I spent a lot of sleepless nights during the weeks of recovery after surgery to remove malignant tumors and lymph nodes and into the following 8 months during chemotherapy treatments. Now, going on two years later, and as a survivor with no evidence of cancer, the experience is always in my mind.
Not just about the actual discomfort from side effects, weight loss , reduced stamina, etc., but mostly about the people who provided support and encouragement, who went out of their way to keep me comfortable and entertained and always looking ahead to a healthier life.
However, the even more powerful impact was witnessing the display of hope and the strength of character of the other patients there in the treatment rooms who had more serious potential outcomes; how they coped with their situations.
The important lesson was in learning just how much people cared, and how incredibly valuable
that support was to surviving, or at least coping with our personal situations. Most hospitals and cancer treatment centers have official Support programs as well as cooperation with groups of volunteers like the Gilda Club.
And for many cancer survivors, we just automatically pitch in to share and encourage those we meet along the trail who can benefit from a shared word, gesture, or even a touch - to let them know we understand - and care.
The long sleepless nights can be a cause for reflection, and prompted me to put my thoughts and feelings into prose that you can read here - and share if you wish.
A Journey On The Cancer Trail
When a question is raised about skin care, people often think of products that cater to women’s skin. But the truth is, women are not the only ones who need these products. Many men have come to appreciate anti- aging products. These products for men have actually become quite popular.
Men often think that if they buy products for their skin, people would immediately assume that they are less manly. For many, this can be an extremely unpleasant thought. But unlike other aspects of men's skin care, anti-aging is seen as something important. People no longer hold usual prejudices when they see a man who wants to look younger.
Years back, men often just thought of aging as something they should accept and welcome. In fact, many compared themselves to wine: the older they are, the better they become. To men, the lines and wrinkle on their skin are supposed to make them look wiser and more distinguished. Of course, this belief no longer holds water.
In fact, people have gained newfound respect for men who want to take care of themselves.
The first thing a man should realize is that his aging process is greatly determined by past actions. If you happen to be a man in your prime, this advice may be worth its weight in gold. The earlier you drop bad habits, the better your chances of stopping premature aging.
Sadly, some men don’t give very much thought to anti-aging skincare because they have more ‘manly’ things to worry about. In reality, a man's skin needs far more help than a woman's does.
Yet women are typically the ones who are supposed to constantly anguish about the condition of their skin. Because of this belief, a woman’s skin is healthier. Women are taught that once they reach puberty, they have to worry about their outward appearance. They were educated in the benefits of a carefully planned skin care regimen. They work hard at keeping their skin soft, supple, and smooth.
We now live in a time when a man is more respected and admired if he is able to maintain his youthfulness. This does not apply to looks alone. People like to see the older generation lead more active lives. Men tend to be harder on their skin. They don’t take steps to avoid fine lines and wrinkles. A shower and some fresh clothes are usually enough to get them through the day.
Just so you know, it's a lot harder to treat fine lines and wrinkles once they’ve appeared. However, these can still be treated effectively with the use of products that contain the correct ingredients.
Because men's skin differs from women’s, they should only use skin-care products made for them. One of the biggest differences is that men have more oil on their skin. They have larger pores and their wrinkles are usually deeper.
Before you hit the stores, make sure to get the correct diagnosis. After all, if you get the wrong anti-aging skin care products, they may not do anything to help improve your skin.
You probably prepared your Will before you officially became a “senior citizen”.
Most of us put one together early in life, at least when we have children. We need to make sure the kids are taken care of in the case of an accident that suddenly takes us out of their lives.
There is a good feeling that goes with knowing that you have made sure your affairs are in order long before you need to them to be. Senior citizens today are in the best health of any other generation. So while you are still healthy, active and vibrant, now is the time to make sure your insurance, funeral directives and wills are all in order so you have that information on file and a designated loved one well trained in the event of your early departure from this life.
But there is one will you may have left out of your preparations so far. That is what is called your Ethical Will. It is unlike any other document you will prepare. This document has no legal bearing on your estate. It does not pass along property or instruct your executor on how you want your financial, business or property affairs to be handled. Instead, your Ethical Will passes along to your loved ones something more precious than property. It passes along your values.
An Ethical Will is a very personal document or set of documents used to resolve issues that may be remaining at end of life, to communicate the ethics and morals behind your legal decisions or to provide sage instructions to your children or friends about how you want them to carry on your legacy of charitable work or value based activities once you are gone.
In a way, the Ethical Will requires more thought, prayer and consideration of what you actually want to say to your loved ones than your conventional will. Typically, you prepare an Ethical Will to be given or read to your loved ones after funeral as a way of giving them one last touch of who you really are as a person. So you can see that an Ethical Will can be a precious memory that will be treasured long past when your wealth or possessions are no longer around.
Your Ethical Will may be passed from generation to generation. Just imagine if you had a document written by your grandparents or great grandparents that spoke with heart and from a personal perspective about what they found wonderful about life, where their values took them and what they would pass to you from their heart to you, their child far off in the future. That document would be of tremendous value to you and would be precious to your children and grandchildren down the line.
Ethical Wills can also be used to seek forgiveness for wrongs committed that you just could not resolve in life. Conversely, you can give forgiveness where it may be needed and heal a life long rift between you and a family member and provide peace and closure as you go to your reward. You don’t have to prepare just one Ethical Will. You could prepare a separate one for each child, for your spouse and for your business associates and friends. Obviously each will address a different level of intimacy and arena of values and ethics.
It’s a good thing to think about if you want to leave an Ethical Will for your friends and loved ones. If you take the time to put down on paper your heart and soul in this way, it will be source of comfort for a level of your “affairs” that you put in order well in advance that is even more meaningful than your conventional will or other end of life documents.
When a senior citizen finds a new romantic companion late in life, it’s a wonderful moment for both. Romances late in life can provide a much needed source of companionship and love that may be missing if the senior has lost a spouse or is going through their golden years alone. But it’s common for children of seniors to go through some anxiety when they see dad or mom enjoying the company of another romance in their lives.
Getting the kids to accept your new girlfriend or boyfriend, especially if that romance is going to result in a wedding, can be a challenging task.
Part of your children’s resistance to you dating comes from anxiety about losing their parent. This may be just as deep and lasting a grief as you had in losing your wife or husband. It may seem strange but often it is the children of the marriage who go through the longest grief when a parent passes on. You may have already moved along in your processing of that loss much more than they.
To children, the parents are a permanent institution and the idea that one of them would go away seems inconceivable. And this feeling often survives well into adulthood.
That is the first big adjustment your family has to make when they see you beginning to enjoy the company of the opposite sex. They must be assured you are not going to replace mom or dad in their hearts and that this romance will never remove the love you cherish for that departed spouse. To the children, that love must endure forever because it is the foundation of their concept of family which is a big part of their own identity as well, even though one parent may have passed away.
This is a next step in life that calls for you, the senior citizen and the wise old Grandma or Grandpa to use some of that sensitivity and wisdom of your years to help your children and even grandchildren accept your new romance and evolve with you to a new phase of life. If you have the chance as you begin a new relationship, the time to begin the acceptance process is before that friendship becomes a romance.
By joining with your children and discussing that this will happen, even before it happens, you begin the acceptance process. In their minds and emotional systems, they begin to understand your need for companionship and for love and for romance. You need that as much as they do. So you explain it to them.
Then as you begin to see a romantic interest, be open with the family about what you are doing. Adult children can even get to the point that they will be your advisor and your cheerleaders as you enjoy a new era of dating and romance. Once that arena of life is open, then when you do “bring home the date to meet the family” it wont be such a difficult thing.
By keeping the adult children always in the loop, they can talk with one another, agree that this is the best possible thing for you and even work to help the grandkids accept your new romance. Before long, he or she will be able to come for dinner, join in the holidays and really become part of the family. Just as you opened your heart when your kids were dating and finding new loves, you will teach your kids to open their hearts to someone who is becoming important to you.
Helping your family accept your new romantic companion is a cycle of life, but if we handle it lovingly and honestly, it’s a good cycle.