Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Current Projects: Staying Creative!

While currently undergoing radiation therapy for my head and neck cancer, I want to put my Psiplex blog to explain that it is important to keep doing what you do despite battling cancer. In a talk with another patient's daughter at the radiology center, the young woman mentioned that her Father, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy was doing just that. A tree cutter, the patient was still at the job site as much as possible even thought this type of treatment beats you down like you can't believe. The important thing is to keep your hand in some aspect of your life other than your treatment and recovery. Hats off to the tree man for not giving in and fighting back!

For me, between bouts of radiation and chemotherapy, I try to put in some quality time to keeping up with what is current in graphic design, blogging and working on some new electronic music noodlings. While there are days when very little gets done or even materializes, just putting one step forward is enough to lift the spirits.

Current projects include connecting more with other bloggers and open social networking, sequencing some original music and preparing some samples of recent design projects to be posted here. As mentioned above, the radiation and chemo can take the wind out of your sails faster than a foreclosure in Atlanta. The contant fatigue and other nasties can wear on your forward momentum, but the key is just staying positive and do one little thing toward your goals.

Eventually, I want to get back to working full time helping other cancer patients and survivors with my love of graphic design and electronic music. I can't think of a better pursuit right now and that's what keeps me going! I wish for all readers of this blog that they can find the best way to stay on their creative path despite dealing with cancer. There are many brave and inspiring folks out there who are doing just that and stir my creative fires to take the next steps. It would be wonderful to hear from readers who want to send links or share their current projects here on Psiplex.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reality check: You didn't do it by yourself sunshine

In a discussion I had this morning about natural talent, confidence and skills that folks bring to their work and personal lives, a great point came up. That of "I got where I am by my own merits". Life's series of choices that bring us to this moment tell me otherwise. While it is extremely important to have confidence in one's abilities, it is not cool to be so arrogant to think you did it all by yourself. As a creative professional, I rely heavily on the skills of my team to make the final deadline on budget and on time. It ain't just me.

I have run across numerous type A folks who are under the spell of their own hype. Face it, if there weren't certain key people placed in your path along the way, (parents, teachers, clergy, siblings, true friends) I guarantee you thing would be different. Reality check: You didn''t do it by yourself sunshine.

The other factor to consider is the grace you are living under, grace sufficient for your life. If you are under the delusion that you are in control and are making it happen by your lonesome, you are in for a shock. Facing any kind of illness, especially a life-threatening one can remove the very physical process that make you 'you'. You are who you are by a combination of genetics, adaptability, natural process and grace. Glad you know who you are and are confident in your journey, just don't think you are running the ship and you'll have plenty of time to reflect on grace and how it works in your life.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don't Be A Stranger

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, it puts in motion a series of events that can have wide ranging consequences for personal and professional relationships. In many cases, people who are diagnosed with cancer and begin treatment face interruptions in their normal routines that span from mild to severe.

Depending on the stage of cancer diagnosed, further testing and treatment may need to begin immediately often leading to schedules that are blown off course. In a life-changing event such as this, it is easy to lose the day to day camaraderie of colleagues, friends and fellow workers. When a patient is away from their routine for some time, an awkwardness can creep in based on the right way to approach the patient's cancer battle.

This awkwardness stems from the fact that folks in a standardized routine, say, going to work or school each day, really don't want to be reminded that illness and loss of routine can happen to them. They tend to not know what to say to those who are battling cancer and thus a gulf exists in communication. One party doesn't want to be reminded of how anyone is susceptible to cancer and the survivors don't want to be left out of everyday life and cut off from communication. Former co-workers, colleagues, family and friends just 'don't know what to say' to cancer patients.

It's really simple. Acknowledge that the person battling cancer is doing so and just be yourself! The cancer patient will welcome hearing from all those who shared their world and who are genuinely interested in their recovery and future. Don't be a stranger! You will not offend anyone by honestly connecting to them and sending along your greetings. Just use common sense, be tactful and let the sunshine in – it will make a lot of difference, guaranteed! It would be wonderful to hear from other folks about their experiences with loved ones who are battling caner.

There's a great conversation on the message boards at Cancer Compass to give you a cancer patient's perspective.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diagnosis: Cancer, What do I need to know?

As a creative person working hard to earn your living in a crazy, shifting economy, getting diagnosed with cancer can be devastating. It is NOT the end to your creative journey! In fact, all your previous experience in the creative fields will serve you well in your battle with cancer.

In previous posts I mentioned that as a graphic designer and electronic musician I have been diagnosed with head and neck cancer. I am able and willing to fight every step of the way and you can too. Let's start with what you need to know:

- You are going to be shocked at first - it's alright and natural to ask , Why me? which is a good first step to going down the path to being a survivor. You must trust in your will to live and to fight for yourself and for your loved ones.

- You are going to be angry. My personal bout of anger lasted about 2 solid days of being really, red hot angry at the world and at life. That's alright, go to it and go through it. Remember, it is not your fault you are ill. There are also many variables that contribute to cancer in the body that it is a numeric probability and not the patient's fault in the least. Cancer cells are the result of damaged/compromised DNA. Don't waste energy blaming- use it to arm yourself for the fight.

- You are going to need help. You will need help from family, your doctor and the cancer community. You may even find an advocate who has the same diagnosis you have and is today, completely cancer-free. In my case, I was blessed with a wonderful advocate who told me what to expect every step of the way. Such valuable information helped prepare me for the treatments, side effects and wellness and recuperation. See my post on "The Home Team" below.

- You are going to survive. You are in for the toughest fight of your life. You are going to find the strength to survive! Today, medicine is at a place where a lot of previously fatal cancer diagnoses are treatable. You can win this fight! You arm yourself with as much knowledge about your treatment as possible, keep your friends and family close and work with your medical team to balance yourself.

Here are some great resources I have found:

Cancer Compass Information

The Cancer Compass Message Boards - where you can find out about various cancer

The American Cancer Society - You can find out about community resources and more

You can e-mail me here if you have any questions

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One Love!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Staying Creative in Complexity

Keeping one's mind off what is ailing you has a lot of benefits. Lately, I have been working with my friend and entrepreneur Robert on a new idea called TxtBiz. TxtBiz is a mobile marketing sms platform for business use. There is a good explanation at this link.

Not focusing on all the complexity and aches and pains is one of my secrets to battling cancer. Just don't give it any more room in your life - make room for creativity and success.


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Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Poll


Wanted to see how many of you that are undergoing treatment for cancer are in need of services. There are many great organizations and cancer treatment facilities that meet the needs of many patients on a daily basis. There are also some very good cancer research foundations and funding sources. It seems to this cancer patient that there is a dearth of ground level services fall under the radar of the orgs meant to help. In other words, what if a patient, diagnosed with cancer has no insurance? No car? No way to pay for medication? No one to cut their yard or clean their house? No one to be an advocate for their treatment and sanity?

This poll is to find out where more of the funding money needs to go and how people falling in some sort of governmental grey area can be better served. In other words, where shoudl resources be directed in your particular case?


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