end at some point and I would start experiencing more symptoms. Blah blah blah is all I heard. I had a great attitude, I knew that I could get through it just fine, thank you very much.

Okay, I'm pissed off. Can I say that? Can I say that and still have a good attitude? Well, even if I can't, I'm pissed off! Why? Okay, I'll let you into the world of me. A middle-aged woman, with sarcastic humor with PD, scarred up legs from vasculitis and a broken left foot.

Imagine yourself sitting in your chair in the living room tippity typing on your laptop. You are working on a client's memoirs and enjoying the work. Then your beautiful aging beagle puts her head on your knee and looks at you with that "I need to go outside to do my business" look. Then, she starts whining...then yelping...and wait...let me type one more word...then she starts "yelling" by barking loudly. Okay okay! I tell her.

Baby, the aging beautiful beagle

I stand up and I can hear my bones crack. I immediately hunch over because....well, that's what I do. It's part of PD. I feel lightheaded and unsteady...I start clutching furniture on the way to the kitchen. The beagle is running in circles, tail is wagging with such force that it looks like a propeller. I'm coming! I tell her. Wait....grab on to the kitchen chair. Quick, turn it around and sit down I tell myself....wait, my knees are buckling....wait....WAIT! I sit on the edge of the chair and clutch the table trying to sit in the middle of the seat. I can't do it. I'm going down with the ship. CRAP! Ouch! CRAP! I hear a "snap" sound and my foot is engulfed in pain.

Meanwhile, the beagle comes over and looks at you and burps in your face. then she licks your nose and waits for you to get up and let her outside. Damn! I can't move for maybe 2-3 seconds...Finally, I can get up. Crap! my body hurts. You finally situate your body so that you can let the dog out and take a breather sitting on the floor holding her retractable lead.

Okay, that is one burr in my butt. Here's the next:

I'm tired. Have I said that already? I'm not just tired....I'M TIRED. Sometimes it takes all I have just to get my butt out of bed. Which brings me to the next point of contention. I take naps. Not just 1 nap a day...I've taken as many as 4 naps in one day. You're probably muttering to yourself, "No way," I'm here to tell you "Yes Way."

I'm also tired of talking and in mid-sentence my mind goes blank.
  • Walking into a room and wondering what for?
  • What did you say?
  • When did that happen?
  • Where was I?
  • Huh?
  • Why did you do that?
  • What day is it?

More Musings Later, (If I can remember)