Sunday, May 03, 2009
First of all, I want to share with you some news that a dear friend, Pennie, sent a few days ago. If you can, please visit the site of the eighth-graders who plan to walk to raise money for research of this devastating disease.
From my friend, Pennie: I want to invite my family and friends to help support Noah Hester on his walk to cure NF. As many of you know, my daughter Hannah was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis when she was about 8 years old. It has been a devastating journey for me as a mother. Cynthia Hester is a friend of mine and it is her son who is walking with his school friends to raise money. I would also appreciate if you could pass this on to others so we can raise awareness of NF. Thank you again.
Did you know that May is National NF Awareness Month? In honor of this, Noah's classmates are going to learn about it, talk about it and walk to raise money for a cure. All proceeds will directly benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation (CTF), a non-profit organization that funds world-class research into NF therapies to treat and eventually cure NF. The Tennessee Chapter of CTF is just beginning and we need your support!
For information and to contribute to the JT Moore NF Walk, May 21 visit
Be sure to check out the attached video to learn more about Noah, Neurofibromatosis and the Children's Tumor Foundation.
Best wishes, Cynthia Hester
Secondly, I found out something recently about sweeteners. I’ve been having awful stomach aches for several months; thought maybe my emotions and stress were causing them; couldn’t find any other reason for them, until I noticed the ingredients in the sweeteners I’ve been using. What I thought was purely saccharine is no longer – it contains sorbitol, an alcohol sugar that I discovered being used in most of the diet products and some medicinal products in the U.S., and now Brazil. A number of other alcohol sugars are being used, like mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, and, as I’ve read, any other ingredient that you see that ends in tol. I discovered early on that those things cause me stomach problems, esp. awful, churning gas. At first I thought, well, that could be a good thing so that I will limit my intake of diet candy. But then even the slightest amount caused problems, so I stopped buying anything containing those alcohol sugars.
Now I find that it’s turning up in so many products that aren’t even considered diet and these changes were never advised on the packaging! Now, I hafta read every single label to confirm that I’m not buying it! It’s really getting to me! So be careful. If you’re having tummy troubles, get off the ´tols for a while and confirm that that’s not the cause!
Also, beware of the added ingredients. Did you know that corn products are used in many of the powdered sweeteners? Yep, dextrose, maltodextrine, cornstarch, are all made from corn.
It pays to read labels, and it pays to investigate your tummy troubles and not just think that using antacids will take care of the problem. Could it be that the recent increase in heartburn and acid reflux in our population is caused by the increased usage of these things in our foods?
I’m considering eating cleaner and using less and less of the products offered on the grocery shelves.
I keep looking for things to motivate me to keep on taking care of my wellness and well-being. Here’s another from one of my favorite singers:
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Had visitors M-W and so much fun! We are friends on many levels and I so appreciate my girlfriend´s encouragement and advice over-the-years (since college years). Thank YOU, BRZLLASS!
I´ve been catching up on some of my reading and today´s motivational thoughts are from Cheryl Richardson. In the past several years, I´ve been working hard to learn how to take better care of myself, not only physically, but, yes, spiritually and emotionally, too. Some of the things Cheryl has to say have been most helpful, especially in the areas of my life where I had allowed others to dictate my work and even thoughts. It´s been a long, challenging road, and I have learned to say NO more often and set boundaries to protect those things that are most important to me.
Another important task has been to learn to live in the moment more often. When tragedy strikes, this is very hard to do! When tragedy strikes, this is one of the vital things that I discovered I must do to stay sane. After many years of being the best ever multitasking Mom, teacher, planner, housekeeper, seamstress, crafter, traveler, lover, friend, and so on, I finally realized that I was losing myself to everyone else´s idea of how my life should be lived. I was in desperate need of an overhaul. I was the proud owner of a dying spirit, drowning in an ocean of unending, unfinished responsibilities, carrying guilt that wasn´t even mine!
So, I stepped out of my life, so to speak, and began to take a long, hardbrowed look at what I had allowed to happen - I was the only one who could do anything about this! I wasn´t living up to anyone´s expectations, let alone my own! And, did my expectations even count? I wasn´t sure.
Beginning my fourth year with SparkPeople, with many successes under-my-belt, I got it! THIS life is mine alone - noone else is responsible for what happens to MY life! It´s up to me to make it work and to honour this temple. It´s up to me to do the right thing. It´s up to me to put my health in priority - the many aspects of my health and well-being. And, thank you, SparkPeople and SparkFriends, for being one of the accessible tools to my success!
How to Say 'No' (Without Guilt)
Author Cheryl Richardson Says Stop Worrying About Disappointing Other People
Sunday, April 19, 2009
My Children and My Parents
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers while I was away. I arrived home in Brazil late Wednesday night (04/15) following a month with my family in Colorado. A lot of emotional ups and downs were constant companions. I am grateful for the strength I found during this difficult time in the life of my family. Surely now at home, I will allow myself to grieve.
During the week and a half before my family contacted me in March, unhappy with the lack of careful response by their doctor (who, in spite of Dad’s symptoms, refused to do a colonoscopy on my elderly father), my parents changed health plans. The procedure found a grapefruit-size mass in his colon which proved to be cancerous. He was in intense pain and placed in ICU. A few days later, he underwent surgery. The mass was removed, the two surgeons discovered many suspicious spots, Dad suffered a heart attack with kidney failure. I made immediate plans to join my family.
My husband purchased my tickets on Sunday; we drove to a capital city (11 hours) on Monday; I was on the plane Tuesday afternoon; and saw my Dad Wednesday afternoon. On Sunday, before I travelled, my sister had placed the phone to Dad’s ear and I told him I was coming. She said he responded that he knew me but could not talk. I did not imagine that he would survive! As I travelled, Daddy improved. I told him that I believe we (all those who prayed) prayed him back, and he agreed!
During my stay, I visited Dad, usually with family members, almost every day. We were stopped by snowy conditions at least once and several other times due to illness. Eventually he improved enough to be moved to a Care Center. He was taken back to hospital twice, once with flu, another time with high fever. I managed to catch that flu and it went through all of us. I was the only one that hadn´t had flu vaccine! As I was recouping, Mom began. I feared the worst because of her diabetes and other health issues. Finally, at 5 a .m., I called for help. My sister and I took her to emergency where she stayed for 6 hours until stable enough to return home.
My plans were to remain with my family through my Mother’s birthday on 04/09, and Easter Sunday. How glad I am that I stayed that long. At times with several siblings and two nieces, I was able to do a thorough cleaning of most of their home, sort and toss old papers, halt much of the junk mail, share in the meal planning and preparation, do some of the grocery shopping and procurement of things Daddy needed, as well as help in decision-making. I also saw firsthand the care that my two younger brothers give my parents. In spite of their own health challenges, these two men carry a heavy load caring for the needs of our two elderly parents. How I wish that I could calm their fears in regard to the future.
My parents have 6 children, 11 grandchildren, and at least 7 great grandchildren. My sister and her family live within an hour’s drive; my oldest brother and his family a bit farther. Another brother and his wife live in Wisconsin. Two granddaughters came from Nevada for a few days. Our children, came as well, giving me a much needed respite before I travelled back to Brazil.
Dad was diagnosed with metastasized Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He was thrilled to be able to come home on Wednesday (04/08). Visiting nurses will give him therapy and care twice or more a week for a couple of weeks. Hospice care will only be discussed when needed. Because of his weakened condition, his heart has not yet been tested to consider the damage that was done when it stopped during surgery.
He will be meeting with an oncologist tomorrow to see if any treatments are recommended. Daddy told me several times that he is trusting God through this. I wish that I could have stayed for the appointment with the oncologist tomorrow. Words on the telephone are not the same as being present to hold my family when the reality of the shadow of death threatens.
It was extremely challenging to keep up with taking care of myself during this period of time. I kept track of a few things and am delighted to find that I did get in quite a bit of exercise. Of course, I included the heavy cleaning and extra walking I did in trying to help my family. I see it as out-of-the-ordinary routine and counts! I struggled to get enough water while in the cooler climate, and some days fell short of the eight I find so easy to drink here where it´s warm and dry. To my delight, I find that I have lost a pound! I know it will be awhile for me to get back into a routine with exercise. The eating plan will not be such a challenge.
I began my fourth year with SparkPeople on March 23rd! At my parents´ a few weeks ago, I watched Suze Orman on TV. She said something that I pledge to do in this my 4th year of learning to take care of my health and well-being:
"You are a warrior and you are NOT going to turn your back on the battlefield!"
Sunday, March 08, 2009
I really expected to be back in the full routine by now! First travel, then hubby´s detached retina and now my Dad is dying! I will be away at least until April 16 or sometime that week or the next.
I rec´d word on Friday that my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier in the week and has been in the hospital in tremendous pain! He had surgery Friday morning and they removed a grapefruit size tumor and, according to my sister, they saw many other suspicious spots. He just turned 86 on Feb 28.
I was told yesterday that Dad´s kidneys were failing. I decided before bed last night to go ahead and see about getting tickets to fly home. Just before lunch this morning, my sister called saying the hospital called with the news that they don´t think Dad will make it through today!
So, I probably won´t be online until I get back home after Easter. I will continue to focus on making healthy and positive decisions in spite of my heavy heart.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I don´t remember where I got the following; it is copied.
I think it´s great so share it with you today!
A Birth Certificate shows that we were born
A Death Certificate shows that we died
Pictures show that we lived!
I Believe . . . Have a seat . . . Relax . . .And read this slowly.
I believe - That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.
I believe - That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
I believe - That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I believe - That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I believe - That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I believe - That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I believe - That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I believe - That you can keep going long after you think you can't.
I believe - That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
I believe - That either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I believe - That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I believe - That money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I believe - That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
I believe - That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.
I believe - That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I believe - That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.
I believe - That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others; sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I believe - That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.
I believe - That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for whom we become.
I believe - That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life. Forever.
I believe - Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I believe - That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.
I believe - That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.
I believe - That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
I believe - That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.
Let´s all lift our glasses to the best March of our SparkAdventures!
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