Thursday, March 9, 2017

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

March is a very important and exciting month for cerebral palsy. March is cerebral palsy awareness month, and during March, we can educate, volunteer, and get to know people with the disability. Green is the color for cerebral palsy awareness so you should wear green for more than St. Patrick's Day.

First of all, what is cerebral palsy? Cerebral palsy is a condition that will affect otherwise healthy movements of someone's limbs overall body. With cerebral palsy, moving can appear to be stiff, jagged, or very active and sporadic. Movements in the right direction or the way the person wants can be challenging and takes a bit of patience. 

I like to compare having cerebral palsy to faulty wiring in a computer.  You might hit "enter" but the computer thinks you're hitting the "delete" key. As you can guess, this is frustrating, but people who have cerebral palsy learn how to adapt and have normal lives.

There isn't a cure for cerebral palsy as of yet. Medications are used by some to help control muscles and relax. Physical, occupational, speech and water therapy are used to gain strength, stretching, and overall quality of life. Adults who have cerebral palsy would benefit from these therapies greatly, but unfortunately, these are expensive therapies even if covered under health insurance.

Cerebral palsy can't fit into a "one size fits all" box.  There are several types of cerebral palsy with many variations. No two people who have this disability will have it the exact same way. Some cannot walk while some can run. Some cannot speak while some have the clearest speech you will ever hear. All are different with unique personalities and styles to how they choose to live, work, and be independent.

According to CerebralPalsy.org, there are over 700,000 people living with cerebral palsy. Among them, only a small percentage also have intellectual and mental challenges. Sadly, people in society tend to treat anyone who has cerebral palsy as if they have an intellectual disability. The truth is that most people who have the condition also has normal to above average intelligence.

So, what can you do for cerebral palsy awareness month? No matter if you have cerebral palsy, know someone who has it or don't know anyone who has it, there is always something to be done. 

Educate people about cerebral palsy. Because cerebral palsy affects everyone that has it so differently, there are many rumors and misunderstandings about it. Don't let people believe false information. If you hear something wrong, politely correct with factual information.
Don't fear people who have cerebral palsy. Involuntary movement and speech impediments might seem frightening if you don't understand. All it is is muscles not listening and responding differently. No need to stare or pull your children away. Just say, "Hello, How are you? " Who knows? You might find a best friend, teacher, mentor or even your future spouse. Cerebral palsy is only what the person has and not what they are.
Volunteer to help individuals with cerebral palsy and disabilities.  Call around or check online for where to volunteer your time.
Spread the word on cerebral palsy.  Don't allow others to feel sorry for people who have disabilities. Tell employers to hire them and respect that workers with cerebral palsy will get the job complete even though adapted.
Consider working as a personal care attendant whenever you have time. Independence often means by the assistance of another person. If you can only do a few hours or the weekend - that is terrific. Earning extra money for helping others is fun and fulfilling.

Wear that green this month and never forget to say "Hello!!!"

First finding out you have breast cancer

When you first discover that you have breast cancer, the world stops and spins about a million times. Nothing can or will ever prepare you for hearing anyone tell you, "I'm sorry to tell you but we found cancer in your biopsy." Or how my oncologist put it, "We found a little bit of cancer." That is like saying that you're a little bit pregnant.  You either are or you aren't - there isn't a happy medium.

Even if you are the strongest, healthiest, beautiful, emotionally healthy woman that ever struck the Earth, hearing the words that you have breast cancer will make you feel things that you never felt before. I actually beat myself up for how I reacted to my phone call. I cried, shook, and couldn't speak to anyone about it for a few hours. I thought to myself, "come on, you can handle this! You handle everything else!" 

But, listen, when you have cancer, it is okay to feel whatever you need to feel and act however you need to act for the first day. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you will need to tell your family and friends. I know that you do not want to because you don't want to ruin their day or upset them. But trust me, they want and need to know so they can better assist you.

I'm sure that you'll hear people say, "You can fight this." As you will shortly understand, cancer is not a fair argument or battle.  No one initiated cancer into your body. I never saw myself as fighting cancer but fighting to find the right treatment, the right doctor, the right hospital and the right support services. Radiation, cancer medication, chemotherapy, and mastectomies all fight the cancer. You are the vessel that will make it happen.

After you find out the news, it is important not to panic and think the worst case scenario.  Treatments, doctors, facilities and research are ever evolving. You probably won't know exactly the stage or type of cancer until your appointment. You can try discuss it over the telephone, but they don't always do that. But chances are they will give you some indication of what you are dealing with.

You need to be proud of yourself that you took the necessary steps needed to discover the cancer. Without your actions, waiting would only make your diagnosis much worse.  Give yourself credit that you made it to the let's tackle the problem stage.

When I first found out that I had breast cancer, I discovered that taking control of the situation helped me a lot. You already feel out of control so by taking the reins in what you can control gives you the power and not cancer.

Listen to all of the options, get a second opinion, let well meaning advice from friends roll off your back and keep calm. I thought going through cancer with my children would be harder than what it was.  My daughter was nine at the time, and I found that being honest and open helped everyone.  I promised her that I would be honest and keep her in the loop.  Yes, we had our emotional moments and things were hard, but we did it.

Allow family and friends be there for you.  I was surprised when I went to the oncologist that my husband, sister and mother all came with me.  It meant so much to me and made hearing both the news plus the options easier.  Let people help even if you feel you can do it all.  Enjoy the joys in life that makes you smile. Cancer has a way of reminding you of what is really important in life.


Monday, February 27, 2017

March is just around the corner

Jason turned 4 on February 20!  It's hard to believe that he is four now.  Jason can do so many things and is learning more each day. He is completely potty trained even at night.  He knows all of his colors, letters and can count to 20. He is very interested in the clock and tells me what numbers the hands are on.  He can dress himself including shoes and jacket.  Jason speaks clearly and in sentences. He naps about two hours a day. 

Jason loves to play. He asks me several times a day, "Mommy, will you play with me?"  He is lovable and extremely active.  I think his biggest fan is Laura. Jason loves school and his friends.  He wishes that he could go all week.  He also has swim class which he's not that into. 

Laura is doing very well. She will be ten and a half soon. She is getting very good grades in school. She takes drawing, clarinet and ukulele lessons.  Laura also is into the piano. She is very smart and funny.  My heart explodes when she says she loves me. Her artwork is amazing. 
 
 
 J

Dating 101 for People With Disabilities

Dating is difficult for everyone at one time or the other.  Disability or not, finding a date, asking for a date, and actually going out on a date is stressful. What do you do when you have a disability and want to date? Should you just forget about it and move on single for the rest of your life?  No! You get yourself together, create a goal and follow your dreams no matter what people say or self doubt in your mind.

I would be lying to you if I said dating is easy when you have a disability.  It's not and can be awkward, disappointing and plain old frustrating! However, nothing worth having in life comes easy. I will offer my own advice based on my own personal experiences and observations. But I can't tell you that my experiences will be exactly like yours or you will feel how I felt.  I'm hoping that I can encourage you to follow your heart and own life path.

Who are you besides having a disability? What do you like and dislike? Who are you attracted to and why? Are you happy?  Whatever you answer, keep it real and honest. Lying about these things will only hurt you in the end.  By knowing your genuine self and personality, you are more out to find someone who is right for you. Happiness comes from within.  You can't expect a partner to make you happy and maintain your happiness.  Be happy on your own, and then you definitely know you're ready to make the next steps.

Cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities are noticeable no matter what you do. I felt frustrated when guys looked at me and saw my wheelchair instead of my figure. I also felt annoyed at my cerebral palsy that when I felt attracted to someone, my spasms would react to my emotions.  How embarrassing, right? But all of this came from my perspective and not theirs. They didn't know my body in the first place so if I seemed more spastic, they didn't know any better.  And, if I felt good about my appearance, people noticed that way before they noticed my wheelchair.

I concentrated on my appearance and style.  Focusing on your appearance doesn't mean to spend lots of money to keep up with the newest trends. It means to make sure you're happy when you look in the mirror.  I also concentrated on having my own hobbies, friends, and life. Being busy and focused on goals are attractive qualities, but more importantly, they are great for your own self esteem and worth. The last thing you want is to depend on someone else for your life.

When someone shows interest in you, it's exciting, awesome, thrilling and happy. Let yourself feel all of these emotions.  Keep in check how you feel as well.  Whatever you do, don't stay with someone purely because they accept your disability.  Trust me, there are many people out there who will love you for being you.  Don't use your disability to stay in the wrong relationship.

Be honest with your disability as much as you feel comfortable. It was difficult for me at first to talk about cerebral palsy with a potential date because it almost felt like I was talking about something taboo or I thought he'd be turned off immediately. But through dating experiences, I learned that they more they understood, they could focus on who I was as a person and not just a disability.

Unfortunately, nothing can shelter you from heart break disability or not.  A guy broke up with me after over a few months simply because I couldn't walk on the beach. Yes, of course it hurt my feelings.  However, I picked myself up and moved forward.  It might take time even years to find someone who fits you, but do not settle.  You can find the right partner if that's your goal.  Think of dating like a job interview, the more you go on, the better you are and more you learn.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

January Resolutions Time

January is a new month and year which makes a whole new start. Having cerebral palsy shouldn't stop anyone from making new year resolutions.  I like Christmas time, but I also always liked opening a brand new calendar to write down my New Years resolutions.  I rarely complete all of them, but writing my goals down helps keep me on track. Having goals keeps you moving ahead and obtaining achievements. Big or small resolutions doesn't matter as long as you make them and not give up when they start being difficult.

Here is a suggested list of new year resolutions that might inspire you to make your own. Don't ever be afraid to reach high for goals.  It doesn't mean you have to complete all of them, but puts you on the fast track of success.

Look back at the previous year and see what you can improve on or complete. Is there a bad relationship or unhealthy friendship that you should end? A bad habit that you are ready to drop? Maybe you have things that you need to finish but you kept putting it off. Now is the time to tie up any lose ends so you can move on to a new beginning.

Not being able to walk or physically do something gives people the perfect excuse to not exercise.  I know because I've done it too but as long as you can move at least one body part, you can exercise. Call your local gyms and YMCA to see if they have any exercise equipment that you can use. Perhaps they can order it for you. Join an exercise class and do what you can. Stop the excuses because we all know having a disability doesn't mean you can't exercise. It only means that you need to adapt your routine. 

Get all your medical appointments scheduled and actually go to them. Having cerebral palsy can make going to the doctor feel exhausting. However, putting off serious tests can have very dangerous results.

What are your professional goals? Sometimes disabilities can make us forget that we do have value aspects to contribute to society.  Technology and the Internet has made career goals so much more obtainable. Ignore the fear and just do whatever it is that you love.  No more excuses because life is too short to waste.

Love more.  When I say love more, I'm talking about loving others and yourself. Are you in a relationship that gives to you what you deserve? Are you giving to the relationship what they deserve?  Thinking about others, making time and helping others are the way to happiness.

Get aquatinted back to physical, occupational, and speech therapies that will improve your life.  Therapy might be hard work, but it also pays off. No pain, no gain and that is the simple truth.

Choose happiness. Getting wrapped up in self pity and laziness are just too easy to do. Happiness isn't a gift from someone else. Happiness is a gift you give yourself every day. If you're a miserable person, then you tend to attract miserable people into your life. However, if you choose to find joy in life, you'll attract joyful people.  Do things that make you feel happy.  Let go of thinking everyone is out to get you. Look for the good in people instead of the bad. Drop drama and make the right choices so you avoid drama. Be happy.

I hope you have a pleasant, successful, friendly, and happy year. Focus positively and look on the bright side.  Smile and open your hear to love, forgiveness, and hard work.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December is a happy time in a crazy world

December is my favorite month of the year despite the cold.  This December has been no different, but unfortunately, I've heard of some people dying unexpectedly.  My heart goes out to their family who is missing them especially around Christmas.  God has a way of planning even though it's almost impossible to understand.  I used to wish that in December no one would die. But can you imagine how terrible January would be? I guess He does have a plan for everything and everyone.

Jason and Laura are very excited about Christmas.  Jason is full of the magic in Santa Claus and just beginning to learn about Jesus.  Laura is in the spirit of giving to others and learning more deeply about Jesus. Both stages of maturity are wonderful in so many ways. We decorated our inside and outside of our house. Jason loves looking at everything while Laura does the decorating now.

Last Saturday we bundled up and all went to pick out our tree.  Jason thought it was the best thing ever especially when they tied it to our van. We went to two places, and found the perfect tree right away at the second spot. Laura enjoyed hanging ornaments after Jeff set it up and did the lights.  Later on, we went to the Christmas Village which is about an hour away and filled with millions of Christmas lights. Jason was taken back by a huge lit up Santa Claus. We were freezing and surrounded by hundreds of people, but we had fun and made memories. On our way home, we stopped for pizza and all enjoyed ourselves.

Jason had an ear infection right after Thanksgiving. He was on antibiotics but unfortunately it came back on Monday. Now he is on a stronger antibiotics and hopefully it'll cure him.  Nothing worse than a sick little boy.  He's a fighter though and brave. Even when he hurt the most, he handled it with grace. 

Last night Laura performed in her first band concert. She plays clarinet and does outstanding. Luckily, my friend could watch Jason so I could go.  Laura dressed beautifully and looked amazing. My neighbor always finds the best dresses for Laura. She looked stunning. We had to get there early because she was nervous.  I'm glad we did since we found perfect seats with a great view of Laura. The band played excellent for elementary and choir was wonderful. 

 
 

12 Gift Ideas For Someone With Cerebral Palsy

Do you have a person who has cerebral palsy or a physical disability on your holiday shopping list? Are you lost in what to buy them that will be helpful, and they would also enjoy? I have compiled a list of items in which I believe someone with a disability would like to receive.  But like any gift, keep in mind the person receiving and follow your heart and instinct. Not everything you give needs to be disability related.

Kindle - I love to read, however, holding a book is extremely difficult due to my dexterity.  Having a kindle has opened reading books to me like never before.  I like to read in comfort and independence.

Kindle case - If you know someone has a kindle, consider purchasing a kindle case. Kindles can be a challenge to turn on and off. My husband bought me a durable case that turns on when you open it and turns off when you close the case.  I absolutely am thrilled by the independence it has given me.

Massage gift certificate makes a great gift for people with stiff and spastic muscles. Massages help someone relax and have better movement for awhile. Please research to see if the massage place is wheelchair accessible beforehand or it will be a waste of money and time the person going to get the massage.

Pants that look like good but are easy to get on and off like leggings. If you're shopping for a woman, a good pair of leggings is an excellent idea especially paired with a shirt that matches.

Money is a great idea for someone on disability. Disability checks aren't very high and living off that money is not easy. So, having some extra money is always welcome.

Gift cards to places like Amazon are a huge help to anyone.  More and more people are using online shopping and the convenience is wonderful especially if you can't drive.

Heating blankets or wraps are welcome to someone that has difficulty with muscles or tight muscles. Heat helps calm muscles and relaxes.  Look for ones that are easy to turn on and off.

Homemade coupons offering your services. When you have a physical disability, you tend to feel bad asking for help and often don't ask. If you offer services such as lawn care, organizing closets, trips to the movies, trips to stores, carpet cleaning, basement organizing or help with pets are always welcome! Having the coupons takes pressure off from feeling bad for asking your help.

Anything soft is excellent for people with cerebral palsy. Feeling softness on the skin or in the hands not only feels good but good for therapy. Blankets, fuzzy socks, pillows, sheets, towels, slippers, mittens, hoodies and pajamas would all fit in this category.

Technology offers wonderful opportunities to people who have disabilities.  iPads, iPhones, remote control lights, apps and anything offering ease of independence.  Consider an iTunes gift card as an idea.

Visiting or offering to go to places is a perfect gift.  Going places can be a challenge if someone doesn't drive so if you offer to take them, it takes the stress off them asking for rides.

If you feel compelled to purchase a pet for them, please ask first. They might not be physically capable of taking care of a pet. So, discuss the pet first before purchasing.

15 Gifts for People With Breast Cancer

Holidays are fast approaching and so is buying gifts! If you have someone who has breast cancer or even a breast cancer survivor, you might be deciding what would be a good gift to buy them.  I complied a list of ideas that I think will hopefully inspire you to find the right gift for your family member or friend.  But remember to keep in mind their personality before everything else as you pick their gift.

Comfy clothes are a great idea for someone recovering or undergoing breast cancer treatment. Big hoodies and flannel button down fashionable pajamas are welcome. Fuzzy warm socks are also wanted and welcomed.

Moisturizers are a good gift idea because treatments can leave skin dry and itchy. Having a good moisturizer can make all the difference in the world.

A kindle is an excellent present for someone undergoing treatment or recovering. Reading is a great distraction from upcoming appointments, procedures and tests.  Kindles are also small enough to fit in a purse or bag to transport.

Word search books, crossword puzzles or any games that can be used for fun and as a distraction.

Candles and candle holders are welcome.  Nothing like a beautiful smelling candle to have in your room when you are trying to relax and heal.

Gift cards to grocery stores or any store for that matter just to help take some financial burden off the family.  Cancer isn't only miserable but also terribly expensive so any help is appreciated.

Speaking of gift cards, gift cards to clothing stores are excellent because clothing doesn't always fit or feel the same as it did prior a mastectomy especially a double mastectomy.

Home made gift certificates offering your assistance in services such as cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, help with child care, help with pet care, running errands and such will be a welcome help. No one likes asking for help so having these home made offers relieves stress. 

Heating pads and blankets are appreciated especially as we approach the winter months. When I recovered, I relaxed on a recliner and wrapping in a blanket helped me feel even more comfortable.

Inspirational breast cancer awareness ornaments, cups, shirts, earrings and just about anything is good for a breast cancer survivor. As I was going through cancer treatments, I didn't appreciate the pink ribbon as I do now. Now when I look at breast cancer awareness merchandise, I don't get a pit in my stomach. I look at it and actually smile that I had cancer, went through it and am still here.  

ITunes gift cards and anything with music helps the survivor and the person going through breast cancer.  Music carried me through just about all the seasons of cancer. Songs helped me through finding out, biopsies, lumpectomy to mastectomy. When I hear certain songs, I have a memory attached to the song.  I will always carry these memories with strength.

A day at the spa to get a massage, nails done and whatever else to make them feel wonderful makes a terrific gift.

For women and men dealing with cancer, adventures and helping them do things that they have never done before.  A chance to drive a sports car, amusement parks, the beach and whatever they wish to experience is so important. 

Movie gift cards are fun and a well needed distraction.

Hugs and visitors from family and friends are unmeasurable. Knowing that you are not alone and people have your back can lift your spirits and hope.