Advocates, icons, influencers, and more. All about humanity.
The big C
Anna is sitting in the waiting room and is reading a story about how the C word has the world in its grip. She gets confused for a second. 2020 is the year of the coronavirus for most of us, but for Anna it has been the year of the actual big C, cancer, and the chemo that followed. It's been over 4 months ago that she was diagnosed and there's no end in sight yet.
Filled With Forget
My Author is forgetful. I don't mean forgetting where they put their keys, or a relatives birthday. I mean who they are, and what they've done from hour to hour, or sometimes less than that. I have large gaps in my own memory as a result; blocks of days where I don't know if my Author is alive or well. I've become used to being the nondescript, little black book, milling about with musty hats and bent umbrellas in a lost and found box, waiting to be claimed for the umpteenth time.
The Swine Flu Cruise & the Catalina Golf Buggy Mixer!
A year into this current pandemic (Feb 2021) I'd actually worked through another less deadly one back in 2009/10 on the Star. Handover had been completed and I was about to start my first cruise as acting senior videograper on a 7 day Mexico cruise roundtrip from LA, having spent 3 months bringing up the numbers on the same run on the Sapphire I was fairly confident that if I'd did everything the same this first cruise on the Star we'd hit our video target and I'd make a good first impression.
I Am Wrecked
I Am Wrecked/Here's a Pep Talk by Louis De Lauro Sadly, I am suffering from a severe flare of Ulcerative Colitis and I am wrecked.
The Magick of My Little Black Book
I don’t recall the day I found out I had cancer, I think the trauma was so intense that I blanked out, lost all memory. It’s amazing what you experience, when you discover you have an inoperable walnut sized tumor growing in your brain.
It was early Monday morning and the sun had not yet risen. It was Russell’s first day of his new scheduled time at DaVita Dialysis. He requested the change in time so he could possibly return to a somewhat normal life. The three hour stints each trip to dialysis lasted made it difficult to keep a normal schedule when they occurred in the middle of the day. Suddenly, his phone began to ring.
When I was married to my first husband, Steve, I never tired of hearing his mother's story about the day she and the skill of a surgeon saved Steve's life. It was 1952. They were returning from a ball-game in St. Louis. Steve was sitting on her lap in the front seat. A car coming from the other direction hit them head-on. When the cars initially hit, Steve was thrown threw the windshield. The cars spun around and hit again. This time, Steve was thrown back into the broken glass of the windshield. He was seven years old. His mother had the presence of mind to apply pressure to the huge gash in his neck with towels they had in the car. An ambulance came and Steve was rushed to a hospital in St Charles (a St Louis suburb). When the surgeon, Dr Newbauser, first examined Steve, he offered little hope. Steve had lost so much blood. Dr. Newbauser elected to clamp the gash in Steve's neck at that time and began giving Steve plasma. Dr. Newbauser was encouraged because Steve began to "pink-up." The next morning, Dr. Newbauser performed delicate surgery, repairing the damage to Steve's neck. Steve's jugular vein had been spared by tenths of an inch.
02/02/2019 I’ve been slowly losing my memories and Dr. Louis has suggested that keeping a journal might help me hold on to more of them. So, I got mum to get me this small black notebook. I know I need to write something, but I’m not sure what I’m meant to write. Maybe this is good enough?
5 Lessons on How to Live –
About 15 years ago, I experienced a dangerous combination of existential crisis and the Dark Night of the Soul. No meaning in life and no God to comfort me. I was running from life - not to it and there’s a huge difference. I was angry. As the southern saying goes, “I was losing my religion;” at the end of my rope. Volunteering in hospice care beckoned. After all, I was dying. Not in a literal sense but in a major psychological and emotional way. Who better to commiserate with and where better to hide from the world than amongst those who were on the same trajectory? It turns out that living with the dying saved me. Through this experience, I learned how to live, to shed cloaks of darkness, to see the value of time, and to understand priorities. Though it was my experience, this is their story. These are some of the lessons they shared. I distilled them to the five most important.
Ways that the mind works
It's an unfamiliar feeling when you wake up from 9 hours of surgery, to have the 'dark passanger' in your head. I know this might not make sense just yet, but it will once you see who 'they' are.
Will Life Return to Normal?
In February of 2020, I hosted a Super Bowl Party, chaperoning a van load of teenagers. While most of them chatted and hung out in the arcade of Incredible Pizza, dropping quarters in video games and winning tickets, I sipped on Sprite, munched on pizza and watched my beloved Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl. Although Covid-19 had arrived in the United States, I in no way anticipated a national quarantine. And to even consider a global shutdown bordered on insanity. But, here we are, almost a year later, and restrictions continue to throttle the economy and hamper the public's ability to return to a semblance of normalcy. Is "normal" life a thing of the past?
Back in September, in the year of 2015 I woke up in a extremely good mood as the day before I sat for my driving test to go for my provisional license and passed it. It was my pay day and I was going to pay for my theory test so that I would be able to drive if I passed they theory test. So I got up and got ready, it was a horrid day outside, was wet and dark but that didn't bother me at all because it was going to be a good day, or so I thought. I left the house at about 7:30am, with my house mate who I was taking to work, I told him I was driving because I loved to drive and it was my own car, so we start heading through the windy roads that I had know my whole life, everything was going fine and I couldn't keep the smile off my face. About 15-20 minutes into the trip a song that I love came on the radio, the song was "Rain" by Dragon, as I'm singing out loud driving the car jolts a tiny bit but didn't concern me because the car didn't really do anything so I just kept driving but slowed down as it was wet on the roads and it was spitting and I was going to be going down hill. I get to this certain point down hill going around a corner and the car jolts again but this time the car's back end starts sliding to the right, I slowly just put the breaks on but the car just drifts around this huge corner. On the left side which we were facing was a barrier and a cliff edge and on the right side there was a huge rock wall, at this point I'm trying to stay calm and trying to control the car, the car hits a dry patch on the road and grips and straightens up. By this time I'm 15-20m away from the rock wall so I couldn't do anything to try and avoid it, the last thought going through my head was "shit this is going to hurt", braced myself for impact and then BANG! I woke up and the car was upside down on the roof further down the road with the roof caved it, I look around and my housemate isn't in the car but on the outside trying to open my door which he couldn't from the impact. I started not being able to breath properly as the seat belt was crushing my chest, I undid my belt and fell straight onto my neck but it didn't bother me at all, all I was worried about was getting out of the car so if another car came around the corner it didn't smash into my car. I get onto my hands and knees, crawling along the roof on the inside of the car over broken glass and things that were in my car scattered everywhere. Finally I get out of the car, turn around and see the car and can't believe I'm alive, I look at my housemate and just break down and start crying unbelievably and fall into his arms while he takes me over to the guard railing, at this time I notice my back starting to have this agonising shooting pain in my spine and my head starts to really hurt too. This taxi driver stops and asks if were ok, we ask if he can call an ambulance which he agreed to and takes off, while waiting for about 5-10 minutes later no ambulance and this car slows down and stops and asks if we need help, she tells me to get in the passenger seat of her car and she calls my family and an ambulance, I was so thankful for her as she was a nurse on the way to drop her children off to school and then go to work. Finally the Ambulance turns up and I get transferred into it, they get me strapped in and ask what happened, I didn't remember much and they gave me pain relief. We get to the hospital and I'm left in a cubical facing the roof and wasn't allowed to move, I started having a anxiety attack while I was in there not being able to talk to anyone or see anyone, I didn't see anyone for almost 4 hours. I had to have CT scans and MRI's and X-Rays, they finally found out was was wrong with me, I had fractured my spine and crushed it and broke my neck in my C4 and it moved forward, if it moved forward anymore I would have been a quadriplegic for the rest of my life. The next day I went in for surgery first thing in the morning, the sleep the night before was horrible as I was next to an old man with dementia and a broken neck, so every 20 minutes the nurses had to stop him from moving and yell at him as he was also deaf, they had to remind him that he's in hospital and he as a broken neck and not to move. I finally went in for surgery, not knowing if I was going to wake up and if I did wake up know if I'm going to walk again, thankfully my surgery went well and I woke up being able to move my legs and arms. While I was in hospital I had to learn to lift my neck up to put my neck brace on, so I could get up and walk around or even just sit, it was such a struggle and felt almost impossible but I got there, after the 4th day in there it was a lot easier. Day time was ok because I was sleeping a lot but night time was the worst as my back and neck would be in so much pain and the only way to make it feel better was to walk around. I was in hospital for 6 days all up, and the day I left was such a relief especially when I walked out of the hospital doors, feeling the warm sun on my skin after being inside all that time. I finally got to go home, which was a struggle being in the car and was painful. 7 weeks I was in the neck brace so my injury could heal properly, but I still get a heap of pain in my back from where I crushed my spine, and I can't turn my neck to the right all the way, I have to be careful with most things now. A whole year passed, and I went to the doctors but it wasn't for my neck or back, it was to find out if I was pregnant which I was, which is so crazy. Now I live with a little plate in my neck and tiny little screws, and m very thankful I am still here to tell the tale of my crazy life changing experience and near death experience.