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being nessasary

a quirky look into being

Hello dear friends and critters alike!  I have been extremely absent, like kicked of of school absent, the in the past months – mostly because of school and dedication to another writing project (I plan on sharing a bite  soon!).

Enough about me, I’d like to introduce you to David Hass, cancer advocate and archeologist of my blog (it’s very rare for someone to dig up a blog written by someone who seems to have been carried off by a hawk).  He wanted to share his insight concerning the benefits of physical activities to those afflicted with cancer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Mr. David Hass:

Many complications occur for cancer survivors who are doing some sort of treatment to deal with this disease. Various side effects are felt that may leave a patient feeling lethargic and have a reduced sense of self-esteem. Patients typically believe that these symptoms are here to stay and have no way to help fend off some of these problems. However, the truth is physical activity has a major role in allowing patients to feel better about their selves while increasing energy and mobility during this especially difficult time in their lives.

Any exercise routine is sure to allow for a person to feel better while gaining extra energy and bettering their emotional status. There are various exercises that can relieve symptoms that are often associated with mesothelioma treatment or any of the other various cancer therapies, including radiation or chemotherapy. Symptoms can often include fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and frustration. Doing exercises such as jogging, walking, weightlifting, or swimming can help strengthen the core of the body while reducing the chances of the cancer spreading further.

Other side effects that are often overlooked are mental issues that are associated with chemical treatment. Many patients feel depressed, anxious, and stressed during their treatment. These issues usually have a deep root in the mental problems that can turn into physical problems. This may occur because with a reduced sense of confidence comes a lowered degree of overall fitness. This problem will often lead to inactivity and chronic fatigue that may be difficult to overcome. Inactive patients may have a harder time recovering as well as a higher likelihood for a recurrence. Those who were physically active and have put mesothelioma or breast cancer into remission were reported to have higher chances of survival according to The National Cancer Institute.

Physical activity is not a cure for cancer but can help influence the quality of life for someone who may have a hard time dealing with this difficult illness. Furthermore, the chances of survival are known to increase when a patient effectively incorporates physical activity into their lives, which can benefit them both mentally and physically.

[for more articles and blog posts by David, visit Haas Blaag]

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Why hello faithful blog!   I have missed you – I am unfortunately using you for efforts other than your intention (sorta). Yes, it is a bit out of character – I deeply apologize for my disloyalty.

You see, I have to give a certain amount of FREE massages to get my grade for my Clinical Massage class (as well as my kinesiology  course).  While I have been on top of the game the entire quarter, things have been a bit choppy lately with quick cancellations and no-shows.  As you can imagine, it is a bit frustrating.  It is not only me that is effected, but also the other students who could have used my time slot with the massage table.

That being said, I would LOVE for you to contact me if you would like to receive:

1)  Side lying massage (1 hour)

2)  Face/scalp/neck massage note: you DO NOT have to remove any clothing for this!  NO products will be used on your face! (30 mins)

3) Foot massage (Reflexology) note:  you DO NOT have to remove any clothing for this! (30 mins)

yet another note:  The face/scalp/neck massage & foot massage (Reflexology) can be combined to create an hour (this is actually preferred – that way you will get your time’s worth).

*There is more information about the benefits of each massage at the bottom of the page.

My available openings are:

Tuesday, June 7  :  7:00 – 8:00

Wednesday, June 8 : 7:00 – 8:00

Friday, June 10  :  4:00 – 5:00 , 5:00 – 6:00

 

Saturday June 11  :  12:00 – 1:00  , 2:30 – 3:00 (this can only be a face/scalp/neck OR a foot massage)

Massages will be given at The Harrison College – East Training Spa.  The address, phone number and map are below:

Harrison – Indianapolis East Campus
8150 Brookville Road
Indianapolis, IN 46239
317-375-8000
You can schedule an appointment by:
e-mailing me at vlpippenger@gmail.com.
replying to this post (with your name).
sending me a facebook message.

*A little more information about the massages being offered:

1) Side-lying massages are often given to pregnant women, the elderly, and clients with certain injuries/disabilities.  Pillows cradle and surround the client into a very cozy position (I typically drift to sleep during one).  The goal of this massage is to relax the client and to relieve his/her aches and pains.

2) Face/Scalp/Neck massages are great for those with sinus (allergies!) issues, tension headaches, and high stress levels.  There are many places on your face that, with the help of massage, may help with congestion. Our tension headaches are often caused by our tendency to squint and scowl as we work (especially on computers).   Those muscles tighten up and pull on the rest of our head (this makes Tylonol and Advil very happy).  A neck massage can address achy muscles caused by bad posture (typical of people who sit down at a desk to work).  That scalp massage?  We all know how relaxing it is!

3)  Foot Massage (Reflexology):  Okay.  We know it feels good to have our feet rubbed, yet it is hard to get someone to do it.  Lucky for you, I will!  At the same time, I will work with you to address any issues you are having ABOVE your ankles.  Foot reflexology is like acupuncture, but without the needles.  It involves using the thumb to gently push certain points on your feet that have an energetic connection to another place on your body (come on, give it a try!).

I have learned many other trades this past quarter, but these happen to be the only ones remaining on my qualification sheet.  I will have a day or two in July that I will set up shop to give FREE 60-minute Swedish massage routines!!!

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My last post may have illuminated that I have been struggling a bit lately as far as anti-epileptic medications go.  Sleeping for 18 hours a day is not really my thing – there are way too many fun things to do out there in the world.  Including the anatomy homework I am about to attempt.

I forced myself out of bed this morning to do the most mundane and necessary of tasks:   laundry. I get a lot of peace from doing laundry – which I think is why I MUST have a washer and dryer in every apartment/condo I live in from now on.  Maybe even two sets:  one for when I go outside to play with my future mud-covered poochies/garden/hike/jump in a gross pond, and another for my amazing collection of underthings.

The thing is, I like simplicity.  It has been incredibly tough to apply the theory to my life the past 4 years with all the pitchy jazz that comes with cancer, the deaths of friends/those afflicted with cancer, medications, and relationships.  It takes a lot of deep breaths, a very strong support group, and a whole lot of the icey cream.

The more I attend my massage classes, the more I learn how many ways one can learn about their body, spirit, and the planet we live on.  The simplicity of having air in my lungs and a pair of hands to lay upon someone else’s body, gives me some of the simplicity I need – most of us are born with these two things.  No diamonds or decadent designs needed.

I suggest we all focus on simplicity, especially in the wake of the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan.  Many lost family, friends, homes, pets, and possessions.  I would much rather cope with the 10+ pills I swallow each day than lose my beloved family, friends, Betty and Maggie, and the roof over my head.

One of my favorite songs featured in the Waycross Camp songbook/sung at my grandmother’s funeral is called “Tis a Gift to be Simple.”  I will leave you with the lyrics:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn, will be our delight

Till turning, turning we come round right.

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I am once again going to challenge myself to post more on my beloved blog.  I am going to try to use the NaBloPoMo theme as much as I can.  The theme is “Sprout,” which is a word I happen to fancy for its many symbolic interpretations (and the word happens to be really cute).

I am delighted to announce that nothing has sprouted in my brain since the last time I wrote.  I had a squeaky clean MRI this past Monday.  I find myself less afraid of cancer, but more concerned with my residual epilepsy.  I have experienced two seizures since January.  To clarify, what you may or may not know, seizures come in several different categories.  The ones I now have are called, partial complex, which means crazy electric sparks are going on in the right side of my brain, but not enough to peer pressure the left side into the doing the electric slide. In turn, I get an aura (not the cool mystical energy color kind of aura, but more of a warning sign) which tells me in bizarre ways that something is not right – typically an desperate inability to find a thought/form a word and a rush of heat up and down the left side of my body.  At that point I find the closest place I can comfortably lay for 30 to 40 minutes while the electrical disturbance does its thing. 

The seize involved a good amount of paralysis in my left hemisphere – I can actually recognize my body’s invisible line between left and right.  I have an uncomfortable amount of  the pins and needles sensation (kind of like the stinging you get at the epicenter of an Indian Burn).  My left hand will open and close on its own, and my leg will do a bit of twitching.  It is a bit difficult to breathe and keep my heart from wanting to escape to a less toxic place.  Oh, and I do a great deal of drooling (I happened to have one of these seizures on “clean sheet day.”  I was more annoyed by that than the fact I was having a seizure).

I can talk about it in a feather-light manner, but in reality it is scary.  I hardly have control.   The first one I experienced this year I happened to be alone.  I was reading in bed when it hit.  Nothing crazy was going on around me (except that the book is about human cadavers).  The seizure lasted about 40 minutes.  I spent the time thinking of happy places, saying The Lord’s Prayer over and over again (I find a lot of comfort in it, mostly because of my experiences at Waycross Camp), and convincing myself that my friends and family that have moved on from this life were in the room with me.  I handled it the best I could considering I hadn’t had one in over a year.

I called my parents crying afterward (which tends to happen once things settle down and my emotions are able to take over), and managed to hobble my way to my kitchen. My left side’s paralysis and weakness does not just vanish – it hangs out for a couple of days.  I downed some delicious migraine medicine and slept for 16 hours or so.

I have now been to the neurologist and been put on even more meds.  To be brief, it means I may be completely ignored by zombies if they do decide to take over the world in 2012.

So is the life of this particular bran cancer survivor.  Maybe it is because I am little, maybe its because Mr. Tumey left a will stating that I must suffer because he was torn from his home, and his children were killed in an violent chemical and nuclear war.  It’s a mystery.

But it is all part of life.  We all have our battles – maybe it is balancing a life as a single mother of three, being a social worker in the inner city, or surviving the perils of being a middle school bus driver – whatever.  The best thing we can do to deal is to be a bit crazy and appreciative that we are here for our short bit of time to experience the green arms of a daffodil in the gray of March reaching for sunshine like a child does his mother (or Elmo).

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I have been attending a community college the past twoish months to obtain a certification in massage therapy.  During these months, I have been taking an online course called “Strategies for Success.”  I was originally enrolled to take it on campus, but after reading the course description and receiving my used book in the mail, I tried my hardest to get out of it because it was pretty obvious I would not benefit much from the material it had to offer.  To summarize, the 10-week course focuses on goal making and keeping, self confidence, and how to create healthy life changes.  I believe this course can do wonders for many of my classmates, however for a dominant, brain cancer survivor and holder of a college degree, it seems a bit silly.  If you know me in real life or just through my blog voice, I am sure you know I am a bit of a force, especially when I am committed to doing something or validating myself.

You have probably figured by now that I did not get out of the class.  So, I entered the course with the expectation that I would get an easy A (and I am), and perhaps  learn a bit about other people’s lives (which I have).  I have followed all the rules, doing the very redundant assignments that require me to write a feeble 200-300 words about the goals I have for myself, how I will achieve them and/or my daily affirmations.  Who is my hero?  How do I cite a book in APA format?  Who is an influential person in my life? You get the idea.  It has been fun visiting my 8th grade English classroom – I have even learned a new definition of the word scotoma via Lou Tice.  I will reiterate that I think this course could be beneficial to so many people, and does explain certain psychological behaviors in a casual and straightforward manner.

The online course requires us (the students) to answer a question on a discussion board each week and reply to two of our classmates’ posts.  I have been open and honest from the first day of class with the hope of sparking an interesting discussion.  I decided I could take this as an opportunity to be a teacher in optimism and happiness when facing adversity.  So I have told the class about my brain cancer (and written about it in nearly every writing assignment because there have been very few thorns as sharp as my medical issues these past 4 years).  Not that I wasn’t blunt before my diagnosis in June of 2007, my truthful talk has just developed into something that makes nervous friends, family and doctors laugh.  I like seeing people smile.  The thing is, once you almost die, and have had pieces of your brain removed, your reservations are saved for the rare times you are in a cute dress at a fancy dinner party.  Ask any cancer patient how many people have seen their boobies, lady-parts, or wedding tackle, and they couldn’t tell you.  We have lost a bit of our humanity  (which appropriately rhymes with sanity).  That being said, not much phases me now-a-days.  I suppose I get lost in my world of blunt behavior at times, but usually have a sense of when to set the dial to low or simmer.

I have made it to week 10 of this course without offending anyone on the discussion board.  I have shared experiences and given advice.  My teacher has applauded my weekly writing assignments  (the dial was set on medium-high in many of them).

Week 10’s question was along the lines of, “How can using what you have learned about yourself in this class to allow you to set new educational goals for yourself?  What is your new plan for reaching these goals?”

This question turned me for a loop.  However, it took little time for me to refer to the old adage that honesty is the best policy.  So, I politely started, “Honestly, I have not learned much that I did not already know from this course…”  and went on to explain my position.  But I did something terribly wrong and inappropriate for a college level course: in explaining my character and integrity, I called myself a “stubborn ass.”  You know me, you know I am.  Most people do not think a second thought about usage of the word ass.  After all, it is a certified word in the English language; I am sure I do not need to copy and paste/get APA or MLA citations to prove this.

I sign into the classroom today to complete this week’s allotment of work, and see an e-mail in my inbox from my instructor:

“Your posts need to be PG.  I have deleted due to the language that was used.”

I felt a smile creep across my face, then came the ironic laugh.  Really?

[side note: allow me to get a bit nerdy, but the first thing that I noticed that was wrong with this e-mail (ignore if you aren’t an English fan/grammar Nazi/interested) was that  the second statement in the e-mail is an incomplete sentence.  There is NO subject.  NO SUBJECT! AH!  You learn this in grade school!  It is that my instructor finds correct English to be negligible, or she was so infuriated by my use of the word “ass” to be so completely offensive that she did not want to even refer to my discussion post as a thing that actually existed.  I am pretty set on the latter as my instructor uses the past tense of the verb of “being.”  She killed my discussion post!  Destroyed my crafted words! Oh, the demonic power of modern word processing!]

I am going to give you the brief, then the long definition of the MPAA PG rating.  Briefly, PG (Parental Guidance Suggested), means that some material may not be suitable for children.  To be official, you may read the official jargon, which enhances the hilarity of the situation (highlights added for emphasis):

“This is a film which clearly needs to be examined or inquired into by parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but the parent must make the decision. Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without inquiry, to PG-rated movies. The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film. The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. So long as parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves as a meaningful guide and as a warning.” (MPAA Ratings)

Whew.  The fine print. Profanity, which MAY appear in PG rated in films.  I am sure the word ass offends my classmates, most of which are parents themselves.  I bet many of my classmates’ parents read their 20/30 year old childrens’ college homework to make sure it is appropriate before allowing their babies to sit down with their jumbo sippy cups of coffee and cheerios after their grandchildren have been tucked into bed.  The word ass, most these parents decide, is a complete desecration to the innocence of their children and their children’s children (I hope you are reciting the latter part of that sentence as Captain Hook does in Hook).

The point is, college is for adults.  We can buy porn, have the shit beaten out of us by drill instructors, and kill ourselves with cigarettes.  But, seeing a word with dual identities is a huge issue and must be eliminated before our delicate eyes can read it.  This is what I take from my instructor’s brief and grammatically incorrect sentence.  I can see that she may have been turned off by my polite dismissal of the class, but a disagreement is no reason use a poor three-lettered word as a scapegoat to delete a negative view her class.

She could say it was unprofessional and perhaps I could take that somewhat seriously.  But, she did not.  She is punishing me for saying something that is widely accepted in our society.  Plus, she has read my writing that is not at all PG, sometimes barley in PG-13 boundaries, and has given me perfect scores.  There is a bit of an imbalance.

My reaction:

  1. I wrote her a polite and brief e-mail, both apologizing for what I did and asking what part of my post was offensive? (obviously I know what it was).
  2. I re-wrote my post, starting it with a brief apology to the class for using offensive language.  I said most everything in the same manner except I replaced ass with “donkey“.
  3. I will do the rest of my work using words to combat her lack of tact and respect.  I hope that my instructor sees how offensive writing “stubborn-‘donkey'” is to a bunch of adults.

I will leave this post thanking my English teachers for thoroughly discussing grammar rules and word choice, and with the words of one of greatest stubborn asses of them all (and a brilliant high school teacher):

“Words are important.” -Mr. Bruce Hitchcock

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

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I love comfy clothes.  I have gotten way too used to them the past few years.  When I wear tight clothes that aren’t made of a lovely cotton fabric, I am unhappy, scratchy, and sometimes grouchy.  I do happen to like looking cuter than PJ cute.  It is a vicious cycle.  But as I laze on my couch like most Midwesterners post “Snow/Icepocolypse,” I see an advertisement for what I thought would be the answer to all of my clothing woes, but no, its just hilariously embarrassing that I would ever dream of something like this.  I do not think much needs to be said, just watch.

 

 

Even the creators of Snuggie and Shake Weight are shaking their heads.

 

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I have a bit of a fascination with strangers and the strange.  I like talking to people I don’t know and will not know very long.  It is a great exercise in “putting yourself in an other person’s shoes.”  Making friendly conversation at bus stops and studying the faces  of those receiving pedicures makes an otherwise habitual experience different every single time.

There is one stranger that has a very special spot in my heart:  The Dancing Man.  After an absence of several months, Dancing Man returned to the Indianapolis intersection of 34th and College this New Year.  I first took notice of the definitive bounce in his step this past spring.  I initially thought he was just passing the time while waiting for the bus, but as my work day drives became more consistent, I noticed he would position himself at any of the intersection’s four street corners.  His rhythm never changed and his smile swayed like the streetlights.  He once positioned himself on the southwest corner where there happens to be a Rally’s.  He was boogalooing to his heart’s beat while hoisting a double cheese burger above his head like a prized trophy (I am sure it tasted much better than a metallic dust collector).

I have smiled and waved at this man countless times – once even spilling coffee all over myself to ecstatically greet him while  rolling by.  Most times he sees me, gives a special smile and amps his dance up a level.  He gives me a large bite of happy each time I pass his dance floor.

I haven’t the slightest clue as to why he boogies.  I really do not wish to study it.

One “dance” quote has become particularly irritating to me.  I’m not implying that it doesn’t provide the reader with warm and hopeful feelings, but because it more or less seems like a REASON to dance:

“Work like you don’t need the money, love like your heart has never been broken, and dance like no one is watching” -Aurora Greenway

It is also EXTREMELY overused.  I am happy not knowing why The Dancing Man dances.  He just does.  Maybe he’s nuts, maybe he dances for his God or Gods, perhaps he just feels the rhythm of the planet.  I do not care unless he tries tells me.  It is just fun to experience his energy.  I know that others feel it too:  I once saw two young men grooving alongside him.

I tip my hat to you, Mr. Dancing Man.  I love you without even knowing you.

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