There is so much to say

Buddha Quotes positive attitude

Hello there! Long time no write. It has been an interesting month to say the least. My head has been spinning with a little bit of everything lately, to the point that I didn’t really know how to put into words that would make any sense. I am going to give it a shot now.

First and foremost, I feel so grateful just to be alive. I remind myself to take note of this every day. It was not guaranteed by any means. 2021 was just a shit show of one inevitable thing after another, not to mention trying to be vanquished by lymphoma. Well! I showed that stupid cancer who’s boss! But, almost a year later, I am still not quite me yet. There have been so many side effects and setbacks and I just had to sign a different consent form that added about 6 new pages of warnings and potential complications for chemo that I already had. But, I just keep on taking the hits like a prize fighter and keep on plugging.

Second, I am so grateful that my husband is alive. I was barely a couple feet in the rearview from chemo when he tried to croak and had multi vessel open heart surgery, without having any high cholesterol or anything! Talk about terrifying and out of the blue! Helping him rebuild both mentally and physically has been one of the greatest challenges of our lives. If we allow it, the what ifs could easily overwhelm us. I just keep saying no!

Third, I am grateful that my kids are healthy, at least physically. Let’s face it. Almost losing both parents in one calendar year hit them like a ton of bricks, even though they tried not to show it. They wanted to spare our feelings and not have us worry or feel guilty. Too late for that. I watched their struggle to process and still give themselves permission to carry on with their lives. There is no more hopeless feeling than knowing your kids are fighting a battle that you just can’t help with or fight for them, but that is partially caused by you. I get it. Feeling guilty does not solve or remedy anything. I just can’t help it.

Fourth, the ongoing business struggles between the pandemic and the after effects of me working less during my cancer treatment and trying to help when my husband was ill are still catching up with me. Not a whole lot I can do about that besides keep working my ass off. On the other hand, I feel very fortunate to still have and own my business after everything that has happened. I’ve always said that I am not in it for the money anyway…lol

Last but not least, there IS something that really keeps me going lately in a good way. Want to know what it is? It is my positivity. What do I mean by that? Well, I DON’T mean that I wear rose-colored glasses and have unrealistic expectations that set me up for failure. I DON’T mean that I skip around singing like Snow White all day. I mean that I am still able to help people every day, no matter what has happened. I truly believe that my positivity has impacted people all over, even in some of the toughest, most defeatist cases. I feel like it is really working and spreading to everyone around me. I truly believe that I have been able to be the metaphorical flashlight that I was aiming for to lead other people through dark times. I realize that I haven’t been able to get to everybody, but I will never stop trying. I think the key thing for me to remember is that I am keeping positive and advocating and pushing because I want to, not from some sense of duty or obligation.

So, let me bottom line it for you. There is a lot of crap still going on, but I am staying positive! Join me will ya?

Dr. Katz

Embrace where you are now, but don’t forget where you have been.

closeup photography of pink rose flower

I feel grateful every day just to be above ground and be reasonably physically and mentally healthy. I have a great family. I have rebuilt bridges. I have strengthened old relationships and built new ones. I am attempting to take even better care of myself and make myself a priority. I have made myself a mission of positivity that I attempt to fulfill at least once a day, no matter how small the triumph.

Wow! It seems like a lot of work doesn’t it? Frankly, it is, but so Worth IT! There are days when I get tired and don’t feel like putting in an effort. That’s when I have to stop and remember where I was even a year or two ago: somewhat depressed, frustrated, lonely despite people surrounding me, full of cancer trying to take my life, not able to work like I wanted to help support my family, mentally swirling with guilt and self-induced feelings of failure.

I have come a long way since then, but in order to keep my current path intact, I need to keep in mind where I came from and the lessons it taught me. I learned that no one can fully heal all of me but me. No one can really help assure my future without my help and driving force. I need to be mindful and grateful of the “good days” even if thrybaten’t as frequent as I would like. I learned that there isn’t always a tommorow, so I better make damn sure that today is the best I can muster. Nobody can do that for me. I’ve got to care enough to do it myself.

Dr. Katz

Thanksgiving

The actual definition of Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States that commemorates the date in 1621 on which the colonists and the Wampanoag tribe shared a feast celebrating the Autumn harvest. There has been a lot of controversy regarding the accuracy of the retelling of this bit of history. Nonetheless we continue to celebrate it centuries later with turkey, family, football and feasting.

Why is Thanksgiving so important? The name kind of gives it away..Thanks giving. It is a day to give thanks and to celebrate gratititude. It is a day to realize the blessings you have and cherish them. It is a day to gather with family and tell stories. It is a day that is not focused on material things like gift giving. It celebrates positivity itself.

So, now that we know why Thanksgiving is important, let’s talk about the practice of it. How was your Thanksgiving? Did you celebrate family and what you have? Or did you bemoan the world in general, talk about COVID, and complain about what is not going your way? Our house was pretty peaceful and celebratory, but I am concerned that was not the norm or the majority for others. Do we still know how to be grateful and give thanks? Or is peaceful thankfulness just a distant memory for too many at this point? Sometimes I find it difficult to remember a time when the majority of people that I come across had at least one good thing to say or focus on. I am not asking for the world here. I am just asking to be able to start a conversation with someone that does not start with a complaint or some sort of discontent. I am guilty of it too at times. Most of the time, when someone asks me how I am doing I give my stock answer, “Living the dream!” I give this answer for several reasons: 1) I actually believe it, 2) I don’t want them to worry( there has been a lot to worry about lately), and 3) I know in my heart that most people don’t actually want to know. They are just asking to be polite. Other times I start rambling word vomit about everything that is going on or frustrating me before I can stop myself, even though I can tell immediately that the other person regrets asking by the look on their face.

I am not sure why I do it. I am basically a positive person and try my hardest to maintain that, even with everything that life has thrown at me lately. I really want to keep that going but even I fall into that trap that I feel like the rest of the world is in sometimes. So, I ask the big question again. Have we forgotten how to be grateful, positive, or happy? Is the norm of negativity so engrained at this point that there is no turning back? I hope not. I can tell you this though. If we don’t start looking a little harder for the things that give us joy and pushing aside the negative focus that is locking us in, the damage that we are causing to ourselves will be irreparable.

Dr. Katz

So, I kind of broke up an almost fight at Kroger today

Hey everyone! Long time no write. LIfe has been a crazy series up downs…and downs…lately and my time and mind have been elsewhere out of necessity. But today, something happened that I think is worth sharing so here goes.

I was in line at Kroger today and I slid in right behind this very frustrated guy who was about to have a verbal duke out with the poor blameless cashier, who appeared to already be having a very difficult day. I observed quietly for a second, and then I felt compelled to intervene. I realize that this is a risky move, especially nowadays but I went for it anyway. I was going to bring some peace to Kroger dang it. I said, ” You know, I think we have all forgotten how to be kind. We have all gotten so frustrated with other stuff and other people that we forget how to be nice to others. ” This stunned them into angry silence for a minute. I boldly went on. “When I had my cancer this year and then my husband had emergency heart surgery soon after I was done with chemo, I realized that there are some battles I just don’t need to fight anymore. I just feel lucky to be above ground. Everything after that is just gravy.” Both men got even quieter and just stared at me. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. Then, the fighting man asked if he could help me get the stuff from under my cart. I said, “Absolutely! Thanks!” He did. Then he turned to the cashier and said thanks and then went on his way. The cashier thanked me and I noted out of the corner of my eye that everyone was smiling and nodding. I have to admit. That felt really good. I had brought peace to Kroger that day.

You have to ask yourself, why are we all so frustrated? Actually, that is a fairly easy question to answer. Look at all the colossal shit that has happened in all of our worlds lately. We’ve got the ongoing pandemic (depending on which blend of fact and fiction you subscribe to. I am just going to leave that one alone.) We have unemployment issues. We all know someone that has gone through incredible health issues. We have all had ridiculous amounts of financial strain. The list keeps going. It requires no stretch of the imagination to suppose why we are all on edge. The real question to answer now is how are we going to stop it? Are we going to be able to act like logical, sensitive, compassionate humans again once things get better? Or are we so entrenched in the cycle of negativity that we have forgotten how to recognize when things are good? I can understand the negative reactions to negative environments and things that we cannot control. But, I am suggesting that we start trying to remember how to act like civilized rational beings again regardless. Take it slowly at first, deciding to be content with or grateful for some tiny little thing: a single decision that goes your way. Then, go from there. I am just afraid that if we don’t start at least trying now, we won’t be able to do it later. Then, we will have a much bigger problem.

Dr. Katz

Boy That’s Got Me Thinkin

I just heard about the unexpected death of an amazing human today and it really got my wheels spinning. It made me take a step back and re-evaluate my own processing of the world around me lately and really embrace the amount of time that I have wasted with misdirected anger, emotions and the occasional dose of self-pity. I need to stop. It shouldn’t take news like this to shake me out of my own festival of wallowing. I should already know that, whatever potentially exaggerated feelings that I have about what my own life struggles, there is always something worse out there that someone else is going through. I am not saying that I spend an exorbitant amount of time feeling sorry for myself or anything, but really any time is too much time now that I think about it. Have I had some shitty things going on lately? Check. Have I had financial issues like everyone else? Have I had any health issues? Check. But, for all that, I have plenty of things to be grateful for too. I still have a job. I am still above ground. I have great kids and a great husband. I work hard and I get to see the positive effects on patients, etc etc. Like I have said many times over, I need to follow my own advice and break the proverbial chains that tie me to negativity like some sort of prisoner. All they do is hold me back and keep me from recognizing anything good when it happens. So, I am going to make myself a promise and grab those bolt cutters with both hands and make way for positivity. Who’s with me?

Dr. Katz

Here We Go Again!

Greetings from Michigan, where the shutdowns are back, viral cases are surging, morale is down and the economy is heaving along, the best that it can. Whew! That is both a mouthful and yet another heavy set of burdens for us to bear. What are we going to do? What can we do?…that we aren’t doing already? How are they deciding what to shut down? which schools to close? In the midst of the new resurgence of information overload, in combination with the overwhelming sense of loss of control, everything starts to merge together and nothing really makes sense anymore. With a sense of frustration and a deep need for answers and assertion of control, we start pointing fingers and making enemies and burning bridges right and left. We forget what’s really important anymore because we are so distracted by our unhappiness, our loss of freedoms, and our fog of depression that never seems to lift anymore. What we don’t realize, is that by launching our own attacks and tossing aside what’s familiar and devaluing those around us, we are just perpetuating our own isolation further. We are actually making things worse! If it is community that we truly crave, why fight amongst ourselves and elevate our level of pettiness to historic levels? What is that really doing? How is that supposed to make us feel any better? I have news for you: it isn’t and it won’t. So….stop already! Please! I get that it completely sucks to not be able to see the people you want to see all the time. I get it that we can’t frolic at concerts right now and family gatherings have become but a blip in the rearview. Businesses are struggling and people are at risk of losing their livelihood. I know. I am one of them. Big stuff is at stake. It all seems out of proportion to the actual death rate of this virus, but you and I both now, that we are not privy to all of the information. Therefore I have to believe that the “experts” aren’t just trying to screw us. I just can’t go on thinking like that. I am not talking about being lemmings or sheep, but, we just can’t afford to give in to hate and despair like we are. Nothing good will come of it. I am still hopeful that it is not forever. One thing IS clear in my mind: I know for sure that any of my own potential methods for self-destruction will not make things get any better any faster. I know how hard it is to be positive right now. I am struggling just like everybody else, but you will not see me giving up just yet and I am hoping against hope that you will join me.

Dr. Katz

“Life is too short, so live your life to the fullest….every second of your life just treasure it..” William Shakespeare

Shakespeare had the right idea a long time ago. I think that we have just forgotten it lately. There have been songs and poems written by many about the utter preciousness of life, and yet we still complain bitterly, we forget to notice what we do have, and we have forgotten how to recognize the good.

This also begs the question: Is it really a matter of life being too short, or is it a matter of wasting the time that we have? Seneca once wrote that “it is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievement if it were all well invested.” He also goes on to say that most of us don’t even realize that life is passing us by as we are distracted by greed, poor living, etc and that it is only when death is knocking at our door that we finally “get it,” but then it is too late.

The bottom line is that it is up to us to savor live