On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I just loved the way President Obama excoriated the financial heads because of the "shameful" - his word - way they begged for a bailout and then gave bonuses to themselves. Shameful, indeed!

My own sense of shame comes from my seeming inability to move my butt off the sofa into the wide world outside. Four years ago, when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure as a side effect from chemotherapy (the kind that makes you bald), I was asked to walk, just walk, for 40 minutes a day.

I used to be an avid, daily walker. No more. To get the wheels turning, well, the legs moving, all I'm asking for myself in February is that I walk TEN minutes, just ten measly minutes every day. More would be better, but I'll start with those ten.

Speaking of shameful, that's about how I reacted when I learned that Carolyn Heilbrun suicided at 77 for no obvious reason.  She was wealthy and healthy and living in a warm, long term marriage.  

I was reading her final (I think) book, THE LAST GIFT OF TIME: Life Beyond Sixty, and enjoying every word. She was a dog-lover for one - that would stand out for me - but her career was as an academic in the field of literature. I googled her name and learned of her suicide about five years after she wrote the book. 

Why? I've worked with many suicidal clients, none of whom has actually completed the act, thank heavens, but I struggle to get inside their heads when I sit with them. 

I, of course, have an opposite situation - after seven years of nonstop chemotherapy and other maintenance treatments, I want more than anything, to live. I'm the least suicidal person I know, blessed with a strong life force that makes me think of myself (like an adolescent) as immortal and likely to live well into the next millennium.  Of course walking a little every day would help me achieve that goal!


  1. I'm with you Barbara, I do NOT understand suicide... not at all. Life is just too precious to throw in the towel before the game is played all the way to the end.

  2. My sentiments exactly!


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