Beth Gamulka: Worrying About Mom

Beth GamulkaDinner conversation topics in my home can vary from the serious to the mundane. My kids (all pre-teens and teenagers) still communicate with me in more than a series of grunts. They acknowledge each other’s existence. It’s fantastic. Imagine my chagrin when we spent a whole meal discussing their fears for my well-being. My kids are pretty aware of the world around them. They listen to and read the news. They also have a clear understanding of what I do every day. So, when they hear about health care workers who have contracted Ebola in Texas, it is no giant leap for them to worry about and for me. As a hospital-based health care worker in a city rich with citizens who hail from hundreds of countries, it is likely that there will be many Ebola scares close to home in the near future. I practice in a hospital that was at the epicenter of the SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003. While my children were too young at the time to remember it, they have heard about it and have even seen the movies-of-the-week that were based on it.

I remember the first child who had contracted SARS from family members who had already succumbed to the disease. When that child was admitted to hospital, my colleagues and I (all young professionals with young children, except for one single guy) looked at one another and tried to decide who would don the N-95 mask, gown, face-shield and gloves and care for the patient. Those early days in the outbreak were filled with many questions but few answers. We were faced every day with new instructions and new rules about how we were supposed to be screened, to protect ourselves and to care for our patients.   One of my colleagues, the unmarried physician in our group, selflessly volunteered to expose himself to that first patient so that the rest of us could minimize our risk to ourselves and to our young families. We all remained healthy throughout the SARS outbreak, which lasted for several months but the memories of working in those conditions are still quite vivid.

Now, my children are old enough to understand what might happen with Ebola. They are concerned for me, and for the fallibility of PPE (personal protective equipment). They ask me about resource allocation, too. What will happen if there are not enough ventilators or ICU beds for all the sick patients? Who will decide who receives intensive care and how will those decisions be made? Are all states and provinces approaching preparedness in a consistent fashion?

These are all excellent questions. Unfortunately, no one yet has those answers. The real risk of an Ebola outbreak in North America is low. However, past experience suggests that we will have to be prepared so that if there is an outbreak, we will have the answers to my kids’ questions before we need them.

Will Meyerhofer: Learning From Barry Manilow

Will MeyerhoferIt is remarkable how often I listen to clients worrying themselves sick over people who don’t even seem to like them.

The other day a woman complained she didn’t know how to handle a guy who’d treated her like something under his shoe.  He didn’t call, didn’t pay attention to her life or any of the issues she was facing at work or with her family.  He pretty much just talked, and cared, about himself.

But she couldn’t seem to get over him.

He called again, wanted to get together.

“Should I see him?”  She asked me.

The answer was obvious.  Every time she’d given in – and it had happened plenty – the same pattern played out.  He was considerate and nice for a week or two, then went back to the same old routine of ignoring her needs and focusing entirely on himself.

I told her she needed greater wisdom than I could summon.  She needed to listen to Barry Manilow.

You probably have some sort of opinion regarding the creative output of Barry Manilow – which is to say you probably either love his music or you hate it.

If you love it – really, really love it – then you’re a “fanilow,” a Barry Manilow super-fan.

A friend of mine visited Las Vegas last year with his two elderly aunts, and – mostly to humor them – went to see Barry Manilow play at one of the big resort hotels.  He posted his response up on Facebook:  “I’m a fanilow!”

He was wowed – like plenty of people who actually go to see this hard-working, talented performer who gives everything he’s got on stage.

Barry loves his fanilows.  He thanks them, he signs their programs, he tells them again and again that he owes them everything, that they’re the reason he can keep on performing and doing what he loves.  They love him – and he loves them right back.

On the other hand, I read an interview a few years back where the reporter got a bit snarky with Barry, hinting that his music was widely dismissed as camp, mere sugary trash.  I don’t remember Barry’s precise words, but he said something like this:  “I take my work very seriously, and if you aren’t going to treat it with respect, I’ll end this interview right now.”

He had a point, and he made it.  Barry Manilow does what he loves, and there are many people who celebrate him for it. He doesn’t need the haters.

You can learn from Barry Manilow.

Find your fanilows – and hold them tight.  Cherish them.  Celebrate them as they celebrate you.  Those are the people who deserve you in their lives.

The haters?  The critics?  The people who take you for granted or tear you down?  Push them away.

There are plenty of people in this world.  You can find some fanilows – starting with yourself.  No one loves Barry’s music more than Barry – and that’s exactly how it should be.

Here’s a good ground rule for dating (I call it “the Manilow Rule”):  Don’t even consider a relationship with anyone who isn’t a fanilow – your fanilow.  If the other person isn’t excited – thrilled – ecstatic –jumping up and down with enthusiasm about a date with you, push him aside and find someone who is.

Be your own biggest fan – and start a fan club.

If you’re hoping he’ll call, he’s not a fanilow.  A fan doesn’t leave you wondering – he lets you know you know he’s dying to see you.  That’s the guy for you.

Does surrounding yourself with fanilows sound a bit dangerous?  A bit too easy?  Would it turn you into a self-satisfied egomaniac, unwilling to hear criticism?

It doesn’t have to.  I’m sure Barry reads the critics, and he ponders their suggestions.  He takes everything into consideration – then he makes his calls, his own decisions about his music and his performances.

You can have a suggestion box, too.  And you can invite people to write down their suggestions and stick them in.  And you can read them, and consider each and every one on its merits.  If they have a problem with you, they can say so, and you’ll listen.

But at the end of the day, you have to make your own calls.  You decide who you want to be – your most authentic, best self.

Then you go out into the world, and sort through the haters – and the fanilows.

The haters you can listen to politely, and push aside.

But the fanilows are the ones who celebrate you, and make it possible for you to see what’s best in yourself.

Be good to the fanilows.  Treat them like gold.
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Postscript:

 

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My new book is a comic novel about a psychotherapist who falls in love with a blue alien from outer space. I guarantee pure reading pleasure: Bad Therapist: A Romance.

Please also check out The People’s Therapist’s legendary best-seller about the sad state of the legal profession: Way-Worse-Than-Being-Dentist

My first book is an unusual (and useful) introduction to the concepts underlying psychotherapy: Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

(In addition to Amazon.com, my books are also available on bn.com and the Apple iBookstore.)

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Hot Blonde!

jyb_musingsI was at the Starbucks near our house this morning and saw a really hot blonde several places ahead of me in line.

She seemed like my type, too, and I even got this funny feeling in my stomach just watching her.

I am really lucky she is my wife.

Rebecca was in a hurry and couldn’t talk long but I slyly checked her out again as she left.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Apology Form

apologyThis is my first “Apology Form” to Rebecca and I checked “Other” for the reason for bad behavior –and wrote I was merely “creating a growth opportunity” for Rebecca.

Rebecca appreciated the effort and felt like it was “a start.”

And asked if I got several pads of Apology Forms for the future.

Rebecca also noted I put down the wrong date (11/13). I told her I would fill out a new form with the correct date and to just hold on to this one for me to use in mid-November.

Josh Bowen: The Fight Against Cancer

joshCancer is real and serious concern for us all. The following blog is dedicated to Beth, who bravely battled breast cancer for 14 years, Claude Bowen, Sr who passed away in December from prostate cancer and the many other who have fought cancer head on and never gave up the fight. This is for you.

Cancer

A word that strikes utter fear in people. And with good reason. As you see below the statistics are staggering. Every year, cancer becomes more and more prominent. In comes in all faces and types, packaged differently to wreak havoc on the human body. This post is not so much about the stats or what causes cancer but what can we do to prevent or slow the progress of this problem. This post is not to show you how smart or not smart I am as it relates to the disease. This about my grandfather, who was 88 years old and is put up the fight of his life against several types of cancer. Over the course of several months, I have saw the personal struggle he went under and the downward spiral of an independent country boy. It took hold of him and it didn’t let go. It is tough to watch but it shows how tough he was to continue to put up a fight against insurmountable odds.

This is also about my beliefs. Something that I often catch strange looks for and snide remarks about. However, I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that all things are possible through fitness. It is our fountain of youth, protector of disease and an absolute must for the human body. My motto is all things through fitness, it is the name of my website and is etched on my skin. I believe it because I have seen it.

I have seen people overcome disease, fight obesity and win, improve their personal lives and overall become better people. Fighting cancer is no different. Fitness plays an important part in the fight with all forms of cancer. Check these statistics from the National Cancer Institute:

Colon Cancer- Many studies in the United States and around the world have consistently found that adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration, or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent relative to those who are sedentary regardless of body mass index (BMI), with the greatest risk reduction seen among those who are most active.

Breast Cancer-Most studies indicate that physically active women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than inactive women; however, the amount of risk reduction achieved through physical activity varies widely (between 20 to 80 percent)

Endometrial Cancer-
About 20 studies have examined the role of physical activity on endometrial cancer risk. The results suggest an inverse relationship between physical activity and endometrial cancer incidence. These studies suggest that women who are physically active have a 20 percent to 40 percent reduced risk of endometrial cancer, with the greatest reduction in risk among those with the highest levels of physical activity. Risk does not appear to vary by age.

Lung Cancer- At least 21 studies have examined the impact of physical activity on the risk of lung cancer. Overall, these studies suggest an inverse association between physical activity and lung cancer risk, with the most physically active individuals experiencing about a 20 percent reduction in risk.

As you can see fitness can dramatically changed the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. Think about what the statistics would be on people who exercised regularly who got cancer. I stand behind my belief that all things are possible through fitness, fighting cancer is not an exception to that rule. Regardless of activity level cancer affects us all. Our loved ones and even ourselves will be faced with this disease. The struggle and the will to live is the most important.

Through fitness you can fight and win. For those struggling with the disease, continue to fight and never give in. The spirit to beat it and the mindset is all you need. Keep fighting!

Yours in fitness,

JB

Selected References

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1996). Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/sgr.htm.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). Preventing Obesity and Chronic Diseases Through Good Nutrition and Physical Activity. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/factsheets/Prevention/obesity.htm.

Slattery, ML. Physical activity and colorectal cancer. Sports Medicine 2004; 34(4): 239–252.

IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention. Weight Control and Physical Activity. Vol. 6. 2002.

Ballard-Barbash R, Friedenreich C, Slattery M, Thune L. Obesity and body composition. In: Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF, editors. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Lee I, Oguma Y. Physical activity. In: Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF, editors. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

McTiernan A, editor. Cancer Prevention and Management Through Exercise and Weight Control. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, 2006.

Tardon A, Lee WJ, Delgado-Rodriguez M, et al. Leisure-time physical activity and lung cancer: A meta-analysis. Cancer Causes and Control 2005; 16(4):389–397.

Giovannucci EL, Liu Y, Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. A prospective study of physical activity and incident and fatal prostate cancer. Archives of Internal Medicine 2005; 165(9):1005–1010.

Holmes MD, Chen WY, Feskanich D, Kroenke CH, Colditz GA. Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. Journal of the American Medical Association 2005; 293(20):2479–2486.

Pinto BM, Frierson GM, Rabin C, Trunzo JJ, Marcus BH. Home-based physical activity intervention for breast cancer patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2005; 23(15): 3577–3587.

Meyerhardt JA, Giovannucci EL, Holmes MD, et al. Physical activity and survival after colorectal cancer diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006; 24(22):3527–3534.

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John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Sunday Morning

jyb_musingsGet up!

If you are like me and plan on doing nothing at all this Sunday, you ought to at least have enough pride to get up early and start right away!

Anything worth doing –even doing nothing –is worth doing well.

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Sunday morning vanity conversation leading to disappointment

This morning I was admiring my recent weight loss in the bathroom mirror as my wife and I were getting ready to go out for coffee. After my proud moment of self-satisfaction, I threw on a pair of jeans and wet my hair before combing it and began looking for a shirt.”

My wife walked in the bathroom to explain how our dog Macy was just showing off to her by proudly holding a spider in her mouth before it dropped out and ran away.

Wanting to change the topic back to my proud weight loss, I pointed to myself and said, “Well, what do you think?”

“What?” Rebecca answered quizzically.

“This.” I responded smugly pointing in a circular motion to my torso area.

“What? You got water on you?”

“No!” I said flustered. “I’ve lost 28 lbs.”

“Oh.” Rebecca responded laughing. “You are acting like Macy showing off having a spider in her mouth.”

“No I’m not.” I said defensively. “I don’t think it’s the same thing at all. First off Macy didn’t lose 28 lbs and, second off, I am not holding anything in my mouth.”

“OK.” Rebecca said laughing to herself.

“Do you have water on you?” I repeated to myself under my breath. “Really?”

“Well, I’m proud of both you and Macy this morning.” Rebecca offered in a consoling voice.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Favorite Things

jyb_musingsFavorite things….

At dinner tonight, No, we weren’t discussing Julie Andrews but were brainstorming for our “Top three” favorite lists in a bunch of different categories. 

It’s fun to play along. Here are some of mine. 

Comedy Series (Cable) — 1) Ali G , 2) Chapelle Show, 3) Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

Drama (Cable) — 1) Sopranos , 2) Six Feet Under (never got the credit it deserved, IMHO , 3 ) Breaking Bad and House of Cards (tie) I know that is cheating by having a “tie.”

TV Series– 1) Columbo 2) Twilight Zone 3) Beverly Hillbillies

Musical Groups — 1) Steely Dan, 2) Traffic, 3) R.E.M./Pearl Jam/RHCP ( 3-way tie). Honorable mention to Black Crows (Totally cheated on this one. I struggle to be succinct.)

Movies — 1) The Twilight Saga (Not really, of course. I joke. But mostly because my favorites don’t seem very congruent. I just like them a lot) Real favorites: 1) Annie Hall, 2) ‘O Lucky Man, 3) About a 10- way tie but am unsure which 10 movies but might include Pulp Fiction, My Dinner with Andre, Little Miss Sunshine, Raging Bull, The “Up” Documentaries, Magnolia, Goodfellas, American Beauty, Casino, and Gandhi. And had an honorable mention category that included Forest Gump and Owning Mahoney. Drugstore Cowboy and American Hustle. (OK. I really, really cheated on that one. But I love movies.)

Classic books: 1) Inferno, Dante. 2) Odyssey, Homer, 3) Huckleberry Finn, Twain. Honorable mention to Candide, Voltaire and Gulliver’s Travels, Swift. (Didn’t cheat very much on that one.)

Modern books: 1) Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell; 2) A New Kind of Mind, Pink 3) World is Flat, Friedman (With not to self to start reading more recent books.)
Honorable Mention: Musings from the Middle I and II. (I mean, c’mon. Whaddaya expect?)

Best kitchen investments: 1) Nespresso 2) Vitamix, 3) Panini Press,

Worst Kitchen investments; 1) Doughnut maker, 2) Fondue, 3) Snow Cone machine.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Exciting New Product!

10378160_10154542366180515_8423975875231163213_nExciting new product! 

If you have an easily distractible husband who has difficulty keeping up with you and the family when shopping, finally there is the perfect solution!

The “Husband Travel Tether.”

Like the lightweight harnesses and leashes for children but sturdier for a more secure hold.

–Made of a leather to keep dads from breaking away. 

–Reduces fear of dads being separated from their families when traveling.

–Patented adjustable buckle to pull closer in crowded areas.

jyb_musings–Credit cards never more than 4 feet away. 

–Shoulder straps optional.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Home

jyb_musingsSadly, leaving for home.

Loved Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

We get back home in about 14 1/2 hours. 
Which is approximately 375 kilometergramhours –using the metric system. Or something like that. Mostly, I think that calculation just means I’m a thick-headed American. 

Guten Tag! Which I hope means “Thank You!” But I think may mean “Hello” and I know, in the states, means something that you should try to avoid in your diet. But it’s the best I can do. And reinforces my thick-headed American status.

Thanks ya’ll!! We had a really great ol’ time. Even though we could tell we got on your nerves sometimes and you thought we were too loud and messy. We get that a lot. So you probably are right about that. Sorry. And thanks for everything!

And glad to see that whole thing with East Berlin and that big wall you knocked down is working out so well. It just made sense. If we have learned anything from our travels it’s that people are about the same everywhere. They just talk different, and like I said before, get irritated by us because we are too loud and messy.

Again, Guten Toten! Or something like that. We sure had a good tine and hope we get to come back!

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So glad to be home after our trip abroad. 

“Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in after you get your luggage, go through security, clear customs, re-check your luggage domestically, clear security again and make your connecting flight in Jersey.” 

–Robert Frost (with my paraphrasing)

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We have yet to take a family trip that we could fully afford.

Or one that didn’t leave us more personally enriched. 

Travel is like that.

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Waiting to merge into the morning traffic…Is when you know that your vacation is officially over.

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Sometimes… on a night like tonight, if you’ve ever had the privilege of visiting Amsterdam, you miss not being in Amsterdam and wish you could hop in your car and head back to Amsterdam and arrive there in about 15 minutes, provided traffic isn’t bad.

On other nights, I can’t really say what you feel like.

This is my first night home after visiting Amsterdam. And this is the only feeling I am having and it’s pretty unequivocal and strong. Heck, there may not even be another kind of reaction. Except wishing you’d stayed in Berlin so you don’t miss Amsterdam so much.


 

Lauren Mayer: Stand By Your Man, 2.0

The phenomenon of political spouses standing by their scandal-plagued husbands has become such a cliche, it’s even inspired a t.v. show  – “The Good Wife.” We’ve seen women forgive men for infidelity, patronizing prostitutes, embezzling funds, or cringe-worthy texts, among other misbehaviors.  But recently we’ve seen a whole new twist – not only is Maureen McDonnell (wife of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell) standing by her man in his corruption trial, apparently, she is letting him blame the whole thing on her.  According to McDonnell’s defense, they couldn’t have coordinated any quid pro quo because their marriage was so damaged they didn’t communicate, and besides she solicited gifts from the tobacco-supplement-magnate because she had a crush on him, not because they hoped to exchange expensive goodies for political favors.

I don’t know what the real story is, whether this is an elaborate hoax or a messy public airing of a sour relationship, but it sure is gothic enough to inspire a Tammy Wynette-style country ballad.

 

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