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!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A thoughtful read

This was an impulsive pick off the library shelf and I expected nothing more than to be entertained. How wrong I was! Since Demi and I spend so much time in a chemotherapy setting as well as Juvenile Hall and the library, I figured I might even pick up a few tips on how to go about our work.

WHERE THE TRAIL GOES FAINT: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A THERAPY DOG TEAM, by Lynne Hugo began as a memoir about her dog Hannah, newly credentialed to visit nursing home residents. But as the chapters passed, the subject matter deepened.

It wasn't just about the Hannah and Lynne team, it was about how awful most homes are for the elderly, with what boredom even our most capable elders pass their days. The author offers other models of caregiving both in and out of institutional settings. Having the responsibility to nurture a pet - even a goldfish - or plant, or listen to children read or tutor a school child, for those who are able, the need to be needed can be fulfilled in countless ways.

We all want to be valued contributors in our communities. To have work that matters to us and to have a world and experience larger than ourselves is necessary for our mental survival. Simple things, like fresh air, matter. Having visitors matters. Being taken to places outside of the home matters. But being able to add our gift of participation matters even more.


  1. I just want to thank you for all the book recommendations! I think you need to put a link to amazon so that you get some money back for all the books that I'm sure you have gotten people to buy! I love to read! This book that you recommended brings things close to home for me. We just had my mother, who is 80, stay with us for about 3 weeks. I can only imagine what a very lonely world one has when one is alone and not able to do much. Thanks for sharing this book! dot


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