Category Archives: advocacy

You’ll Be Okay!


Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important that your own ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Earlier this month, I was asked by my good friend Denise Brown from Caregiving.com and AfterGiving.com  to share a video for today’s family caregivers that comforts with three words: You’ll be okay.

While creating this video, I learned that I  was comforted, knowing that by sharing my after caregiving journey might help someone else, just like me,  who is also in the grieving and healing process.

Loss is so personal, so real.  No one can really tell us how to deal with the loss of a loved one, yet that old cliché, ‘time does heals all wounds’  is true! However wounds heal at their own pace and in their own time, and in your time…you’ll be Okay…. because it does get better! 

To see my ‘You’ll Be Okay” video for AfterGiving.com, simply click on the heart!

 

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Click on the Heart to see Chris’ ‘You’ll Be OK” Video for AfterGiving.com

 

AfterGiving_Logo2If  you cared for a family member or friend? Please feel free to participate in  AfterGiving.com You’ll Be Okay campaign.

Like me, you will be glad that you did!

 

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Filed under advocacy, Grief, Healing, You'll Be Okay

Laughter is the best medicine, then and now.


There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full ~ Henry A. Kissinger

As I continue to grieve and heal, I look back at those moments during our caregiving journey that brought laughter to our hearts.  Richard had such a dry sense of humor and a quick wit and if truth be told, he really did enjoy having his picture taken too.  We used humor and laughter quite bit during our Caregiving journey.  Whether it was a trip out for a delicious scoop of ice cream or a visit to get a hair cut, we tried to inject as much humor into our day as was humanly possible.

IceCream1  IceCream3

 

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We let our humor combat some of those dark days, too.  Richard loved Monty Python, especially ‘Spamalot’…I think we both saw the play three times.  There was a day, early on after the diagnosis where Richard was playing the music from ‘Spamalot’ when all of a sudden the famous song,

Spamalot

Spamalot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“He’s Not Dead Yet” started to blare through the Bose speakers.  We both looked at each other in utter amazement; we laughed, we cried, we hugged each other and we laughed some more.  That song became our battle cry, and because of that song, the laughter we shared, provided that spark which enabled Richard to live his life to the fullest.

As our caregiving journey continued to unfold, there was no doubt that we traveled the journey together, side by side, one by one.  We shared in the emotions, we shared in the joy and laughter,  knowing that sorrow was somewhere around the corner.  Yet the sorrow that we shared was the realization that our time together was not going to be as long as we would have wanted it to be.  No more, no less.

The lesson that I’ve learned during our Caregiving journey was that I was  the co-pilot, Richard was the pilot. Richard was  the one going throughSONY DSC the radiation treatments, Richard was  the one taking the medicine; I was there in a supporting role, simply loving, caring and coping as best we could.  As Caregivers, our journey is filled with difficult peaks and valley’s, we try to pave the roads we journey so that the path is as smooth possible, so when there is a problem at hand,  there is always a gentle breeze at our caree’s back.  Caregiving is filled with so many raw emotions, that sometimes we forget that we are on a beautiful, yet difficult journey together.   For Richard and I, humor and laughter helped lightened some very dark days.  For us then, and for me now, laughter is truly the best medicine.  Laughter allows me to grieve and heal.

 

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‘Healing Ties’ radio show, live every Wednesday at 7:00pm on Health Cafe LIVE by clicking here 

Cannot listen live…No worries!  Hear our podcast anytime on iHeart Radio by clicking here

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Filed under advocacy, Caregiving, Humor, iHeart Radio, LGBT Caregiving

Advocacy Heals U: Healing Ties of Change


Recently I had the opportunity to be a guest on Joni Aldrich show, “Advocacy Heals U”, which is now featured on iHeart Radio.  Joni is an accomplished author, radio show host, public speaker, but most importantly, Joni has been a caregiver for her husband, Gordon, who like Richard, passed away from Cancer.
22958786 Connecting with Joni has been a pleasure and sure proves that Caregivers, no matter what their journey might be, have this innate ability to understand each other, to be there for each other, to care for each other.  Joni has been that connection for me.   As Joni so eloquently wrote: “Love radiates through this show. Love of a partner for a partner through life, illness and difficult loss. “To love someone is to see the face of God.” Guest: Chris MacLellan, The Bow-Tie-Guy. Chris loved Richard Schiffer through the twists and turns of life and Richard’s end-of-life. Experience IS the most brutal of teachers. But you heal. Chris’s new show, Healing Ties, will discuss 4 aspects interwoven in hope: physical, mental, spiritual, financial. While his focus is on caregivers, the message is much deeper. Why are health care rights connected to marriage rights? In many states, gay couples do not have that option. Love can move mountains, but can it break down walls?”

To listen to our show, simply click here! 

To learn more about Joni Aldrich simply click here!

Approaching six months after Richard’s transition into eternal life, my life continues to transition.  I’ve made the decision to leave my job with Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 2.30.41 PMSunServe Social Services and start to write our story through my own words.  I’ll be heading over to New Orléans to write, spend time healing and starting my new radio show, ‘Healing Ties’ from ‘The Bow Tie Guy.’  Stay tuned to ‘The Purple Jacket’ for the launch date of my new show which will be featured on W4HC.com and iheart Radio.

Remember:  “Love, Care and Commitment is the same for any two people, no matter what gender.”  Make your day count, never pass up the opportunity to tell your spouse or partner that you love them!

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“In Sickness and In Health:” My Response to Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi comments on same-sex marriage


“Love, care and commitment is the same for any two people” – Chris MacLellan

Friends,

I’ve taken a break from blogging  in order to adjust to life without my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer.  Your letters, emails, phone calls of support for me over the past few months is  most appreciated!

On Friday, May 30th I was alerted to the news that Florida’s Attorney General submitted a court document stating  that “same-sex marriages impose significant public harm.”  On Tuesday, June 3rd, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial page wrote, “State wrong in its fight against same-sex marriage” and referenced Richard and I, and our Caregiving story, “In Sickness and in Health A Couples Final Journey”.   In Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel, Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to Tuesday’s editorial.

Upon reflection of these events, it is important for me to share a letter with you that I have mailed to Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi in regards to her comments on same-sex marriage.

June 3, 2014

 The Honorable Pam Bondi

Attorney General of Florida

The Capitol PL-01

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Dear Madam Attorney General:

I write this letter in the hopes of sharing a position contra to that identified in your recent court documents that recognizing same-sex marriages “would impose significant public harm.”

Maybe you heard about our story in the Sun-Sentinel a few weeks ago?  I’m told over 400,000 people have read our story, “In Sickness and Health A Couple’s Final Journey.”  As Diane Lade eloquently wrote, “being an older gay couple not recognized by law, navigating a system they feared could rob them of their ability to care for each other in sickness and in health.  After all, legal rights regarding death are intricately entwined with the privileges granted when people marry.”

We never intended that the love that my partner Bernard Richard Schiffer and I shared could become politicized, until I read your recent comments about how same-sex marriage “would impose significant public harm.’

I am fair-minded enough to know that each side has a right to argue your position in this fair state of Florida.  However to deny, ignore, wish away, pretend, assume and say that there are negative consequences in granting basic equal rights, indicates a fundamental disrespect  to gay rights and human dignity.  The arguments you use are the same for those who argued that ‘separate was equal’ and advocated for anti-miscegenation laws.    Like many before you who debated, and denied equality in our society, your current position on this critical issue will be sealed on the wrong side of history.

​I invite you to read our story in the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, I will even share the link with you: http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/.  You might also be interested in some of the readers’ comments that were posted on-line, too.  After reading our story, looking at the pictures and viewing the video, please tell me, the people in this great state of Florida, and everyone in the country,  how the love that Richard and I shared “would impose significant public harm?”

The late Maya Angelou said it right, “Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Once someone understands that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are joined together as one, then it becomes obvious why marriage equality is such an important issue in our society.

My prayer for you is that you will see that love is universal and not unique or limited to heterosexuals.

Respectfully,

Christopher J. MacLellan

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

 

 

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Filed under advocacy, Intergenerational, Legal, LGBT, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

Progressive Holiday Blog Party with Caregiving.com


Caregiving_Logo_Small1 2013_blog_party-300x199Welcome to the Progressive Holiday Blog Party 2013

Greetings!  ‘The Purple Jacket’ pleased to join the 2013 Progressive Holiday Blog Party with the wonderful members of Caregiving.com.  The Community at Caregiving.com  is like having an extended family;  I am proud to be a part of this wonderful group!

TLO_Certificate

I graduated from radiation!

For those first time visitors to ‘The Purple Jacket’ welcome and Thank You for stopping by!  I blog about my Caregiving experience for my partner, who I loving refer to as ‘The Little One.’  He was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in August of 2011.  Given three to four months to live, he has outlived all predictions.   Yet in October of 2013, Cancer has returned to ‘The Little One’ with a vengeance as he was diagnosed with Cancer on the spine.  With three tumors on his spine; ‘The Little One’ just recently completed 30 radiation treatments.  For the most part, he is pain-free at the moment, my that continue!

While each one of us deals with the reality of cancer in a different way, each 20131015-225104.jpgone of us wants to look on the bright side of life. Yesterday is gone, today is here, not sure about tomorrow. It is our hope that lets us withstand problems; it is our beliefs that let us find solutions.

I have been blogging here and at Caregiving.com for almost two years now.  The Caregivers I have met along the way have become a part of our family.   While our Caregiving journey’s might be different, Caregivers have this innate ability to understand each other, to be there for each other, to care for each other.  

Things that I am looking forward to in 2014:

My Blog Talk Radio Show, ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’  has been on hiatus since October, but will be back on the air in January with a new title, ‘Healing Ties.’  You can visit my Blog Talk Radio page and listen to archived versions of the show by clicking here! 

I will be (returning) to studying Theology at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine with the intent to finish my Thesis, ‘The Social Sin of Geriatric Care in America.”

I hope we do another CareCruise in 2014!

To learn more about me,  I invite you to visit my ‘about page’ on my website by clicking here.

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 We Might Have CancerBut Cancer Does Not Have Us!

TLOCJM

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Caregiving, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

Happy Thanks-Caregiving


You must do things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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 We are Thankful for those who are Caregivers today:

We are Thankful for those who will be Caregivers tomorrow:

We are especially Thankful for those Caregivers whose journey has past. 

We share  in our Caregiving Journey in a special way, knowing that while our Caregiving roads might be different, our paths are filled with comfort and joy from the support we receive from each other!  

Thank You for being a part of our Caregiving Journey.  

From our Caregiving Journey to yoursHappy Thanks-Caregiving         

The Bow Tie Guys!

You see…We Might Have Cancer...But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

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‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, caregiver, Caregiving, Live Love Laugh, oncology

Cancer: That Unwelcomed Guest Has Returned


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Love Is Composed Of A Single Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies:  Aristotle 

Saturday’s revelation that ‘The Little Ones’ cancer has metastases to his spine was devastating.  Two years past his radiation and chemotherapy treatment for esophageal cancer, we are back facing this vicious disease.  ‘It’s’ been knocking on the door the last few weeks; it is difficult to acknowledge this unwelcome guest has returned with new vigor and new strength.

I am not sure I can accurately describe our emotions at this time.

Concerned for the past few weeks that the tumor was active again, Friday’s MRI and CT scan proved our suspicions true.  While the news is unwelcome, we are thankful that at least we know the source the pain and discomfort which will allow us to act accordingly.  Palliative radiation is a new term that I learned on Saturday; TLO will immediately start palliative radiation treatments to help relieve the serve pain that suddenly came upon him Thursday night.

Scary does not do his pain justice on Thursday night; nor how we feel right now.

Imploring the attending physicians at the hospital to consult with TLO’s primary care physician helped avoid an unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedure which would have been dangerous and certainly unnecessary.  The cardiologist was sure his issues were cardiac, ‘he has the classic symptoms and history of heart disease,” said the cardiologist.  ‘That may be true, but before we make any decisions on doing a cardiac catheterization, it is important that we first find out what is going on with the tumor; we are not doing any invasive procedures until we have the MRI and CT scan’, I suggested. The cardiologist was working out of his area of medicine and we respect that.  

The harsh reality of the news creates an immediate void to an unpredicted 1385583_607513719290066_905165614_n (1)future.  The last twenty-four hours back at the house has found both of us to be just a bit sad and depressed.  We both have to watch those emotions so that they do not permeate our decision-making process. Depression often plays such a strong role in how disease functions in the body.  While we are both cognizant of that, it comes down to mind over matter.  As I’ve said before…”It just ain’t easy!”

A whole set of new and intense emotions intrude on us right now.  Worry, detachment, mortality, anger, fear of abandonment and having to live life alone. These gut wrenching emotions lurk in our minds when faced with a life-and-relationship-altering illness.  Often times, you have to give up things that you lovein order to care for the one you love.

Over the past 24 hours, we have had the chance to talk openly about what lies ahead of us.  As we begin to accept the raw news that was delivered yesterday, TLO is insistent that we continue to advocate for those who have no one to advocate for them.  “What would have happened to me if I had gone ahead with the cardiac producer; what would have happened to me if I had no one to advocate for me,” TLO exclaimed!  We intend to be as open as possible with everyone as we move forward with treatments.

We will push ahead because life’s journeys are not often driven on smooth roads, but we can always hope for a gentle wind at our back. This gentle wind is always fortified by our love, our faith, our friends and our trust.

Thank You for being a part of this journey with us!

You see…we might have cancer, but cancer does not have us! 

TLOCJM

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Filed under advocacy, caregiver, Esophagus Cancer, LGBT Caregiving, oncology

Tuesday On Be A Heatlhy Caregiver


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Tuesday’s topic on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is the  Society of Certified Senior Advisors in Denver, Colorado.   To listen to our show live, simply click here!

Member 2C

Through the vision of Ed Pittcok, founder of Society of Certified Senior Advisors,  Ed gathered experts in all facets of aging, including doctors, attorney, geronotoligst, accountants and financial planner.  All shared Ed’s vision; that seniors would benefit from an in-depth, standardized education from professionals who work with seniors. The education program that his group of renowned experts created became the basis for the Certified Senior Advisors (CSA) designation.

Why work with a CSA?  CSA’s are held to a high standard of competency as the society wants only ethical, honest and principal professionals as members. Any professional who wants to become a CSA must first agree to the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility.

CurtisPeterson

Curtis Petersen

Our guest today,  Curtis Petersen, has spent 7 years as a National Accounts Manager with the Society and works directly with national companies and professionals in the senior market navigating the education and certification process.  Through our conversation today with Curtis, not only will we learn of the importance of working with a CSA, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’

To listen to our show live, simply click here! 

To contact the Society of Certified Senior Advisors call 888-819-3917

To locate the Society of Certified Senior Advisors on-live visit these links:

www.csa.us

https://www.facebook.com/CertifiedSeniorAdvisors

www.linkedin.com/in/curtispetersen

www.twitter.com/SocietyCSA

blog.csa.us

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Tuesday’s at 1:00 pm / Thursday’s at 8:00 pm: all times eastern

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Tuesday On Be A Heatlhy Caregiver


BHC_fb

Tuesday’s topic on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is the  Society of Certified Senior Advisors in Denver, Colorado.   To listen to our show live, simply click here!

Member 2C

Through the vision of Ed Pittcok, founder of Society of Certified Senior Advisors,  Ed gathered experts in all facets of aging, including doctors, attorney, geronotoligst, accountants and financial planner.  All shared Ed’s vision; that seniors would benefit from an in-depth, standardized education from professionals who work with seniors. The education program that his group of renowned experts created became the basis for the Certified Senior Advisors (CSA) designation.

Why work with a CSA?  CSA’s are held to a high standard of competency as the society wants only ethical, honest and principal professionals as members. Any professional who wants to become a CSA must first agree to the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility.

CurtisPeterson

Curtis Petersen

Our guest today,  Curtis Petersen, has spent 7 years as a National Accounts Manager with the Society and works directly with national companies and professionals in the senior market navigating the education and certification process.  Through our conversation today with Curtis, not only will we learn of the importance of working with a CSA, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’

To listen to our show live, simply click here! 

To contact the Society of Certified Senior Advisors call 888-819-3917

To locate the Society of Certified Senior Advisors on-live visit these links:

www.csa.us

https://www.facebook.com/CertifiedSeniorAdvisors

www.linkedin.com/in/curtispetersen

www.twitter.com/SocietyCSA

blog.csa.us

Listen to:

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Tuesday’s at 1:00 pm / Thursday’s at 8:00 pm: all times eastern

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Caring For A Loved One After Hip Replacement Surgery


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Today I am pleased to welcome  guest blogger, Julian Hills from image001

ThePurpleJacket

People typically have hip replacement surgery because their daily lives have been interrupted by their painful ailments. When joint deterioration or arthritis gets bad, it makes it incredibly difficult for the patient to walk and accomplish tasks that were once easy.

If a loved one needs hip replacement surgery, you will want them to have that second chance to live full lives. But make sure the patient talks to the surgeon about which type of implant will be used. That’s important because some manufacturers – including Stryker and Wright Medical — have had problems with some of their hip device products.

Caregiving 101

The recovery period is an important part of hip replacement surgery. That’s where you come in as a caregiver. In the beginning, especially, they will lean on you heavily (sometimes literally).

Be prepared to drive, since doctors typically want a patient to wait at least six weeks before driving. You will need to take the patient to follow-up appointments, to physical therapy and to get their medications. But driving them to and from appointments is just the beginning.

The best way to handle your loved one’s recovery after their surgery is to plan as much as you can before the procedure. It’s important to know what to expect in the weeks following hip replacement.

Understand the Process of Recovery

The recovery process is delicate and will require the patient’s full attention to keep the recovery on track.

One of the most important parts of the recovery process is preventing dislocation (the ball popping out of the socket). Recovering patients should not bend beyond 90 degrees at the hip.

It is also important to keep the wound dry until the staples are removed, which may not happen for two weeks.  Pain will also be an issue. Manage the pain by keeping the proper amount of pain medication on hand, and use it as directed. If it’s not working, they may need a new medication.

Swelling is normal after surgery. Communicate with the patient, however, to make sure the swelling and pain does not get too severe.

Blood clots could become a concern, so you and the patient should stay in touch with the doctor to make sure you have proper medication and that the patient is performing the proper light exercise.

Create a Comfortable Living Environment

The recovering patient should be 100 percent focused on their personal medical needs, therefore their home should be set up for comfort and convenience as much as possible.

If you are the primary caregiver, it’s a smart idea to have another relative, friend or neighbor on hand occasionally to help you out. A hospital social worker can help you find a health care professional, if needed.

The everyday demands of life may make it hard to be on duty 24 hours a day. There are some simple preparations you can make in case you’re not able to be at home:

  • Stock up on nonperishable foods.
  • Cook meals that can be frozen and easily warmed up.
  • If the patient lives in a two-story house, make a bed downstairs and put commonly used items within arm’s reach, including a phone.

You and the patient should be aware of the types of things they will be able to do, and what they won’t. Their physical therapist will help you with this. Knowing what to expect will reduce stress for both of you.

Julian Hills is a content writer and blogger for Drugwatch.com. His journalism career has taken him from newspapers to local television news stations and even a 24-hour cable network in the Southeast. Julian is a graduate of Florida State University.

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Web  http://www.drugwatch.com |   P  407.504.2832 Twitter  @Drug Watch |   Facebook   Share Your Story   |   About   How Do We Help? |   GOOGLE+   Join Our Circle

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Tuesday’s at 1:00 pm (EST) / Thursday’s at 8:00 pm (EST)

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