Saturday, May 26, 2012


I would like to introduce to the readers of my blog a fellow blogger, named David Haas. David is a cancer support group and awareness advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David Haas wanted to share his opinions about the importance of staying physically active in the midst of illiness, specifically, Mesothelioma.

I feel David's writing lends support to a conclusion I have already drawn through my own personal journey of limb loss: remaining as physically active as possible has many benefits. I hope you enjoy his writing:

Ways to Stay Physically Active During Cancer Treatments
by David Haas

People who are suffering from cancer must strive to remain as healthy as possible during the course of treatment. Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis or being diagnosed with other types of cancer can lead to a decrease in the desire to exercise. While remaining physically active during cancer treatments will not cure cancer, it can be beneficial in many ways.

Cancer treatments can vary in length and people who are undergoing  this will see great benefits from remaining physically active during their treatment. Exercise can lead to an improved sense of wellbeing, keep muscles from deteriorating during treatment, and improve circulation, minimizing the risk of blood clots. Many people find that unpleasant physical symptoms are minimized with regular exercise. Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, anxiety and depression are just a few of the symptoms that can be reduced with physical activity. Just how intense a cancer patient's workout should be depends on how advanced the cancer is, the health of the patient  and the type of treatment used to kill cancer cells. Before beginning an exercise program it is important to obtain instructions and precautions from the doctor providing cancer treatments.

Incorporating short bouts of exercise into a daily routine is one way cancer patients can increase their activity level. Walking around the block for 10 minutes three times each day will result in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Since cancer treatments can be stressful, many people find yoga is an activity that keeps them in shape and reduces stress. Certain types of activities are not recommended for cancer patients. Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools, walking on uneven surfaces, and avoid using heavy weights that could cause injury. Cancer patients who are anemic or who experience unrelenting vomiting should not exercise without consulting their doctor.

When exercising during cancer treatments, always start out slowly and warm-up for two or three minutes before beginning. There may be days when fatigue is overwhelming. When these days occur, cancer patients should listen to their own body and take the day off to rest. Choosing activities that are fun makes it easier to be physically active. Working in the garden, dancing, and walking the dog are all activities that increase the heart rate and reduce cancer symptoms. Cancer patients and survivors may also wish to find a buddy to exercise with. Many people find it much easier to stick to an exercise program when someone else is depending on them each day.

**You may read further information written by David Haas and other affiliated writers by going to:


Monday, May 21, 2012


Fear of  failure, fear of rejection, fear of getting old, fear of falling, fear of fear, fear of almost anything, where does all of this fear come from? Why are we as human beings afraid all the time?

Fear is one of the main obstacles that hold people back from reaching their goals. I know this from personal experience.

It seems like in some areas of my life I feel brave, and yet in other areas I am plagued with fears, sometimes illogical unsubstantial fear, why is that?

Of course some fears are good because it is a human reaction to an actual event that can bring us physical harm, and yet on the other hand, there are fears that seem to come from nowhere, and don't seem to serve any purpose other than to keep us from reaching our full potential.

One of the many fears I have had to face is fear of the unknown. What was my life going to be like once I had lost both of my legs? Well it certainly has not been an ideal scenario but it is manageable. It is still possible to laugh, to have fun and to poke fun at myself and my situation.

I have found that more often than not, when I am facing a situation or anticipating doing something I have to do, I sometimes have feelings of dread. How will I do this or do that?

Usually the anticipated situation turned out not to be a problem at all. The anticipation of doing something unknown or unfamiliar was worse in my mind than actually doing it or facing it.

I know I have written this on previous occasions, but it bears repeating, living in the now, not the past or projecting into the future, will help us as individuals to curtail, if not eliminate, fear of the unknown. How can we fear something that has not yet occurred?

If we strive to look for and meet each new experience with expectations of good, rather than dread, our chances are greater that the experience or challenge will turn out well. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Living our lives more consciously, staying in touch with our feelings and remaining as postive as possible about a good outcome certainly is not going to hurt us.

I am not saying that life doesn't have it's disappointments, but to conjure up a poor outcome certainly is not going to lend itself to having a good ending.

In reality fear, notwithstanding rational fears, is really a form of pessimism, a projection into the future that the outcome of whatever we are endeavoring to do will not work or will turn out badly.

Fear can enter our consciousness when we do not exercise faith. Faith in our ability to accomplish a task will help minimize our fear of trying something new or experiencing something that may in the final analysis, be benefical to us or for us.

I realize all of this rhetoric may sound all well and good, but how do we implement all of this faith and optimism into our lives?

We do it a little bit at a time. We bite the bullet, step out on faith, and purposely put ourselves in a challenging position, armed with courage and feelings of self confidence, we go for it.

Meeting all of the challenges that life can throw at us may seem daunting at times, but  if we break it down into smaller components it doesn't seem so overwheming or impossible.

For me personally, I ask God to protect me and give me the strength and courage to overcome one of the most useless aspects of our minds, fear.

Do not fear, faith that goes forward triumphs....

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Monday, May 14, 2012


I have been feeling a little discouraged lately about my progress. I have written about this previously but this this is a little different, instead of being discouraged about my progress per se, I am more discouraged about my lack of endurance.

Even though I am able to walk short distances in these short legs, I am so fatigued when I am finished that it takes several minutes to recover.

For example, if I walk 25 feet (which is a long distance for me) it may take my residual limbs 10-15 minutes to recover. I have voiced my concern about this seemingly long recovery time  to my physical therapist, Chris. Chris explained about the amount of energy it takes to walk on prosthetic limbs, something I am well aware of, however, I was wondering if my recovery time is longer than most?

First of all, it has been estimated that an amputee, especially a bilateral above knee amputee, uses up to 200 times the amount of energy to walk on prosthetic legs as a "normal" person does to walk the same distance. Think about that for a minute, to put it in it's proper perspective, if I walk 25 feet on my prosthetic legs, I use the same amount of energy as a person wtih natural legs would use walking 5000 feet, which is close to a mile!

When I think about it in those terms it doesn't seem as trivial.

What I am really curious about is, do my vascular issues hamper my recovery time? In other words, those people who have lost their legs through a tramatic injury like a car accident or a war injury may not suffer the long recovery time when they walk on prosthetics, because they do not have, nor have they ever had circulatory problems.

This troubles me to some degree because these long recovery times mean that to accomplish a task, you have to rest longer after having walked to where the task is to be accomplished, than the task may actually take to begin with. Does that sound like it might be frustrating to you?

I think the best way to combat this long recovery issue is first keep everything in it's proper perspective. Although my accomplishments with respect to distance walked, may seem minimal to me, it is nonetheless an accomplishment given the fact I have no leg or knee components.

There are other people in my situation who are unable or unwilling to do many of the things I am still capable of doing, and for that capability I am grateful.

Another way to look  at this might be to remember that perseverance is the key to accomplishment. If you do not persevere, keep working at it, you will never be able to build up the endurance necessary to walk successfully for any distance.

We all deal daily from a lack of delaying our gratification, wanting everything, and wanting everything now. There are so many things in life that can be ascertained, but many of those things take a lot of time and a lot of work.

Rather than being discouraged by the fact that something is difficult or takes longer than we had hoped, we should redirect our focus on what we have already accomplished  and realize we will get to where we want to be, through being sharply defined toward our goal  and reamining positive.

One of the best ways to overcome discouragement is to persevere, keep working at what we want to accomplish and believe in our ability to do just that.

I am as guilty as the next person doling out advice that I, at times, would be well advised to listen to what I myself have said or written.

If you are going to talk the talk, you also have to "walk" the "walk."

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Sunday, May 6, 2012


Is fairness just an illusion?

We are raised to think in terms of fairness. If we take care of ourselves, work hard, save our money etc.. everything will turn out as we have planned, after all it is only fair.

Why has this terrible thing happened to me (I mean anyone)? I didn't deserve it, it's just not fair.

Well guess what? nothing or very little is actually fair. People who strive to live "good" lives still get cancer. People who have to struggle to "raise their children right" still have children who murder, rape and steal. To make matters worse, a child dies from a disease or is killed in a car accident for no apparent reason, how is that fair?

Fairness doesn't  actually exist. Fairness or thinking in terms of fairness is a societal and religious creation used to help people do the right thing.

We feel if we to this, that will happen. We feel or are raised to feel that doing, acting or believing a certain way is somehow a guarantee that things will turn out the way we feel they should.

When we play into the"why me" game, we are really actually feeling like we should be exempt from all of the possible misfortunes in life, because we did the right thing.

I recently had another conversation with my friend Steve about fairness, he and I have had these types of discussions on many occasions. We both agree that most people live their lives measuring the fairness or unfairness of the events that occur in their  lives.

The fairness or unfairness of the way one group of people is treated by another is one of the foundations on which our country was built. Equality for all is  an ideal to which we all aspire, however, it is seldom reached.

We have all been programed to think and act within the realm of what is deemed fair or unfair.

The fact of the matter is good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, it is just the way it is. Where does all of this leave us?

Since fairness is often times an illusion, it may or may not exist in your reality, based on your life circumstances and your perception of your reality.  It is likely that if your particular life situation, based upon your judgment, things have gone well, you may think life has treated you fairly.

Conversely, if you feel you have tried to the best of your ability to what is right and just, and yet you have what  seems to be an abundance of misfortunes or tragedies, you make think life has treated you unfairly.

The longer I  live the more it seems this whole fairness thing is an elusive idea. I could look at my life situation and the loss of my legs as unfair. It is actually no more unfair that it should happen to me and not to another. No one deserves to lose their legs, their arms, their sanity or anything for thatmatter.

It is the luck of the draw as to which if any, misfortunes may affect you personally in your life. We may contribute to some illnesses or injuries because of the choices we make in our lives, however, there are others who make similar choices, whose lives are not adversely affected.

It is the luck of the draw as to which if any, unfortunate happenstance should affect you personally in your life.  We my contribute to illness or injury through the life choices we make, however, there are others who make the very same contributory actions, whose lives are not adversely affected the same way.

Suffice it to say since life seems to be made up of judgments about what is fair or unfair, our best hope is to move forward with our lives as they unfold.

It is best not to get caught up in a web of fairness or unfairness. Life is what life is.

I try to move my life forward to the best of my ability, not paying particular attention to the fairness or unfairness of it all, because I feel it serves no purpose and at best is a frivolous pursuit.

Brooding about the fairness or unfairness of the events that have occurred in our lives will hinder us from seeking and finding the happiness we all deserve.

The only guarantee we have in life, is that there is no guarantee.

Do think that is a fair statement?

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