August 2010

Post image for The Hardest Loss of All

The short conversation on the phone left my husband, Martin with a look of shock. “What was that about?” I asked. Martin stood in silence, took some forced deep breaths and softly spoke. “There’s been an accident. A terrible accident.” As it turned out, one of my son, Max’s dear childhood friend was killed in a car crash hours before. He left a party in the early morning hours feeling it would be safe to drive. He got into his car, still slightly intoxicated from the night before neglecting to put on his seat beat. He drove off and almost immediately crashed into a tree.  He wanted to get home; it was such a short distance. This was a great kid who made a terrible decision.

My son was on his way to a concert in Boston, ready to savor his last night in town and then finish up the packing [click to continue…]

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Empty Nest, Full Heart

by Dr. Kamen

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My heart weighed heavy this week. Empty nest pangs gnawing at me yet again. My two college age children headed back to their respective schools in upstate New York and Delaware. I cherished our time together as a family during their summer break as never before. No fancy vacations, no beach time together, none of our usual summer rituals. This summer was devoted to helping Mom get back on her feet after a difficult surgery and reviving her usual active life.

The golden lining of this challenging time was experiencing the depth of love and compassion that deeply bonds our family together. I did not fully appreciate [click to continue…]

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Post image for Meet the Irrepressible Cheryl Savit

Cheryl possesses a smile that lights up a room. It’s an undeniable blend of mischief, optimism and a great sense of humor. She knows her share of pain and loss and yet she’s somehow figured out the key to maintaining a consistently positive mental attitude, with only the occasional lapses into turbulence.

A breast cancer survivor, Cheryl is the embodiment of the healing powers of friendship. The Brownie slogan “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold” truly resonates with her. Friendships throughout Cheryl’s childhood as well as her high school and college years became an influential and important part [click to continue…]

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Post image for 10 Steps to Greater Creativity

How do you discover your creative talents? Here are 10 steps you can take to nurture your signature abilities and interests. Realizing your instinctive creative expression can be a deeply satisfying journey and a way of developing your inner self. Uncensored creative expression often leads to feeling a greater sense of balance, happiness and fulfillment. [click to continue…]

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Years ago I conducted workshops and seminars to physicians at the Boston University School of Medicine. The well-attended meetings were about “Who Takes Care of the Physician?” This subject continues to warrant attention, however I’ve come to realize that nurses, aides, home health care providers and our reliable family members, also need to be cared for. They too need tools for their own self-care during these stressful times.

Of course the primary focus is on the sick or post-operative patient, but little attention is paid to the family members that are in the trenches day in and day out with their loved ones. The responsibilities thrust upon the spouses and children can be not only overwhelming, but disorienting [click to continue…]

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Post image for Dealing with a Difficult Medical Diagnosis

Getting a difficult medical diagnosis is challenging at best. Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote extensively about the five stages of grief that accompanies the experience of loss. Although her work originally described the reaction to the death of a loved one, the same cycle applies to those experiencing health issues [click to continue…]

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Angels of the Night

by Dr. Kamen

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Three days post hip replacement surgery a small team with a large ambulance transported me to a rehabilitation facility. While there, I began to heal from the invasive procedure and relearn the act of walking.

Handfuls of medications came periodically throughout the day. One hour before physical therapy, pain medication was generously doled out so that I could tolerate the pain from the simplest [click to continue…]

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Finding My Footing

by Dr. Kamen

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Today I went to the hospital because the visiting nurse alarmed me to the fact that a small infection formed at the peak corner of my new hip replacement scar. “No time to waste. You never know how fast an infection can travel. This requires urgent care.” She made a succession of anxiety riddled phone calls to my orthopedic surgeon, the surgeons’ two assistants, the on-call resident and finally my primary care physician. She was determined to resolve the infection in question swiftly.

At first, I felt safe with her determination to find an immediate solution to the problem. Then, as we waited for the return phone calls and she continued to apprise me of the meaning of a spread infection [click to continue…]

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My Body My Self

by Dr. Kamen

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While taking one of my favorite bikram yoga classes, my teacher came along and slowly nudged me into a deeper position. Ordinarily I like to move at my own pace and I don’t allow anyone to move my body into position. I know my body better than anyone and I figure it’s been serving me well all these years, so I generally choose to go at my own speed.

This one evening I dragged myself to class after sitting for hours in my office. The instructor made her way around the room. “Breathe” she said, “I think you can go deeper still.” I took slow measured breaths and on the exhalation, tried letting go. She placed her hands gently on my back and hips and told me [click to continue…]

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Photos directly above by Laura Bergstein, all rights reserved; Portrait Photography of Dr.Randy Kamen by Janet Wolbarst Photography www.janetwolbarst.com