January 2016

 


 

 

Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Two Lessons - Two Books News & Events
VoicePoints Brad Smith, CCC-SLP, CLT HEAD AND NECK LYMPHEDEMA Education-Med
Between Friends Donna McGary Artful Living Commentary
Speaking Out Members "Tell Us Of Your Artistic Skills" Opinion
Dear Lary Noirin Sheahan Christmas Presents & Christmas Presence Commentary
Travel With Larys Patrick Kerr on a cruise WebWhispers Member Rings Bell Experiences
The Speechless Poet Len A Hynds Contribution "Tell Us Of Your Skills" Prose & Poetry
Bits, Bytes & No Butts! Frank Klett Year of the Chromebook? Computers

 

 

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

COMMENT HERE
FEEDBACK

 

 

 

Two Lessons


For years now, I have had times when I could not swallow well, when my throat had some swelling, or yeast and/or acid reflux was aggravating the situation. Usually a slow down of my chewing and swallowing and sipping liquids would help to keep me comfortable eating, even if slow. Since I live alone, I never minded taking a long time to eat and have several great bookholders that let me enjoy taking my time and catch up on my reading. AND, the swelling would go down and I was eating easily again, soon, even if not fast.

I have considered the Nutri(Magic)Bullet or something similar, for an occasional meal but I ended up never using the small choppers I got and they were more trouble than it was worth. I have seen several people now who are able to eat regular dinners because of the bullets.… and there are times when I looked at left over veggies and considered what I could do about blending them.

I had an appointment yesterday with the oral surgeon to have three broken teeth removed and I thought about that a couple of weeks ago when I saw the NutriBullet on sale. Yep! I bought myself an early Christmas present. Unpacked it and cleaned it but after yesterday, decided today was the left over dinner soup day. I had chopped carrots and potatoes , cooked and seasoned with a little salt and butter.. and I put them in the mixer. I had some chopped pork Bar-B-Q so I added that… then you need a liquid so I opened a carton of vegetable broth and filled it to the mark. I was all set to try it for no more than a minute… but couldn’t get it to go on. I finally went to the computer and asked the dumb question…. and it took me to a couple of youtube videos. The first one was well done, pretty to look at but still didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. The second one was videoed by someone stumbling through trying to handle the nutribullet and the camera at the same time.. BUT had experienced the same problem I had.. and got the message across. I walked back to the kitchen, reset it to line up right and pushed down on the unit…

I had a cup of the most delicious creamed soup in a small bowl…one minute in the microwave so it wasn’t too hot for my tender mouth. Then returned and poured the rest of it, another minute in the microwave and my first session with it was a great success.

So I learned two lessons today. One was how to turn on the nutribullet and the other that when we tell people how to do things, we use appropriate words to simply explain what we are talking about and not skip a step!

 

Two Books

For many years, Jack Henslee and I have worked somewhat together with various newsletters... Last year both of us published books, which would never have been written had we not become laryngectomees so to tie in with Speaking Out this month:

LOOK WHO'S TALKING; A GUIDE TO ESOPHAGEAL SPEECH
by Jack Henslee
Back in 1991-1992 I published a book on esophageal speech titled "Look Who's Talking." For a few years it was issued to incoming students at the IAL Voice Institute and enjoyed 2 printings over the years. However with the gaining popularity of TEP speech, interest sharply declined and the cost of publishing became prohibitive so it went out of print. Through the years I continued to get scattered requests for a copy which I filled with a very limited inventory I had left.

Inspired by Pat's great book I decided to do some minor updates and make it available online as a digital version which is now available on Amazon for the Kindle or other options with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. If interested you can find a copy at

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L2YB6T2
Amazon has both Print and Kindle Version


I LEFT MY VOICE ON THE DINING ROOM TABLE
by Pat Wertz Sanders

Book Description
Publication Date: May 23, 2014
"This isn't a book about a courageous fight against cancer or a triumphant tale of survival. Instead, it's a matter-of-fact glimpse at the world of a very specific cancer with the intention of educating patients, caregivers, family members, and even the medical community. It is packed with useful tips for those who are battling throat cancer and who need to understand what normal will look like for the rest of their lives."

http://www.amazon.com/Left-Voice-Dining-Room-Table/dp/1499625057/
Amazon has both Print and Kindle Version


Enjoy,
Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President

 

 

 


HEAD AND NECK LYMPHEDEMA

Swelling of the head and neck is usually considered lymphedema when it has not resolved within an expected timeframe, there is known damage to the lymphatic system, and there are noticeable changes to the skin. These changes may include a general fullness and tightness, with or without increased firmness of the tissues. The two most common causes of lymphedema for patients with cancer are radiation treatment and surgery, but it can also be caused by chronic infections, trauma, and sometimes by certain chemotherapy drugs. Lymphedema is most often seen in the arms and hands due to breast cancer treatment, but also occurs in the legs, trunk, genitals, and the head and neck region, depending on the area of the body that was treated. Approximately 50% of patients who receive radiation or surgery to the head and neck will develop lymphedema and while most people usually encounter head and neck lymphedema within the first year of their treatment, it can occur many years later.

WHY DID I GET IT?

You may have developed stiffness or “muscle tightness” in your neck and shoulders called “fibrosis”. You may also have developed lymphedema. To differentiate between fibrosis and lymphedema, imagine a sponge lying on top of a board. The sponge represents the skin and the board represents the muscles. Fibrosis is scarring in the muscles and connective tissues that creates hard, firm tissues (the board) and prevents the muscles from moving in a normal fashion. This results in reduced strength and flexibility and may limit your ability to turn your head, look up, or maintain good posture over time. Fibrosis is one of the most common complications following radiation and surgery and sometimes can be reduced with treatment, but in cases of severe scarring and tightness, it cannot and the best hope is to try and maintain your current level of function and prevent it from worsening. This is often what causes many people who have had a total laryngectomy to develop poor posture, since the muscles in the front of the neck and shoulders are so tight, it is difficult to stand up straight. It is recommended to routinely stretch your neck and shoulders and maintain the best posture you can. Physical therapy after your treatment is a good idea so you can learn strategies to prevent the tissues from becoming fibrotic. It is much harder to rehabilitate once fibrosis is present. Lymphedema results in swelling of the skin (swollen sponge) that may cause tightness and discomfort but may be variable and while it may simply be a cosmetic nuisance for some, it may create difficulties with breathing, speech, or swallowing function, as well as other concerns. These conditions can be present simultaneously and both can be treated with specialized “massage” techniques, but the techniques are very different and each requires specialized training.

If you didn’t have radiation and only had surgery, why would you develop swelling in your neck and face? In non-damaged lymphatic systems, the lymph fluid travels from the head through both sides of the neck, downward toward the areas above each collarbone, where the fluid is emptied into the bloodstream. These lymphatic vessels are located in the skin and are often disrupted by surgical incisions. When lymph nodes are removed, additional damage to the lymph system occurs, resulting in increased swelling. Patients often have swelling above the scars since the fluid is trying to pass beyond the scar and essentially “collects” in an area. However, this is not a pocket of fluid that can be drained, since it occurs between the skin cells. After a total laryngectomy, the scar may extend from ear to ear, crossing the middle of the neck, acting like a dam to stop the flow of lymphatic fluid through the vessels in the skin. Most of time, the edema is worse following both radiation and surgery that results in a thick, heavy scar. Many people report severe swelling in the morning, but improvement as the day progresses. Others report the opposite, with swelling being greatest in the evening. This fluctuation is common in the earlier phases of lymphedema. As the tissues become more firm, the swelling remains more constant and the functional deficits become more evident over time.

You may have experienced lymphedema yourself or seen someone who has swelling beneath their chin that was so large that it covered the stoma and interfered with breathing when the chin was lowered. Many times, a laryngectomy tube or other device is required so the airway is kept open when the head is not being held in an upright position. When the edema affects the jaws, lips, or tongue, speech and swallowing can be impaired. If it involves the eyelids, vision may be affected and if the eyes are swollen shut, walking and driving are not possible. Not all cases of lymphedema are so debilitating and may be more of a cosmetic concern than anything else. However, early intervention is important to prevent it from worsening.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?

Head and neck lymphedema is usually treatable, but requires proper intervention. It is important that you be evaluated by a physician initially, to rule out other sources of swelling like a blood clot, infection, or recurrent cancer. There are conditions that can prevent you from receiving lymphedema treatment, such a series of strokes or heart attacks, clogged arteries in your neck, congestive heart failure, or kidney disease. Once your doctor has determined that you are healthy enough for treatment and the swelling in your neck and face is lymphedema, a referral can be made to a lymphedema therapist for evaluation and treatment. Ideally, treatment should be provided using a strategy known as Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is considered the “Gold Standard” for lymphedema management. The goal of treatment is to “re-route” the fluid from the swollen area to a better functioning drainage area using a network of lymph nodes and vessels that has not been damaged. In most cases this would mean moving fluid from the head and neck to the lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary) region, since they are typically not damaged by treatment for head and neck cancer.

CDT should be performed by someone who has completed the certification training and coursework required to become a certified lymphedema therapist. Lymphedema therapists are most commonly physical, occupational, or medical massage therapists, but may also be speech pathologists, nurses, or physicians who have completed this specialized training. However, since head and neck lymphedema is less common than lymphedema in other parts of the body, there are fewer lymphedema therapists who have experience with lymphedema of the head and neck. Ask your clinician about his/her experience before treatment. It is always recommended you work with an experienced head and neck clinician, since there are important differences in the treatment approaches.

CDT consists of four components described below. Lymphedema treatment features a very soft and gentle skin stretching technique called Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) that improves the movement of the lymph fluid through the body. MLD should be combined with compression wrapping or garments for maximum benefit. Compression with padding before MLD softens the hard tissues before MLD and makes the tissues more responsive to treatment. After MLD, compression helps prevent refilling of the swollen areas and promotes the flow of the lymph fluid to the desired drainage area once the MLD is finished. Compression and/or constriction of the head and neck region can be very dangerous, which is why it is important to contact an experienced head and neck therapist.A knowledgeable clinician is required for guidance and selection of the proper type of compression for your specific situation, as not every patient presents with the same compression needs.

Skin care is the third component of CDT. It is important to address any wounds and/or areas within the head and neck region that are difficult to keep clean. Poor hygiene in skin folds of the head and neck can result in collection of dirt and oil, as well as bacteria. If neglected over time, tissue breakdown can occur and create additional complications. Finally, facial and neck exercises are used to promote fluid movement and also to improve flexibility in the neck, face, and shoulder region. These are often performed while wearing the compression garment to enhance the drainage from the head and neck.

Depending on the severity of the edema, treatment may be required for several months and may include both outpatient therapy and a home treatment component. For patients with limited swelling, a few outpatient treatment sessions may be all that is required before he/she can take over treatment at home. In cases of severe lymphedema, intensive outpatient treatment is often required. It is recommended that patients begin performing home management techniques from the onset of treatment. Successful performance of the home program is equally as important as the outpatient treatment, in order to attain effective long term reduction of the edema.

Patients that live in rural areas may be unable to consistently attend outpatient treatment. The treatment regimen may vary in these situations, requiring the patients to primarily perform home based treatment. In these cases, it is recommended the clinician provide the patient and caregiver 1-2 intensive training sessions and ensure the patient can follow the written home program. If the patient is motivated and compliant with the recommended treatment, management of lymphedema in this manner can be a very effective approach.

Brad Smith, CCC-SLP, CLT
Senior Speech Pathologist & Certified Lymphedema Therapist

Brad Smith, MS, CCC-SLP, CLT is a speech-language pathologist with 27 years of experience, specializing in the evaluation and treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. He is the lead lymphedema therapist in the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Head and Neck Lymphedema Program in Houston, Texas. Mr. Smith is also the instructor for the Head and Neck Lymphedema Management course offered by the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy to speech pathologists, physicians, and certified lymphedema therapists.

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd. Box 340
Houston, TX 77030
bradgsmith@mdanderson.org
713-745-5820 office


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artful Living

 

It’s 3AM the early morning after a lovely Christmas here in my corner of the world and I can’t sleep. No particular reason, although there is much to worry about should I be so inclined. But this is more like just a vague restlessness. I blame it on too many Christmas cookies and my daughter-in-law’s sinfully good toffee. I start puttering about - something I find particularly comforting. I decide to throw caution to the wind and try some of the newly bottled wine I made. I’ll feel like hell tomorrow and look even worse but sometimes a little reckless behavior in the privacy of your own home is a good idea. As I savored the glass of new wine which “shows promise’” as they say, I admired my Christmas tree lights and realized that a bit of` living room furniture re-arranging was in order. The jury is still out on the success of my wine-infused re-decorating but before all that fun, as I puttered about, I also reflected on how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy “My Wonderful Life”.

As cancer survivors we know all too well how much we might have missed. 2015 started off rough for me – my dad died on January 10th after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was able to be at home with his family beside him but we have been missing him this Christmas. He really loved the holidays with his family. He missed the birth of his third great-grand-daughter; the miracle baby of my nephew, also battling cancer…once again. He missed the tale of how his second great-grand-daughter “trimmed the tree” literally – evidenced by the branch tips stuck in her hair. He missed seeing all three generations of McGarys run/walk a 5K fundraiser for cancer research.

Those family adventures are not big things except to us. In the world we all live in there are much bigger, troublesome issues. But whether we choose to address life’s issues by hunkering down or by railing at the machine we all face the same fact; the day has only 24 hours and they fly by at astonishing speed. So as we choose our method to face the world’s crises I resolve to face my daily crises by paying attention. Depending on who you ask the details are either in god or in the devil but obviously details matter to either persuasion. Peace Accords have broken down over a phrase and siblings have stopped talking to each other for years for much the same thing.

Border wars, racism, family feuds, miscellaneous grudges – we humans are a contentious bunch. I am not being flippant. It’s just that how awful we can be is overwhelming sometimes and there are no easy answers to our human frailties. Sometimes the only and perhaps even the best way we can make a difference is to try to make our little piece of the world a better place. We can do that in many ways. This month a number of our talented members showed us their creativity in response to the “Speaking Out” question on artistic skills. Whether they express themselves through painting, welding, beadwork, sculpture, glass, photography, words or any other medium they enrich our world with beauty and inspiration, with usefulness and fun, with joie de vivre. It is their gift to the world and we are all better for it.

There is beautiful art all around us – folks using their creativity to make their corner of our world a better place- using their uniquely inspired gifts to beautify, edify and enlighten. Teachers use it to open young minds to their full potential. Parents use it help their children become moral, responsible, contributing members of society, support groups use it to reach out, encourage and educate, strangers use it when they reach out to one another to lend a helping hand during times of crisis.

We need to be paying attention to recognize and appreciate this art of grace-full living. Daily life goes by so fast that it’s easy to miss sometimes – the way someone transforms a common, humble even, act into a work of art. Art, according to Webster’s College Dictionary, is “the realm of what is beautiful or of more than ordinary significance.” Noirin Sheahan, in her column “Dear Lary”, writes of her “present of presence”. That level of mindfulness requires discipline and a skill which is beyond me. Her dedication has elevated “paying attention” to an art form. But being an artist is within everyone’s grasp. And even if you think you can’t BE an artist, you can appreciate the art and beauty around you. The art world needs its connoisseurs too, after all! Sometimes just a simple gesture of kindness to a stranger can be transformative and turn a chance encounter in the grocery store into a moment of grace and beauty and that, my friends, is an art we all can master.

So this year I’m not resolving to exercise more and criticize less, although both would be excellent recommendations ☺, I am resolving to pay way better attention to the everyday stuff of life – to try to elevate day to day existence into artful living, to try to appreciate the beauty being created all around me and make my own modest contribution. And just in case you were wondering, that 3 AM furniture arrangement turned out to be inspired! There is now a perfect little open area for dancing with grand-daughters. And while my dancing, in particular, will never be artistry, it IS a creative and joyful expression of love and life – not to mention great exercise and that’s close enough for me. Happy New Year, everyone!


 

 

 

 

"Tell Us Of Your Artistic Skills"

 

 

John S. Kerr - Southport, NC

2015

 

I joined WebWhispers in May, shortly after having a total laryngopharyngectomy on April 29, 2015. I am 72.  The operation was necessitated because of life-threatening recurrence of an aggressive Hurthle Cell thyroid cancer which first presented in 2008.

For most of my life singing was a major pastime (first tenor in a classical chorus and also in a barbershop chorus).  Now that singing is lost to me forever, I have been truly blessed with discovering a totally new pastime:  water color painting!  I’ve been doing this since 2011 and now spend (on average) 25 hr. a week on it, doing landscapes of our summer retreat on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and of our retirement town of Southport, NC.  I love doing landscapes, portraits of people and dogs, and still lives. In 2011 I was totally new to water color painting.....just got curious one day and was hooked!

If it weren’t for the exceptional and devoted support of my wife Bonnie (married 50 years last summer) and my new passion for painting, I really don’t know if I could have effectively coped with the wrenching life-style changes following my 42 hours of surgery last April.

Woodworking was also a major pastime of mine prior to my larynpharogectomy.

Since the surgery, I found that being around fine particulates (often generated in woodwork) was very troublesome for my stoma even when wearing my HMEs and using an air filter in my shop. Foreign particles would just build up too fast in my HMEs.

So, I made the decision to give my entire woodworking shop (power and hand tools and 5,000+ board feet of cherry, pine, and walnut) to an outfit in Wilmington, NC called "Kids Making It."  This organization focuses in taking young kids off the street and away from the enticements of crime and drugs and teaching them the fundamentals of good woodworking (and the skills of design, careful measurement, respect for tools, etc.).  This fine organization has graduated a number of teenagers and placed them in college or in the trades where they are becoming productive citizens with pride, confidence, and skill.  While it was tough giving up this avocation, I was thrilled to see how very appreciative this organization was for the gift.

 

 

 


 

Ron Mattoon - Des Moines, WA

When I had my radiation treatments, my brother had me save my mask they used to clamp my head to the table. He is an artist and used it to create a sculpture with our family shield. It hangs in my office and is a reminder of his caring for what I went through to beat the cancer.

I am including a photo but the sculpture is about 4 feet tall. The netting on the hand holding the sword was over my IV during my chemo. You will notice that he also included a filter for my stoma. He titled it “The Warrior Against Cancer”

I am not the artist but you are welcome to use it in the newsletter. I used it on my business cards that I give to patients when I visit them in the hospitals.

 

 

 


 

John Haedtler - Espanola , NM

2001

First I’m an aircraft mechanic by trade. That is sort of artistic. I can build a plane! After my surgery I was unable to work my old job with a Crop Duster, so now I like to learn new ways of welding. New TIG machine for Christmas!

In my life I like to make things, Artistic I guess? My friends call it Autistic! But when I get bored I make things. I get bored a lot! I still play with airplanes, just not as much as I would like to! But I have started making what I call go karts, My friends call them ATV’s.

I start with a known design and figure out what won’t work for me. I’m 6 foot tall and most designs are for little people. So it is make, try, and change till it fits!

It keeps me busy! That is the bottom line! Sanity!

 

 



Lorna Larson – St. Louis, MO

1/2014

In March, my friend from church introduced me to beading and making jewelry.  After trying different styles, I have found my niche.  I made these for my sister and nieces for Christmas.  I find it relaxing.  I even made a couple lanyards like this to hold my EL.

 

 

(Ladies who use ELs, let me know if you want a lanyard.  It won’t be like this, but it is better than the strap they come with!)

 


 

Charles Donaldson – Asheville, NC

2014

I’ve been an artist for 45 years here in Asheville, NC doing my thing. Yep I'm a Lary since Nov. 2014.

Back in studio as I text you I’m working on a new medium, switching over from glass and stone to paper so I will have new photos in near future. Removed my website off line which showcased glass sculpting, etched glass and reversed painted glass.

The sandblasting tried to do me in. But I'm back and my best work is about to appear, I'm fired up and stoked, yea life's good when one realizes we’re here to express creativity.

If you go to Southern Highlands Craft Guild online

(http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/membership/current-members/member-gallery/?id=613&category_id=33)

you can find some of my work.

Peace, Charles

 

 


 

Betsy Fein - Red Bluff CA

Class of 2012

These are for a brand new book I am writing for my new 4 month old grandson. I do not know the story yet, the pictures will tell it to me, but it involves a very small boy who lives in this house.

I finally get a TEP next week! I was completely mute until a year ago when I got "my robot"  a Cooper Rand from the phone company. I learned sign language from JW's and some I made up or just wrote everything down, for those three long years. As you can guess, I am in heaven getting a TEP next week!

My complete neck dissection was done within 12 hours of seeing an ENT and being sent to UC Davis on emergency, seeing a doc there who actually had an ambulance pick me up for immediate surgery! Quite a shock and quite a trail I have traveled, drawing and making unusual and beautiful glycerin soaps have gotten me through a lot of it, but that is a different story...laughing but not out loud…. YET!

 

 

 


 

Malcolm Graham - Oswaldwhistle, Accrington, UK

Nov. 2014

My name is Malcolm Graham, I am 72 yrs. old and I had my surgery 25th November 2014. I live in the county of Lancashire in the North of England. I was a rally driver for over 35 yrs., and was an "after dinner" speaker.

Since Feb 2011 until my surgery I was having treatment for vocal cord cancer, albeit in the early stages of stage 1. I had been baker all my life, having my own business for 43 yrs., but once diagnosed I retired and to fill in my leisure time I was given a "painting by numbers". I became frustrated by having to find all the different numbers so I took it upon myself to just paint the scene in my own style. I needed to progress, so, I found Bob Ross on the television and continued to paint in his style, very successfully. From then on I painted various landscapes, beach scenes, boats, country living and all sorts of different subjects.

I am a member of "Good vibrations" laryngectomy group which is part of the East Lancashire Laryngectomy Club and I have just had an exhibition of my paintings to raise money for the group’s funds, which is doing fine at the moment. I can only say to anyone who has a serious operation of this kind, that there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you look for it, and, many talents can come from our demise!!

 

 

 And now the rest of the story…

(As told to Jack Henslee)

Incidentally, my sister and her husband met you on a Celebrity cruise last November whilst I was undergoing my laryngectomy operation. As no one in our family had any experience of the procedure, it was quite uplifting for them to listen to what you had to say and quite a relief to know that people could actually speak well. This was my main concern after being an "after dinner" speaker for many years. I bought your book regarding esophageal speech, it was very interesting to my speech therapist, but as I had a TEP inserted during my operation I did not have to learn it, I manage very well with my cassette, although, the "hands free" cassette prove a little difficult.

(Editor’s Note) What a wonderful feeling to get that kind of feedback a year later.



Bob Bauer - Hayward, CA
Class '08


Many years ago I took an Adult photography class and one of our assignments was a field trip at night. We had to take pictures only using the ambient light, no flash. Attached is a picture where I caught a 727 Jet landing at San Jose Airport. The second picture was taken when on a visit to family in Vienna, Austria. Vienna as seen from a hill top.



 


 

Thank you for your submissions. Edits are used for length, clarity and to keep comments on subject of the month. 

Staff of Speaking Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Presents & Christmas Presence

I know that by the time you read this, Christmas will be done and dusted for another year, but just now it’s December 20th and my mind can’t think beyond the dilemma of Christmas presents. Especially one particular Christmas present that brought me down some unexpected twists and turns. So here’s my story...

I had purchased what I thought would be a lovely surprise as a Christmas present for one of my nearest and dearest: the DVD box-set of “Brideshead Revisited” - a BBC drama series she had loved. I had it wrapped up and hidden away and was really chuffed with myself for having hit on the perfect gift. I kept imagining the big smile that would appear on her face when she unwrapped it on Christmas morning.

About a week before Christmas I was out walking with a mutual friend when he mentioned that our nearest and dearest had bought herself a Christmas present. “What did she get?” I asked. Can you guess? Yes ... the DVD box-set of Brideshead Revisited! My mood took a nose-dive: “What a bummer … after all my trouble … hell and damnation!

The practice of mindfulness let me witness my mood swing with some degree of objectivity and also a whisper of rational thought that assured me that this was not actually a major problem, just a disappointment. Despite that assurance my heart was sore. I told my friend that I had bought the same present but didn’t feel the energy to go any further. When my mood goes low I tend to clam up rather than share my feelings. In the past my silence would have been unusual but people don’t expect the same level of conversational input from an EL user. So nowadays if I get a bit low during a conversation I can usually afford to be quiet and introspective for a while without others wondering if I’m in a sulk. One of the rare advantages of having lost my voice! So in this instance, it felt fine to let there be a lull in conversation while I relaxed into the moment-to-moment experience of misery, to let mindfulness do its healing work.

As I felt the tension and burning sensations in my body, the spotlight of awareness showed up threads of blame and self-pity. According to my inner voice I had bought the present, it was my present to her, and it was mean of her to buy her own copy. It was as if she had stolen my present – mean old bags!

This confused tangle of possessiveness, self-pity and blame gradually dissolved into compassion for my sorry state. Within its kindly gaze I could see the problem: In my heart, I wasn’t actually giving the present away at all. It had strings attached. By taking it she would be bound to me. She would know how much I cared for her, and would forever be grateful for that care.

Now my carefully concealed plan had gone awry. She had gone and worked out how to care for herself – damn her!

Such confused, irrational creatures we are when it comes to intimate relationships! Within the bonds of attachment, love gets tangled up with possessiveness. What to do but try to let go? To let her live life on her own terms rather than bind her to my unspoken demands.

That really is the trouble – that the demands are unspoken. Even to ourselves. I had no idea my gift was wrapped in such complexity till the moment I heard she had already bought it for herself. It’s only such unexpected twists of fate that reveal the daft notions that bind our hearts and dictate who should be happy and when and why. As soon as I saw how unreasonable I was being, I could smile wryly, and resolve not to keep feeding my misery with crazy demands to control her emotions.

Strange as it may seem, the soreness of heart ran quite deep for me as ours is a long and complex relationship. But as I acknowledged and explored my emotions in formal meditation, I felt the bonds of attachment loosen into grief. It was as if I was being asked to say farewell to a dearly beloved child. I could see her need for freedom and how my possessiveness was tying her down. In time the grief too began to dissolve, and, to my surprise, I felt lighter. Our friendship seemed more openhearted and straightforward. I could picture her enjoying Brideshead and feel glad that she was looking after herself so well. A burden dropped from my shoulders. Life suddenly seemed an awful lot simpler!

This Christmas present cost me dear – not just financially but emotionally. Luckily I was saved by the practice of mindfulness. Its gentle enquiry into present-moment experience untangled a sticky web of emotional attachment from the core impulse of genuine care for a good friend. Just as she had bought herself a present, I had in a round-about way, given myself a present too. In fact it’s my favourite Christmas present: Christmas presence!

Noirin

 

 

 


 

 

Patrick Kerr

WebWhispers Member Rings Bell

 

On the WebWhispers cruise in September, 2015, Our member Patrick Kerr said he was going to climb the rock wall on shipboard.  When I realized he was serious, I said I want to go with you to take pictures. So he let me know and

I padded after him, feet firmly planted on the deck, iPhone 6plus set for picture taking!  Watched him being outfitted and putting on the special shoes. He owned the wall and went up it like a fly.  Great job, Patrick!

 

 

Below, a couple of stops along the way to Quebec.  What a great cruise and what good company!!

 

 

Since our next cruise is sailing from Port Canaveral, and is near where Patrick and Diane live, they decided to come along on this one and, if anyone wants to watch Patrick climb.....ask him if he is bringing his equipment!

 

 

 

 

 


 

My contribution to the January 2016 “ Speaking Out“,

Tell us of your skills.


After a lifetime of police work, both military and civilian, in my own country and in foreign parts, dealing with every possible nastiness committed by a human being on another, and dealing with every possible kind of emotion from blind murderous hatred to blind love, ones writing of the facts and stating them in numerous court cases, are always factual and very much to the point. There is no time for “ gilding the lily”, but to always tell the truth, It becomes part of your very nature, and your training and long experience makes it so.


To have even suggested in those days, that I would one day write poetry, would have caused many laughs, but Mother Nature has many tricks up her sleeve. When I lost my voice through throat cancer at the age of 74, and could not communicate except by writing for six months, my writing at first was factual but I could not in this factual writing, tell them what I really wanted to say, it was without any emotion, and exactly like the robotic voices of the Laryngectomees that I met during that time.


Falling behind in group conversations, my writing was too slow, so went to adult education classes to speed up my writing, and was astonished when the class had to write some poetry, and when mine was read out, by somebody else, I could see that I had touched the emotions of several ladies, who had tears in their eyes. I was advised to go to University, and although a daunting prospect, I did, and they accepted this speechless old chap on a three year course.


I studied three subjects, Creative Writing, Poetry and Writing for Stage and Screen. Poetry, I think, was my favourite, and I studied poetry from around the world, where most countries have a rich history of poetry. My favourite type is the Japanese Haiku, a simple three line poem that doesn’t rhyme with a set number of syllables in each line, ( 5 – 7 - 5 ). It is ideal for Laryngectomees to get interested in poetry.


MOUNT FUJIYAMA
By Len A.Hynds
Fujyama’s peak
Snow through pink cherry blossom.
It points to Heaven.

THE ROUNDHEAD
By Len A.Hynds

“ Is your father here”?
The flushed guilt of an innocent
The soldiers soft smile.

THE ROBIN
By Len A.Hynds

Fearless on the spade
Head to oneside, watching me.
Come dig me a worm


THE WOLF
By Len A.Hynds

Snow – flurried , red eyed
The hunger for all to see
Fear strikes at my heart.

THE POET
By Len A.Hynds

Pictures with his words.
Writing music with his heart.
All in his poem.

My poetry cannot be compared with that of real poets.
My writing is my freedom of expression………………..Len.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Happy New Year !


Is 2016 The Year of the Chromebook?

Since Microsoft debuted Windows 10 there has been a rather unexpected increase in the adaptation of competitive operating systems. Consumers have been buying up Google's Chromebooks at a brisk rate...not only for the alternative operating system but the affordability.
Chromebook is a term adapted to define a laptop computer as one that has a Google developed Linux operating system. While it may resemble your Windows PC it is a different and very inexpensive alternative.
The typical Windows PC carries with it a licensing fee charged by Microsoft fo the use of its software...this can add from $100 up to the cost of your new PC. Chromebooks do not have that cost and therefore are less expensive from the outset.


One of the single greatest differences with the Chrome OS is that your interaction with your PC is through the Chrome browser and no other. This may seem somewhat restrictive , however most users quickly adapt to the user-friendly Chrome interface.


One of the cost reductions which has become very popular with all the manufacturers it the use of the cloud for storage as opposed to large hard drives. Consumers have as a whole accepted this approach to reducing costs since they have many options open to them if they do want more local storage.
For the typical casual user with the need to check and send email, catch up on the news, update Facebook and shop online they soon find that a Chromebook meets all their needs for a much lower cost than a Windows PC.
Amazon's number one selling laptop for the past two years has been the Chromebook line...with an average cost of $249.


Chromebooks are currently made by Toshiba, Asus, Acer and HPl. As you can imagine this low pricing has led to many folks purchasing the Chromebook for the kids, for a second PC, in place of a tablet, for the family student, and just plain because.
So I turned to our resident expert express his thoughts and he has done that in a very readable way;

http://askbobrankin.com/is_2015_the_year_you_buy_a_chromebook.html?awt_l=9NLwJ&awt_m=IfK3ZjfFXuP6SL

 

How Some of Us REALLY Feel About Our Personal Computer!!

http://webwhispers.org/newspics/jun06/computerlove.gif

 

 

 

While I am sure that our "relationships" with our computers did not start out this way, I think, however, that over time, for many of us, they gradually became this close to us ... but, hopefully, in a healthy and positive manner!! For myself, I know that I would never have met or "shared things" with many of YOU, had it not been for my Personal Computer. My PC opened up "brand new worlds" for me ... many of which proved vital and essential to me, especially in my "post-laryngectomy" life after mid-1994. I would well imagine that the majority of you feel pretty much the same way. "Technology" can, at times, be a truly wonderful thing!!

(From one of Dutch's last columns)

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

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