Culture

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you-have-cancerPublished in the September-October 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Mesa, Arizona, mom of three and devoted wife Wendi Tufts was told she had breast cancer in February of 2014. “My family is the number one reason I want to be here and win the fight against cancer,” she said.

“Hearing those three words, ‘you have cancer,’ changes your life. You aren’t quite sure what to do next, where to turn, who to call or how to tell your children. So you cry, and you cry more. And then you take a deep breath and gear up for the fight of your life.”

That fight ultimately brought Wendi and her family to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear, Arizona.

“I was aware of the reputation CTCA has for world-class physicians and cutting-edge treatment options, but I didn’t fully understand its commitment to individualized medicine—that promise to treat me like a person with a husband and children, not just another patient or another number,” Tufts said.

CTCA integrates leading technologies in the areas of diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and genomic tumor testing to aggressively treat cancer, while at the same time supporting patients with nutritional therapy, naturopathic medicine, rehabilitation services, mind-body medicine, spiritual support and more. Receiving these integrative oncology services helps patients stay strong, boost their immune system, combat treatment side-effects and maintain quality of life.

“I get to focus on healing while the physicians focus on treating the disease with the latest treatment options and cutting-edge tools,” Tufts added.

One of these tools is the MarginProbe. CTCA at Western became the first hospital in Arizona to utilize it, according to Dr. Robert Wascher, surgical oncologist and CTCA Western’s chief of surgery, who brought this new technology into the operating room. Wendi was the first Arizona patient to benefit from this new tool.

The MarginProbe has the potential to significantly improve surgery for breast cancer,” Dr. Wascher noted.

Research has shown that cancer cells have a distinctive electromagnetic signature, which is different from that of healthy cells. The MarginProbe can often identify microscopic amounts of cancer on the edges of the breast tissue removed during breast cancer surgery, allowing the surgeon to remove additional tissue at that time, and potentially sparing the patient a second surgery.

Dr. Wascher added, “Previously, the only option available for testing the edges of breast tissue removed by lumpectomy was to send that tissue to a pathology lab, which can require several days before the final results become available. The MarginProbe offers surgeons and their patients a real-time solution for assessing the ‘margin status’ of lumpectomy specimens within the operating room, potentially eliminating the need for additional surgery for many patients, including Wendi.”

“Hearing ‘we got it all the first time’ significantly helped with my stress and anxiety,” Tufts said. “It’s incredibly comforting knowing that CTCA—and Dr. Wascher—pioneered these advancements in technology.”

Additionally, Western has developed a cutting-edge immunotherapy program, led by Dr. Walter Quan, Jr., chief of medical oncology, and a clinical trials program led by Dr. Glen Weiss, director of clinical research. Dr. Quan’s world-renowned outpatient interleukin-2 program elevates Western’s level of clinical excellence because Western is one of the only hospitals in the nation to offer this innovative treatment to patients fighting melanoma and kidney cancer. Dr. Weiss leads the hospital’s clinical research program, which has resulted in FDA approval of two new drugs for treatment of specific cancers. He is also leading the launch of 12 additional industry-sponsored Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, adding to the more than 40 trials already open at Western. These trials will provide new treatment options for multiple cancer types, including pancreatic, lung, prostate, colorectal, bladder, breast, kidney, leukemia, melanoma and ovarian cancers.

“CTCA must be a leader in developing innovative and personalized cancer treatment options and the use of genomic medicine to guide treatment,” said Matt McGuire, president and CEO of CTCA Western. “I expect that because of these innovations, in 10 years, the cancer diagnosis won’t be nearly as fearful as it is today. Cancer patients will have more hope than ever before.”

That commitment has already changed Wendi’s life. “My husband takes care of me at home. CTCA takes care of me when I’m in treatment. And because of that, I truly feel like there’s hope for me to be cancer-free.”

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UntitledPublished in the September-October 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Cathy Droz loves red high heels … and cars. Her mother, Ruth Hoffmann, told her in 1967 that every woman should own a pair of red high heels: “Let your shoes set the tone; after that, you open your mouth.” Droz believes that red shoes with heels are not a sign of stupidity, but of confidence and fairness. They’re what she wears when she’s out buying a car … or test- driving a car … or writing about cars or advertising cars … or educating people about them.

Experience in the automotive industry throughout a 20-year career gave Droz lots of expertise with which to write this guide. The twin topics of cars and women come together to give advice that male readers will also enjoy. The reason this book is geared toward women is because they spend $7 trillion consumer and business dollars per year. It is expected that in the next decade, women will control 66 percent of consumer wealth. According to MediaPost, they already make 85 percent of all purchasing decisions.

And then there’s the fact that women and men are very different when it comes to purchasing big-ticket items. Droz is living her dream, working with automotive sales companies and their employees to teach them how female consumers want to be treated when buying a car.

Along with business partner John Coe, Droz came up with a program in which auto dealers that meet certain criteria can become “High Heels Certified”—a place where respectful and fair transactions occur as a matter of fact. This seal of approval comes with an agreement on the dealer’s part to attend classes, undergo an audit and train sales and service staff to ensure that the car-buying experience is customer-focused. Their good work may eliminate all those bad jokes about car salesmen!

In the book, Droz writes of personal experiences that are unique to her and that taught her about the process of buying a car. She was not home-schooled, but between the ages of 10 and 17 she was “auto dealership schooled,” especially by her dad, Vinnie. At age 10, she hung out with her brother in garages and pretended that her Ken doll was an auto mechanic. By age 13 she was sitting in on car-purchasing negotiations with her father. At 15 she collected brochures for Buicks, Chevys, Pontiacs, Fords and other cars and played with them as if they were paper dolls. Finally, at the age of 17, she was ready to take her “final exam.”

“I bought the family car while Dad stood outside the dealership only to come in and sign the papers,” she said. Here’s what’s remarkable—her dad was worried that the salesman might take advantage of her because she was so young. Her being female was not an issue in his mind!

Being female was an issue, however, when Droz was 40 and a single working mother with three children. She’d started an ad agency for car dealers (with $500), and her office was above a showroom. She said each time she went downstairs, she “would see the terror in women’s eyes, whether they had come in alone or with a man next to them. I would watch salesmen with dollar signs in their eyes overtake the women and make them feel very uncomfortable.” Droz was the voice of reason, telling sales teams that female car buyers wanted to see engines and not the vanity mirrors. She realized the amount of education and training that needed to take place.

There is so much good information in this book—from navigating car purchases on credit to how financing really works, to what type of personality drives a red car, to comparing a list of your wants versus your needs … and doing a kind of ‘matchdotcom’ between buyer and seller. Look for brilliant bits of advice in the “If I Owned A Dealership …” text boxes. Know that if Droz did own a dealership, we’d all want to buy a car there.

So, if you want to learn how to research a car purchase, choose the right dealership, test drive vehicles, trade or sell your used car, negotiate pricing and develop a relationship with the maintenance and repair service department, this book includes everything you need to know. It’s a quick read, at just 132 pages—you can finish reading it in the time it takes to do the 100,000-mile checkup on the car you plan to trade in for a new one.

Throughout the book, shoe metaphors figure prominently. Shoes are, after all, treads for foot transportation—whether they’re sporty sneakers, classic loafers or a head-turning pair of red high heels.

 

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soldiers-book-cover

Published in the July-August 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

After the Second World War ended, there was a debate in the international community about Nazi-era war crimes committed by the German military. The debate persisted for several decades before it became apparent through overwhelming evidence that the Nazis had indeed performed war atrocities, not only against Jews in what became known as the holocaust, but in other instances as well.

In Soldiers, two German researchers, historian Sönke Neitzel and psychologist Harald Welzer, give us an insight into transcriptions of covert surveillance—British and American taped conversations of German POWs that were obtained during World War II in order to aid the Allied war efforts. The transcriptions were discovered in 2001 when Neitzel visited the British National Archive. The documents had recently been declassified by the British government and were made available to the Archive. Neitzel’s remarkable discovery later led him to another collection of transcriptions—twice as extensive, in the National Archive in Washington, D.C.

The book presents the true mental state of German soldiers during the war. The transcriptions were sometimes obtained by Allied agents who were planted among POWs and often initiated conversations to gain a better understanding of the feelings, convictions and perceptions of the soldiers in captivity.

As British and American intelligence continue to analyze thousands of individual accounts—exceeding 100,000 pages of transcriptions—a consistent, cold-blooded, mass murder attitude is apparent, not just among German soldiers but also high-ranking generals, members of the SS, navy, army and Luftwaffe (air force).

In the final chapters of the book, the authors focus on the perceptions soldiers held and the impact of their ideology. They present accounts by fighter pilots in the Luftwaffe about how targeting people from above became part of their job—a routine—as the pilots dropped bombs over cities, lacking empathy for innocent people below.

In one of the transcriptions, conversations about a battlefield were presented.In the following excerpt, as told by German Staff Sergeant Schmid on June 20, 1942, we get a glimpse at how the soldiers spoke:

“I heard of a case of two fifteen-year-old boys. They were wearing uniform and were firing away with the rest. But they were taken prisoners. A corporal in hospital told me that. They were wearing soldiers’ uniform, so what could one do. And I myself have seen that there are twelve-year-old boys in the Russian Army, in the band, for instance, wearing uniform. We once (captured) a Russian military band and they played wonderfully. It was almost too much for you. There was such depth of feeling and yearning in their music; it conjured up pictures of the vastness of Russia. It was terrific, it thrilled me through and through. It was a military band. To get back to the story, the two boys were told to get back westward and to keep on the road. If they tried to run into the woods at the first bend of the road they would get a bullet in them. And they were scarcely out of sight when they slunk off the road, and in a flash they had disappeared. A large detachment was immediately sent to look for them, but they couldn’t find them. And then they caught the two boys. Those were the two. (Our people) behaved well and didn’t kill them there and then, they took them before the C.C. [concentration camp] again. Now it was clear that they’d done for themselves. They were made to dig their own graves, two pits, and then one of them was shot. He didn’t fall into the grave, he fell forwards over it. The other was told to push the first one into the pit before he was shot himself. And he did so, smiling—a boy of fifteen! There’s fanaticism and idealism for you”!

It is difficult to imagine how this particular soldier could be talking about two young boys being captured, change the subject about how much he likes Russian music, and then continue telling the story about how the boys were made to dig their own graves and were then executed.

In this other excerpt, we find the same type of consistency in talking about something pleasant and then changing the subject to talk about the war:

The POWs discussed such topics for hours on end. But they also conversed about airplanes, bombs, radar devices, cities, landscapes, and women:

Müller: When I was at Kharkiv the whole place had been destroyed, except the centre of the town. It was a delightful town, a delightful memory! Everyone spoke a little German—they’d learnt it at school. At Taganrog, too, there were splendid cinemas and wonderful cafés on the beach. We did a lot of flying near the junction of the Don and the Donetz. . . . It’s beautiful country; I travelled everywhere in a lorry. Everywhere we saw women doing compulsory labour service.

Faust: How frightful!

Müller: They were employed on road-making—extraordinarily lovely girls; we drove past, simply pulled them into the armoured car, raped them and threw them out again. And did they curse!

Male conversations are like this. The two soldiers protocolled here, a Luftwaffe lance corporal and a sergeant, at times describe the Russian campaign like tourists, telling of “delightful” towns and memories. Then, suddenly, the story becomes about the spontaneous rape of female forced laborers. The sergeant relates this like a minor, ancillary anecdote, before continuing to describe his “trip.” This example illustrates the parameters of what can be said and what is expected in the secretly monitored conversations. None of the violence related goes against his interlocutor’s expectations. Stories about shooting, raping, and robbing are commonplace within the war stories. Rarely do they occasion analysis, moral objections, or disagreements. As brutal as they may be, the conversations proceed harmoniously. The soldiers understand one another. They share the same world and swap perspectives on the events that occupy their minds and the things that they’ve seen and done. They narrate and interpret these things in historically, culturally, and situatively specific frameworks of reference.

Soldiers: German POWs on Fighting, Killing, and Dying is a must-read book. It not only reminds us just how war has brought out extreme experiences for the human condition—pain, suffering, anger, pride—but I believe the authors’ intent was for us to admit and acknowledge what happened, in an effort to prevent such atrocities from happening again. Author Edmund Burke said it best: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

sonke-neitzelABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sönke Neitzel is a professor of international history at the London School of Economics. He has previously taught modern history at the universities of Glasgow, Saarbrücken, Bern and Mainz.

harald-welzerHarald Welzer is a professor of transformation design at the University of Flensburg, teaches social psychology at the University of St. Gallen and is head of the foundation at FuturZwei.

 

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howard-falco-author-i-am-time-in-a-bottle-book-reviews-featPublished in the May-June 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

Scottsdale resident Howard Falco understands the number two better than most other people. He has published two books. He’s had two PPEs.

What is a PPE? It’s a Profound Personal Experience. Yes, his books are about his PPEs, but they’re really about you. Too.

There are a lot of self-help books being published now, and the best ones all have the same theme in common: writers whose lives have changed in ways that stretch the boundaries of comparison. That is, one day they were just regular people going through day-to-day, common life experiences such as playing roles, paying bills, lying low to avoid conflict or rising up to participate in it. Just surviving. Then, after “seeing the light” or arriving at some other pivotal point of experience, they knew more about life and being than was ever possible. The stories of this kind of life change must be told because these writers want other people to have a similar wake-up experience.

Life is better afterwards.

In Falco’s first book, I Am, there are a few paragraphs about the way humans view the concept of time. This author believes that the past and future do not exist. Though this message has been presented by other philosophers, poets and authors, Falco tells readers “… as you become more aware that the power to determine your journey in life is always within you … a new freedom from force, pressure and time emerges.” Seeing, and using, time in a new light is what Falco chose to expound on in his second book, Time in a Bottle.

But wait! Don’t throw out your watches and clocks! Time is a useful tool. It measures daily movements. It defines social agreements such as office hours, appointments and vacations. It assists the science of life—cooking a two-minute egg or running a six-minute mile. People rely on it, but it has limitations when applied to relationships.

As it relates to creating, experiencing, seeing or being, though, time is a different kind of application. Going beyond the physical agreements people make, and science, there is a world of spirit, imagination, thought and feeling that is outside the measurement of hours, weeks and years. People experience this “outsideness” while engaged in leisure, while getting “lost” in doing something they enjoy, during sleep and while in the process of creating something, such as a poem, a garden or an apple pie.

Your life is in constant creation by you and what you believe to be true—whether you’re feeling powerless, happy, troubled or loved. Throughout Time in a Bottle, Falco uses words like “intention,” “authentic” and “potential,” and urges readers to “… see what you’ve created … how you’ve created it and how life has served your truth.” He says that an intention (be it a desire related to your career, your relationships or your spiritual growth) is like a seed—if all conditions are right, then over time, the seed will grow into a plant that represents your exact idea. The thing about time is that it’s related to your awareness that all of the correct conditions are in place, and that it’s irrelevant as a factor in manifestation. Remember, there is no past or present. You only have the space you’re in right now to work with, so how will you move? Act? Create?
Falco thinks it is time for everyone to talk about a world in which the melding of spirit and science forms a state of grace—and thus creates a better way to exist in our lives on Earth. Words, poetry and nonfiction are Falco’s tools. They’ve created your ticket to a different reality—one in which time is appreciated until it can be turned off to better understand powerful (but now less mysterious) patterns of belief and behavior.

Will you have your own PPE after reading Time in a Bottle? Only time will tell.

howard-falco-author-i-am-time-in-a-bottleAbout the Author
Howard Falco is a modern-day spiritual teacher, self-empowerment expert and speaker specializing in the power of the mind as it relates to the creation of the experience of life.

His books empower readers to discover new possibilities by unveiling the wisdom and the answers regarding how and why each of us has created our unique and individual experience of reality. More information about his books, private coaching and schedule can be found at www.HowardFalco.com.

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smithsonian-john-grayPublished in the May-June 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine

The focus of the article is museum leadership—the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, to be specific. When John L. Gray became the museum’s director in July 2012, he went east to bring some more West to America’s treasure chest.

Apropos, here’s a bit of “history” about mankind’s ability to “focus.” Humans have used various types of lenses to focus light for more than 3,000 years. As proof, there’s the Nimrud lens from ancient Assyria. On display in the British Museum, this convex rock crystal was likely used to focus sunlight to start fires. Over the millennia, humanity’s ability to focus has evolved from the creation of fire to the concentration of historical data and artifacts in one accessible place.

But fires and museums should only appear together in sentences—not in reality. The metaphor of fire as illumination is what Gray brings from the West to Washington, D.C.’s showcase of American treasures, the parts and parcels of our collected history.

The National Museum of American History began construction in the late 1950s and opened in 1964. Then known as the Museum of History and Technology, it was the sixth building in the Smithsonian’s space at the National Mall. Its name was changed in 1980 and in its 50 years it has undergone much renovation and expansion. It’s also gone through several leadership changes. That history will be left for another time in order to focus on John L. Gray, the museum’s current director. Originally from Colorado, Gray exemplifies someone who is a life-long learner. He earned a bachelor’s degree from LIU Post (formerly the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University) and an MBA from the University of Colorado, and he is working on another master’s degree in Eastern classics from Saint John’s College in Santa Fe.

After a 25-year career in commercial banking in Los Angeles, Gray worked from 1997 to 1999 at the Small Business Administration in D.C. until taking the roles of president and CEO at the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles.

Gray’s work at Autry set him up for his current position. The Autry National Center stores and displays more than 500,000 objects, employs a staff of 130 people and operates within a $16 million annual budget. In his 13-year tenure at Autry, Gray enlarged the museum’s scope by merging the museum with Colorado’s Women of the West Museum and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian (in Los Angeles).

Now with the Smithsonian, Gray says his vision is to “tell an inclusive, respectful and compassionate story of all the peoples in America.” He wants to use the objects in the collections to tell an overarching American story and engage a diverse national and international audience. One of the first objects that Gray brought out of storage and into the center of the museum’s first floor is one that relates to the history of the American West. A Conestoga wagon, symbol of the Westward Expansion in the early to mid-1800s, now draws visitors in with its distinctive curved shape.

smithsonian-conestoga-wagon
A Conestoga wagon, symbol of the Westward Expansion in the early to mid-1800s, now draws visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History with its distinctive curved shape.

Given that the museum has more than 3 million artifacts, Gray can be considered the keeper of the keys to all things that have made America and her people be identified as Americans. Icons such as President Lincoln’s top hat, the Star-Spangled Banner—the flag that inspired our national anthem—and Dorothy’s ruby slippers have their home just off the National Mall on the museum’s second floor. Gray’s actual job description outlines responsibility for the management and leadership of the museum, which includes planning, research, collection, education, exhibition, handling business, renovations and raising funds.

With the leadership of Gray, our National Museum of American History has defined its mission to “… help people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future.” With John L. Gray at the museum’s helm, Americans can be assured that a good mind and a focused heart now manage the future of our past.

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