Posted in Health, Personal, Teen

Dreams are important to Our Mental Health

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to talk about focusing on your dreams. In my opinion, dreams are important to your mental health.

Why, because our goals and aspirations are what get us out of bed in the morning. Your goals can be small or big, but if you have a huge goal, you might want to break it up into a bunch of smaller goals to make it more manageable.

Achieving our dreams provides us that motivation we need to keep doing those small mundane tasks that are boring. However, if we have our goal in sight, we can grit our teeth and get through them.

This is an important part of the process, because every dream has those moments of perfecting our technique. For example, let us say you want to be a professional basketball player. Well, in order to do that you have to be good at making baskets. So what are you going to do? You’re going to perfect your shot. And not just one shot either, you’re going to perfect your jump shot, your layup, your hook, and your free throw shot, just to name a few.

I bet you know where I’m going with this, don’t you? You’re going to have to spend a lot of time in front of the basket, just shooting the ball. If you have your goal in sight, this isn’t going to be a problem for you. You’ll grit your teeth and get through it because it’s important to achieving your goal. You’ll look forward to it.

In addition, the thing you’ll have to remember is, even professional athletes still spend a lot of time practicing their plays and perfecting their shots even after they’ve reached professional status. Because once your there, you have to keep your edge.

Another thing about goals is this, when you’re going through a particular trying time in your life, for example, like me having to do chemo. I have to for my health. However, I’m able to focus on my writing, not as much as I did before, but enough that I feel I’m moving forward with it. So staying focused on my goals is actually helping me get through this period. It helps me to make sure I’m doing what the doctor says because I want to write. I don’t want to spend my time dealing with the side effects.

So if I manage my side effects, I get to work on my next book, or on editing the ones that are coming out soon. My writing goals help me to manage my side effects so that I can work on them. And that’s good for my mental health too. I won’t be slipping into a depression because my side effects have gotten the best of me.

So there you have it. Goals are important for our mental health.

On a side note, I’ve received some awesome news! My next book “Gideon Lee” will be releasing soon! Yay!

It’s the first book in the Starlight Chronicles and once I receive my galleys, it will be set up for preorder. So crossing my fingers that all goes well and I can tell you the release date very soon!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and if you’d like to leave a comment on why goals are important to you, please do. I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Family, Health

Second Round of Chemo

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with the second round of chemo under my belt. I was a little anxious because I’ve been told that the side effects grow worse each time you have a treatment.

I spoke with the nurse about this and she told me that the only side effect that gets worse is the fatigue. Well, fatigue I can handle, it’s the nausea that gets to me and since there’s the wonderful anti-nausea medication, I feel like I’m good to go.

Since I’ve had one treatment, I know what to expect. For example, in my concoction of chemo drugs there’s a steroid that makes sleeping difficult. Now that I know this, I’ve been able to prepare for that and take something that’ll help me sleep.

The biggest difference between the first and second chemo is the loss of hair. I was hoping that I could bypass this side effect somehow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I started noticing my hair coming out in tiny clumps when I was in the shower a day before my second treatment.

After my second treatment, it came out in huge clumps. When I brushed it, there were even bigger clumps stuck in my brush. I’m not bald yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

I expected it and prepared for it, but it’s not a happy moment to say the least.

There are some positive effects to this event in my life. I know what you’re thinking, how can this be? Well, first and foremost I’ll have my life back in just four months.  According to my oncologist, I’ll be cured. The cancer won’t come back. That’s a big positive in my book.

However, there’s more to it than that. It’s brought my family closer. Hubby and the boys are more attentive and we appreciate each other’s company more than we did before. It’s hard to explain, but there’s a tenderness there that wasn’t present before.

I also have a  lot of support. I have a long line of strong women in my family, both on my mom and dad’s side. So it’s nice to have these women rally around me and offer their support.

Speaking of support, I have to mention my friend from Gilda’s club. Her name is Ginger, and she has been a constant source of positive energy for me. She calmed my nerves when I found out I had to have chemo. She took the same drugs that I’m taking and she was very helpful because she shared her reaction to them. It really set my mind at ease.

Posted in Family, Health

First Round of Chemo Under my Belt

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with  you. I’m back today with my first chemo treatment under my belt and I’ve officially started the count down. I have seven more to go.

My mother went with me and we chatted while I received the drugs through a port in my chest. I appreciated her support because this was the scariest part of the journey for me.

My husband appeared after a little while and I was happy to see him. It gave my mom a break and she was able to grab some lunch. While she was at lunch, my mentor from Gilda’s club showed up and gave me an awesome bracelet and lots of hugs and advice.

I have lots of support and I’m grateful for it. When the chips are down, I know who I can turn to.

The experience for me wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. They give you anti-nausea medication before they give you your chemo and this helps tremendously. I did have a little bit of a headache when I returned home and I did take some anti-nausea medication in the early evening.

I slept a lot on Friday and Saturday and continued with the anti-nausea medication. This first round wasn’t bad, but I hear the symptoms will get progressively worse each time I go. Thankfully, I only have four rounds of the first cycle and four rounds of the second cycle. Then I’m done. Cured according to my oncologist. I can live with that. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section, I’ll get back to you!

Posted in Family, Health

Thank Goodness for Gilda’s Club!

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with a Gratitude Post. Yes. I’m so grateful for Gilda’s Club right now. I called them after I received my diagnosis and I found out what an incredible organization it is. Here’s their facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/gildasclubgr

First of all, they told me they serve free meals Monday through Thursday. This amazed me. What an awesome organization and it’s not just for the cancer patient it’s for the whole family. This is for everyone not just those families who don’t have the greatest insurance or no insurance at all. This just warmed my heart that someone thought about this.

They also have support groups for not only the cancer patient, but also a group for the spouses as well as a group for the children. I’m definitely going to try to get my hubby and kids to go. I think it would be good for them.

However, that’s not the main reason I’m grateful. They put me in touch with someone who has gone through the same exact thing I’m going through now. When we spoke, it was after I had received the “education” portion from the nurse about the drugs I’m going to have to take. Now the education was important, but it created a lot of anxiety for me.

I grew anxious because someone close to me had passed away from Ovarian cancer after fighting it for ten years. So, the image that came to my mind was her and how she was toward the end. She was very weak and wasn’t able to walk on her own.

This scared me. Therefore, when I spoke with the person from Gilda’s Club she calmed my fears and I will be forever grateful to her for that. (Thanks Ginger!) She told me that she was nauseated but able to work although I should expect fatigue. I won’t be able to do as much as I used to.

She also told me the side effects of some of the drugs she took. This was very helpful because they were the same drugs that I’m going to have to take and the debilitating effect that I was expecting is not the reality. So that eased my mind.

In closing, I’d like to say if you ever find yourself stricken with this disease please look for a Gilda’s Club in your area. It will help you. I guarantee it.

Posted in Health

Health Update :)

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. It has been a while since I’ve posted on my blog and I must apologize because I had every intention of keeping up with it, but the joke was on me because I had no ambition what so ever. All I wanted to do was sleep. I forgot how tired your body is after surgery and couple that with pain meds and well there isn’t much time to put a coherent thought together, let alone type it in sentence form. 🙂

It has been about two weeks since my surgery, so I thought I’d give you an update. My sentinel node was clear. This is incredibly good news because it means the cancer has not spread to my lymphatic system. So naturally I was jumping up and down, in an understated way of course, I don’t want to jiggle anything that still needs to mend.

With that great news hubby and I decided to take the kids up north. At first, I was concerned because the way I’ve been able to sleep is kind of sitting up. It was extremely painful for me to rise from lying flat on my back and we didn’t think there was a place for me to sleep comfortably in an upright position. Nevertheless, hubby figured it out and I was able to sleep quite comfortably.

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The weather was perfect, nice, and breezy and lots of sun. In addition, I have to confess that I wore my pajama pants all weekend. Even during the day. I decided I’m recovering from Cancer; I don’t have to dress for anyone. So I didn’t. 🙂 However, I did put on a pair of capri pants when I went to the store. I’ll only take my rebellion so far, after all, I’m setting an example for my boys! 😉 I know I’m living on the edge.

So while we’re celebrating the sentinel node being clear, there’s one more test that has to be conducted and it takes about 2 weeks. This test, I have no idea what the name of it is, but what it determines is whether or not chemo therapy will be beneficial for you. We’re hoping that the results state that chemo would not be beneficial.

The reason I feel this way is that chemo is very hard on the body. And the way I figure it, I’ve eliminated the chance for the cancer to come back by having a double mastectomy. Now it can come back to another part of my body that’s true. But my type of cancer needs Estrogen to survive. So, I figure I’ll just take an estrogen blocker for the rest of my life and no more cancer. 🙂

I’ll have to wait and see what the doctors say about that. So if you could send some positive vibes/prayers asking that I don’t have to do chemo, I’d really appreciate it!  Speaking about my doctors, I’d like to say a huge thank you to them for diagnosing my problem and answering all my questions. I had a lot of them. 🙂

So, there you have it. My health update. If you’ve had similar issues, leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Teen

The Drug of Choice among Students Today

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today after a couple of weeks of  Blog Hops and Giveaways. It’s good to be back chatting with you!

I was at a Writer’s Group meeting last Saturday. Here’s their  website. http://grandrapidsregionwritersgroup.blogspot.com/

We meet the second Saturday of every month and during lunch, I chatted with a teacher about my Coming of Age Novel I’m writing. While we talked, the conversation turned to the new drug of choice in schools these days.

I was shocked when I learned it was heroin. I was under the impression the drugs of choice among high school and college students were either alcohol or marijuana.

Of course, my next thought was…why heroin? I don’t know about you, but just hearing the name scares me. I’ve heard it’s highly addictive and the withdrawal symptoms are horrendous. Theories as to why are listed below and I got the information from this article:

: http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/drug-abuse-addiction/heroin-use-back-on-the-rise/

1)    Today’s heroin is purer than that of the past, allowing users to easily hide their habit as they can snort or smoke it rather than inject the drug;

2)    It delivers much of the same effects as legal painkillers, such as Oxycotin;

3)    Is much cheaper – as little as $5 a high

This explains some of it, but when I was a teen (many moons ago) 🙂 heroin was scary. I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, heroin has lost its stigma. Teens are taking it even though they know about the addictive properties of the drug. In addition, many who go through the withdrawal symptoms and get clean end up going back on it.

Of course, this didn’t make sense to me. So I did some further research and found this article:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/alphabet-kids/201006/heroin-use-among-suburban-teens-grows-because-its-no-big-deal

According to this article, being a junkie is no big deal. Heroin seems to have made its way up the social hierarchy. It used to be a drug associated with poverty and homelessness. Now teens are seeing its use growing among their peer group.

It’s that old mentality of if my friend thinks it’s okay, then it must be. Couple that with the overwhelming need to fit in and you’ve got a lethal combination. Heroin isn’t scary anymore.

Unfortunately, heroin use is on the rise across the nation. These are not isolated incidents in New York or Chicago. I’ve found articles about it in states like Indiana and Texas as wells as New York and Illinois.

We’ve all heard the teen years are filled with risk taking behaviors. This article certainly supports that claim:  http://www.soberliving.com/blog/why-is-teenage-drug-abuse-on-the-rise

It states, teens have a sense of entitlement and invulnerability that makes them take more risks. Couple that with the fact heroin is much easier to get than alcohol and again you’ve got a lethal combination.

So, what can you do if you suspect your teen has an addiction? You can all this number: 1-866-323-5609. They will be able to help you. Here’s their website: http://www.soberliving.com/

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my article. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject, so please leave a comment.

Related articles:

https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/ive-got-psychologist-gary-cole-here-and-hes-talking-about-dealing-with-teen-addiction/

Meningitis Outbreak linked to Injectable Steroid

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you. This summer is going by so fast and I just keep getting busier and busier. I’m at the pool with my kids as I write this post. One of their friends asked them to go swimming and here we are.

Last night I watched 60 minutes and I was horrified to learn the drug company, New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. had manufactured an injectable steroid (MPA) that was contaminated. How was this discovered? Good question.

It was discovered when there was an unusually large outbreak of Meningitis. The company has recalled the drug, but they maintain they have no knowledge on how this could have happened.  However, one of their employees at the time confessed that the company got greedy and cut some corners; the way I interpret that is the company cut corners sterilizing their product.

It must be noted that at the time NECC also owned a recycling plant right next door.  Gee…I wonder how things got contaminated…but of course, I’m speculating.

Now, because of the way NECC manufactured their product they fly under the radar of the FDA. A change occurred in the law in 1998 where the FDA no longer monitored those companies that manufactured this form of the drug.

How unfortunate, because people who have been injected with this contaminated drug are dying. NECC has declared bankruptcy, but not before they pulled millions of dollars out of the company.

That makes me angry. The executives should be giving that money to the victims and helping them. Instead, they took the money and kept it for themselves.

How in the world, were they able to do that? What kind of society do we live in that tolerates this kind of abuse? The only answer that I can think of is the executives were tipped off and removed the money before the accounts were frozen. Why aren’t they in jail?

It saddens me to think that these corrupt executives don’t care about their victims, and I’m hoping that the government puts much more stringent guidelines on companies that manufacture drugs.

Of course, that won’t bring back the lives that have been lost, will it?

For more information about this click on the link below.

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any thoughts on how we can guarantee the medication that we receive from the hospital is sterile, I’d love to hear them!