Showing posts from August, 2011

Terrible Twos-day: Interactions Edition

I spent part of this evening sitting in on a TwitterChat with a few doctors discussing alternative therapies and how patients choose to integrate them with "traditional" medicine. It was a good talk, and perhaps the biggest lesson taken away is this—TELL YOUR DOCTORS EVERYTHING YOU TAKE AND ALL ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES YOU ARE USING. Tell them not because they are nosy or think you're a bad patient or want to tell you to stop taking what you're taking or doing what you're doing but because they do indeed have medical degrees and may very well be more abreast of potential interactions than you.

How many patients really read and memorize those little leaflets the pharmacy hands out? (Yes, I know you did read that one, once, you swear...) Those leaflets have good information in them, but the print is tiny and we're busy. Maybe you read the leaflet the very first time you got the prescription. Maybe you had some time to kill over a bowl of cereal and the newspaper w…

Minneapolis May Not Want Me But Stanford Does

There is a part of me that feels like a schmuck. I made great motions about trying to win a scholarship to the Mayo Clinic's Social Media Summit, asking for votes via several Facebook pages, via Twitter, and with a column in our local paper. And then I didn't win.

But while I was waiting to hear from Mayo, I was encouraged to apply for scholarship to a similar summit on the Stanford Medical campus—and I won that... without any public votes or the like. I applied, they selected me, I am going.

It's an odd little predicament to no win something cool only to win something cool. The truth of the matter is that I applied for Mayo and got such a tremendous outpouring of support from the public that I didn't hesitate to apply for the Stanford summit. Their votes were vote for me regardless, and it did my soul a world of good. The process also allowed me to make a serious dent in my bucket list item of spreading awareness of fibromuscular dysplasia.

Stanford's Medicine 2.0…

Waesuck Wednesday: Deadline Edition

In short — I found out today that the deadline to send the magazine to press is not a week away; it is two days away. How do I—the editor—miss such a relevant piece of information? There was a failure to communicate, which is particularly ironic given that we are in the business of communicating, so instead of blogging, I must go write the things for which I am paid.

Deadline: Post-It Stop Action Animation
The most awesome Post-It-based procrastination sequence ever.

Deadline and DC Comics
The man who became the master assassin called Deadline started of as a small time hitman for one of America's organized crime families.

Terrible Twos-day: Earthquake Edition

A 5.8 magnitude rattled the majority of the East Coast today. I missed it—it was the afternoon and I was napping. The quake originated near Richmond and was the biggest to hit the area since 1897.

I was in Switzerland when I experienced my first quake. The guy I was dating at the time lived there, and my 19-year-old heart ventured across the ocean to the land of chocolate for the Christmas holiday. Beginning the day I arrived, it snowed for nearly four days straight. Subsequent conditions were wonderful for learning how to snowboard—it doesn't hurt to fall in four feet of powder.

So much snow was amazing, but it also made me a bit nervous. The Alps seemed like a good place for an avalanche. Suffocating in a pile of snow seemed like a miserable way to die. I had forgotten my gloves one afternoon as we loaded up the car to head out to the slopes and was alone inside the small apartment building's hallway when the walls began to shake. There was nothing I could do but stand still…

Waesuck Wednesday: Dressing Room Edition

There comes a confluence of intense privacy with overt friendliness from strangers in the women's dressing room. It is a place of harsh lighting and truthful mirrors where wrinkles look deeper, breasts saggier, buttocks bigger. Unflattering garments are pulled overhead in disgust, zippers cursed, and rationalizations made. Alternately, when the fabulous dress is found or the perfect jeans pulled on, the dressing room provides a private little stage for the "I look good and I know it" grin, complete with sparkling eyes, a hand on the hip, and maybe even a little swagger out to show off the closet's soon-t0-be new addition. Women are hard on themselves, and when a flattering fashion victory makes its way out of the dressing room, other women often will offer up a compliment, an acknowledgment of a hard won battle waged behind the dressing room door—assuming that the temporary model is not a skinny b-c-h with perfect hair and teeth and a golden tan. We shoot daggers at …

Terrible Twos-day: Dental Edition

Once again Tuesday brings something in twos.

After dinner I felt something weird lodged between my back two molars. I fiddled with it with my tongue for a bit to no avail, so grabbed one of those handy little floss pick things—what came out was part of my tooth! My immediate thought translated loosely to "that's not supposed to happen," and I ran to the bathroom mirror to investigate. A visible chip was missing and a low ache was setting in. I've got a call in to the dentist—"Um, yeah, hi... I've like really chipped my tooth, and I think I should probably have someone look at it really soon. Call me?" Then I called the dental insurance company. The company apparently has never insured anyone of Polish descent and got the last letters of my name wrong, making me a "vslu." Granted we of Eastern European persuasion like consonants, but vslu sounds like some kind of tiny, horned antelope-type creature. I am not an antelope. However, antelope do ha…

To Love and Let Go

Let me first be blunt. I am going to die. We all will. It is our inescapable fate. Having been diagnosed with an incurable disease makes me no more death's target than anyone else—I simply have been made much more aware of my inherently impermanent nature on this earth. The Buddha says that it is our attachment to things that are impermanent that causes our suffering, that in order to prevent suffering we much accept impermanence and release our attachments to people, to things, to our own lives. Though no Buddhist scholar, I take this lesson not to mean that we should live in heartless isolation but that we should recognize that our time, our relationships are but temporary gifts. We will feel joy and love. We will feel grief and anger. But ultimately we must accept that all living things are transitory, designed to come and to go. Therefore, when living things go, we must not suffer their loss.

Admittedly, I question whether I will be able to uphold this philosophy in practice, …

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Not a lot of words are needed here.

To each and every person who has offered his or her support—thank you. I am honored and touched that so many are "on my team."

"We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them." - Buddha

Waesuck Wednesday: Back to School Edition

I have just learned a new word that is too awesome not to share and to which I must dedicate a weekly blog post—waesuck. It's the 50 cent vocabulary word that sounds like slang and will earn you a lot of points in Scrabble. Waesuck is an interjection of Scottish origin, which derives from the words Scot "wae" meaning woe and "sucks," an alteration of sakes, and can be interpreted as cause for woe or an expression of pity. It's pronounced exactly as it looks—way suck—making it an especially useful term in our current times.

Waesuck Wednesday offers up two options—all things Scottish or things that are epic fails. Scotland is nice and all, and right now they're sure glad they aren't England, but epic fails sound much more fun to feature than kilts and haggis. And so without further to do, I bring you Waesuck Wednesday: Back to School Edition.

Textbooks Riddled with Errors
A panel of historians found an "appalling" number of factual errors i…

Terrible Twos-day: Jerry McGuire Edition

My husband and I met on the job in 2003. I was a reporter, he was a graphic designer, the newspaper was a weekly with a Tuesday press day. Tuesday was miserable. Tuesday was the kind of miserable that we—and a majority of the other staffers—began dreading next Tuesday before the current Tuesday had passed. Any Tuesday at work needed no other explanation than it's being Tuesday, and any Tuesday not at work was enjoyed with particular glee. I moved on from being a reporter and escaped Tuesday; my husband has not yet had that luxury and is now on his ninth year of Terrible Tuesdays. It is in his honor that I announce the arrival of Terrible Twos-days. Each Tuesday will bring something in twos, but not threes — because that would be inherently good, and Tuesday is terrible.

Everything is Terrible
"Since the dawn of VHS, we've been chronicling wild packs of Maguires in their native thrift store habitat with our patented Maguirewatches, and during that time, we decided to start …

Tour de Force - Aiming for the Mayo Clinic


Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ ... social networking is an oddly impersonal way of trying to make personal connections, and making that connection is what I'm hoping to do when I say — I need your vote. The Mayo Clinic is holding a summit in October focusing on the role of social media in health care. I desperately want to go and consequently am competing for one of five scholarships that will allow me to do so. The competition is based on a 700-word essay, which is posted and open for "likes" and comments until Aug. 17. The downside is that one must register to be part of the Mayo Clinic's social networking site, which I realize is not of great interest to those who are not wrapped up in their medical care or in caring for someone else. But if nothing else, those who register with the network will have a chance to read about all kinds of freaky diseases and get scared out of their wits that they have them all. It will be awesome. So please, take a few mo…


Blackberries are a rough and tumble lot. Grown from red-clay, sun-bleached embankments on thicketed briars, the fruits reflect their environment’s character. Well-watered they grow fat and luscious, thin skins bursting at just the touch required to pick berry from stem. Grown wild, they are less than half the size but cling to their thorny patches with determined grit. Blackberries find their way into the mouths of animal foragers upon which mastication, digestion, and defecation releases the seeds from which the next blackberries will grow. It is an ugly resiliency that bears bittersweet reward.

My soul belongs to the wild blackberries. Death’s sharp scythe has hacked scars into my body, yet my soul continues to grow and bear fruit. I am the root, the vine, and the thorn. Each day alive is a surprising ripe berry, gritty and exhilarating.