Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sabbatical Due (11.25.08)

[Dedicated to Lux Umbra Dei]

The following excerpt is from a long and eloquent comment, which I would title:  Everybody has a Story.  It's worth going back and reading the whole comment, including its context, as Lux's words, while meant as a cautionary tale for all of us, were also an effort to teach another the same lesson someone taught him:

"In my younger years I hung out in pool halls and such places and in one place an old white guy used to come in with a walrus mustache, army fatigue coat and some crazy farmer kind of hat. He would come in and eat food off plates that people left around. I was going to "goof" on him to maintain my status, but an older black guy said to back off. "He's got brain damage from the beating he took in the freedom rides." True story.

I was making some easy judgments, but they didn't take into fact the authenticity of that man's life as an individual. It was a turning point for me and I think that was the moment I started trying to see under the generalizations- to the people to the common humanity."
Some of you may wonder about me of late.... what's up?  How come she's bothered by the nit-picking and nay-saying of one bad apple at TPM?   And finally reached her limit?  Or maybe we could wonder why someone fails to heed the warning and the teaching of Lux Umbra Dei?

So what's up?

Family burdens, folks.  As Lux says, everyone has a story.  And since there's no older black guy to tell mine, I'll be brief and explain why I've decided a sabbatical is in order, since TPM has become more of a stressor than a solace just now, one bad apple being that last straw on the proverbial haystack:  Election night was an early and sombre one in our household, since Mr. TheraP had a biopsy at 8 am the very next morning.  And Thanksgiving has a bit of cloud over it, as first thing next Monday  we meet with the surgeon and the oncologist.  The good news is the Medical College is only 5 minutes away.  But so are the elderly parents:  And the drumbeat of falling markets has left them (86 and 91) with the financial conundrum of every other elderly couple still living at home - assets they counted on dwindling, just as they should be moving to get the care they need.  Just the other day, the NYTimes could have written their story in this article.  And that's a factor too.

Suffice it to say I've had it with the nit-picking and being harassed for ignoring the nit-picking.  Good discussion is worth my time and effort.  But annoying distractions at this particular time aren't worth it.  I've got enough on my plate.

Just remember Lux Umbra Dei's wisdom:  Everyone has a story.



TheraP --
As I said to Ripper when he told us the stress factors that were weighing him down, each of us can handle one or two serious stresses at one time. But adding a third means that one must learn to juggle, instantly and in earnest; add a fourth -- knowing that there is no apparent end in sight -- and episodic panic may ensue.
With all the black balls you have in the air right now, please marshall your resources, pace yourself, and come back when and as you can. We will not only hold your place, but also hold you in our hearts as you need us. Take care.
Take care of yourself, come back when you can stand it. We wish you well.
I wish you the best possible outcomes for you, your husband and parents. Remember that this community could also be a source of support if you feel like checking in just to check in.
I wish you and your family the best, TheraP. Come back soon.
Oh Thera!
How heartbreaking for you. I worked in oncology for many years and survived lymphoma myself so I have some inkling (at least on the physical side) and sympathize wholeheartedly.
You have been a voice of reason and sanity here at TPM for many many years. And this commenter has befitted from your wisdom more than I have ever shown in replies. I am sure there are many others as well.
I wish you and Mr. TheraP all the peace and good will I can send your way. Please know you will be missed until your return from your sabbatical.
Take care kind TheraP :)
- Mage
Indeed you do have a good deal on your plate, TheraP. Take care of those you love and be sure to save some time and care for yourself, as well. We'll look forward to your return and wish you well.
I hope it goes well, sending good thoughts your way.
Your local chapter of the American Cancer Society can be very helpful in terms of information and patient and family support. (And the rest of you, consider pitching a few bucks their way if you can, they are very effective at research as well as direct patient services.)
After many months of reading blogs, I've only recently (like within the last couple weeks) decided to add my voice to the discussion here at TPM.
Your contributions in particular have inspired me to engage in the give-and-take here. It is therefore troubling to learn you are taking a Sabbatical just as I get involved. But I understand your need to find some space from beneath the challenges you face, and it is my hope that the news is all good for you and Mr. TheraP and that life is joyous for you as you move into the New Year.
I look forward to hearing from you upon your return.
Your presence will be missed, your absence acutely felt. I wish the best to you and yours.
TheraP... I will miss you and hope you'll be back soon. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...
Sometimes the heaviness, the burden, it's all we can do to carry it.
And sometimes, about all we can do is ask for strength. And when it comes - because it does - I find it often comes from music. This, one of the most truly beautiful, sacred and wise songs I know. Calling All Angels.
Much love.

I'll miss seeing your comments around the Cafe, you are always a pleasure to hear from. We just found out in the past week that my dad has prostate cancer, so my thoughts are with you as you also deal with ailing parents. Much love to you.
Over the years your posts and comments have been characterized by two qualities – courage and humanity. I think your husband is in good hands having you as his companion on this difficult journey. I am reassured about his welfare that he has you at his side. More than once I’ve taken heart from your hopeful spirit in the midst of some discouraging discussion here at the Café.
It seems in these matters of health that they don’t teach us much about life. Rather it is the wisdom that we have already developed over the years that guides us on these journeys. Your wisdom as displayed here at the Café is the perfect guide for anyone about to walk this path.
Anyway if you look up the hill you are about to climb you will see me looking back at you. I just finished six months of chemotherapy. I have surgery next week and then it is on to radiation. So your old friends at the TPM Café community are with you in this as well. I think I coined the word “dinosaur” to describe our little band. I have been thinking lately that that was the wrong descriptor. When I see a name from the old gang on some post here a little smile appears over my computer. We are more like a pride of Cheshire cats. I saw Chuck Keller’s name for the first time in a while the other day and a big toothy grin appeared floating above my head. So you will be in our thoughts all of the time but drop a note once in a while and put that smile over all our heads.
Thanks for everything and know we are with you and your husband at this difficult time.

TheraP: Best to you and your family and much strength in the days ahead.

I'm not interested in arguing the following point I'm going to make, as I'm just writing it as a sort of "understand that of which you speak" message for TheraP, and argument about it would just bum her out more.
Consider that there is really no earthly reason that internet forums have to be places where one comes away depressed rather than enlightened and invigorated. It is simply the situation that it has become a tradition that under the ruse of "freedom of speech," bullies who actually enjoy verbal abuse as a form of entertainment or for an adrenaline rush are allowed to dominate them. I believe internet forums are actually still in their infancy, and I believe that the belief that all of them have to include verbal abuse and "smackdowns" and the like will pass. I myself have come to the point where I actually find it quite silly for people to argue that they have to be that way.
(Look for example at the legislative bodies in the world--some have regular fistfights break out, others do not. I would note also that LuxUmbra's story was about "pool halls and such places," where codes of behavior might be rough--there is a reason that many choose not to hang out at pool halls. Meanwhile, while we wait for "change" to happen in virtual reality, yes, a break is always wise if a forum bums you out, unless you're a masochist. But who in their right mind would go to a low-down-dirty pool hall when they really were in need of a sparkling cocktail party?)
Wishing good karma with your real life situation, believe me when I say I know of what you speak there. There are no bigger heartbreaking stressors than dealing with acute illness of a loved one in our current health care system, and elderly parents in need. Wishing you specialists and other caretakers with hearts and that a reasonable resolution to the financial situation.
Don't feel you have to respond.
How ironic that you posted this immediately after Clearthinker.
TheraP, I have always felt that I didn't deserve all the praise and encouragement you have given me. I don't find myself particularly wise, just a survivor of a rich and mistake-ridden life.
But I do find you wise, and could safely say you, not I, are the 'real deal'. But if you were just wise, I don't think I would miss you as muchas I'm going to. I'll miss your wisdom for sure, but maybe even more, your subtle compassion. I see how you operate and you are always trying to promote the general welfare here, bumps aside. Maybe that's why so many people have chosen to follow you. Its
been an embarrassing honor to receive your praises, but its been a unalloyed pleasure to know you were in the community here looking out for us other people, encouraging us, and always bringing kind words to the table.
Hurry back. You are a very valued member of the community.
Thank you, for every word you have written for our edification.
I hope there will be many more someday.
Sabbaticals are usually temporary.

TheraP, as soon as I saw the title of this post, a cold mist of dread wrapped around my heart.
Yes, everyone has a story, but not everyone has your wisdom or the ability to share it quite like you do. As you go through this new journey, please know that you are loved and treasured.
Come back when you're ready. Meanwhile, your fellow dragon-slayers will carry on the good fight.
No Tena, and now no TheraP.
This place has lost both poles, and will soon spin off its axis.
Come back soon, you know I love ya' sweetie! And Best Wishes to Mr. TheraP. He's a lucky guy.
And to whoever stressed-out TheraP, I got a big old can of whup-ass waitin' for ya'.
TheraP, My heart goes out to you. I share some of your hardships, (family health, aging parent), and know how those stresses dominate our consciousness and how it affects our perceptions and social interactions . I haven't read the other posts, but I am sure a common theme is that your presence here will be missed. Add me to that group. My only piece of advice is to take time to get outdoors, by yourself or with a loved one. It works for me. Take care of yourself, best of luck, and come back when you can.
Come back when you can...
Thera P:
This is a strange forum where we come to know each other so well and for the most part we will never meet. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with Mr. Thera P, and with your parents, and I hope that on this Thanksgiving you find strength in that warm and cozy feeling that comes with sharing a holiday with loved ones. Only good things and please come back if and when you're up to it.
Somehow, it seemed especially appropriate for me to cosign Bruce and say that he speaks for me in every respect in this comment. And though I'm not sure what the prayers of an agnostic are worth (as a definitional matter, now that I think about it), know that you have mine.
Fond wishes to you and your family. Hope you come back feeling refreshed.
Best wishes, I hope you husband gets some good news!
Thera, I'm so very sorry, both for the hard times you and your family are going through and for the hole that will be left with your absence. I felt like I was just getting to know you and will miss you very much.
As one whose family has recently dealt with the horror that is cancer, my heart goes out to you.
I'm sure you have lots of "shoulders" but should you find them inadequate, my e-mail address is Sometimes when you can scream at someone you don't know really well, it helps...I know.
Take care, be back when you can, and lean on God. He'll carry you when no one else can. My prayers are with you.
Keep Breathing, ThearaP.

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