Birthdays. Cherish or Not?

Today is NOT my birthday. It was this past Saturday, June 19th. Aside from my celebration of that annual observance, our nation, especially here in Texas celebrates the freedom of the slaves. In fact, President Biden just signed into law a bill making the date a national holiday. No small endeavor, that. Interestingly, I was born and raised in Louisiana and “Juneteenth” was not really an event; my birthday was. I didn’t know about the observance of that day until years later when I became a resident of Texas.

Thinking about birthdays in general, what age does one have to attain before celebrating a birthday becomes just like another day? I think I passed that some time ago. For me, sitting in front of the TV with my beverage of choice (Jack Daniel’s) and watching the US Open golf tourney has usually been standard fare.

I was never big on birthday parties, even as a kid. Celebrating over a nice dinner was fine, especially with family and friends. But, over time, both family and friends trail off, they die or move. The last few years with Pam saw both of us “celebrate” over a nice meal either I cooked or ordered in. You see, her birthday has been five days after mine, on the 24th. Funny how that works; it’s always the same time frame each year!

(side note) I always got a kick out of folks who would celebrate, say, their second or third anniversary of their 21st birthday. I have never been like that. Saturday I observed my 68th year on planet Earth as I ease into my 69th year. Damn! But, hey, I share the same birthday as another celebrity, Garfield, the cat!

I find myself in a bit of a dilemma this year; how will I celebrate Pam’s birthday this coming Thursday? What can I do to honor her memory? Well, off hand, I should think I will raise a glass in a toast. Maybe I’ll order a special meal that I know she would like. Sounds silly, doesn’t it, especially when she won’t be here to enjoy it (for those who do not know, she died of cancer a little over a year ago). Sadly, I don’t even remember how I celebrated her special day last year. My mind was a bit messed up as I was early in the grief process.

Birthdays are supposed to be special. For a lot of people they are. For me, not so much. Early on in my life, they were. Now, I don’t even have Pam with whom to share it or hers. Oh, well, that’s life! And life can hurt. This year, like recent years past, I heard from a bunch of Facebook friends, extended family (professional association colleagues, etc.) and some insurance acquaintances. Whom I didn’t hear from, again, was actual family. Sadly, most of the family with whom I grew up have died and/or moved away. But, I still have a few living here locally. Go figure!

To those having a birthday coming up, Cheers! To those having just celebrated one, Cheers! To those wanting to forget birthdays altogether, you can’t and you shouldn’t. We all have folks out there who truly want to wish us good tidings. Cherish that. The celebration only comes around once a year, after all.

Solitude and Creative Expression

Note: This piece is adapted, in part, from Douglas Eby’s book Developing Multiple Talents, The personal side of creative expression.”

“Solitude or working alone can help a creative person develop and refine their work, but it is certainly not the only way to nourish creative projects,” so states Douglas Eby in his new book. Well, to each his own. Some creatives prefer isolation while others seem to strive amidst a collective. Both environs serve a purpose. It depends, I think, on how you’re wired.

Many artists acknowledge the value of academies such as Juilliard, and less formal artist retreats and workshops, like Idyllwild. Others give credit to formal education at a university’s marketing and communications school or a structured curriculum at, say, the International Center for Studies in Creativity.

Eby points out that much of the writing and advice on creative expression and enhancing creativity focuses on the inner journey of the individual. Furthermore, creating happens in a social context, and often depends on inspiration and support from others, on finding an audience, and getting financing from publishers and producers.

Perhaps, I say, but not always. Today we are living in very uncertain times what with COVID still rearing its ugly head. A good number of people, myself included, are living and working in solitude. Venturing out is a rare occasion. Yet, the creative juices flow for me, still, even when I don’t expect them to do so. But, at times, it is a struggle.

Creative work impacts other people, even worldwide. I’m often amazed as to how many new people indicate they “like” my blogs and/or “follow” my posts. Most of them I don’t know and have no idea of their location.

But being creative can also be inhibited by others.

Barnhill
George Orwell chose to write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” while living in Barnhill (1946-1949), an abandoned farmhouse on the isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides in Scotland.

Following the success of his novel Animal Farm, Orwell told his friend Arthur Koestler, “Everyone keeps coming at me, wanting me to lecture, to write commissioned booklets, to join this and that, etc – you don’t know how I pine to be free of it all and have time to think again.”

Dancer, choreographer and teacher Carol M. Press, Ed.D. writes in her book The Dancing Self that “Creativity’s profound effect affirms what binds us together as a species. 

“Creativity contributes immeasurably to the health of humankind; before we understand and accept our differences, we must acknowledge and feel our common bonds…we are social animals, born to live in relation with others.”

She adds, “Anthropologist Ellen Dissanayake in her book Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began asserts that art-making is an intrinsic human capacity that has psychobiological foundations. Through such creative endeavors people experience, express, and elaborate their common interests in finding meaning and competence in their lives.”

Sally Field has commented that “Actresses and other women in the industry need to have contact with each other. Not to tell sob stories, but to kick each other in the butt creatively.”

Other values of social connection include emotional support. Creative expression and personal growth often demand courage and help in dealing with fear.

Referring to a variety of research studies, Robert J. Maurer, PhD, a family therapist, writing consultant and instructor at UCLA, has commented in his classes and books that those people who are able to reach high levels of personal and professional success have a healthy acknowledgment of fear, and they also honor the need to be comforted and supported when extending outside comfort boundaries.

Erica Jong
Erica Jong

Some forms of creative expression – like acting and filmmaking – require collaborating with many other people. But sometimes an artist needs isolation or works best alone. Boy, can I relate to that!

Writer Erica Jong has been quoted on the topic, “Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”

Many people have talked about the importance of place, work space and solitude for developing creative talents.

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf

In her famous essay “A Room of One’s Own” in 1929, Virginia Woolf said that for women artists “a lock on the door means the power to think for oneself” and encouragement to develop the “habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think.”

Marylou Kelly Streznewski [strez NEFF skee] is author of the book “Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential” (a ten year study of 100 gifted adults). Streznewski is also a Program Specialist in Gifted Education, and a poet and fiction writer. In our interview, she talked about taking the time she needed to write. Her perspectives can also apply to other creative expression.

“I have four children, a husband and an elderly mother, and now grandchildren, and all of that is a pull of things you care about and want to do. You have to constantly pull back and say, My writing is important and I must do something for myself, and the world will have to fend for itself for a couple of hours.”

Most writers and designers I know tend to prefer to be isolated to some degree. Personally, I’ve noticed that even in a class or seminar that is writing-centric, the more I can isolate my mind into whatever it is about which I’m writing, the better.

Of course, during this COVID pandemic I’ve been in isolation for over a year. Living by myself does have its advantages when it comes to “being alone with your thoughts.” However, when I was very involved in advertising, brainstorming sessions with others proved of great value. Now that I’m living alone, isolation can be a mixed bag, creatively speaking. Sometimes when I’m thinking, my thoughts are not that positive or encouraging. I either consider a different genre more appropriate to negativity or I just start writing and see what comes out.

Two writers about whom I’ve become more knowledgeable, Rod Serling and Ernest Hemingway were, for the most part, “isolationist writers.” They had their minds, imagination and the world around them as motivation and insight for their work. Both turned out pretty successful with each specializing in a totally different genre.

When he would get stuck or not feel like writing, Hemingway would sit down and force himself to write just one declarative sentence. The rest, he said, would ultimately follow. As he is quoted, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The stream of blood would then begin.

Creative expression can indeed be found in the most unlikely of places or from the most unlikely of personalities. Serling had a way with the Twilight Zone of having it all come together and be believable. Commented Serling: “I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.” 

Let’s face it: A writer or artist, graphic or painter, should execute their craft in the most suitable environment for them. Putting oneself in isolation just because some study says that’s what works is ludicrous. Do what works for you. It may be that several different scenarios play to your favor. You’ll never know until you try.

Douglas Eby (M.A./Psychology) is author of the Talent Development Resources series of sites including High Ability; Highly Sensitive and Creative; The Creative Mind and others – which provide “Information and inspiration to enhance creativity and personal development.”

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

A Rip in the Curtain

I used to not think anything of it.

Just another pill to take.

In fact, I had two different doses: one 60mg for day and a 30mg for night.

It was part pain pill, part chemical balance of the brain and part antidepressant.

It was a lovely cocktail in a capsule.

A rip in the curtain. A peek from behind the shades. A glimpse into another reality. A peek into insanity.

Duloxetine is its name, an antidepressant medicine. It’s used to treat depression and anxiety. It’s also used to treat nerve pain, such as fibromyalgia, and can be used to treat stress urinary incontinence in women. An antidepressant and nerve pain medication, it can treat depression, anxiety, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and chronic muscle or bone pain.

A little wonder drug, I’ve been on it for several years but no longer. Seems I ran out and now am in need of a new Rx.

It helps me better deal with my realities and keep my emotions in check. Since the Pandemic, I’ve kept mostly to myself and not ventured out too far. Somewhat like the lady behind the blinds in Malika’s depiction, I’m still a little unsure as to what I might find out there in this self-absorbed world.

Peeking by Malika Favre

There’s a part of me that’s still in grief mode but a larger part that’s dealing with a seemingly unquenchable to-do list. My position on the age chart, not unlike some of my peers, has seen me bouncing back and forth between doctors’ appointments.

Gee, what fun!

I’d like not to have to depend on taking any medication but I fear without certain ones, the road ahead may be more troublesome than it should be. Alas, there are a lot of us in the same boat. What’s it going to take to get and keep us out of that boat. I don’t know. We are still living in some very weird times and I just don’t see those times lighting up anytime soon.

I find myself, for the most part, in pretty good health. Those aspects of me that are not fairing too well are mostly kept under control. I try not to take certain things for granted, least of all my health. Every day that goes by I try and review my ever-expanded list of things to do. I always celebrate somehow when I can cross one or more off that list. When I do, my anxiety level really goes down.

Every morning when I open the blinds and peer out at the world, I realize I’m starting anew. My curtain may still be ripped in portions, but I have the time to fix it. At least, that’s what I tell myself. It’s what we all need to tell ourselves no matter what obstacles we face; we have the time to fix it. Or at least to act upon it.

Yet there are days that I never make it to the blinds; I’m doing good to make it out of bed. When I do eventually reconcile with myself and regain a modicum of sanity and consciousness, I do make it by the blinds and, voila, they open. I realize I may not get to strike everything on my list this day but if I only get to one or two, that’s okay.

Maybe, just maybe, some items on that list are not meant to be eradicated entirely or at one time. I need to remind myself of that. It can help me in my journey and my sanity.

Malika Favre Hide and Seek Collection

Judging from her expression, the bespectacled lady with the green eye shadow may still be uncertain of what I speak. That’s fine. We must all get back out into the world at our own pace.

But we must make the effort. I need to get past the torn curtain and begin to see what will become of me in the post-pandemic realm.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

I’m still Joe, but I’m really not.

We’ve gone through half the year already. Doesn’t seem like it! Summer’s officially here. By that I mean, school’s letting out and June is upon us. Temperatures will register in the nineties for some time now. Memorial Day Weekend is in the rear view mirror.

So what now?

Well, for one thing, the Pandemic is still with us, though not nearly as bad as it once was a year ago. Congress is still dysfunctional (some things never change). My birthday is this month and our nation’s birthday is next month. We all appear to be, mostly, the same. Yet, we are not unchanged; far from it!

I’m still Joe, but I’m really not. My grieving for Pam is leading me into a new identity. I’m just not sure what that’s going to be; from harsh reality, into the Twilight Zone, and into God knows what or where.

Aaron Rodgers as guest host on Jeopardy. Image via Slate.com.

Aaron, I’ll take Rod Serling for $200, please.

I ask again, so what now?

Some of us will head back into work, those of us actually pulling onsite office duty. Others will be on vacation while still others will be getting back to the grind in their work-from-home environment (Bunny slippers, notwithstanding).

As for me, I’ll try to get the ball rolling again, slowly but surely. Pam would definitely want me to do that. It’s tough and at times rough sledding. I’m still not used to living on my own; it’s been almost 30 years. There are so many things on my to-do list with which I don’t want to be bothered. But I have to deal with them. As long as I can see me making progress, any kind of progress, I believe I can get through them.

Guiding me through my daily routine is my 5/10 Rule (thanks Felix): Pick no less than five tasks and no more than ten to do today. That’s the goal. I can’t chastise myself if I don’t accomplish five, but I need to try. If I land between the five and ten, so much the better. Trouble is, however, when my attitude is sucking and it is a mucho struggle to get one or two done! When that happens, I just try to tell myself, “Okay, we’re not gonna solve as many problems as we thought today. There’s always tomorrow!”

We’ve got to believe that. We also need to do at least one thing per day that we enjoy. Summer is upon us and with it comes a more lighthearted way of approaching life. That’s at least one way of thinking about it.

That’s my journey (for now). Maybe it’ll be yours, too.

Bon voyage!

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time! Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

CAR T-Cell Therapy: Webinar this Thursday – What You Should Know

As its name implies, and according to the National Cancer Institute, the backbone of CAR T-cell therapy is T cells, which are often called the workhorses of the immune system because of their critical role in orchestrating the immune response and killing cells infected by pathogens. The therapy requires drawing blood from patients and separating out the T cells.

Using a disarmed virus, the T cells are genetically engineered to produce receptors on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. These special receptors allow the T cells to recognize and attach to a specific protein, or antigen, on tumor cells.

This Thursday, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is presenting a special webinar from Dr. Iyer of MD Anderson in Houston about this therapy. If you have cancer or know someone who does, I urge you to attend this free webinar.

May 27, 2021

Virtual/Online program through Zoom

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm (CentralTime)

Joe & Dr. Iyer (Houston Methodist Cancer Center)
The author with the speaker at a Houston Light the Night Celebration Swaminathan P. Iyer, MD
Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Program

Participants will gain a better understanding about CARs, when to consider CAR T-cell therapies as a treatment choice and managing potential side effects. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. 

In addition to learning about the benefits of CAR T-cell therapies, participants will learn about the resources available in their community and those provided by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

We encourage you to invite your caregiver and family members.

REGISTER NOW

If you do not have an email address, please call Erika Pomares, Patient & Community Outreach Manager at 832-463-3613 to register.

An Answer for Cancer?

Next week, on the 27th, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will be presenting a special webinar on a fairly new blood cancer treatment called CAR T-Cell Therapy. Why am I writing about this? Well, for starters, it features my very own oncologist, Dr. Swaminathan Iyer of MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston, Texas. Secondly, and why I’m particularly interested, is that this therapy is precisely the same treatment Dr. Iyer is recommending for me!

It seems that the last test result from the lymph node biopsy they did on me found a bit of malignancy on the node; in other words, they found some CLL, a form of leukemia, which I had been originally diagnosed back in 2015 and have been in complete remission. Although it’s not as serious as it sounds, Dr. Iyer thinks my current therapy of Venetoclax could be improved by way of this CAR T-Cell therapy.

So since just a couple weeks ago I have been learning what I can about the procedure and what’s involved. It’s not the procedure itself that concerns me so much as it is what I have to do to prepare myself and my post-operative regimen. As of this writing, the logistics seem other-worldly. And, the fact that I live alone, widowed, appears only to complicate matters. Terrific!

I don’t want you to think of this post as coming across like I don’t feel the therapy is worth it just because of the post-operative logistics. I do think it’s worth it. It just may not be for me at this time, I don’t know. I’ve not made a decision as of this writing.

One thing that does concern me is the fact that I’ll evidently need a caregiver to stay with me for two or more weeks, after my stint in the hospital. For some of you out there, this may not be a big issue; for me, it’s a tremendous one. There are other issues but I won’t bore you with them. One thing is for certain: It’s a decision one mustn’t take lightly.

As its name implies, and according to the National Cancer Institute, the backbone of CAR T-cell therapy is T cells, which are often called the workhorses of the immune system because of their critical role in orchestrating the immune response and killing cells infected by pathogens. The therapy requires drawing blood from patients and separating out the T cells.

CAR T cells and TCR T cells are engineered to produce special receptors on their surfaces, then expanded in the lab and returned to the patient. Credit: National Cancer Institute

Next, using a disarmed virus, the T cells are genetically engineered to produce receptors on their surface called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. These special receptors allow the T cells to recognize and attach to a specific protein, or antigen, on tumor cells.

The final step is the infusion of the CAR T cells into the patient (preceded by a specific chemotherapy regimen). If all goes as planned, the engineered cells further multiply in the patient’s body and, with guidance from their engineered receptor, recognize and kill cancer cells that harbor the antigen on their surfaces.

Next week I’ll post a reminder of the webinar with additional information. Those of you fighting cancer may need to heed what Dr. Iyer’s webinar offers. Currently, MD Anderson is providing this therapy in the form of a study, a clinical trial if you will. This therapy is brand new and is not wide spread but, oh, is it promising. So much so that afterwards it’s quite possible you will no longer need to take any cancer medicine.

Feel free to register for Dr. Iyer’s webinar now; there’s no cost.

someday is today - LLS logo

What of the future? Hmmmm . . .

As my journey continues, I recently read an article positing about being single the rest of my life. The author puts forth this question from a female perspective but even so the points she brings up are equally valid from a male perspective, too. After having read the aforementioned article, I got to thinking “What if I wind up being single for the rest of my life?”

When one is in solitude, one tends to think of things like this. Being in solitude primarily because of the pandemic doesn’t help. Not necessarily good for one’s mental state, but a realistic thought nonetheless. I’ve been on my own now for just over a year since my wife died of colon cancer. Technically, I’m widowed; realistically, I’m on my own, single again. I haven’t been this way in over 20 years. Time seems to have flown by; how, I have no idea.

I still feel I’m in transition, phasing out of life with Pam and phasing into life with just Joe. I’m not sure what that is eventually going to be like. I haven’t seriously thought of whether or not I want to marry again or just date. And by “dating,” I don’t mean the way one usually dated before the pandemic. I’m not sure what I mean. Will I be lucky enough to find someone with whom to steadily occupy my time? Dunno.

What if . . . what if . . . what if . . . as the author proposes . . .

What would happen if I’m single for the rest of my life? Is it possible that somehow, I might not meet someone who feels compatible? Is it possible that I might not like someone as much as they like me, or vice versa? That there’s just not someone who would be a good fit?

What would it be like if I lived alone for the rest of my life? Would it become harder for me to be flexible and accommodating of other’s needs? Would I ever get over those moments of panic when I feel a major illness coming on or get injured and realize that I’ll have to spend days or even weeks trying to fend for myself?

What if I get sick one day and can’t work for a long time? How would I pay the bills, once my small savings ran out? How would I cook for myself? What if I needed to go to urgent care or the emergency room in the middle of the night? Who would drive me?

What if I only had my friends as a source of affection for the rest of my life? Would that be enough? What if the only hugs I got were from them? If the only dinners I shared were with them? What if I really needed someone to sit with me or help me with a big project and they were busy with their own lives?

Short answer to any of this: I’d find a way. Yet, I’d probably be quite overwhelmed, to say the least.

It’s hard to say how long one should stay in grief mode. It’s particularly difficult to gauge when there’s a pandemic still raging around the globe and new variants of the virus seem to be born everyday. I want to go out. I don’t want to go out. I want to stay put. I don’t want to stay put. I want to be around people. I don’t want to be around people. It’s a never-ending spiral, seemingly not getting better any time soon.

The prospect of being single or on my own for the duration of my Earth-bound life doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t thrill me either. Realities like tight financial budgets, a car with no a/c and not being able to fit into most of my pre-pandemic clothes are more of a concern.

As the author, “a big, bad wolf,” further questions . . .

What if I stop trying new things because I’m scared to do them alone? What if I stay home too often, fail to try new hobbies, or stop meeting people? What if I get complacent and don’t even notice my complacency?(Am I there, already?)

What if I get so used to sleeping alone that it’s all I ever want? What if the simplicity of being single becomes seductive enough to keep me this way? What if it just becomes easier?

What if relationships become too much of an effort? What if love begins to seem like a chore? What if hope becomes too heavy to carry after having gone so long unrealized?

And what if none of it matters at all? What if being alone for the rest of my life is the best thing that could happen to me?

Personally, I’ve what-iffed all of these. I also haven’t come up with any answers or at least any that I want to admit to myself. I presume that as this year begins to ever-so-gradually draw to a close, some of my questions will come more into an answered focus. Or maybe not!

The only thing I’m sure of is that it all will unfold in its own time and I have no control over any of it. Oh, sure, I may be able to bring about some change if I stay positive and focused. However, if there’s one thing this past year has taught me, it’s that staying positive and focused is very hard to do, especially on a daily basis.

If you like, you can read more from the article and about the author asking all the questions. Afterwards, I’m sure you’ll have some of your own.

Oh, but wait. What if . . . what if . . . what if . . .?

Colon Cancer: Hey Guys, Listen Up! What You Need to Know.

Every now and then I come across information that’s enlightening and helpful, especially concerning our health. This post contains such information and has a link to an article with more detailed insight on what guys should look out for with respect to colon cancer.

My wife died last year due to complications from colon cancer so I’m quite sensitive to the subject. Danielle Cohen, GQ’s Editorial Business Assistant, compiled a very interesting article about what us guys should know about this type of cancer.

According to Danielle’s article, colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men and women, and the third most common cancer diagnosis. She further states that an increasing number of young people are being diagnosed with the disease, among them actor Chadwick Boseman, whose death from colon cancer at the age of 43 shed some overdue light on how the illness affects both people under 50 and, disproportionately, Black people.

She cites Dr. Kimmie Ng, Director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who states that earlier detection is always better when it comes to survival rates (as with all cancer). Unfortunately, colon cancer symptoms tend to be somewhat generic, and asymptomatic colon cancer is very common. That’s why screenings are becoming the most essential diagnosis tool in catching the disease early. Alas, for my wife, the diagnosis wasn’t caught until it was advanced and had spread to other organs.

Most folks don’t know when and how they should be getting screened partially because colon cancer is not one of the types of cancer often discussed. Some of the symptoms aren’t exactly appropriate for polite chit-chat. Furthermore, screenings are usually colonoscopies, which are not pleasant. Many patients experience symptoms for some time and usually don’t get screened until a family member urges them to go.

GQ spoke with Dr. Ng to get answers to questions about preventing colon cancer—because the more we talk about it, the better chance we’ll have at preventing and surviving it.

You can read more about various specifics about colon cancer in this GQ article.

When should I start getting screened?

How difficult is it to get a screening?

What are the symptoms?

If they find something bad, what happens next?

I’m Black. Should I be getting screened earlier or more often?

What else should I be doing to minimize my risk of colon cancer?

Insufficient Funds

How do you wake up most mornings? How do you proceed with your day? How do you attack the populace? Do you feel like our friend here?

Snoopy, I feel your pain! Most mornings I’m like this, but especially on Mondays. At times, my world is upside down and sideways. Lately, as some of you know, I’m thinking back to a year ago when my Pamela left me for that Heavenly World upstairs. I haven’t been the same sense.

Learning to live and manage by yourself all over again is a challenge, to say the least. Plus, I’m not getting any younger. Memories and flashbacks pummel my mind from time to time; good and bad alike.

I went to the Texas Medical Center the other day for tests. The last time I went down there Pam was still alive. On my visit, memories flooded my brain. I had to concentrate on bringing myself back to the present or face being trapped in the past. If you’ve ever experienced flashbacks, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a spooky feeling.

Given the times in which we are living what with mass shootings seemingly every week, violence, mayhem and injustice all around, I thought it might be time for a little chuckle and something to tickle the funny bone. When I saw the illustration above, I thought “I need to spread the chuckle.”

Thanks to Snoopy, maybe we can take a breath, enjoy a moment or two of quiet, soothe our mind and then get back at it. I, like probably most of you, feel that life is an uphill journey with no escalator in sight. Go ahead, treat yourself to another cup of coffee and start replenishing your account. After all, we’re worth it!

Leukemia Treatment Advances

Recently I attended a webinar presented by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society concerning advances in treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL. That’s what I have. That webinar covered various aspects of the disease including current and emerging therapies, managing side effects to promote a better quality of life, and the impact of COVID-19 on treatment decisions.

Since not everyone who wanted to participate was able to do so, the slide presentation and audio replay that were featured are linked in this blog post for your information. While a lot of the info is technical and quite scientific in nature, the presentation is well worth your time and attention.

If you don’t fall asleep while viewing or listening, please pass the info on to someone you care about. It could save their life.