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Caring for Partners

What Do You Say in a First Blog Post?

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(Editor’s Note: Today, we welcome Michael to our blogging team. You can connect with him on his profile page: @outbythesea.) This is my first post. It’s funny sitting down to write. Suddenly, I don’t know what to write about so I’ll just see where this takes me. About my partner and I: John and I met the weekend before Thanksgiving 15 years ago at a happy hour in Atlanta. I joke and tell people that ... Read More »

Everlasting Love: TLO Is at Rest and at Peace

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Love is the beauty of the soul. ~ Saint Augustine Bernard Richard Schiffer: January 24, 1931 ~ March 9, 2014 The house is quiet, so different, so empty. The beautiful aroma of the stargazer lilies fills the house, as one by one, they bloom in their mystical way. Just as the lilies transition from a small bud to a beautiful flower, TLO’s transition into eternal life was just as mystical and just as beautiful. Holding him in ... Read More »

Approaching the Final Destination

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I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love ~ Mother Teresa With TLO’s recent diagnosis that his cancer has spread to multiple parts of his body,  I have to admit this news, along with intense caregiving over the past month, has put me in a position where I have hit the wall with blogging. While  I’ve learned over the past two years that writing about TLO’s bout with esophageal cancer ... Read More »

More Cancer, More Radiation

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If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. ~ Albert Einstein The pain has been severe; the long sleepless hours have been agony. But now we know the truth behind the pain, we know the truth that is causing those sleepless days. More Cancer. More Radiation. When the MRI results came in on Thursday, our fears became our reality. “It’s good that we know what we are dealing with,” I said to TLO. “Yes, ... Read More »

The Caregiving Yo-Yo

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You can never plan the future by the past. ~ Edmund Burke How many of you liked to play with a yo-yo when you were a kid? I would guess that just about everyone has taken their turn, spinning their yo-yo up and down, controlling the string, holding steady, flipping the device backward to impress. As I have thought about how our caregiving journey has begun in 2014, I see a resemblance to that of a ... Read More »

Meditations

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts ARGH!!!!, Downhill, Aware.) Photos: My open journal notebook on my desk, circa 2007; the summit of a neighborhood hill; my drawing of crumpled leaves in the 1990s (duplicated and mirror-imaged). I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka is verse written in ... Read More »

Growth Cycles

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Plow, Year, Bacon.) Photos: The Big Dipper (also called the Plough), photographed from my driveway; my father’s watch; “Food Building Number Three” postcard from the 1939 New York World’s Fair, which my mother had attended. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the ... Read More »

The Road to Caregiver Health, and On to 2014

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Ten months ago I had posted “Thirty Down!” That entry details how I had dropped 30 pounds and the impact of that weight loss. On December 17, I reached my goal of 51 pounds down. According to my calipers my body fat is at 27.6 percent: in the middle of the “ideal” range for a woman my age. The only difference between my new maintenance stage and my weight loss stage is that I get ... Read More »

Trajectories

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Ball, Cab, Wrap.) Photos: Photo montage distorted through filters, including tires at a neighborhood auto body shop; 1931 DeSoto at a local vintage car dealership; pigeon feather on manila envelope. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka is verse written in ... Read More »

Peace On Earth

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Wishing you all comfort and peace this holiday season. May the help you need be there for you. May the acceptance you seek for self and caree be granted you. May health care professionals listen to you. May solutions be within your grasp. May you and your caree be soothed. May your care and efforts be acknowledged. May your medical team communicate and coordinate. May the support you need be there for you. May you ... Read More »

Music Is The Best Medicine!

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One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain!  ~ Bob Marley My first experience with music therapy was when I was completing a unit of clinical pastoral education with hospice way back in 2003. The positive impression that was left on me from that experience is still prevalent today. So when the phone rang the other day from a good friend from St. Louis alerting me that a violinist wanted to come to the house and play for ... Read More »

Candor

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Blink, Tree, Special.) Photos: Rose outside our local art center; mockingbird in a tree near home; a neighbor’s Christmas lights. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka is verse written in five lines. You can read more about the form here. ... Read More »

Gifts

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Tumble, Decorate, Festive.) Photos: Snow Lady seen in Cambridge, MA, in the 1980s; my neighbor’s holiday lights, with Venus at upper right; squirrel in a palm tree at a neighborhood housing complex (hat added). I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka ... Read More »

The Second Time Around

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The only source of knowledge is experience. ~ Albert Einstein  It has taken me a couple of days to wrap myself around the fact that TLO started Adult Day Care this week.  We have chatted about this option for a number of weeks but to have this day come to reality really hit home for both of us on Tuesday when we got in the car and motored our way down the Noble A. McArtor Adult Day Care ... Read More »

Behind the Scenes

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Ride, Plant, Withdraw.) Photos: Dawn as seen from our driveway; saltbush in our yard spreading seeds; digitally manipulated note from my partner’s GP, written at my request, stating that my partner is non-compliant with her meds. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, ... Read More »

It’s Never Too Late To Start Over!

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We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated! ~ Maya Angelou Our second bout of Cancer started to unfold when were discharged from Imperial Point Medical Center in early October with the news that TLO’s cancer had entered his spine. It was a somber drive home that warm Saturday afternoon knowing that three tumors were lurking on his spine; the added ordeal of facing more radiation just exasperated the diagnosis. Those first few days home after the diagnosis was quite difficult… For both of us. ... Read More »

Thanksgiving

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Pot, Stuffed, Fancy.) Photos: A float marks the location of a crab pot in Crystal River, FL; a partially eaten pomegranate; a Queen butterfly in our yard. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka is verse written in five lines. You ... Read More »

Happy Thanks-Caregiving

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You must do things you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt  We are Thankful for those who are Caregivers today. We are Thankful for those who will be Caregivers tomorrow. We are especially Thankful for those Caregivers whose journey has past. We share in our Caregiving Journey in a special way, knowing that while our Caregiving roads might be different, our paths are filled with comfort and joy from the support we receive from each other! Thank ... Read More »

Whose Journey Is It?

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 The longest journey you’ll ever take is from the head to the heart. ~ Regina Rosenthal  As we come to the end of the 5th week of palliative radiation treatments, the word ‘journey’ keeps resonating with me. Our recent journey with Hospice of Broward County proved to be bumpy; we’ve moved on from that  bumpy road and have brought in new ‘friends’ to help us continue on with our journey. We’re hoping for smooth sailing as we ... Read More »

Lessons

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Flutter, Waves, Stairs.) Photos: Turkey vulture in our neighborhood; view of the Intracoastal Waterway from Denise’s room at the Miami Hilton prior to the Caregiving Cruise; I climb our hospital’s stairwell during the 9/11 Memorial Fitness Challenge back in September. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by ... Read More »

Eliminating a Health Care Provider

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It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~ Henry David Thoreau. As you’ve heard me state many times before, one of the most important roles that  a family caregiver plays is that of an advocate.  Advocacy came in full force this week when we had to eliminate our choice for Hospice and seek other assistance for our current health care journey. When we established services with Hospice, I had anticipated a fluid relationship ... Read More »

Metamorphosis

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(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompts Ground, Reverse, Uptight.) Photos: Pusley in our yard; mosaic made from dirt deposition in vinegar; Gulf Fritillary butterfly in our neighborhood. I was inspired to do photo-poems by Bob’s (@rainbow) beautiful work. The ones shown here use a relatively new poetic form called the Gogyohka. Invented in 1957 by Japanese poet Enta Kusakabe, the Gogyohka is verse written in five lines. You can read more about the form ... Read More »