Category Archives: Helping Hands

SYNTAX


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What do you mean by that?  How many times have you said that?  How many times have you heard something come out of someone’s mouth and can’t believe he/she said that?  We have to leave The President out of this because everyone would say that about what he says.  This is about people in your day to day life.  Syntax, how a simple statement is made to reek of negativity, condemnation or condescension.  Syntax,

Syntax refers to the composition, or the arrangement of words used to portray a meaning.  Bad Syntax, in my opinion, doesn’t just refer to poor word arrangement, but the arrangement of words to portray a poorly emoted meaning.  I think it was my Mom who always used to say, “it’s not just what you say, it is how you say it!”  Me, I am all about that.  Lately more so than ever.  These days everything seems so dark and dreary in a way, so why not take any chance possible to lighten or brighten things up.  For example, instead of asking the question “WHY would you do it THAT way? That makes it look smaller!”  Maybe phrase it, “I ‘m curious as to why that is the better style? Does that make it seem bigger?” Here you are asking for the same information, just with a lighter approach.  Again, it is how you say it.

Most don’t hear themselves when they speak.  So, when you point out that they sound harsh or stern (angry even) they are taken aback.  Often becoming more argumentative.  I have been accused of that from time to time, and when pointed out I quickly look for the better way to say the same question (and apologize for using poor syntax). Nobody is perfect – and now there is even a slang for it…MY BAD! But if we all just took a second to hear ourselves (maybe even record yourself once in a while) you may learn how you sound to others.

I often use a story form 1982.  I was 20 and just diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease.  The next morning, I was being operated on – I was losing my Spleen and part of my Liver. Not feeling particularly light (though I was optimistic about the end results). I was having this done at Tufts Medical Center (a teaching hospital – you know with all those seemingly clueless interns like you see on the TV shows).  So, before Dr. Detterling was to arrive, a young intern came to explain what was about to happen.  He spoke fast and curtly and in ‘medical talk’ that I couldn’t understand anyway.  Trying to lighten the mood I asked: “It’s all gibberish to me, so could you just tell me am I going to live or die?” (I was joking of course).  This Intern looked me straight in the eye and solemnly said: “I cannot predict the outcome, Cancer is a very serious disease!”  I was actually too stunned to talk.  Frozen actually.  Luckily as I sat there on the precipice of an emotional breakdown, Dr. D walked in.  His hands and body shaking (in a put-on kind of way), he says “Do you need the scare to be perfectly straight?”  Some of the interns giggled and I relaxed as much as possible.  That lightened the mood immediately.  It isn’t what you say it is how you say it!

This is such an important lesson for everyone.  Interpersonal relationships, business relationships, co-dependent relationships J, can benefit from understanding this.  How many times have you walked away out of a restaurant, a store, or after dealing with a rude person?  Aren’t you soured on that place or person?  And all it would have taken is for them to tell you the same thing in a different way.  These days we read the papers and are meet with Shock and Yawn.  We don’t know whether to cry or hibernate for a while.  If we could just learn that what we say and how we say it matters.  If we could just learn to be positive and light- instead of Angry and Argumentative we can emerge shaky yet optimistic!  I hope for that! The Sun WILL come out Tomorrow!  Bet Your Bottom Dollar that TOMORROW they’ll be Sun and Syntax!

Enjoy, Be Happy and Be Understanding!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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HOPE


Hope…What an incredible word.  It is what holds us in anticipation, and it is what can spark your individual greatness from within.  It is always looking forward at the possibilities, and cannot be held back in the past.  You hope for the future, you look back at your past.

 

Cancer has taught me a lot about hope.  Of course there is the obvious things to hope for.  I hope I get better, I hope my treatments are not “horrific”, I hope I make it long enough to see my children grow up (that was a big one this second time around), I hope I don’t get sick again, and finally, I hope that I not only get better…but I also hope that I don’t get bogged down by the ramifications of being “afflicted twice”.

 

Hope is what I wake up with every morning.  Some of my hopes are whimsical and shallow.  And that is okay.  While it would be great if those hopes were achieved sometimes, I don’t hold my breath for those. – rather, I enjoy the frivolity of the hoping.  You know those thoughts…”I hope I can lose 30 pound by Friday”, or “I hope I can eat this gallon of ice cream and still fit into my jeans tomorrow”, and of course, I hope to have the chance to meet Hugh Lurie, Hugh Jackman and Zac brown, because I am a huge fan.  These are delicious little nuggets that help me smile on days that aren’t always filled with smiles.

 

Then I have hopes that aren’t necessarily about me, but are about my family.  These are ones that really affect my emotions.  Because these are things I hope for my children, my Husband, my brothers and sister-n-laws, my nieces and cousins, my friends.  I want, no I hope, for them way more than I hope for myself.  My hopes for them are lofty and rich. I hope for them to get what they want, because I hope they will always be happy.  I know that it is important not to always get what you want, but I am a mother first.  And I hope, all the time, I can take away any pain or sorrow my children go through.  But I can’t always do that.  But I am aware that my children also have there own frivioulous hopes…And I encourage them…I think these are what is meant by “Hope springs eternal”…

 

My daughter, for example, hopes to be a star.  Her hopes don’t have a pathway to achieve this, or a definite area in which she chooses to become a star…She just hopes for stardom…and I hope she becomes one as well.  Though, she has no definitive pathway as to what type of “star” she wants to become…her hopes are lovely and endearing (and not unlike many teenage girls), and I hope to help her head that way (though honestly, I hope she finds another hope as she gets older).

 

My son hopes for more simple things.  New videogames, to be better at certain sports, and his biggest hope is that he never has to do homework again.  But of course this last one is not gonna happen.  But he can always Hope.

 

My mother, well I think she hoped that she would be okay when she moved away.  Well we were there this week, and boy she is okay.  She has a brightness and lightness to her spirit.  One which I haven’t seen in so long.  Her melancholy is present, but is being trimmed with hope that her next stage in life will have joy and adventure.

 

So I guess I just hope all of those I love to get what they hope for.  Because then I get what I hope for.  Who could hope for more!

Enjoy Today.

 

Carol

 

Funnycancermom

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Thank You Nannette Stueck


Over Thanksgiving weekend, my children, my husband and I were talking about sleepovers.  My son asked if I liked them and/or if I was ever scared to sleep somewhere else.  It was seemingly innocuous question.  Yet it caused the flash of a memory that I hadn’t thought about in a longtime.  It was almost movie like.   The memory was so vivid, and the emotions it conjured were so real.  So real I wanted to tell the kids all about it.  This is what I told them…

There was one time that I was afraid from being away from home.  As you know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease when I was a senior in College. I was operated on around mid-December, and Christmas break was coming up.  It wasn’t easy or quick, but I made the decision to stay in Boston, and have the treatments there.  Away from my family.  The dorms would be closed for the holiday, so I needed to find a place to live for the month.  I guess I could have stayed in a hotel, but I didn’t want to be totally alone.  There was this other college senior I worked with at Copperfield’s.  Her name was Nannette Stueck, and we worked together at a bar between B.U. campus and Northeastern (where she went).  She and her boyfriend (now husband) Scott all worked together, and we had become somewhat friendly.  When I told her what was going on, she immediately offered me a place to stay for the month.  Her roommates would be going home for the break, and she didn’t want me to be alone for the holidays.  A single selfless act…

I was touched by her invitation, and moved in the next day, because two days later I was to start treatment.  I woke up at 5 a.m. and travelled via Trolley, then train to get to the hospital.  It was bitter cold, and dark, but I went.  After about 2 weeks, I began to feel the side effects of treatment.  Initially, food became tasteless. Everything I ate scratched my tongue and throat.  It was like swallowing extra course sandpaper.  Nannette decided to spend a day trying to cook different things that I could eat.  She made puddings, and jello’s and just a whole bunch of stuff.  It was unbelievably sweet.

A week later, I woke up because I felt a draft on my neck.  It was about 4 in the morning.  I got up and checked the window, but it was closed.  I checked the door to my rom, but it too was closed.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was almost time to get up anyway, so     I went to switch on the light to the room.  It was then that I realized why I felt the draft, and I began to weep.  There, on the pillow, was a thick clump of my hair.  I couldn’t imagine that it would fall out like this.  But there it was Nanette must have heard me crying.  She came into my room and sat with me.  Told me you could hardly tell.  I knew she was lying, but she said it in a way that made us both laugh.

Nannette Stueck was my hero then.  She made me laugh and forget what I was going through!   Most people thought my decision to stay in Boston to get treatments was odd, at best.  But I knew I would never have gone back to finish my degree if I left.  I needed to continue, to go on as though nothing was wrong.  Because the alternative was that everything would stop.  My college career, and my life…And Nannette got that.  She saw I was right to do it, and made that month okay…Fun even!

It has been years since Nannette and I were in contact.  With Facebook, I have hoped that I would find her over the years.  I try.  I put her name in, but nothing comes up.  So Nannette Stueck of Ridgefield, Ct who is married to Scott from Sudbury, Mass (maybe Swampscott…I don’t exactly remember where in Ma. Scott was from.  Though I do remember the gorgeous church you got married in).  Because of you, I put every effort out to help others; whether I know them or not.  It is a truly fulfilling feeling to help others.  I thank you for introducing that to me!

Nannette, I hope you are well and happy!  I would love to find you, but understand that I may not.   I want you to know that I tell my kids about your kindness all the time!  I hope to one day say THANK YOU in person!  Your selfless act o kindness changed me forever.

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