While I have always had an interest in writing, it has only been in recent years that I have really tried to direct that energy. With the help of a volunteer peer writing program through Memorial Sloan Kettering, and with the help of a personal writing coach, my commitment to giving back or paying forward has reached world-wide opportunities. I am approaching 20,000 views on this page alone, not including the “Paul’s Heart” Facebook page. I have informed my writing coach that I still want to pursue writing a book based on “Paul’s Heart.” So far, I have had 4 contributions to a book called “Visible Ink” (much like a “Chicken Soup for The Soul” books) written entirely by cancer patients and survivors. I have been published in the MSKCC newsletter “Bridges” dealing with issues such as cancer survivor guilt and when is the right time to seek counseling to deal with cancer issues. And I have given so many speeches about cancer and survival. One of my biggest accomplishments so far is about to happen, and I will go more into detail in the coming weeks. Believe me, it is very hard to keep this one secret because I am very proud of this project.
So as I begin the next quarter of my life, I want “Paul’s Heart” to grow even more, and reach more people. “Paul’s Heart” covers a lot of topics with the main concentration on cancer and single parenting, but also so much more.
I have two daughters that I adopted from China. I am a strong advocate for adoption, both domestic and internationally. When I write about adoption issues, it is more than just about the process, but also issues related to “growing up” adopted, legislation, and how to come to the decision to adopt.
I love animals. I love taking care of them. I love playing with everyone else’s pets. I have owned pets my entire life with the exception of the past two years, as even now, I still struggle with the grief of the loss of my beloved Golden Retriever Pollo. I often share fun stories of the pets I have had, or happen to see, as well as discussions about Puppy Mills, animal welfare and care, and of course, dealing with loss.
Having been a bully victim myself all through elementary and middle school, this is a topic that I take very seriously. As a parent I joined a pilot effort aimed at preventing bullying in the schools. I will share legislative efforts as well as other storied pertaining to bullying, and not just from the one being bullied, but also from the perspective of the bully as well (note – I have no experience in that role, other than what I have learned).
Cancer is what began “Paul’s Heart”. I cover all topics from diagnosis to survival, physical and emotional needs, effects on family and friends, employment, discrimination, money, reproduction, side effects and more. Cancer has devastated my family from not only my own diagnosis, but the loss of my father, sister, two grandmothers, and a grandfather. But one thing I want to stress, I am not a doctor, so you will never see medical advice being offered. I have been counseling cancer patients for 25 years and not once have I ever given medical advice. I believe in the power of information, and the more information you can have at your fingertips, the better.
I have always been interested in education, and having two small children in school only made my commitment to education even stronger. So much so, that I spent four years pursuing a position on our local school board where I learned so much more about the education process.
This topic is pretty much self explanatory and can pretty much cross over to the other topics I cover.
I do not write often about food except to maybe occasionally mock myself for my finicky habits. And given my many health issues you would think I would pay a little more attention to detail of healthy eating. So just as my efforts on improving my eating habits continue, so do my efforts in publishing posts on this topic as well.
Cardiac advocacy is something else I am very strong about. While my cardiac issues are related to my cancer history, how to deal with cardiac issues does not discriminate why. Again, I am not a doctor so I will not give any medical advice but I will give you as much information or at least guide you to where to find other information.
“Paul’s Heart” is about inspiration. I like to share not only my experiences, but those of others who have faced such difficult times. I do not want to mislead you with a panacea. Many of the issues I write about on “Paul’s Heart” are quite serious, so many may come across as not being very positive, and I do not attempt to cover those up. Last year, I shared the story of Stephanie and her extraordinary battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I cannot wait to give you her current update of just how far she has come. That will hopefully come very soon. I also shared Jeff’s story and his efforts to give back and pay forward in his cancer battle. In a bitter irony, Jeff has since relapsed. And then there was Michael, a young man who beat cancer, just to succumb to the side effect of one of the drugs to treat him.
But there are other stories that I plan to share with you, not just about cancer. There will be stories about all the topics that I write about from adoption to animals to family. As a follower, you are always welcome to share “Paul’s Heart” posts if you feel it will benefit someone, but you may also submit your own story. “Paul’s Heart” is meant to reach many, with information to inspire and guide.
There are two subjects that I generally stay away from, religion and politics. It is not because I do not believe in religion, quite the contrary, I have a very strong faith, and it is mine. And I do not believe it is my responsibility to cram my religion down the throat of anyone else, nor do I want it crammed down my throat. Bottom line, I respect everyone’s right to have religion, or to not have it.
Politics…well, I do not like politics in general. But if come across a legislative issue or effort that potentially has an impact on the subjects that I write about, then I will share them with you.
I like to have fun. I love watching others have fun. And because I cover a lot of intense topics, every now and then I will throw in a lighter story dealing with just fun.
This topic is one that I spend a lot of time covering because late side effects from my treatments have led to nearly all of the medical issues I deal with my health today. But I am also concerned with side effects from prescription drugs, and the lack of any firm protocol to follow up certain drugs known to have a critical impact on particular organs of the body such as the heart. Again, no medical advice, just information given.
I am in the middle of my second divorce. I will never mention either ex-wife by name, nor as a rule will I discuss most events, decisions, rulings about my particular divorces. And this is for the protection of my children as well as myself. When I write about issues concerning divorce, stories for the most part will come from other examples unless I specifically state otherwise, and any similarity to my divorces is purely coincidental.
The final thing you will see me share, are my single parenting thoughts and experiences. I will not write from the single parent perspective of a parent that was a single parent from the beginning, but rather, as the children who came into the world with both parents, now having to share time, visits between both of their parents, or have sadly had to deal with the death of a parent.
So that is what “Paul’s Heart” is about. As always, if you would like to contribute to “Paul’s Heart” with either a topic or question, please feel free to do so by writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Paul’s Heart” in the subject. Like I said, “Paul’s Heart” is about reaching out to as many in need as it can. For someone like me who struggles with “survivor guilt”, this is one of the reasons I believe that I have survived all these years, in spite of all the health issues I have dealt with. I want to make a difference. I want to inspire.