My #REASONS2STANDUP

My #REASONS2STANDUP? What are my #REASONS2STANDUP?  Tonight is the #StandUp2Cancer telecast.  According to a live interview today on Facebook with Katie Couric, this is an effort of collaboration among scientist and not one of competition.  She was seen with a colon cancer patient and Dr. William Nelson, Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.  This is a night to support and honor all those facing cancer. I was actually told about this movement from my oldest son soon after my second cancer diagnosis in May of 2014.  I have to say I was a bit misty-eyed when I received a text from him asking me if I was following the group on Facebook. This is my #REASON2STANDUP!  Two years ago, we were in doubt if I would ever see his then unborn son, my grandson.  Two years ago, I watched my youngest son describe my 2nd Continue Reading →

TEDx Talks and Human Relationships

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This particular TEDx talk,  “Connect or Die: The Surprising Power of Human Relationships” happens to be one of my favs. Ophthalmologist, Starla Fitch, M.D., makes a keen analogy about how we “see” other people and how that can often be a distorted view through the “human lens”.

The real gift of sight is that it allows us to truly see each other and connect.

~ Starla Fitch, M.D.

A Chance Meeting on a Walk

2014-05-23 08.05.56I walk frequently in my neighborhood for exercise. I like to walk alone since I wear my headphones and enjoy listening to my playlist. I do, however, stop to chat briefly with neighbors but this one particular morning walk I was distracted by the t-shirt a woman was wearing, a woman I did not know. She was wearing a t-shirt for a walk she had done for breast cancer awareness. I somehow felt drawn to stop and ask her if she was a survivor, too. Her answer leads me to believe that I should have looked at her through a different human lens and not assume she was a survivor herself because of what she was wearing. Her daughter had cancer but, she explained, she also lost her daughter to cancer.

I offered her my sympathies but I stopped very quickly at that and ask her how she was doing. Sorry does only go so far. I can only imagine how many times she has heard that response from others. Her daughter had only been gone a few short months. She told me she has her good days and bad. We chatted briefly about it but then got on to other topics. I remember on my worst days of dealing with cancer that I simply wanted to talk to someone about anything but cancer. So, we did.

I found out she was traveling to France the very next day to see family. As I listened to her carefully I noticed a faint accent. She was French but had been living in the states for quite a number of years. Having taught English language learners in my classroom I’m a sucker for accents from any country and I commented on hers, faint as it was. We chatted about travel and how long we had both lived in the neighborhood.

The Connection

single-ribbon-pink-1306036I noticed a necklace she was wearing as well. It was the pink ribbon symbol that represents breast cancer. Not only was she wearing a shirt, she had on a necklace, too. They both, honestly, were a bit worn. I sensed it was a closeness she carried of her daughter who was no longer physically with her but that she must think of daily. What a difficult thing for a mother to have to deal with every day. That was something I knew nothing about, losing a child to cancer. It was my lesson and privilege that day to see her through a new human lens and to make a connection with her.

We hugged before we left and hoped we would see each other again on another walk. I suspect if we do, that we will be exchanging contact information to share a cup of coffee, more chat, and make an even deeper connection.

As I turned the corner of my block and headed home, a smile came over my face. This song began playing on my playlist.

 

I thought about Janine, my new friend, the quick relationship we developed because of our connection, and her upcoming trip. I’m sure she will benefit greatly from a visit with her sister in Paris.

What special human relationship has taken you by surprise?  Do you look at that person through a different lens now than you did when you first met?

Open your eyes, look at each other, and make the connection…. today.  I see you!

“The Emperor of All Maladies” documentary

The Emperor of All Maladies ~ Documentary Tonight is the beginning of the three-part documentary, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”. The movie is based on the book by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. It will air on PBS as a three-night, six hour documentary.  I was fortunate to attend a pre-screening of this important documentary last week. Hope and Inspiration ~ The documentary, “Winning by Living” was made about a local woman, Michelle Kirlew, in conjunction with our local PBS affiliate’s screening of the Ken Burns documentary. Michelle has pancreatic cancer. She is a wife and mother and at a very young age found out about her diagnosis. She is aware that death is likely very soon for her and is dealing not only with her illness and the side effects but all the emotional responsibilities that come with facing death. She had the courage to contribute to Continue Reading →