Simple Life – Always Remember Us This Way

Simple Life – Always Remember Us This Way



Dear neighbor! 

As I write this, the crickets are chirping energetically, clouds are slowly moving in the sky, the light effects are beautiful at this golden hour before the sun goes down, creating a peaceful atmosphere. Earlier this week, I had a conversation with another cancer survivor in which we both expressed our admiration of the complexity of our universe and the beauty of life…everyone and everything has their place, meaning, and purpose….all seems to be perfectly orchestrated, in an almost unimaginable manner….allowing you to trust its automation and to focus on the busy-ness of life….in cruise control mode…..

But when your body goes out of sync…..and develops cancer…..then we get reminded again of the fragility of life, the world, and the universe….a humbling experience.

At that point, when you find yourself facing a disease that has the potential to alter the course of your life, nothing else may seem to matter anymore….values that you used to pursue with great strategy and devotion (e.g. career, wealth, societal expectations) lose their priority practically in an instant…..and values such as love and time become more important…

Love. An encounter with cancer makes us feel more vulnerable. And may encourage us to seek from and give comfort to persons all around us….anyone….loved ones, but also strangers….it may allow us to see the beauty in people and things around us that we did not really pay attention to before….

They May Forget What You Said, But They Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel. Source.

Time. In the end, we are always running out of time….a 24 hour day is never long enough…..we may have lost so much time to being sick that we would like to catch up on life…..we may not know how much time for living we may have left, or how much precious energy you may have to make it through the day…..these uncertainties may urge you to prioritize the essentials…..and to keep life as simple as you can and/or want…..the things you would both want and need should be pursued, while those that you don’t want nor need should be avoided….and matter that you either would want or need should be reevaluated.

There is something very refreshing and liberating about a healthy and personalized dose of minimalism in every aspect of our life.

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom. That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately. Source.

We are all unique…..we all have our own set of values, principles, obligations, and desires…..I encourage you to feel free and allow yourself to follow your passions….and make new memories that will carry you and your loved ones!

Thank you for visiting me! Please…find below a few things for education and entertainment!

Learn and Think:

Its cucumber time, or also a slow-medical news-season. Give your brain a rest!


Live and Feel:

The lyrics of Lady Gaga’s song “Always remember us this way” fit well with this blog’s content.


Please help by nudging us if you encounter technical problems.

Acceptance – Nutrients, Perfectionism, Photo Ark

Acceptance – Nutrients, Perfectionism, Photo Ark



Dear travel buddy!

How is the summer treating you so far? If you are able to go outside, please protect your skin. In addition, for those undergoing active cancer treatments, please explore with your cancer provider if these could increase your skin sensitivity. On the other hand, if you are watching the summer pass by from the side of the pool, or even inside, then please know you are not alone! I am sure there are many other persons, including myself!, who prefer or are in need (for e.g. physical reasons) to stay on the side-line, which may result in feeling like an outsider.

But what are we trying to “fit into”, really? And who defines or decides who does or does not fit? This makes me think of Hans Christian Andersen’s  Ugly Duckling story about a swan’s egg that ended up in a duck’s nest! Other ducks gave the “ugly duckling” a hard time, because he appeared and behaved differently. But when the ugly duckling encountered other swans, his perspective changed. His self-image and confidence improved for the better: he wasn’t ugly after all! The humbling experience also led to a silver-lining insight:

He felt quite glad that he had come through so much trouble and misfortune, for now he had a fuller understanding of his own good fortune, and of beauty when he met with it. [Source].

For me the morale of the story is that trying to ‘fit in’ may not be the best approach, because it has a moving target of which the standards are driven by the constantly changing societal norms and pressures. Furthermore, striving to fit in may force us to portray ourselves differently to the outer world than we feel on the inside. This facade may result in us losing touch with our inner values and principles, and drain our soul.

This is valid for every person, but perhaps more so for cancer survivors who may not always be able to conform to society’s expectations. Their bodies may have been disfigured. Dysfunction or disability may interfere with one’s ability to climb the career ladder. Cancer treatment related infertility or financial difficulties may ruin one’s ability to create the picture-perfect life.

Instead, pursuing acceptance and belonging may be a healthier approach, although it still requires effort (as does every meaningful relationship!). But this pursuit may be easier to sustain, because it is ideally based on authenticity and thus may allow you to remain more true to yourself. But determining where you belong starts with you finding the “new you” and accepting this “new you” in the post-treatment phase!

Life is a journey….enjoy your personal rediscovery, frank conversations with your loved ones about your (likely altered) abilities/needs/wants, and the expansion of your social circle with more people who ‘like you just the way you are‘! [sorry – I could not help myself as a Pittsburgher].

Together we stand strong! Please find below a few things for education and entertainment!

Learn and Think:

Live and Feel:

I create and maintain this platform on my own. Please help by nudging me if you encounter technical problems.



It’s the little things – Finances, Marijuana, and Symptom Reporting

It’s the little things – Finances, Marijuana, and Symptom Reporting


Dear reader! How have you been?

I have been home alone this weekend. My boys are at an out-of-town baseball tournament. And even though I love them dearly, I am sure many of you can relate if I would share with you that it can also be really nice to be home alone. And being able to take the time to enjoy routine activities as well as to explore, e.g. by trying out a new grocery store, and then coincidentally discovering a new ice-cream place…..shaking things up a bit…..being fascinated by the little things…..stimulating the senses. Over the last few weeks my existence had shrunken down to the work and home environment – and so it felt really good to be able to be ‘out and about’ for a bit….expand my world….allowing the simple things to bring distraction and joy, just like in childhood!

Until the next time! In the mean time, please find below a few things for education and entertainment!

Learn and Think:

  • Cancer care is rather expensive and not always (fully) covered by insurance, resulting in 25% (1 out of 4!!!) of cancer survivors facing financial hardship. Therefore, it is encouraging to see that there is a government-led, bipartisan initiative, Cancer Survivors Caucus, that tries to improve care for cancer survivors!
  • You should feel comfortable to discuss any of your symptoms, no matter how seemingly small or innocent, with your health care provider to allow them to figure out why it is happening and if anything can be done to provide you with (partial or total) relief. And there is now evidence to support that those who self-report symptoms may live longer!
  • Medical marijuana is a trendy modality that you may have heard of or read about and wondered whether it is something you should try? Dispensaries are popping up everywhere. It often needs to be paid for out of pocket. It is not yet FDA approved – evidence is limited. Here are a few good articles (from the CURE Magazine and NIH) to allow you to decide for yourself. And as always, please discuss with your own providers first before pursuing a medical marijuana license.

Live and Feel:

  • Article: Saturday Night Life alum Vanessa Bayer reflects on her cancer journey that started in her teenage years.
  • Movie: I saw this movie recently (Cast Away). It reminded me of how random life can be at times. And how our inner strength can surprise us at times when it instinctively rises to brave life’s challenges. And lastly, how everyone needs someone…..even if it’s only Mr. Wilson!
  • Video clip: This bird was spending quite some time interacting with my car mirror. For me it symbolizes that “sometimes when we cannot go where we’d like to go, we may discover that we already are where we are supposed to be!”.
Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

Hello you!? What are you doing this weekend with the summer ahead of you?

I am trying out a new blog format in which I will share a few topics that may allow you to learn and feel! Let me know what you think!

Till the next time!


Learn and Think:

Does Cancer Battle Bring Personal Growth? Yes and No, Survivors Say “It’s normal for people to find meaning in their cancer experience while still acknowledging it as a terrible ordeal”.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Cancer Diagnosis. This short read with helpful advice from experts and a mom who’s been there twice may be helpful. There is no right or wrong way, as long as everyone feels loved and supported.

The cost of cancer: 25% of survivors face financial hardship report finds – CNN. Health care providers should ask patients in a respectful and nonjudgmental manner about their ability to afford their treatments – and if difficulties, then refer patients to local resources (e.g. navigators/social workers) or regional/national resources to receive advice and sometimes even grant support. Similarly, cancer survivors should not be embarrassed to tell their providers that they struggle financially. Awareness of the magnitude of patients’ financial hardship may urge policymakers to change legalization and health care coverage.

Live and Feel:

Happy video about a Dog Becomes a Sun Flower.

Beautiful video featuring a rare albino mantras ray.


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