Lisa Genova, the neuroscientist who engaged readers with “Still Alice,” her riveting tale of a professor struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s, has now written an equally riveting tale of an acclaimed concert pianist, Richard, struggling with the terrible diagnosis of ALS — that not only takes his life, but even more importantly to him, his career. Her new work, “Every Note Played,” puts a human face on this unrelenting disease.
Advance Care Planning was the focus of JourneyCare’s Life is a Journey education event that took place on April 17. This cause was a passion of mine even before I headed out on my first 'Ride for 3 Reasons' in 2001. After I completed three solo cross-country bike rides, I passed the torch to my fellow Barrington resident 17-year-old Jan Gierlach last year. The trip we had in common took us more than 3,200 miles from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida to raise awareness and funds to benefit three causes dear to our hearts. One of these is hospice. Part of the proceeds has benefitted JourneyCare and is helping to fund the very special 'Life is a Journey' event this month.
I read. And I write, but not nearly as much as I read. And sometimes I read books about dying. I recently read "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi, which has been on The New York Times best seller list for several weeks. It is written by a neurosurgeon regarding his diagnosis with terminal lung cancer.
I flagged several lines in the book because they resonated with me.
The first part of the book is a reflection on his life in the medical field.
· On page 80: “Learning to judge whose life could be saved, whose couldn’t be, and whose shouldn't be requires an unattainable prognostic ability.”
· On page 102: “How little do doctors understand the hells through which we put patients.”
In the book "The Four Agreements," an international best seller by don Miguel Ruiz, what is meant by the word agreement? And what are these four agreements?
Agreements are beliefs that we have learned and created in our lives that tell us how life works, how we should run our lives, and how to think about ourselves and each other.
As a psychotherapist for almost 40 years, the power of care, respect, and responsibility still amazes me as I witness the results in peoples' lives, relationships, and work ― including and especially in my own. During these four decades, I have been studying the world's great wisdom traditions ― philosophy, religion, spirituality, and psychology. Each of these traditions, despite their coming from disparate locations around the world and at different times in history and in the voices of numerous teachers, convey to us the same lesson over and over ― to live with love and respect for all of life.
I am an avid reader. For years, I commuted via the train to downtown Chicago so usually had a book to read. When my children were young, my reading selections changed but I still read, even if it was picture books and easy chapter books. When my husband got sick, I had a fair amount of idle time on my hands. Ask anyone who has had to spend time at doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics, etc.: you have to learn to wait. So I started to read even more. Now that I am a widow and live alone, I have the luxury of reading whenever I want. No one is waiting for me to make dinner and I feel little or no pressure to clean (when you live alone, the house doesn't get very messy or dirty), so I can read for hours on end.