Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Nancy's 2019 Summer BlogHop Challenge

Every summer my blogging friend Nancy Stordahl poses a challenge to the cancer blogging community. This year she has offered 14 random questions for us to answer, and she will post links to everyone's blog who participates. I've done this for a couple of years now, I think.

It's always good to have someone give you a writing challenge, even if it's easy, just because it gets me off my ass to start writing again after being very quiet this summer. So here it goes, the 2019 Blogging Challenge courtesy of Nancy's Point.
This Year's 14 Random Questions

1. Who are you? If applicable, share anything you want about your cancer (type, stage, when diagnosed, whatever.) Share something about yourself such as where you live, the name of your blog and it's "mission", a challenge you have faced or are facing now, or whatever you want. I am Alene Nitzky... I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and my blog is called Journey to Badwater The “mission” of my blog is to voice my opinion and perspective as a middle-aged woman who is an athlete, healthcare professional, business owner, author and writer, because in many of those spaces out in the world, we middle aged and older women are not heard from enough.

I think there is value in voicing your experiences and opinions because it helps other people to see that they are not alone and validates their feelings about their experiences. And we have a lot of wisdom that is often lost in the process of ignoring us in favor of the shiny objects. I write about all kinds of things, from running ultradistances to my experiences in healthcare to my take on politics and current events, and I definitely have an opinion!

On the topic of cancer, I have never had cancer, to my knowledge. I’ve been an oncology nurse for about ten years, after working in ICU for four years. I worked in a hospital infusion clinic giving chemotherapy and supportive medications, but I felt I could do more for people by getting out into the community and working with them where they really live, that is, not in a clinical setting.

I developed two programs, FIERCE and Cancer Harbors, both of which are primarily for people with breast cancer, during treatment and in the months to years following completion of primary treatment or with ongoing treatment for advanced cancer. I also wrote a book in 2018, Navigating the C, about my programs and about all the stakeholders in the healthcare system as it relates to cancer care, and how we can all do a better job of caring for people with cancer.

2. Have you ever participated in a blog hop before? Yes! and Nancy’s challenge several times.

3. What’s your favorite sort of blog post to write and/or read – personal story, informational, how to, controversial, political, opinion, rant or other? My favorite blogs to write are political/general social observation/rants, and my favorite topics are running, healthcare, and politics. I like to read about how other people see and perceive the world and ordinary/extraordinary events.

4. Describe yourself in three words. Yes, just three! Intense, creative, energetic

5. Name three of your favorite books from your youth (whatever age that means to you.) that had an impact on you. Nancy Drew books- made me want to be independent and adventurous and question things. Harriet the Spy- similar reasons, and like me, she wasn’t a girly girl. I also liked Green Eggs and Ham, don’t know why, maybe the rhyming, but I still have a copy.

6. What are you reading right now, or what’s on your to-read list for when you have time? I am currently not reading anything other than daily blogs and political briefings because it is summer, when I spend more time outside playing. But top on my list this fall are Becoming, by Michelle Obama; and Madeline Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning

7. What’s your favorite dessert of all time? Our wedding cake. It was this chocolate cake that had the perfect texture, flavor, moisture, and we still talk about it after nearly 30 years.

8. Tell us about a special pet you have, had, or would like to have. (Never wanted a pet, that’s okay too.) I have had 5 dogs in my adult life: all female Australian Shepherds: Joanie, Iris, Isabelle, Velcro and Gypsy. Each one has/had their own unique personality and quirks, but they have all been very smart, funny, and sweet. Right now we have Velcro and Gypsy. Velcro is our first redhead- she’s a red tri, and all the others have been black tris.

Velcro and Iris have been the smiley-est: they smile at us all the time. Iris was the best hugger- she always gave hugs. Gypsy is Miss Sassypants- she won’t back down and she’ll let you know when she has something to say. Joanie was a Ninja- she was an incredible athlete and could walk through a pile of papers strewn across the floor without disturbing a single one. And Isabelle was the shyest and quietest of all our dogs, except when there was another dog behind a fence- she was a world champion fence fighter.

9. What’s something people don’t know about you and might be surprised to learn? I’m keeping THAT a secret. and... If I told you, I'd have to kill you. and... "You can't handle the truth!"

10. Do you believe healthcare is a privilege or a right? Neither. I don’t think it should be a privilege, but it’s not a right either. It’s a necessity. I do think it’s something we should strive to provide for all people. I only take issue with the word “right”- because it assumes that it’s a universal entitlement (I REALLY bristle when people start talking about gun “rights” or property “rights”) and some things are not always possible to provide for everyone, for a variety of reasons.

Some people make choices to live in extremely remote areas, where it’s not practical to provide access to care, for example. Some people may do other things that make it extremely difficult to provide adequate care to them- sabotaging their care, for example, abusing healthcare workers, or doing unreasonably risky things- though these instances are usually a result of a mental health condition and people need that kind of care at least as much as physical care.

But I think anyone who wants healthcare should be able to get it and have it reasonably accessible without being discriminated against or being given lower quality care than anyone else. And that includes both physical and mental health care, which are equally important. As a nurse, I have to say you really can’t have one without the other.

11. What’s your favorite thing about blogging and/or reading blogs? Learning about the people behind the blogs. They are, more often than not, interesting people with enlightening points of view with whom I’d love to have a beer.

12. What’s something you really suck at? Working in the corporate world (whether it’s academia, healthcare, or business). I think the corporate world purposely attracts and promotes mediocrity and people with poor social skills at best, sociopathy at worst. I can’t keep my mouth shut and my filter leaks like a sieve. When I see things being run poorly I point it out. That does not make people up high very happy. But I’ve always felt better after I left the job.

13. What’s something you’re pretty good at? Running. I love to run, I’ve been running for 35 years and I’ve been doing ultramarathons for almost as long. Roads, trails, tracks, deserts, mountains, I love being outdoors and covering distances on my feet. There’s so much to see on foot. And it’s great for my mental health.

14. How do you escape from cancer (or life in general) worries? Running, being outdoors, talking with my husband Dennis, hanging out with my dogs, and taking summers pretty much off. I recognize that I have the "healthy privilege" of being able to escape from cancer while the people I work with do not have that privilege. Being a support person, caregiver, healthcare provider, or any of those roles can wear on you over time and it is necessary to take time for self-care so you can come back and be thoroughly engaged in your work again. I'm a big believer in self-care for healthcare professionals and the patient suffers most when the providers/caregivers/supporters do not take care of themselves.