RE-BLOG and UPDATE: The Bronze Killer and Me

POST ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 7/03/2010. I am re-blogging it along with a new section as part of the national campaign for:

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Still trying to catch up to where I left off before my trip. Too much to do but my body and mind just refuse to cooperate for more than a half-hour at a time. I am truly thankful for the fact that I don’t suffer from the huge mood-swings or periods of sudden rage that often accompanies Hereditary Hemochromatosis, at the same time though, I’m really frustrated by the increasing inability to focus both my mind – and my eyes. It’s like I’ve suddenly developed ADHD at the age of 56 and someone keeps moving my monitor closer than farther away then closer then… Well, you get the idea. HFE is such an odd disease in that it can have so many manifestations and it seems that no two people have the exact same combination of symptoms and the mix changes constantly.

Read More about Hemochromatosis Awareness Month

I’ve got great doctors – but none of them have HFE so they can’t really relate to what I’m going through, and I’ve been searching for other who have HFE to compare notes with. Through those searches, I came across a reference to the book “The Bronze Killer” by Marie Warder and on there were a ton of reviews of the book that were all just raving about how it’s considered the BEST book on the subject of HFE and more specifically, on the experience of the author’s husband and both children having it and how it’s affected all of them. Marie’s husband is like me in that he was not diagnosed until after he had already suffered permanent damage to his liver while her children were fortunately diagnosed before the disease had advanced that far. I ordered the book on Tuesday and received it Thursday. I used to read at least 1 book a day but those days are long gone and so I’m only on page 11. I’ll fill you in as I get farther along.


The importance of sharing medical records and information with your immediate family members must not be taken lightly or ignored. People rarely feel any significant symptoms of Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HFE) until it’s too late to avoid permanent, life-threatening harm. But unlike an unexpected car crash, broken spine, or burst appendix, the majority of cases of HFE CAN be predicted, tested for, and even prevented IF there is a known family history of a combination of certain risk factors (even where there’s no family history of HFE having been diagnosed). If a patient is found to have any of the genetic defects that can lead to Hereditary Hemochromatosis, from one or both of their parents, and before they have suffered any permanent damage to their organs, there are easy steps to take that can prevent most or possibly all of the debilitating and dangerous effects of the full blown disease and allow that patient to live a “normal” life and have a “normal” life-span.

Most people think that because they personally were never diagnosed with HFE then there is nothing in their medical records that could possible be of help to their family. WRONG! That’s because, despite being the most common of all genetic diseases, HFE is very rarely diagnosed. Before 1996 there wasn’t even a test that could positively identify it! But our medical records contain much more than a list of diagnosis and treatments. Doctors keep notes of symptoms you complain of, what they have tested you for, the raw results of those tests (meaning just the numbers without interpretation), and what the doctor suspected as well as ruled out as the cause of your symptoms. These are the most critical parts of your records because it is not a single number that is too high or too low that would indicate you MIGHT have Hereditary Hemochromatosis – rather it is the combination of which numbers are low, which are high, and which are “normal” – and how consistent those numbers remain or whether they steadily increase or decrease over the years and in combination with what other symptoms and diseases or conditions. So the judgment of which records are needed cannot be made by someone with either a conflict of interest and/or a lack of the specific medical training to understand the interplay of such information.

Yes, we each do have the right of privacy when it comes to our health records – but PLEASE consider the fate of your family: siblings, children, parents, grandchildren, and 1st cousins. Carefully weigh what is really more important: that none of your family ever find out you once had Herpes or an abortion or whatever else may be embarassing or even shameful – OR – that you can actually help save your loved ones lives or atleast allow them to have a better quality of life for a longer time simply by sharing your un-edited medical history?

A good way to start the dialog with your family members on the importance of being open and sharing, the Surgeon General of the United States has launched a public health campaign and has provided tools to help you create a Family Health Portrait. Access the My Family Health Portrait Web tool at

Now, back to the original blog post:

Completely off-subject but appropos for this weekend when those of us who are blessed to be Citizens of The United States celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th of July, I’ve created a few patriotic icons as well as a Desktop Picture (in 3 different screen sizes) for you. Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons & Wallpaper of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

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Old FlagColumbia

Freedom Flag

Virtual Green Healing

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I’ll get to explaining the title of this post in a minute, but first, a little preamble is called for.

While I’ve been laying low in the background for a few months, I’ve been silently enjoying reading my favorite blogs (Dogkisses) and Green Healing Notes, along with a ton of books. If you’re a regular reader here at IconDoIt, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve mentioned Dogkisses several times and that the author of those two blogs is also a frequent commenter here. So what’s that all about, you might ask?

One of the greatest serendipities of writing a blog and commenting on blogs other than your own, is that you have the opportunity to come to know people from around the globe with whom you already have something in common (an interest in the subject of a particular post commented on). Now, the odds are pretty dang slim of that happening as you go about your daily routine and encounter previously unknown people at work, at the grocery store, etc. even if you are one of the rare folks who actually speaks to strangers! And when you find yourself commenting and/or receiving comments on more than one posting from the same person, you start to get to know them a bit and after a while, may find yourself communicating with them “off blog” and developing a deep friendship. For someone like myself, who has extremely limited face-to-face contact with anyone in the world beyond my front door, such opportunities and friendships are valuable beyond compare. This is how I first met and became friends with “Lady Dogkisses” (whom I’ll refer to as LDK for the sake of brevity).

From the outside looking in, it might appear that LDK and I have very little in common. I’m close to 20 years older, live in an upscale suburb of a large city on the north coast of Ohio while she lives in the mountains of North Carolina and struggles just to get by. Our ethnic backgrounds and religious upbringing couldn’t be more different and we have entirely different work backgrounds, skills and hobbies. But what we DO have in common is how we have reacted to the tragedies, outrages, and challenges in our lives; the basic principles that guide our decisions and actions; a strong spiritual connection with the earth and sky; and a tendency to want (and make our best attempts to) bring comfort to everyone who hurts and cure the world’s ills. Of course, this latter trait – which is an impossible task to ever fully accomplish, thus we are always feeling badly for our “failures” – often gets played out at the expense of our own personal best interests. And that’s why we need each other to remind us to give ourselves permission every once in a while to escape from our self-appointed burdens to pamper ourselves with some free time to “play” or do nothing at all, get some uninterrupted sleep, and have a few relaxed good meals with enjoyable company. Now THAT’s my definition of a “real” friend!

So now back to the title of this post, “Virtual Green Healing”. For several months now, Dogkisses has been writing a series of posts centered around the concept of “Green Healing” which is a way of cleansing oneself from all of the chaos of the man-made world and getting back to the core of our spirit through working with the earth, planting and growing, and taking the time to breathe in and breathe out along with the land and the creatures who inhabit it and make it work. LDK has embarked on a project to facilitate this Green Healing through volunteering, along with her adult son, in a horticulture program for folks with special needs. Now, I love a beautiful flower garden and eating fruits and vegetables fresh picked each day but its’ been over a dozen years since I’ve been physically been able to participate in that process and more than 20 years since I actually had the time, and even then, I never did have much of a green thumb. But my lack of gardening skills and infirmities have never gotten in the way of my love of nature and, in fact, one of the strongest images in my mind when I engage in guided imagery exercises to deal with chemotherapy and pain, is of walking in the woods along the Skyline Drive in Virginia on a clear, cool autumn day. I can just smell that clean air and hear the crunching of dried leaves beneath my feet and the honking of flocks of geese and ducks soaring way above the trees. And it is with this same imagination that I am taken into the garden alongside my friend and her son, whenever I read the latest posts on her blog and I feel myself healing right along with them. (Thanks LDK for sharing your experiences and letting me tag along for the ride!)


Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.


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I DID IT! (Learning To Take Pleasure In Small Accomplishments)

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Yup. I finally completed relocating all of my original clip art, icons & desktop wallpaper to different servers and updated all the affected posts on this blog. Now there will be no interruption in the accessibility of those files AND the loading time for viewing my blog should be much faster. While it was a big and tedious job involving a few hundred files and over a hundred posts, I suppose that my enthusiasm (as denoted by this post’s title) is a bit pathetic considering the fairly trivial nature of this accomplishment in the vast scheme of the universe, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in my life, it is the importance of finding as much pleasure in the little steps and small achievements as I would on reaching my most important goals. None of us can count on being as capable as we are today (to whatever degree that is), much less have any guarantee we’ll even be alive tomorrow. The odds I face are substantially lower than average, so I’ve spent a lot of time over the years (and especially over the last few months) trying to convince myself how important it is to be pleased with what I CAN do and be proud of myself for doing whatever I realistically COULD do towards reaching my ideals. That’s a tall order to ask of one who has always had high expectations and standards for herself.

Being my toughest critic has largely served me well during my first 57 years as it has motivated me to work as hard and as smart as I could to constantly improve my skills and my usefulness to others. While I certainly appreciate the complements and reliance on my ability to deliver bestowed on me by so many others, I’ve never been able to get away from the feeling that I should have done more and done it better (whatever “it” was). By some theories, such perfectionism is a good thing where it spurs one on to grow and become the best they can be as a person and to reach the pinnacle of their abilities. The downside arises when you’re too slow (or fail altogether) to recognize when you’ve already reached the limits of your abilities, whether due to limitations within you or due to external factors outside of your control. The problems such lack of recognition poses includes the inability to enjoy or take pride in whatever you have accomplished, the stress and frustration of continuing to strive for a goal that, through no fault of your own, will always be out of your reach; and the loss of opportunity to ever feel completely at peace that comes from knowing you did your best. I actually didn’t realize I had this problem until very recently because I had always considered myself to have a fairly well-balanced ego; but what happened was a resistance to recognizing that my seemingly infinite ability to find ways to overcome adversity (both internal and external) is in fact, not so limitless.

While I have surprised (pleasantly) my physicians by having beaten the odds of surviving much longer than expected given all the complications of dealing with the lethal combination of multiple serious, life-threatening diseases and conditions, I have hardly come through this all unscathed. I thought that by having a positive attitude and stubbornly telling myself that I “refuse to die” that I could not only cheat death but somehow avoid the physical and emotional suffering that’s associated with those diseases and conditions as well. In the past, that attitude has made a huge and positive difference in my life in overcoming many physical disabilities and tremendous external adversity. For instance, as a result of having served as a “guinea pig” to early experimentation with brainwave biofeedback forty years ago, I learned to be able to control my brain and body to the extent that I could prevent or stop my epileptic seizures from developing past the “aura” stage almost 100% of the time; learned to be able to stop and restart my heart at will; and could self-hypnotize myself deeply enough to undergo surgery to remove lumps in my breasts and even a root canal without any anesthetic. So I had come to expect that there was nothing in the world I couldn’t overcome. But the years of exerting such extreme efforts and the piling on of one disease or condition on top of another over and over again, and the years of being subjected to the intense emotional stress of 12-year long lawsuit with someone I should have been able to trust and turn to for compassion and help, finally took their toll on me over this last year. It wasn’t until that lawsuit reached yet another brick wall in November 2011 that I realized I no longer had the strength or energy to continue my pursuit of justice, that I finally realized that there simply are things outside of my control no matter how hard and earnest my efforts and no matter how reasonable, fair, or “right” my goals may be. Sometimes, a positive attitude just isn’t enough and sometimes the bad guys “win”.

I’d like to still believe that somewhere along the line G-d ensures that justice will be done and no undeserved pain, suffering, or early death will have been in vain, but I am still working on accepting the fact that I will likely never know if such belief is merely the dream of a fool. Part of that effort is learning not to be so hard on myself and to learn to enjoy even the smallest accomplishment all on its’ own and not taking it for granted or judging it as a failure for being still short of my expectations. I am trying my best to be satisfied with myself for having tried, and for doing whatever is the best I can realistically do at any particular time. In one sense, this requires lowering my expectations of myself, and I am trying to learn not to see that as a failure or to feel guilty that I could not do any better. I’ve never applied such stringent standards to my expectations from others and so just need to be able to be as forgiving and supportive towards myself. That’s somewhat of a culture shock and requires “un-learning” a lifetime of beliefs. It is this revelation and struggle that has lead me to look deeper into the lessons I can take from Buddhist, Taoist and Native American philosophies, as they strike me as being the least influenced by the material world and the most in touch with the unvarnished, true nature of man. I’ll be writing more about my progress in posts to come.

Back to the mundane: Here’s the list of the last group of posts that I have updated, followed by a fresh batch of freebies and some of the latest of my designs at IconDoIt – The Store.


  1. The Constraints of
  2. Deviation to Green Day & Zack
  3. Escher-Sketch Redux
  4. Art Deco: Icons – OR – Clip Art?
  5. Fox Spokane Art Deco Icons, Pt. 2
  6. Mrs. Hudson & Sherlockian Icons
  7. Freedom Rings
  8. CSI – Mac?
  9. The Morale Chorale
  10. Cleveland Indians & Art Deco Icons
  11. Steampunk’d
  12. A Comeuppance & Twitter Birds

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.


Constitutional Law

The Justice FIlesFla Court

What Price Truth?


My Wild Irish Rose Card
My Wild Irish Rose
This St. Patrick’s Day card featuring IconDoIt’s original rendering of a richly textured-looking red, red rose against an antique moss-toned wall is really quite special in its’ beauty and message. The real St. Patrick was more about love than drinking green beer so we believe his day is as perfect a time as any to tell her you love her. And since she won’t be expecting a card of this nature on March 17, it will be far more meaningful and just might earn you that magical kiss you’ll never forget!
Truth in Action (iPad Case)
Truth in Action (iPad Case)
For the consumate legal professional, this hard-shell iPad case features IconDoIt’s original artwork of the Scales of Justice with Benjamin Disraeli’s iconic quote: “Justice is Truth in Action” or swap it out for your own logo. And don’t forget to personalize the text!
Themis Spiral Notebook
Themis Spiral Notebook
Great spiral notebook for the law student, lawyer, judge, or for those who love justice and have extraordinarily good taste! 😉 Cover design is an Art Deco inspired original by IconDoIt.