Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha share the story of their family, including the many logistics they worked out in order to bring their now 10-year-old daughter into being, the consideration they put into the structure and dynamics of their family, and the environment in which their daughter is being raised. They also talk about the gender dynamics at play in their roles as two male parents and how their personal experiences of otherness has helped them to coach their daughter in understanding the social challenges of her hearing loss and wearing hearing aids.
On today’s show I’m speaking with writer Tanya Ward Goodman, author of Leaving Tinkertown. Our conversation examines how she uses her writing practice, which she likens to the process of composting, to learn her mind and understand experience. We discuss how the experience of taking care of her father during his decline from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which she chronicles in Leaving Tinkertown, allowed her to develop her own identity and question deeply held beliefs. Tanya also talks about what the experience of caring for her father during his illness and death taught her about what it means to live well.
REAL is now on hiatus. We’ll be back on January 2, 2018, with more stories adversity, resilience, creativity, and transformation. This episode is a sneak peek of some of the stories on which we are currently working:
- As 2018 approaches, we’re thinking about for the New Year, and so we’ll start the year with an episode on that. Let me know if you’d like to contribute your thoughts.
- I spoke with Tanya Ward Goodman about her book Leaving Tinkertown, how writing about real people affects your understanding of them, developing an individual artistic vision, and writing about Alzheimer’s disease.
- Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha came into the studio to share what it’s like to be two men raising a daughter, some of the questions that they’ve encountered about their family, and how their own experiences with difference have helped them teach their daughter about how to think about her differences.
- Carole Yu shared with me how she and her young daughters endured the death of her husband in 2007, how the national organization Camp Kesem helped the girls feel normal and connected despite their loss, and the paths each member of the family took to chart individual futures in which they could thrive.
- And more…
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in United States and a number of other countries. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a day for gathering with family and family friends and for engaging in family traditions and rituals.
To mark the day this is a special episode of the REAL podcast. This crowdsourced episode is comprised of reflections on gratitude and of how we celebrate Thanksgiving from Philippe Browning, Catherine Davidson, Laura Diamond, Tanya Ward Goodman, Chris J Rice, Laura Silverman, and others.
Rhoda Makoff received her PhD in Biochemistry in 1961 when she was 23 years old. Our conversation explores how Rhoda developed an interest in science and how she built a successful career in academic research, teaching, and business despite the continual roadblocks that she encountered as a woman who envisioned a major career. Rhoda reflects on the principles that have guided her resilience and persistence in achieving her goals, including the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize and developing an egoless style of leadership.
Roger Freeman and Alexandra Decas are members of The Dinner Party, a national community of mostly 20- and 30-somethings who’ve each experienced significant loss. Our conversation explores how connecting intimately with strangers who have similarly experienced loss has allowed each of them to address their feelings of isolation and learn how to live with and speak about their profound loss. They also talk about the role of humor at Dinner Party tables, how they each seek joy in their lives, and the confounding issue of helping men—who have been trained to hide any weakness—to show up and feel safe.
Jonathan Cohen is a gastroenterologist and founder of MD Medical Navigators. Jon discusses his attraction to the intensity of interactions between physicians, patients, and family, as well as the intellectual and emotional aspects of practicing medicine. He also talks about the desire to innovate and follow his curiosity, which is at the center of his personal approach to his profession. Jon discusses how his desire to explore from different perspectives, coupled with a keen sense of the need for humility, has led him to a new endeavor as an advocate for patients and families as they navigate their health care.
Today’s story is a personal one for the host of Real Cancer, as her friendship with this guest and his engagement with the search for a diagnosis led to treatment that saved her life.
Jodi Newson is a registered dietitian in oncology nutrition who works with cancer patients. Jodi talks about the central role that food plays in maintaining our social bonds and how side effects of cancer treatment can disrupt our most cherished ways of showing care. She also talks about being drawn to meaningful work in which she has a positive impact in the lives of her patients and their families and explains how her role often extends beyond nutrition. Jodi also reflects on how she has personally benefitted from the life lessons she has learned while helping others.
Steven Weiss-Smith was 13 years old when his father died of metastatic melanoma. Now 44 years old, the age at which his father passed away, Steve talks about the ways in which his father’s death—and especially his lack of understanding about his father’s illness at the time—has affected him throughout his life. He reflects on the ways in which his professional choices have incorporated ways of trying to get to know the man who he knew only as his father, though the eyes of a child.
Eve Makoff is a palliative care doctor who specializes in working with cancer patients. Eve talks about following her father’s example in choosing medicine as a route to fulfilling life work. Drawn to the intensity of in-patient care, Eve has found professional gratification in learning how to listen to her patients, help them to understand their options, and facilitate their articulation of their goals and needs in their life and death.