More Tips for Living Well

Three in-depth infographics to help YOU live well.

Today, we offer new tips for living well. Previously, we posted about:

 

More Tips for Living Well

42 Inspirational Quotes

More Tips for Living Well

15 Minutes to Better Self-Care

More Tips for Living Well

Self-Care Wheel

More Tips for Living Well
 

Lauren Cox — A Millennial Hero for Us All

A Type 1 diabetic playing top-level college basketball.

Despite adulation for sports stars, they are not “heroes” in the true sense of the word. Athletes’ on-field performance does not make them heroes. Their off-field exploits may. As may the way they live their lives.

A new hero for me is Lauren Cox. She is a 20-year old star woman’s basketball player for Baylor University. Her team  won the NCAA championship on Sunday in a close game. Lauren was hurt in that game, and missed the last quarter with a leg injury.

So, what makes her someone I admire? As a 25+-year diabetic (the last 4 as a virtual Type 1 diabetic), I know how tough it can be just to live well every day. In Lauren Cox’s case, to be able to play top-level basketball as a Type 1 diabetic, she has an insulin monitor on her at all times. Yet, she never complains or gets down about her condition.

As Lindsay Schnell reports for USA today:

“Lauren Cox swears it doesn’t hurt. But when she describes the act of getting her insulin tube ripped out, or having someone accidentally ram a knee or elbow into the insulin infusion point on her hip during a basketball game, it sounds extremely painful.” 

“’I mean at this point, I’m used to it,’ the 6′-4″ player for the Baylor women’s basketball team told USA TODAY Sports. And she plays while checking her blood sugar multiple times a game. And that,  makes her, according to longtime Baylor trainer Alex Olson, ‘just amazing.’”

“Cox is used to rough and tumble play — she actually picked college basketball over college volleyball because she prefers the physicality of hoops — and she’s used to playing with Type 1 Diabetes. She’s been doing it for 13 years.”

“Cox’s blood sugar is checked every five minutes by her Continuous Glucose Monitor. Using Bluetooth technology, her CGM sends the number to her insulin pump, a handheld device a little smaller than an iPhone, that connects a tube to an infusion port in her hip. During games, she tucks the pump into the side of her sports bra, and checks the number anytime she steps off the court. She and Olson are looking for a reading between 120-150; if it gets below 70 or above 300, she’s automatically pulled out of competition.” 

Go Lauren. Here’s hoping you have a full recovery from your leg injury. 🙂

Lauren Cox -- A Millennial Hero for Us All
(Photo: Raymond Carlin III, USA TODAY Sports)

 

Making Hope Long-Lasting

Don’t EVER give up!

Today’s post is dedicated to a couple that is near and dear to me. Both parties have undergone several medical issues over the years. Now the male of the couple is dealing with especially difficult heart issues. All the best to you both.

Making hope long-lasting is an ongoing challenge for many of us. Sometimes, it can be fleeting (ephemeral), depending on how we feel — physically and emotionally. For those of us with major illnesses, it may be difficult to always be hopeful. But it is imperative that we try to be hopeful even if our situation is dire. And even if we have physical limitations.

According to Kirsten Weir, in a report for the American Psychology Association:

“Hope is associated with many positive outcomes, including greater happiness, better achievement, and even lowered risk of death. It’s a necessary ingredient for getting through tough times, of course, but also for meeting everyday goals. Everyone benefits from having hope — and psychologists’ research suggests almost anyone can be taught to be more hopeful.”

“‘Hope doesn’t relate to IQ or to income,’ says psychologist Shane Lopez, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Gallup and author of the book Making Hope Happen. ‘Hope is an equal opportunity resource.'”

“What precisely is hope? Most psychologists who study the feeling favor the definition developed by the late Charles R. Snyder, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Kansas and a pioneer of hope research. His model of hope has three components: goals, agency, and pathways. Put simply, agency is our ability to shape our lives — the belief that we can make things happen, and the motivation to reach a desired outcome. The pathways are how we get there — the routes and plans that allow us to achieve the goal, whether that’s adopting a child, finding a better job, surviving a hurricane or just losing a few pounds.”

lona Boniwell notes the following for Positive Psychology:

Hope is a construct which closely relates to optimism, although the two are not identical. Rick Snyder, one of the leading specialists in hope, represents it as an ability to conceptualize goals, find pathways to these goals despite obstacles, and have the motivation to use those pathways. To put it more simply, we feel hope if we: a) know what we want, b) can think of a range of ways to get there, and c) start and keep on going.”

“It’s not hard to guess that being hopeful brings about many benefits. For example, we know that hope buffers against interfering, self-deprecatory thoughts and negative emotions, and is critical for psychological health. In the domain of physical health, we know that people who are hopeful focus more on the prevention of diseases (e.g., through exercising).”

Back to the Wisdom of Jim Valvano Regarding Hope

Last summer, we referred to the wisdom of Jim Valvano. In 1993, he presented a truly inspirational speech shortly before he passed away from pancreatic cancer. That speech is available at YouTube.

His most well-known quote that relates to hope is this: “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®

The full text of Valvano’s speech is available at the V Foundation’s Web site. Here are some parts of the speech that especially resonate with me. And HOPEfully with you as well [the emphasis below is added by me]:

Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left, and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people, too. But, I can’t help it. Now I’m fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how’s your day, and nothing is changed for me.

I’m a very emotional and passionate man. I can’t help it. That’s being the son of Rocco and Angelina Valvano. It comes with the territory. We hug, we kiss, we love.

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.

We need your help. I need your help. We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children’s lives. It may save someone you love. And it’s very important. And ESPN has been so kind to support me in this endeavor and allow me to announce tonight, that with ESPN’s support, which means what? Their money and their dollars and they’re helping me—we are starting the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. And its motto is, “Don’t give up . . . don’t ever give up.”

I got one last thing, and I said it before. And I’m gonna say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you, and God bless you all.

Making Hope Long-Lasting

 

Inspiration Through Videos

Over the past few months, I have been writing pieces that appear on Thrive Global. That site was founded by Huff Post’s Ariana Huffington. Today, let’s highlight the importance of inspiration through videos. 

While you’re at it take a look at this post: Feeling Fortunate – Not Sorry for Oneself

Keep in Mind the Inspiration Through Videos

Here are some excerpts from my Thrive Global post on inspiration:

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, inspiration is “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create. Thus, it is a force or influence that inspires someone.”

Today, I’d like to look at the power of inspirational video through three examples involving those who motivate us. Even in their absence due to cancer: Jim Valvano, Steve Jobs, and Randy Pausch.

For me, the most inspirational video comes from a speech by former champion basketball coach Jim Valvano. He gave the speech at an ESPN ESPY award ceremony shortly before his death. As noted on YouTube: “The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano with one goal in mind: to achieve victory over cancer. Since its start in 1993, the V Foundation has awarded over $170 million in cancer research grants nationwide. What stands out and inspires me every day is this Valvano quote from that speech: “To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think – spend some time in thought. And Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” Here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/HuoVM9nm42E

Also, check out the inspirational speeches by Jobs (https://youtu.be/UF8uR6Z6KLc) and Pausch (https://youtu.be/ji5_MqicxSo).

To read more, click on the image.

The Importance of Inspiration

 

Inspirational Quotes for the New Year

Be upbeat every day.

As we have posted before, inspirational quotes can be quite uplifting. For example, we cited inspirational quotes from Good ReadsWisdom QuotesBrainy Quote, and Lifehack Quotes.

Here are several quotes cited by Melanie Curtin for Inc.:

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” —Albert Einstein

“It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” —Rocky Balboa

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill

“Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” —Joshua J. Marine

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” —Maya Angelou

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” —C.S. Lewis

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” —Mark Twain

“If I had just one hour left to live, I’d spend it in math class…it never ends.” —Anonymous

AND:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!'” —Hunter S. Thompson

Click the image to see more quotes.

Inspirational Quotes for the New Year
CREDIT: Getty Images

 

Living Better and Being Happier

I am thankful each and every day to celebrate the blessing of life.

As those of you who follow this blog know, I am a VERY lucky survivor of pancreatic cancer. On February 12, 2019, it will be four years since I had my successful Whipple surgery. My longevity is related to my embracing life and choosing happiness.

Today, I want to share a few FREE resources I have developed and tell my personal story. Why? To provide hope and serenity for anyone with a serious disease and their loved ones. We must never forget that our caregivers suffer and endure along with us.

Resources for Better Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

After recovering from my surgery and follow-up chemotherapy, I view my life’s mission as assisting others with a terrible illness. To me, this is a responsibility that I welcome as one of the relatively few long-term pancreatic cancer survivors. In my mind and heart, I MUST give  back.

So, please take a look at these resources.

Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey

With this book, I want to share my personal cancer journey with you. I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with a terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

The book is a hopeful, but realistic, view of my journey from diagnosis through treatment through return to work and my being able to walk my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. It has some humor and many quotes to ease the reading.

Click the book cover to download a FREE copy of the book. Then, share it with someone you love.

Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

Living Well While Surviving Cancer

During the summer, I started a new blog to share health-related information and inspirational stories. It features infographics, videos, articles, and more. And despite the title, it relates to a wide range of health issues.

Click the image to visit the blog. Then, PLEASE sign up to follow us.

Embracing Life and Choosing Happiness

Other Resources

Finally, check out these new resources. Welcome aboard!

My Story: Live Life Every Day

In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana ran a routine blood test (part of my three-month testing as a diabetic). And he did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan. It showed a lump in my pancreas. Soon after, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation, I underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA (now New York Cancer & Blood Specialists).

Why do I consider myself so lucky?

  • I was diagnosed REALLY early and had surgery shortly after. And pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because eighty percent are diagnosed too late for surgery.
  • My family and friends have been terrific every day. And I have bonded with other cancer survivors.
  • My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted. They are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
  • I work in a profession I love. I’ve been at Hofstra University for 43 years. Except for sitting out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed one class since since then.
  • I have a drive that encourages me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. Thus, I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
  • On February 12, 2019, I celebrate FOUR years since surgery. After finishing chemo in August 2015, my CT-scans have all been clean. My plan is to be around for many more years. 🙂

My personal advice:

  1. Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
  2. Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
  3. Listen to the medical professionals!
  4. Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
  5. Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
  6. Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
  7. Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
  8. Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter.