December 2012

 


 

 

Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Heart Of The Website News & Events
VoicePoints Pattii Montgomery, Anaplastologist Button, Tubes & Air Loss Education-Med
Between Friends Donna McGary Looking Back, Looking Ahead Commentary
Speaking Out Members Your Local Club Opinion
This Lary Life Enoch/McGary You & Your Pet Photos
Travel With Larys Jack Henslee Look Who's Talking Photos
The Speechless Poet Len A Hynds Strange Christmas Dinner Prose & Poetry
Bits, Bytes & No Butts! Frank Klett Help With Search, Plus More Computers

 

INDEX AND LINKS TO EACH ISSUE MAY BE FOUND AT: http://webwhispers.org/news/WotWIndex.asp

COMMENT HERE
FEEDBACK

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart of the Website

 

Our WW Library is not just old information stored away when you want to find out the background of something. We have broken it down into topics that new laryngectomees will be facing and we have some references to good medical sites on the Internet, where you can go, with one click, to the section on the appropriate topic. We have posted comments in the many sections from our members who have been there and have written about it, so you get some personal experience tales. We also are working gradually to add sections that have listing and links to articles in the Whispers on the Web that are on the topic you are reading about. We could use some help on getting those sorted out.

The Library does not replace the contacts with the members in the list but it does enhance the comments posted in the email distribution list. You will ask questions that make it clear what you want to know because you have educated yourself about it enough to know the terminology.

From our website, you can look at the red horizontal menu and choose Library, then choose from the left menu the general section you want.

Another way to do it is to go to the Website map is under About Us or just keep and click this link:
http://webwhispers.org/about/purpose.asp
You can scroll to the Library and the first item is:
General Information - Introduction
Facts and Figures
Acronyms and Definitions
What is Larynx Cancer (Links)
Free for the Asking
Meetings
Each of those will be a link directly to the page with that information.

Everything in our Website if open to the public EXCEPT the Members Area and that is the one we gave you, the member, a password to use.

Enjoy,
Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President
 

 

 

 


 

Buttons, Tubes and Air Loss..Oh My!


By Pattii Montgomery, Anaplastologist
MD Anderson Cancer Center


In patients who have undergone a total laryngectomy, tracheoesophageal (TE) speech is produced using a unidirectional valved voice prosthesis inserted into a fistula that is surgically created between the TE wall, that opens to allow exhaled air to pass freely into the esophagus for sound production while remaining closed during swallowing to prevent food and liquids from entering the trachea. Severe irregularity in the shape and contour of the stoma often prevents TE speech production that depends on adequate stomal occlusion to shunt air for voice production. In addition, aberrations in stomal configuration also preclude the use of a heat-moisture exchange (HME) filter for optimal pulmonary functioning in laryngectomized patients. Thus, stomal configuration is key to TE speech production and the use of an HME filter. An inadequate stomal seal prevents TE speech production as well as the use of the HME filter because of air escape around the stoma.

Air escape around the stoma is a major problem that many laryngectomized patients face that cannot always be corrected with a standard peristomal or intraluminal device. Irregular stomal topography, deep-set stomas, and/or a lack of a prominent stomal lip can present challenges to stomal occlusion resulting in TE speech failure and an inability to wear an HME filter. Here at MD Anderson Cancer Center successful rehabilitation of the challenged laryngectomy patient depends upon a team that includes an experienced speech pathologist and an anaplastologist. Together they evaluate the patient to determine if they are a candidate for a customized device that may allow them to achieve TE speech and improved pulmonary functioning.

There are several types of customization that can be done. A standard Barton Mayo Button™ or a LaryButton™ can be modified to reduce or increase the shaft length, reduce or increase the posterior retention flange, and/or change the angulation of the posterior retention flange. This requires the dissecting of an existing button then reassembling pieces to achieve the desired customization. Then the reassembled button is invested using a three piece moldmaking technique. The reassembled button is retrieved from the molds which are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next clear platinum silicone elastomer is injected into the molds and the molds are placed in a constant temperature oven for 8 hours to cure. Once the molds have cooled the silicone button is retrieved by breaking the molds, it is cleaned and polished. Only one custom button can be made from this moldmaking process.

Another type of customization is the modification of a standard LaryTube. The tube length can be decreased or increased. To increase the length of a tube requires the dissecting of an existing tube then reassembling pieces to achieve the desired customization. A variation of the three piece moldmaking technique as described above is required and only one custom tube can be made from the moldmaking process.

A special type of customization may be appropriate when all else fails and the patient is determined to be highly motivated and compliant. A customized housing can be designed to fit the patient’s unique peristomal contours. This is called a custom contoured peristomal housing. To achieve a custom fit the anaplastologist takes an impression directly on the patient of their stoma diameter and peristomal contours. The impression material is removed and a stone positive replica is made from the mold. Depending upon the need of the patient there are two types of custom contours that can be made. The first is a contour housing designed to give the patient the “perfect stoma” which allows for insertion and removal of a standard LaryTube or, in some cases, a LaryButton. The custom housing is secured using a silicone adhesive and fits intimately with the peristomal contours. This type is for patients who need to manually clean their stoma several times a day. The second type of custom contour uses the same impression steps as described previously. The difference is that the LaryTube or LaryButton is incorporated into the housing to create a one piece custom housing. The custom housing is secured using a silicone adhesive and fits intimately with the peristomal contours. This type is for patients who do not need to manually clean their stoma several times a day.

This is a basic overview of possible customization solutions for the problem stoma. An evaluation by an experienced speech pathologist is needed first to determine if a patient is a candidate for a customized device before an anaplastologist can proceed with the design and fabrication of the device. It may be possible to eliminate air escape around the stoma by using the team approach.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead


Eight years ago I was excitedly packing for my very first cruise. My mother and I were meeting in Galveston to join WebWhispers on the 2004 Panama Canal cruise from December 6 through the 18th. I lived just outside of Boston, Massachusetts at the time and Mom was in Venice, Florida.

I was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2000 and had a very rough time of it for several years so even considering a trip like this one would have been impossible before. I knew Mom liked cruising (Dad, not so much – the poor old Navy man got seasick even on the big ships) so we decided it would be a nice mother/daughter present to ourselves and we were off! There were to be many other firsts on that cruise.


When I learned I had cancer I went right online, just like many of you. I found a great site for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma and learned a lot about what I was up against. I also “met” Libby Fitzgerald through their support group and we struck up an instantaneous connection since we had ACC in the same relatively uncommon spot and had both opted for radiation therapy initially. I was just starting treatments and she was some years ahead of me. Radiation bought her a few more years before she had to have a laryngectomy and I knew that might be my fate as well although we were hoping that radiation would do the trick. Well, it did the trick all right! It got rid of the cancer but it also did so much damage to the surrounding tissue that I had to have a permanent tracheotomy 15 months later in order to breathe and eventually lost all use of the vocal cords.

In the summer of 2002 Libby invited me down to her home in Connecticut for a cookout with the ACC local support group and that was the first time I heard anyone who sounded like me! At that point I was able to talk by occluding since I could get a little air up through the trachea and there was some use of the VC. Scar tissue ultimately eroded that as well. So at the time, Libby’s TEP voice was music to my ears! She also told me about WebWhispers and suggested I join even though I didn’t have a laryngectomy since I had many of the same issues. That was the best advice ever – thanks, Libby! Obviously I did join and 2 years later, now using exclusively a Servox, I met up with Libby and John again in Galveston the night before we set sail.


So back to the firsts. Galveston was only the second time I had seen Libby and her husband so I was thrilled to see some familiar faces. The first time I met Pat Sanders, who I knew by name only, was when she came to our room, delivered T-shirts to Mom & me and started in on our education. We both got a quick tutorial on stoma care and voicing with an EL before she was off and running. It was typical Pat and completely disarmed my mother who still felt a bit overwhelmed by it all and had worried about this trip with me more than she had let on. Then we met Len Librizzi who told us where we could find a good place for dinner and I heard someone using a Servox (other than myself) for the first time. Surprisingly Mom understood him better than I did! At dinner Pat came over and invited us to join the table of WW cruisers who were just arriving. We stopped on our way out and although I couldn’t tell you who was at that table now, I remember well the warm welcome and the realization that we were among friends.
The next night, our first night at sea, we met our tablemates. I sat next to Linda and Miguel who live in Mexico. Before we were through dinner I knew Linda and I were going to be special friends and Mom and I both adored Miguel. Those friendships have been maintained online and through the IAL meetings and even by the WW New England/ Maritime Canada cruise last year after which Linda, Miguel and I visited Libby and John before we headed up to Maine to visit with my family.


In 2004, Pat and I sat together on the bus in Mexico as I traveled out to see my first Mayan ruins and she learned I kept a journal. She asked me if I would like to write for Whispers on the Web and my first column appeared two months later in February of 2005.


Now, Linda, Miguel and I are planning a trip to meet up in Spokane for the 2013 IAL including some side trips to area attractions. I will room with Pat as I have many times since meeting her in 2004. We will talk and plan for the future and she will wear me out with her zeal for WW. Although there will be old friends from the past who cannot join us in Spokane they will be there in spirit. New friends will be made and old ones renewed. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Do You Belong To A Local Lost Chord Club?"

If so, please tell us about it such as its activities, history, and influence it may have had on you and others.

 


 

Mary Jane Renner - Indianapolis, IN - Hoosier Anamilo Club

The Power of Support Groups
As a social worker I have always believed in the value of support groups, but I watched that power unfold today. At a local laryngectomee support group the husband of a laryngectomee came to me and explained that his brave wife was losing her third battle with cancer. She had made the decision to discontinue treatment that would reduce her quality of life without lengthening it. He said that she wanted the group members to know, and I asked if he wanted me to tell them. He said “yes” that he just couldn’t do it himself. I told the group that this member after a valiant fight against cancer had made the decision to stop treatment and was currently in hospice care. I said that I knew that the group would share their support and keep her (and the family) in their thoughts and prayers.


What happened during the rest of that meeting demonstrated the power of support groups. Every attendee (some whom have known Nancy for years and some who have just met her) verbally and physically surrounded the laryngectomee and family with love support and prayers. I really felt privileged to watch such compassion and support unfold before my eyes.


We have seen a demise in attendance at many laryngectomee support groups in recent years, which I think is a loss to the laryngectomee community ( both patients and caregivers). What I experienced today tells me that we need to continue to keep these groups viable and available to laryngectomees and their caregivers.
Mary Jane Renner, MSW

 


 

Angelique M. Erickson - Lary 09/01/10 - Lost Chords of San Antonio,TX

I am Angelique, and yes I am a member of Lost Chords of San Antonio. Have been since soon after my recovery. The members are a great group. With laryngectomees and their spouses or life partners. Love how warm and welcoming everyone is, and has been from the start. And how natural each of us handles our different forms of speaking. Many times, if there's no guest speaker. I sit back and listen to the flow of conversation. Amused to hear the same vocal mix, as you would with any group of people in a room. The Christmas party is coming up. And I am looking forward to it. Because the members have become like old friends over the last two years. And I both look forward to seeing, and spending time with folks I feel normal with again. Namaste, y'all

 


 

Betsy Fein, Red Bluff, CA - 2012

 

I wish there was a lost chord club here in Red Bluff,CA, but the closest one I know of is over 100 miles away in Sacramento, and I no longer drive.

I have not even been able to find a local cancer support group. Both my radiation oncologist's office, and the local hospital when I called them just told me to look in the schedule of events in the local paper. (And this is an award winning local hospital for level of patient care and support) ---rolling eyes: LOL

As far as I know, there is only one other Lary in my area, and he is about 30 or so miles away, but surely there are other cancer patients since we have a whole cancer radiology office here.

 


 

Brenda Jackson, Riverside, CA

I am a member and the Secretary for NuVoices, in Riverside Ca. We will be having our Xmas party on the 8th of December and we had a summer ending picnic at the park. It's sort of hard to get our members out!! I'm looking for ideas/suggestions on getting the members more active and involved in doing more. I will be reading the speaking out question, and hope I find some new ideas to share with our club.

 


 

Elizabeth Finchem, CA

A couple that have been coming to one local club that I attend regularly sums up the reason why it is important to maintain a local support group for laryngectomees.


During last month's meeting the man's wife told two new laryngectomees and their family members that she and her husband have learned more from the club members than they have from all their medical professionals. As members for the past four years, she added, they still learn something new every month. Beyond finding out that her husband isn't the only laryngectomee in town, they have learned very practical stuff.

1. The club's loan closet helped with the decision of which EL works best for him.
2. What is the best way to take the hypo-thyroid supplement properly when the Rx vial doesn't have any directions?

3. Does everybody use a shower collar, or an HME?
4. Do all laryngectomees cover their stoma?

5. How much humidity is enough?

As you can see from this sampling of frequently asked questions the club is an important connection for our new laryngectomees.

Over the decades of attending local club meetings I have seen many very frightened men, women and their loved ones show up on the recommendation of their ENT or SLP to visit with us for an hour prior to the surgery. They have an opportunity to meet laryngectomees at every level of recuperation and rehabilitation; all speaking using different methods…electro larynx of all kinds, esophageal speech or TEP (beginning to advanced). I can tell you the relief on the faces and body language of the visitors when they say good bye is notable. What always seems to get their attention is seeing us laughing and enjoying the time we have together.

 


 

Len A Hynds - The Speechless Poet

My local support club is the Ashford Laryngectomee Club, County of Kent in South East England. We cover the area of the East Kent Hospital Trust which consists of 8 hospitals, 3 major ones, two smaller ones, and three others.


There is another support group based at the Medway Maritime Hospital, in the northwest of the county, which is in Gillingham, where the American Indian princess Pocohontas was buried in the parish church.


I met members of my group before my operation, under the 'Buddie' scheme, in fact three of them appeared, and over the nine years since, the whole group have become a second family. All our club meetings are held at the hospital,
and our chair is the Ward Manager, Nursing Sister Caroline Mackenzie. All the nurses and doctors on the ENT Ward are honorary members of our club, and take part in all our social activities. We have at least three trips to the continent, either France or Belgium each year, our coach going on the train beneath the 22 miles of the English Channel. We do that for speed. We are off to a Christmas market at Amiens in France in two weeks time.


We have quaint old village pub lunches, and our Christmas dinner is just a few weeks away, one evening. We have quiz nights, cream teas and lots of other happenings. On the serious side we all contribute to the club, with money raised by marathons and coffee mornings etc. People, like myself, donate cash by things we have done. One chap who before his operation could not even put up a shelf, now makes the most beautiful wooden chests. My own effort is the sale of short stories and poetry. But we all take an active interest in spreading the gospel about neck breathers and, to my knowledge, four of us are on different cancer related committees. At our club meetings we all discuss the various things that are afoot.


I personally am on the Kent & Medway Cancer Partnership Group, which is a county run thing, a patient representative on the East Kent Hospital Forum, and also on the high-powered government run scheme The Disease Oriented Group. I have also been to the police and fire brigade training schools to talk about resuscitation for neck breathers as the first responders.


I often talk at our club meetings of what WebWhispers Laryngectomees are worried about, or the Aussies down under. We all help out in spreading the gospel when our experts hold seminars.


In so many ways we are thankful that every part of our health service is absolutely free.

 


 

John Haedtler, New Mexico, USA - 2001

I wish I could say yes to this question. Unfortunately, there are NO clubs here in New Mexico. The closest thing we have are the great SLP's at UNMH. They set up and find speakers for us here about once a year. Carol and Paul have bent over backwards so many times for all of us Laryngectomees. I only wish I could do something for them to let them know how much all of their efforts have been appreciated by all of us.


At our last meeting we only had about 12 Laryngectomees but they brought their families. We had a nice visit with 2 of the sales representatives from a medical company then we all sat and talked with each other. We learn so much with a gathering like this. We all learn something new, not just the newcomers. I'm hoping to figure out a way to have more of these. But our state is large and we are spread out all over the state.


I can't express how much this does for the Laryngectomy community. Just knowing we are not alone going through all of this! That makes all the difference in the world!

 


 

Jim Lauder, San Antonio, TX

I am a member of the San Antonio Lost Chord Club and I try to attend when I can. I travel quite a bit and do miss meetings. My father was a past President of this club and I attend meetings and maintain their artificial larynx loan closet.

There are a couple of other clubs that I like to claim as being a member of. One is the Montgomery County Laryngectomy Club administered by Herb Simon. I try to attend their summer picnic annually and bring my tool kit there to do repairs. Herb and Sally Simon do an outstanding job.

I think it would be a great idea if individual clubs networked together when something is needed and/or someone needs help. This population is pretty small and we need to help each other out when we can. I think each club should have a designated contact person who can represent their club via email or snail mail. Just my thoughts...

 


 

Ellen Frohardt, Colorado Springs, CO - August 2006

After my laryngectomy in 2006, I was determined to start a "club" in Colorado Springs. Early in 2010, I was contacted by a local surgeon here who knew me and advised me that a social worker from a major hospital in Colorado Springs was starting a Head and Neck Cancer Support Group....and asked me to contact her if I was interested in participating. At first, I was very disappointed that someone else seemed to have "beat me to the punch" in starting a group. Not only that....this was for all kinds of head and neck cancers...not strictly a laryngectomee-support group. I was a bit hesitant as this is not what I had envisioned at all. Not only was it not "MY" club, but also incorporated a whole array of cancers and conditions that were not specific to my needs or those particular to laryngectomees.

After considerable (well, not too much!) thought, I met with the hospital social worker and decided to "dive" right in. What a great decision that was! We started the support group in July of 2010. We meet on the last Monday of every month and currently have 31 participants, with an average attendance of 12-16. It has been a wonderful education experience for me to learn about other cancers and treatments and everyone benefits and learns from everyone else. There are 6 laryngectomees in the group at this time (we rule!).

While stories, situations, treatments and medical specifics may differ, we all benefit by the sharing of our stories and educating each other. Everyone has the same fears of recurrence, the same hopes for the future, and the same need for optimism and humor. AND....I get to let someone else to the "heavy lifting"...you know, the room scheduling, the refreshment ordering, the worrying about logistics, etc. I send out the notices, do the "welcoming" and actively participate in topic selection and teaching, when appropriate.

This has been a wonderful way to actively participate in a support group and I encourage anyone who is interested to contact your local hospital social worker to see if you can participate in this way.

 


 

Pam OLeary - Aug 2011


I was member of the local club but it is 60 miles away. I have been sick and to Mass General since May through the end of July. Then I was home near Portsmouth NH and sick with infections and finally treated with twice daily radiation and weekly chemo treatments. So I haven't been to the local club and wish there was one closer to home. Im feeling rather isolated with my issues.

 


 

Louis Trammell, Chicago - 2009

I became a Lary 09/08/09 and did not meet another Lary until a year later when I visited my sister who lived in Dubuque Iowa, it was my meeting with them that made me decide to start my own group, Lary's Speakeasy, here in Chicago as there wasn't another group that I could attend in my area. My group is still very small so I find we can really focus on the new patients needs as our primary goal is early education in those first weeks and months, in fact right now we have a patient visiting us who will be having his surgery December 10th.. About 10 months ago, I met Aaron F, a fellow WW member and he drives so we also attend the Lutheran General and Loyola groups which are out in the suburbs and I find each group has something different to offer and each one of these groups have some super SLP's running them; thank you Shelly and Sarah and of course Janelle for my group. I'm hoping someday we can all work together to promote the welfare of every Lary and I would love to get the VI back to Chicago someday. Webwhispers was my savior but nothing beats face to face contact with another Lary so I suggest to all new patients to use both.

 


 

David Hughes - Desert Voices, Phoenix, AZ

 

We are a 40 member group called “Desert Voices” which meet monthly at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. We are a relatively new group which started in 2009 and has gradually built a loyal attendance mainly due to the enthusiasm of the members and the staff at Mayo who continue to maintain a presence at our meetings and provide meaningful information to the group. Additionally, the group has achieved a very strong bonding and support culture which make our meetings enjoyable as well as informative.

We publish a quarterly newsletter “Desert Breeze”, which coincides with information published in the IAL Newsletter, and includes a variety of topics including important health items and feedback from our members. It is the type of meeting we enjoy even though many of our group travel over 100 miles to attend. I think this speaks to the quality of the meetings and the enjoyment we get from our membership in the group.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loyd Enochs - Evansville, IN and Denver, CO (work)
Lary class of December 2009

Here is a picture of our 3 mastiff-mix breed puppies (well, not puppies anymore :) ).

We got them in October of 2010 as shelter puppies at 8 weeks old and they are now all in the 75-80 pound range! They have been marvelous companions and they finally understand now that my stoma is not an open wound that they need to "lick and make better".


 

Donna McGary - In Memory of Smokey

Smokey and my grand-daughter Kayleigh were best friends, as you can see. Unfortunately Smokey lost his battle with IBD this summer but even when not feeling well he was exceedingly patient with the young intern and rather enjoyed his role as lounging pillow. We both miss him but will get another furry friend or two soon!


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

LOOK WHO'S TALKING

Jack Henslee 

 

Back in 1989 I responded to a request from the University of Pacific (UOP) Speech Department (Stockton, CA) to attend a semi social event with their post graduate SLP students. At that time they had a unique 1 year Masters program for SLPs and I was working on my esophageal speech with one of their students. They had obtained a list of local laryngectomees from the ACS (I presume) and in return for our interaction with their students we were promised some coffee, cookies, and other snacks courtesy of the students. That was the beginning of my local Lost Chord Club.


One year later we had a charter, officers, and were proud members of the International Association of Laryngectomees (IAL) as well as the California Association of Laryngectomees (CAL). At the suggestion of my wife Gayle we named ourselves “Look Who’s Talking” and we are still kicking today although our numbers have dwindled greatly and most of us are getting up there in years. Through the years we have done a lot that we are proud of and have been deeply involved in the hosting of 3 IAL meetings and 4-5 CAL meetings. But that’s not what this article is about. In addition to a great annual barbeque, a sit down Christmas dinner at a local restaurant, a Western Night dinner and dance (our major fundraiser), we also do a houseboat trip. Not once but twice a year. We call it therapy and strongly believe that our survival is based on our social activities as much as our other rehabilitation efforts. Let me tell you about our houseboat trips…


Starting in 1990 our club president (Jack Fuller) invited us all out for a day on the delta in his houseboat. (As a little background Stockton sits on the edge of a major delta with over 700 miles of waterway and is a major recreational area for water sports and fishing.) Jack also owns a 7-11 so in addition to providing the boat he also brings out various beverages and snacks from his store and we only pay for what we use. The rest goes back to the store so there is no waste. We do this little trip twice a year. Once in the Spring and once in the Fall, plus we always go on a weekday when the river rat activity isn’t too crowded. Rain or shine we go!


We refer to our outings as “Cruises”, Delta Cruises to be exact! Not as fancy as the WW Cruises, a lot shorter, but at least its FREE. In fact all our social activities are free of any charge. We usually set sail at 11:00 with the beverage of your choice (I can normally be spotted with a Bloody Mary in hand) and a variety of snacks to nibble on. The Delta has many restaurants scattered around it that are accessible by boat and we normally alternate between 4-5 different ones, but some favorites get a little more action from us. The trip out normally runs 2-3 hrs. and is filled with relaxed conversations and the observation of the varied wild life mostly in the form of birds, and perhaps a beaver or wayward seal on occasions. Lots of other boats are out there also to include big sea going freighters since Stockton is also an inland deep port.


We usually call our orders in ahead of time so once we arrive lunch comes pretty quickly. Some places ask us to pick 4-5 menu items in advance to choose from while others let us go right from the regular menu. That takes a lot longer but…who’s in a rush? This isn’t a hot dog or hamburger event folks although they are available. We are talking full scale lunch with a cocktail and wine if you like. That is for everyone except the designated ship jockey that day.


After a nice lunch and maybe a quick dance to the juke box on the way out we are headed back to home port. There are lots of naps on the way back, what with a full stomach, gentle waters, maybe a warm breeze, and the lingering taste of that Chablis you had with the grilled shrimp and crab sandwich. There’s usually a poker game that breaks out but a lot of the old players have sailed their last time with us. Don’t know how much longer all this will last but the times have been good and memories even better.


Want to make your group stronger? Take them on cruise if you can, or do something else that’s fun. If you’re ever out my way in the Spring or Fall give me a call. We may have cruise scheduled and there is always room. Did I mention the free part?
Bon Voyage
Jack Henslee

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

A Strange Christmas Dinner


My main support club is the Ashford, Kent, Laryngectomee Club, but over the years I have been invited to join
several others of people who have survived cancer in its many other forms. My usefulness to them is in writing for their magazines or newsletters, either short stories or poems. So I get invited to many Christmas dinners throughout the county. One of these groups is the Canterbury Cancer Care Group and it has a large membership.

Their Christmas dinner last year was held at the Abbots Barton Hotel with about 150 guests. I found myself the only man on a round table containing middle aged or elderly ladies, and sadly each one was a widow. Two of the ladies remembered my late wife Tilly at previous meetings, and enquired why I was on my own. I had to explain that I had lost her in the summer and as I looked at all of them I could tell that they were thinking of the loss of their own partner. I tried to change the subject to make the dinner party a happy occasion, and jokingly I told them that when I started eating I would be unable to talk, but I had come prepared with some paper and a pen.

The dinner was served and I was rendered speechless, having left my Tru-Tone at home, of course. But the questions continued to come from these ladies, who had all survived cancer in one form or another, but were interested in a laryngectomee survivor. I kept writing down answers between mouthfuls of turkey or later plum pudding, and the lady next to me read out the answers.

I suddenly realised that she was unfolding the paper, and was reading something on the back. Tears came into her eyes, and I guessed that I had grabbed a piece of paper with a sad poem on the back. Oh dear ! She then passed it round and as each lady in turn read it, each one had tears coming down her cheeks. One lady left the hall to go to the ladies room. What a disaster, and I had caused it !

All the people at nearby tables were staring at us, more particularly at me and clearly the message in their eyes was what has that dreadful man said to upset them so.

That particular poem had been prompted by the 80 Christmas cards from family and friends from around the world, but of course one from dear Tilly was missing. So I had composed a thought poem, as if she had written it.

WEEP NO MORE

My love, no longer must you weep,
though I have gone, I'm not asleep.
I'm with you still, in every way,
I am, my love, with you today.

I am the summer breeze that blows,
the wonder of those winter snows,
each sparkling star you see at night,
I am, my love, within your sight.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain,
I am each golden grain of sand,
I am the one who holds your hand.

So, my love, no longer cry,
though not here, I did not die.

[December 2011]

That was the strangest Christmas Dinner I have ever had!!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bits, Bytes and No Butts!
December 2012

 

Do You Google?
A rose, by any other name, is still a rose. You have heard this many times in your life, but in the case of searching the internet for answers, the term "google" has become the most accepted term for conducting a search even though you could be using one of hundreds of search providers.

The personal computer and the Internet can provide you with a wealth of knowledge that was unimagined 20 years ago. If you are not googling then you are missing out on many of the Web's vast amounts of information. Did you know you can ask a plain text question? If you enter the text “Is there a cure for squamous cell carcinoma?” in your search box you will be directed to several 'how to' sites, as well as hospitals and related medical practices. If you can ask it, a google will find answers.

In actuality, there are many search engine alternatives available. Each one is unique in its own way since they each use slightly different methods. Microsoft's Internet Explorer comes with Bing by default; however, you can select to use any other search engine.

Since the search engine business generates revenue for the companies that offer it, they will often insert their paid advertisers at the top of your results page. This means that your search results must be reviewed to ensure you are going to the results you wanted.

Alternative search engines include Dogpile, DuckDuckGo, Wikipedia, Surf Canyon, YouTube, and Amazon just to name a few.

Windows 8 Arrives
The long anticipated debut of Windows 8 arrived on October 26th. Windows 8 is an operating system designed around the touch screens for tablets and cell phones. Microsoft has carried this new technology to the desktop computer, as well, which has caused ongoing debates as to its functionality. Microsoft is offering a trial version that is good through January 31, 2013, if you'd like to take it for a ride.


If you are happy with your current Windows operating system you do not have to do anything. If you want to give Windows 8 a try, there is a comprehensive review, from Tom's Hardware you might like to read: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-8-review,3334.html

This link is also posted in our WW Forum under the 'Computer & Internet Stuf'f ' message board section, where you may ask questions, make comments, or discuss the topic with others.

If you are in the market to buy a new Windows computer be sure you try it out first since they are now being sold with Windows 8 as the default operating system, whether or not you have a touch screen monitor. If you don't care for it most dealers will install Windows 7 for you at no cost...if not, shop somewhere else.

Digital Storage and Memory Basics
CNET has an excellent series of articles on everything you need to know (and some things you don't) about storage and memory components. This is an editorial written in easy to understand terms and with very good photo examples. Follow the link below:

http://howto.cnet.com/8301-33088_39-57545421/digital-storage-basics-part-1-internal-storage-vs-memory/

(CNET is a free technology news service, owned by CBS, anyone can sign up for news alerts in areas of interest. They cover both Windows and Mac technologies).

Hot Tip
Need to do some quick math? Instead of digging for a calculator go to you search box (be sure you have Google selected) and enter your equation. IE: 129+30-45=  then hit enter. Google's search box will give you the result 114!

Got a PC problem or question? Drop me a note and I will try to answer it for you or, better yet, you can ask it in the WW Forum under the Computer & Internet Stuff section.

 


 

Web Of Trust (WOT)
LET'S YOU KNOW THE SAFE SITES

You can add to your browsing security with browser add-ons or extensions. The one I always have active on any browser I use is Web Of Trust (WOT).

WOT maintains a database of user reviews and warnings of websites that are safe for everyone, may have parental concerns for young children, and those that are scams. WOT will display a green light for safe, orange for marginal or questionable and red for sites to totally avoid.

WOT is available as an add-on or extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. To install WOT go to your add-ons/extensions menu and enter “WOT” and hit enter. The install button for WOT will show and then you simply click on it and it will self install. Once you have it installed you can register and have your own personal settings and you're ready to safely search the web for sites that you are interested in with the comfort of knowing you have a security monitor to rate the site for you as safe or stay away.

If that is confusing to you, just go to their site at http://www.mywot.com and download there or read more on their blog, forum or community.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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