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Health Care Community Discussion

Here’s a link to our UU community’s discussion on health care as requested by Tom Daschle and the incoming Obama administration:

Healthy conversation


Laurie Update

Clovice spoke to Leslie yesterday. Laurie will be going home today – she’s still weak, but doing much better.

The lab results came back confirming she does have the rare form of ovarian cancer they suspected she did have. Some good things about this: 1) The teaching hospital now has a vested interest in continuing to treat her 2) This type of cancer does not require chemotherapy – only radiation.

Now the road to recovery begins….

Laurie Update

Clovice spoke with Leslie earlier today. Laurie was operated on this morning and was resting comfortably in ICU. She will be in ICU until tomorrow, and in the hospital for several days therafter.

Still unknown – the extent of the cancer, who will take care of her after she returns home, who will pay for follow-up treatment.

This saddens me, so I have taken action. On Sunday Dec 28th, I’ve organized a town hall discussion on Health Care after our Unitarian Universalist community service at the Kelseyville Senior Center. It’s in response to a request by the Obama transition team for these meetings to be held during the month of December – they’re looking for community input into this pressing and urgent problem.

It’s not just the president’s responsibility – each of us must step up to the plate, raise our voices, and take action to create the change we can believe in. No one should have to go through what Laurie and Leslie are going through. No one.

Laurie Update

Laurie was very weak and in a tremendous amount of pain when Clovice spoke with her today. She did mention the doctor who will be operating on her on Monday is from a teaching hospital. Evidently, Laurie has a rare form of ovarian cancer, which makes her a good “case study” for the medical school.

Good for Laurie, good for the school! She’ll probably get better care than a “For-Profit” hospital!

Update on Laurie

Clovice called Laurie yesterday. Evidently the hospital has agreed to operate on her BEFORE her financial evaluation (i.e., who’s gonna pay for her medical care?).

She will undergo a full hysterectomy on Monday.

Help Laurie With Your Ideas

I need your brainpower for a few minutes.

Friends mean a lot when you’re a “military brat”. They are the only roots you have to a place you might call “home,”  as you travel with your parents from post to post. My husband Clovice grew up on Air Force bases throughout the US and Europe. Laurie Marvin is one of my husband’s oldest friends.

Clovice was the first person Laurie called this morning after she got the news she has ovarian cancer.

Now, this news is pretty catastrophic to anyone who receives it, but much more so to Laurie. Here’s why:

Twenty years ago Laurie left a successful career as a lecturer in veterinary sciences at Midland College in Midland, Texas to care full-time for her daughter Leslie Collie, who was born with childhood diabetes. Leslie requires round-the-clock care, as she has frequent seizures that need immediate and life-saving intervention. Laurie is never farther than a quarter of a mile from Leslie’s side.

Laurie left her career because her teaching salary and benefits could not cover her daughter’s medical bills. Laurie chose unemployment so that Medicaid would cover Leslie. Laurie is a single mom and has no medical insurance.

It’s a miracle Leslie has survived as long as she has, and has lived a somewhat normal life. She’s currently a Junior at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, majoring in music. She has the voice of a nightingale, and the potential for a very promising singing career.

Now, here’s where you come in: We need your ideas.

Clovice and I have come up with a few of our own (e.g., Clovice is a professional cellist and composer. He is considering the possibility of hosting a concert for Laurie, and getting Leslie to perform with other first-class musicians he knows.)

Here are some thoughts we need ideas around:

  • Where can Laurie go for assistance?
  • What are useful things Laurie can do for herself now?
  • Do you know of any government programs that provide medical help to poor women?
  • Do you know of any private foundations or non-profit organizations that help women in Laurie’s situation?
  • Are there physicians’ organizations that can help?
  • Any other ideas or suggestions?

Please comment to this blog post with your thoughts, comments, offers of help, etc.

And, go here to sign up for an update newsletter about Laurie and any actions taken as a result of all your suggestions (link opens in a new window or tab).

Should you wish to contact Laurie directly, you can reach her by email at Call me if you want to get hold of her by telephone – my number is below.

Thanks in advance for turning your attention to this pressing need!

Carol Cole-Lewis and Clovice Lewis
tel. 707-587-4277

The Importance of Forgiveness

I’ve been taking part in Karen Armstrong’s 2008 TED Challenge. Together, me and over 100,000 other concerned individuals have been writing a “Charter for Compassion” with Karen. The purpose of this charter is to inspire the leaders of the world’s major religions to get back to the basics of their faith. And what are the Basics? Regardless of the faith, these basics are remarkably similar: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Participation in this writing has caused me to consciously and actively practice this simple – “Golden” – rule.

The biggest stumbling block I found was in the area of Forgiveness. Sure, I’ve never had a problem forgiving others, as I’ve never really taken anything people have done “to” me as something personal.

No, my challenge has been forgiving myself.

In what ways have I been “un-self-forgiving”? I’ve recently discovered I have a tendency to be unhappy with where I am and what I’m doing Right Now. Being an A-personality, I’ve always felt my life should be filled with “doing” a whole bunch of “things” to get me where I wanted to be. And where did I want to be? Anywhere but here! It’s only since I’ve eased up on myself and realized what I am doing and where I am right now is perfectly OK have I been able to relax, ease up on the self-criticism and be at peace.

And, even if for some reason I’ve found myself unhappy with what happens to be my present situation, I allow myself the feeling of unhappiness – I don’t have to be “better” or “positive” or “good” or “right” or anything other than what I happen to be at the moment.

I’ll tell you – starting with creating an internal landscape for peace within myself has been the best place to start practicing compassion. If more of us dedicated our time towards this practice, peace in the world would be a natural and effortless result.


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