|Name Of Column
||How did we get where we are?
||News & Events
||Heather Duby Shepard MS,RD,LD,CNSC
||Nutrition in the Head & Neck Patient
||Drama at Holyhead
|To Make You Scream
|Travel With Larys
||A Valentine Story
|The Speechless Poet
||Len A Hynds
||The pattern of our lives
||Prose & Poetry
|Bits, Bytes & No Butts!
||Welcome to 2016
||January SO, Continued
INDEX AND LINKS TO EACH ISSUE MAY BE FOUND AT: http://webwhispers.org/news/WotWIndex.asp
How Did We Get Where We Are?
I remember someone asking me years ago what I would do in retirement and suggesting that I might like to find a charity where I could volunteer. I answered that, having been in sales for years, any charity would want me to sell something or do fund raising and, if I were going to do that, I might as well keep working part time and get paid for it. HA! Fate was sitting there smiling, as in, "Just you wait and see!"
A message on WebWhispers from Parnell of SC, early on asks, "Is there a conspiracy among the doctors who operate on us? Are they replacing the larynx with something that makes us want to help others? I mean, I can understand wanting to help others with our same problems but why do I feel the need to help others that that are not laryngectomees? Or am I the only one that feels that way? It isn't the holiday season that is causing me to feel this. I've had it ever since my recovery from surgery. I don't feel I am obligated to do something to pay back for having my life span extended or saved. It's just something I want to do. I sense from many of the messages that I am not alone in this. Since my becoming a laryngectomee and getting connected with WebWhispers, I have witnessed more care and giving of help from a small group of people than ever before. Perhaps I am more attuned to it now, I don't know. I do know I want to do more than I have done. Larys have my first priority, but if I can help others along the way, I will do it."
So, when they removed the larynx, did they add a little bit on to the heart? Of course not, but then why are we out there at the schools, giving talks to other cancer groups, helping the new people in our support group, giving what we can of both money and time when anyone is needing help. What happens to us emotionally when we go through this surgery that we come out of it finding ourselves reaching out to help others, feeling emotional at family gatherings, having tears in our eyes when our country's flag is raised, crying over things we handled with dry eyes before our surgeries? Why am I blinking back tears as I read what I just wrote?
So many of us say we wouldn't go back. We have been through a huge learning experience that changed us forever and there is no way to go back and be exactly the same. Is it because we felt close to death? Possibly, but many of us found our cancer early and, as long as we removed it, our chances were extremely good to live a full life.
One answer came from Paul of CA, who said, "When we found out we had cancer we faced our own mortality. It was an internal enemy that was bent upon destroying us, thus it is fundamentally different from facing an external enemy. This forced us into a spiritual crisis and we had to take a look at our 'essence'. When this happens, it can be said that we have had an peak experience, an epiphany, and our life forever changed."
When Jack Henslee read my column this month, he immediately sent me an artice he had written back then:
What Surviving Larynx Cancer Did For Me
Sunrises "may" seem prettier because now you see them, birds sound not only better but more frequent because now you hear them, friends are appreciated more because now you know who they really are, and for some of us love is much more special because now we share it.
As for my sorry life before laryngectomy I thought it was one great party.I enjoyed every minute of it, and all 3 of my wives. No tears, no regrets... I took my chances.
But that life was all about me. Today is totally different and I freely admit that I'm a much better person today. I don't think that I was all that bad back then either, but frankly I didn't give a sh... about much of anything except me as long as I didn't hurt anyone.
One of the best kept secrets in the world is that some doctors implant a chip that makes you want to help others when they remove your larynx. You can't fight it so don't try. Just keep doing what you're doing. The command to join WebWhispers is buried somewhere in that chip code.
Is it the period of silence? Do we, of necessity, learn to be more patient? Maybe, but I haven't really noticed having a great deal of forbearance for people who waste my time. Maybe that's because I have discovered how valuable my time can be since I found no experience in my "former" life that equals the satisfaction of offering someone hope.
-------------- The first part above was written in 2000 and when I came across it, it got my attention immediately and I wondered if the new larys were still having this epiphany. It seems to me things have changed. There are so many articles, books, videos and so much information on the Internet. When I think about what WebWhispers has done by giving us this world, I am stunned by the power of getting people together to help each other. Many of us here are the ones who wrote the articles and the books, who made the videos or put all of it on the Internet.
Thank God, and Dutch, for this opportunity.
Enjoy this world,
Nutrition in the Head & Neck Patient
Patients with cancer are at high risk for malnutrition, and those with primary tumors of the pharyngeal and hypopharyngeal structures in particular are among those most malnourished. Impaired nutritional status is associated with decreased quality of life and physical function. Commonly experienced symptoms before or after treatment include dysphagia, dry mouth, taste changes, trismus, nausea, mouth sores, and decreased appetite. These symptoms can greatly affect oral intake and ability to maintain adequate nutrition and hydration. However, early nutrition intervention in relation to these symptoms can help improve patient outcomes as well as physical function and quality of life.
Weight maintenance as well as maintenance of lean muscle mass are key goals in nutrition intervention during and after cancer treatment. In order to increase dietary intake, alterations in food and fluid temperature, changes in food texture and consistency, and increased frequency of meals and snacks may be warranted. If nausea is present, small, frequent high carbohydrate meals may be beneficial in helping to alleviate this symptom. The addition of ginger flavored lozenges as well as warm ginger tea may also be an effective strategy. Avoiding foods with strong smells and cooking in well-ventilated areas may also help with nausea.
If mouth sores are present, acidic foods or extreme food temperatures are typically not well tolerated. If there is no dysphagia, sometimes the use of a straw with beverages to help bypass the mouth sore itself can be effective. Dry mouth can be alleviated with sugar-free candies or gum, alcohol-free mouth rinses, or sipping on water throughout the day. There are a few artificial saliva sprays and gels that may also be beneficial. It is always important to maintain good oral care even if your primary means of nutrition is not orally (ie. tube feedings).
Oftentimes, supplementation with oral nutrition shakes or high calorie, high protein foods is warranted when oral intake begins to decrease. However, oral nutrition shakes should always follow oral intake of solid foods as to not replace the meal itself. Increasing intake of high calorie foods to help maintain weight can be done in a healthy manner and does not need to consist of predominately junk or processed foods. The addition of foods such as avocado, nuts & seeds, nut butters, full-fat dairy products, eggs, lean meats, beans and legumes, and olive oil can help increase the calorie and protein content of a diet and offer the benefit of additional vitamins and minerals.
Physical activity can also play an important part in decreasing fatigue and weakness as well as maintaining lean muscle mass. Resistance training can greatly improve physical function and overall quality of life. The best strategy for encouraging exercise is to choose an exercise that is enjoyable.
Early nutrition intervention is key in preventing and minimizing nutritional deficits in patients with head and neck cancer. A multidisciplinary treatment team with early and ongoing nutrition intervention can help improve clinical outcomes and optimize quality of life.
Heather Duby Shepard MS, RD, LD, CNSC
Senior Clinical Dietitian
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
References: Isenring, E. Esophageal and Head and Neck Cancer. In: Marian M, Roberts, S. Clinical Nutrition for Oncology Patients. 1st ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2010: 165-185.
For further reading on swallowing and dietary considerations in prior issues of VoicePoints:
Hints for eating and links to additional resources and delicious recipes are also found in the WebWhispers Library:
Readers: Please help us update our library. If you would like to contribute specific tips for eating and maintaining nutrition, or one of your favorite recipes, please contact: email@example.com
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Lao Tzu
I looked for some way to say to you how important the caregiver and patient are to each other and I think I found it. We each improve the life of the other.
Have a Happy Valentine's Day.
My Funny Valentine
Back when I was in my 20s I loved Valentine’s Day and made kind of a fuss over it; a sentiment infrequently shared by my boyfriend at the time. Ironically the most gorgeous Valentine’s presents and most romantic gestures were from a man I soon discovered to be a serious contender for “the worst boyfriend ever”. So I guess you can say I learned my lesson and Valentine’s Day took on more realistic expectations over the years. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received this unsolicited and unexpected gift not too long ago.
My six year old grand-daughter is in first grade and they spend quite a bit of time on creative writing. She came upstairs last month saying, “Nanny, I wrote you this poem. I don’t know if it’s a real poem but that’s what I call it. I will read it to you.”
I love you. You are my Valentine. You are like a field of flowers. You are like a calm, crashing water and sea and sometimes like the ocean washing against your feet. You are like a calm heart.
From Kayleigh to Nanny,
She then gave me her handwritten note which I later learned she had worked at all by herself at the kitchen table as her mother made dinner, asking only once how to spell Valentine.
The BEST Valentine I ever received!
Len Hynds – Newtown, UK
Knowing how important it was for ladies to get a valentines card from their intended, on that special day, I always managed to do that when courting, but a week after being married, myself and 63 other young lads as trained Military Policemen were sent in a troopship, The Empire Windrush, to army police stations around the world, as far away as Hong Kong in China. I only did the 4,000 mile trip to Egypt and later the Sudan. It should have been for two years, but because if the trouble in Germany with the Russian Blockade of Berlin, we got no replacements, so it was nearly three years when we sailed homeward.
The trouble was St Valentine was unheard of anywhere in those Arab countries, and I doubt if any of those shrouded ladies would have been sent a card anyway. So I had to make a card each year to send to Tilly, with a suitable poem inside.
God knows what the officer checking our letters thought. It took three weeks by troopship for mail to get home so my timing had to be spot on. We were married 63 years, I miss her terribly still.
Mike Rosenkranz – Plantation, FL
I have been reminiscing today, dwelling on memories of my long-ago youth. The date was January 16, 1950, and I was about to propose to Sylvia who I had known for less than three months, and dated only a few times. I do not know who was more surprised, Sylvia or me, but after a moment of shocked silence, I heard the words I hoped to hear. We were married 63 years until her passing a few years ago. The wonderful memories of all those years are still with me today.
Davina Cook – Monroe, MI
Went to movies with a guy on first date. Watching movie, he pretended a yawn, and then he stretched, just to put his arm around my shoulder. That was one of my favorite memories of dating.
Thank you for your submissions. Edits are used for length, clarity and to keep comments on subject of the month.
Staff of Speaking Out
Drama at Holyhead
I’ve been on the road again, taking the ferry across the Irish Sea from Dublin on my way to a little meditation centre in Wales. Here is a little three act drama unfolded on the way!
Act 1: The Calm before the Storm. Setting: Holyhead Port, noon, Mon 18th Jan 2016.
Noirin, carrying back-pack and wheeling a suitcase, exits the port building, enters the train station, checks the monitor and sees that a train to Cardiff is due to leave at 12.32. She goes back to the tea-shop to fill her favourite travel-mug with tea for the journey. Returns to the platform at 12.13, rechecks the monitor: Cardiff, 12.32, Platform 3. Ahead of her the sign says Platform 2, so she figures Platform 3 is the one to the right at the other end - the only other platform (according to Noirin). No alarm bells go off in her sleepy mind, even though ‘Platform 3’ indicates at least three platforms and she only knows of two. Alarm bell silent, she pulls her suitcase along Platform 2, crosses over to the parallel one and looks about her quizzically when her eyes find no train, no people waiting, and a sign saying “Platform 1”.
Act 2: The Storm.
Platform 1??? Not Platform 3??? Where the hell is Platform 3??? No one around to ask, she pulls the suitcase hurriedly back to Platform 2. No one there either! She spies an information booth and goes inside. A desk, a chair, and a jacket draped around the back of this. She looks hopeful and puts her mug down on the desk. No person belonging to the jacket appears. No bell to ring. She knocks on the counter, on walls and doors, buzzes her electrolarynx. No response. Looks at her watch: 12.19. She returns to the platform, and sees a uniformed man strolling towards her. She plonks herself and her suitcase in his path, and makes round anxious eyes at him as she holds up three fingers, hoping he will interpret this as an urgent need to find Platform 3. “The third train?” he ventures, “The first one is for London, and the second …” She fishes out her electrolarynx and after a few squeaks, finds the sweet spot and croaks “Platform 3”. He shakes his head and points towards the empty information office. “No one there” she croaks in despair, grabbing her suitcase and stumbling back towards the port building.
She finds a porter in the left luggage office who points out the quite obvious sign saying “Platform 3” and an arrow pointing alone the wall. She dashes towards this beacon of hope, suitcase trundling faithfully behind. When she sees the previously unnoticed opening in the wall leading to the mysterious Platform 3 and glimpses a stationary train and people boarding, she calms down enough to realise she has left her mug of tea back on the information office desk.
To Noirin that mug is precious – it holds exactly 400ml, so she knows where she stands in her daily efforts to get her doctor’s orders of at least 1,600 mls of fluid into her system. And it has a screw on lid so no insects get in to drown and it doesn’t spill as she’s milling about train stations or sipping while she drives. And her train journey is to be three hours long, with no guarantee of a tea-trolley, and she is thirsty. So she abandons caution in favour of her favourite mug. At some stage along the way, she also abandons her suitcase, figuring that a station so sleepy as to have no one to direct her to Platform 3 will not wake up to the dangers of an abandoned suitcase in a great hurry. Running, running, back-pack bumping, electrolarynx flying, she makes it to the office. There waits the mug, along with the abandoned jumper, all calm and still by comparison to her mounting panic: 12.24. She pulls the mug into her frenzied world and races back along Platform 2. For a long and horrid moment there is only emptiness where her suitcase should be. But then that very suitcase is spied, lurking in the shadows. Wildly, she grabs it, stumbles the last leg of the journey and gets all four entities (mug, suitcase, back-pack, and herself) onto the Cardiff train with three minutes to spare.
Act 3: The Glass Door.
She stows her suitcase, finds a seat, secures her favourite mug on a tray, pulls off her back-pack and sits down, panting. As her breath slows, she registers another problem. Will she need to change trains at Chester? Two minutes to spare, she has plenty time to jump off the train briefly to look at the platform monitor and see if Shrewsbury is on the list of stops. She makes her way back towards the door. At the end of the carriage there is a full length glass door. No handle, but it slides open when she presses a button on the adjacent wall. She alights on the platform, looks up at the monitor as the ticker tape slowly winds its way through several stations till it gets to Shrewsbury. Relieved, she turns back to the train, finds the button beside the glass door and presses it. Nothing happens. Some people had gone in ahead of her, so she guesses there may be a time delay before the door will open again. She waits. She presses the button again. Still nothing. She presses again – long and hard this time. Not a budge
She is perplexed – it had worked just fine from the other side. Maybe she could get the attention of someone inside the carriage and they could let her in? She waves hopefully. No response. She beckons. She is ignored. No point in using an electrolarynx through a thick pane of glass. She looks around the platform for a guard. All is still and empty. The platform has an air of innocent peace as it witnesses her predicament. She waves to the people in their seats again – only a few feet away, but separated by this impenetrable pane of glass. She points towards the button on their side of the barrier to indicate that she wants them to press this. A few eyebrows raise, but no leg or arm muscles move in response to her plight. She decides to knock on the glass pane – surely that will alert them to the fact that the button isn’t working on her side. She raises her right arm, makes a fist, swings her knuckles towards the glass. Again nothing happens … no sound, no bump of knuckles against glass. In fact her hand slides through the barrier effortlessly!
Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice might have remarked as she penetrated the looking glass. Then realisation dawns – there was no glass … the door had been open all along! Pressing a ‘door open’ button has no effect on an open door … the people she had been waving at so frantically were separated from her by a few feet of fresh air … no wonder their eyebrows had raised!
Sheepishly, she makes her way past them and sits down, curls her fingers around her mug of hot tea and resolves to be very good and not make any more dramas for herself or anyone else for the rest of the day. After a while the corners of her mouth begin to twitch … what a daft mistake to make! Thank goodness she hadn’t found a guard! And that, even if she had, her Irish accent would not have carried through the electro-larynx – otherwise the guard would have been dining out on that story for a month!
Epilogue: I got to Shrewsbury safely and later to the meditation centre here. But since then, another thought has begun to form. What other open doors am I standing behind? Am I holding myself back, waiting for someone to unlock a non-existent barrier in front of me? The barrier of the electro-larynx perhaps?
I’ll think a bit more about that on my retreat here, and if anything emerges, I’ll get back next month.
Back in April I posted this on WebWhispers and asked for some feedback.
“I am trying to gather information to ascertain why some insurance companies (in my case BCBS) will not recognize the only two manufacturers of voice prosthesis in the world as "Preferred Providers", and therefore force us to pay inflated co-pays. My understanding is that some/many of you are forced to go to a 3rd party supplier that charges as much as double the price you would pay if you ordered direct. That means that as a result your co-pay may be double or more based on your policy.”
I received several good responses but they mainly just explained where and how they buy their prosthesis, why they went that route, and in some cases what if any problems this caused them. But of course they couldn’t answer the main question as to why some insurance companies won’t recognize InHealth or Atos as preferred providers.
After pondering the issue for some time I finally went directly to InHealth, Atos, and my provider Blue Cross/Blue Shield in late Nov and asked them why they weren’t considered preferred providers. In addition I also questioned BCBS regarding their apparent violation of the California Health and Safety Code which requires them cover prosthesis.
I received an immediate response from InHealth that acknowledge my concern and was promised an answer after they did some research. After 12 days (enough to make me a little concerned) they arranged a 4 way conference call to discuss the matter which I felt was very considerate and professional. However the call shed very little light except to state that there are many insurance companies with many different plans, and they simply can’t afford to enter into contracts with all of them, and that EdgePark filled in the gaps. I told them that in the past they had been preferred providers, and asked why that had changed since it would seem that one of the largest insurers in the country would be worth contracting with. They said they would get back to me and they didn’t. I sent a request for a follow up and they haven’t replied. That’s enough to make me irritated!
(Note: I have never used EdgePark so I have no personal experience but I have seen posts in the past that were both pro and con. My feeling is that even if they do their best there may be unacceptable delays in some cases because they simply don’t stock all the sizes or maintain sufficient quantities to fill all orders. To check my theory I went to their website and found that my size is on back order.)
Atos never replied so after waiting 30 days I sent a follow up request which to date has still not been responded to or acknowledged in any way. I was certainly hoping for a better conclusion to a simple matter but I guess it is what it is.
Blue Cross Blue Shield responded after 19 days, which actually surprised me because they are the ones I suspected would not respond. This is the heart of their reply; “Please be advised that Blue Shield of California Federal Employee Program doesn't dictate whether a provider is preferred with us or not. The provider, or in this case a medical supply company, makes the decision if they would like to be a preferred provider or not with an insurance company.”
They then went on to say that if I filed my claim with the specific insurer that covered the state the supplier was in they would cover it. What the hell…. I use InHealth which is based in CA, I live in CA, and my insurance claims are processed in CA! Then the big kicker…. In response to their possible violation to CA law they basically said that they don’t have to comply with CA mandates! I guess that one will have to go to the CA Insurance Commission.
So, since way back in April I promised to let you know what I found out and here is the answer. I don’t know and I’m at a dead end. I do know that my first prosthesis, and I still use the same type, cost me $29 twenty yrs. ago and is now listed as $126, and I can’t even buy it direct any more. It’s enough to make you scream!
(Note: Do you have a subject that wants to make you scream? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Valentine Story
~ Jack Henslee
Jeanette and I love Carmel by the Sea and go there 3-4 times a year for short stays and explore all the many art galleries. About 2 years ago we found a unique gallery that featured an artist named Ruben Resendiz that basically does water colors in just 2-3 colors. Then, for an extra charge, the gallery will warp the picture in something like a shadow box frame to give it a 3d effect.
After visiting the gallery numerous time we decided to by a 3d picture of a boy and girl walking through a forest and declared that it represented the beginning of our journey. The title of the painting is Journey to Paradise.
We also acquired an almost replica of two boys walking but not in the 3d frame, then sometime later we decided that we wanted a third image of an old man and old woman titled “Forever Together.”
As a surprise for Jeanette I took photos of the pictures, and using PhotoShop I merged them into one image, overlaid a poem on it, and had it blown up into a poster. The result is above with the poem.
The Pattern of our lives.
If we could see the pattern of our lives, how pathways cross often several times with people we knew or had dealings with, without us even realising it, many years after, we would be amazed. To give an example of this, I must take you back in time to 6:20pm on the 4th of December 1957, some 57 years ago. During the evening rush hour, a train full of commuters left London Bridge in a really dense fog. London suffered the most dreadful fogs in those days, with nearly every home burning coal fires. In many areas, at eye level you could not see the pavement or kerbs. Flashlights could only shine through the fog for three to four feet at the most. This train driver heard the warning signal of a cartridge set on the track, that a signal was at red, so stopped immediately. A second train travelling behind it was an express going to the coast, again full of commuters but failed to see another red signal, or hear the explosive signal, and crashed, although at a slower speed into the train in front. At that particular point there was a railway bridge over the site of the crash, and this was brought down by the two trains crashing below so that it fell on the wreckage. A third train about to cross the bridge just managed to stop in time.
I was driving 6L for Lima with two crew, some 3 miles away. We got sent to this major disaster driving as fast as I could through that awful dense fog. We were one of the first cars there, and for the first hour we were saving the 109 injured, whilst firemen were trying to extricate the 90 dead bodies, The trouble was that each compartment had been compressed with the dead and some injured being trapped between the seats and backrest. Without going into detail, the three of us ran the compound set up at the side of the track, where the dead were brought, trying to match limbs that had been severed.
I asked two firemen who had carried a stretcher in if they had all been recovered and one said, “I think so.” I said, “It’s one hell of a wreck, please make sure.” And they replied, “We’ll have a last look in our area, then help out somewhere else.” Floodlights were then working, and I saw those two men carry out a stretcher, but was so relieved when I saw them pass it over to ambulance men. One came to me and said, “We saw a foot moving. She definitely was the last.”
That survivor was a schoolgirl on her way home, as a passenger in the train. Now the strangest part of this story. I met this schoolgirl, whose life I had a small part in saving, now an elderly lady, face to face without either of us knowing the connection from some 56 years later.
One of my nieces had invited me to a Halloween party at a community centre she runs. Arriving late and finding the front doors locked, I found a ground floor window open and heard people inside the hall at the function. Leaning in and pulling the long curtain aside, I was immediately behind that very lady sitting with her friends around the hall. Feeling the draught she turned, and our faces were very close. The trouble was I was wearing the most hideous skeletal mask. I was the only one so costumed, all of them being respectably dressed. I jumped backwards as she moved away in fright. The Halloween Party was like the New Year for pagans and nothing to do with ghosts and spirits. Trust me to get it wrong again. My niece let me in via the front door and I apologised to the lady, causing laughter all round.
It was only yesterday, a year after that incident as my niece was discussing that train crash I told her my part. She later sent me a message that she had related the story to the lady in question, who was amazed that I had been present, and she was the schoolgirl saved. Although trapped, she knew she would be saved, even when it had gone quiet, and all the others had been cut out. She said she was the last one rescued. She could only manage to wriggle her foot, when they came to have a last look around in her compartment. She took up nursing in later life, and as a Nursing Sister was awarded Nurse of the Year in Great Britain, for her work in leg ulcer dressings. It was amazing for me, finally to learn what became of that young girl and how the pattern of our lives was so intertwined.
Welcome to 2016
Welcome to 2016 and take a minute to review your buying habits. Our hi-tech products have a much shorter lifespan than the products we were buying 20 years ago. Or do they just offer us new things for it to do in the next version?
It is no longer necessary to purchase a stand-alone camera since most people today own a cell phone which has a built in camera and does a more than adequate job for most users.
There are several items you may not have thought of.... that Bob Rankin did. He has listed and explains his reasoning on each...read more at:
Lifehack will give you all sorts of instructions on things that make you and your computer work better... Let's just give you one of the top ten... If you like it, maybe we can teach you more each month??
Use the Keyboard More
A true computer geek knows all the basic keyboard shortcuts, such as copy and paste..“ctrl-C or ctrl-V”. Learn the most common shortcuts for Word, Gmail, Photoshop and other programs you use on a regular basis. After only a few months, you will be able to blow through text boxes and menus at unbelievable speeds with precision.
The video of the month will only take 5 minutes of your time and this item gives us a grand tour of a Google data center. I must say that I will never search for an item again without recalling everything it takes to give me my answer...
While enjoying your new electronic gifts be sure to stop in to visit our WWForum and Facebook page. Yes, you need to join either one if you have not already.
Keep our library in mind also whenever you need an answer to one of our Lary issues.
We couldn't show all of the pictures we received last month in response to the Speaking Out request to share your artistic talents with us, so here are a few more for your enjoyment.
The first 3 are more from Malcolm Graham (a new artist) whom we featured last month.
The last one (Trees) is from my companion Jeanette Thomas. While not a laryngectomee I am proud of the fact that after she retired 3 yrs. ago she took some painting classes from a former employee of hers to help him out with his struggling art business, and just for fun. She progressed very rapidly and I now have about 20 mostly small efforts hanging on my walls. This one is her latest and my favorite. Plus it is a great example that we are never too old to try new things, and be good at or just enjoy them.
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