For my good friend, Rich…the following information about his new book is highly recommended reading (including, procuring same). . .
The keys of knowledge that open all the national parks and monuments, state parks, and archeological ruins throughout the Colorado Plateau-Four Corners region are found and clearly explained in this nearly 1,000-page ePublished manuscript (approximates a 600-page printed book format). Think of this comprehensive factual tome in the guise of traveler’s guide book and encyclopedia that can be read from start to finish or piecemeal. Moreover, each of the 85 notable destinations featured in the text presents a convenience layered format, where the information is explained from the most basic to the more entailed. It follows the reader not only choose which destinations to peruse, but also how much subject matter to peruse.
This unique text takes the reader beyond the scenery thereby revealing the how-what-where-and-when aspects. Specifically, the the text covers the geology, flora and fauna, and human history of every destination, and in some cases, added details about the setting such as trails and whatever is relevant to the destination (i.e., desert ecology, archaeoastronomy, ethnobotany, plate tectonics, to mention some special subject matter).
And then there other notable features presented in the text that appear in all the destinations: location and geographic facts, driving direction and contact information, recommended websites, and Bitly downsized URL’s that connect to Google images, maps, graphics and illustrations. Hence, another descriptive and innovative way that brings each destination to the reader, and in living color as it were.
With the above points in mind, for those readers who want to know everything about the numerous scenic icons presented in this comprehensive text, Hitchhiker’s Guide is the penultimate literary tour that can do it. Because the information is based on an interpretative approach (read, “educational” and “insightful”) all the knowledge is current, factual and therefore authentic. The way the text reads is as though the reader truly is on a tour-in-process, whose language and explanation is simplified and enjoyable. For a preview of this text, please go to this Bitly URL: http://bit.ly/1r7LJgJ Below the picture icon click on “Preview.” For more about the author, this website reveals all the essentials, including more background details about the text: http://bit.ly/1pNfYK2); http://www.richholtzin.com/
HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST: An Interpretative Tour to all the Scenic Icons is the singular kind of text that can be read many times over, and each time something new is bound to be discovered. Please help network and seed this tome to as many others as humanly possible. There are six similar works-in-progress that are soon to follow. And thanks!
(end pitch and plea synopsis)
It is hard to sometimes reflect over the last few weeks. The time going into surgery with my daughters was a very scary day. So many different feelings one of glad that it was happening and then second that I would not see my children again.
In recovery I have no idea what was going on. I remember hearing my daughter’s voices and then hearing the nurses. But as to what they said I do not remember. I know that it was hard to sleep dreams kept me awake. I remember reaching for my daughters for my daughters hand and holding it so I could sleep.
The nurses must have been good at working with me and helping my daughters. One names Chris was very patient and talked to me a lot. He even took me outside for a little while another of the nurses told me that I could get well it was just going to take time. He was also tougher in his approach to helping me. The others I do not remember.
To all the people that came to see me when I was in the intensive care unit. I thank you. I somewhat remember but do not have it all together. I knew I tried talking to some but do not remember everyone for that I am sorry. I am grateful to you who came and gave your time. Two people I kind of remember Catherine friend. Dr. Chris I remember promising Catherine I would get well. I vaguely remember others. I kind of remember talking to Roberta but have no idea of what I told her.
To the others of you that came during that period of time I thank you very much for coming to visit me. It is hard to reflect and not remember who you talked to or what was said.
As I moved to the next level of recovery things became less foggy and I remember people coming and visiting. In some cases I could not talk so I used to write out what I wanted to say. The one thing I do remember is how grateful I was to each and every one of the people that came and spent some of their precious time. It helped the day go by quicker and helped me in the healing process.
I want to especially thank my sister Gloria who spent her days and some of her evening with me. She encouraged me took me for walks and visited with the doctors. She was the go between with the doctors and my daughters. My great team of Andrea, Bernadette and Gloria were constantly in contact and working with the doctors and myself.
The one thing about the time in recovery the nurses and others who worked there were kind and did what they could to make my life there better.
The time there was hard for me. First I have never had surgery in my life. Secondly nothing of this serious magnitude had ever affected my life. To have cancer and to have a surgery that removes your jaw and many of the nerves in the fact cut and to then have a bone taken from your leg and used to shape a new jaw is amazing. The swelling in my face made it seem like it was someone else and not me. The time in the hospital recovery has a time of introspective, a time for talking to God trying to understand why this happened and especially at this time of my life. As with all things there were no answers from God. I come to realize that He has a greater purpose for my life than I had dreamed. So my life is truly in God’s hand.
Coming home on my birthday was one of the happiest days of this process. Now that I am home my youngest daughter Bernadette has taken two weeks from her busy life at work and also leaving her children and husband. My gratitude is so great it is more than words can even express. The sacrifices she and her family have made show a depth of love, understand and it touches my heart.
The last few days with my daughter have been great in many ways. It has been a time to talk even with my limited talking. She has been a great help in fixing my meals and helping with the wound care. She has made sure we do our exercises and that the meds are taken. She has been a God send in being here.
My brother Lionel has come through for me as well. He comes every morning to help me with my shower and he does all the wound care. This is going to go on for a few more weeks and I am so glad that he is able and willing to do this for me. Another show of love that has made this a little better.
February 19, 2014
The day started as usual with my brother coming to do the wound care after my shower. My daughter came and got breakfast ready and reviewed our daily schedule. Today there are visits to Dr. Spafford and Dr. Lee.
The visit to Dr. Spafford was very positive. He was very pleased with the progress I am making. While he is please I sometimes feel that it is so long and I can only see the many months ahead before I reach something resembling normal.
The visit with Dr. Lee the radiologist was one of very mixed emotions. He proposed once more healing had occurred that the radiation and chemotherapy could begin. While this in part is good news it is also very scary. The prospects of teeth are very unsettling. Yet I know on my mind and heart it has to get done if I want to make sure that the cancer is completely gone.
The unsettling part is the mask that is used in radiation. To be held in place with the mask over my face and not be able to move my head is very scary to me because I am claustrophobic. But with God and Jesus with me I will get through it. It will be 6 weeks, 5 days per week. A total of 30 times for the radiation.
Next is what the side effects will be how it will affect my ability to eat. They say I should be eating 3000 calories/day to maintain my weight. They are talking about inserting a feeding tube in my stomach. But so far nothing has been scheduled.
This to is something that I do not look forward to having it is another invasion of my body. This process to heal from cancer is long. First it took so long before anyone could diagnosis what the problem was and then once they did everything happened to fast.
While I am glad that found what it was and then did something it was just the beginning of a very long process. The surgery lasted 17+ hours, then in ICU where I do not remember a lot and then to another recovery unit. A total of 3 weeks and it seemed like forever. Now facing the 6 weeks of radiation and chemo thrown in as well.
As I sit here reflecting on the last month and all the mixed feelings that have gone through me and my mind, it is amazing in a way how far I have progressed. But it is not my work alone it is God and his son Jesus working and guiding and assisting me along the way.
My mood and feelings have been like a rollercoaster. Sometime I am up and very positive and at other times feel low, anxious and scared. It is hard during those times. When my daughter was here with me I tried very hard to always be up and positive. I didn’t want her to know how scared an anxious I really was. However she sensed and we would talk and I would cry some and feel better and start being my positive self.
After she left my brother came and stayed with me. It was easier to talk with him. I used him as a sounding board and I used his shoulders to cry on at times. He is my younger brother Jerry and now lives in Texas. So he listened, we talked and prayed lots. It has been a great blessing to me. It has also created a closer bond between us. The journey that I am on is one that God had planned for me from the time of my birth or before. The nature of the disease is not pleasant it nonetheless here and now. This journey for me is one of learning, reflection, repurposing and of making significant life changes.
As of right now today I have had to learn to depend upon others and especially my family. The love patients understand and every present help of my daughter has been great and more than words can ever describe. They have been there every step of the way from the initial problems with the jaw through the diagnosis of diabetes through the diagnosis of cancer of the jaw, surgery, recovery in the hospital and being with me at home. The bond between us has grown even stronger during this time.
As time has gone on my life continues to change. I believe on growing closer to God and developing a stronger faith. I believe that as time goes on I grow closer to my children, siblings and some of my cousins. God has blessed me with a great and loving family.
While the days proceed there are some days that are filled with joy in spending time in prayer and in positive thoughts. Other days become mixtures of both positive and negative thoughts. I am learning to acknowledge those negative thoughts and then remove them as false evidence appearing real. There are times that I argue with God. I know that it is useless but it helps get out the frustration. I have found some verses that I use daily that have been a great help in dealing with ups and downs of this disease.
The beginning of this last week brought back uncertainty as chemo (now called biofeed back therapy) begins with radiation to follow. The uncertainty of what to expect and how my body will react brings scary feelings. I counter those with thoughts of the positive nature of going through all this.
I realize that going through this process is only a small thing compared to what children dealing with cancer face on a daily basis. While we who have cancer face may challenges and have many changes in our lives to deal with. The ones who deserve the most credit are the families. In my case my daughters have been true champions. While they are used to seeing their father the strong brave one and one to be there for them. They have been the ones that came through for me. They go to appointments and ask the right questions. They have been there every step of the way. From the diagnosis through the treatments. While I do not remember much after the surgery I know that they were there day and night. They did not leave my side from the early morning hours that surgery was finished and through ICU recovery. While neither has said it must have been very hard emotionally to watch their father through that time. I know that hope prayers and confidence with the doctors is what kept them strong and with courage. That strength and courage has helped me in the process.
Some wonder why I do all this, the simple answer is that is God’s will and I have a purpose that is not yet complete. I have lots to live for I have daughters that all need a father around to be there for them and to be well. I have 4 lovely wonderful grandchildren that are growing and need a grandfather around to be there for them and help them. I have 2 brothers and a most lovely precious sister who still need their older brother to be an example and to be there for them as an advisor and loving brother. I am blessed with cousins who look to me as a family leader. I have promised to be here for them and their children. And then there is being healthy for me. I want to get back to doing more of what I was before. But more importantly I want to become a speaker for those who have cancer and to write books about the journey and to also develop children’s books about cancer and how it affects people’s lives.
I am not into my second chemo treatment and sitting here for another 25 minutes before it is done. I have finished my 3rd radiation treatment. The worst of the two is the radiation. I have to take valium to be able to get through even though the actual time in the machine is only 8 minutes. The hardest part is having my head tied down and locked in place.
I am working on that feeling of being enclosed with the mask but it continues to be a problem for me. But with 27 more times I should be okay soon. But for now I use valium as a means of relaxing. I take it 30 minutes before the treatment. Once I am in the room and on the table the prayers start in earnest. When they place the mask over my face and tie it down I close my eyes and pray and pray. I repeat verses from the Bible, full and partial, I make up my own and sometimes I just repeat the name of Jesus over and over. When it is over I thank God and mark one more off.
As I sit here writing I think of the positive thoughts that I have had and the positive little wins I have made over the time. While at times I get down on myself and frustrated with the circumstances, I realize that this is all part of God’s plan for me. It is up to me to understand the learning and to learn how to redefine my life purpose in line with God’s plan for me.
This does not mean that at times I don’t get mad at God. It doesn’t mean that at times I talk to him about why I am mad. Because all this if fine, he already knows how I feel and has forgiven me even before I articulate it in my broken voice. I also give him praise and thanks giving for all the many blessings.
This has helped me go through this process of healing this disease. I am now at Dr. Spafford’s office only to see him for a checkup. As I sit here I remember back to the first time I saw him. He was very through and gentle considering the condition of my mouth. As he looked and talked he decided to do a biopsy to confirm his initial diagnosis of cancer of the jaw. The biopsy confirmed his diagnosis and things went very fast from there. CT scans were ordered and done, x-rays taken and read and before I knew it the surgery was scheduled.
It all happened fast because the cancer was dangerous and growing. So his decision was a good one though the whole things was scary for me from the moment he said there was oral cancer.
I have been here to his office several times since being released from the hospital. Each time he has been pleased with the overall progress. For this I thank God and Jesus for being with me and healing the jaw and leg.
It has been hard work going through this process. I try to work out every day by walking and am up to doing one mile in 18 to 20 minutes. While it is a far cry from what I did before it is steady improvement and I look forward to begin increasing the distance as I finish all the treatments.
Trying to eat 3000 calories a day is hard. You don’t think about it when you can chew and eat whatever you want. But when you have to eat pureed soups and very soft stuff like sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, avocadoes, yogurts and smoothies it gets harder.
I have been using Boost and Ensure high calorie drinks in my smoothies to get more calories. I even add coconut oil, flaxseed and wheat germ for calories and protein. I top off the smoothie with flaxseed milk for more calories.
In Friday of last week the dietician said that I need to be doing 5 of the Boost plus with 520 calories 5 times a day. So once I get the feeding tube I guess I will be getting that feed through the tube. I need to continue eating and drinking to keep my throat open during the radiation.
On Tuesday, March 18th, I am going for the feeding tube. Here it is on Monday the 17th and I know that tomorrow morning I have to check in to the hospital and the procedure will be done. There is the part of me that is scared of being in the hospital again, I understand on the mental level why it needs to be done. It is to my overall benefit to have this to make sure I get the right nutrition through the process of radiation and chemo. Sometime it is hard to decide what to eat and to fix something even though you know you have to have something to eat. So in essence it will help.
My daughter Bernadette ordered the book on getting more calories. It is good but lists lots of the foods that I cannot eat yet. The ones I can are the yogurts, cottage cheese, avocadoes, sweet potatoes and a few others. I would like to be eating all the ones they list but with my mouth it is not possible. So I will continue doing what I have been.
The doctor’s appointment with Dr. Spafford is done. He checked my mouth, neck and jaw and is very happy with the progress. He said no cancer and he is happy with the progress of the leg. The only thing is the fissure in the mouth. He suggests getting a plate placed in my mouth. But said it was not an immediate issue.
The next time I have to go see is in one month (April 21) that is great news. The bonus for being at Dr. Spafford’s was getting to see Mindy (one of the doctors who took care of me at the hospital and Dr. Spafford’s.) She is a very good person and caring for patients. She made a point to come see me and hold my hand and give me a hug. What great bonus for being there and made the day even brighter.
I went to my first cancer therapy workshops and had the opportunity to meet new people who are recovering from cancer or some who are going through various stages of treatment and others where having reoccurrence of cancer. Each person is an example of strength in their own way. They show true ways of learning to cope with this great life change.
The first cancer assignment was writing. “How have my wounds shaped me?” It was interesting not only writing it but listening to the responses. Everyone interpreted differently the assignment and wrote truly what came to their mind in a short time. It was a good exercise for me as well. Even though I am writing in my journal. Just having different types is good. I will include the writing as part of the journey I am on.
I am now setting here waiting for radiation. I have already taken the valium so in a few minutes they will come and get me to go in for treatment. I will begin my prayers in a few minutes asking God to be with me as I begin the process. This will be one more day completed. Tuesday and Wednesday I will not get a treatment because of being in UNM Hospital for the surgery. It will start all over again on Thursday.
God is with me this day and always he will not forsake me or leave me. I just need to stay in faith and believe and thank him constantly for the healing that is occurring.
It has been a week since I last wrote in this journal. It was a week that had many lows and a few highs. The whole thing of a feeding tube was not something that I had wanted but had come to terms with because of my daughters concern and the doctor and dietician. The process according to the doctors was supposed to be routine and no big deal.
Dr. Finnely said that she had me one of the best surgical oncologist to do the job. So we met with Dr. Frey who was dynamic encouraging and was confident that everything would go well. She said that we would go in on a Tuesday and if things went well be out Wednesday no later than Thursday. I was okay with that as much as one can be when you are going to be in the hospital. Monday was usual day and did my radiation did a walk and ate what I was supposed to have. Did my shower as per instruction and visited with Bernadette Nevarez. Said lots of prayers and tried to sleep as much as possible.
Tuesday morning took my shower and the meds they asked me to take. Andrea picked me up early and off we went to UNM Hospital. We went through the check in process and waited for them. Now I feel my speech had improved greatly and my pronunciation was getting better. So here we went into a pre-op for them to get me ready for the operation. Drugs and stuff to numb the tongue and throat. Said my prayers during the time and had Andrea by my side as long as possible. I was still a little (lot) scared even though I had met everyone that was going to work on me.
Then it was into the operating room. Where all I remember was moving from the bed to the table and then placing a tube down my throat and me choking. Then it was lights out and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room. The nurses there were good and very attentive to me. The biggest problem was they couldn’t find a room on the 6th floor for me. So I had an extended stay in the recovery room until about 2:00 am when they said they had a room on the 5th floor. I was glad even though I was still in pain. I only used the morphine twice in the recovery room because it causes me other problems mentally when I use it.
By the time they moved me into room it was after 3:00 am and then all they had to do up there started and getting hooked up to all the various monitors it was closer to 5:00 am that I was trying to sleep. But of course that is a joke in the hospital and with the pain I was having from where they had to make the incisions. So I was loaded with pain meds as well as all the other stuff they were giving me. Had some visitors Wednesday afternoon and that made the day go by a little faster. Sleeping was a joke again.
Tuesday morning was another day shortly with hope of getting out. All the need to do was test the tube to make sure it worked. They started about mid-morning with doing a water flush. It caused a very severe pain in my side and stomach. They stopped and called the doctor. Now I was not a happy camper. This was supposed to be a painless process that caused a great deal of pain. First the residents came in and looked and tried again with some shooting pain. This then started a series of pokes and questions followed by x-rays. Then Dr. Frey ordered a CT scan of the stomach area to see if she should further identify the problem. (this was the first time they had encountered this problem.)
Once she had received all the information the decision was to do the operation over again to place the tube into the stomach. While I was not happy about it I knew it had to be done. So Thursday night I am in the operating room trusting the doctors that everything would now be fine. When I was in recovery the doctor said that she had tried it and it worked.
Tuesday morning still in pain but they said the surgery went well and everything was now fine. I am still not sure but am willing to do what it was going to take to get out of there. To this point I was frustrated and a bit angry because this was not supposed to be complicated.
They do a flush and some water comes out so the doctors come in and reset it and then on Saturday it was tried again and was some boost like fluid and it all seemed to do well. So I was told if I had a bowel movement and urinated that we could go home. I said I would do that and began ring water and liquids as much as I could handle. I did what they asked and then while we were waiting for a doctor I asked to get up to go to the bathroom and it falls out again.
They wash if off and stick it back in and do tests, take x-rays and say that it’s all fine and we can go home. I am glad but wonder why it keeps coming out. But they seem to think it is a normal thing that happens and I have to learn to put it back in a fill the balloon (It’s not supposed to deflate).
So I am happy to be back home I have the boost I am supposed to have, take a shower and go to sleep sitting in the recliner. Sunday is an uneventful and I stay in and simply eat and stayed in the chair. Slept in the chair again that night.
Monday get up to take a shower and I go to radiation and chemo. Monday my home health care nurse Catherine came in to clean the wound and teach me how to flush the tube. So she places new gauze and start putting water in the tube and it runs out. So we try again with the same result we try to reset it back with no luck. We call Andrea and I let Catherine explain it to her. We then just rebandage the tube.
Andrea finally gets hold of one of the surgical oncologist on call and he only suggests to go to the ER and this was at 10:00 pm. We decide to wait until the next day after radiation to talk to the doctor.
Now by this time I was totally angry and frustrated with the whole thing. We meet with the Dr.’s PA and he sees that it is out and the balloon deflated and he could not do anything with it other than saline solution and see it flow out of the tube. He sends a text to Dr. Frye and simply places the tube back in the hole and bandages up again. We wait for alternative from the doctor.
So I still had the tube but it is like a place holder doing nothing. I see Dr. Lee the radiologist on Thursday and explain everything to him. He suggests taking it out and me eating more and more. So I agree.
Dr. Frye suggests another procedure through the radiology. They explain the process to Andrea. I read it over talk to Dr. Lee and he still believes that we can do it the other way without the tube. So I continue to agree with him and eating and drinking as much as possible.
On Friday they pulled the tube out and placed bactine in it and bandage it and that all I have to do until it’s healed. Happy to sleep in my bed again.
This process has been very frustrating and caused me lots of pain and was of time in working out and in loosing time with my speech and eating. Now having to start over again. But I will get back to where I need to be.
This weekend has been busy. I have visitors all weekend. On Saturday my Uncle Izzy came over to visit. Rich Holtzin a friend of mine came over for a while and we talked for a while about writing books. Then a surprise call and visit from Shawanee Edwards a friend I had not seen in a couple of years. We had a great visit and went for another walk in the neighborhood. Today I got 2 miles plus in that was a good afternoon. (We met Ruben one of the neighbors).
The evening Bernadette Nevarez came by and spent some time with me it made for a good overall Saturday. Sunday was good as well. Janix came over we had a long talk and went for a walk. Got another mile in. Watched game basketball and going to fix something to eat and then work on some thank you notes.
This is the beginning of a life changing journey. It is my hope it will help people in there own life journey. As new articles are written they will be posted for your reading.
The Journey begins:
Looking back over time and understanding how this cancer in the jaw began. In September of 2012 I began having a pain in my right jaw and ear. In October of that year I went to the doctor and was told that it was probably a problem with a tooth and should go to a dentist. I was able to see a dentist in January of 2013 and at that time was told it was a bad infection and an oral surgeon should check it out. He gave me a cost estimate and at that time was out of range with dental insurance.
As time went and used Tylenol and alt water mouth rinse to ease the pain. Finally in June I went to Community Dental where a decision was made to pull the tooth however no treatment was given to the infection on the jaw and check. After returning to their office several times over the ensuing few months medication was given but no effect on the jaw problem.
Finally it ended up with being in the emergency room in the hospital with the finding of type 2 diabetes once an infection in the jaw itself. Given medicine for the infection found some relief but did not have a great effect.
Working hard I began to control the diabetes with exercise, diet and medicine. After month 2 I no longer had to use insulin shots only needed to take oral medication.
The problem with the jaw continued until I finally was able to see the original dentist after dealing with Humana and those problems of referrals from Primary care physician. The dentist could at best take an ex-ray because I could not open my mouth very wide and had been using mainly hot cereal and soup for food.
He referred me to Dr. Traut an oral surgeon who also had difficulty with opening my mouth and he gave me medication for infection and pain. By this time the pain was almost unbearable. After 5 weeks he decided that it was something more than an infection and suspected a tumor and made an arrangement to be seen by Dr. Spafford and Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist. The first visit was the one that finally found out what the real problem was. Dr. Spafford took biopsy and was very helpful in finding the root of the problem and beginning a treatment plan.
Monday morning at the doctor’s office was a mixed time of feelings. When he finished the exam he says that it is cancerous and that the jaw is in stage 4 cancer. First a feeling of relief to know what it was but scary in hearing the word cancer and stage 4. Being told that it will take a major oral surgery to begin the treatment was scary. While I tried to stay calm while he explained what was going to happen, my heart and mind were feeling fear, anger, confusion and wonder. It was a time of knowing that my attitude was going to make a difference but at the same time asking God why, what was this for, Why Why but no answers.
Watching the calmness of my daughter and her positive reaction that this was something we could beat helped me to look inside and make up my mind that with God’s help we could make it through Calling and talking to Bernadette my youngest daughter and telling her it was cancer was hard and caused much pain in my heart.
Once home and by myself many thought went through my min. The fear of the word began subsiding and began thinking of what it would take to get myself back into a positive state of mind,. I began counting my blessings that I had in my life. I began to remember to be thankful for the good things that have happened and were yet to come. I was thankful for the opportunity to take another life check. I began by remembering that I almost died when I had congestive heart failure and yet focused after the diagnosis and started doing what the doctors said until it was under control. It gave me a chance to get back in shape and learn to eat the right foods again. The second time I almost died was when I ended up in the emergency room and intensive care unit being told I had type II diabetes and had I waited any longer I would have died. Yet I was determined to learn about and deal with it and begin doing everything I was told and today it is under control with diet, exercise mediation, prayer and taking the medication as directed.
Thus God had given me the will power and courage to go through each and to win. So with this in mind I will go through and do the same with cancer in the jaw. I have the willpower and self discipline and Gods strength to work through this and be a survivor.
As the days go forward there are times that the day looks bright and my attitude is positive and up. At times it goes down and I began wondering how I can and will handle the problems and things that will be coming. When those times hit I reflect on the many victories that I have had in life and then what hits me is the victories all came with help from many others.
And as I give more thought to it I realize that two of the main reasons that I can win this battle are because of my two daughters. I realize that the love I have for both of them and my own desire to be around to continue being able to provide support for them and my grandchildren are important. I realize that the love they have shown for me all these years is so great that I draw support from it. As a family than have been a constant source of love and caring in everything that I have done and faced.
My daughters have been a source of strength because once they heard the problem the action program kicked in to high gear. Even when we first found out about the diabetes they did research found books ordered books sent articles found websites for me to use. They checked almost daily to make sure that I was taking the insulin shots, doing the exercise and eating right. They both either called and/or sent e-mail to check on me.
When we found out about the jaw infection they stayed up with what could be the causes. They worked to help set up the appointments. Andrea went with me to all of them and then updated Bernadette. Working together we finally found a doctor who gave us the prognosis. As with diabetes they started the process all over again now with a different challenge and a stronger purpose. I truly do not know what I would have done without their assistance.
Their positive attitudes and confidence in me and my ability to deal with this has been a great source of support. They have been here to not only help with the physical things that needed to be done but their source of emotional support and love has made the beginning of the journey much easier. For this support and all they continue to do and will continue to do I will be eternally grateful.
My grandchildren have been a source of emotional support because they understand that abuelo can’t do the thing he was doing before. They understand that their abuelo is sick and has lots of work to do to get well. In their minds and actions there are no doubt that their abuelo will get well. Without the right words they know he has a positive attitude and is a fighter and will do all it takes to get well. Amaranta, Carlos, Concetta and Miles are my heroes to because they truly believe in their grandfather.
My friends have shown up in a way that I never expected. As most people who know me, I am a private person about my personal life. Although I am a person who tries to help people in anyway I can. I have through the years given away as much help as I can to continue to help people become successful. I have always tried to assist people through introducing them to others at meeting and giving them referrals over the years. I have used social media as a tool to send out positive uplifting quotation on a variety of topics as well as giving tips and pointers in different areas. It has been my way of giving back to the many friends, acquaintances and others on the various medias.
When I was told I had cancer, I knew I needed to tell some of the people who I have been closest to over the many years. When they were told I was totally surprised at the many positive up lifting responses. It gratified my heart so much when all of them said they were offering prayers for me and so many volunteered to help in any way that was needed. Also many of them said they would pass the information to many of the other friends we shared. For all this and more I thank God for the blessing of all my friends, associates and acquaintances.
My brothers, sister, cousins and uncles and aunts have all been very supportive and have made calls and some have come over to visit. The most important part is the prayers and spreading the information to other family members.
Many blessings, many things to be thankful for during this time.
MONDAY – JANUARY 13, 2014
Today was a day of many struggling emotions. A day of positive highs to a time of being very low.
The day started early because appointments were set early. The first appointment which was supposed to be the only actually was only a beginning of two that took place.
The first was a CT and Pet Scan. While I at first was not too concerned because the last time I had scan it was only a small area used to run over my head. But this was different. This was half tube but it brought back my fear of enclosures. Yes I am claustrophobic. It happened during the time I had congestive heart failure over 12 years ago and it still comes up today. But back to the tube.
The technician was good about showing it all to me and explaining what was going to happen and asked if I could handle it. On the inside I wanted to run, I wanted to see if there were any other alternatives yet I knew it was something I had to do to be able to find out what I was facing. I told her I believed I could so we started by inserting the IV with the radioactive dye and waiting for an hour. I spent the time praying and thinking and trying to find a way to get through it.
We started I closed my eyes and we began I started feeling panicky and told her she brought me out for a little bit and asked if I wanted my daughter to come in and be with me. I said yes and it was a blessing. She talked me through mediations and encouragement as I went through the partial tube and was able to handle the various times I was inside. It was a relief getting it done and being finished with that part of the test.
My daughter had called Dr. Spafford to renew the pain meds. When she went to get the prescription she was told that he needed to see me. So she came and picked me up and off we went to UNM Hospital.
While we waited we talked about the upcoming appointments and I did some writing. We waited for about 2 hours before we were able to see the doctor. He started off asking about the pain and what I was doing. I told him and he then asked if we wanted to see the results of the biopsy. We said yes, so he brought it up on the screen and started going over it with us.
It said it was cancerous stage 4 and was in jaw and a few other areas and described it. It was now very real and very scary. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my throat. He then brought up the CT and PET scan and started reviewing them and his thoughts without any reading or interpretation of a radiologist. He showed us where it was in the jaw bone, cheek jaw muscle and showed where it was showing in the lymphoid in the neck. This was another blow to the stomach and now was totally real.
He was honest with all he said and answered the questions and some that we needed to digest what we had been told and that on the 22nd of January he would have a plan of action for us to discuss and to make decisions. Given the stage it is odds are that there is a 50-50 chance of eating it.
I was truly totally real it was visible in black and white and now it was not just words. It was hard to process I was scared, I was more confused yet relieved to know that a plan was going to be put in place and to find a new start for this journey.
As we walked out there were two parts of me. One that wanted to cry and wanted to hit something like I did when I was playing football. Another part wanted to cry and another wanted to be held by someone other than my daughter and be told we could win. The other part was creating a different internal strength. A determination that with God’s strength and a stronger faith in God that this can be healed and beaten.
The rollercoaster effect kept through the evening. I reached out and asked a friend to come by just to talk so I was talking to and then person other than my daughters who are both being so strong and positive. I needed to talk to someone closer to my age some just to listen and when I felt comfortable to shed the tears. I was lucky to be able to talk to someone. I was able to release some of the frustration and fear.
In the end I was able to say my prayers and fall asleep for the night.
JANUARY 14, 2014 – TUESDAY
Slept a little later this morning had a goodnight. Wake up in a little better frame of mind. Said prayers and began thinking about the things I still need to get done.
I need to create a set of positive affirmations for my grandchildren to have and use as they continue to grow. I need to create my own positive affirmation for this journey.
I have books to write for my grandkids and others. I have decided that after beating this with God’s help his power and my faith that I will become a spokesperson for people facing cancer of the jaw and others.
Today my daughter came by to check on me we talked she straightened out the apartment a little and then she ate breakfast and went to pick up Carlitos. I finished going over my e-mail. Took meds did some reading and thinking and praying. Called a longtime friend to bring her up to speed and hear another voice supporting me. It was a good long talk.
As I started back to writing got calls from the oncology department and have appointments set up for Thursday morning this week and one Tuesday/next week. It is a relief in a way because we will have all the information to make a good decision on the 22nd of this month.
Finished writing in my journal today and am now going to say prayers and call it a night because we start appointments at 8:00am.
JANUARY 15, 2014
A new day with an early start. Got up about 6:15 a.m., showered, took blood sugar reading and took my base meds for blood pressure. Fixed a Lonnie Special Smoothie for breakfast. Took pain meds before going with my daughter to the dentist for an 8:00 am appointment.
The dental assistant was really good and checked my mouth with the limitations of my pain and ability to open my mouth. She took the x-ray and did it in a manner so it caused no pain. The results of the exam were positive. The doctor saw no problems with the tooth and we should be able to handle the surgery, radiation and chemo.
Spent the rest of the morning with my daughter and my son-in-law (David) brought my grandson (Carlos) over and they had lunch. He showed me his Lego charger and we talked. It was a good diversion having him there.
We are now at radiology department waiting for an appointment for the scan. I am happy the CT scan will only be on the legs and I will not have to go through the tube. I am keeping a positive outlook.
JANUARY 15, 2014 – WEDNESDAY
Today was a day of appointments. The morning started off with a visit to Dr. David Farly the dentist. The purpose is to determine if my teeth are ready for they surgery and radiation and chemo. Going was a relief it was getting done but a little worried about how they were going to be able to check my teeth without me being able to open my mouth.
The assistant understood the problem was going to try flexible bite wings but could not open it wide enough so she ended up doing panoramas of the mouth which was not painful. Then we went back and she used a plastic mirror and was able to see what she needed without causing lots of pain.
After she did completed the exam the doctor reviewed them and said everything looked good and wrote a letter to that effect. This was a relief. One less thing to worry about.
The second in the afternoon was the leg scan. This was uncomfortable because it reminded me of Monday’s scans. The difference was that with this my head never entered the scanner. However this didn’t make it any easier for me. I still felt panicky did lots of praying and meditation. It was finally done and I felt relief.
That was the last of the test for this week. What made the day brighter was my son-in-law David brought Carolos by the house where Andrea and I were waiting to go to the second appointment. Carlos loves coming over to his abuelo’s and spending time.
The next time was after everything was done a friend Catherine came over and we talked and I told her about tall the things that happened that led up to the discovery of the cancer. As a nurse she was able to understand and ask questions that made sense. It was another time I could let myself feel the confusion, the pain, and yet have someone hug me and say we can and will win. Someone who was a good listener and allowed me to show a side other than being totally strong for a little while. It was also good to hear about what she had been doing since the last time we talked it was great to hear about the fun time she had in Disneyworld doing the different races. So all in all it was a very enjoyable evening.
JANUARY 16, 2014
A day with no doctor’s appointments. Today was good had a nice visit with Bernadette Lujan. It was great getting caught up. She has done great many things and is now a doctor of oriental medicine. It was fun hearing all of her great adventures.
Just visited with my daughter and grandson. It was a chance for Andrea to meet Bernadette and get to know each other. It was good for all of us.
The afternoon I went with Andrea to watch Amaranth do her class presentation. She did it on Germany and did it both in Spanish and English. She did a great job. After she finished Andrea, Carlos and I walked around the school until they let the children out of the school.
We had a good talk and then they brought me home. The evening went well. Texted with a friend went through the email and answered some and then sat and wrote until it was time for bed.
JANUARY 17, 2014
Another day of appointments. Started with an appointment with Dr. Benally the Podiatrist as part of the diabetes treatment. While the appointment went well and there are no problems. I made it an adventure by getting lost. I thought I knew where I was going after looking at map quest last night. But I had a senior moment (Ha Ha) and took a bunch of wrong turns. I finally stopped at an office at UNM hospital and asked directions and found I was really off. But found the place just a little late but was able to get in and feet checked.
The second appointment was with the Radiology Department a Doctor Lisa got to get a little early and that was good. My daughters Andrea and Bernadette were with me. I wanted another set of eyes and ears and knowledge to help me understand all the ramifications and to help ask the right questions.
He explained that my case had been discussed that morning. Surgery was chosen as the best alternative at this time. The radiologist concerned and said that he felt that if they could clear out what is there then we can have a better chance of beating this disease.
So far it has only spread to the lymph nodes in the neck and they will be taken out with the surgery. He said that it is going to be a long process. That it will be at least 6 weeks of radiation. I will lose taste buds and will have sores in my mouth and it may be at least 6 months before it all comes back.
He described how the radiation will be done and that there is a CT scanner used. I told him I am claustrophobic and he made a note of that.
He also checked my mouth as best he could and said he was sure the surgery was the best alternative. Bernadette asked questions about the nerves and how they may be affected. He said it will have some effect. She also asked about a few of the areas. Andrea had questions that she asked about timing, things to eat and overall plan. I just sat there and tried to understand and intake all the information and to settle my own emotions.
The afternoon and evening were a mixed tune. Had good thoughts fixed good stuff to eat. Had some down time because the jaw hurt a little more. Had surprise visit by Janix and we talked. And she talked and I wrote notes in response because my jaw was hurting. She gave me a hand and arm massage helped with the pain. It was a good visit.
It was a good evening talked to my daughter Bernadette and then texted with a couple of friends and relaxed while writing. I look forward to the weekend. It should be a great one.
JANUARY 18, 2014
This was a great day overall. Got a chance to meet a new friend and we had a good talk. She is a breast cancer survivor and we talked a little about radiation and surgeries. It was good to talk to someone new even for a little while.
Got an hour walk done and it felt good even though jaw hurt. The jaw has been hurting a lot more today. Even with the meds it does not really go away.
Read email sent some out. Spent some time resting and did a little texting with friends.
Emotionally it has been an up and down day again. I have done lot of praying and thinking. Wrote a letter to a friend it was good to write the thoughts. Will be interesting to see her reaction and response.
JANUARY 19, 2014 – SUNDAY
Started the day going to my daughter Andrea’s house. She picked me up and we drove and talked a little because it was hard for me to talk. We were going because we were going to watch Stars Wars and then watch the Bronco vs Patriots game.
My grandkids both like Star Wars and wanted me to see it with them. I enjoy being with them. We walked and then my nephew Luke and his family came over to Andrea so I got to visit with him for awhile. The kids played with their little 2 year old cousin and we all watched the end of movie.
Andrea made a great lunch. Clam chowder, cheese sandwiches, veggies and sweet potato pancakes. Then we watched the football game. I enjoyed the game with David and the kids. It was hard not being able to talk during the game and explain the plays to Carlos.
I had many thoughts during this time. I enjoyed being with them and wanted to be more active but not being able to do it. I was glad I was there to help continue building memories with the kids. It was a peaceful and loving time and I really needed that and the time spent with all of them.
When Andrea brought me home I did my email, rested and then fixed something to eat while watching the Seahawk game. While I enjoyed the game and the calls afterward I spent time thinking about the time to come. I thought about all I wanted to say to my children and grandchildren the things I want to write for children. The books and articles in my heart to work on. I thought about prayers I have prayed and some I have written. I need some of my little books on success and my note to cards each helping to build my heart and mind stronger for this challenge.
JANUARY 26, 2014
The trip to Chimayo!!
Andrea had suggested we go on Sunday evening after thinking about it I called her back and said yes. She planned on being over at 8:00 am so I got up early said some prayers for the day, took shower and shaved and fixed the usual breakfast of cream of wheat and banana soy protein, activate yogurt and milk smoothie.
She got there a little after 8:00 and as we were getting ready to leave we got a call from Melissa Dr. Spafford’s surgical nurse telling us that the surgery is scheduled for Thursday. She and Andrea confirmed the other appointments with Dr. Farley and an anesthesiologist for Tuesday and then with Dr. Spafford for Wednesday.
It was good news that he had changed his schedule to do it and a relief that we are getting into action. It is also a scary feeling because I have never had a major surgery other than tonsils when I was a child. So here it is now real and an action made. Andrea called my daughter Bernadette and sister Gloria to let the know and I sent a text to my brothers. Bernadette Lujan and Catherine Rael to let them know when it was scheduled.
We were then off to the Santuario. It was a good trip. I had not been out that way in a while. I know it was harder for Andrea because I was not able to talk much. That has been the most frustrating part not being able to talk long or clearly.
It was a great trip went through Nambe and I remember how pretty the area was during the spring and summer. It has been a few years since I have gone that way. It still was a pretty drive and brought back memories of going up that way years ago.
Many different thought from the past that were good and others not so. Yet as a whole it was good. As we got to the Santuario I tried to member the last time I was there. (Gloria’s note: the weekend that Bernadette got married, Lonnie took John and I on a driving adventure which included a wineries, Nambe, the Santuario, and lunch at Rancho de Chimayo) I tried to remember who I was with at the time. Strange how I could not locate the memories. We walked up the back way to the church and I was amazed at all the things they have done to improve the grounds. When we walked into the Church, we saw the priest and went and talked to him. I hold him that I had stage 4 cancer in the jaw bone and muscle in the jaw. He asked if we going to stay for mass. We asked when and he said at 11:00 am and it was 10:50 am. So we said yes. He asked us to feel out a card and place it on the altar. We did and before going in I filled two spray bottles with holy water.
We went into the church and sat on the front pew on the right hand side. It was quiet and we both began praying our own prayers.
It was a powerful feeling being in the church and sitting there with the sunlight coming through the windows. All I can remember that the prayers just came out in no particular order and I cannot remember what I said. It was a call for healing, strength, courage, faith, help for me and my family. Prayers of thanksgiving for many things.
As mass started it was a strange feeling but the priest was good and made the mass entertaining as well meaningful. He called the people who had placed cards on the alter and gave us a blessing. He finished mass and reminded everyone that God is the great healer and the guide of our lives. It was just a blessing in and of itself that we were there and were part of it.
We went after mass into the place where the holy dirt is and placed some on my cheek and neck and asked God for his help and healing. I left a tie and tie clip with the hope to be able to use tie again and get back into working.
We left and went to Rancho de Chimayo to eat however it was closed. Then went to Tomasitas in Santa Fe. I had hueveos rancheros ate the eggs (very carefully) and mashed some beans and I had guacamole.
The trip back was good and the day with my daughter was a great blessing. Back home I spent time thanking God for the day and reflecting on the blessings of the day.
Thank God for such an uplifting day.
JANUARY 21, 2014
This is the day for two more appointments that make the final decision real. The first appointment was with Dr. Esme′ Finley the oncologist. I once again gave God thanks this morning for a new day and for both my daughters. It is sometimes hard to articulate feelings and thoughts. But I remain thankful that God has given me this life, with all the many blessings and the challenges. That has helped me grow spiritually and emotionally. Each one preparing for this major challenge.
We are at the Cancer Center waiting for my daughter Bernadette comes in the door. She flew in last night to be here with me and her sister for this part of the challenge. We talk a little because my jaw hurts until we are called back into the office areas. They do all the vitals and everything looks good.
We now wait for the doctor to come. They were running behind so we spent a lot of time waiting for her. We talked about what needed to be done to make sure we are ready for this Thursday and beyond. They did most of the talking and I talked when I needed to talk.
The doctor arrived and went over the history again. Andrea gave her a document that had the information for her. I am glad she has that for all the doctors. She did an examination and reviewed the file and said she would be our contact through this period. She said depending on the finding of the tissue from the jaw and muscle and lymph nodes that chemo might be necessary but it would be a decision we would make in a month after surgery. Once again feeling of relief that action was moving scared about what I had heard about chemo and its side effects. One day at a time.
Girls took me home while they ran errands until the next appointment. I spent some time outside in the sun and prayed and thought about all the things involved not only in the surgery but things leading up and the time after.
Ate some soup and smoothie waiting for Andrea. Bernadette bought them from whole foods. The hardest part of all this is not being able to talk and share all he thoughts at any one time.
We went to antheseologist and played the waiting game at least we got some work on the Power of Attorney. We met with the nurse and she took vitals and told us a little about the process. Start at 6:00 am at Pre-op and then meet team and have surgery.
They are going to put me to sleep for the entire procedure – thank God. It is scheduled for 10 hours.
After the nurse the physician assistant met and gives us more information and there sent us for a blood test. It was all good. I keep telling myself it is all part of the process. And as we continue there will be more and more tests. At least my heart and lungs are clear and good. That way we did not have to do an EKG or any other test.
Went back home and did my email and then rested and fixed soup for dinner. After dinner I relaxed and started writing in my journal, answered a few text messages and to the best of my ability phone. It was lots of positive messages so it was good.
After taking my meds it was off to bed and went out like a light. Woke up a couple of times took some meds and back to sleep.
Another full day tomorrow.
JANUARY 22, 2014
Today we went to the bank and took care of some financial business and we got all the official papers signed so now Andrea and Bernadette can act on my behalf. I am glad that is done. It is a relief to know that they will be able to take care of all things while I am in the hospital.
We left to go to Dr. Spaffords office for the final instructions before the surgery tomorrow. We have been waiting for over two and half hours. Andrea, Bernadette and Bernadette Lujan have been sitting with me. They talked – I listened and talked when I could. It was good to have all 3 of them take their time to be here.
As I sit here the pain hit and BJ Lujan used pressure points to help relieve the pain that was a great feeling. I am one of the most fortunate of men to have such great, giving daughters and friend like Bernadette Lujan to be here. By blessing for me and I thank God for them and ask him to watch over them.
I sit here and think of the call made to Martha Powell another of my special friends. She has gone through cancer surgery and treatment and continues to be a winner. Her prayer and encouragement brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.
We listened to Dr. Spafford and his explanation. Am glad it is getting done. Mixed feelings about all but glad it will be over tomorrow and start a new journey!!
Heading off to rest and bet and get mentally ready for the surgery.
This is a listing of free online or very low cost tools for businesses. They have been reviewed and are easy to use and can enhance a business model. Many can be used by staff to assist them in becoming more efficient at a very nominal or no cost to the business.
http://www.thinkfree.com/main.jsp Office Suite
Presentation Tools online
Zoho Show Zoho.com
Free online Databases
Free Online Calendars
Free Appointment Calendars
Free Online Mindmapping or Brainstorming Tools
http://www.qrayon.com/home/inkflow/ mobile App
http://www.ibrainstormapp.com/ Mobile App
Free Online Drawing Tools
Free Task List
White board for web
Small Business and social media has continued to gain in importance. The major concern of small business owners is will it work for their business. As discussed in previous articles, the use of social media works for the business if it is used in the way it was intended to build positive relations with the public. As with any tool it should be used wisely and be used in a consistent manner.
Tools such as LinkedIn for professionals, Facebook Pages, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ are all-powerful tools in building business relationships. Each is a great tool for a business when matched with the demographics in its marketing plan. As with any marketing tool, it takes time, patience, good content, and frequency to build and create brand awareness. Another major part is consistency. The content must promote the business brand and the information posted must be relevant to the people the business is attempting to reach and serve.
Prior to any decision to get involved with social media of any kind it is important for the business to make sure that it has an adequate budget and has appropriated money for the social media effort. The budget must not only consider financial considerations but human resources and time. Time must be devoted to doing the research, developing content, and posting the content developed in the various media sites chosen by the business. It is important that the content developed is relevant and ease the achievement of the goals of the social media marketing plan. Means of measuring the success of the social media marketing plan should be explored and put in place to measure the return on investment over time. The need for a plan that includes an adequate budget for the implementation process, whether the social media marketing is handled internally by staff or contracted to an external agency for the business is important to the overall success.
The number of social media sites has increased exponentially. Various sites draw many different demographics and have different requirements. They also have different purposes and different outreach. The need to know the target audience will have a great impact on what sites are chosen to promote the business brand. In addition to the basic sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ there are many other sites that are very important to business development. One of the newer sites that have gained popularity is Pinterest. This site is a favorite of women of all ages and many businesses that are selling or appealing to women use this site. The site uses interest boards (think of them as mini posters) to post interesting and relevant information. The more pictures you use or information with pictures the greater the interest generated. The major effort is to promote good solid content that reflects the multiple interests within your business that maybe of interest to others. It is also important to curate other information that may also show information useful to others. The use of the content it to create brand awareness and promote the business while at the same time creating informative call for actions. As part of the process the business must also follow other boards as well as building relationships in a positive way with other businesses and people.
Another of the newer services is Gentlemint. It is similar to Pinterest with the exception that has a focus on men’s topics. As with Pinterest, it creates brand awareness and builds business relationships. It to uses pictures and good topics on interest boards to post information. It provides the ability to follow others as well as be followed by other businesses and people. As with all social media sites content drives the process. The better your content, it increases the opportunities for others to follow and create business partnerships.
Storeboard is an up and coming site that combines social media with business in some very unique ways. It is a very flexible platform and can also be of benefit to non-profits as well. The site is both national and international in scope. Many of the big business are using the site on an ongoing basis and reaching out to many businesses on the site. Some of the features of the site include: markets, classified, groups, forums, videos, blogs, images, audio, coupon deals and selected channels to follow. It has a good search capability and allows businesses to contact each other through a messaging system. Status updates like those used in other social media allow you to send out short information pieces about your business or other relevant topics.
Yet another business to business social media site is MerchantCircle. The focus of the site is to promote business to business relationships. It is designed to enhance a business’s opportunity to create a solid business presence. It provides the business with a chance to connect with other business as a follower of the business or to create connections with business to send messages. A business can create and post blogs, newsletters, create coupons, search for leads, develop a network of other businesses, create service request for customers to contact the business, and a chance to upgrade to be able to do more promotions. In addition a business can keep up status updates and link them to other social media sites. It is a flexible program and gives a business an opportunity to expand the possibilities for greater business.
There are many sites that keep developing and older ones continue to improve their presence, it is still incumbent on the business to make the best decisions on which ones to use. The use of the internet has grown. Consider how internet users spend their time: 22 percent on social media, 21 percent on searches, 20 percent browsing content, 19 percent reading emails, 13 percent multimedia sites, and 5 percent online shopping. A business must also remember that is very important to research each of the social media sites to make sure that their main target market is using the site.
As a business recognizing that the time and effort in personal and financial resources that will be expended in the social marketing effort is critical, it is important to carefully select the best social media platforms for their business. It is impossible have a presence on every site and to post good content on each site. It is better that reach your target market and drive customers/clients to the business site or the storefront than to dilute the brand message.
An upcoming blog will begin discussions of other tools that should be used to more effectively improve the business and to provide additional flexibility to the business development and business model being used within the organization. Keep in mind all that is done in and for the business focuses on serving the public as we know them as customers. Service, service, courtesy, respect and truthfulness in all that is done to provide the greater benefit to the public.
6/5/20132 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Visionary/CEO Social Business Media Connections and Social Business Media Managers
As a business owner for over 30 years, I had the opportunity to work with many businesses in providing computer software utilization and leadership development. Small businesses are the ones that need the most help with the use of social media. My graduate degree is organizational change and development and assist in creating the media plans for small business. http://www.socialbusinessmediamanagers.com http://www.sbmconnect.wordpress.com
The first part of this series explored the need for small businesses to use social media and what were some of the critical steps in the process. Questions were raised to help the small business owner to focus their efforts in the best way possible to meet the desired results based upon the overall objectives and goals of the marketing plan. It gave a few tips on how to specifically identify the target audience and where they could be found on social media.
It is possible to compare the selection of the tools for social media to how a farmer selects the tools. First he/she surveys the land to decide the best type of crop to plant. This is similar to the small business owner reviewing the business website. The website for the small business is very much like the land for the farmer. It must be easy to use, provide content, has various ways for people to interact with business and other ways to link with the business. As the farmer begins to make a choice of crop or crops to plant, he/she identifies who will be buying the crops. For the small business, it is the identification of the target audience. The farmer then makes the choice of the crop or crops that will produce the greatest results for them and develops a plan or process that will be used to plant the crops. This includes the review of the tools the farmer has on hand and the tools he/she needs to buy or lease to complete the job of planting. Thus the farmer reviews each of their tools to make sure they are in good condition and able to do effectively the tasks that need to be accomplished.
As the farmer makes the decisions about crops, the small business owner has to make the choice of the products or services he/she are going to offer to customers. The small business owner must check the website and began asking the questions that will help in making the correct decisions on improvement.
- How effective has the website been in assisting creating more sales?
- What kind of content are we providing that helps prospective customers?
- What is on the site that keeps the customer captured in order for them to spend more time looking at other products?
- Do I have links to other social media sites?
- Do I have a place for them to sign up for something free I am giving them?
- What other things can I offer to them to keep them on the site longer or have them buy a product or service?
The implements for the farmer are limited by the type of product they are going to produce and the overall size of the area to be planted. For the small business owner, the implements for social media are much more varied and are dependent on the target audience and the overall time that a small business owner plans to expand on social media. Presently, the major tools being used include: Facebook (Many large businesses have fan pages.); Twitter (This is a popular way to keep in constant contact with people who follow you.); LinkedIn (Professional site that provides information about people and companies.); You Tube (Video site that is growing fast and being used in many unique ways to promote businesses); and Google+(Similar to Facebook but is newer and is growing in a powerful way for business use).
While the ones listed above are the most popular and used most often, they are not the only tools that are available for a small business. Some other tools being used are Tumblr, Slideshare, Instagram, Foursquare, Yelp, Pinterest, Gentlemint and Merchant Circle. Each one of these tools provides different formats and reaches different audiences.
So much as the farmer decides on the best tools for planting the crops, small business owners must do the same thing. As we review the popular tools, it is important for you as the small business owner to keep in mind your target audience; also, the amount of time you want to expend in using social media.
Social media tools discussed below have requirements that you create a profile. The profile will differ somewhat between social media platforms. It is important that the business owner complete each of the profiles. This becomes the key for people to learn to know about the owner and the services or products that the company provides. Some of the requested information include: name, picture, professional headline, current title, web sites, public profile, summary, specialties, experience, education, interests, groups and associations, skills, personal information, contact settings, and companies.
The tool called Facebook (www.facebook.com), is one of the most popular of the tools and is constantly growing. Businesses of all sizes are using this tool. Businesses create fan pages and business pages to promote their business. They ask people to like their pages to create more followers. When they post updates people who have asked to get notifications and feeds will get them. This is a way for them to promote their brands, events, and coupons. Businesses also can buy ads to post on Facebook to have their brand promoted at a greater level. Before selecting this as the place where you want your business listed as an owner understand that just posting a page is not enough. It requires time to place status updates and respond to updates on time. It is about the relationship you are creating. Prior to select this tool the owner should check for the demographics of the website to make sure it fits the target audience. This link can be used to find the information: http://tinyurl.com/smdemgrphs
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) as a tool is one of the most powerful tools for connecting with professionals. It is a tool that allows a person to develop a professional profile, upload a résumé and join groups, create groups and follow people and companies. It is a good source to find information about a person or company. It is an excellent way to connect to other professionals across the nation and world as well as ask for introductions to others. It allows a user to keep up a contact list of people they know and trust in business and can use to help connect with others. As with other tools, it must be used professionally and needs to (have ongoing maintenance. Interactions are also important in establishing your creditability with this tool. The following site can be used to find the demographics of those using this site http://tinyurl.com/smdemgrphs
Twitter (www.twitter.com) is another of the more popular tools in social media. It requires more attention than others because it is more like carrying on several conversations. It is used worldwide and can be considered a micro blogging site. It is a good tool to keep people posted about what is occurring in your industry and information that as a business should be shared with others. It is a means of connecting with leaders in your industry and finding out their thoughts and how they influence people. As with the other tools, it requires a time commitment to keep up and respond to twits or updates from people. Before selecting this site as a tool for the business the following site will allow the owner to review the demographics:
YouTube (www.youtube.com) is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google. This site has grown considerably and is now the number two search engine. Business and individuals use this as a means of connecting with people using a visual mode. Studies show that people will watch a short video rather than read a large amount of data. It is also used as an educational platform and provides various types of self-development information. It is a great platform for delivering video-based testimonials, how to guides and commercials promoting products and/or services. As with other tools, a business can subscribe to other users and receive information when new posts are made. Before selecting this medium recognize that new videos will need to be developed and uploaded to be an effective tool. Demographics for this site can be found at http://tinyurl.com/smdemgrphs
Google+ (Google Plus https://plus.google.com) is a relative new tool as far as social media is concerned. It is used by both businesses and individuals. It provides a few more tools to use within the site than some of the others. Some of them include: Circles, Hangouts, Messenger, Instant Upload of Photos, Hashtags, Explore posts, Find People, Events, Find Local Businesses, Create Business Pages and more. The features are user friendly and make it easy for an individual to use. Since it is part of the Google product line one must have a Google Email account to use Google+. As a whole when viewed with the other Google product provides a great arsenal of tools to assist small business become more successful. As with the other tools discussed the following site can be used to review the demographics of the Google+ users: http://tinyurl.com/dempgoplus
The tools we have briefly discussed are some of the most powerful being used presently, but they are only as good as the business owner who selects to use them. The business owner must remember that as a farmer selects the tools, the owner must do the same that are best for the designed marketing plan. The use of the tools themselves for business owner is most important. Once the farmer prepares the field with the right tools and plants the seed, it is now important to water the seeds and plants until it is time to harvest. The small business owner has prepared his website, selected the social media tools based upon the marketing design, prepared each of the sites with the requested profiles and published each of the sites.
Now as the farmer waters the small business owner must use the status updates, tweets, messages, videos, slides. Responding to comments is also the way that a small business owner works with small business to establish the know, like and trust factors. This must be done with consistency overtime. As discussed in the previous article, social media is the developing of relationships with people and that does not happen quickly. Thus it is of utmost importance that a regular schedule be developed and implemented on a weekly basis.
The next segment of the series will review and look at social media sites that are up and coming and sites that are very powerful but have not gained in the overall popularity. As with the others, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Each therefore has different demographics and different targets. The business owner needs to have an understanding to select the best tool. A discussion of some of the sites that are better for international use will also be discussed. The subsequent articles will deal with tools to use to make using social media a little easier and ways to measure the return on investment of social media. The last part of the series will discuss other web-based tools that can help small business become more effective in delivering services and products to customers.
As a small business owner, take the time to review each of the demographics for the sites. If you do not have a social media site, then select one that fits your demographics. Ask questions, raise concerns, review your goals, and talk to those who are using the sites, and then move forward with your plan.
2/27/2013 Lonnie G. Juarez, Jr. Ph.D. Visionary/CEO Social Business Media Connections and Social Business Media Managers