August 2011

 


 

 

Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders WW By The Numbers News & Events
VoicePoints Katherine A. Hutcheson, PhD Leaking Prosthesis Education-Med
WebWhispers Columnist Angie Erickson The Lovely Leisurely Lunch Experience
Between Friends Donna McGary Dreams Commentary
Speaking Out Many Members The Bucket List Opinion
Travel With Larys Jack Henslee My Bucket List Travel
The Speechless Poet Len Hynds A Warrior Race Poetry
Nuf-Sed Bob Keiningham Obsess Commentary
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events

 

 

 

 

WW - by the Numbers

 

WW DATABASE


When we join WebWhispers, we are put on a database that lets us sort out how many members are patients separate from other categories of membership. Right now, these are our total members in the database.
Account Name: PAT (1,925 records)
Account Name: CRG ( 534 records)
Account Name: MED ( 53 records)
Account Name: SLP ( 332 records)
Account Name: VEN ( 56 records)

Grand Total (2,900 records)

WW EMAIL LIST


That is a different count from the one that you see for our email list count. There, we show:
453 regular members
900 Digest members

So, 1353 email addresses is our total distribution of each email that is sent through the email list and
642 email addresses are on "vacation", that is, not receiving list mail at present.

We had a program last December when we asked all of you to click on a button in your email to indicate to us that you were there and wanted to continue receiving the WW mail. This program was forced on us by the ISPs who say that an unopened email is, for them, Spam. Our distribution company had to remove over 600 emails of our members out of about 1800 at that time. These were all people who originally came to us and filled in an application to join. Nobody was made a member and put on the list without this process. Our choice was to remove them as members or to allow them to go on "vacation", which was the only way we could keep a listing for them but not send out emails.

We are still working out ways to handle this and other problems when we end up having a membership in name only and no contact with some members at all.

NOTE: the difference in membership totals is partly covered by a lary and caregiver each having membership but using one email address. Remember the list counts email addresses, the database counts members.

WW FORUM

Our private forum, located on the Delphi Forums site, has 800 of you enrolled with Delphi and signed to use our forum.

WEBSITE ANALYTICS


In the last month, we had 10,807 visits to the site with 25,456 pageviews to 443 different webpages.
Here is where they came from:
Search Engines - 7,538.00 (69.75%)
Referring Sites - 1,647.00 (15.24%)
Direct Traffic - 1,622.00 (15.01%)

The 10,807 visits came from 112 countries/territories
The USA sent 7,974 of the visits, in this order CA, TX, FL, NY, IL, PA, OH, NJ, IN, GA
The UK sent 610, Canada 507, Australia 253, Italy 225, India 164, Philippines 112, Malasia 56, Brazil 51, Singapore 51

Way down the list is an interesting set of figures. El Salvador 1 visitor, viewed 24 pages! I hope that person joined to learn some more...lary, caregiver or professional.  We are glad to see someone spend that much time learning about laryngectomees.

 

Enjoy,
Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President
 

 

 

 

 


Is the leak through or AROUND your voice prosthesis?

 

Katherine A. Hutcheson, PhD

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Department of Head & Neck Surgery

Section of Speech Pathology & Audiology

 

Tracheoesophageal puncture

 

The tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) is used as the primary method of voice restoration for many individuals after total laryngectomy.  The method is favored by many because of the quality of voice that can be achieved, but those who have received a TEP are well aware of the added risk of complications that can occur as a result of re-connecting the breathing and swallowing tubes. 

 

Leakage through the voice prosthesis

 

After TEP, the individual patient learns to monitor for prosthetic leakage through the prosthesis that occurs after normal “wear” and deterioration of the prosthetic valve.  Leakage through the prosthesis is remedied for most individuals by simple exchange of the prosthesis (either by the patient or clinician). 

 

Leakage around the voice prosthesis

 

Leakage around the voice prosthesis is a more challenging problem to manage.  Leakage around the prosthesis can occur because the prosthesis does not fit well (i.e., when the prosthesis is too long) or because the TEP has become enlarged.  An enlarged TEP has lost elasticity or become irregular in shape, and does not hold snugly around the voice prosthesis.  The primary symptom of an enlarged TEP is leakage of liquids, food, or saliva around the voice prosthesis when you swallow.  Any patient who develops leakage around the voice prosthesis should be evaluated by a clinician (speech pathologist and/or head and neck surgeon) to determine the cause of leakage, and prevent additional complications such as pneumonia. 

At The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), we have recently conducted a systematic review of published literature and several comprehensive clinical studies on the topic of enlarged TEP.  Key findings of these published studies suggest the following:

  • Between 10% and 20% of patients develop an enlarged TEP after total laryngectomy and TEP.1,2
  • Risk factors for enlarged TEP are multi-factorial.  Individuals with any of the following characteristics were found to have an elevated risk of developing an enlarged TEP in our clinical study: 2
    • advanced nodal-staging,

    • cancer recurrence after laryngectomy,

    • stricture of the throat or esophagus after laryngectomy,

    • extended resection or reconstruction,

    • a history of radiation therapy, and/or

    • nutritional deficiencies

  • Conservative management techniques are used to stop the leakage around the voice prosthesis without completely closing the TEP.  A review of published data and findings of our clinical study at MDACC suggest that successful conservative management of leakage can be achieved in approximately 80% of patients who have TEP enlargement. 1,3  Successful management requires an expert and collaborativeteam and often includes the use of specialty prosthetic options. 

  • Individuals who develop an enlarged TEP are 3-times more likely to develop pneumonia than those individuals whose TEP does not enlarge. 3

 

In conclusion, leakage around the voice prosthesis can be a symptom of TEP enlargement.  This complication may occur in up to 1 in 5 individuals who receive TEP for voice restoration after total laryngectomy.  Individuals who develop this symptom are encouraged to seek prompt evaluation by their medical team to determine the cause of the complication and alleviate prosthetic leakage that can ultimately lead to pneumonia. 

References:

1. Hutcheson KA, Lewin JS, Sturgis EM, Kapadia A, Risser J. Enlarged tracheoesophageal puncture after total laryngectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Head Neck. Jan 2011;33(1):20-30.

2. Hutcheson KA, Lewin JS, Risser J, Sturgis EM. Multivariable analysis of risk factors for enlarged tracheoesophageal puncture after total laryngectomy. Head Neck. 2011;[Epub ahead of print].

3. Hutcheson KA, Lewin JS, Sturgis EM, Risser J. Outcomes and Adverse Events of Enlarged Tracheoesophageal Puncture after Total Laryngectomy. The Laryngoscope. 2011;[Epub ahead of print].

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lovely Leisurely Lunch


I am pretty certain very few of you, if any, know I am not only a lary, but I also am a trans woman. Meaning, I am transgender, four years into the process of changing sexes.

I hadn't seen my only grand-daughter in five years due to her mom, my oldest child, not being able to accept me as anything other than her very manly dad. If not for the cancer, we still wouldn't have spoken. After they came to see me at the hospital last year, she decided that she not only accepts me, but wants to develop a relationship with me and asked if she could come visit.

"Well of course you can, Honey," I told her. "You are my one and only granddaughter." She came over and I took her to lunch as a way to break the ice, get comfortable around one another and get her used to the very different way I speak now.

I told her, "Be aware, I eat very, very slowly."

She replied, "Oh that's alright, Gramma, I do too."

And true to her word, that young woman and I ate the most leisurely, slow paced, laid back lunch I have eaten, ever! Most folks, friend or family, wolf down their food and are completely finished long before I am. But my grand-daughter and I kept up a steady stream of conversation, got to know one another again and ended up finishing at the same time. We grew comfortable interacting as women and spent the whole afternoon together until she had an evening class to attend. My being a lary didn't bother her; the way I speak didn't either.

She told me as she was leaving, "I'm just glad I found you again. I love you, Gramma, and will take you any way you come, let's do this again."

Sigh.

Thanks, babygirl. Yes, let's.

Angelique Erickson
San Antonio,Texas
Lary 09/10

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams

Donna McGary

 

A funny thing happened on the way to the question of the month. "What’s on your Bucket List" (referencing a popular movie) got very few responses. Re-asking the question, "What are your goals for the next 5 to 10 years", generated quite a number of compelling and thought-provoking replies, which you can read under the header, “Speaking Out”.

This got me thinking. The wording here was critical. I love the idea of a Bucket List the way it was presented in the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It was fun, sexy, sassy and frankly silly. But those two aging bad boys made it work Hollywood style.

Real life is more problematic. Whether we write it down over the years like Jack Henslee has done or change it according to our current obsessions, like Bob Keiningham, these private hopes and plans define us. A Bucket List is, by definition, more troubling since it frankly recognizes that we only have a limited amount of time left to do all this stuff. A five year plan is much more expansive. It allows for the possibility of even a ten year option.

We all understand goals. We set new ones every day. But a true Bucket List seems to me to be more about dreams than goals. And there is a difference, to my mind. A goal is something you have a reasonable expectation of achieving through your own effort and determination. A dream is something that you want but may not be able to dictate its terms.

For example, I can say one of my goals, before I kick the bucket, is to see my darling grand-daughter become the beautiful, smart, confident woman I see in her today as a toddler. That is a dream because life is just too unpredictable. Other than loving and caring for her every day, I can’t know if I will live that dream until that day comes.

Loving dreams cannot be checked off a list like a visit to the Grand Canyon. I don’t mean to denigrate a trip to the Grand Canyon….it is on my goal/bucket list to be sure. Along with traveling to Ireland and, although I would love to see Europe, I have a special fascination with Africa.

I would really like to get paid for something I wrote. I know I don’t have the “Great American Novel” in me, but I would love to have somebody, somewhere, say that I had a great short story or essay and be willing to publish it.

I would also like to have one last great love affair. I am fortunate. I have had some pretty good ones, but I never met the “love of my life”. That can't be put on your Bucket List or added to your Five Year Plan. It’s out of your control, even if you do believe those dating service commercials.

Len Hynds, AKA The Speechless Poet, just this week lost his beloved Tilly. They had been married for over 60 years and he cared devotedly and tenderly for her to the very end. They were true soul-mates and I cannot imagine how lost he must feel. I realized, when he told me of her passing that I would never know the joy of such a connection nor the pain of losing it.

In honor of that love, I would like to re-print here a poem that Len wrote for her memorial service.

 

Footprints

By Len A.Hynds


Together we walked, along the shore,
our footprints side by side.
Damp depressions, numbered four,
aged quickly with the tide.

Throughout our days, it had been just so,
holding hands as we went through life.
By my side in highs and lows,
my ever loving wfe.

The children came and then they went,
each one with love and pride,
but relentless waves, at us were spent,
our signs gone with the tide.

And now I walk on quite alone,
single footprints in the sand.
Sadly thinking I'm on my own,
but still you hold my hand.

When I gaze at your lovely face,
and chapel bells quietly chime,
the wind softly whispers in the air,
telling me you are fine.

So in this very last resting place,
tomorrow and even now,
you may not really be there,
but you talk to me somehow.

Sleep peacefully my love..............Len.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bucket List

"What would you like to do, within the next 5, or even 10, years?"

 


 

Lillian Parra - 2001


Glad to have a chance to just say "hello" to all of you from from the Chemehuevi Indian Rez. Thank you for the encouraging words that I read daily and thank all those that keep this website going -

My bucket list, well, I'm a pretty simple person; I'd like to sit on the terrace of Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, CA and just take in the wonderful view of the ocean, sip on something yummy and enjoy the redwoods. I hope I can move back to Hermosa Beach, CA, from whence I came, for the remainder of my days (the sooner the better for the move), but most importantly, I want to be right with God when my time comes, so I try to talk to Him everyday and make sure my heart is right and that I'm doing my best to treat people decently -

Everyday is a new day and I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know when I say we have our ups and downs from day to day but, like me, it sounds like most of you try to show a happy face to those around you. I work (I'm 65 and ready to semi-retire), have a fantastic husband (fantastic is an understatement, I am so blessed) and I have a wonderful family who have rallied around me thru the years -

I was diagnosed in April 2000, and had the complete removal of my voice box and thyroid in Nov 2001 - I was cruising along pretty good until Oct 2006 and they discovered some spots on my right lung and so back in the hospital for the Holidays, once again, and they removed a portion of the right lung. In spite of it all, I have not had to undergo any chemo or radiation and, as far as I know right now, I am okay -

Life is good folks and I'm glad you are here for me to check in with everyday because I need you. I'm alive and well here at Havasu Lake, CA, Chemehuevi Indian Rez, and send you big big hugs; my personal battle cry is:

LET'S KICK BUTT!

 


 

Jim Harris - 2008


I would like to live the next 10 years. I recently had a surgery and they told me I had about 4 years. I got out of the hospital, ordered an electro-larynx, and went back to work as a drilling consultant.

I love life and I love my work. I haven't give up much of anything except trying to order food through the outdoor drive up mic. I am one of the most efficient consultants in the field and my boss likes me and my work ethic.

I am taking my family, my parents, and my grandsons on a vacation starting Monday. Life is good. Voice is so-so.

 


 

Sandrogeo Gianferrari - 2010

Gorduno, Switzerland

 

Hello and a pleasure to answer this question ...... i laryngectomee from 2010 i cannot at this time speak well... the "mucus" is for me a big problem ... i am trying to build a filter that gives me a chance to make the "voice and prosthesis" work ... i will find the solution do not lose heart .... greetings ......

sandrogeo

(After trying three different sites, most of this is well translated, but I had to guess a little at the exact problem with his voice. Getting the right filter came through loud and clear! PS)

 


 

Mike McQuade - 2008

 

Soon to be 72--I get up and sing Karaoke and I swim and dive under but before my time comes I would like to SKY DIVE !!

 


 

Ron Mattoon - Jan 2010


I have always lived my life with planning and the realization that I have to work to make good things happen. I made the mistake, all too often, of missing out on the day to day pleasures while working for the long term goals. I concentrated on schooling and building a future for my family. I often thought that I can do that when I retire or after I accomplish the next goal in life. I was too focused on the future. I realized that I was missing out on a lot of good things in life, and tried to balance that mistake as best I could.

I was very seldom ill and had not gone to a doctor in years. Even though I spent all my working days in hospitals, working in the medical equipment, I ignored my health.

When I got cancer, I started thinking about my physical healing and it taught me to think about things a day at a time. I now concentrate on what I need to do each day to beat this new challenge. Learning to deal with each new thing was just another goal. Get through the radiation and chemo. Deal with swallowing and the lack of smell. Learn to make my tongue work again and another way to talk. Although this was new to me, many others have gone through it and I can deal with it too. A day at a time and I can beat this. Through WebWhispers, I have met so many great people that have gone through it all. You give me hope and role models that show me how to do this, and my family has been there to give me the strength and support I needed.

The Speaking Out Team has asked for us to write about our long term goals and I realized I did not have any. I have gotten so focused on surviving day to day that I did not even allow myself to thing about the future. I have gone from long term planning in my life, to a day to day existence. It may be because I was unsure that I had a future. This is another thing that cancer was taking away from me and I will not allow that. Life needs to be a healthy mix of today and tomorrow. Every day is important but without plans for the future, life becomes stagnant. I realize that this is a part of the mental healing that goes along with the physical healing. I have a future I have to plan for and thanks to WebWhispers for helping me accept that. It often is the little things that others do, that make a big difference in someone else’s life. Thank you!!

I have another granddaughter on the way and I have a lot of plans to make.





Jim Maloney - 2004

From the Pocono Mountains, PA

 

The 'handwriting' was on the wall... my voice got weaker, raspier and despite seemingly competent ENT, seen quarterly amid the sneezers and other geezers,...and despite meds and Scans, the reason missed?  MISSED, until my GP sent me to the Newark ,NJ, Rutgers University Hospital for a second opinion. New surgeon saw me.... and from a let's take a look-see Jim, to let's stay here and take it OUT, with no pep talks about alternative 'speak'. Happily I had a simple stoma, Servox, and slow but sure recovery. Blessed with my Guardian Angel over half century.. my dearest wife...Dee.

First year we sailed Lisbon to Rio, next Alaska, lastly Venice, Mediterranean to NYC and Lady Liberty. Cruising is IDEAL for Ladies and Lary's ! I'm mostly Irish, with a gift of gab, former teacher of learning disabled students.. then, retirement. If I can make it, anyone can!

I see and read helpful feedback from WW..and we'll sail away with the next WW group to Canada. Wahoo! It's indeed a "club" and more, a sister/fellowship of much appreciation
and invaluable support. Like the song.. "LEAN on ME"... WW!

 


 

Bob Keiningham - 2008

 

In my opinion, nothing is more important to a life-well-lived than the selection and pursuit of specific goals. I had specific long-term goals throughout my youth and middle age and I can report that I achieved a high percentage of them, but today at age seventy-six, my life circles around daily, weekly, and short term goals with the long term stuff being more accurately described as "Aspirations" (strong desire, longing, or aim).

Here are mine at this point in time:

My Daily goal:

To organize each day for the things I "Must" do, then add one or two of the things I "Should" do, and fill the time remaining with the things I most "Want" to do. That's my first thought every morning, and the last each night.

My Weekly goal:

To review the week ahead and organize it to insure I'm prepared to get the "Must" do's out of the way as quick as possible and select a few specific "Should" do's for the coming week, so I can have maximum time available for the "want" to do's.

My "Want" to do's revolve around the goals I've chosen to pursue:

Current short-term goals of choice:

1. Get Shirley's knee in shape so we can resume traveling.
2. Get my shoulder fixed so I can resume playing golf.
3. Complete the renovation of an old car I've been working on.
4. Trying to write something of merit for my new monthly WW articles.
5. Staying on top of the crazy stock market.
6. Daily workouts to stay in shape while they work on the shoulder.

Long term aspirations

1. To convert all our material possessions to cash and move us into a Senior living place that has a long term care facility on site in order to (1) Simplify the estate we'll leave our children, and, (2) Free us from the routine chores of managing "stuff". (We're currently researching this, with a target date of 2013)

2. To continue working on a book I've been writing for over twenty-five years now, about our journey from poverty to wealth; depression to happiness; self-shame to self-esteem; spiritual bankruptcy to spiritual peace; and, conflict to quality in our relationships. I doubt I'll ever finish the thing, but it's a fun exercise.

2. We've been about every place of interest to us in terms of world travel, so we look forward to driving trips to all those places we haven't seen in the good ole' U.S.A..

3. To "Survive and Thrive" just as long as possible by taking care of ourselves and constantly developing new and interesting short term goals from a long list of "Want" to do's I constantly accrue for future consideration.



 

Peter Powell - 2010

 

I have been working as a cinematographer, band director, producer for fifty years. Had the laryngectomy done in December, follow up with chemo and brutal radiation! No no one told me what would happen downstream in years. I will not have any more radiation or chemo for that matter ever again!


What I wish is that I could keep working. I produced a series that was broadcast over 300 plus PBS stations. A travel cultural series and I traveled and worked in Morocco, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, etc. I really love meeting new people and, as the series profiles ten people that are creating beauty, art, dance, music, architecture, cuisine, design, I needed my voice to get it all done. I hope I can get the knack of EVoice and maybe get the TEP replaced that fell out and, also, try esophageal speech. For now its no man's land. Not pleasant.

What a trip this is!

 


 

Jim "The Trollman" Sparks - 2006


Being able to ride my Harley without a windshield was definitely a goal that I wanted, and have achieved, but my dream is to ride around this country telling my story to all who would have me tell it. Be it other biker clubs, Motorcycle Ministries, youth groups, Red Hat gatherings, Church services or Boy Scouts. I'd talk at any place that would be willing to let me talk about the fact that you don't always die from tobacco.


Getting the funding to undertake this endeavor is the major obstacle because I want to do it by traveling on my Harley. That would give testimony to overcoming what my doctors told me and I feel that is an important part of my dream. I have information on Bike Clubs and Motorcycle Ministries in every state, except Alaska & Hawaii, to set up enough engagements to keep me going. This would be a year-long adventure, at least, but I would jump at the chance to do it.


But . . for now . . tis only a dream . . nothing more.

 



Len Hynds - 2004


The theme this month is what would you like to do in the next five years. There are two things. Firstly, to attend the annual meeting in America, just to meet all those friends I have made since writing for WW, especially my editor Donna, Pat, and all the team who run and organise things, and all my pen pals. The trouble is I can only dream of that, as I am a full time carer for Tilly, my wife, who is wheel-chair bound, not that I would want it any other way, and I am privileged to be her carer.

Pat recently wrote asking for ideas about the annual cruise, and again I am restricted to attend, but I thought wouldn't it be wonderful if the cruise were to be around Europe, as we live so close to Dover Harbour. One of Tilly's favourite places is " Samphire Hoe " below the white cliffs of Dover, and we can see those cruise ships in the harbour as those tourists visit my land of castles, cathedrals, and tudor houses, more than any other part of Europe. A few months ago, sitting on the hoe, looking up at those towering white cliffs, I was remembering being up there as a teenager and firing at enemy planes above, awaiting the enemies invasion. Naturally, my poetic mind had to scribe a poem, imagining I was one of those German pilots being fired at. I thought about not sending this poem, but then thought, if I can get you all to cruise to our land of history, I might get to meet some of you.

Please see my poem about the German Pilot's thoughts.  It is in my monthly column, The Speechless Poet" (see below).

 

 

 

 


 

My Bucket List

Jack Henslee

 

While planning my trip to the IAL meeting in Kansas City this year I had a little apprehension about the isolation of the hotel and visions of lots of screaming kids running around because the hotel is adjacent to a water park. Then, after I checked the airline fares from California that would run me over $800 with luggage charges, parking, and gas to the airport I started to have second thoughts. I then wondered how much would it cost me to drive the 2,000 miles! I calculated that if everything went according to plan I could buy my gas, eat, and pay for lodging at pretty much the same price it would cost me to fly, plus I could avoid the "friendly" pat down courtesy of TSA...the protectors of the sky!

I also saw that this might be a great opportunity to cross a few things off my "bucket list." You know...things that you want to do while you are still able to do them. I first started my list about the age of 11, but the list didn't have a name. It was just places and things I was reading about and wanted to see or do badly. At the top of my list was, and still is, ancient civilizations, starting with the Maya and Inca, followed by the Egyptian pyramids. As time passed I added various cities, museums around the world and natural wonders; generally things related to the "Seven Wonders of the World", both man- made and natural.

For this trip I had 2 options: take a southern route and visit Carlsbad Caverns, Santa Fe, NM, and maybe New Orleans. Maybe even throw in a few golf courses along the way (golf is another list that is much too big and still growing). Or I could take the northern shorter route and see Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. I went north and that was really a great decision.

I drove straight to Kansas City, spending the first night in a cheap and shabby motel located in Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming. I had driven 1,000 miles and was pretty much done for the day! I arrived in KC the next day and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the hotel and no screaming kids running around. The meeting was enjoyable and as always it was nice to see old friends and meet new ones.

On my return trip I had to make lots of detours because of widespread flooding in the area. Thankfully, it was mostly just roads and bridges than had been closed and not a lot of property damage. For the next 6-7 hours I saw many, many small towns in Middle America and more corn than I thought existed. I spent that first night just outside the Badlands, SD.

Now the Badlands has never been on my list but since I was only about 30 miles away I decided to check it out. While I had heard the term many times in my life I never really comprehended exactly what the “Badlands” were until I got there. Wow... jumping up seemingly out of nowhere is an area almost too desolate to describe. It’s a vast waste land gouged out by wind and rain that resembles a miniature Grand Canyon in the making, but without the colors of the Grand Canyon. The land is dominated with unusual rock formations and one of the world’s greatest sites for fossils. The reality is that it’s very hard to explain because there are no comparisons to be made, and pictures simply don’t portray the grandeur. Admission is free if you have a senior’s pass to all the national parks, otherwise it’s $15 per car.

The next stop was Mt. Rushmore, a monument that compelled me to put it on my list the first time I saw a picture of it. The monument represents the faces of 4 former Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Construction started In 1927 and continued through the Great Depression and finally finished in 1941. Its objective was to represent the first 150 years of the great experiment in democracy called America, and it’s hard to see it and not feel a sense of pride in what our country has achieved. Unfortunately it was raining when I arrived, plus I have some mobility problems, so I didn’t spend the time to explore the trails in and around the monument. But, I came to be impressed and was not disappointed. Admission is free but parking is $11.

 

Click Here to See YouTube Slide Show

 

Next stop was also not on my list, but close enough for a short detour. That was the Crazy Horse Monument. If you are not a history buff, Crazy Horse was a Lakota Sioux Chief that fought against General Custer. He never surrendered, never signed a treaty, never went to a reservation, and when asked where his lands were, he said, “My lands are where my people are buried.” He died at age 35 after being stabbed in the back by a soldier while under a flag of truce. His monument was begun in 1946 to show that the Indians had heroes also.

Unlike Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse will be a 3 dimensional sculpture built entirely without federal funds, which have been offered in the past but refused. To date only the head has been carved, but to give you a size perspective, all 4 Rushmore heads will fit inside Crazy Horse’s head, which is 87 feet high. That’s almost 9 stories! When finished (if ever finished) it will be the largest sculpture ever carved. Admission is $10 per person or $27 per car.

Next stop.... Yellowstone National Park. I live fairly close to Yosemite National Park, have been there numerous times, and consider it one of the most, if not the most, beautiful places in the world. But the pictures and film I’ve seen of Yellowstone guaranteed that it was on my bucket list. I spent the night before arriving there in Cody, WY, a small but interesting town. The short drive from there to Yellowstone (maybe 50 miles) is probably the most scenic 50 mile stretch of road I’ve ever seen. The rivers, streams, forest and snow capped mountains are just awesome. After entering the park (free with my handy dandy senior’s pass) I came upon a stretch of burned out Lodge Pole Pine forest. It created an eerie landscape against the magnificent background of majestic mountains, contrasted in the foreground by Yellowstone Lake reflecting the mountains in its pure clean waters. But the burned out trees were not ugly. They appeared to be silent sentinels standing naked over the new life below them. Blocking harsh winds while still letting in the sun’s life- giving rays. The ground was full of new life and it provoked thoughts of how similar we are, or at least should be. A renewed awareness was born, that past events and destruction were just that...the past. Like the forest, we also need to overcome that which harmed us and move on to a new and better life.

My stay in Yellowstone was brief but I saw some of what I came for. Old Faithful, first seen on film many years ago as a child was now before me. No longer as faithful as in the past, but worth waiting for. Its eruptions come around every 93 minutes or so, range from 106 to 160 feet high, and last from 1 ½ to 5 minutes. It’s just hot water at 204 degrees and over much too soon; but well worth the 50+ years I waited to see it.

As I made my departure, I regretted not making arrangements to stay longer. There was much more to see and it’s senseless at my age to not make the most of every moment while I can. Then as I rounded a curve I saw them. Bison.... several small herds scattered over a mile or so not far from the road, and certainly not tame. As I stood there I imagined they were calling to me, “Come back again someday.” ... and I think I will!

 

 

 


 

These were the German pilot’s thoughts, knowing that the British army has been defeated at Dunkirk.
As I turned North above St. Margaret’s Hills, I was astounded to see row after row of figures, all in different dress, and in complete shock, I realised that they were all ghosts defending their island. In fear I flew back to France to write this report.

 

A Warrior Race

Fear struck at my heart, as I saw them there,
from the cliff top edge and away inland.
Ready to take part in the battles share,
ready to defend their England.

I saw King Arthur, with excalibur bright,
and Drake with the famous drum.
King Alfred with axe as black as night,
feeling sharpness with his thumb.

Richard with his cross of red,
his knights behind him stand.
Cromwell with his roundheads led,
carried a Bible in his hand.

Gordon with his Mallacca cane,
Nelson with his sword to lift.
Tars risen from the Spanish Main,
Redcoats from the old Rorkes Drift.

Lancers, Dragoons, six hundred,
straight from the valley of death.
Their enemies hearts they plundered,
as they gasped their very last breath.

Rodney, Anson, Rhodes and Pitt
Cornwallis,Livingstone and Bligh,
from Valhallas Hall, where they sit,
to stop us they will try.

Flinders, Petrie, Byron and Penn,
Boscowen, Beattie and Haig.
Oh such a group of the bravest men
await enemies, to engage.

Clive and Wolff, Franklin and Scott,
Hereward and Robin Hood,
Defoe and Bunyan, oh such a lot,
that shaped their England good.

I've flown my plane, back over to France,
our army waiting there.
Though I have seen, at a glance,
that this battle will not be fair.

Germany’s mighty army,
and to win their fervent wish,
but I have seen the spirit of,
those ghostly fighting English.

Len of Ashford, Kent, England. (Speechless Poet )

 

 

 

 

 

Obsess:

to occupy or engage the mind to an inordinate degree.

 


I’ve been obsessed with something or other every moment of my life since the day I was born, April 26, 1935, and I expect to remain in that state of “busyness” until I die and discover what’s next, or enjoy a nice long nap.

I’m that way because I love living with obsessions that allow me to fail or succeed with equal relish and wake up every morning with something to look forward to. What’s more, I believe that my ability to “obsess” has been a key element in my joyful and determined battles with a serious heart problem, a ruptured appendix, some broken bones and four different forms of cancer over the years!

Joyful? You bet! Each of those times, from the moment I was diagnosed until the smoke of battle cleared and they told me we’d won for now, this personality trait allowed me to put everything else aside and focus every ounce of energy, intellect and judgment I possessed on the job at hand.

Once done, I believe that my recovery was speeded by the fact that I immediately returned to other obsessions and soon “occupied my mind to an inordinate degree” with those things instead of obsessing about what I’d just been through or all the things that might lie ahead.

Over the years those recuperative obsessions have ranged from fishing, business, flying, golf, family, writing, reading, renovating our home, travels, political activism, community and charity projects, putting our affairs on auto-pilot for these retirement years, and hundreds of minor projects and programs from my “wish list” as time has permitted.

Today it’s physical therapy sessions to heal a torn rotator cuff (so I can get back to golf); nursing Shirley through knee replacement surgery (so she can get back to shopping!); staying on top of the stock market (I still love to play at business); working on renovating an old car (Mistake!); discussing politics and religion with anonymous folks on the internet (it’s fun!); going to the casino (for my weekly dose of humble pie!); and dropping exhausted onto our couch with the love of my life each evening in time for “Wheel of Fortune” and our other favorite TV shows until it’s time to put our dog Sonny-Boy to bed, clean the stoma, and hit the sack for another five hours of blissful sleep.

I use a little system to ensure that I never run out of obsessions. When life throws something at me that requires I drop one or more of my current ones. It starts with the easy task, accruing a written list of all the things I might enjoy doing “someday“. It doesn’t matter if I know anything about them, I just add to it from time to time until I can’t think of even one more thing I might find interesting.

Then, when I’m forced to abandon some activity, I simply put that old list aside for a couple of weeks and try to forget all about it. When I return to that list, I always discover the only brain on this planet that truly knows everything about me has been subconsciously “working the problem” twenty-four hours a day to discern what’s most meaningful to me from that long list of possibilities. One or two of those items always jump out at me like those colored numbers on an eye test and I’m on my way to a new obsession!

Example: I was a pilot for many years after training as an Aviation Cadet in the USAF but on September 18, 2008 when I joined the Lary Society I had to put that obsession behind me. I knew I would never fly alone again because I felt that losing my voice at the wrong time up there might pose a real hazard to myself or others when communication is needed to land at a busy airport, or during an emergency. (The first rule of aviation is to be sure the number of your safe landings exactly match the number of your take-offs!).

Oh, I still rent an instructor and aircraft occasionally to go up and make myself sick after an hour or less of acrobatics, but my “bucket list” system has allowed me to replace flying as my “fun-time” obsession with playing golf (although the way I play still poses a non-lethal risk to others from time to time.)

Now, if someone out there would like to give my little system a try, there is one more thing of real importance that I need to tell you. Hey, it doesn’t matter if you particularly like your brain’s choice or not, just go with the flow and get busy learning everything you can learn about that specific item. Search for it on the internet, ask people about it, give it a try even if it involves embarrassment or failure. Stick with it until you find yourself swept up in the thing, which is always the path to obsession, and obsession is the path to joyfully doing what you enjoy doing while pushing all but the most critical factors of your life aside!

In this particular instance I figure that it’s this way … we are Larys. We are going to be Larys for the remainder of our lives. It’s a fact like how tall or short we are, and we can make it as unimportant as the other physical facts of our life when we pursue obsessions for what we can do while refusing to give any space in our lives to those things we cannot do.

I guess my main point with all this rambling is the fact that obsessions turn our stoma, medications, check ups, TEP maintenance, and other people’s reactions to the flap on our neck or their responses to our “unique and beautiful” voices, into routine realities, like the fact that we can’t dunk a basketball. Because they are things that have nothing to do … with what we pursue … unless or until … they force us to!

Nuf-Sed


Bob Keiningham,
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
 

 

Welcome To Our New Members:

 

I would like to extend a "Warm Welcome" to our most recently accepted laryngectomees, caregivers, vendors, and professionals who have joined our WebWhispers community within this past month. There is a great wealth of knowledge and information to be accessed and obtained from our website, email lists, and newsletters. If ever there should be questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to us from the "Contacts" page of our website.

 

Thanks and best wishes to all,

 

Michael Csapo

VP Internet Activities

WebWhispers, Inc.

 
 

We welcome the 33 new members who joined us during July 2011:

 

Nabeel Alshaer
Saudi Arabia
Peter Benson
Columbia, MD
Martin Bjerrum
Long Beach, CA
     
Betty Jean Blue
Edmond, OK
Sheila Bogulski
Rolling Meadows, IL
Mike Bush
Roy, WA
     
Andy Cavaliere
Barnegat, NJ
Jennifer Elam - (Caregiver)
Manchester, TN
Gloria Erickson - (Caregiver)
Omaha, NE
     
Hubert Gallagher
Powhatan, VA
Lindsay Gallagher - (Caregiver)
Powhatan, VA
Lisa Gordon - (Medical)
Victoria, TX
     
John Graddy
Hilltop Lakes, TX
Peter Gray
Southfield, MI
Walter Hinkle
Northfield, MN
     
Flossie Hopkins - (Caregiver)
Ocean View, DE
Richard Hopkins
Ocean View, DE
Devara Irgens - (SLP)
El Cajon, CA
     
ina Knott
Walkersville, MD
Lisa Krich - (Caregiver)
Carpentersville, IL
Michael Leighton
Locust, NC
     
Mathis (Mack) McMIllan
Colombia, SC
Sherman McShannon
Omaha, NE
Sarina Meyer - (Caregiver)
Long Beach, CA
     
Tracy Pappas - (Caregiver)
Zionsville, IN
Pat Polisciano
Richmond Hill, NY
Cayetano (Guy) Terreros
Miami, FL
     
Sarah Tervo
Pleasanton, CA
Amy Thatcher -(SLP)
Moriarty, NM
Mike Valliere
Pocasset, MA
     
Jim Wheeler
Danbury, WI
LouAnn Wheeler - (Caregiver)
Danbury, WI
Robert Zajkowski
Stone Ridge, NY

 

 

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