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So I have cancer on my tongue. Never had a health issue before that scared me like this. Although cancer is by no means lucky, I feel lucky on a number of counts. Firstly, the dentists at NYU dental school are incredible. I started going there because they charge less for services and I was paying out of pocket. I put off a recent visit because I was waiting for my health insurance to begin on January 1st through the exchange. It was at that cleaning that they spotted the cancer. I thought it was a persistent canker sore but in fact it was a lesion. Yes it was very painful but so are canker sores. I figured it was rubbing against the edge of my tooth which was why it wouldn’t go away. I have a high tolerance for pain so after awhile, I just blocked it out. When the supervising dentist checked the work in my mouth, she instructed me to make an appointment with pathology. A few days later I had a biopsy and ten days following the doctor relayed the news via skype.
In Patras, Greece at a cafe praying for the internet connection to hold, I began to cry. I knew it was cancer already as my doctor refused to give me the results via email. That alone spoke volumes. He is such a lovely doctor and was so caring…told me to take some time. He asked if I had anyone to talk to while I was there. The group I was working with quickly found out and offered lots of love and support. Back in my hotel room, I still felt alone and so scared. There were a million questions I didn’t ask. Once the news settled, I began to get to work on treatment. I emailed my doctor everything he needed to organize a surgeon and my appointment with him. I reorganized my return home from Hawaii to an earlier date and met with my surgeon immediately up on arrival.
My surgeon is the third bit of luck. One being the amazing dentist who spotted the cancer, two being the amazing pathologist who waived a consult fee, continued to check in with me and broke the news via skype on his day off. And now my surgeon is the third, an incredible doctor with NYU who is involved in research and has a caring manner. I feel I am in the best possible hands and will receive the ongoing care I need. All of my other doctors prior to this team have been quick to scoot me along and seemingly overwhelmed by their case load. The staff at Woodhull hospital where I used to go were so rude that I had to prepare a mental armor just to get through the three hour wait. My expectations were low going into this based on my previous experience but this time around has been completely different.
I cry a lot now as I get used to the news. I wonder what I did wrong…if it will go away completely and if I have it elsewhere in my body. I marvel at my friends who have gone through other forms of cancer and remain positive and healthy. But mostly, I cry because I am so touched by these amazing doctors. I cry because I am overwhelmed with gratitude that they care about me. I cry because so many friends have responded with support and kind words. I never expected people to be so incredible and to generously offer their time and well wishes, especially in a city like New York where we are all busy trying to make it day to day. I cry because I feel so lucky.
I have so much to be thankful for…Obamacare for coming into my life in the knick of time, the incredible friends all over the world and right here at home and the folks at NYU.
Scientists have started to study how dogs take emotional cues from human voices. According to the head researcher: "We’d put an experienced dog up in the scanner, and he’d be up there sitting still. Then we’d bring into the room a less experienced dog. And he’d get so jealous! He just wanted to be on the scanner bed like the other dog. It became the place of happiness."
Photos Courtesy of Borbala Ferenczy and Eniko Kubinyi
Diagram adapted from “Voice-Sensitive Regions in the Dog and Human Brain Are Revealed by Comparative fMRI" by Attila Andics et al.
Oklahoma has had over 150 earthquakes in the past week alone—what’s going on down there? Scientists have a (scary) hypothesis.
How 12 children scarred by Congo wars are learning to cope in adulthood
Some joined rebel groups because they were forced to. Others enlisted to defend their village. They became killers. Many were raped. All of them were traumatized by what they did and what they saw.
Now, 12 young survivors of Congo’s wars have grown up.
(Photos by Larry C. Price)
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A glorious sunset from Patras, Greece. I can’t remember when I have seen such a glorious sky.
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This is the amazing group of teaching artists from Athens working in Patras. I love each and every one of them. Not only is it a joy sharing the Dancing to Connect methodology with them, it is inspiring to feel their enthusiasm and passion for teaching. They are truly remarkable human beings.
After a very difficult 2013, I am happy to usher in a new year. May 2014 bring positive changes for everyone.
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