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Posts Tagged ‘CaringBridge’

LifepostsI’ve shifted much of my writing time from blogging about journalism to personal storytelling. So I thought I should blog about personal storytelling and its place in journalism.

My work days are still filled with journalism matters: leading LSU’s student media operations and teaching journalism classes (though didn’t teach a summer class). But I used to spend considerable time on weekends, early mornings and evenings writing on this blog, where I am certainly practicing journalism, usually about journalism. I spent less time, but occasionally considerable time, on two other blogs that are types of journalism, my Hated Yankees blog about baseball and Mimi’s and my 2 Roads Diverged blog about travel.

More and more, I find that personal writing is crowding journalism out of my non-work writing. And it’s not all related to my experience with cancer. Certainly, since my 2014 diagnosis of lymphoma, I have chronicled much of my treatment and observations about cancer on my CaringBridge journal. That, and the treatment itself, have cut into my time spent here.

But another project recently, unrelated to my illness, also took many hours. Steve Waldman called my attention a while back to a new product he’s working on called LifePosts, and I thought it would be a great tool to tell my father’s story. Dad died in 1978 at age 56. He died before his oldest two grandchildren’s second birthdays, so none of his 22 grandchildren has any memory of him. So I spent a few weeks earlier this year developing a timeline of Dad’s life. It was a mix of writing and research, and I enjoyed working on it immensely, stirring up many fond memories of Dad and learning (or relearning) things about him from various family documents. (more…)

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My drugs have not improved, but my earworms have.

Here’s how my stem-cell-harvest drugs work (besides supposedly stimulating release of my stem cells for the next day’s harvest): I get the shot of Mozobil at 10 p.m., then head home exhausted after about 15 1/2 hours at the hospital, ready to sleep. Depending on how long it takes me to settle in and what we need to talk about, I crash hard sometime between 11 and midnight. Then about 1:30 or so, I wake up suddenly, as if someone came into the room and shook me hard. Then I try to fall back asleep. Then the earworms invade.

Sometimes I fall back asleep (and then wake up, as if startled again, at 3 or so). Sometimes I give up after 15, 20 or 30 minutes and get up to blog until I think I can get back to sleep again.

I don’t play much music myself. But I hear songs on TV or movies or when Mimi plays her iPhone as we’re driving. From one of those sources, I get my earworms, usually songs I don’t like. I can’t recall what the song was in July, the first time we tried a stem-cell harvest, but it was an annoying song and tortured me all week.  (more…)

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Patrick OAI was honored to be asked by Patrick Devlin’s parents to deliver the eulogy at Patrick’s funeral today. I have written before here about Patrick’s struggle with leukemia and his father’s use of CaringBridge to share the struggle with family, friends and caring strangers around the world.

I am Steve Buttry, Patrick’s uncle and godfather. I welcome you on behalf of Carol, John and Kathryn. They appreciate your love and support, not just today but for the past nine months, more than we can say. I welcome you also on behalf of the extended Devlin and Buttry families gathered here today, including his grandparents, Jim and Mary Gene Devlin. And I welcome you on behalf of family who could not join us here, particularly my mother, Patrick’s grandmother, Harriet Buttry, who desperately wanted to be here to honor her grandson and comfort her daughter. Unfortunately, Mom’s health does not permit such travel. Your presence today and throughout Patrick’s struggle and your presence in his life provided strength and comfort for this family and we thank you from the bottom of our broken hearts. (more…)

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Some people who don’t use social media see it aPatrick Devlins self-indulgent and trivial.

They haven’t experienced the way that people have reached out through Twitter, Facebook and blogs to comfort my family after the death Wednesday of my nephew Patrick. They haven’t experienced how his father, John, shared the story of Patrick’s final months on CaringBridge with hundreds of friends, family and caring people he’d never met.

Social media are just communication tools. They aren’t inherently good or bad, frivolous or serious. When my father, Patrick’s grandfather, battled prostate cancer 31 years ago, people used the communication tools of the day – telephones, greeting cards and stationery – to express their support and encouragement during the fight and their sympathy after it ended. Generations before that used telegraph, quill pens and other tools. (more…)

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When I started in the newspaper business, “local news” often meant who was sick and who was visiting.

My first job as a journalist was at The Evening Sentinel, a daily newspaper of about 4,000 circulation in Shenandoah, Iowa, that went out of publication in the 1990s. I was a sports writer, covering the school teams in nearby towns even smaller than “Shen.”

Chuck Offenburger, the sports editor, and I filled some space in the back of the paper with game stories and features on local athletes. The front page reported big (for Shen) news such as the city council and school board actions and an occasional crime or court case. But the heart of the newspaper was what we called the “locals,” a string of one-paragraph tidbits giving updates on someone’s illness or telling whose kids were visiting from college or from the distant big cities where lots of Shen’s kids moved off to (and if you were in Shen, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City were big cities). (more…)

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