Posts Tagged With: living with a congenital heart condition

Day 3726: Unknown

As I’m writing this at 4:30 AM, it’s unknown to me whether I’ve written another blog post with the title “Unknown,” although I suspect I have.

Many people have a fear of the unknown. My fear of the unknown is unknown to me, perhaps because I have spent so much of my life inhabiting the unknown.

If the meaning of that previous sentence is unknown to you, my extremely rare congenital heart condition has made any predictions about my life span unknown. Therefore, I seem to feel very comfortable living in the unknown.

On the other hand, it is unknown to me why I can get so anxious about mundane issues like doing my taxes or choosing tiles for a shower remodel while fearlessly facing the realities of serious, life-long health issues. It’s also unknown to me why I waste so much time wondering who in the universe might be mad at me or wish me ill, forgetting that those people can’t really hurt me.

It is not unknown to me that I am not alone in being puzzled by the unknown operations of one’s own mind.

Let’s see what some known people have said about the unknown.


Do you see the unknown in any of my other images for today?

The Ides of March are known to me but it is unknown to me why those of us who are not Caesar should beware them.

If the recently deceased jazz legend Wayne Shorter (quoted above) is unknown to you, allow me to introduce you to one of his beautiful compositions.


I hope my gratitude is not unknown to you, dear reader.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 3706: Happy

I’m happy to wish a happy birthday to my son Aaron and to my cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem! 🎉🎉🎂🎂🎁🎁💕

Yesterday, I was happy about the results of my annual check up with Dr. Salem. He said he wants to see me again in six months because “seeing you makes me happy.” Tufts Medical Center is going to name a building after him soon and when they do, I’ll be happy to make a speech, as he has requested, at that celebration. I was happy to swap stories about our long relationship in front of two young doctors yesterday and I was happy to exclaim, “Don’t I look great for my age!” even though nobody could really tell because I was wearing a mask.

I’m happy that I have a wonderful son and that we decided it was safe enough for me to get pregnant in my 40s despite my congenital heart condition.

My husband Michael and I were happy to watch the Deadwood movie last night which gave some good closure to the series, especially because some of the characters were finally happy!

I’m happy that today is my longest and busiest working day of the week because I get to facilitate two Coping and Healing groups on Thursdays.

I’m happy with our new shower/bathroom remodel and with all the images I have to share with you today.


I’m happy with the new tiles in the bathroom on National Tile Day and I’m very happy that today is World Understanding and Peace Day.

I’m happy that this is what I find when I search for “Happy” on YouTube.


Finally, I’m happy to thank everyone who helped me create this happy post, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 3692: Crushes

In 1964, when I was recovering from my first heart surgery, adapting to having a cardiac pacemaker, and dealing with the additional trauma of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I developed a huge crush on the Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was a very welcome distraction. While my friends in Junior High School were happily crushing on David McCallum, who played Illya Kuyakin on the show, my crush was Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo.

As I’ve been recovering from getting COVID for my 70th birthday, I’ve been revisiting that crush by watching the first season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I continue to crush on so many things about that show — the great scripts (one written by Robert Towne, the future screenwriter of Chinatown), the amazing music (I spent many happy hours figuring out and playing the Man from U.N.C.L.E. music on the family piano), the direction (often by a young Richard Donner, described as “one of Hollywood’s most reliable makers of action blockbusters”), and the wonderful, playful chemistry between my crush Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.

So it felt like a risk when I ordered the late Robert Vaughn’s autobiography, A Fortunate Life — how would it affect my still enjoyable crush if he turned out to be somebody I wouldn’t like in real life? Well, my crush is secure. Robert Vaughn was smart, witty, loyal to his many friends, and a brave advocate for his beliefs, which included a very early and unpopular opposition to the Vietnam war. I remember my 8th grade English teacher (whom I definitely did not have a crush on) asking us to bring in a picture of our favorite celebrity and when she saw my photo of Robert Vaughn, she told the whole class that he was an awful “Vietnick.” That didn’t crush my crush, it just made me more curious about what was really going on in that war.

Here’s my old crush (and other crushes) on The Dating Game …

… and here’s the YouTube link to him crushing it in a debate about the Vietnam War with William F. Buckley on Firing Line.

.Do you see crushes in my images for today?


Thanks to all who helped me create this “crushes” post, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 3630: Weary

I’m weary as I’m writing this because

  • I often have trouble sleeping after my very full Thursday of doing individual and group therapy from 10 AM to 7 PM,
  • I have to keep making design decisions about our shower/bathroom remodel even after I think I’m finally done with all that,
  • I struggle balancing my needs with other people’s needs,
  • I have a very unusual heart which does not sustain me very well when I’m climbing stairs or hills,
  • this time of the year tires me out, and
  • I’m turning 70 in a few months, so what do you expect?

However, I’m not too weary to look for quotes about “weary.”


Today is National Weary Willie Day.

I expect to grow weary of the jokes people might make about Weary Willie Day.

I hope people aren’t too weary to look at the rest of my images today.

The Daily Bitch seems weary of niceties today.

Here’s the late great Madeline Kahn singing a weary song in Blazing Saddles (which I never grow weary of).

I hope you’re not too weary to leave a comment about this weary post.

Thanks to all who help perk me up when I’m weary, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3571: Progress

I’m making progress on today’s blog post — I’ve come up with a title based on the images I have to share with you.

Here’s a definition of “progress” …


… and quotes about “progress.”



As you progress through the rest of this post, do you see evidence of progress?


Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “progress.”

I also find this:


Thanks to all who help me progress through life, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3557: What day is it again?

Today is

  • the second day of Rosh Hashanah,
  • National Forgiveness Day,
  • a day I’m providing individual and group therapy remotely,
  • another day I need to make phone calls about my long-delayed upstairs bathroom repair project,
  • a day when I should make some decisions about a river cruise in May 2023,
  • a day when I am going to try to revel in doing those things I can control instead of dreading making mistakes,
  • a day when I’m going to take the Warfarin dosage recommended by my care team as we try to get my INR levels back under control,
  • a day when I hope to read something from the stacks of books I’ve been accumulating,
  • a day when Joan the cat is going to want to go outside while Harley will not, and
  • Tuesday.

It’s also a day, again, when I share my latest images.

What day is it again? It’s another day when I love the Daily Bitch Calendar.

Today is also the day that I share with my friend Carol and with you “A Call from Long Island” from the album You Don’t Have to be Jewish.


What day is it again? It’s a day when I express gratitude to all the kind people in my life, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 3482: Introductions

The introduction to today’s post is going to be my random thoughts about introductions:

  • I’m working on the introduction to the first book I’ve ever written — “How to Make Your Brain Shut Up.”
  • My introduction of a new member into my Coping and Healing groups always includes inviting the other people to remember what it felt like when they were new to the group.
  • When I was giving a talk about my groups and was asked what I wanted as an introduction, I replied, “Just say, this is Ann Koplow. She knows what she’s talking about.”
  • Before the introduction in 2016 of a mechanical heart valve and the need to take Coumadin/Warfarin for the rest of my life, I was very anxious about the impact of those things, but now it’s all second nature to me.
  • My husband Michael and I feared that the introduction of a new cat, Joan, would bother our old cat Harley, but after a brief introductory period of hissing and him adjusting to her, everybody’s fine.

Now that we’ve finished the introduction, do you see introductions in my images for today?

To celebrate National Cousins Day, I want to tell my cousin Lani (who’s being reading this blog since its introduction in 2013) how much I love and appreciate her. I’m looking forward to our introduction to Viking River cruises in May 2023.

Here are the two songs I think have especially great introductions:

I feel fine about ending this post about introductions with gratitude for all the wonderful people I’m been introduced to over the years, including YOU!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 3402: What I’ve Been Watching

Every evening, my husband Michael and I’ve been watching something on TV together. Lately, we’ve been watching “Better Call Saul,” “Top Chef,” and “Landscape Artist of the Year,” but all those got put on hold when Michael discovered “Cat Hospital” on Acorn TV, which is available to us this week only.

“Cat Hospital,” according to the website, shows “the cute, cuddly, and dramatic daily life at an Irish veterinary practice catering exclusively to cats.” I don’t know about you, but with all the dramatic daily life we’ve been experiencing, I need cute and cuddly wherever I can find it.

Before Michael and I watched “Cat Hospital” last night, my son Aaron and I met up with our old friend Tom Joyce, British comedian and mathematician extraordinaire who has appeared in this blog many times (including here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and especially here) and who is visiting Boston for the first time.

My son and I’ve been watching and running into the incredibly funny, smart, and kind Tom in Edinburgh many times over the last nine years. I’ve been watching in amazement as the coincidences with Tom have piled up — besides an appreciation for Aaron, Tom and I share many things: we both have congenital heart conditions, have pacemakers, had surgeries when we were young, and are now on Coumadin. I look forward to many years ahead where I’ll be watching Tom, Aaron, and I sharing more great times together.

All the other images in today’s blog, of course, also reflect what I’ve been watching:

I’ve been watching the Daily Bitch for many years and today I’ll be watching some people erasing the stigma associated with mental illness in my remote therapy groups.

Here’s a YouTube video of what I’ve been watching:

What have you been watching?

Thanks for watching many things with me today!

Categories: life in the USA, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 3396: Naming It

I’m naming it, here and now, that I’ve written previous blog posts named “naming it” because naming it is a helpful coping strategy.

Earlier this week, people in therapy named how naming your feelings — including grief, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger — can help you deal with those feelings. And I recently read an article, which I can’t name right now, that cited scientific proof that naming feelings can help relieve them.

Can you name any examples of naming it in my images for today?

I’m naming that (1) The Daily Bitch Calendar is a great name for my favorite calendar and (2) there are many National Hairball Awareness Days around here.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “naming it.”

At the end of each post, I name my thanks for all the people who help me blog every day, and your name is on that gratitude list!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 3386: Important messages

In all of my careers — including marketing communications and psychotherapy — I’ve thought a lot about communcating important messages.

In order to effectively deliver important messages, you need to

  • know your audience and
  • choose clear, strong, passionate, and honest ideas to reach your audience and inspire them to action.

I believe that many important messages are getting lost in all the noise out there and I fear we are running out of time to communicate them effectively.

Do you see important messages in any of my images for today?

Important messages I received from being born with a very unusual heart is that life is short and every day counts.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “important messages.”

I look forward to the important messages that will appear in the comments section, below.

Gratitude is an important message I deliver at the end of every post, so thanks to all who help me deliver the daily messages in this blog, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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