PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENDA COFFEE ©2019
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Incase the universe thought it might have slipped my mind that 15 years ago I was diagnosed with this terrible disease, since then five of my girlfriends have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well. I understand their fears. I know how hard it is to think about anything other than cancer because we’re wondering if we’ll be here this time next year or five years from now.
I also know when treatment is over, it’s sometimes difficult to get on with the business of living.
Brenda recently asked if we still prepare meals. Many readers who left comments said they still enjoyed cooking; a few said they didn’t, and someone said she didn’t see the point. That really touched me. In my mind, eating well is an act of awareness and love. Continue Reading
Gone are the days when it was easy for me to go to sleep. In fact, since my late 30’s, I’ve been taking medication to sleep. My doctor then had been in the military. He said my inability to let go and sleep was classic PTSD. It was a term I hadn’t heard before, but after years spent living on the edge—of everything—followed by the death of my first husband and my kidnapping a year later, it made sense.
When I think about it, difficulty sleeping seems like a fair trade for having made it through all of that.
There’s always something to be grateful for. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it. That being the case, why not look for things to feel grateful about? This is, of course, a lead-in to share something I hadn’t given a thought to until I needed it and discovered my friends didn’t know about it either. Continue Reading
I’ve been sitting in the gastrointestinal day surgery waiting room since 6:30 this morning. A male nurse with a carpet of fur peering out from the neck of green surgical scrubs has already taken my friend through a pair of double doors marked ‘Oxygen in Use.’
Even though I brought a book and have my cellphone, it’s difficult to blockout the conversations around me.
“Do not do squats!” It’s almost a mantra for me, and I don’t know why. After all, squats, deep knee bends and lunges have probably paid for both of my kids’ college and grad school educations. I should love the squat, but for years I’ve been telling my patients don’t do squats, wondering if I was alone in this opinion, and then I saw this on the internet. Orthopedic surgeon invents Crossfit to fund his children’s education! Who’da thunk it? Continue Reading
I have been staring into nothingness for hours. Thoughts come and go, floating past like autumn leaves on a burbling stream.
For the first time in my life I feel vulnerable. In spite of my lifelong healthy diet, regular exercise and mindfulness… I’ve had a stroke. Two actually, but who’s counting?
Do you remember your mom scolding you when you reached across the table for the rolls before anyone else had a chance to get one? At that time, “grabby” was as much a state-of-mind as it was an impolite reach.
When I tell patients not to be so grabby, I mean it literally. I want them to stop grabbing, because it’s wearing out their hands.
My mother put a lot of time and energy into how she looked and how others perceived her. She never stepped outside her door, even to pickup the newspaper, without her makeup on, every hair in place and dressed in something attractive. But at some point mother was all dressed up with no place to go. Mentally and emotionally she stopped living her life… decades before she died.
Is this just what happens to many of us as we get older, or is something else at work?
We’ve all gotten songs stuck in our heads that play over and over until we want to go screaming into the night. That’s how I’ve felt this past week. I’ve been singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s 1963, Wives and Lovers. I have no clue where it came from, but I can’t get rid of it.
In 2013, HuffPost said Wives and Lovers “could be one of the most offensive songs, ever.”