Sunday, March 3, 2019

Where Does the Soul Reside?

     I was asked to define my personal relationship with soul.  Now, that’s an undertaking!  Here’s what I came up with.

    I’ve never been clear about what soul is.  We may ask where the soul resides.  As a child I imagined the soul as a glob of hamburger like meat that resided near the heart.  That was as far as I got.  I could see it but I wasn’t sure about its function.  Perhaps I circumvented the soul going directly from spirit to the brain.

    However,  the soul is connected to the body in many religious traditions.  The spiritual path is through the soul, not leaving it behind in higher pursuits but directly turning to it.  Now that is a novel concept for me. 

And poems to round out the topic:

This Participatory World, A trip to Marca

This participatory world fades.
 The letter M once the waves of the sea,
births mead, modern, muse
distant cousins in abstract.
 Step on sharp stones, 
sunlight, the rocks the wall,
the animal scent the distance between us.

Ma-Ya  (Not That)

No one will ever say -she’s the mother of my children, head bowed in hommage.  Yet, I am the mother of many dreams and a few scattered kindnesses. Once  I may have been the bitch  of a litter of puppies, the taker of a photograph,  and the creator of a maple seedling borne on air that settled in a small patch of earth and lived 100 years.  

Saturday, January 26, 2019

A protocol for Oncologists (for my perfect medical world)


A Protocol for Oncologists!
Just as breast cancer oncologists have a protocol of pateients’ treatment they follow, here is a protocol for the oncologists themselves.  Having a good relationship with your oncologist goes a long way in managing the illness.  I’m well aware oncologists are overworked and overburdened by a number of factors but these simple steps can help your patients immeasurable. Based on my personal experiences I’ve established this list.

1.      Don’t threaten the patient.  This doesn’t lead to compliance but can make the patient distrust the doctor.  I was told by an oncologist after she filled a whiteboard with indecipherable names of chemotherapy, that if I didn’t follow that I would be dead in a year.  I never returned.
2.     Don’t call with negative results of scans or tests before 9AM.  No one wants that early morning call with bad news.  Sometimes with good news of a clear scan or procedure I never received a call with that information at all.
3.     Your patient isn’t just her or his cancer.  Be aware of other signs that may indicate depression or other health concerns.  Ask.  Don’t just ask about side effects of the treatments.
4.     Be informed of alternative treatments.  Most likely your patients are and may be using different therapies. 
5.     Be honest about projected outcomes, but once again, don’t threaten.  However, don’t give false hopes either.
6.     Let the patient deliberate on which treatment options are available.  Don’t rush the patient.
7.     Give your patient information about the effects and potential side effects of treatments or medications.  Possible versus probable is important here. 
8.      Don’t be stingy with anti-anixiety or pain medications.  These can make life tolerable.
9.     Learn from your patients.  There may be hints you can pass along to other patients.
10.  Ask the patient what he or she can do to feel better.  Leave something in the patient’s hands.  It could be as simple as taking vitamin D or doing gentle exercise.