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My Failed Swallow: A Disability, Not a Mindset

Byline: Samantha Anderson, AustraliaSamantha working at an instore event in one of her galleries

I could have written this from so many different angles. The fear I faced waking up in an unfamiliar body. The frustration of struggling to find help in a medical system so geared to common ailments and diseases and learning that there is no one who can help. The disgust at how women are treated and pigeonholed as “emotional” or “depressed” – being told “Sweetheart, you’ve just forgotten how to swallow” is so demeaning and disrespectful. Being an outsider in your own life – not taking part in family meals or celebrations. Work functions and events that all center around food and champagne. Friends that don’t know how to catch up if not over coffee, and family that can’t come to visit without planning a barbecue. Or how to deal with food, food and more food being shoved in your face everywhere: magazines, billboards, TV, in the streets, friend’s houses, supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, even in your own home. And how when you’re starving, it’s pure torture.

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Facing Fears and Finding Hope

My name is Fay and I am married to Gordon. I am 80 years old. Gordon is 88 and the patriarch of the Longstaff clan in Australia.

Until early in 2014, life for us had largely been a very comfortable existence, with a small, but close family, a few good friends, many friendly acquaintances, a few crafty hobbies, and basic good health. Gordon and I spent many years taking long caravan-based holidays around our vast island, and when finances permitted, a few overseas journeys, as well. We both took for granted our ability to plan the next adventure without ever anticipating a time when this would no longer be possible.

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EAT, DRINK, BE MERRY AND MAKE A TOAST WITH A NEW VOICE

My name is Alistair Baillie. I am 68 years old and live in Laguna Beach, California- a paradise.

I have been married for 27 years to my savior wife Jennine and have 2 beautiful daughters, 3 dogs and 1 cat named Balthazar.

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The Story of Doctor Whynot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAByline: Hank Miller [Pictured, Hank and Nancy at Yosemite is 2014]

In the year 2000, at the ripe old age of 65, having experienced near-perfect health for my entire life, I was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma tumor on my left tonsil. It had metastasized. Within a few days of finding the tumor, the cancer team at Stanford University Hospital removed it. Three months of radiation therapy followed, three times each week. My life was radically changed from that time on. continue reading →



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I AM STILL HERE

BIO

My name is Arthur Lazarus. I was born in New Hampshire in 1935 and grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts in a stable suburban family. I graduated from University of Maine in 1957 with a BA in Geology. I served in the Army Reserve for six years. I met my wife at U of Maine and we have three adult daughters and four grandchildren. I live in Littleton, Massachusetts. I began my career as an Engineering Geologist in construction materials technology and ended as a Program Manager and Senior Engineering Geologist in hazardous waste site remediation. I was fully employed for the entire 45-year career. My volunteer activities at present are conservation land management, church participation, stained glass crafting, and participation in two Head and Neck Cancer Support Groups. Although I have been quite healthy all my life, the big change came in 2008 with severe oral cancer. Through extensive treatment and therapy activities I have done well for six years now.

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