Tag Archives: Life

If She Had Lived to 100


Be happy. It’s one way of being wise. Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Today, my Mother would have turned 100, unfortunately, she missed being a centenarian by just under 31 years!  Born in 1915 in New Orléans, my Mother was a women before her time.  Obtaining two college degree’s in the late 1930’s, she was talented and always seemed to be the “bell of the ball.”  Yet she passed away in 1984, just before her 69th birthday with seemingly, many unfulfilled dreams.

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

While “Gramma Bell”  got to know all of her 25 grandchildren, she missed out on getting to know all of her great-grandchildren which now reach past the number 40.  She missed out seeing the success of her six children, four of which have lived longer than her.  How medicine has changed over the years. But most of all later in life, she missed out on being happy, which is the saddest of them all.

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Family Reunion 2013

I’m sure raising kids in the 40’s and 50’s was challenging, just as it is today.  Yet it is important to note that she loved being a mother, but being a mother kept her from fulfilling some of her dreams.  There are so many things in life we give up when we care for someone else, albeit a parent or a caregiver.

I’ve never been a parent, but I do know what it is like to be a Caregiver.  I sense there is quite a bet of similar traits in these two roles, most notably the ability to love and care for someone else.  Sure, I realize that some parents do not have the ability to love and care for their children, just as I realize that there are IMG_2082many Caregivers who are out there who do not love their Caree: I call those folks, “Caregivers By Default.”  But when you get right down to it, we all have the innate ability to care, it just  has to be nurtured.  I’m thankful for that I received the care gene from my Mom, I am mindful that life moves on, and it is better to move on in happiness, than in worrying about the past.

Happy 100th birthday “Gramma Bell,” we are all just doing fine!

Chris MacLellan is a radio show host and Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”

Available on Amazon by clicking here

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Washing Away 2014 With One Last Toast


When love is at its best, one loves so much that he cannot forget.  Helen Hunt Jackson

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New Years Eve Toast 2013. Photo Credit: Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel

Last week during the Christmas holiday, we took a drive down memory lane and visited all the beautiful lights on Ocean Drive in Palm Beach and Broward County.  The outpouring of support from those two blog post is most appreciate.

As we move into the New Year, I do not want to forget about 2014, but I do want to wash it away.  Healing and grieving is different for everyone who has gone through the loss of a loved one.  Grieving would not be hard if love was not involved. Healing would be next to impossible without family and friends like you!

This year, I have decided not to make any new year resolutions, but rather to make some new year commitments.  In 2015, I will commit to taking better care of myself, including my physical, emotional, spiritual and financial self.  There is no secret weapon or path to accomplish this; taking better care of myself is something that is important to my healing process.   Caregivers understand that the last person who gets care, is the Caregiver.  Now, it is time for me to embark on a new caregiving role; caring for myself.

In 2015, I will continue to advocate for Caregivers and their Caree’s through my new radio show, Healing TiesTieHands on Health Cafe Life.com and iHeart Radio.  Our downloadshow on iHeart is listed under the Health section and there are already 10 shows up for you to listen to by simply clicking here!   (Listen in and be sure to click on the heart!)  I will keep blogging on ‘The Purple Jacket’ as this spot is reserved for TLO and all of our friends and followers who have been supportive over WholeCareNetworkthe years.  Early in 2015, I will introduce a new website, Healing Ties which will feature information about the radio show while introducing you to the Whole Care Network.  The new site is still in the development process, but you can take a quick look at the new website by clicking here!  Your feedback and opinion on the new website is most appreciated!  Our new website will highlight the Whole Care Network  which will be a bevy of referrals and references to help you create Healing Ties in your life and in your community.

There are three eBooks in the works and one major book, about our caregiving story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ is in the works, too. image004Early in 2015 you’ll see posting about group cruises for Caregivers, especially for those Caregivers who have lost a spouse or a partner.  It is time for us to come together in celebration, in care, in commitment and in love, to support and be there for each other. There are some other exciting opportunities that are presenting themselves as we move forward in 2015, I will be sure to keep you in the loop! It is going to be a busy year with workshops and presentations across the country: remember I am making a new year commitment,  not a new year resolution!

IMG_47020763026057 I do not have any fancy words or sage advice today, that’s never been our style here on The Purple Jacket; I simply write from the aspect of love, care and commitment which seems to fit just fine.  As I wash away 2014, I toast you, and thank you for being with us on this journey.  One thing this past year has taught me is to live in the moment: Funny TLO used to tell me that all the time!  So as we bring in the new year, I am thankful for the love that we shared, thankful for the life with TLO, and ready and willing to move forward, just as he wanted me to do.

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“I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror – you brought your past into the present last night.” Denise Brown from Aftergiving.com

I leave you with this wonderful quote  brought to you by my good friend, Denise Brown from Caregiving.com and Aftergiving.com ” I love the photo that includes your rear view mirror–you brought your past into the present last night.” I did not get the symbolism of this picture until Denise pointed it out to me, I am so thankful to Denise for her insight! Why? Because, I never want to forget about the past, yet life moves forward, not back.  Love is what shapes us: Love will never be washed away! 

Blessed and Happy New Year to you and your family! 

 

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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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November – National Care Givers Month


November is National Care Givers Month!

 We all know some one who is a caregiver, whether we find ourselves taking care of a loved one, know someone who takes care of a loved one, or even if we have heard an inspritational story on the news.

 In today’s busy world it can be easy to forget to show our appreciation to those who make a difference in our lives and the lives of others everyday. As we prepare to celebrate another Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to those who choose to spend their days serving others.

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”
Alan Cohen

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Downsizing


While we know that the tumor has been downsized by the radiation and chemotherapy treatments, we have taken a long look at our personal belongings and have started the process of downsizing in this area too.  So far, the experience has been quite cathartic.

How much ‘stuff’ does one really need to be comfortable in life?  China that has never been used, kitchen gadgets (well, except for the Tumor Extractor!), glasses, roasting pans; yikes where did all this stuff come from?   And better yet… what really is the need?

Funny as it seems, when I was in the seminary those little rooms we lived in seemed so small…now as I look back at that experience, living austerely has its benefits.  Thomas Merton does know what he is talking about!

Cancer is a life changing experience for all who are involved in it.  We have grown closer because of the disease and have I have come to a reality check with my life.   You see, what is important is not how many items you collect, rather what is important is how many lives you touch.   The last few years I have lost touch with my own reality; cancer does have its peculiar benefits.

As the green leaves transition to beautiful autumn colors, we are in a transition mode as well.  What we do for ourselves dies with us.  What we do for others will ever be immortal.  I am honored and proud to be a caregiver, it is one of the most remarkable experiences in life.  I am also grateful for the reality check that our downsizing has provided to us.  May the ‘Little One’s’  health continue to improve; let the downsizing begin!

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The Tumor Extractor just $19.99


We have all seen those gadget that they sell on TV… It seems that all those gadgets sell for just $19.99 and better yet, all these gadgets are a must need for every household!

As I was preparing waffles for breakfast this morning I came across a new product called ‘The Tumor Extractor’

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Simply apply to the area of the tumor and all your troubles will be gone!

‘The Little One’ and I enjoyed a great laugh when I presented him with our new ‘Tumor Extractor’ for just $19.99 and just think…we only spent $10,000 on chemo and radiation! (Of course Monty Python’s Spamalot is playing in the background.) Every cancer patient and caregiver wishes there was something as quick and simple as ‘The Tumor Extractor’ to remove cancer from the body. But what is available to every cancer patient and caregiver is hope, love, support and humor. That is the true Cancer Extractor!

While Each one of us deals with the realty of cancer in a different way, we want to look on the bright side of life!
Yesterday is gone, today is here, not sure about tomorrow. Today we are enjoying our new ‘Tumor Extractor’ even if it will only help us make waffles.

It is hope that let us stand problems…but our beliefs let us finds solutions.

Happy Sunday! And remember… ‘Always look on the bright side of life!’

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In Medicine…East vs. West


As ‘The Little One’ continues to show signs of regaining his strength, we decided to take a detour and visit Dr. Mo this past Saturday.  Who is Dr. Mo you might ask…well Dr. Mo specializes in eastern medicine, specifically acupuncture.   We visited Dr. Mo earlier this year for treatments of sciatica and after four treatments we were pleasantly surprised at the relief ‘The Little One’ received from the acupuncture.   ‘Why not consult with Dr. MO’, we both asked each other this past week. 

While we will not know for a least another month what effect the radiation and chemotherapy has had on the tumor; we know very well that the chemo and radiation has ravished his body, zapped his strength and pretty much turned his life upside down.  Traditional medicine, while proper seems to have a wait and see attitude during this ‘down time’ before the next PET scan.

This attitude was confirmed during my phone consultations with the oncologist and primary care doctor this past week.  The nurse for the oncologist told me over the phone that ‘The doctor normally does not call patients back’…my response to that was simply…’That is odd, don’t you think?’   The primary care doctor referred me back to the oncologist…(they share the same office!).   My response to the primary care doctor was just a tad more direct…”In the patients best interest, one of you needs to be taking the lead in the decision-making.’

That comment rang a bell with me.  The ones who need to take the lead in the decision making are the patient and the caregiver.  While we are all striving for excellency, when it comes right down to it, we are the captions of our own ship.  Authority while respected, is not all-knowing.  There is a reason that medicine is a science.  There are no two bodies alike!

We both know what we are facing with this disease, sometimes you just have to think outside the box.

What do we expect to gain from Dr. MO?  Alternatives, options, hope…just as we expected to gain from the traditional forms of medicine.  Yet not to pursue all options available to us, does not give life a chance.   We both saw the results of the acupuncture in March and April of this past year…why not give it a chance? 

In life…there are plenty alternatives, there are plenty of options, and there is plenty of hope…we just have to engage these options ourselves….rather than waiting for that call to be returned.

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Whew! What a week…and then some!


The ride to St. Louis  was just a tad more difficult than we expected, yet we made it back safe and sound even if we had to spend one additional night on the road.  As we motored in from Illinois, it is was a refreshing sight to see the Gateway Arch ahead.

As we enter our second week back in St. Louis, The Little One has struggled to regain his strength.  The radiation and chemotherapy has literally taken the wind out of his sails.   Some of the simplest things for him to do often takes so much effort.   We do hope that his strength will come back so that he can enjoy some of the simple things in life like listening to his favorite operas

My routine has changed quite a bit, too.  While it is an honor to be a caregiver, the caregiver has to be mindful of their energy level as well.  There is quite a bit of responsibility that goes into caregiving,  none as important as caring for yourself.   I am most fortunate to have a wonderful job and an understanding organization to work for; I am thankful that my Real Estate clients are patient as well.   We know that we are not in this alone.

At least for now, it is clear that The Little One will not be able to stay by himself.  As he regains his strength we can revisit this issue,  but for now it is clear that he will need  supervision as we move forward with this insidious disease.  This is difficult for him because he is so fearlessly independent, yet we all have make adjustments to the hand that was dealt.

We have another three weeks to wait before we go for the follow-up PET scan.   The PET scan will determine the next course of action; we do know that there will be NO more radiation! By all accounts we acknowledge that the tumor has shrunk; yet the physical and mental anguish of these treatments pale in comparison to what an ordeal this has been for ‘The Little One.’

Martin Luther King once said: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just have to take the first step.”   As we move forward, our faith is made stronger by the love and care of our family and friends as we continue to battle this disease!

 

 

 

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