Thursday, February 5, 2009
all things considered
They may simply look like bottles and pills to you, but to me, they have become a life-saving ritual.
Every morning and evening, the same. Swallow 21 pills. (For those of you watching the numbers, that's 42 a day, my age... again) Then there's the flaxseed-grinding, the smoothie-blending, the green-drinking, and the tincture-swilling.
The natural-colored herbal gel caps are from my neighborhood witch. The unnatural-colored yellow pills are from my oncologist. I used to house them in different places in my kitchen, until I realized that they all belonged together.
What's inside all those gel caps, you ask? Here's a sampling of some of their exotic and everyday ingredients:
Luo han gou
Eleuthero root and leaf
In addition to swallowing all those pills, Heide also has me drinking a green concoction composed of brussel sprouts and kale and cabbage and spinach. It's lemon-lime flavored. Really. The smoothie protein powder she gives me contains (gasp!) colostrum! (It's from cows, not humans, of course, but still... weird.)
The yellow ones you see are prescribed Potassium and Protonix. And then there are the toughest and cruelest of them all, the ones you can't see here, the chemo drugs: Adriamycin, Cytoxin, Taxol.
The way I look at it, I've got to use everything under the sun available to me.
As a teacher, I've drawn from diverse sources: ITIP, Kagan, Love and Logic.
But those are all systems; it's the people, of course, that have had the most influence on who I am as a teacher.
I have had many guiding forces, from my nazi-like advisor when I was a student teacher, to my paternal first grade teacher, and many more in between. Mrs. Phelps (advisor) taught me how to direct instruct and maintain discipline, and kept her kids loving her and learning much with a strange but effective mix of toughness and love. Mostly, she demonstrated the self-sacrifice and hard work it takes to make sure every single kid "gets it". Mr. Witham (first grade teacher) allowed me to call him "daddy" (my parents were recently divorced), told fractured fairy tales from his imagination before they were popular in books, and made everyone feel safe. I can't remember a word of criticism ever leaving his lips. (My mother sent me his obituary when I was 24 and in my first year of teaching. When I read that he had died of AIDS, I cried like a baby).
I believe what makes me such a great teacher (humble, too, aren't I?) is that I draw upon a variety of teaching techniques and influences, as long as they feel mostly true to me. If it works, use it! We get so bogged down in the "right way" of teaching or parenting or medicating that we lose sight of the ultimate goal. And as every parent knows..... every child is different. As every doctor knows.... every patient is different. What works for one might not necessarily works for another.
I guess that's why I instinctively mistrust parenting experts, politicians, priests and educational consultants (yes, especially them..... and their publishing companies). They are only selling one product, it's the answer, and you have to believe in it. Period.
I don't buy it. And so my arsenal of healing includes it all. Chemo, pills, tinctures, MRI's, EKG's, plants from around the world, yoga, flaxseed, and $5,000 shots of Neulasta.
All things considered, the most important factor, I suppose, just like in teaching, is the people. That'd be you. Thanks for being a part of my treatment plan!