Does “It” Feel Over?

I, like so many, thought we turned the corner with Covid 19. Until yesterday. That is when I watched a ton of media newscasts about variants, boosters, fast increase in cases and sadly – deaths. Now – I feel confused. Are we not “OVER” the Covid 19 pandemic or is there MORE to come?

Am I the only one who is waiting for the “other shoe to drop”?

As I watched reporters discussing tropical storms, global events, and the sad news of the collapse of the Surfside apartments – they seemed to “squeeze in ” information discussing the Lambda Covid 19 variant that is predicted to overtake the already present and highly virulent Delta strain.

I didn’t need to know that there was a Lambda variant. Or any other. What I needed to hear was that the disease was no match for science and we were all going to kiss the enemy good-bye – once and for all. Instead, I now know that I will have to “just suck it up” and learn to live among the beast as “the Covid” is not going away.

But, what if my “uh-oh” feeling is truly founded versus. me acting a bit paranoid? Despite my being fully Moderna vaccinated, should I start restocking my shelves? Do I need to rush and travel to see family and friends before another lockdown? Should I eat out every single day until the doors close to restaurants?

Or, should I just go on living with the attitude that all will be OK – hope for the best – don’t worry, be happy!

I just can’t be practical, nor can I shake this funny feeling I have been experiencing since yesterday. It feels very similar to the one I had early March 2020 – that something is “lurking”among us. A premonition. A “funky” feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Back in 2020 when I first had the veil of dread envelope me – I rushed to the local Target and stuffed the cart full with paper products, canned goods, and lots of pharmaceuticals and vitamins. My thought was that we could live on tuna, cereal, and bottled water for at least a month with all I bought. (Why did I think we would have no water – it wasn’t a hurricane!!)

Over 16 months later, I find myself fighting the impulse to run out and retrace my path from the front of the Target store to the checkout!

So, tell me friends – what are you feeling these days? Am I being silly or sensible? And, if you are non-vaccinated – do you think you will “give an arm” anytime soon? (Please!)

Respectful comments always welcome!

“SHIT ADULTS NEVER TAUGHT US” – What I LEARNED from my daughter’s self-help / mini-memoir.

One of the opening lines of her first journal from kindergarten read, “When I grw up I want to be a dwkter.” And, with a single affirmation began the career path for our daughter, Natasha Sattler. Yes, after honing her craft she now is an accomplished filmmaker, producer, and most recently author of a new book – SHIT ADULTS NEVER TAUGHT US.

Did the title take your breath away? It did mine, just for a second, the first time I read it. But, if you know anything about Natasha you know this – she does not hold anything back. She speaks her mind. She will talk and write with candor and a generous amount of humor. But, she will tell it like it is. Her journey is chronicled in this book – “no holds barred.” I for one am glad she didn’t try to be polite and politically correct. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree?)

SHIT ADULTS NEVER TAUGHT US (to be shortened by me as SANTU) is best described in one short quote:

“A SNAPSHOT REVIEW OF THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T LEARN IN SCHOOL – IN QUICK, HILARIOUS CHAPTERS.” 

But for those who are seeking a wee bit more context about the book, try this longer explanation that Natasha wrote for her book jacket and promotional materials:

We’ve made it this far, but after countless conversations with friends, it became obvious to me that our childhood education had a ton of gaps. Sure, we learned linear equations and got to dissect frogs for some reason, but no one taught us what the difference between an HMO and a PPO was and why it’s important. I took several years of Algebra but not once was a Mutual Funds class offered. 

That’s where Shit Adults Never Taught Us comes in. This book picks up where the adults left off and helps fill in all our insufficient knowledge by going beyond the Google search bar. 

Disguised as a self-help book, this mini-memoir uses personal experiences, including some epic failures, to guide you through the most perplexing moments in life. Shit Adults Never Taught Us covers a lot of topics: including career strategies, mental health, emotional quandaries, and navigating all of the WTF moments of adulthood.


Now the “Mom” perspective. I read the first and second draft of SANTU. First time I read it as if there was a disconnect – trying to put on my “objective hat”. Looking at the grammar and flow of the book. Yep, it seemed to check all the technical boxes.

The second time, I laughed, I cried, I had a few “aha moments”, and I reminisced. Here are a few of my personal favorites from the book:

And… I will read it again – the final polished version and this time I will wait for the phone to ring. You see, SANTU is raw. It is honest. It is FULL of profanity. It is Natasha’s truth and I am beaming with pride that she had the courage to tell it. It also may not sit well with people who may recognize the “cast of characters”. Too bad, I say. No one is mentioned by name. So, let the guessing begin.

What I truly am hoping is that the readers will learn more about the practical things in their life that may be missing. Perhaps a few lessons for all on how to deal with money, career choices, and buying “stuff” – like a car. Then there is the more heavy weighted material to digest and this is where the road gets a little uncomfortable. Natasha talks candidly about relationships, mental health (including her own), and grief. She has experienced her share of all of them from the end of long – term partnership to losing close friends way before their time. The book is written about her life juxtaposed with lessons to be learned – the sh*t that this parental unit may have forgotten to teach, school didn’t cover, or simply she found out (or didn’t) from “Mr.Google”. (Perhaps the desire to educate is genetic?)

SHIT ADULTS NEVER TAUGHT US NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon / Barnes and Noble Apple Books and GOOGLE STORES

READ the REVIEWS!!! GOODREADS

To learn more straight from the author – check out recent podcast interviews and the SANTU website here.

Or click the images below to go straight to each podcast that has aired at the time of this blog being uploaded.

In closing, I welcome respectful comments and thank you for reading this blog.

Be well. Be safe. And if you bought the book- thank you!

“STAY AT HOME” Educational Resources for Students and their Parents/ Caregivers

Due to the Corona Virus (COVID 19), parents have been given one of the biggest challenges of their lives – teaching their children in the absence of teachers, structured curriculum and school support. That means parents, regardless of their own careers, are now home assuming the role of their child’s / children’s teacher.

Educators and parents all have one goal – to keep the learning curve going up while the COVID 19 curve declines.

Parents – don’t worry! I have compiled a long and comprehensive list of educational resources for you. Some of these links are chocked full rich content. One link may lead you to dozens more – so take your time and peruse! Good luck and feel free to comment below if you have additional websites you think we can all benefit from or just wish to comment!


STUDENT and PARENT/ CAREGIVER RESOURCES

Education.com

Education.com – There is a way for teachers of preschoolers to third grade to give their students a code to have entry to chosen lessons. Favorites are this LEARNING GAME LINK.

Computer coding also is a favorite part of Education.com and can be found HERE


ABCTeach.com

ABCTeach.com is a favorite of mine! They have support for preschool, elementary, middle and high schoolers. Including calculus. There are some freebies, but for $20 you can have a year-long membership. Click here to discover more about this terrific website (And you may find some familiar Signing Families content under Sign Language Learning)


California Department of Education- Resources for All Students, All States

The CDE has put together a comprehensive list of online learning opportunities and support. This site is GREAT! Their FREE Educational tab is chocked full of interactive and very helpful resources. Seriously, this site can be an answer to a parent’s prayers for help from educators worldwide! Click here to get to the site.

Click here for the CDE super – charged resources.


PBS Learning Media

PBS offers a division of their company dedicated to direct education known as PBS Learning Media .

For younger children, there is PBS KIDS

*** THE PBS App Store is extensive and has a lot of great independent learning opportunities.

YouTube

YouTube is no joke! There is some serious curriculum support and teaching happening on this social channel. Amazing teachers are available and many have offered opportunities for continued learning via their websites.


Rosetta Stone – FREE to students

Rosetta Stone has posted a free subscription to students due to the crisis. Learn more here.


Library of Congress – FREE Resources

The Library of Congress is chocked full of information. This TAB leads you to free photos and images for you to use – including learning projects.


FOR TEACHERS, PARENTS and CAREGIVERS

EDUTOPIA

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS

CHADD– Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder

KIDLUTIONS – Solutions for tough problems by Wendy Young, Counselor


LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY – FUN RESOURCES

There are a lot of resources at this link for reading, STEM and more! Click here


LANGUAGE ARTS

RESOURCES GALORE! This is a treasure trove of learning opportunities from the Manhattan Beach School Distric. Click here.

Scholastic Magazine:

There is a plethora of reading resources on the Scholastic site.


MATH INSTRUCTION

Math Planet

We are Teachers – Math help from teachers

Online Math Learning – lessons

For Students with Special Needs

TIME MAGAZINE (click for link)

10 Tech Hacks for Struggling Readers

Time4Learning

A lot of activities and resources for our students on the spectrum.


ADAPTIVE GAMES – STAGES LEARNING

These games are adapted to children with unique challenges. Click here and fine motor exercises can be found here.


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Anniversary #8 – My Journey with Thyroid Cancer

8 years.  

That is how long it has been since I heard the diagnosis that I had Stage 3 thyroid cancer and received a total thyroidectomy with neck dissection.  Over 80 nodes removed from my thyroid and neck –  with 1/3 or more of them to be found riddled with papillary cancer. Thankfully, I was in AMAZING care thanks to Dr. Ralph Tufano,  my surgeon from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Hospital.  Eight years later, I continue to be in his debt – as his surgical skills earned his place in the global medical arena as “Top Doc”.

I hate to disappoint, but that is all for my walk down memory lane. If you are really curious about the first seven years of my journey hit this link >> Louise’s Cancer Journey.   (Note; the first blog is here)

Now I am going to fast-forward with an effort to educate and enlighten readers with a few new updates in the world of thyroid disease.

First… not all diseases of the thyroid are malignancies.  There can be other “stuff” that goes awry in your body caused by a thyroid issue.  Here are some common maladies and disorders that may surprise you are caused by this little gland! 

Sadly, thyroid issues are on the rise and appear more than ever in children – even younger than 10 years of age! Reasons for this phenomenon vary – but many feel that environmental issues may be part of the problem. 

Also, new information about thyroid cancer is the updated research regarding this cancer’s genetic components.  After participating in a few medical studies, I was interested  in these findings about which variations of the cancer can be passed on to family members and which are just due to bad luck happening in your own body! (After genetic counseling and testing, I found out I had bad luck but my relatives are all “good to go”!)

Lastly, a reminder to  trust your intuition.  I have said this year after year –  I KNEW something was NOT right with my body.  I was gaining weight at a rapid pace and just didn’t have the energy I usually did. For someone as hyper as me, that was a concern! Only after a crazy string of events was my cancer discovered and by then it was aggressive.  Thankfully, I received GREAT medical care and am happy to report that all is “status quo”.  I did receive a bit of a lecture this year from my other Top Doc, Dr. David Cooper, from JHH.  He advised me to reduce the stressors in my life so I can  stay healthy. I took his advice to heart and  I deleted what didn’t need to be in my life.  It hard for someone as ADHD as me to work on having more work-life balance – but I am!

Feel free to share your experiences with thyroid issues in the comment section. We are all here to learn.  Also, here is a PSA I made several years ago with the corresponding outtake video.

Also, the number 8 when placed on its’ side looks like the INFINITY ∞ sign.  I would say that is quite apropos!

Be well.

xo,

Louise.

 

 

 

*Music by Will Z

RIP Tess Sattler (our beloved White Shepherd)

Flu Season Has Arrived

I can’t believe that on a warm Friday afternoon in September, on the very day I was scheduled to get a vaccine, I came down with “the flu”.  Body aches, fever of nearly 102 degrees, sore throat and a cough that just won’t stop! “Yep”. my doctor declared – “This is the flu and congrats – yours is one of the earliest cases we have seen!”

“Fabulous!”, I answer.  “Now tell me how to get rid of it – quickly!”  I soon found out the answer – it doesn’t go away “quickly” or even ” in a few days”… but lingers on for what seems like eternity! I was offered Tamiflu- but for a variety of reasons, that wasn’t going to be my magic potion.

There must be a quick fix to get the flu “out of me” –  Google will know!

Well, Google did know a lot of about influenza and the common head cold. In fact, some of the information was quite enlightening like this link:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm

Basically, here is the scoop:

Both the flu and the common cold don’t go away overnight.  They both are like bad houseguests who just don’t get the hint to leave.  They also are quite different in how they manifest and impact your health and are often confused for each other.  Here are the differentiators:

If you find yourself with a fever, body aches from head to toe, exhaustion, chills, a dry cough, headache  and it comes on rather abruptly without a huge case of sneezing or a severe stuffy nose – you most likely caught yourself a flu bug.

A tickle or  sore throat that morphs in to a runny nose, congestion in the nasal and or chest area, coughing and sneezing, plus a slight fever- well that is no fun either – so grab the Kleenex box, hot tea with lemon and honey and  medicine  for comfort – you have a “common cold”.  

When symptoms turn severe – such as wheezing, a cough that won’t quit, ongoing fever – don’t write it off- but seek medical attention.  While I am not a physician, I am well versed in how you can start your day with a little tickle in your throat and end up wheezing for air in the ER by nightfall… so do take any extreme symptoms seriously!

What about preventative measures?

Of course there are vaccines to help prevent or lessen the impact of the flu (certain strains) and pneumonia.  And, I am a big believer in immune boosting through vitamins and my fave- elderberry syrup.  However, sometimes even preventatives are not enough to defend you from germ invasion.

And, if you do get sick…

Rest. Fluids. Chicken Soup.  Binge watch your favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Remember to listen to your body and perhaps get medical attention. And, popsicles are mandatory to help with healing at any age! Make mine lemon.

Stay healthy everyone!

 

 

A very special community gift for a very special teacher.

Hello All,

Last week I was asked to help start a GoFundMe  page for a person I have never met.  She is a physical education teacher who through a series of life events now has debilitating back pain due to a spinal disc that has partially broken off.  Surgery is needed to alleviate the pain and start the healing, but due to red tape, her insurance company is denying or limiting much of the coverage she will need to pay for the “must have” medical procedures and after care.

I don’t want to make this article about insurance issues in our country, but rather how a community has come together in less than five days to donate a serious “chunk of change” to get Ms. Monica Wood back on her feet again. They have given her not only financial help but the gift of their love and community spirit.

Side note: I know the agony of back pain and my experiences have been nothing compared to what Monica is having to endure.  Read related blog. 


Monica Wood and I have communicated via good old fashioned texts and what I have learned is this is a vivacious woman who is beloved by the students, staff and parents at Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, California.   She exudes all the traits one needs for a  speedy recovery as she is hopeful and keeping a positive outlook. She also believes in not wasting a moment or wallowing on her situation as  she recently asked a group of friends about how to get connected with area organizations who  knit blankets for families with new babies.  Geez – that is one incredible woman!

Little-Hellie-at-GV.jpeg

Monica’s unique story is best told by the many comments and  photos that have been left on the walls of the GoFundMe campaign.  I am simply inspired by each and every one.  These days we are all so busy and focused on our own lives –  but, the outpouring of love and generosity to help this educator simply is a testimony to the willingness of community members to  stop everything  in order to help.  Not only are they demonstrating their support with their wallets, but also with their hearts and social sharing to others.  Those who are in social media call the act of social sharing: #SocialGood!

From the GoFundMe “Giving BACK to Monica Wood” campaign:

Monica, You are the best! Always positive, encouraging, and energetic. We are so sorry you are having such pain. We wish you a speedy recovery. Love, Kate, JT, Edie and David <B>

 

Ms. Wood- you were the first person to really see Brendan and to help him have happy time in school. You gave him a safe place and a teacher’s love. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You deserve the best of everything. ~ <B.P/>

 

We got your back, Monica!!!!!  ~ Kari

 

 

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Monica Wood has responded to all the amazing folks in her GoFundMe “sphere” with these words

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Lastly, I conclude this note to all with a video from the GoFundMe page and also my thanks to all for reading this very special story.

 

DONATE Now

Why Journaling and Creating Scrapbooks Could Result in GREAT Mental Health Benefits!

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go to the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. You will discover yourself.

~Alan Alda

Every year millions of blank and lined paged journal books are sold in the United States. Amazon sells  more than a million books to those wanting to write their musings or organize their thoughts.  Equally as popular is the scrapbooking community. Those who love to mesh photographs, stamping art and stickers together in a bound book for posterity.  I may have a few of these journals or scrapbooks on my shelves or in my drawers –  and by a few I mean twenty or more.

If you are a reader of this blog, then you will know that I am an ardent photographer and love to assemble projects that utilize photos and quotes. (Read a recent article here.)   I am a firm believer that sparking your mental processes through creative outlets is one way to keep yourself challenged and active from your youth through your golden years.

Let’s look at the value of both keeping a journal and scrapbook.

What is Journaling?

Consider journaling a way to plan your current and future life while reflecting on and learning from lesson of your past. A journal is a running diary of your thoughts, dreams and concerns. It also chronicles events and your “take” on what has happened.

A journal is a “safe place” where you can emote your love for another, anger, disappointment or sadness. It is where you can let out your deep seeded grief.  While not a substitute for a trained therapist, a journal is often a tool to help guide you through the tough times in your life.

One of the most common themes among those who journal is to see how problems, once thought unsurmountable, were actually resolved,  leaving the scribe with a much larger understanding and appreciation for having “made it through” and perhaps much better equipped to cope with future challenges.

What is Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking to me is being able to put in to themed books the milestones of your life of those of your loved ones.  Many parents, especially mom’s, love to keep sweet memorabilia of their babies first year, child’s school years and extra -curricular activities.  I for one have made many scrapbooks when my children were young. Included in these precious memory books are first words, pictures of first steps, locks of hair from the first haircuts and much more.  Being able to fill in the blanks for older children of their first years, is always a nice way to add to bonding experiences between parent and child.

Now that my children are adults, I have “shelved” these lovely books hoping that someday I will show them to their offspring and have some good belly laughs and perhaps smile through nostalgic tears.

There is positive mental health value with both journaling and scrapbooking for all ages.

As an educator, I see the value of offering journaling opportunities in school.  Children can have complicated lives, and what a wonderful way to give them space to write and reflect than a journal.  This avenue for discourse can be quite powerful if  it is an ongoing conversation between a teacher / therapist and child.  Being able to voice concerns, opinions and much more without judgment or having to actually “talk”.

Also, imagine the ability to see your child’s interpretation of their lives through the art of creating a scrapbook.  There are many templates to help a child get started and ways to stir their creativity.  Also, parents – don’t be shy!

Now let’s talk about a fun company that helps enhance your journaling and scrapbook world with their designs – The Stickii Club!

 

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Related: Don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!

 

Stickii Club is a subscription service that also makes available a la carte stickers to accent your journal and scrapbooking project. I became interested in this start-up company when I met them at a gifting suite and thought that there true to life stickers would make a great addition to creative projects, especially with journaling.  My favorite is the retro ones and travel as I love to put together my photography and utilize these stickers to help compliment the story.  (As you know photography and journaling are my way to experience calm!)

 


 

I had an opportunity to send interview questions to the founder  of  STICKII CLUB , Rita and here is what I learned:

 

Louise: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?:
Rita: I really didn’t want to work for someone else and be boxed into a strict schedule with no flexibility. I have a creative passion and I wanted to pursue that

 


Louise:  Is STICKII CLUB your first venture in to the world of entrepreneurship or are you a veteran in the business world?:
Rita: My first foray into the world of entrepreneurship but it’s taught me so much, I can see myself exploring other business endeavors in the future.

3. What was the catalyst for starting STICKII CLUB and tell us about the company: 
Rita: I’ve always had a love for stickers ever since I was little and dreamed of having my own stationery store. When I graduated I didn’t want to work for a company but had to work – at the same time I discovered subscription box services and decided to create one for stickers. So STICKII (stickers + kawaii {the Japanese word for cute}) was born. The company sends out a pack of stickers and stationery every month but because everyone has different styles, we have 3 selections to choose from every month.

4. Your stickers are more “mature” – meant for those who love to journal or make scrapbooks.  Do you journal daily?: 
Rita: Hah, running the company and creating most of its designs is how I spend most of my time so I don’t journal as much as I used to but our team loves planning & journaling and using stickers to make each entry their own. One of our team members has multiple notebooks for different things, she loves working at a place where the perk is unlimited free stickers for her to play with!

5. Are your products available online and in stores or only online?: 
Rita: For the moment we only sell online through our own website. You can do a subscription or check out our shop for individual sticker sheets and some other fun things.

6. Do you customize for large orders and if so- how much lead time? (Such as a school specific set or a set for a wedding, etc.):
Rita: We never say no to a custom order, it just depends on if the person has the art work in place or needs one of our artists, the order size, the layout, etc. We prefer to have at least a month advance notice at a minimum but we’ve managed to pull off a few miracles before.

7. I work in media, so I am curious – which of the social media platforms are your favorite and get you the most results?: 
Rita: By far, Instagram.  Our service deals in the visual since it’s artistic and a tangible product so Instagram is great at showing the photos and people get excited about what they’re going to receive. Facebook is a close second and we’ve tried other ones but these two get the most results.

8. You are offering a giveaway {SEE BELOW} – what do people need to do to enter to win and when is the last date they can enter?:
Rita:  Please follow us on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK between July 16th and August 18th.  We will announce THREE prized winners:  Grand Prize (7 packs of stickers), 1st Prize (4 packs of stickers) and 2nd prize (3 packs of stickers).  We sadly need to restrict to the United States for entries as we have to ship our prizes.  (The giveaway rules are below.)

9. Any other information you wish for our readers to know?:
Rita: All our packs come in a unique Stickii Storage sticker insert so you can keep your stickers organized and neat. Signing up means you get happiness delivered right to your door every month!

BUT WAIT…. THERE IS MORE!!

SIGN UP IS ONE CLICK AWAY! USE THE PROMO CODE:  LOUISE for $2 off a month’s subscription

2

 

Want to WIN a set of STICKII CLUB stickers? Simply do the following to ENTER the STICKII CLUB GIVEAWAY!:

GIVEAWAY COMPLETE-  WINNER ANNOUNCED. 

STEP ONE: FOLLOW ON and LEAVE A COMMENT with the HASHTAG #StickiiClubGiveaway >>> INSTAGRAM

or

FOLLOW ON >>>  FACEBOOK and COMMENT with #STICKIICLUBGIVEAWAY

STEP TWO: BE SURE TO COMMENT ON THIS POST BELOW SO I KNOW TO LOOK FOR YOU!!! 

LASTLY:  Be super groovy if you also signed up for their >>>>  EMAIL. 

 

What will the Stickii Club winners receive??

💥 💥

GRAND PRIZE:  SEVEN PACKS (7) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS! TRIPLE WOW!!!

FIRST PRIZE:  FOUR PACKS (4) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS! DOUBLE WOW!!

SECOND PRIZE: THREE PACKS (3) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS – WOW!

 

THE RU!LES

Winners will be randomly chosen from ALL Entries who either follow on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK between July 16th and August 18th, 2018.  The giveaway winners will be chosen by a random generator on August 19, 2018 of all eligible entrants.  Residents of the United States of America only.  Cannot be related to anyone from Stickii Club nor Louise Sattler. Shipping will be by standard mail.  No substitutions or monetary trade value will be offered. Multiple follows by autobots or fake accounts will result in deletion of entry.

 

DISCLAIMER:  I received promotional product from Stickii.Club.  However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this product and would have written this blog regardless!

Lucky 7 – Life after a thyroid cancer diagnosis

Is 7 really a lucky number? For me it is. Or at least I think it is.  You see, I realized this week that the number seven has resonated with me throughout my thyroid cancer journey. Yet, only recently did I connect the dots as to why it is indeed “lucky” or at least significant.

7a.m – The time I arrived to the surgical unit for my operation.

Seven hours. The number of hours Dr. Ralph Tufano, (my hero) performed surgery on me at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Seven days.  That was the length of time the post-operative drains remained in my neck. (Seven minutes was all had on the “patience meter” for living with said drains.)

Seven weeks.  That was the time it took for me to get my voice sounding more like me and less like a prank phone caller.

Seven months.  That was about the amount of time I needed to brave going out without a scarf around my neck to shield people from seeing my scar. (July is one hot month and the seventh one!)

Seven years have passed since January 5, 2011 when I had my surgery and my life was forever changed.  You may think this was a tantamount day filled with dread, but in reality many amazing things have happened from that day forward.

Related articles: If you are interested in the “whole saga” here is a link.

And, per usual I will use this forum to share some life lessons. (Forever an educator) Although this year the theme may be a bit “lighter” than in the past. (Side note: read to the very end, please.)

The seven lessons I want to share in my annual “post cancer blog” are … 

  1. 7 is the number of continents in the world. Go explore them while you can.
  2. 7 good friends is better than a lot of people pretending to be your friend.
  3. 7 pairs of shoes may be an Ok amount, but in reality I own three times that number.
  4. Social media forums cite 7pm as a popular time to be online engaging with others and reading articles.
  5. 7 is considered one of the luckiest numbers, according to Quora, because there are  Seven Seas, Seven Heavens, Seven Continents, Seven Colors in a Rainbow, Seven Notes on a musical scale, Seven Days in a week, Seven Wonders of the World and so on. Seven is considered to represent the “extraordinary”.
  6. 7 is the number of chakras the body possesses.
  7. Seven minutes can be all it takes to check your neck with an ultra-sound to see if you have a healthy or unhealthy thyroid. Seven minutes- worth every one of them.

The seven chakras.

 

 Now for the serious “stuff”…

First, be your own health advocate. If you feel that something isn’t right with your health – go see a doctor or two if you are not satisfied with the first opinion.

Next, CHECK YOUR NECK.  At least once a year – have your doctor check your neck for irregularities.  Are you gaining weight suddenly or losing it without dieting? Do you have a chronic sore throat or persistent cough.  These are all red flags that something could be amiss and a due to a thyroid issue!

It wouldn’t be my annual “cancer” blog without a nod towards helping others via #socialgood

Each year, since my cancer journey began, I  spotlight ways to help people who are  diagnosed and living with cancer.  This year I am asking that readers of my blog consider supporting the  CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL campaign.  My daughter, Natasha, is participating with the Cycle for Survival fundraiser and any support would be greatly appreciated.  Here is the link.  EVERY DOLLAR RAISED goes towards funding  research for rare cancers via the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

 

About Cycle for Survival

Join the Battle

 

  • *An estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2017.
  • Approximately 50% of people with cancer are battling a rare cancer.
  • Rare cancers include brain, pancreatic, ovarian, thyroid, and stomach cancers; leukemia and lymphoma; all pediatric cancers; and many others.
  • Each year MSK treats more than 400 subtypes of cancer.

 

As always, thank you for reading and remember… CHECK YOUR NECK!!  Lastly, If you do donate to Cycle for Survival, please let me know and I’ll be sure to thank you personally on Twitter via my account (@LouiseASL).  You can leave me a message here or connect via any of my social platforms. Thank you!

xo,

Louise

 

Ouch my aching back!

Have you ever reached for an object and then exclaimed “Oh No!” because your back immediately went in to spasm?

Have you ever sneezed and then spent the rest of your day trying to get relief from the intense pain that one little “ahh-choo” caused you? 

Have you ever gardened, indulged in some home repair task, picked up a baby, or flinched and had what seemed like an ordinary action result in incapacitating pain? The kind where you crawl in to a chair or can’t seem to do the simplest of activities.

If you said YES to one or more of the above – welcome to the club!

The OMG – I have back pain club!

FAQs

There are some interesting facts associated with back pain. A few may even surprise you.

  •  Back pain is a major reason why people miss work
  •  Back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide
  •  Over 50 BILLION dollars are spent on remedies (including medications) to alleviate back pain
  • Experts estimate that 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain some time in their lifetime.
  • Back pain is a major reason for people to seek a doctor appointment

Related: Time Magazine even compiled their own informational list. 

I have spent the better part of 30 years combatting on- off – on and off again back pain.  Mine, most likely, was the result of years doing gymnastics. I spent a good part of my youth flying through the air and trying to “stick a landing”.  Only one problem. I was not a good gymnast! My “training” consisted of access to rudimentary equipment and a lot of hand springs on the lawn.

So, in my 20’s I started to experience occasional back pain. I am no doctor (despite what my Mom wished), but, I do know that I have tried a lot of traditional and non-traditional remedies to alleviate my back pain.

Not every person has the same symptoms.
Dull aches are common. So, can be acute pain and discomfort due to sciatica involvement.  

I did some research on the most common and popular treatments for helping back pain suffers (acute and chronic).  Below I compiled a list of sources that  I found to be of interest and with educational value.  Remember that each person reading this blog has a different set of circumstances when it comes to their own health.  So first and foremost, you need to check to be sure that your back pain is indeed your back and not because of some other condition.

Do your due diligence with your own research. Consider the resource links below a starting point for an education about back issues.

WebMD: A lot of user – friendly information about symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and even quizzes.  This medical website is a  perennial favorite for all kinds of health related information.

Mayo Clinic: Rumor on the street has it that this medical center “knows their stuff” when it comes to orthopedics, including ailments of the spine. Their information is very useful and I found it often encouraging.

Related 6 symptoms you should never ignore.

Chiropractors are very often called upon to help prevent and ameliorate back pain. I have used chiropractics and they were a great source of comfort when I was pregnant. Highly recommend reading up more about this type of therapy.

Physical Therapy  (who are now being educated at the doctoral level) can provide immense back pain relief.  I am in the midst of PT right now – and must say Kathy Fox,  my therapist, is an angel.  I am NOT an easy patient.  But she has given me many techniques to use and they have been very effective.

One strategy is SIMPLE.  When I twist and turn myself in a way that creates a spasm in my lower back I just remember to follow the SIMPLE  guidelines to get me “untwisted”. 

 STRETCH (ask a medical / therapeutic professional for an appropriate set of stretches that will aid your condition) – ICE – MEDICATIONS (when prescribed) – PT – LAY DOWNEASE YOUR MIND (I have recently been doing guided imagery.  Helps even my ADHD to focus on pain control techniques.)

Last but not least on my list … Acupuncture. I must admit I was leery of being subjected to Eastern medicine techniques. Guess what? It works! Or at least did for me!  If you  live in Los Angeles and are in search of an A+ acupuncturist be sure to look up  Jean Morris.  

 Related: reasons why acupuncture helps many back pain patients.

I sympathize with any one who has suffered chronic pain. If you are experiencing mental health issues due to pain, perhaps depression, please seek professional help.  No one should go through agony alone. Sending healing vibes to those in pain – back or otherwise.

~ Louise