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Holy Smokers: Jake and the Hippie Monk

Good morning my spiritual counselors— Justin LaRosa, the Tampa monkish hippie and Jake Hall,the Macon Gospel Gothic radio star.

Got “Holy Smokers” from Jake, referring to a group of cigar smoking ministers to be in Atlanta.

I posted on Shuffling Editor Wednesday a piece about Struby and me and our maladies. Struby has begun treatment for metastatic breast cancer. I have Parkinson’s.

The two us have entered an existential and spiritual space together that holds opportunity for great learning as well as obvious peril. I will chronicle our new journey on the blog as it unfolds.

The wonderful “preaching” by Pat Pawelkop in the post has a deeper meaning for me. It shows again the healing power of community.

Writing the piece also brought to mind something I wrote in “Counterpunch” about clearing mental clutter as we age and grow spiritually.

Here it is:

“I also decided to stop wasting time with people who do not challenge, nourish or really matter to me.
“Hear the words of Mario de Andrade from “The Valuable Time of Maturity.”(13) He is a Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian and photographer.
“I want to live close to human, very human people, who laugh at their own stumbles … close to those who do not run away from their responsibilities, who defend human dignity and who only want to walk on the side of truth and honesty…

“The essential is what makes life worthwhile. I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch the hearts of people; people whom the hard knocks of life taught to grow with softness in their soul.

“I am in a hurry … to live with the intensity that only maturity can bring.

“My goal is to arrive at the end satisfied and in peace with my loved ones and my conscience.”

Thanks guys for walking with me.

Much love,

Shuffling Editor

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Cancer Emperor Meets Rodney Dangerfield

My wife’s and my journey with Parkinson’s has entered a confounding new place. Struby has begun treatment for metastatic breast cancer. All signs are positive. Her care team is vetted and solid.

“The Emperor of All Maladies,” cancer, is joined with the Rodney Dangerfield of maladies, Parkinson’s. Too funny in a weird way.

Struby and I now wear two hats, patient and care partner. Tricky? You bet.

Today I am 80% partner and 20% patient. Yesterday Struby had surgical implantation of a chemo port above her left collar bone. The port allows smooth administration of cancer-killing meds. Total success. Hair loss to come.

I am known to make messes around the house, most especially connected with my cigar pleasures. I am newly mindful of minimizing domestic disorder.

I am also mindful of putting my wife’s needs first, ahead of my Parkinson’s work.

One of Parkinson’s gang (P-Daggers) in Tampa nailed my new responsibilities. Her name is Pat Pawelkop. Here’s our recent exchange.
Dear Pat,

 “I know fully well how you, without fail, detect–then leaving no tracks–hose down cant, bullshit, pomposity, narrow-mindedness, etc. 

 “What you wrote (following) sets me in my place with a clear set of instructions on being a CARE PARTNER.

“Got it. Turbos on.

Pat’s words to my wife;

 “Please (Struby) remind him, if necessary, (probably likely…!) that there are MANY CAPABLE PD warriors, who are all carrying on the fight, while Struby has ONE HUSBAND, who promised to be by her side through thick and thin. You must be his top priority and perhaps his ONLY priority in the coming months. 

“If he needs his butt kicked in this regard, please let us know. I’m sure every one of us P-Daggers would be happy to take him on. Just say the words!”