Category Archives: may to december

Excelling in Independence


As we continue with our transition back to Florida, it is hard to believe that we have already been here a month.  Yet,  after one month, it is easy to see the positive affects that this  transitions has had on ‘The Little One.”  It really comes down to one simple aspect of life…INDEPENDENCE.

One of the main issues that usually surfaces in a care giving role is that of independence versus dependence.  We all strive to keep our independence; it’s that physiological edge that makes us want to cry out for more.  Illness in general and cancer in particular, often lead to dependence.  Dependence can heighten the illness in which you are fighting to over come; dependence can in turn lead to depression, which all to often creeps into our physical and mental being.

While we miss our family and friends in St. Louis, ‘The Little One’ has gained quite a bit of his independence back since returning to Florida full-time.  There is a second car to drive, there are long-standing friends and family in the area, there is a house that he shared with his partner Herman for over 30 years, trips to the grocery store and an ocean right down the road; the list goes on and on.  

All to often we tend to forget that it is the simple things in life that mean the most.  When you are a caregiver, often times you have to give up things you love in order to care for the one you love.   It’s not a hardship, it’s not a problem, it is just something you do when you know it is right.

As I sit back and watch the remarkable improvement in his health, we know that life changes on a moments notice. We live in the moment, hoping that our decisions help facilitate good health and prosperity for everyone!  So far, we seem to be on the right track.  When I see ‘The Little One’ pulling out of the garage and off in his little buggy, I think…’how remarkable this truly is given the fact that six months ago he was not even driving a car, a prisoner to our home, dependent in the majority of things that he wanted to do.

Thursday we motor to the Oncologist for our next update; so far all the Doc’s have been pleased.  There is weight gain, there is added strength, there is a mark difference in personality…a personality of independence.

You see, we might have Cancer…But Cancer does not have us!

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Filed under Advocate, caregiver, Caregiving, Intergenerational, LGBT Couples, Live Love Laugh, may to december, Senior Health

The Lamp Shade


Humor can take the edge off a number of situations, especially when dealing with serious health or care-giving issues.  For those who have followed our blog, you’ll know that we often use humor to get through many difficult days.  Reality is what it is; hard do change, sometimes equally hard to deal with.

Moving can be stressful too, yet in a different way.  Sooner or later, the last box will be unpacked, the last picture will find itself on the wall, everything will find its place!  Even a miss-placed Lamp Shade.

Upon the arrival of the furniture and the mounds of mess and stress that followed,  I was left to ponder about caregivers who are often under stress and burdened by their task at hand.  You see, sometimes in the heat of care-giving,  we can lose sight of the fact that the one who is being cared for is… ill.

When your ‘patient’ says something out-of-turn, don’t blame the ‘patient’… blame the disease.  When your ‘patient’ does not feel like eating, don’t blame the ‘patient’…blame the disease.  When ‘the patient’ is just not feeling up to doing something, don’t blame the ‘patient’…blame the disease.  Caring is a daunting task and the caregiver often loses themselves in the process, and you know, that’s OK because it’s not ‘the patient’s’ fault…it’s the disease.

Just as Lamp Shades protect the bright lights of the bulbs of which they cover, care-givers do the same as they protect and ‘shade’ those for who they care for.  When the light burns out, we don’t blame the shade, we blame the bulb. When illness plays havoc with our loved one, we don’t blame the patient, we blame the disease.

Image  When we are focused on the task at hand, mindful that it’s the disease, not the patient…every ‘lamp shade’ finds its proper place, with love, tenderness and commitment.

We are blessed by the good health reports we are receiving in Florida and look to continue to bring great ‘shade’ to those around us!

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Filed under Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, Caregiving, Health, Life, Live Love Laugh, Love, may to december, Unconditional Love

Moving Forward


With no test scheduled until the middle of March, we look ahead thankful for the break from the radiation and chemotherapy, yet concerned as we move forward. Cancer takes so much out of everyone; its not a disease that leaves quietly, but rather lingers on in our mist.  Treatments are a necessity; aftereffects are unknown.

“The Little One” reminds me on a day to day basis  that he has lost a step or two.  Not wanting to admit it, but I see it too. We hold out so much hope for a full recovery, and in our mind and in our hearts, we know we have been given extended stay.  Why not make the most of it, even if its just a step or two slower?

Giving up control is such a hard thing to do.  (Where is that Tumor Extractor when you need it!)  One of the hardest things to do as a Caregiver is to give up control, but this is an essential element of being a caregiver.  We want to take control of the disease, take control of the loved one, take control of everything in our paths in order to provide the utmost care.  Yet it is when we give up control that we really care: What is here today, is gone tomorrow.  Yet in our thoughts and in our prayers, we only want to do what is best.

“The Little One” knows that he has lost a step or two; who wouldn’t after having 30 radiation treatments to go along with 6 sessions of Chemotherapy? I see it, too…but that does not detour us.  There will be good days, there will be bad days and there will be more days of beauty.  We can only go by how the day takes us, which in turn means giving up control and being free from what binds us!

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Caregiving, Esophagus Cancer, Intergenerational, may to december, Senior Health

A Night with Opera St. Louis


Wednesday night we had the pleasure of listening to a couple of performers from Opera St. Louis. With ‘The Little One’ being a big fan of Opera, I knew we were in for quite an enjoyable evening.

As we were preparing for the festivities, I heard the ‘The Little One’ say in the distance…”well, this should be interesting”. Curious, I peaked in to the bedroom to see what he was he was talking about; his dress pants!

Once I saw him holding up the pair of pants, I knew exactly his concern. With a weight loss of over 35 lbs, we both knew these dress pants were not going to hug the hips.

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Thank goodness for suspenders!

When he put the pants on, we were both amazed at how much weight he has lost. He has easily lost four pants sizes! (I now need to do the same)

While his weight loss is good for his overall health, they way it has happen is certainly not one of those fad diets you see on TV!

The second PET scan has now been scheduled for December 12 in Fort Lauderdale; we will be heading south in just a little more than a week. We are anxious to see where we stand with the tumor and the only way for that to happen is to conduct the follow-up PET scan.

While the PET scan might give us the physical facts of the tumor; we will not be held back by the results. We are moving ahead with our heads held high.

You see, we might have cancer… But cancer does not have us! We are putting money away for a trip to Paris in Spring of 2012. I have never been, ‘The Little One’ has been three times!

Live each day like it is your last; care for those who are always by your side!

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Caregiving, Dancing, Health, Intergenerational, LGBT Couples, Live Love Laugh, may to december, Older man, SAGE, Senior Health, Spirituality, Unconditional Love

Intergenerational


Barbara Streisand once sang…’People Who Need People Are The Luckiest People In the World.’ We are all attracted to different people and for different reasons; life would be boring if that was not the case. Love and attraction are so personal and hard to describe.

What does age have to do with love?

During a telephone conversation Tuesday evening with a close friend in Indianapolis, I came upon a word that I rarely like to use…”intergenerational.” The word just popped out of my mouth as we were discussing ‘The Little One’s’ marked improvement over the last week.

While I have never been big on buzz words, acronyms or labels; there are plenty of descriptions used to describe ‘us.’ “May and December” is probably the most common description, yet there are plenty of unsavory descriptions, too.

What really is the issue here?

Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are cheese!

What is important to recognize is that the roles that we are currently experiencing in our life could easily be reversed; I could be the one with cancer and he could be the one doing the care giving. Age really has nothing to do with it! Of course we understand the physical limits age can have on the body, yet that does not take away the determination of the soul.

I do not expect anyone to really understand this ‘intergenerational relationship.’ Heck, there are many relationships that I do not understand. ‘Those who don’t like what they see, don’t have to look’ is what a famous philosopher once said to me. (RIP-RJO) What is important to remember is that the only two people who really know what is going on in a relationship, are the two that are in it. Everything else is pure speculation

The best description I have ever heard in regards to love is spoken in one…simple…word. Unconditional.

To love someone unconditionally breaks down barriers, enables trust and ensures commitment. Cancer or no cancer, it’s all about giving of oneself to the love and care of another.

Love and acceptance are music to the heart and soul…those are the labels that we can all live with!

So, what does age have to do with it?

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Filed under Advocate, Caregiving, Intergenerational, LGBT, LGBT Couples, Love, may to december, Older man