“People with chronic pain have heard it all – over and over. Acquaintances say, ‘You look fine to me,’ or ask, ‘Why aren’t you better yet?’ Doctors and nurses advise, ‘There comes a point when you must accept a new normal.'”
“For someone coping with continual pain, possibly for years, none of this is necessarily original or helpful. You may know someone with chronic pain and just not be sure what to say. Read on as people living with pain share their biggest pet peeve remarks from family, friends, and health care providers – and suggest more thoughtful, supportive comments.”
Click the image to learn FIFTEEN things not to say.
Read about this amazing 21-year-old. In a word, WOW!
Yesterday and today, we highlight two truly inspirational role models. One is 55 years old and battling lung cancer. The other is 21 years old with long-term heart issues. Neither has let their health problems slow them down. Bravo!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Stevie Wisz — Role Model as a Courageous Young Athlete
Stevie Wisz is a 21-year-old who plays on the UCLA women’s softball team. And she has had to battle heart issues virtually her entire life. Nonetheless, this is one highly motivated young woman. Quit or give up is not in her vocabulary.
Stevie’s story is an uplifting one that will also draw a tear from readers. Anyone who does a blanket job criticizing today’s young adults through stereotypes such as lazy and unmotivated, needs to rethink their view.
At one year old, “In San Luis Obispo, doctors diagnosed Stevie Wisz with aortic stenosis, the severe narrowing of the aorta as it branches out from the heart. Stevie’s aortic valve was one-sixteenth the size it should have been. With such a narrow passageway, much of the blood her heart was pumping was leaking back into the heart chamber, meaning her heart had to work that much harder to pump blood throughout her body.”
“Wisz would eventually need open-heart surgery to save her life. But the doctors suggested postponing the surgery as long as possible to allow the heart to grow closer to its full size. They would keep an eye on Wisz through regular checkups. Over the next several years, she lived like many other little girls, competing in soccer, basketball and track. In a fourth-grade track meet, she remembers running as hard as she could but finishing a distant last. ‘That was the first time I remember thinking I was different,’ she said.”
“Over time, the blood leaking back into her heart went from a mild problem to moderate to severe. By the summer of 2006, after fourth grade, doctors said it was time for surgery.”
Stevie in 2019
“Now 21, Stevie Wisz has reached a point where her heart is 100 percent reliant on her pacemaker. If the pacemaker stops, she collapses. The leakage in her aorta is again severe. And yet she’s a Division I athlete who every day tries to push her body to its own unique limits. In last year’s Women’s College World Series, she leapt at the fence to rob Florida’s Janell Wheaton of a go-ahead home run. In April, she made a face-first, diving catch on a sinking liner against Cal, preserving a 1-0 UCLA victory. ‘You have to understand,’ Kylee Perez said. ‘Stevie isn’t someone who is just going to give up.’
“Each day that passes this spring, each victory that draws the Bruins one step closer to the Women’s College World Series, brings Wisz’s college playing career closer to an end — and closer to yet another open-heart surgery. She had circled the dates for months now. June 3-5 is the championship series, a destination UCLA has not reached since winning its most recent national championship, in 2010. June 13 is the day Wisz will walk across the Pauley Pavilion stage and receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from UCLA. And then June 21, one week later, she will head into another operating room for another attempt to solve the problem she has fought since that first checkup when she was 1.”
STEVIE, WE’RE ROOTING HARD FOR YOU THROUGH YOUR SURGERY AND LONG-TERM HEALTH.
Click the image to read more about this INCREDIBLE young woman. She is the epitome of the human spirit — and what we can accomplish if we push ourselves.
With the beginning of 2019, I have embarked on the next stage of life. For me, that means retirement from my full-time profession. For 44 years, I was a professor (the last thirty, a distinguished professor). But I am not retiring from life. And there are several things I plan to do in the future.
While at theZarb Business SchoolofHofstra Universityfor all of those 44 years, I had a very rewarding career. I was extremely involved in the three pillars of academe: teaching undergraduate and graduate classes; engaging in scholarly research; and providing service to my department, my school, and to the university overall. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to also co-author two leading textbooks that were used worldwide and that went through many new editions. And I was lucky enough to be recognized with a teacher of the year award and four dean’s awards for service to the business school.
But, I realize that at this point that I want to move onto the next phase of my life. As this blog has noted before, I do not intend to “throw away” any days. And I want to live life every day. This is a time for reflection — both keeping my positive memories as well as striving to build new ones.
It was essential for me to retire while healthy enough to enjoy my next series of adventures. I will NEVER forget how lucky I am to be a pancreatic cancer survivor who celebrates four years post-surgery next month.
So, where am I going in this next chapter? 🙂
These are my priorities, with more to come:
To give back to my fellow cancer victims and their families through blog posts, other social media, and related efforts.
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.
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.
Finally, check out these new resources. Welcome aboard!
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:
Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
Listen to the medical professionals!
Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
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.”]
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).
Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
Although this blog focuses on cancer-related topics, we also track good news for those dealing any health issues. So, today’s post relates to an emerging innovation that will aid disabled rail travelers.
“September 2018 saw four UK rail companies trial Passenger Assist byTransreport: an app designed to make rail journeys for disabled users easier. The app will allow disabled users to share their exact location with station staff in real-time. Currently, disabled passengers who book assistance have their scheduled arrivals and locations provided to station staff on paper at the start of the day.”
“Yes, we were shocked to learn that in 2018 — when geolocation is so commonplace that even the sheep in the Faroe Islands are on Google Maps — disabled passengers often have to wait for assistance and face the risk of being trapped on board. Clearly we have some way to go before we have our priorities with technology fully straight, but this innovation is at least a small step in the right direction.”
“All happiness depends on courage and work.” Honoré de Balzac
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Folksareusuallyaboutas happy as they make their minds up to be.” AbrahamLincoln
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
“Happinessis not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama XIV
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” John Lennon
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life — to be happy — it’s all that matters.” Audrey Hepburn
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” Charles M. Schulz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip)
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” Dale Carnegie
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love author)
Click the image to read Good Reads quotes on being positive.