Museums Inspire Good Thoughts

Yes, museums can do more than entertain, inform, and radiate brilliance. They can help us to reach a better state of mind.

Let’s see how.

Consider this story from TrendWatching:

“The Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) partnered with the Médecins francophones du Canada doctors’ organization to let doctors write prescriptions for museum visits. Medical professionals can write a maximum of 50 prescriptions. They will grant each patient an admission-free trip to the museum. The doctors involved cited the ability of art to improve mood, help patients take a respite from serious illnesses, and more – all, of course, with zero-side effects.”

“This program brings new meaning to ’art therapy’! It also shows how the pursuit of health and wellbeing is increasingly breaking free from traditional channels and formats: from cardio-meets-CPR fitness classes in Thailand to STI testing at music festivals in New Zealand to Costa’s low-budget loneliness-fighting coffee tables.” 

“The benefits of consuming art aren’t the most immediate or tangible. New audiences may be skeptical or resistant. By partnering with doctors, the MMFA benefits from a trusted and credible voice. And with the prescriptions making visits free, patients have no reason not to go!”

Click the image to read more from MMFA.

Museums Inspire Good Thoughts
 

Radio Interview About My Cancer Journey

Last week, I did a radio interview about the purpose of my new book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey.

 As with the book, the interview is uplifting and describes how I have gotten through my time with pancreatic cancer. The book is free by clicking here. 

You may access the full interview by clicking below. [Note: In the near future, I will be dividing the interview into much smaller clips. :-)]

 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

In the U.S. alone, people share their lives with 70 million dogs (in 43 million households) and 74 million cats (in 36 million households) – as reported by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. We love our pets; and they love us in return.

Before getting to my personal pet story, let’s consider how vital pets are to our psychological and physical health. Over the past several years, we have witnessed the growth in companion pets. Although some individuals may stretch the rules in getting their “companion” pets onto planes and into other venues, the basic premise is sound: Pets can be soothing and calming.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

Studies show that the bond between people and pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some health benefits of having a pet include: Decreased blood pressure. Decreased cholesterol. Decreased triglycerides. Decreased feelings of loneliness. Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities. Increased opportunities for socialization.

A great example of the value of pets involves military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning home. There are several non-profits that help to enrich the lives of those veterans, including Companions for Heroes, Pets for Veterans, and America’s Vets Dogs. The dogs are well-trained and help vets to reduce stress.

Linda and I are cat lovers and have shared our home with many cats over the years. Yes, cats can be affectionate and intuitive. One cat, Tucker, will sit in my lap all day in my home office and lie on me for hours when I’m on the couch in the den.

When I returned home after my surgery, our cats KNEW I was sick. They lay in bed with me 24/7 and often cuddled next to me. They constantly nuzzled my hand. Their attention required no effort on my part and was crucial early in my recovery.

 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 1

This is another excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

It may be hard for you to believe that I am a very private individual when it comes to all aspects of my personal life. After all, here I am opening myself up in a way I never would have dreamed of before. But my community helped to show me how cathartic it could be for me to share my getting pancreatic cancer with other people outside of the community. I’d like to think that in this intense situation I finally realized the true value of communication and sharing. It is only by letting others in that they may help us in our journey.

I also learned much more about how not to be so judgmental of others (and myself, too). We all approach good times and bad, adrenaline rushes, fear, thoughts of our own mortality, etc. in much different ways. It took me a while, but I finally got it that some of my friends did not want to think about the “C” word, and therefore avoided me.

This gave me greater thankfulness for those who were there with me through the toughest parts of my journey. It must have been hard for them to see me looking like a skeleton (due to my weight loss) with limited mobility and a variety of post-surgery side effects. They never turned away. They were my knights (of both genders) in shining armor.

These are vital socialization observations from “Life After Cancer Treatment: Social and Work Relationships” by Journeyforward.org. Keep them in mind when interacting with others – regardless of your role (survivor, caregiver, etc.):

Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you. When treatment ends, families are often not prepared for the fact that recovery takes time. In general, your recovery will take much longer than your treatment did. Survivors often say that they didn’t realize the time it took to recover. This can cause disappointment, worry, and frustration for everyone. Families also may not realize that the way their family works may have changed permanently as a result of cancer. They may need help to deal with the changes and keep the “new” family strong.

Most cancer survivors who are physically able to work do go back to their jobs. This can help them feel they are getting back to the life they had before being diagnosed with cancer. Whether returning to their old jobs or beginning new ones, some survivors are treated unfairly when they return to the workplace. Employers and employees may have doubts about cancer survivors’ ability to work.

Some friends, coworkers, and others may be a huge source of support, while others may be a source of anger or frustration. Some people mean well, but do not know what to say. Maybe they don’t know how to offer support. Others don’t want to deal with your cancer. If friends and coworkers seem unsupportive, it could be because they are anxious for you or for themselves. Your cancer experience may threaten them because it reminds them that cancer can happen to anyone. Try to understand their fears and be patient as you try to regain a good relationship.

Humor Helps Our Frame of Mind

One of the things that I’ve found over the years is that a sense of humor can really help. Here are a few funny (maybe) quotes. Hopefully, at least a couple will make you laugh. 🙂

These quotes are from Cancer ABCs: [actually, they’re mostly groaners.]

Taken From Actual Doctor’s Notes

  1. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.
  2. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  3. On the second day, the knee was better, and then on the third day it disappeared.
  4. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
  5. Discharge status: Alive, but without my permission.
  6. Healthy-appearing decrepit, 69-year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
  7.  The patient refused autopsy.
  8. The patient has no previous history of suicides.
  9. Patient’s medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40-pound weight gain in the last three days.
  10. She is numb from her toes down.
  11. Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.
  12.  Skin: somewhat pale but present.

Top Ten Ways To Know You Are A Cancer Thriver 

  1. Your alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m. and you’re glad to hear it.
  2. Your mother-in-law invites you to lunch and you just say NO.
  3. You’re back in the family rotation to take out the garbage.
  4. When you no longer have an urge to choke the person who says, “all you need to beat cancer is the right attitude.”
  5. When your dental floss runs out and you buy 1000 yards.
  6. When you use your toothbrush to brush your teeth and not comb your hair.
  7. You have a chance to buy additional life insurance but you buy a new convertible car instead.
  8. Your doctor tells you to lose weight and do something about your cholesterol and you actually listen.
  9. When your biggest annual celebration is again your birthday, and not the day you were diagnosed.
  10. When you use your Visa card more than your hospital parking pass.

 

 

Jim Valvano ESPY Awards Video

To me, there are three tremendous videos of presentations by those suffering from a terminal illness. Today, we cover Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards show. Jim was a championship college basketball coach.

As the V Foundation Web site notes:

“Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®

“With these words, Jim Valvano announced the beginning of the V Foundation for Cancer Research with ESPN’s support. During Jim’s memorable speech accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the inaugural ESPYS on March 4, 1993, his message was simple: cancer research needs our support.”

“Despite being weakened from his fight against cancer, he delivered an energetic and inspiring speech that brought the crowd to its feet. Although he passed shortly after his speech, Jim’s legacy lives on through the V Foundation.”

“For the past 25 years, the V Foundation has continued Jim’s message by funding incredible projects and researchers focused on finding and end to cancer. Because of the V Foundation’s generous supporters: More than $200 million has been awarded to cancer research and programs. 100% of every direct donation goes to cancer research. There are 16 million cancer survivors in the U.S., with that number expected to grow to 20.3 million by 2026.”

 

Inspirational Quotes – Part 4

Previously, we cited inspirational quotes from Good ReadsWisdom Quotes, and Brainy Quote. Here are several more such quotes.

These quotes are from Lifehack Quotes:

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” Henry Ward Beecher

“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” Dodinsky

“The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts, and we grow happier as we grow older.” William Phelps

“The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are.” Goldie Hawn

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”Denis Waitley

 

Click the image to read additional Lifehack Quotes on being inspired.