Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Much to Live For

I have always been aware of the things that I am grateful for in my life. My God, my children, my home, my country, my job, and the ability to see and feel and laugh and love freely as I choose.....When faced with a possible death sentence, there are moments that flash before your eyes and a weakness that fills your whole body. In one breathless split second, you know there is still so much to yet to do. Suddenly all the little things you have done in your life become a bit more significant. You treat others a bit more tenderly and loving and enjoy each day because you know time is precious and that dash between your years is important. An you know that some people never get that extra time.  (I have also found that I can get a bit irritated when people are arrogant or waste my time.)

I would like to think I have accomplished some wonderful things in my life - most importantly my children.  Education, retired military, honors, and others things that fall on the list are there, but my boys, well they are what move me - my real prize in life. When I think about a bucket list, they are always included in those things I want to do.

Just for kicks, some of things on my list that I hope to do (with my boys) one day are:
1.  Go to LA and be on the Ellen Show and the Price is Right. They are my two favorite shows.
2.  Visit Poland.
3.  Write a book
4.  Get a tattoo that is a compilation of my boys tats and names
5.  Sing with Bette Midler
6.  Make a difference in someone's life
7.  Visit the Grand Canyon
8.  Watch the Northern Lights - from Oregon or Alaska
9.  Go skydiving with my boys (Check!)
10. Swim with dolphins with my boys (Check!)
11. Get a master's degree (Check!)
12.  Raise money for charity (Check!)
13. Win the lottery
14. Pay off my house
15. Drive the pace car in the first lap of the Daytona 500
16. Win a Corvette :)

Being a two year survivor, I am now working on that list.  I add to it all the time and I do things that I didn't realize was even on it and then check it off anyway because it just felt amazing......These are but a few of the things that I have to live for but my children brighten my day beyond measure.  Everyday is a pleasure knowing I have them in my life. Just yesterday my son got a tattoo with my signature and a breast cancer ribbon on it.  He blew me away.  On his facebook page, he wrote "the most important person in the world to me".  And this is how I know I still have so much more yet to live for.

For you, whether you are still fighting or a survivor, choose how you want to spend your days and then do it.  Make a list or not.  Count your blessings or not.  Being on this side of the grass on any day is a good day for me so I'm going to make it count with a good attitude and a bit of grace!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Kiss from God

Great news this morning. I looked at my email and received word that another local patient/friend, Kristen, was told by her doctor that she is cancer-free!!!  This is truly a great day for her and I hope you all dance a little dance for her because this is BIG.  She has been in a huge battle and has two babies....this news is like a kiss from God telling her, "You are ok, honey, I got this".....Especially considering she was Stage 4 when diagnosed.

Kristen is a shining example of faith and hope and how we walk through this day after day and just keep on keeping on. From the day I first met her, and we were all scared, to now.  Today, I am just so, so pleased that my cup runneth over for her and her family. We lost one friend recently so this is a victory on many levels.  Thank you, Jesus.

Like most cancer patients I'm sure she understands that while this battle has settled down, it likely isn't over. But for today, she has won! She is young and her body will take the much needed break it needs to heal and recover and strengthen.  And while she does, I will be out here praying for her.  Won't you help me and say a little prayer for her also?  One minute out of your day means so much....from your mouth to God's ears.....he listens. Yay, Kristen!!

May you all have a safe and blessed weekend. Keep your chin up and remember, when you are down, there is only one way to look.....and that is UP.  Hugs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Patient Safety - Lack of Communication

A few days back on MedPage I read an interesting article on patient safety. What caught my attention was that it was related to communication between the patient and the doctor.  Although Medpage is open to virtually anyone, my guess is that the population most likely to refer to it would be the medical community, so who would the target audience be?  The medical community?  Yes, exactly. I think it will be an enriching experience for the already well-educated doctor to partake in commo lessons designed to help them relate to the patient, who in many cases, may not be educated.  While working on my master's degree, I took several communications classes and when you don't have a good connection between the sender and the receiver, a breakdown will occur in the transmission of information. 

As a patient, if you don't understand what your doctor, or nurse, is explaining to you, you have an obligation to YOURSELF, to ask them to slow down and explain it in terms that you can understand.  Most will be happy to do so. What I have found is that they are just speaking in a lingo they've become accustomed to and not trying to deter you on purpose. If you are one of the other kind of patients I have seen that does not want to know, then please, at least let a family member, or close friend, be at the appointments with you, to help make sense of the chaos.  In the long run, at least their presence by your side will be comforting.  

Here is Medpage's article as it was printed:

Conversations in Movement Disorders: Communication and Patient Safety

Discover how effective dialogue and feedback between patient and physician can help you achieve optimal patient outcomes.  Communication errors were the underlying cause of 65% of unexpected negative patient outcomes between 1995 and 2004, according to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. Learn how to improve your communication and patient safety with this new activity, Conversations in Movement Disorders: Communication and Patient Safety.  This ground breaking, media-rich learning experience addressing how physician-patient communication impacts patient safety and offers methods for improving interpersonal communication. Learners will be asked to identify their personal communication style and then observe reenactments of actual clinical situations and patient interviews; Hear about physiatrists’ own experiences regarding the impacts of communication breakdowns as well as examples of successful efforts; and learn to identify the traits of four distinct communication styles and how to adjust to them in real-time situations resulting in an increase in understanding between patients, physicians and other medical professionals, enhance the flow of information and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

If you are not a regular follower of the page, I have found it quite useful and also good reading.

Today, on 13th day of February 2012, I hope that you are having a beautiful, healthy as can be, day and know that you are exactly where God wants you to be today and always.  Have a wonderful Valentine's day everyone.  Hugs~