Monday, August 29, 2011

Go For The Gold!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  A gold ribbon represents the month, so go for the gold and support childhood cancer research!  Pediatric cancer has only a fraction of the research going on that adult cancers have.  We need to find a cure or a prevention to keep this monster from attacking the kids in the future. 

Today at our clinic visit a wonderful little girl made me a gold-bead bracelet to wear throughout September.  It is beautiful!  I plan to wear it every single day.

So how can you help?  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Chili's is a huge supporter of St. Judes.  They even have a wing of the hospital named after them (the Chili's Care Center).  During the month of September you can visit their website to find out lots of ways to help.  Create a pepper, eat at any Chili's on September 26th, or you can pass their link on to friends to help gather donations.

Of course you can always donate directly to St. Jude.

One other thing to keep in mind; in November we will be participating in our local Give Thanks walk.  We will be raising money for St. Jude through this walk, so you can sponsor Emma and all money will go directly to St. Jude.  I'll have more info on that in the future.

If you don't have a penny to spare, don't sweat it.  You can spread the word about childhood cancer, and don't forget that gold ribbon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If it happens to someone you know…

Many people have expressed a desire to know what is right (and not so right) to do when someone they know is diagnosed with cancer.  Here are a few pointers that I have come up with. 

*Do offer specific assistance.  Generic questions like, “Do you need anything?” or “What can I do to help?” are likely to be met with an assurance that everything is fine.  Instead, try offering to make dinner on Tuesday, or pick up the kids after school on Friday for a play date.

*Don’t be a downer where the illness is concerned.  Statements like, “That’s terrible!” will only bring about depression, and even bitterness, in the parent.  They shouldn’t feel the need to pick you up!

*Do offer a shoulder to cry on when your friend needs to vent.

*Don’t talk only about the child’s illness.

*Do make an effort to remember the answers to questions you’ve already asked.  Like the pregnant woman who hears the question, “When are you due?” over and over, the parent of a sick child gets frustrated answering the same questions (from the same person) again and again.  I don't mean answering "How is she?".  I mean questions like, "Is she done with her treatment now?"  If you don't care enough to remember that no, it's not for a long long time, then it probably doesn't matter too much, anyway.

*Don’t forget them a year down the road.  Many well-meaning friends and family move on with their lives, and expect that their friends with the sick child have as well.  Most often, they haven’t yet.  Living in limbo is not easy.  If you have the time and resources, help is still appreciated.

*Do remember to have patience with your hurting friend.

*Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing—instead, speak from your heart.  When the elephant in the room is ignored, it is always uncomfortable : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Time To Give Blood

On Sunday I gave blood for the first time.  I know, I know, that is ridiculous!  I should have been giving blood well before this weekend.  But I have small, rolling veins, and low blood pressure, and this caused issues with IV's both times I was in labor with my children.

Anyway, I've wanted to give for a long time, but things in Memphis are always so hectic, and when we're here at home I've always got the girls with me, so donating then is out.  But Sunday I was all alone, and had the time, so I stepped up to the challenge in the LifeSouth bus at WalMart.

It hurt!  They had trouble finding a vein (remember the small, rolling veins?), and they had to tie the tourniquet REALLY tight.  It took many, many minutes to fill up a bag of blood.  My entire arm hurt for the rest of the day.

And as I lay in bed that night thinking about it, it hit me.  SHAME ON ME!  How dare I complain about being stuck with a needle one time?  How dare I complain about a tender arm after the needle stick?  How dare I complain about this very minor discomfort?

My 5 year old gets stuck every single week.  She rarely complains.  She lets people stick things all over her, poke her, pull on her.  And she does it every single week!  Shame on me.

And then my guilt went further.  How dare I complain about a headache?  An inconvenience.  An annoying person?  These things are minor, really.

How fast I forget what really is important in life.  How fast I stop being thankful for all of the GOOD things, and focus on the minor bad things.

So I am through complaining about the tiny discomfort of giving blood.  It will help someone out; maybe even Emma!  And do you know what?  I plan to do it again :)   I hope that you will join me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Walking On The Edge Of Life

The world keeps moving forward, as time stands still for me,
I am the kid with Cancer, locked in battle to be free.
For all us kids on chemo, our lives are put on hold,
As we fight to stay alive, our chances good, we're told.
Our attitude is courage, we live this life each day,
Just waiting for tomorrow, praying cancer goes away.
Walking on the edge of life, we’re never looking down,
United here in front of you, until a cure is found.

©2007 By Lorna Mahan & Sinjin Andrukates

This week we were in Memphis, at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  I saw miniature warriors and pint-sized super heros all around.  I saw kids who were happy in spite of their circumstances.  I saw kids that were screaming because they were scared at what was being done to them.  I saw kids throwing up because their treatments were making them sick.  I saw kids walking on the edge of life.

Reading this poem and thinking about these magnificent children makes me cry.  And then I smile, because I look up at my own superhero.  I remember how today she did SO GOOD when she had to have x-rays done, even though she was so nervous she wanted to throw up (and knowing this is a routine occurence, that of having to do things that make her so nervous she wants to throw up).  Three cheers for my superhero, and all the others, too!

Source: Child With Cancer, Cancer Poems
Family Friend Poems