Anecdote | Cancer

Debating what is selfish in my situation

Photo by Marliese Streefland on Unsplash

About three weeks ago I collapsed; turns out I had a brain tumor. They did surgery, removed the tumor and now I’m recovering. The tumor was a stage IV brain cancer. It has metastasized.

Since mobility is an issue, a friend is looking after my German Shepherd Snowy. I miss him immensely, but this is the best thing for him. My friend has a dog that gets along with Snowy and this is giving him a good quality of life while I focus on healing.

The problem — what if Snowy bonds to my friend more than me? Will that…


Karen was not amused

/Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The Coronavirus is bad. People have died from it. Others have recovered but still have lingering symptoms. A 19 year old acquaintance continues to have respiratory issues months after recovering.

For those who are elderly or immunocompromised, Covid can be serious.

However, for the rest of us… while Covid is bad, other things are worse. Cancer, for example. Or a heart attack.

Thus my hostile encounter yesterday with a medical assistant working at the hospital where I get some of my cancer treatments.

When you enter the facility, you first stop by a station where they take your temperature and…


And my wedding dress was violet

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When my husband proposed to me and I said yes…. I didn’t plan a wedding.

When we talked about it, I pointed out we could put a down payment on a house instead of having a ceremony.

“Don’t you want the ceremony?” he asked, having been raised to believe that women dream of weddings.

“Not really,” I said.

I hated those types of things in general. I realized this after enduring my junior high graduation. I managed to skip high school and college graduation ceremonies. Of course I didn’t want a big wedding.

Don’t get me wrong. I generally enjoy…


So let them

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My neighbors’ sons adore me. Or, at least, I think they do. They don’t say much but if I call asking them to do me a favor, they are knocking on my door 2 minutes later.

One neighbor’s 12 year old sorta grunts; if pressed, he will say one or two words. Mostly he shrugs. He wears Tejano style leather cowboy boots along with worn shorts and hole filled t-shirts when he comes over to do yard work.

The other neighbor has two sons. The older is close-mouthed. The other can be charming when he’s feeling inspired. He is also…


DOGS | ANECDOTE | PET DISCIPLINE

Our relationship has improved, and it’s made me so happy

Photo by Daniël Maas on Unsplash

I have always been more of an egalitarian type. It’s a personality trait. When I was an engineering manager, I sought to form collaborative units with my employees. I’d ask their opinion on how to solve problems and take their answers seriously.

Ultimately, I always made the final decision, but I made sure they knew their input was valued and that I really listened to what they had to say.

I tend to follow the same approach with other relationships, whether it is with the children of friends or with pets.

Relating to Pets — Dominant or Democratic?

After all, a pet is still a sentient being…


Doesn’t mean you should bring everyone else down too

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I’ve been having a few really bad days.

I was diagnosed with a metastatic brain cancer end of April. I had a lemon sized tumor surgically removed and am going to have some spot radiation done. I’ve also got masses in my lungs.

For the most part, things are fine. I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support of the people in my life, I’ve been making decent progress with physical therapy and I’ve got a reasonable quality of life, all things considered.

That being said — this Memorial Day weekend has been brutal. I’ve had problems with mobility, problems…


Because your safety matters

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

I recently confronted my mother. I hated to do it, but it needed to happen.

I love my mother. I care for her and feel protective of her. But… her safety cannot matter more than my own. This is a hard truth I’ve finally had to confront.

I am fighting for my life, you see, and that’s clarified things. I have metastatic stage IV cancer. It’s wonderful how knowing you only have a few months to live focuses your mind.

You see, my brother is a narcissist. He is truly toxic and I am his enemy. Not because I wanted…


I finally have an open, honest relationship with my mother

Photo by Natalia Sobolivska on Unsplash

My mother grew up in India. She was raised a certain way. Feminine women didn’t talk about certain things. They were circumspect with their words.

Did I know my mother loved me? Yes. But talking with her could be an exercise in frustration, in guessing at hidden meanings and stepping in mine fields. Sometimes I felt she tore me down as much as she built me up.

When I was diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor, all of that changed.

I no longer have time for niceties. I have become brutally honest. The guard rails are gone because I don’t…


It’s the silent but deadly version that kills you most completely

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I grew up in New York City in the 1970s. Was it a racist place? Probably, but that is not what I experienced for the most part.

I’m not saying there wasn’t bigotry or misinformation. In fact, it was inevitable that there was.

My parents came to the United States from India early in that diaspora. We moved to Jackson Heights before it became a version of New Mumbai, complete with sari shops, Indian appliance stores and sweet vendors. When my parents lived in Queens, Jackson Heights still had a cosmopolitan European feel to it.

There was the Sicilian style…


Hint: That is the best time to pick up some Crypto

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I should have published this two days ago. But the crypto markets moved faster than I thought they would!

This weekend was tough for a newbie crypto HODLer like myself.

Every time I checked the value of my crypto coins on Saturday, it seemed they’d swooped down another significant percentage.

“This is ridiculous,” I told myself.

“The best time to buy is when there is blood in the water,” I reminded myself. “When everyone else is panicking, that’s when you pick up good bargains.”

Steeling my nerves, I picked up a small position. I wasn’t daring enough to get anything…

Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, artist, writer, engineer. Grew up in NYC, living in Austin. Love animals, books, hikes, art, travel, D&D and fireworks.

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