| Monday, September 22, 2008
| SEVEN WAYS TO COPE WITH CHEMO
|THE DRUGS USED TO TREAT CANCER can have different results in different people. They can be a miracle -- they cured my Hodgkin's disease -- or not. Side effects vary greatly too. Many of us approach chemo with fear, but a few steps can help you cope.
1. LEARN ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS
Some people want to know every possible side effects of chemotheraphy. Others want only a general overview so as not to become overly fearful. Both approaches are reasonable. Tell your doctor which you prefer. If you do encounter side effects, your oncology nurse, who is familiar with the drugs you're taking, will have specific ideas and recommendations about how to ease your discomfort.
2. MANAGE UNPREDICTABILITY
Reactions to chemotheraphy are unpredictable. One day you may be fine and the next day totally exhausted. The treatment you said through last month feels like too much today. Remember that you are receiving a powerful medical intervention and that it's reasonable if you can't do everything you once could. Remind others that you are not always at your best right now.
3. ADAPT HEALTH BEHAVIORS.
Some people resolve to stick to a new diet or exercise regime when they begin treatment. But chemotheraphy can affect both eating and physical activity. You may have no appetite, feel nauseous, or lack the energy to get to the kitchen. It helps to set modest goals. Take in enough fluids and eat a balanced diet of food. Use small spurts of energy for short walks and get plenty of sleep.
4. COPE WITH SADNESS
Many patients are still absorbing the shock of the diagnosis when chemotheraphy begins. Despair and hopelessness sit heavily on some days. It can be helpful to put these feelings into words by writing them down or talking to other. If you think your sadness will frighten or burden loved ones, confide in a trusted friend or a member of the clergy. But if you may want to talk with a mental-health professional who has experience with people undergoing chemotheraphy.
5. GET SUPPORT.
Family and friends can be a tremendous source of support. But sometimes you may feel so alone that your situation defies their understanding. Fortunately, there are many ways to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. Local centers may provide a range of in-person opportunities to talk with others. Telephone-based or online support groups allow people to share information and encouragement.
6. HAVE PATIENCE.
While chemotheraphy targets your cancer, it also affects your thinking, you emotions, and your energy level. Most of the immediate effects of the drugs pass within hours or days, but the fatigue and mental fogginess often linger, making it difficult to resume normal life. This can be frustrating and discouraging. Most people find that these symptoms face over time.
7. FIND RELIEF.
While it may be difficult to feel comfortable in your body during this time, think back. What has helped you find relief in the past? Writing your thought down? Prayer? Reading mystery novels? Watching sitcoms? Listening to music? Chemotheraphy is new to you, but you bring experience in getting through tough times. You know best what has worked for you. Draw in your expertise about yourself to find some moments of peace.
Chemotheraphy often shrinks our world to this body, this treatment, this pain. But each of us is more than our disease. While our lives have been profoundly changed, all the experiences that brought us here remain. Our aim now is to take steps -- big and small -- that will get us through the days with all the grace we can muster, all the support we need, and all the dignity we deserve.
(Source: PARADEMAG by Jessie Gruman a three time cancer survivor and the author of "AfterShock: What To Do When the Doctor Gives You -- or Someone You Love -- A Devastating Diagnosis" (Walker & Company, 2007)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 3:22 PM
| Saturday, September 20, 2008
| THE SECRETS OF AMERICA'S GREAR PRESIDENTS
|WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRESIDENT?
As a historian, I look to the past to help predict the future. And I am convinced that Americans should consider the leadership strengths of our most successful Presidents when deciding how to cast their ballots in November. Focusing on the qualities that have made some of our leaders exceptional provides a better perspective on our current candidates than what's often reported -- mistaken words, glib replies, fundraising abilities, and TV ads. Taking Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt as guides, I've identified 10 attributes that distinguish truly great Presidents.
1. THE COURAGE TO STAY STRONG
A President needs the ability to withstand adversity and motivate himself in the face of frustration. From childhood, Lincoln showed a determination to rise above the poverty into which he was born. Despite failures that would have felled most others, he never lost faith that if he refused to despair, he would eventually succeed. Roosevelt, by contrast, grew up with wealth, privilege, and love. His crucible came in a polio attack that left him a paraplegic at 39. While crippling his body, the paralysis expanded his sensibilities. He emerged from his ordeal with greater powers of concentration and greater self-knowledge. Far more intensely than before, he was about to put himself in the shoes of others to whom fate had dealt an unfair hand.
Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation. Lincoln placed his three chief rivals for the Republican nomination in crucial positions in his Cabinet and filled the rest of his top jobs with former Democrats. His cabinet sessions were fiery affairs, but they provided him with a wide range of advice and opinion. Similarly, FDR created a coalition of the New Deal into key positions as Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. And for his Army chief of staff, he appoint George Marshall, because the straight-talking general was the only one to disagree with him in a meeting.
3. AN ABILITY TO LEARN FROM ERRORS
To lead successfully, you must be willing to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. After the rout of Union forces at Bull Run, Lincoln stayed up all night writing a memo on military policy that incorporated the painful lessons he had learned. And when FDR concluded that a New Deal program was not working, he created a new one in its place, built upon an understanding of what had gone wrong.
4. A WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE
Conditions change, and Presidents must respond. When was came, FDR made his peace with the industrialists whose hatred he had welcomed during the New Deal. He relaxed anti-trust regulations, guaranteed profit, and brought in top business executive to run his production agencies, aware that only with their commitment could we build the planes, tanks and ships we needed to win.
5. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
A President must encourage his closest advisers to give their best and remain loyal. Lincoln shared credit for his successes and shouldered public blame for the failures of his subordinates. FDR had a remarkable capacity to transmit strength to others, to make them feel more determined to do their jobs well.
Great leaders manage their emotions and remain calm in the midst of trouble. When angry with a colleague, Lincoln liked to write him a "hot letter", giving his emotions free rein. Then he would put the letter aside, knowing he would calm down and never send it. If he lost his temper, he would invariably follow up with a kind gesture. "If I was cross, I ask your pardon", he wrote to one of his generals. "If I do get up a temper I do not have sufficient time to keep it up". And on the Sunday that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Eleanor Roosevelt was struck by her husband's "deadly calm". While aides and cabinet officers ran in an out of excitement, panic and irritation, FDR remained at his desk, absorbing the news, deciding what to do next.
7. A POPULAR TOUCH
The best Presidents have an intuitive awareness of public sentiment, a sense of when to wait and when to lead. Lincoln once said that if he had issued the Emancipation Proclamation six months earlier, "public sentiment would not have sustained it." By following the gradual shift in the newspapers, by opening his office to conversations with ordinary people, by visiting troops in the field, he rightly concluded that by early 1863, the opposition was no longer "strong enough to defeat the purpose". FDR was said to possess an uncanny awareness of the hopes and fears of his countrymen and to know precisely when to move forward, when to hold back, and when to deliver one of his fireside chats.
8. A MORAL COMPASS
Only strong leaders have the courage and integrity to follow their convictions when the risk of losing popular support is great. In mid-1864, top Republicans warned Lincoln that unless he renounced emancipation as a condition, the Confederates never would agree to peace talks, without which he had no chance of re-election. Yet Lincoln turned his party's leaders away without a second thought. "I should be damned in time and in eternity", he wrote, if he chose to conciliate the South over the slaves to whom he had pledged freedom. FDR chose in 1940 to supply England with what little America had in the way of weapons. In so doing, he drew the wrath of isolationist, liberals and educators. His own generals warned that he so risked American security that he might be impeached or "found hanging from a lamppost" if England fell and Hitler used our captured weapons against us. Believing England's survival crucial to the preservation of Western civilization, FDR was willing to take that risk.
9. A CAPACITY TO RELAX
FRD held a White house cocktail hour every evening. Its cardinal rule; Nothing was to be said of politics or war. Guests were to gossip, tell funny stories, and reminisce so that everyone could enjoy a few precious hours away from the pressures of the day. Lincoln possessed a life-affirming sense of humor and a legendary ability to tell long, winding tales that allowed him "to whistle off sadness". He laughed, he explained, so he did not weep.
10. A GIFT FOR INSPIRING OTHERS
One of the key qualities of a great President is his ability to communicate national goals to the people and to educate and shape public opinion. Both Lincoln and FDR conveyed their convictions with stories and metaphors, as well as a profound sense of history and a love of poetry and drama. When Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, the North was on the verge of winning the Civil War. Yet he avoided a triumphal message. Knowing that his next challenge was to return to defeated South to the Union, he suggested that the sin of slavery was shared by both sides and called on his countrymen "with malice toward none; with charity for all.... to bind up the nation's wounds." FDR's first inaugural address, delivered at the height of the Depression, conveyed a clear understanding of the difficulties the nation faced and projected such serene confidence in the fundamental strength of his country that he renewed the hope of millions.
I hope that as this campaign reaches its end, we can all move beyond the superficial "issues" that now play too large a role in Presidential politics. Let us look closely at the leadership styles of John McCain and Barack Obama and analyze their strengths and weaknesses in relation to our greatest leaders. It will take imagination to shift our present mode of thinking. Old habits die hard. But let us began.
(source: PARADEMAG by: Doris Kearns Goodwin. She is the author of "Team of Rivals":The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln". She won a pulitzer Prize in 1995 for her book on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 10:18 PM
| Sunday, September 07, 2008
| 10 WAYS TO GET RICH Warren Buffett's Secrets Thar Can Work For You
|With an estimated fortune of $62 billion, Warren Buffett is the richest man in the entire world. In 1962, when he began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaways, a share cost $7.50. Today, Buffett, 78, is Berkshire's chairman and CEO and one share of the company's class A stocks is worth close to $119,000. He credits his astonishing success to several key strategies, which he has shared with writer Alice Schroeder. She spent hundred of hours interviewing the Sage of Omaha for the new authorized biography. The Snowball. Here are some of Buffett's money-making secrets- and how they could work for you.
1. REINVEST YOUR PROFITS
When you first make money, you may be tempted to spend it. Don't, instead, reinvest the profits. Buffett learned this early on. In high school, he and a pal brought a pinball machine to put in a barbershop. With the money they earned, they bought more machines until they had eight in different shops. When the friends sold the venture, Buffett used the proceeds to buy stocks and to start another small business. By age 26, he'd amassed $174,000 -- or $1.4 million in today's money. Even a small sum can turn into great wealth.
2. BE WILLING TO BE DIFFERENT
Don't base your decisions upon what everyone is saying or doing. When Buffett began managing money in 1956 with $100,000 cobbled together from a handful of investors, he was dubbed an oddball. He worked in Omaha, not on Wall Street, and he refused to tell his partners where he was putting their money. People predicted that he'd fail, but when he closed his partnership 14 years later, it was worth more than $100 million. Instead of following the crowd, he looked for undervalued investments and ended up vastly beating the market average every single year. To Buffett, the average is just that -- what everybody else is doing. To be above average, you need to measure yourself by what he calls the Inner Scorecard, judging yourself by your own standards and not the world's.
3. NEVER SUCK YOUR THUMB
Gather in advance any information you need to make a decision, and ask a friend or relative to make sure that you stick to a deadline. Buffett prides himself on swiftly making up his mind and acting on it. He calls any unnecessary sitting and thinking "thumb-sucking". When people offer him a business or an investment, he says, "I won't talk unless they bring me a price". He gives them an answer on the spot.
4. SPELL OUT THE DEAL BEFORE YOU START
Your bargaining leverage is always greatest before you begin a job -- that's when you have something to offer that the other party wants. Buffett learned this lesson the hard way as a kid, when his grandfather Ernest hired him and a friend to dig out the family grocery store after a blizzard. Afterward, his grandfather gave the pair less than 90 cents to split. Buffett was horrified that he performed such a backbreaking work only to earn pennies an hour. Always nail down the specifics of a deal in advance -- even with your friends and relatives.
5. WATCH SMALL EXPENSES
Buffett invests in business run by managers who obsess over the interest costs. He once acquired a company whose owner counted the sheets in rolls of 500-sheet toilet paper to see if he was being cheated (he was). He also admired a friend who painted only the side of his office building that faced the road. Exercising vigilance over every expense can make your profits -- and your paycheck -- go much further.
6. LIMIT WHAT YOU BORROW
Living on credit cards and loans won't make you rich. Buffett has never borrowed a significant amount - not to invest, not for a mortgage. He has gotten many heart rending letters from people who thought their borrowing was manageable but became overwhelmed by debt. His advice: Negotiate with creditors to pay what you can. Then, when you're debt-free, work on saving some money that you can use to invest.
7. BE PERSISTENT
With tenacity and ingenuity, you can win against a more established competitor. Buffett acquired the Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1913 because he liked the way its founder, Rose Blumkin, did business. A Russian immigrant, she built the mart from a pawnshop into the largest furniture store in North America. Her strategy was to undersell the big shots, and she was a merciless negotiator. To Buffett, Rose embodied the unwavering courage that makes a winner out of an underdog.
8. KNOW WHEN TO QUIT
Once, when Buffett was a teen, he went to the racetrack. He bet on a race and lost. To recoup his funds, he bet on another race. He lost again, leaving him with close to nothing. He felt sick -- he had squandered nearly a week's earning. Buffett never repeated that mistake. Know when to walk away from aloss, and don't let anxiety fool you into trying again.
9. ASSESS THE RISKS
In 1995, the employer of Buffett's son, Howie, was accused by the FBI of price-fixing. Buffett advised Howie to imagine the worst- and best case scenario if he stayed with the company. His son quickly realized the risks of staying far outweighed any potential gains, and he quit the next day. Asking yourself "and then what?" can help you see all of the possible consequences when you're struggling to make a decision -- and can guide you to the smartest choice.
10. KNOW WHAT SUCCESS REALLY MEANS
Despite his wealth, Buffett does not measure success by dollars. In 2006, he pledged to give away almost his entire fortune to charities, primarily the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He's adamant about not funding monuments to himself -- no Warren Buffett buildings or halls. "I know people who have a lot of money", he says, "and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you'll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love actually do love you. That's the ultimate test of how you've lived your life".
(Source: PARADEMAG by Alice Schroeder/see parade.com)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 9:25 PM