This blog is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Kim Foglia, who passed away after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer earlier this week. The idea was inspired by Kim’s relentless search for knowledge, her insistence on continuing to teach and travel and socialize and live life fully until the very end, long past the time most of us would have crawled into bed and taken the Dr’s advice to “submit your disability forms and take it easy.” Until the very end, Kim continued to “Seize the Day,” to share what she learned on her journey, and even to introspectively examine the workings and failures of her own body with the curiosity that only a biologist could possibly muster (http://www.nabt.org/blog/2009/05/19/when-biology-becomes-personal/ ).
Many of my friends are wondering what we can do in our own lives to honor Kim’s memory, and this was the best I could come up with. My goal is to learn, do or experience something new everyday during the year 2011. It might be learning something as simple as Kim’s famous tidbit that some people can smell their own pee when they eat asparagus due to a 1-gene simple dominant-recessive trait or something major like our upcoming trip to Ecuador in March, but my goal is to end every single day with something new in my brain or on my checklist of life experiences. I can’t promise I will update the blog every single day (in fact, I can guarantee that I most certainly will not), but I will try to keep track and add them all eventually.
Obviously, I’m starting a week behind, but off the top of my head, these are some new things that I’ve learned or experienced so far this year:
- I used an elliptical/cross-ramp trainer. Three times so far. It is not pretty and I am miserably out of shape, but it was a new experience. I learned what an “ergometer” is and that it looks a lot easier than it is. These torture devices live right next door to my office and at my request the PT is helping me get to a point where I will be able to trek around the mountainous cities of Ecuador without my family having to leave my body behind as a sacrifice to the volcano Gods.
- I learned that South Carolina is the only state in the country that owns its school buses (as opposed to local districts owning them, which is how it is everywhere else), and that its the oldest fleet in the country. But never fear, because they’re buying some of Alabama’s cast-offs.
- For the first time in my professional life I cleaned out refrigerators at work. They were so disgusting that I donned my apron and my heavy-duty playtex gloves, brought my own disinfectant, sent out warning emails for everyone to mark or remove what they wanted to keep, then proceeded to fill 4 big trash bags full of 2-year expired salad dressings and Lean Cuisines that the medical records person who worked there at least 4 years ago had left behind. It was very satisfying.
- I learned about Vivitrol, a naltrexone injection. Basically it is used for alcohol and/or opioid dependence….a monthly, humongous horse-sized injection which works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and making it so that using alcohol or opioids doesn’tcause the buzz it normally would.
- I learned that about 1 in 4 people currently dating met online. I can’t remember where I read this, but for some reason it stuck in my mind this week.
- I learned that this description of prayer by Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) comes really close to summarizing my own beliefs: To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.
- I learned that purple is the color of pancreatic cancer awareness, and that you can make a donation to the Lusgarten Foundation to fight this disease.