I have thought a lot about hope and forgiveness over the last few years. They are topics that are right up my alley, in that they are seen as important and central in the cancer experience, but they are difficult to quantify, to capture, or to describe in simple direct terms. Hope and forgiveness mean different things to different people, and Continue Reading
You know, I always say I’m not a conference person, which might surprise some people. But maybe this is less true than I think it is. Each year that I have gone to the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) annual conference, I walk away with something that I simply could not have gotten anywhere else.
Two years ago in Seattle, I shared an idea with an audience for the first time and was rewarded with wonderful, fruitful, and validating feedback from a room full of my peers and colleagues. Last year in Tampa, on Continue Reading
When out in the world, meeting people or socializing, we are often asked “what do you do?” Meaning for a living, of course. This is one of my very least favorite questions. Perhaps as a result of many years of not having a sound answer to give, a prolonged period of continuing my own search for a meaningful way to use my life. Perhaps because I find it so reductive. As if that is all we are or what is most important about us.
I would much rather be asked, “What makes Continue Reading
Half Baked is a phrase I use to describe an idea, or sometimes a constellation of ideas that may hang out together but don’t fully form a cohesive concept or, in this case, blog post. It will appear every now and again, when I’ve got something to share that doesn’t quite fit anywhere else.
When I was a kid, I loved taking things apart. Anything that I could find that had been discarded or that was no longer working would end up in pieces on the floor of my small bedroom. I would look at all the parts, interconnected, and try to understand how the object had worked. Toasters and toys (who knew Continue Reading
Often, I will sit with a patient or a caregiver, and they will say something to this effect: “Everyone says how good I look or how strong I am. But I don’t feel that way. And it makes me (fill in the difficult emotion here): angry, sad, confused, or alienated. Sometimes, this response is a function of the other person needing to feel safer in the face of something as hard and potentially dangerous as cancer. The person reporting the observed strength, beauty, Continue Reading