Weaknesses Are Only As Strong As We Allow Them To Be

I saw this quote on Instagram, on the Optimal Living Daily account (@oldpodcast) — “The more willing you are to face your weaknesses, the less likely they are to remain weaknesses.” I wanted to know more about Tynan, the person who was quoted. I took his quote, put it onto a picture my husband took while on vacation in Hawaii, and wanted to share it. I hope this inspires you to face your weaknesses, too.

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What weaknesses are you willing to face?

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

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Cancer Up the Wazoo Book Launch — Photos and Video

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Angela Gentile reading from Cancer Up the Wazoo

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Purple suit to match the ribbon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, my two latest books Cancer Up the Wazoo and How to Edit an Anthology were presented and launched at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was also a fundraiser for the “CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.” 60 people attended and Tache Pharmacy sponsored the beverages. There were also decorated sugar cookies (made with love by me, Sheila and Simone) and brownies (made by Cupp, my husband).

 

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Cancer Up the Wazoo, How to Edit an Anthology, Hope symbol, and Me (Angela Gentile)

I also revealed my latest project — a symbol of HOPE. It includes the anal cancer ribbon in green and purple and a dragonfly. The logo was created with the talented help from Fusion Communications. The dragonfly is a creation of Chinese brush artist Virginia Lloyd-Davies. Her artwork is also found in the book, Cancer Up the Wazoo. I have plans to help share this beautiful logo with those as a symbol of strength and hope.

Although there are 25 people who contributed to the book, only 5 of us were able to be at the launch. These three short speeches were very touching.

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Three guest speakers. Left to right: Lynda Sie Greaves, Maureen Warren, Me (Angela Gentile) and Virginia Davis Wilson).

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Me and Father Sam, one of my esteemed guests!

The presentation was 26 minutes in total. I have put it on YouTube, in two parts.

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

Signing

People bought books and I signed them if they wanted me to!

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Overall, the launch was a success and we raised $300 for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation! In addition to that, $1 from the sale of each copy of Wazoo will be donated to the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.

To purchase copies, you can find Cancer Up the Wazoo and How to Edit an Anthology on Amazon or at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

 

A special thank you to all who attended, donated and purchased books.

Warm regards,

Angela G. Gentile

www.AngelaGGentile.com

A Wild, Life-Changing Roller Coaster Ride in the Dark (Book Review)

51+TXv-YH+LIt was very hard to put down Michele Longabaugh’s book, If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Dying: The dawning of hope from the shadows of darkness…blogging through Stage 4 Anal Cancer (2012). Being diagnosed with anal cancer myself, I was drawn to read this book in the hopes of getting some insight into the disease and how to manage it. Being diagnosed with this type of cancer in her late 40s makes Michele relatively young (as the average age of diagnosis of anal cancer is in the early 60s). Anal cancer is quite rare, and can be difficult to find support. Not only do some consider it a stigmatizing and shameful disease, the treatment for it is torturous. Michele’s courage and the sharing of her experience helps destigmatize anal cancer and her rise from shame to advocacy is very inspiring.

The book starts with a beautifully written Foreword by Michele’s loving husband, Jerry. The way he describes her writing is “random, raw and honest.” I would definitely agree with the random and raw, as this book is comprised of her blog posts (typos and all!) written over a period of about two years. The honest part, well, we’ll have to take his word for it!

The writings are very engaging, and each chapter (blog post) has a theme and a story or insight to share. The posts are sometimes upbeat and laughable, sometimes they are stories of the hell and torture Michele endures (which is hard to take). Sometimes they are loving tales of family, friends or healthcare providers. The reader can learn a lot about Michele’s experiences with cancer and its treatment (including a lot of crying, grief and scary parts) and she shares stories about things like medications, “narcotic naps”, ointments, radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and her fondness for “Dr. Cutie” and her blog-worthy visits with the “butt doctor.”

Michele tends to rely heavily on family, friends, and prayer (she’s Lutheran) for support and strength during her cancer ordeal. I like this about her story, because I can totally relate in many ways. In addition to having a loving husband, she has three outstanding children – Maggie, AJ and CJ. Both Michele and her husband sing high praises for Michele’s sister, “sissy” Renee, who is described as an angel on earth. Michele’s two “besties” Laurie and Marie, also shine as two very important and special people in her life. Michele is a very popular, kind and loving person, and it shows in her writing.

Michele’s adventures of checking things off her “Bucket List” makes for some interesting stories and helps her find joy and pleasure. There are plenty of tears and suffering (both physical and mental) in her life, and she is able to appreciate humourus moments by laughing along or making an odd joke here and there. Near the end of the book, Michele shares some insight about her “Un-Bucket List.” These are things she would never want to do.

Overall, this book did what it was supposed to do; it helped inspire me and gave me hope that this fight against cancer can be won. We can all join Michele on this wild roller coaster ride in the dark by continuing to follow her blog on tumbler – ihavebuttwhat.tumblr.com.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

Call For Submissions for Upcoming Book on Anal Cancer

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Call for Summary/Ideas – Deadline for Submissions December 10, 2017

Re: Anal Cancer (AC) Book – A Collection Compiled by Angela Gentile (title to be determined)

 

Dear Potential Co-Author,

This is your chance to become a published author and to help you promote any other work you may have (books, blogs, etc.). Your contribution to this book on anal cancer will provide your invaluable insight, advice and support to others who may be going through something similar. It could help end the stigma of this disease and educate others on the importance of the HPV vaccine.

I am putting together a collection of works by many authors. I have written two other books and they are both on Amazon. This will be my first “anthology.” This book is intended to educate, inspire, strengthen and empower those affected. I am looking for chapters written by anal cancer patients/survivors/caregivers.

At this time, I am looking for 10-20 authors to provide a total of 10-20 chapters for this self-published book. I will put my time, money and energy into making this a meaningful book for those who are affected by anal cancer. It will also be of interest for those who want to learn more about the disease. If you are successful in being selected as one of the co-authors, I will help you write and refine your chapter(s) and I will also have it professionally edited.

There is no cost to you, and there is no compensation (other than knowing you will be helping others!). However, I will ensure you get two copies of the paperback book. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, and we will decide which one.

I have put together a listing of chapter ideas for you to review (see FILES in the closed members only Facebook group: AC Book or ask me for a listing). If you would like to do something else that is not on the list that is fine, too.

Please submit the following information via the form below, or ask me for my email address:

1. Your Name, Full Address, Phone Numbers (Home, work, cellular), Email.

2. Summary of your idea (up to 500 words). You can submit as many summaries as you’d like. Include the topic, what you want the main points to be, and whom you think will benefit most from your story or topic. The more personal and original the better! (Have a friend or family member review and proofread if you’d like a little more feedback before submitting.) Keep in mind, your completed chapter should be between 2,000 – 5,000 words.

3. Deadline for summary submission: Sunday December 10, 2017. Submit via email in form below. (.doc or .docx is acceptable. Google Docs is also accepted.)

If you already have a completed work (between 2,000-5,000 words), please feel free to submit that instead of a summary. Ideally, each chapter will be about 2,500 words but this is only a guideline.

I will review the submissions and get back to you, either way, on or before January 7, 2018.

Thank you for your interest and I look forward to your submission(s)!

Warm regards,

Angela Gentile

P.S. If you have a Facebook account and would like to be a part of the AC Book group, please request to join!

Contact me, here:

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

Ways to Improve Your Memory Skills Podcast Interview

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I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kathe Kline in March 2017 for the Rock Your Retirement Show and it went live on 23 Oct 2017. Have a listen to my 30-minute audio only podcast (it’s like a radio show) to hear me talk about various topics including tips on how to improve memory skills. You can play it off your device, or download and listen to it later. There is a freebie on this as well, you just have to sign up to get a copy of it (see link below).

Link to the interview – Ways to Improve Memory Skills

Here are links to the show in popular smartphone apps:

iTunes

Stitcher

iHeartRadio

I have also provided a Freebie for the listeners – Five Strategies to Help Improve Memory Skills.

After you’ve had a listen, please feel free to comment on the Rock Your Retirement Show interview link page (see link above), or down below, here. Or just send me a personal note.

About Rock Your Retirement and Kathe Kline.

Rock on!

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

 

Memory and Aging Program™ is Motivating and Uplifting

 

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Creative Retirement Manitoba – Memory and Aging Program™

I first heard Dr. Ronak Patel, clinical neuropsychologist, speak about the Memory and Aging Program™ last fall here in Winnipeg. This is an evidence-based program that comes out of Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto, Ontario. Many of us fear developing dementia in our older years, and many of us start to get worried when we have memory problems. Now there is a program to help enhance memory skills that works. (It doesn’t prevent Alzheimer’s or related dementias, however.)

I met up with a friend, Sherry Cels, a retired social worker, who completed the Memory and Aging Program™. She says it is a very popular program, and there is a wait list for people who want to go. It’s very popular with those 60 and over who are experiencing memory problems.

For Sherry, at 70, she was worried about her own cognitive health and memory skills. One of her parents had Lewy Body dementia, and she was concerned she may have inherited the condition.

I asked her, if after taking the course, was she still worried about developing Lewy Body dementia and she replied,

“There is no predicting that. But for now, I believe my memory problems are very normal for my age group. Sharing with others in the class helped me see that.”

Not everyone has problems in this area, but she learned it is quite normal to experience changes and there are things that can be done to combat these memory problems. I asked her to tell me about the Memory and Aging Program™ she attended.

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The workshop was $150.00 and it is held at the classroom at 1075 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg (The Creative Retirement Manitoba office). Free parking is available. The building has an elevator, but unfortunately it isn’t reliable. Space is limited to 25 participants. They met once weekly for five sessions, of two-hours duration (1:30-3:30pm). She said everyone, except for one man, attended every session. No one stayed home!

They are given a 74-page participant workbook, “A Practical Guide to Managing your Memory: Memory and Aging Program™.” It has “Baycrest” on the cover, and it is authored by Dr. Angela K. Troyer and Dr. Susan Vandermorris. It’s unfortunate that the binding is already falling apart, but the content is very useful (it’s well-used!). This was the book that Dr. Patel used during the course. It includes worksheets and space for notes. Each participant had “at home” activities to complete between sessions.

The content includes three sections:

  1. The Science of Memory
  2. Memory Strategies
  3. Putting your Skills to Practice

The main focus of the course was on the Memory Strategies portion. The acronym SHARP is used, which stands for:

SHARP:

  • Seeing and Saying

  • Habits

  • Associations

  • Records

  • Practice Retrieval

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Sherry learned about associations, and how it can help her learn names. For example, she has a beautiful garden in her backyard. In order to remember the names of flowers, she makes an association with them. She doesn’t forget the name of the “climbing” Clematis anymore. She is able to remember her license plate by giving each letter a name of the people she knows or knew. I was impressed when she told me the names of the new neighbours, including their kids names, based on association!

She uses the same purse she’s had for years because it helps with remembering where everything is. This is an example of the the “Habit” strategy she learned about. This made me well aware of the fact that I need to decide what purse pocket to put my keys in because I can never remember which pocket I put my keys in! Sherry learned we can develop new habits to help us remember things more easily.

Sometimes habit can backfire though. We laughed as we could both relate to our forgetfulness in the shower. For example, we both use shampoo and conditioner. We sometimes forget if we’ve used the conditioner or not!

“Hmm, let me think? Does my hair feel like it was conditioned? Did I use conditioner?”

To help correct this memory issue, we are to pay attention to what we are doing, instead of doing activities on autopilot. At least if we put our seat belt on without thinking about it, we can easily check to make sure it’s fastened. This reminded me of the term “mindfulness” and how we can be more in tune with our actions if we pay more attention and be mindful of what we are doing.

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Deep breathing and visualization (such as meditation) is recommended for managing stress and promoting relaxation.

An important part of the program is keeping a log of your activities. The program recommends at least 100 minutes a week of physical activity (to get the blood flowing to the brain for good brain health) and cognitive activity which includes brain exercises and socializing with others. Good nutrition is also an important part of nurturing our bodies and brains for good brain health.  Canada’s Food Guide can also be helpful.

Sherry and I were also discussing the different ways we prefer to learn and remember things. I like to write things down, as doing this can help me remember. How many of us write our shopping list out, then can still remember the items on the list although we forgot the list at home? When receiving and retaining information, some of us need to see it, others need to hear it. Some of us may also say it out loud to ourselves to help remember. Others like to do or act it out. The four main learning styles are: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic (movement) and Tactile (touch). Exploring what your preference is and implementing it can make a big difference in remembering.

The main takeaway for Sherry was the emphasis on lifestyle and memory strategies. She felt very uplifted. The group discussions among the participants were quite helpful. She says with the cocooning phase of a Winnipeg winter, she found her “memory slipping,” and this course has motivated her to make lifestyle changes, such as “more physical and cognitive activity.” Adding to this, several new strategies practiced in the five weeks of the course has resulted in an improved memory and more positive attitude. She would highly recommend it anyone 60 or older who is experiencing mild memory problems.

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Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

http://www.AngelaGGentile.com

An Empowering Read for Women, Business Owners and Marketers

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GeroFuturist Karen Sands’ book, “Gray is the New Green: Rock Your Revenues in the Longevity Economy” (2016) is THE book you need to read if you are a middle-aged career women, business owner or marketer and are looking for lucrative opportunities. This small but mighty book covers topics such as ageism in society, business trends, marketing, careers and entrepreneurial opportunities in the field of aging, unretirement, reinvention, and visionaries. Sands intersperses loads of great data and statistics and references other thought leaders throughout the book, providing convincing evidence and support to her thoughts and ideas on “gray is the new green.” She encourages a narrative “re-storying” approach to positively changing the way we think about aging, careers and business.

She uses some familiar and unfamiliar terms such as:

– Longevity Economy
– Ageless Women
– Ageless Technology
– Conscious Aging
– Positive Aging
– Educational Gerontologist
– Age-Friendly Workplace
– Boomerpreneurs
– Solopreneurs
– Grannypreneurs

Hopefully these terms will be defined in Sands’ online glossary (not available at time of printing).

The book is sectioned into three chapters. The last chapter repeats most of what was in the first two. There were many topics that stood out for me as a 50-year-old woman. Sands talks about “The Change” (menopause) and embracing our “Inner Crone.” She empowers the reader when she tells us we can “radically reframe the stories we tell ourselves about aging.” It jolted me a bit when she proclaims 50 is universally “Over the Hill” according to Human Resource (HR) directors.

Sands challenges marketers to get beyond the rampant “malevolent ageism” in corporate marketing. She gives a few examples of how advertisers are inadvertently turning off women aged 50 and up who are the “highest increasing-spenders” in the fashion and beauty industries by creating offensive ads that portray older women in a negative way.

For businesses to succeed in this “Gray Tsunami” era, Sands recommends that diversity, gender equality and work-life balance initiatives must be welcomed and incorporated. She warns businesses that don’t adopt and welcome these changes will be left behind.

For those interested in working with or for the aging population, she states the “field of aging is evolving at warp speed.” She gives a listing of up-and-coming careers and opportunities in the aging field such as “cutting-edge age-friendly technology and devices, home design…and adult education.”

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Karen Sands, GeroFuturist

Sands sheds some light on the notion of retirement and how our extended middle-age is changing the way we view working in our later years. She says, “Aging does not mean retiring.” She discusses how people are reinventing themselves, or they are “unretiring.” Others are choosing not to retire. She predicts employees and leaders alike will be working until they die.

For those Boomer Women who want to reinvent themselves by starting up a new business, she provides lots of great advice and questions to think about in Chapter 2. She offers a great tip for a business idea, which is to offer a product or service that can help people save time. She tells women to “awaken their visionary voice” and states “it is never too late to be a visionary.” In Chapter 3 she states although some women may not be ready for this change yet, she encourages them to do the “prep work” now so that they can “leap with confidence” when they are ready.

Although there is not much new in Chapter 3, I love the advice she gives regarding aging. Sands writes, “Marketing, and society as a whole, need to understand that we no longer wish to be told that aging is something we need to be against. Agelessness is about embracing and enhancing who we are, not blindly following an outdated standard of who we should be.”

“Gray is the New Green” is an empowering book for women. It is a goldmine for those in business. It is a lifesaver for marketers and organizations.

The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions.

Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
http://www.AngelaGGentile.com