Tag Archives: Little One


Photo Credit: Pinterest

As we continue to move forward with his aftercare, there is amazement on every side of the aisle. Our last report from the primary care doctor was terrific. She, like everyone else involved in his care, is utterly amazed at the progress that ‘The Little One’ has made since this ordeal started almost a year ago. I have been reluctant to blog lately, because quite frankly, I am amazed (and quite busy) too.

When ‘The Little One’ was diagnosed with cancer in late July of 2011, we started six weeks’ worth of treatments almost immediately. The outcome looked bleak back then, and in fact the doctors gave us little hope for the future when the diagnosis came in. ‘Three maybe four months” said the oncologist back in September of 2011.

It was at that time I made the conscious decision to withhold that information from ‘The Little One’ while telling the doctor ‘let’s wait and see how he responds to treatments.’ I never shared that conversation with ‘The Little One’ until after our last appointment with his primary care doctor just a few weeks ago. (If we are doing the math, that last appointment was in June; I was told in August of 2011 that he had 3 to 4 months. We are almost to a year since the first treatments….) Of course, I consulted with the oncologist on the decision not to share this information with ‘The Little One’ , and he agreed. “Let see how the treatments go and let him live his life to the fullest!” He has exceeded all expectations, and now his doctors want to do a case study on him.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

To withhold this information is a difficult judgment call that caregivers, spouses, doctors have to make on a daily basis. I made this decision based on one simple fact. ‘The Little One’ knew that he had cancer, and he knew that it was serious; I also knew that he was going to do anything he possibly could to beat the diagnosis. Why train the mind to think something is going to happen, when we really do not know when is going to happen?

This week, ‘The Little One’ will visit his oncologist for a quarterly check-up. I am confident that the oncologist will be pleased and say again….”Bern, you look great,” which ‘The Little One will reply, “ Yes, I’ve got a new embalmer!” Laughter is the best medicine, even in its most trying times.

What is left of the tumor is dormant and for all intent and purposes, his cancer is in remission. From the first day, we have taken this day by day. What else is there to do? Every case is different. My decision to withhold this information from “The Little One” was not an easy decision to make. After revealing this decision to him, he was glad not to know… even though he did know.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

In a sad, but beautiful twist of fate, ‘The Little One’s lifelong friend Jill has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Like our first report, Jill’s first report has us all concerned. What is beautiful about this is how ‘The Little One’  is able to transfer his experience of this insidious disease to Jill… to encourage her, to console her, to simply be there for her.  This gift of encouragement is one of the best gifts that one can give to a friend.

We send out a big hug and hello to our friend Doug in STL who is going through treatments at this time.  We are thinking of you Doug!

 Remember…We might have cancer…But cancer does not have us.

Photo Credit: The Purple Jacket

As you have noticed, we have taken a break from Blogging on ‘The Purple Jacket’ for the past few weeks.  As I transition into a new job and into a new academic program at Gonzaga University, “The Purple Jacket” will be taking on a new look too.   We will continue to provide you updates on ‘The Little One’ as this blog is really dedicated to him.  Yet in future weeks, we will expand the content of the blog to discuss the effects of Caregiving on the caregiver.   What is often overlooked in Caregiving is the importance of the health of the caregiver.  Personally, I have had to take a long hard look at this issue, and have come to the conclusion  that the best way to deal with this issue is to blog about it.  In essence, there is a real purple jacket.  I just can’t fit into it any longer.   We have to explore the issue of what it means to be a healthy caregiver!

Photo Credit: Caregiving.com

I am BIG fan of Caregiving.com  The community on Caregiving.com is just tremendous and Denise Brown who is the proprietor of this wonderful website, is an expert in the field of Caregiving. You want to be sure to check out Caregiving.com and become a part of the Caregiving family too!  Follow Denise on Twitter @caregiving and on Blog Talk Radio, too!

WE will also be exploring a new communication theory entitled ‘The Theory of Empathic Communication” in an upcoming blog posts, as well as our Phone A Friend program at SunServe Social Services.  We will also be chatting about a great program at the Pride Center in Fort Lauderdale, Coffee & Conversation which takes place every Tuesday morning at 11:00 am in Wilton Manors, Florida.   I will also have some speaking engagements to announce in August and September.  Coming soon,  ‘The Bow-Tie-Guy’ on Blog Talk Radio!  

Photo Credit: The Bow-Tie-Guy


Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Blog, Bow Tie, Bow Tie Guy, cancer treatments, Caregiving, Gay Caregiving, Gay Seniors, Inter-generational Relationships, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, oncology

A Night with ‘Harriet Craig’

This past weekend, we took the opportunity to motor  to Mount Dora, Florida.  Funny how the last two weekends have developed for us; two weekends ago we were on the verge of heading to the hospital, this past weekend, we are traveling to Mount Dora.  It is difficult to know just what to expect when you are dealing with cancer.

Photo Credit: The Bow-Tie-Guy

Why Mount Dora, Florida you ask?  Going back to their days in Manhattan, ‘The Little One’ has a friend of 60+ years living in Mount Dora.    Mount Dora is a little town just north of Orlando, known for its quaint antique shops.   It is a beautiful town and surprisingly, has plenty of things to do.  But this was not a  weekend for tourism, this was a weekend of storytelling and laughter!

With over 60 years of friendship behind them, the conversation was unrestrained.  Names from the past,  (celebrities to boot!) stories that never ended.  To them, yesterday was today and tomorrow will come: it was a beautiful experience.   Finally the name…’Harriet Craig’ was blurted out and the laughter got more pronounced.   Harriet Craig was a nickname  given to ‘The Little Ones’ friend years ago because of his constant need to clean the apartment he shared in Manhattan with his partner of over 40 years.  Apparently, ‘Harriet’ just could not stand a dirty ashtray, one flick of the ash and up Harriet would go to clean the tray; always in constant motion, always on top of the conversation.  Once I learned why Harriet Craig, I understood the connection to the character in the movie as the villa was in impeccable condition!   As we moved on to dinner, it was easy to see who was in charge…Harriet Craig!     

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Harriet Craig is a 1950 movie played by the legendary Joan Crawford.  The movie credits go like this… ‘Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Neurotic perfectionist Harriet Craig (Crawford) makes life miserable for everyone around her.’  While the description of the character in the movie does not accurately depict ‘The Little Ones’ friend, the metaphor is there in order to create the ‘sting.’

I was told that I was not old enough and privileged enough to call him ‘Harriet Craig!’

Their stories sounded quite familiar to that what you would hear today. If you are a ‘Sister’ you know what I mean. Long standing friends reminiscing about their past, grateful for their partners, their friendship and their freedom to be who they are.  Gay Marriage, Equal Rights and the sorts, all talked about in their day, just not in the volume that we hear today.   

Yet…Who Are They?

They are two close friends, in separate (gay) relationships, lasting over 40 years each, which is quite the accomplishment, no matter what side of the fence you are on!  Yet these accomplishments often go unnoticed in our society as we here more about what’s wrong with gay relationships than what’s right about gay relationships.  They are your uncles, cousins,  they are your friends…

Who Are They? 

Photo Credit: Unknown

They are your neighbor right next door.  We have all heard the phrase…’home is where the heart is.’  That phrase applies to everyone’s home, not just a selected few.

Our friend in Mount Dora is just a few years older than ‘The Little One’, leads an active life, accepted by his cohorts, active in his neighborhood, has dinner with his neighbors and volunteers at hospice.   He is your neighbor. 

Who Are They? 

Stonewall Inn 1969 Photo Credit Diane Davies

They are two men who lived not only during the time of the Stonewall Riots, they lived in the mist of the Stonewall Riots where  friends of them were killed just for being who they are.  The riots inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, gay rights groups had been started in nearly every major city in the United States.   They are your pioneers…

This weekend, when you see all the stores on the news about Gay Pride weekend, remember those Gay Seniors who live alone and cannot get to the parade.  Remember those Gay Seniors who still live in fear; Remember those gay seniors who lived and worked in the trenches in order to bring LGBT equality issues of today to the forefront.

And finally, remember the thousand upon thousand of Gay Seniors who have lived their life in committed and long lasting relationships only to be denied their equal rights.

 Who Are They?   

They are your American Seniors, who just happen to be Gay.

Photo Credit: Webshots

You See…We might have Cancer; but Cancer does not have us!’

Photo Credit: The Bow-Tie-Guy


Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, caregiver, Caregiving, Gay Caregiving, Jewish, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Unconditional Love