mike-verano

Posting since December 12, 2015

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Posts I've Started
Article Talk: Not Playing the Cancer Card
September 21, 2016
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Jen, Thanks for you input on my playing the cancer card post. As someone who just spent a weekend in airports, I would love if we could get pre-boarding privileges as cancer survivors : ) I, agree, that playing the cancer card feels like a low level of manipulation (because it is), however, I also believe that there are those who need a reminder that they should not take their blessings for granted. I love your posts Jen and wish you the most amazing and outrageous survivorship far into the future.

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Start Making Sense: The Commercialization of Cancer
May 29, 2016
There is a new cancer center commercial that, quite frankly, freaks me out. At first, I thought it was just me being upset that my zone-out time watching golf (I know, it’s hard to get more couch potato than that) was interrupted several times by cancer. I realized that it was not just the “pardon the interruption” component when my wife overheard the commercial and had the immediate response, “Turn that off. That’s so wrong. You can’t talk to cancer like it’s a person!”

I feel the need to preface this rant with acknowledging that, of course, I feel for the people in this commercial. They are, reportedly, real survivors and real physicians and I send my blessings and peace to all of them. The ...

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Cancer Fatigue
May 08, 2016
“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment” - Dale Carnegie
 
I still remember the week after my first round of chemo and radiation, wondering why so many cancer patients described the treatment experience as feeling like the life was being slowly drained out of them. I still had tons of nervous energy, all of my hair and the ability to taste my food. In between appointments, I was busy reporting to work and pulling my fair share. What was all the fuss about?  Surely this vampire effect was a myth born from scary stories told by survivors with warped senses of humor.

Then, after the second round, it hit while I was cutting the grass. It was as ...

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Living As If: Life Without Cancer
March 05, 2016
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
     -William James


Six years in to cancer recovery, I'm not able to say that I really remember what life was like before cancer. In my mind I have dreamy images of a life filled with sunny days and hardly a care. Back then, body aches were just the signs of overexertion, doctor's appointments were for stubborn colds and the inevitable breakdowns that come with getting older. Most of all, the "C word" was just that, a word not uttered that always happened to someone else.

My rational mind knows that even before cancer my life was filled with problems, worries, challenges, victories and defeats. Days of sunshine often ...

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Shoot for the Moon: Joe Biden Launches a New Cancer Fight
February 06, 2016
"And the goal of this initiative? — ?this “Moonshot”? — ?is to seize this moment. To accelerate our efforts to progress towards a cure, and to unleash new discoveries and breakthroughs for other deadly diseases." - Vice President Joe Biden

It should be no surprise that it took someone whose life was deeply impacted by the cancer experience to finally create a paradigm shift in how we approach a cure for this illness. As a pacifist in the war on cancer, I’m over the moon (pun intended) with the approach the vice president has outlined. The idea of marshaling our country’s resources and engaging the best and brightest in an all-out effort to cure cancer stands in stark contrast to the war mentality.
...

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The Chemotherapy Blues
February 05, 2016
"Of course, there are a lot of ways you can treat the blues, but it will still be the blues." - Count Basie

Recently, I was asked by a client what going through chemotherapy is like. I was immediately thrown into a quandary by this question. Should I answer honestly and say that it's like checking oneself into a vampire hotel where the life force is systematically drained from you? Should I mention that the list of possible things that can go wrong is enough to require a valium drip so that one stays in the seat and does not bolt for the door?

Perhaps, I should answer with a more fanciful tone: Tell him that it’s like being hooked up to your own private ...

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Surviving Survivor's Guilt After Cancer
January 28, 2016
“There's no problem so awful that you can't add some guilt to it and make it even worse." - Bill Waterson from "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes"

Why me? Cancer survivors have an interesting relationship with these two words. As bookends to the cancer experience, their implications and impact are crucial to understanding the psychology of a life-threatening illness.

Even the most stoic among us must have at some point allowed the question "Why me?" to cross his or her lips or mind. Not only is it normal to question the arrival of such a traumatic event, it is the reflexive response of a mind honed for survival. I've found that resisting the urge to ask this inevitable question causes more problems than ...

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Replacing What Chemo Brain Takes Away
December 12, 2015
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye. - The Little Prince

Ask ten medical professionals whether or not chemo brain is real and you’ll likely get a variety of answers. Ask ten cancer patients and the response might be, “Wait, what was the question? Oh yeah, chemo brain. You bet it’s real!"

Whether it’s the result of physiological changes, chemical imbalances or a stress response, chemo brain remains one of the inheritances of facing the cancer challenge.

The American Cancer Society describes the following as reported symptoms of chemo brain:
  1. Forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling (memory lapses)
  2. Trouble concentrating (they can’t focus on what they’re doing, have a ...

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Comments I've Made
Start Making Sense: The Commercialization of Cancer
May 30, 2016
Katie, I completely agree with your approach. If you want to see the ad just click the word "commercial" in the post. It hyperlinks to the site.

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Shoot for the Moon: Joe Biden Launches a New Cancer Fight
February 06, 2016
Just a quick edit, Alan Shepard was the first American in space : ) Mike Verano

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