Monday, January 16, 2012

Bacon's 2012 New Year Letter

Baconz 2012 New Year Letter 
Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
For the past 30-something years, my next line would read: May the new year find you in good health and spirits. That sentiment still resides in my heart for you AND I am learning that good health is relative and unattainable for some. This has been an area of focus this year, that of thriving and the created dimension of wellness despite bodily limitations, failure, and the absence of good health. Or to say it newly: optimal health and wellness despite one's circumstance.
This year I've learned that my patients feel hopelessly doomed to a life of amputation and heart attack. I've begun to acknowledge and address that in my classes. Then I paint a picture of diabetes control, management, even reversal, and invite them to play.
"It's not for everyone," I say, taking it away, "But if you desire better diabetes control and the health benefits it confers, Kaiser has an enormous department of people like me to help you. Here's what you need to do to engage us."
The doctors of  Medicine-3 (my docs) say their diabetes statistics are their best ever.  (I doubt it's true but they say it nonetheless.) There IS mucho energy and juice for me in empowering patients to effectively manage a disease that has had them by the tail. Retiring resignation and empowering patients toward optimal health and wellness despite their circumstance IS the name of the game. 
I attended three conferences this year, all included at least one session focused upon disease reversal. For a full accounting of my trips to Cleveland Clinic, Chicago, and Portland, see my blog (address provided at end of this letter.) You've heard idioms alluding to: you are what you eat and the company you keep. A plethora of scientific evidence favors the adage. Choose your foods and friends with care.
Kaiser is finally assembling a cardiovascular team for which I interviewed, along with two others. While one would think this is a slam-dunk, it is not. This job is in interventional cardiology; there are skills I would need to learn and master. I left the interview feeling anxious and inadequate. "We'll call you next week," they said over a month ago.
The Holidays are difficult for me. It seems like a time for couples and families. I feel alone, left out, and that my tribe is elsewhere. This, by the way, has no basis in reality as I am surrounded in friendship and love. But post-interview insecurities compounded by seasonal blues created two days of angst and sleeplessness. It had me reexamine some of my life's choices and contemplate a change in direction.
I am more and more convinced that upon retirement, I'll return to the islands. That being said, I have ten years to create something juicy and exciting in California. I released my suffering over it all. Nurtured by family, flowers, and culinary delights of Hawai'i, my attachments are more easily identified and released.
Most of you know my father died this year after a protracted decline with Alzheimer's disease. His death was a blessing as his mind had long dispossessed its withering shell. He died at home with family in attendance.
In Home Depot recently I heard a young boy holler, "Hey Dad!" I was instantly overcome with tears in the realization that I will never-ever direct those words to my father again. Still, my remembrance of him is sweet. While he was a man of his time - stern and reserved - he possessed a clear moral compass and provided for my mother in ways she continues to discover and appreciate.
Mom is doing well. She continues to attend Look Tung Ken, her 6am Chinese exercise class on most days and has begun a weekly practice of Tai Chi. She is amazingly mobile at almost-87 and we are planning a fall trip to China.
Yes, I continue to backpack. (See bear print?) Last fall we explored north Yosemite Park one week before the gates of  Tioga Pass were bolted for winter. The Sierra high camps had been disassembled and removed. We placed our base-camp at their scenic sites next to lakes and thundering waterfalls for extensive day-hikes surrounding Glen Aulin and May Lakes. We also stayed one night at Hetch Hetchy, providing a glimpse into that luscious valley,  the object of John Muir's last battle.
John Muir lost that battle, allowing the City of San Francisco to flood Hetch Hetchy valley for drinking water. The war however, was won, forever changing national policies and never again permitting such pillage of a national park for private use. (For the record, I favor dismantling said dam and returning Hetch Hetchy to pristine wilderness.)
What's in store for 2012?
Travel: China.
Backpacking: To hoodoos and red rock swirled like water; the parks of Utah.
Music: My Kamaka ukulele, a 10th birthday gift from my parents, visited its Kaka'ako birthplace (factory) in 2011 for restoration. I intend to take ukulele lessons in 2012.
Professionally: I am creating a 5-month curriculum for heart/diabetes disease reversal. I have preliminary support to run a trial. My friends and  colleagues at KP- Santa Rosa run such a program for heart patients. Methinks it would be neato-keeno to work in that arena. (Actually, this kind of work is more inspiring and far-reaching than daily rounding for the CV team.)
Exercise: the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico are known for the absence of heart disease and ability to run hundreds of miles - barefooted. In recent years I have decreased my mileage and frequency of running secondary to post-run, pelvic bone/joint pain. I am changing my foot/heel strike to the softer landing of the Indians and hope to resume a more regular running regimen once again. Last year I took a beginners yoga class and LOVED IT. I intend to resume that practice more regularly. Still riding my bike - natch.
Writing: still crafting. Follow my blog at:  Contact me if you want posting notifications.
Spirituality: I continue to dwell in that confluence of a spiritual walk, in a physical body, on terra firma. My goal: to leave people empowered with an experience of love. It's a tall order, one requiring a focus on others. It's a practice - and boy do I need practice.
Community: say YES more often. YES shatters the status quo. YES is the door to new possibilities.  YES allows me to more fully live in community with others. In 2012, I intend to say YES more often.
Golf: saving it for my golden years.
Many Mahalo's to  you for your cards and well wishes. LOVE your newsy updates.  
Lokomaikai hoomaikia ia maluhia ia oe ka oukou - a no la a me mau.  
Bountiful blessings and peace unto you and yours - now and always. 

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post today, Lorin! I've said it before but it's worth repeating--your writing is just awesome. It's good to know that you're impacting the lives of people with diabetes so favorable (those who will listen, of course)and I empathize with you about the loss of your dad and not being able to call, "Hey dad!" again. I miss mine so much. You're on a journey to truth and love and I wish you God's blessings on that journey. PS I LOVE the picture of you!!!