Friday, January 8, 2010

Creative Juices

A little ditty of a pin for a special lady retiring after 31 years of caring for people who are at the "bottom" in their lives. She truly is a STAR! Who knows who will get the others~only time will tell~ Judy's is front left...

Creative Juices

There is no better feeling than creativity. It's luscious. I have a few Christmas gifts yet to give, so for my friend Diane, I put scissors to paper and whipped up a little ditty, a take-off on our "Annual Christmas Craft Day". I will make many more~what fun!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Health Matters!

We Don't Last Very Long
By: Melissa Velez-Avrach January 04, 2010
About 3 weeks ago, I was in Florida visiting my folks. My father just lost a second brother to colorectal cancer and is in mourning. I kept thinking that I needed to say something to him now that I was there in person. However, during our previous phone conversations, he had already told me that he didn't want me to mention it, that it made him sad. My first uncle, Mario, lived here in the US. Although he lived in a country with an imperfect healthcare system, in his case, he had the financial means and access to use all of the available care and treatment options. Although Uncle Mario died, there was some comfort in knowing that the tough man fought with dignity and medicine at his side. I wish all Americans could have this comfort.My second uncle, Alcibiades, lived in Cuba. Of the 8 siblings, Uncle Mario and my dad were the only ones who emigrated to the US. Uncle Alcibiades was not as lucky as Uncle Mario in his cancer treatment. When our family in Cuba is ill, my parents send medical supplies. In this case, they sent a few things including colostomy bags so that Uncle Alcibiades wouldn't have to reuse the one and only bag provided by the Cuban hospital. But doing this was a very small comfort.Being of Cuban descent allows me to know the real Cuba, not the Cuba presented to tourists of non-Cuban descent and the incendiary Michael Moore. With all of the recent U.S. healthcare debates, a few have mentioned Sicko to me and this was getting a little tiring, to say the least. I really should have directed them to this 20/20 interview and this article, but this topic is an emotional minefield for me. So like my dad, I shut down and don't want to talk. "The personal is political and the political is personal" -- indeed.Dealing with all of this, it was easy to sink into hopelessness. Then, I started thinking about my family history and for the first time, it occurred to me to ask how abuelo, my paternal grandfather, had died. He died in Cuba before I was born, but I always felt connected to him and the one and only picture I have seen of my Grandpa Jose Isaac came to my mind. I was horrified to hear that he died of GI cancer.That's why dad had said, "We don't last very long." He included himself because within a few years he will have reached the range, the death ages, and believed he was next.Turns out that dad's doctor did not know about this cancer history. I was shocked -- my dad and his doctor have a great relationship. Dad's PCP is an awesome physician and he's a Cubanso! How could he not know? Is there "CME" for patients like my dad who need help in talking to their physicians? I wonder if many patients, especially older and/or ESL patients, have an issue with giving doctors details? While my dad is somewhat taciturn by nature, I know from previous conversations that my parents think talking to the doctor is an annoyance to the professional. Consciously or unconsciously, they view an overly engaged patient as a challenging patient. Perhaps it's cultural or generational or both, but whatever it is, it's a big barrier.Now, my dad's PCP is informed about the family history and because of this, dad will be seeing a gastroenterologist on a regular basis. An endoscopy and colonoscopy are scheduled for this month. While my dad's instinct was to be silent, opening up, if only to divulge the corresponding medical details to his doctor, may be the thing that gives him a chance at celebrating more birthdays -- more new years of his life.


January 05, 2010
Your father will now have a chance that he may not have had prior to your action. And how many of us think that our doctor's time is more important than our lives by talking quickly, thinking they must get on to the next patient? We need to remember they are providing our healthcare, and protecting our lives, so that we do last a very long time. Communication is the only way -- in all cases! Well done.-- Posted by cynthia j

Friday, January 1, 2010


No gentler way to ring in the New Year than to be surrounded by the beauty of new fallen snow, a "blue" moon, and the love of my life at my side. May peace be your friend in the coming year. God Bless~