Category: Faith & Doubt


Researchers report that 63% of physicians experienced burnout in 2021. It’s important to understand that burnout is different from mental illness. There are a couple of symptoms of burnout. Consequences of job burnout include excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia., sadness, alcohol or substance misuse, heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. I am unsure if I have burnout. I believe I do, but I have not received an official clinical diagnosis. Of course, many factors contribute to burnout, including the stress of treating COVID-19 patients for more than two years. Unfortunately, none of the burnout’s other symptoms are valid outside of exhaustion and sadness. 

My former boss stated I should take advantage of medical leave (if required). I have not thought about it too much, but should one? Does the company have an obligation to accommodate my inability to perform the job? If so, for how long? Given that I am saddled with a terminal disease, what is honorable and not? However, taking advantage of such leave means stepping outside my comfort zone to have that required conversation.

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The company’s Human Resources issued an email titled “Yearly Goals.” ​Unfortunately, the email has been in my inbox, unread, for the last six days. I decided I was no longer interested in goals. Technically speaking, I do not want any further treatment, no radiation, no dexamethasone. I want nothing. I wish I were ready to go, but my body seems to say, “Nope. Not yet.”

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I thought of an October 2021 blog post the other day. I thought of the word ‘control’ when my Neurologist informed me I was likely in Parkinson’s Stage 2. Although I don’t feel significantly different from 2021, tremors, rigidity, and other movement symptoms are present. I remain independent, but some daily tasks have become more complicated. And that’s where I’m at: Life continues to be more complex, challenging, and painful. So, although I am still living [I expected otherwise], a friend suggested I make some New Year’s resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions have a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. The concept of making a resolution at the beginning of the year to do something better or to change a habit has been around for thousands of years. Unfortunately, I’ve never been into New Year’s Resolutions. I break most of them. So, I started a list to accommodate my friend’s best intentions for 2023. Here are the first five.

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A Spanish commercial for J&B Whiskey celebrating love and affirmation went viral for its heartwarming message. The commercial centers upon a grandfather quietly learning to apply makeup and finally assisting his grandchild in transforming on Christmas Day. The ad is heralded for its inclusivity and its final moments highlight the heart of Christainity: The magic of Christmas is about a God of acceptance and love. And that love is not only in Christmas but in all of us. 

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Stedman Graham advised to let no man’s opinion of you become your reality. If you ‘Google’ the quote, the statement appears to originate from Les Brown. However, I first read it in one of Graham’s books around the mid-nineties. Graham’s advice haunts reverberated while watching the film Cyrano (2021). While audiences did not show up in theatres, the beautiful idea of height—in the film’s interpretation—effectively shows how Cyrano needlessly allowed his self-worth to be defined by the cruelty of others. And there, at that moment, I, like many others, saw myself. 

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Reflection of Christmas 2022. Just writing those words, ‘reflection,’ is an achievement. I wasn’t supposed to be here. So, reflecting seems incredible. I should be giddy. I should be awesome. I should be overcome with joy. Me? No. I don’t support the notion that there’s this vast ongoing battle between Good and Evil. There’s just life. And even though being alive at this moment kind of strikes me as funny, there’s not a day when I don’t understand that Christmas 2022 could be my last.

I spent the last two days sitting. “Just too dizzy and wrought with intestinal discomfort,” I murmur. And as Winter Storm Elliott nears the Midwest, forecasters predict a bomb cyclone to layer over the Midwest later this week; my body feels all of the 62 years of abuse given. I should have listened to medical professionals more, but I failed to heed their advice.

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After several weeks of no response, my personal physician responded to my email. After several comments about not noticing my question, she apologized for her tardiness. “Maybe we should try another neurologist,” she wrote. After reading her response, I turned the computer off. There was no counter response. Not that I couldn’t respond. Simply, I am too tired to pursue anything further. 

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Understanding a world where you believe to be an outsider takes patience, but the payoff is massive. That ‘payoff’ is one of many lessons Craig Foster attempts to teach in My Octopus Teacher, an unusual story of the bond between Foster and a wild octopus encountered while freediving. After watching the film, I admitted to a greater understanding of life in the next world, life here in this world, and the interconnection in all worlds. 

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The shooter who killed six at a Virginia Walmart left a “death note” addressed to God stating the events weren’t planned but felt like evil was leading him. Unfortunately, the ‘evil’ narrative is similar to many other historical accounts of many atrocities. After the shooting, President Joe Biden stated he would try and legislate against automatic weapons. (I concur, but good luck. However, that’s not my broader point.) Mass shootings account for less than 1% of the roughly 40,000 people killed by guns each year. While the number of people killed by guns is way too high, the presumption that ‘Evil’ or ‘Satan’ leads them is more likely a symptom of mental illness.

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Over a month has passed since the last blog post. I am still trying to figure out why. I may be burnt out. “From what?” one might ask. Sometimes I believe the world is tired of hearing about my various medical freefall(s). And while it’s a great relief to talk about such conditions, they are not ‘page-turners’ for readers.

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