Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Happiness Advantage - Book Review

I learned about this book from a Parkinson disease victim who recommended it. And I thought, if it can help her, it can help me.

And she was right.

This is a book that puts a lie to the myth that “…if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy.” Strangely and wonderfully, the reverse is true, if we are happy and positive we are better at life and at work, “…our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive…” (And I need all of those right now).

My initial reactions were negative. This seemed to be some Disneyesque version of “whistle while you work.” But author Shawn Achor sites about a gazillion research studies proving the opposite, that happy people, employees, and teams, perform better that those that aren’t…by a lot. And companies are buying what he’s selling as he’s got the unusual job of traveling the world to consult with companies (big ones that can afford his fee) on how to get happier.

If you aren’t happy, and I’m suspecting that many of the folks reading this blog aren’t, he gives you seven (7) sure fire tips for getting happy.

For me, this is the unusual book where the message resonated more deeply than the writing. That’s not to say that Achor isn’t a competent writer, he is.  Let me put this another way, I am buying this book for friends who I think could be or should be happier.

Ooh, and here’s the theme song to this review -

Image credit: <a href=''>arcady31 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boss sells restaurant to save employee with brain tumor

Here’s brain tumor story by Tiffany Craig of KHOU 11 News that makes me both depressed and, at the same time, hopeful and grateful.

The storyline starts with Brittany Mathis, a 19-year-old employee at the Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunderbar on Highway 105 in Montgomery, Texas. She doesn't look or sound sick, but she is -- and everyone at the authentic German restaurant knows it.

According to Craig, It started with a rash on her leg.
"I went to the hospital and found out it was my blood clotting," Mathis told Craig. "So, they wanted to keep me and do CAT scans and MRIs and the next day they came in and told me I had a tumor."

Mathis doesn't have insurance and hasn't yet signed up for Affordable Healthcare. The medical bills are piling up and she can't even afford to find out if the tumor is benign or malignant.

That's where her boss comes in. "I just can't be standing by and doing nothing," said Kaiserhof owner Michael De Beyer. "I have to try something because it's not right."

So De Beyer has decided to sell his family's 6,000 square foot restaurant and donate money to Mathis. Yes, you read that right. He decided to sell his family’s restaurant and donate the money to Mathis.

Oh, and by the way, he previously turned down a $1.3 million offer for the restaurant.

So I’m depressed that Mathis has a brain tumor, am grateful for De Beyer’s generosity and hopeful that doctors can mitigate the damage.

Here’s a link to the online story and video:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lacey Holsworth dies from cancer

This was a gut shot. I knew it was coming and it still blind-sided me when I heard about it this morning from my wife. 

As a MSU Spartan alumnus I’ve been following the story of the friendship between basketball player Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth, an eight year old girl who just died this morning from neuroblastoma. Here’s a link to the story in the Lansing State Journal:

"Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory," reads a post from her official Twitter account. "She now dances among angels."

According to the story written by Joe Rexrode of Gannett Michigan, “Holsworth met Payne after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma and during a hospital stay two years ago, at which point the two became close and fixtures in each other's lives. She participated in the Spartans' Senior Day activities last month and was in Dallas at the Final Four with Payne just last week. She watched him finish third in the slam dunk contest.”

I just get depressed reading these kid cancer stories. Here’s a great young kid who’s only 8 and she has her life snatched away from her by a terrible, unforgiving, wicked disease.

Rexrode’s story includes this from Dick Vitale, “I can’t believe it,” Vitale said of Lacey’s death in a phone interview before sobbing for several seconds. “This rips my heart out, man.”

It rips mine out, too.

I only have one response to shit like this. I logged onto the CERN Foundation and bought a butterfly as part of a fund raiser to help find a cure for Ependymoma – the most common form of childhood brain tumors.


PS - Be sure to read Rexrode's entire story which also includes some poignant videos.
PPS - I know that MSU and Payne lost to UConn in the NCAA tourney and he lost his little friend, Lacey, but he's a winner in my book. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Kalin Andres is one of my favorite “Badass Brain Tumor Bloggers” and she, and her collaborators, have just released “TERMINALLY ILLIN' BOOK 1: CHAOS IN HUMANHATTAN!” the comic book.

If you don’t know about Kalin or her partners, I’m sure you’re thinking something like, “Ok, that sounds weird, what’s that about and why am I writing about it.

To answer the first part, this is how it’s described on their website:

Kaylin was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer at age 23. Her life was immediately put on hold and a new journey began. Throughout all the pain and uncertainty, she discovered within herself a powerful coping mechanism in the form of humor and imagination. This comic book is the result.

Slightly cynical, slightly irreverent, and REALLY hilarious, "Terminally Illin" is a candid look into the life of a young adult battling cancer, but with a psychedelic, sci-fi twist! It’s more than a comic book: It’s provocative, educational, entertaining, and totally original.  Think of "Terminally Illin" as a chemo-induced "Alice in Wonderland' meets campy 'Hollywood' action-adventure.

In our story, our hero goes in for her first day of chemo, but ends up getting lost in a fantasy world within her own microscopic body - on a quest to meet her disease face-to-face and kick its butt!!

She's joined by her pet kitty, Iceman, as they set out to destroy Cancer City, the invading cancer cell army, and their leader - the little dictator that's bent on world domination. We hope you follow along and maybe even learn something.”

I love the book and want to argue with this description. I think it’s wonderfully cynical, absolutely irreverent and, yes I agree, really hilarious.

Now listen closely, here’s the part I love, “If we can raise one half of the print fees, the publisher will give us half of the print run. We'll have an extra 500+ books to give away free to cancer centers, hospitals, and patients. There are 72,000+ young adults diagnosed with cancer each year, and we'd like to help ease their experience by sharing Kaylin's experience, outlook, and humor.”

If you know of a young 20-something whacked by cancer, buy this book. If you care about young, talented 20-year-olds having their dreams yanked out from underneath them, buy this book. If you want see how a 20-something not only fights a vicious disease with humor and dignity and sense of giving back to the cancer community, buy and read this book.

Here’s a link to the Terminally Illin’” Facebook page: