Archives For War

IMG_0834

On July 5th while my husband and I were visiting New York City we decided to go downtown to Ground Zero and see the new ‘Freedom Tower’, the ‘Memorial’ fountains and the 9/11 museum. It was a pure coincidence that we were the there the day after Independence Day and not one that the Freedom Tower was designed to be 1,776 feet tall. That day was also the day after the anniversary of the death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both signers of the Declaration of Independence.

My husband and I met while working at One World Trade Center and here we were almost 27 years later peering into the fountains contained within the footprints of One World Trade and Two World Trade. I stood mesmerized as the water cascaded over granite walls and fell into infinity. Etched into the perimeter of each fountain were the names of those who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 1993. The fountain memorial was very profound and moving. For me it was symbolic of the collapse of the buildings and the vacuous plunge to a state of death and then infinity. It also reminded me of the initial and long-lasting hole left in the heart after the death of a loved one. Yet even still I mused that water was symbolic of life. I also noticed that the fountains were surrounded by rows of mighty oak trees outlining the outside footprint of the missing buildings. Continue Reading…

8350920_s

 

“All morning they watched for the plane which they thought would be looking for them. They cursed war in general and PTs in particular. At about ten o’clock the hulk heaved a moist sigh and turned turtle.”

John Hersey, writer Hiroshima

During the past few months I have been seeing various physical therapists, first for tendonitis in my wrists and arms. The pain then moved to my right shoulder where my shoulder blade is now protruding hence necessitating a new physical therapist. The quest to release this pain and get back in alignment is also augmented by seeing a myofascial release practitioner. See:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/expert-answers/myofascial-release/faq-20058136)

Trigger point massage at physical therapy is highlighting the fact that my muscles are frozen in spasms and knots not just in my right shoulder, but also throughout my entire back and along my spine. I wonder, how is it I can be in so much pain and for the most part am not even aware of it until I am touched or it becomes so bad it then enters my awareness?

The physical therapist does not think this is the result of any injury or trauma, at least on the physical level. So what is left – emotional injury, psychological injury, repressed feelings, stress trauma? This is the next quest in my journey of healing—to determine what is causing this and fix it. Continue Reading…

20752460_s

On Saturday January 4, 2014, The New York Times published an opinion piece online in their ‘Sunday Review’ by George Johnson entitled “Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer”.

I reacted immediately, first just from the title of the piece, which infers, at least to me, a ho-hum reaction to this devastating disease. It also, in my opinion, minimizes the impact of cancer on the population, my population, The Nation of Cancer. I read his piece but would not read the comments since I didn’t want my reaction to be tempered by the contributions of others. That being said, I apologize if my comments are redundant with those already posted.

George Johnson is a former journalist who wrote and published a book The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery in August 2013. I will first say bravo on the press coverage and the possible spike in the sales of this book. But there are ways to promote a book that are community building and ways to promote that are infuriating. His method appears to be the later and I am hoping there is a large backlash.

First of all, his article makes very broad strokes throughout regarding cancer, it’s impact, what has worked, what hasn’t and criticizes a plan for the future.

MY REACTION: Broad subject, simplistic analysis, pessimistic. Continue Reading…

18108411_s

I am a great fan of the Charlie Rose show. On December 13, 2012, he hosted the Brain Series 2, Episode 12, entitled ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’, (PTSD). His guests included Dr. Eric Kandel, Nobel Laureate and Professor at Columbia University, Murray Stein, MD, MPH from UC San Diego, a professor and Director of of the Anxiety and Traumatic Disorders Stress Program and other medical professionals and researchers.

The premier guest on the show to expound on the personal experience of PTSD was Retired Lt. Colonel John O’Brian. He is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and was described by Charlie Rose as an American hero, with 25 years of service, a recipient of the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Combat Action Badge.

Dr. Kandel went on to describe the ‘fascinating’ disorder; PTSD is unique because they understand the cause. The cause of PTSD is a physical threat to oneself resulting in tremendous fear and helplessness. It causes severe anxiety, panic, depression, recurrent nightmares, bad, frightening thoughts, helplessness, and avoidance. It also is the ongoing fear that the trauma will come back and is going to happen again Continue Reading…

WarOnCancer230x150

I was prompted to write this post after a friend shared a blog post on Facebook. http://zenofmetastasis.blogspot.com/2013/03/honk-if-youre-hero-ps-you-are.html

In his post the author and blogger Kevin Lankes writes “Cancer is not a fight.  It’s an illness.” Further on he says “And so there are those who have the propensity to create a mythology to cover up the realities of the disease, in order to apply an idealized version of it to mesh with our moral code or cultural viewpoints.”

He also tackles the concepts of courage and heroes and concludes that these terms should not apply to having cancer. He concludes his piece with “If you think someone is a hero for surviving cancer, or courageous, or inspiring, then you’re part of the problem. You’re doing it wrong. Anyone can survive cancer.  And anyone can die from it.  You want to sell your book, or promote your movie with a heavy sugar coating of mythology wrapped around the serious, ugly core of a terrible disease; that’s fine.  Leave me out of it.”

Like me he believes everyone is a hero, with or without cancer. As someone who has been living (fortunately) with cancer for 20 years and after I just finished writing a book, I was really struck by his viewpoint. I interpreted from his message that cancer just ‘is’ and having it doesn’t attribute any qualities on the person with cancer. So I decided to question the history and notion of why we use the War Metaphor.

The War on Cancer as a Metaphor on Two Fronts Continue Reading…