Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discovered a bit of my own past

I am officially listed as a "missing classmate" on my high school class reunion site - something I find extremely funny and take as a high honor, since the mister and I both graduated from the same school, on the same day, and we have traveled back to the home town about 3x a year for the past 30 years. At the risk of being discovered, here is a link to the folks I shared my last year of high school with in Missouri: http://www.smithcotton79.com/Yearbook.htm. Some are gone now; some are just 'missing', like me; but many of them showed up for the 30th reunion in October and evidently had a roaring good time. I think it is safe to say that each of the faces in the yearbook has made a difference in this world in one way or another, though, and that was all we hoped to do when we graduated. I know that each of them made a difference in my life, and I am glad to have had the chance to share high school halls with them. For the few that I have kept in contact with, YOU know that you are key to me being the person I have become.
Here's to the current crop of youngsters doing the same. And advice to them as they giggle at these photos from 1979 - yes, you too will look different when you reach your 30th reunion...trust me!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Considering how to deal with the lifetime of stuff?

If you are one of the many adult children out there, you may be considering what will happen when it comes time to handle your parents' possessions as they get older or die. I heard of a book the other day that offers some guidance on this topic:
The Boomer Burden: dealing with your parents' lifetime accumulation of stuff, by Julie Hall. You can check to see if it is in your local library at this WorldCat link:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/boomer-burden-dealing-with-your-parents-lifetime-accumulation-of-stuff/oclc/185033318&referer=brief_results

Here is a description of the book from its Amazon link - you can check customer reviews on that page as well:
"A practical guide to advise Baby Boomers how to deal with the daunting task of facing a parents' eventual passing as it relates to residential contents, heirlooms, and the often difficult family interactions and feuds that accompany them.

With fascinating stories and comprehensive checklists, professional estate liquidator Julie Hall walks Baby Boomers through the often painful challenge of dividing the wealth and property of their parents' lifetime accumulation of stuff. From preparation while the parent is still living through compassionately helping them empty the family home, The Estate Lady® gives invaluable tips on negotiating the inevitable disputes, avoiding exploitation from scam artists, and eventually closing the chapter of their lives in a way that preserves relationships and maximizes value of assets."

If you have the chance to bring in speakers for your next cancer support group or conference, you might consider asking Ms. Hall to present - here is her web link:
http://www.theestatelady.com/about_julie_hall.html.

I have friends that are facing difficult situations with splitting up their parents' possessions with siblings, and I would like to lessen the burden for others. This book might be the conversation starter you have been looking for. Face it - we WILL be going through this, either for our own stuff, or our parents, so let's try to make it easier on each other.

Monday, March 22, 2010

May we all have an obituary like this when we leave

Margaret Moth, photojournalist for CNN, died today of colon cancer. Her story is on the CNN site: Fearless to the end: Remembering Margaret Moth
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/03/21/margaret.moth.obit/index.html


A quote from Christiane Amanpour says it all:
She "led the complete life," Amanpour said. "I don't think Margaret could ever look back and say, 'What if?' She did it to the max, and she did it brilliantly. And she did it on her terms."

Here's wishing that we all do that - live our lives to the max, on our own terms.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If you are or want to be a writer...

My university had a workshop for academic writers today, and I thought the book list might be of interest to you if you are considering writing about your life experiences. Dr. Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina suggested the titles, and I collected them in this refshare folder: http://www.refworks.com/refshare/?site=037501144987200000/RWWS2AA638028/031610WriteRightNowBookReferences. (I added Dr. Silvia's book to the list.)

You can take the citation information for the books you would like to your local library's website, and see if they have them listed in their catalog. If they don't, you can request them via interlibrary loan - check with your library on this service, and find out if there are fees involved.

Your story is important. Just do it. (With a nod to Nike.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FDA and the Orphan Drug Act

Story mentions Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in the March 10th Wall Street Journal: Push to Cure Rare Diseases
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704145904575111943356541152.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

Says the Orphan Drug Act provides incentives for drug companies to work towards treating orphan diseases. Glad to hear there is movement, but I was saddened to be reminded that I (and many others) wear what is termed an "orphan disease". Here's to drug companies going for the tax breaks and developing that therapy for this thing. I know too many people that are in their second or third time of fighting ACC, and they really need a break.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Very last post as a something-something year old Cheeky Librarian

Yes folks, I get to celebrate another birthday tomorrow. Woot! We actually did a pretty good job of it last night and today: dear son took us all out to the HuHot Mongolian Grill where I had grilled veggies until I was stuffed; today dear husband and I had a 'married persons date' by going to the dentist together, then took our shiny white teeth to Red Lobster and had an early dinner (complete with free cheesecake since I was the birthday girl), and a side trip to Dress Barn to see what clothes they have come up with for Spring. All in all, very good times, and I feel very spoiled.
Checking out the clothes at Dress Barn reminded me that I need to get some more sun protection clothes for this summer, as I hope that I will be able to be out in it even more than last year. Coolibar http://coolibar.com/ sent me an email notice that they have a sale going on, in case you also need sun protection. I think a trip to the beach is in my future, so I have been checking out the swimwear http://www.coolibar.com/women-s-swimwear.html.

You can save sperm, eggs, and now - your voice?!

Back in 2009, Roger Ebert put on his blog his frustration at not being able to talk to get his message across (I found the blog entry at the time while experiencing my own lack of voice): Finding My Own Voice http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/08/finding_my_own_voice.html. In the post, he described finding a company, CereProc (http://www.cereproc.com/), that seemed to offer a solution to his problem.
My mom told me that Roger Ebert went on Oprah today and talked, using this technology. How cool is that?! They were able to recreate his voice to speak the words he typed, thanks to the hours of recordings he had made as a film reviewer over the years. More information on the Oprah episode with a video link are here at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/02/AR2010030202326.html.

Not many of us would have such a voice reference library if we lost our voices suddenly due to accident or disease. Maybe, just maybe, if one knew that losing their ability to speak is a distinct possibility, one could contact CereProc and 'store' a recording to be used later if speech disappeared. I don't know if CereProc has such a 'voice bank', but after last summer, I will probably be contacting them to see if I could be their guinea pig. If I ever lose my voice again, I want to be able to tell someone someday to kiss my left hind leg with all the inflection and emotion I had when I could speak...

Visit to the dentist

If you have had radiation to your head, or a parotidectomy (both of which can lessen your spit production) you REALLY need to stay friends with your dentist. The goal for me is to NOT have any teeth pulled from now until death, and I am proud to say that I have met that goal. However, while there is no decay to my choppers (flouride soaking trays, Biotene toothpaste, staying away from starchy/sugary foods as much as possible), I still have the teeth I walked into cancer-land with, and some of them have structural issues. One is about to be crowned (oh goody), but I know that will result in a better outcome than waiting around for the thing to break. On the good side, my dry mouth (xerostomia) seems to be getting better - the hygienist commented on my spit production while cleaning the teeth. I am nearly 3 years out from surgery and radiation, so maybe some of the tougher side effects are lessening.

Information links on cancer and how dentists can be of help to you if you are facing treatment now or have had it in the past:

Oral Cancer page at the American Dental Association: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/cancer_oral.asp (Note: my Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma wasn't technically 'oral cancer', but my dentist did see the signs of it way before any other doctor would have listened. Thanks to my dentist, I sought treatment earlier.)

Three Good Reasons to See a Dentist BEFORE Cancer Treatment, from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/CancerTreatment/ThreeGoodReasons.htm

Xerostomia information for dentists, from the Oral Cancer Foundation (share with your dentist): http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/xerostomia.htm
 
Who links to my website?