For the past week or so, I've been playing around with words, exploring meanings and synonyms, consulting dictionaries, thesauruses, poetry and other books for the single word that will serve as my guiding intention for 2020. It’s a practice introduced to me by a friend nearly ten years ago, and one I have embraced wholeheartedly. … Continue reading Dec. 29th: One Guiding Word for the Year Ahead
…two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (From “The Road Less Traveled,” by Robert Frost) It’s a familiar poem, one you were likely introduced to it in a high school English class. Frost’s portrayal of a traveler choosing a … Continue reading Heart Failure as Teacher
"Are you still writing?" Dr. R. asked as my appointment was ending. I had admitted, several weeks earlier, that I was struggling with writing this blog. "Oh yes," I said, "both blogs, but it's much easier for me to write the Writing Through Cancer posts than it is for my heart failure site." She laughed … Continue reading August 25, 2019: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About the Heart?
(Preface: I began this blog nearly one year ago, and, as the anniversary date approaches, I am looking over my posts and revisiting the motivation that initially prompted me to begin exploring the lived experience of heart failure. I have always written, whether for myself or for publication. It's the way I make sense of … Continue reading July 18, 2019: How Writing Helps Us Heal
We sit on the bench in the hospital corridor next to the cafeteria, and we wait. You know what waiting is. If you know anything, you know what waiting is. It's not about you. This is about illness and hospitals and life and death... (From: "What Waiting Is," by Robert Carroll, 1998) I've sat in … Continue reading June 17, 2019: In the Surgical Waiting Room
...it's not easy to think about the heart unless trouble arises.--John Stone, MD This past Wednesday I began another expressive writing series at Gilda's Club, an organization founded in memory of comedian Gilda Radner to provide support and services to people living with cancer. The workshops, which I began nearly 20 years ago, inspired by … Continue reading May 4, 2019: This Heart of Mine
A three thousand year tradition, which bonded doctor and patient in a special affinity of trust, is being traded for a new type of relationship. Healing is replaced with treating; caring is supplanted by managing, and the art of listening is taken over by technological procedures. -- (The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in … Continue reading February 3, 2019: What Do You Want in A Doctor?