Saturday, December 27, 2008

Start the New Year Write....

I believe all of us have important things to put into words. Start the New Year off right by learning to put feelings and thoughts into words for others to enjoy or benefit from in an important way.

Ten reasons to join me at The Children's Writers' Coaching Club.
  1. It is easy to join... just click the matching icon on the right side of this blog
  2. It is fun
  3. You will make new and talented friends your very first day
  4. You will watch yourself grow as a writer reaching others with your words
  5. You will get encouragement and support
  6. You will learn new skills to market yourself as a writer
  7. You will learn new ways to produce informational products in your area of interest
  8. You have access to a professional coach and mentor
  9. You will expand on your abilities and hone your skills
  10. It is flexible and fits into your schedule easily

And one more reason.... from experience, this is more information and education regarding writing for children, query letters, fiction, non-fiction, book writing and writing for magazines and the business of writing then any other course for less money. A small monthly membership gets you weekly assignments, critiques, tele-classes, a writing coach, and so much more.

Whether you want to journal about an illness or you want to write travel logs, whether you want to write business brochures or children's stories... Coach Suzanne Lieurance offers several clubs and classes to meet your needs.

Check out the websites for coach Suzanne Lieurance and see what I mean.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas blessings.....hiding in sadness.....?

I don't know why death seems more painful during the holiday season, but anyone who has lost a loved one right before or after a holiday knows what I mean. But can a blessing be hiding in the pain? I wonder.

I want to share with you the blessing one of our favorite patients gave us on Christmas day. For some, the pain of his death may not be seen as a blessing, but for us who knew him it could be called no other.

I will call him Manny ( I have changed his name to protect his privacy). Manny was born with sick lungs and has been in and out of the hospital for his 10 or so years in critical condition and on a ventilator for much of his admissions. He was skinny but oh so smart, and he loved his mom with a passion you could feel just by the look in his eyes. When he couldn't talk because of the breathing machine, he would write notes and most of what he had to say were questions about his mom and how she was doing.

He has been in our unit for several weeks and on the breathing machine all of that time but he could still communicate with notes, mouthing words around the breathing tube, or by nodding his head. Manny wanted to give his mom a Christmas present. He had something special in mind but it took our saint of a social worker to figure it out. She purchased a cross necklace for Manny to give his mom this Christmas. On Monday she brought it in to show him and his approval was appreciated by the staff by the sparkle in his eye. You could feel his excitement.

Tuesday Manny was improving enough to get the breathing tube out and to use a high pressure oxygen mask instead. On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, he was getting tired but was still so excited to give his mom the Christmas gift.

Manny and his mom shared a wonderful Christmas Eve opening first his gifts from her and finally her gift from him. We were all thrilled that he was breathing okay and we hoped this would be a turn for the better and a happy New Year for this family.

In the early morning hours of Christmas day, Manny got worse. His breathing was labored and it was a struggle for him to stay awake. Manny made the brave decision to refuse to have the breathing tube put back in reassuring both his mom and the staff that this was God's plan. He passed away mid- morning on Christmas day with his mom proudly wearing his gift and holding his hand.

This special young man blessed us all with his grace, his bravery, and his smile. He helped us to let go and to be okay with it on the most special day of the year.

The nurses who cared for Manny on Christmas morning were blessed. The rest of us who have had the privileged of caring for him in the past are saddened, yet we all feel blessed as well. And his mom, in the midst of her sadness, left our unit knowing that we will remember Manny every Christmas from now on.... we will remember the brave young man with the big smile who thought more of others than himself. He will be missed.

Blessings for a happy 2009 even in the midst of sadness.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

How to tell kids they are sick.....

How do you tell your child he or she is very sick... sick with a serious disease which will require painful treatments, surgeries, and an uncertain outcome.

View the article at under the health topics for information on how to be honest and how children deal with the news when a parent must tell a child they are sick.

The article gives first hand information from parents of a 9 year old who must deal with bone cancer. Her parents, along with resources sited from the National Cancer Institute and The American society of Clinical Oncology stress the importance of honesty and truth telling.

View the article at

Check it out and let me know what you think. And thanks to a fellow writer for pointing out this valuable resource to me. Check out her blog at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Honest Scrap Award.......

I was happy to be awarded The Honest Scrap award by children's author Donna McDine. It requires me to list 10 honest things I think or feel even if I have to dig deep to discover them.

  1. Visit Donna McDine at to read about this awesome children's author.

And here is my list of honest things: keep in mind I have a nurse's mind as well as a writer's way of thinking.

  1. The oldest sibling always feels responsible in the scheme of family, no matter what, but he or she would not change that God assigned rank for anything, including me.
  2. Christmas should be about the birth of Christ and it has turned into a huge over expectation of both behaviors, gifts, and commercialism, loosing the meaning at times.
  3. I still love Christmas.
  4. The truth is often painful, especially if the truth includes an ugly diagnosis, a poor prognosis, or when it involves end of life issues. No two people deal with these issues the same way. And there is no right or wrong, there is a healthy way and a not so healthy way.
  5. In my line of work, children die. It is sad, horrible, frightening, but real. Children get sick and die. The bright side to this are the resources and professionals out there who want to help families deal with the realities of life.
  6. I love what I do both in nursing and with my writing. I want to get better at both. And the truth is I want the writing to be lucrative as well as meaningful. And I do want to work from home. Is that so bad?
  7. I am blessed to be part of a writing group. These authors are extremely talented and offer honest critiques to improve each of us in our craft. It is honest, can be painfully honest, but we are improving. At least the others are improving, the jury is still out for me.
  8. Rejections hurt and the new author takes them personally. Rejections still hurt with the seasoned author, but the difference is the mature author just writes something else or sends the rejected manuscript out again. It is all part of the process. I still rank myself as new.
  9. Children are our most valued asset, and believe it or not, some adults don't realize that.
  10. Money is not everything, you can't take it with you, it doesn't buy friends, health, or family. The honest fact of the matter is though, we can not live without it. Happiness is finding a balance where money is not the center.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Blog ....On Hospice and Grief

I have another resource for those of you dealing with grief or have the burden of needing Hospice care for a loved one.
This blog is sponsored by The Hospice Foundation of America and has several links for good solid information for those in need.
I checked out several of the links, especially the one for children. It offers many articles regarding pediatric needs. It is worth a look.
Anytime you are dealing with a situation this devastating, it is always a blessing to find resources from reliable professionals and this site has several contributors who are qualified. The blog can be found at
You may also check out the website which is full of excellent information for families facing these dilemmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

After the Diagnosis...How to Look Out for Yourself or a Loved One

I was asked to be a judge for The Mom's Choice Awards and feel privileged to be part of this awesome responsibility. I was asked to look at several health related books and I will give a review of each of these from time to time on the blog.

After the Diagnosis...How to Look Out for Yourself or a Loved One

author - Donna L. Pikula, DDS, MS

ISBN -0-9768970-0-8
Publisher - Books 2 Help You, LLC

This book is especially helpful for adults when a diagnosis is made regardless of how serious the condition may be. It gives many terms, laboratory tests, x-rays, and expected outcomes for the adult. It gives good information on how to research the condition, on insurance details, and on questions to ask.

The book give ideas on keeping your medical information organized and on how to find the appropriate centers for the care you need or for the one you love.

All of the principles in the book are solid and informative. The book is a good resource as an initial source of information for the normally healthy adult who has been given an unexpected diagnosis and thrown into a spiral of terms and complex information. Most of what is in the book may be adapted to a parent with a child who has also been diagnosed, but other sources for pediatric care should be consulted.

The book provides some great insight and basic information useful to anyone with a medical issue. Check it out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christian resource for teens dealing with.......

I want to offer a Christian website for teens where they can read true life stories of other teens going through bad times.

The holiday is a time of family and happiness for most of us, but it can be a source of depression and heartache for others. Teens are also affected by the holidays, depression, and a sense of doom over the tough issues they face. Teens have a higher rate of suicide and cutting behaviors during what should be a joyous season.

Ignite you faith newsletter and website offers teens a positive solution and an abundance of resources for some of the tough issues that are facing them today. This month's newsletter has an article on a teen who did cutting and had some suicidal thoughts before she found Jesus and the difficult answers to the dilemmas being faced.

Check it and sign up for the free email newsletter.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Please read the following email which I received today.....

I am writing to ask if you would be willing in to include a link to our new website ( ) on your blog. This foundation was started in 2007 after my sister lost her eldest son, Ian, due to complications stemming from childhood leukemia. The purpose of the foundation is development of, and raising public awareness about, cutting-edge, targeted therapies for childhood cancer, so that the treatment of childhood cancer will be gentler and more tolerable Please feel free to contact me if you should have any questions about ICIC. Many thanks,

Laurie Beaty

I checked out the site and I was impressed. First, the facts about childhood cancer are accurate and frightening. It is appalling to me that so little money is going to funding research for childhood cancers in relation to adult cancers like breast cancer or lung cancer. Keep in mind that treatment is based on adult doses and adult results. Check out the site and click on the tabs for facts about childhood cancer and funding. Scroll through the site and see the pictures of Ian and others because it helps to put a face to the need for more research. We can all help.

Readers who have no experience with childhood cancer cannot fully realize what a child and a family go through when being treated for these diseases. When you read through the site, share it with others and the kids and teens you know. The idea that even one child or teen can help to change the way research is done for childhood cancers is huge. Maybe the readers here can get together and find ways to help.... Check it out and let me know what you think. Let's spread the word. What better way to share in the spirit of the holiday season.

Life is a jungle.....

Do you ever feel like life is a jungle and you can't find your way out? The roaring lion just keeps chasing you and you run, you plan your escape, you save your energies, and the lion just keeps chasing. You keep running and you feel like you get no where.

  1. I find that parents with a seriously ill child feel somewhat the same way. First they get side-swiped with a harsh diagnosis of which they were ill prepared. Then just when they feel that they have a handle on that and have some knowledge about how to deal with it, something else rears it's ugly head. Infection, another tumor, an organ rejection, a rare cancer from the long term organ rejection drugs, or something totally unrelated, like the fridge breaks down, or a flat tire.

Here are a few tips to get you back on track.

1. Take one step at a time. This may seem too simple, but you really can only deal with one thing or one minute or one task at a time. Pick the most important thing and deal with that first. Then the next and then the next.

2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. As the parent you must deal with the child first. Delegate anything else to others. Nothing else really matters. So let go of how clean the house is or if the laundry is done or if the garbage bill got paid. Give other tasks to those with the time and skills to handle the job. They want to help but don't know what to do, so ask them. It is a win win for everyone.

3. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst in any situation. If it is the fridge, hope it can be fixed, but prepare yourself for the need to buy a new one. If it is a more serious issue, like a diagnosis or treatment, hope and pray for the best, but be ready to face the not so best scenario. I don't mean to be doom and gloom here. But when parents face all possibilities, they seem to handle the stress much better than a parent who hides their head in the sand when a treatment doesn't work. Parents who are prepared for all possibilities, help to make the best of every moment and the child does better too.

4. Rest, eat, and drink plenty of water. When a child is ill, parents tend to take in too much caffeine, or smoke too much, and not rest or eat enough. If you become ill with exhaustion, you are not an effective support for your child. Rest when your child rests, and snack on fruits and fresh veggies. Drink ice water or flavored water rather than sodas or coffee from the machines. You will feel better and handle stress easier without the added stimulants.

Don't be the giraffe in the jungle unaware of the lion. Prepare yourself and take one step at a time to avoid the feeling of being chased into the black hole of no control. And know that with time, this too will pass.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Grief blog to check out

The grief blog is a resource for anyone going through the painful loss of a loved one. Here you will find parents blogging about the loss of their child or a wife blogging about the loss of her husband.

  • Grief comes in all forms and here you may find some ideas about how to deal with your own grief. There are other links and tabs to search for more information on loss and pain.

  • counseling
  • books
  • healing

Check it out and let me know if it is helpful in any way....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Check out this month's newsletter from the Leukemia organization.....

You all know that I have a passion for kids fighting Leukemia and Lymphoma. I often refer you to the website for more resources.
Again, I will refer you to this months email newsletter if you do not subscribe. One article indicates that although the economy is in the toilet, the newly elected 111th Congress may delegate more funding to Leukemia and Lymphoma research and treatments.
This is of course, good news. Check out for the complete information and other equally interesting resources for families dealing with these treatable blood cancers.
Also, I will be finding resources for other cancers as well. More funding and research is needed to treat other cancers but is sometimes not as available because those cancers affect fewer numbers of the population. Pancreatic cancer lacks funding because it affects much fewer people than say breast cancer. Not a good reason to have lack of funding and lack of information.
Stay tuned to this blog for more current information on other cancers and sponsoring websites.
Continue to check it out.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How do you feel about kids deciding on their own treatment options...?

How do you feel about kids deciding their own treatment options or having the right to decide to stop treatments? At what age is a child able to decide he or she does not want to continue painful and dreaded treatment options?
Check out the following website for an article which addresses these questions. Make sure you scroll through to read the comments and make one of your own if you have a strong opinion.
Parents who have not had to deal with a serious illness may have a different take on the questions than a parent whose child has a terminal illness or needs to make a critical choice in their future medical treatments. It is certainly something to think about and discuss with family members regardless of how you feel.
Check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just for the fun of it..... I have been tagged.....

I have been tagged by children's author, Suzanne Lieurance. Her blog is at

Being tagged requires you to list 7 things others may not know about you or why you write.

In the spirit of fun, and because everyone needs to have a little fun in the midst of the sadness of terminal illness and health crisis, which is what this blog addresses most of the time, here are my 7 things.

  1. I have three children and 4 step-children, two grandchildren, and 4 step-grandchildren.
  2. My husband and I have been married 25 years.... (and they said it wouldn't last)
  3. I have been an emergency room nurse, school nurse, neonatal nurse, and an adult intensive care nurse in the past 33 years
  4. We have 11 dogs, 5 cats, and 2 alpacas
  5. I owned a quilt shop for 2 years and have a passion for fabric and quilts....
  6. I am also a fabric-olic with enough fabric on hand to last me the rest of my life
  7. I collect journals, books, and fabric.... and I mean piles of each. You can never have too much fabric, I always need a journal for my writing, and I never want to be without a good book.

I have tagged the following blogs for authors and writers I admire and learn from on a daily basis. Check out their blogs for recipes, information, and all around fun information.

Check it out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and this website gives you some great information on the disease, the current research, and links to visit to support funding for pancreatic cancer research.

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with very little successful treatments or advances in the past 30 years. Research is limited because funding is limited.

Check out this website for more information, but here are just a few facts.

  • Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer related deaths since 2003
  • This year 37,680 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease, 75 % will die within the year
  • Pancreatic cancer s difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not significant until the cancer has spread, it is difficult to diagnose, and research is limited for lack of funding.

Pancan can be reached at for more information. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Flu season is serious

The flu is serious business. Please read and check out these sites for more information which has been shared by one of my writing associates from

Families Fighting Flu ( is a non-profit, volunteer-based corporation established in 2004 that is made up of families and health care practitioners. Each family has experienced first-hand the death of a child due to the flu or has had a child experience severe medical complications from the flu. As we enter Flu season, Families Fighting Flu wants to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated.
Today Families Fighting Flu (FFF), the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP), and the Childhood Influenza Immunization Coalition (CIIC) are launching their second annual childhood flu awareness campaign, “Fighting Flu in Child Care Settings: Building Blocks to Increase Influenza Awareness,” to decrease the spread of flu in child care settings and increase flu vaccination rates around the country. You can learn more about this campaign here (, where you can also download a Flu Fact Sheet and the results of our Child Care Survey.
If you think this message is important, we hope you will spread the word to your blog readers.

Check this out. The flu can be serious and even fatal. It is important to keep your child home if he or she runs a fever, or has flu symptoms. Encourage frequent hand washing to help prevent the spread of viruses and bacterial infections. I appreciate this information and thank the writer for the email. I hope you consider looking at the website for more flu facts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Laughter as Medicine......

This logo and mission statement have been used with the gracious permission from founder Sherry Dunay Hilber. I use it with gratitude for both the use and their work for kids and adults who are in pain.

Mission Statement:Rx Laughter is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. The mission of Rx Laughter is to prevent, reduce and eliminate trauma, pain, suffering and illness by implementing enjoyable film and television entertainment into health care in innovative ways. We do this through therapy, research, education and evaluation. We work closely with the entertainment industry, technology experts and health care institutes to achieve these goals.

I have found ( thanks to my writing friend Carma, at a website that touches my heart. They use their talents and resources to help children with cancer and pain to be entertained and distracted. Their mission statement is listed above and clearly outlines their goal for both adults and children suffering from pain and trauma..... and they gear much of what they do to programs that distract and entertain to achieve these goals.

Founder, Sherry Dunay Hilber has done a great job in organizing and reaching her goals of implementing projects that help patients who are suffering an enormous amount of pain.
Please visit the website for Rxlaughter to see what they do and maybe find a place you can contribute.

Check it out at and let me know what you think. My grandma always told me to keep laughing and I believe it to be true. Laughter is the best medicine for what ever ails you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Screening Guidelines for Healthy Children

Parents often wonder just how often to have their children seen by their family doctor when they are healthy and do not have any complaints.

Here is a guideline:

Initially, infants are seen at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, and 18 months for immunizations and height and weight screenings.

Age 2-6 children can be seen yearly

Age 7-10 children can be seen every 2 years unless there is a problem

Age 11-18 children should be seen yearly again. This is the growth span and puberty time when hormones are changing, eating disorders become of more concern, girls start menstruating, and boys may grow taller and bones may need evaluation. Yearly exams at this time of growth and development helps to prevent or recognize potential problems during the teen years.

Vision screening should be annual for children aged 5-18

Hearing screening should be done before age 5 and repeated if a problem develops

Scoliosis screening should be done during the physical for children age 10-18

Pap smear for females 10-18 if sexually active. ( I know I believe a 10 year old is too young but unfortunately, in the real world, 10 and 11 year old girls are more sexually active then we want to believe and their health is at risk for this behavior)

Screen for depression, family violence, and drug or tobacco use with every physical exam

Blood pressure at every physical exam or more often if a strong family history of hypertension

Lead screening at 12 months for high risk infants and at other ages if symptoms warrant

Dental exams 2-18 yearly for health and prevention of dental cavities.

This gives parents a brief idea of when those physicals are needed. When your child appears healthy, you may be tempted to skip a well visit, but I encourage you to keep the well visits as part of your child's growth progress. It is those physicals where a physician or nurse may pick up on subtle changes or symptoms that may indicate a potential problem. Prevention is so important in early diagnosis and treatment of otherwise potentially dangerous childhood illnesses and cancers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Holidays are approaching......

Thanksgiving will be here soon and the Christmas holidays are fast approaching. I have started crafting a Santa or two myself.

What I propose to you is this.....

Take time this holiday season to think about children who may be dealing with a serious health crisis this holiday and make a difference. Here are some ideas to start your creative juices flowing:
  • Make holiday cards for a pediatric unit at your local hospital and send them there to be given out to kids who are hospitalized over the holidays.

Local nursing home residents would benefit from the same idea if there are not pediatric units in your area.

Donate a toy to be wrapped and given during Christmas to a hospital. Most Emergency rooms, clinics, and urgent cares will give out presents to children who come in for care at that time of year. Small tokens like coloring books and crayons are also appreciated and used for distraction at any time of year a child being treated in an emergent situation.

Locate and donate to a local Leukemia or Cancer Society, hospice center, or other group who may be low on funding at this time of year. A local food pantry would also benefit from a few cans of food, which directly helps kids in need.

Look for coat drives for kids in need.

Donate a blanket to your local fire department or ambulance service. These folks are the first on scene at vehicle accidents and house fires where victims need warmth and protection in an emergency situation. What better way to share the holiday spirit?

It really doesn't matter where you choose to give or how much or to whom. What does matter is the time and effort you spend thinking about someone else in need. There are so many kids out there dealing with illnesses and diseases that most of us haven't even heard of .

It would be in the spirit of the holiday to share just one small part of yourself this holiday season. And be grateful for all of your blessings as well. Gratitude really makes the season better.

Let me know where you choose to share. I will pass it on to others. If we all do just one tiny thing during our own celebrations, it will truly make a difference, I promise you. I see it everyday in the lives of the kids I take care of in intensive care. Caring matters.

Blessings to all. The month of thanksgiving is upon us, and I am grateful for the readers of this blog. Thanks to you all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Published on Associated Content

I have been busy with the writing side of my passion, kids.

I also have a passion for anyone trying to get their work published no matter what arena they are interested in. Writers looking for experience or a way to get writing clips may want to check out this web site .

Here is the link to the first article I have published at this site. Granted, it did not pay much. However, I am gaining experience and exposure. I have two more articles waiting to be published, one on grief for children and one a political opinion piece. The latter piece was to help me reach outside the box and get comfortable doing writing assignments which I would not normally think of doing.

Check out my recently published content on AC:

Tips to Increase Your Chance for Success as a Published Writer

If you are interested in writing, and especially if you want to make money with your pieces, check out the website for an easy opportunity to gain writing experience and writing clips.

Follow your passions and Happy Fall.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter

The new issue of the Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter has arrived in my mailbox. If you do not subscribe, you need to check out their website for the newest information on research and trials leading to the cure of leukemia and lymphoma.

Visit for the best and most accurate information regarding treatment, clinical trials, and current research on this common childhood disease. There are children being cured of these diseases and this organization is behind the funding for research.

Check it out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A new Treatment for mucositis

If you or a loved one is experiencing mucositis from the results of chemotherapy, you owe it to yourself to check out this new gel. The product description gives directions for adults, but check with your physician to see if it can be applied with q-tips for teens and children over the age of 8.

Gelclair is an oral gel for mucositis. More information can be found at

The symptoms of mucositis are: (post chemotherapy)

  • early signs....redness and swelling inside the mouth
  • day 1-5 .....first signs of painful sores
  • day 6-12....spreading of the sores inside of the mouth with signs of white patches
  • day 12-16.... slow signs of healing begin ( usually before the next round of chemo is due)

What you can do:

  • practice good oral hygiene
  • eat soft, bland foods
  • drink cool liquids (avoiding too hot or too cold)
  • avoid citrus or acidic foods
  • avoid alcohol and tobacco products

Gelclair gently soothes the pain, is non-numbing, non-stinging, and non-drying. It is by prescription, so ask you health care provider if this is right for you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

visit my new site

  • Just a quick reminder that I have a website too. I have articles about grief and book reviews for kids. There is a Kids words and then some where kids can actually comment and ask questions for a more interactive response. The site is at

I have a business page where I list more about myself and what I have to offer as far as freelance writing goes. I will add more and more as my product list increases.

I have an email sign up for future newsletters and soon I will have free ebooks to offer those who sign up for my list too.

The best part for me is that I also can start a web store. Initially I will have journals, pillow cases with the animal theme of the site for kids in the hospital, and handmade cards. I will add products as readers let me know what they need.

I hope to have stuffed animals and other products that will go along with gift giving ideas for sick kids. Here you will soon be able to purchase an entire gift bag for a child in the hospital.

Eventually, I will have my own children's books on the site, but publishing is a long process so keep checking.

Check the site at

It is different than the blog and may require you to click on a page or two to find what you want to read, but I hope it is more kid friendly than the blog and will serve you just as well.

Happy reading.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Visit this site for a great resource for kids and a new book review

Check out the new website/blog of author Jewel Samples at
  • Here you will find endless resources and ideas for kids of all ages and a great book review on THE DRAGONFLY SECRET by authors Clea and John Adams.
Jewel does a nice job of interviewing these authors using good questions from kids themselves.
Jewel is the author of FLYING HUGS AND KISSES, a book dealing with a family who has suffered the loss of an infant from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Her site offers other resources for grief as well as activities for kids.
Check it out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fresh Foods....healthy and tasty

My sister sent me these pics in an email. They are an artistic masterpiece.

It is hard to tell from these pictures, but they are made out of food.

The pictures make the food look so good, that you would never imagine how difficult it is to make children eat a healthy diet. Multiply that difficulty ten-fold when a child is undergoing chemotherapy, is experiencing nausea, has mouth sores, and is a picky eater anyway.

Here are a few quick tips to help get some much needed nutrients into those little stomachs.

1. Finger foods are the best. Kids will pick at their food if it is in gigantic portions, so serving small amounts and making it easy to pick up with their fingers while they are doing other things will help them to eat more. Apple slices, chicken chunks, banana slices, raisins, grapes, and cheese sticks are good choices. These foods are not spicy and not acidic so are easier to chew and swallow if the child is suffering from mouth sores.

2. Offer Popsicles frequently for hydration. Freeze pudding or juices in ice cube trays or Popsicle molds for added calories. Milk shakes and smoothies also give calories and are easier to consume than solid foods when a child has a queasy stomach.

3. Give anti-nausea medications as ordered to help prevent vomiting. Children will be more afraid to eat if they think they will vomit every time they eat.

4. Let children make a few reasonable choices when picking out their menu. They will eat more if it is something they choose. Remember, the chemotherapy may change the way things taste. Foods that your child used to eat before the illness may not taste good to him or her after treatments have started. Be patient.

5. Offer non acidic fluids frequently to help ward off dehydration. Small sips frequently can be just as beneficial as a whole cup three times a day.

Nutrition is an important part of the healing process. If you have questions or are having a difficult time finding foods that your child will eat, consult with a dietitian or nutritionist. Your family doctor or nurse are also good sources of nutritional information.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall ....

Fall is the time of year for beautiful foliage, fields to harvest, pumpkins to gather, and runny noses and allergies.

Tips to keep in mind:

Treat allergy symptoms with over the counter medicines to relieve runny noses and itchy eyes.

Ask your family doctor to recommend the best medicines for the kids in your house.

Keep children home from school if they run a fever with these symptoms because that usually means it is a virus and can be contagious to others.

Washing hands frequently is the best known way to prevent colds and flu from spreading.

Take advantage of the fall veggies and fruits. A healthy diet including snacks will help prevent the fall and winter illnesses that often plague us this time of year.

Get fresh air and exercise. Enjoy a walk to view the changing leaves, rake a section of the yard, or work in the garden to improve your health and to just plain enjoy the beauty of the season.

Remember that fresh air and sunshine will help to relieve stress, so get out there and enjoy and be thankful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter......

The month of September was Leukemia and Lymphoma awareness month. There is so much research and new treatment modalities available that I can't possibly list it all here but you can check out the leukemia website for some great information. They have a newsletter you can receive monthly right to your email box. Blood cancers of all types are a challenge but don't have to be a death sentence. Check out the newsletter for positive information and hope.
Spread the word to others for a reliable source of good information. Whether you are newly diagnosed or you know someone who is, this website leads to other resources and can provide answers to the questions you have and may be afraid to ask.
The site gives positive results and clinical trial information, fundraising opportunities, and what research is going on today. Check it out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Kids.....

In the midst of a health crisis and the worry of diagnosis and treatment plans it is important for parents to keep in mind that kids just want to be happy. That means the child who is ill and going through the diagnosis and treatment of a serious illness and the siblings at home.

How can parents keep happiness as a priority?
  1. Find something to laugh about even in the midst of the crisis. Humor goes along way to easing tension and fear.
  2. Express love frequently and reassurance often. Children need to know that an illness is no fault of their own and that no one is angry at them for being ill. They also need to know that just because they are ill it is not a free ride to being rude, thoughtless, or irresponsible. This is particularly important for teens to understand.
  3. Simple rewards are a fun way to treat both the child who is ill and the siblings for a rough day or an unpleasant treatment. Movies, game nights, or any little special reward help to restore happiness and hope after a stressful experience and can keep tension down and family time a priority.
  4. Keep to family traditions or start new ones to keep everyone in the family connected during those times when you feel disconnected due to the current crisis. Bedtime stories, phone calls, or special meals give everyone in the family something to look forward to when treatments seem overwhelming.
  5. Leave happy notes in book bags or lunch boxes. Siblings can write notes to each other, parents can write notes to kids, husbands can leave notes for wives, pets can leave secret notes to kids leaving a trail of encouragement and affection for the recipients.

Happiness can be found in the middle of a crisis when you keep love at the center of what ever you are dealing with. It is important to show children how to find this kind of happiness and to teach them the skills to deal with the rougher side of life. I have learned these skills myself from my parents and grandparents and it is a joy to pass them on to my own children.

As my grandmother always used to say, "No matter what, keep laughing"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Young High School Student with Cancer Writes and Publishes a Book.....

Here is a story you have to read. This young high school student named Stephen Beirne has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor at the base of his skull and into his spinal cord called a Chordoma. He is going through chemotherapy treatments and surgical treatments and guess what he has done during this treatment.......

He has written a book. He doesn't feel sorry for himself, he writes. And he donates the proceeds to Make-A-Wish- Foundation.

Now, I say that is fantastic. What a role model for other teens. His book is a fantasy where the main character, Eamon, risks his life and the lives of his friends in search of a treasure.

This book sounds pretty exciting to me. You can get your own copy by calling The Learned Owl bookstore at 1-800-968-2685 to give your credit card information.

You may also email the bookstore if you have questions at

Get your copy soon and let me know what you think. Remember the proceeds from the book go to Make-A-Wish-Foundation and that is a great cause.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Helping Children with Grief........

  • It is so important to remember that children feel grief and pain at a very young age, even when we go to great lengths to protect them from it. And they will express it in ways we may not understand at the time, but we need to acknowledge.

I can see it in siblings dealing with these emotions in our intensive care and I see it in my own grandchildren.

My five year old granddaughter is sensitive or dramatic to these feelings depending on her mood. She may turn on the water works like when her barn kitten was fatally injured, ( one was hit by a car not too long ago and she can still cry buckets over it) or she may be totally mature and matter of fact, ( like when she explained about the skunk hit on that same road. Here she simply stated the obvious fact that she would be very glad when the skunk was all the way flat because then he wouldn't let off that stinky puff every time a car ran over him.) And she was quick to reassure me that I should not be sad because my daddy,her great papaw, was with Jesus so I shouldn't cry.

My grandson who is two can also show his grief as he did this week when my dad passed away. He spent several minutes throwing himself to the floor playing "dead" to show my granddaughter what it was like when papaw died.

Follow these tips to help your child to feel free to express their grief:

  1. Allow your child to talk about death in his own words without judging
  2. Use age appropriate honesty to explain the event or to discuss family/religious beliefs
  3. Answer questions as simply and truthfully as possible without overwhelming the child
  4. Find ways to honour the memory of the loved one or beloved pet to help your child remember
  5. Weave joy and laughter with the tears ... it will reassure your child and tame their imagination about what they don't understand.

Following these tips will help to ease your child's fear about death and to reassure your child that there is still love and happiness in the midst of sadness and grief. And give hugs, really big hugs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Victory .....not the defeat.

I have been away from the blog for a few days because our beloved dad passed away suddenly last Friday. He was blessed to go peacefully in his sleep with the love of his life, our mom, by his side.

I have experienced the loss of my grandparents, my father in law, and my niece, but I have never experienced a loss so deep as the loss of my dad. He was a man of integrity, of love, of kindness, and of faith. He was our role model of what a loving husband, father, and grandfather should be. And he loved each of us unconditionally, as Christ loves his Church.

It is because of that faith that I can say to you here that I also have not experienced as much joy as the absolute joy of knowing that my dad is in heaven. I pray that each and every reader who is going through this kind of grief and loss will experience the same joy of which I speak.

Victory in death and heaven is the prize. May all of you share your love and your faith with others so death will not defeat us, heaven will greet us, and each of us will have everlasting life.

Peace and blessings to all. Hope to those who need it. And joy in everything, always joy.

And that is what my dad has taught me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Taking it all for granted.......

It is amazing that nurses untangle the mess of wires, cords, and monitors to make any sense of what each item represents. Yet nurses don't even look at the wires as a mess, they just untangle them and move on and never explain any of it to the parents.

I am in the process of writing a " day in the life" kind of manuscript for a publisher and in the process I am discovering how much I take for granted and how much the reader ( lay person, parent, family member, ) might not understand, and how frightening it might appear.

I also must take photos for this book. At first I could not for the life of me figure out what anyone would want to see that they haven't seen before. And then it occurred to me, that not everyone has had a child critically ill, thank God, and maybe they have never seen inside an ICU.

So, now I am on a mission to be more detailed in any explanation that I give to parents who have never had this experience. I will try to be more exact when I address certain issues here as well, because for most readers this may be the first or second place they have read about it.

With all of this in mind, please email me if there is a subject you would like more information on. You can also list it in the comment section. For starters, I think I will start with basic medical terms regarding laboratory testing that most parents will come in contact with at some point, even with healthy children.

Look for information on the complete blood count coming soon. More detailed information will be compiled into a handy ebook for parents when I have the best information put together. Watch for that information as well.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Book Review- When Someone You Love Has Cancer

Here is another book in the Elf Help series that parents may find helpful.
When Someone You Love Has Cancer- A Guide to Help Kids Cope is an excellent place to start when explaining things to kids.
Things like Is Cancer Contagious....and other questions kids have but that parents may not know exactly how to answer.
Author Alaric Lewis gives kids and their parents the answers and Illustrator R.W. Alley enhances the text with the adorable elf characters he has done in other Elf Help books for kids.
The book was released in September of 2005 and is one of the best ways to approach the subject of cancer with your child. The book can be found in the library, at, or at your local book store.
I know you and your child will be able to talk about your loved one and this disease with more understanding after reading this text together. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Family Retreat When a Child is Seriously Ill ......

I want to tell you about a retreat in Danbury, Wisconsin that is for parents who have a seriously ill child or who have lost a child and need a place to heal.

This retreat is in a quiet and serene area surrounded by tall pines and rolling hills, where parents can visit with other parents who have gone through the same grief or are dealing with the trials of having a serious illness in their family. There are activities, week end stays, private areas, and a host of other amenities to help families regroup and begin to heal.

Faiths lodge has served 155 families since it opened in July of 2007. They have served 55 bereaved parents/couples and served 50 families of seriously ill children. The Today show featured Faith's Lodge on July 24th of this year and a segment of that recording can be viewed on the Lodge website at

The Lodge relies on word of mouth and volunteers to assist with the programs. More information can be found on their website at or by contacting:

Faith’s Lodge

Attn: Kristi Luenzmann, Program Director 6942 County Road C Danbury, WI 54830

This lodge serves the Midwest and guests have traveled from MN, WI, ND, SD, IL, MO, KY, OH, GA, and CA. Check out the website for a virtual tour and see what the lodge has to offer. You can download an application from the website if you know a family who is grieving and could benefit from such a retreat.

And you can also find what volunteer opportunities are available and how you can donate both time or money to such a worthy cause.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Purple Songs Can Fly....

I just read a great article about a well known pianist and singer from Texas who has made a difference in the lives of children with cancer. The article was in Family Circle July 2008 and some of you may have read it.

I went a step further and visited the website, Here is a wonderful example of what one person can do when they set their minds to it.

Children with cancer have so much on their minds and hearts while going through treatments. Anita Kruse is helping children with cancer express themselves in music. What a wonderful idea. Wouldn't it be grand if we had a music program like this one in every children's hospital in every state.

Not only do these kids get to make music and write lyrics, they can record their songs on CD's and some of them are played in airplanes for passengers. One of the CD's went on the shuttle, Discovery with astronaut Scott Parazynski. Now that is pretty cool.

Check out these photos from the website and visit for more information.

Then follow your own heart and see if you can make a difference in the lives of children in some small way.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Fantastic Source for Diseases and Treatments for the Pediatric Population

I am always on the look out for reliable resources for parents who have a child recently diagnosed with a serious illness. A diagnosis of cancer or other equally serious illness renders a parent virtually helpless and at a loss for information.

Children's Medical Center in Texas is a leading hospital for children aged newborn to 18 years old. The website for the medical center is full of great information. There is a health library on the site where parents can look up any disease they need information on and here they will find reliable and accurate facts, treatments, and clinical trial resources to discuss with their personal physician.

The intranet is a valuable and quick way to compare information and it is most important to be sure your sources are reliable. This site is one to check out at and

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do You Like to Write.......

Sometimes parents and teens dealing with a serious illness have more to say than the average person who wants to write. They cut to the chase and can put into words all their feelings, their pain, and their hopes.

If you are dreaming of becoming a writer I have the club for you. This club is mentored by published author Suzanne Lieurance. Just google her name and you will find several pages of her accomplishments and a list of her expertise.

The Children's Writers' Coaching Club is for all people interested in writing. Publishing will come, but the club gives you tips, critiques, and fellowship with other writers who love to write. You will be able to hone your writing skills and to improve on what you already know.

So no matter what your background is, if you love to write, this is the place to start. The fee is only 27.00 per month and you get so much for your money. There are weekly teleclasses, group critiques, and weekly assignments geared towards improving your writing.

Join the club this month for a free CD on writing biographies for children. Just go to the right side of the blog and look for the icon for Children's Writers' Coaching Club and it will take you right to the site.

If you want to improve on your writing, I promise you that Suzanne is the best. If you want to get published, she will point you in the right direction. And if you just want to write, that's okay too. Join today to meet new writers with the same goals.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My new website....more interactive for the kids.....

  1. Check out my new has some of the same information as my blog but more interactive for the kids.....
There is a page where kids can actually make comments to other kids...things like what it is like to loose your hair, or what you wish others knew about being sick.. Click on Kids words and then some and the page comes up. Then just click on comment and write away.
The articles are more for kids to read... the newest one is how to get on the right foot with the new school year.
And there is a mailing list to sign up for. Soon there will be free e-books for both parents and kids. And there will be a web store also
Kids...leave me comments about what you would like the store to have in it... Do you want cards to send to other kids? Journals? T-shirts? Note cards? Hats?
You name it and I will find a way to put it in the web store.
Also, if there is a topic or question about a health issue you would like the answer to, I will find the answer for you. So......
Check out the site and let me know what you think. Parents and kids allowed.
Hope to hear from you soon so we can keep in touch.

Candle Sales to benefit Leukemia Society

Not many of you know that I am a distributor for Mia Bella soy candles. While most people make tons of money selling items, I myself am not a salesperson so I don't let others know that I even can sell these great candles. I keep my membership so that I can get the candles monthly for myself and never worry about if I have sold to others on the website.

However, I am reaching out of my comfort zone to let others know about my candle website for one reason.... my passion for kids with leukemia.

I will give 25 percent of whatever money is made from candle sales for the months of August, September, and October from sales on the website and I will be sending it t0 The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma society does so much with their funds... it goes for research, directly to programs that help kids with the diseases, and to help defray treatment costs for children who are in need. You can visit to see more and to read stories about kids doing well with their treatment.

So, it is another way for me to reach out and maybe make a difference. If you visit the site and feel compelled to purchase a great smelling candle, it will be appreciated and go to a good cause.

Visit to order online. They will keep a record of sales and I will let you know what our donation is at the end of October. Look at the site for the candle icon at the top to sign up for the free candle drawing the company sponsors too. Maybe you will be a lucky winner.

Blessings to all.

PS. I have a new opt in box to join my mailing list. We have had a few kinks in it but I am getting the correct email addresses, it is just slow to get the messages out to you. When you sign up there should follow a three article Welcome greeting on dealing with kids and illnesses. Look for it in your email soon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Milk shake recipe for cancer patients

A writer and friend of mine has graciously offered this milk shake recipe for patients who need extra calories and have a poor appetite. I think it sounds tasty, however the caffiene content may not be wise for younger children. As always, check with your family doctor before adding any new items to your diet especially while going through cancer treatments.

High Protein/High Calorie Shake Recipe

Mix in a bowl with a whisk (to decrease lumps):

2 scoops of vanilla Mus-L-Blast Body Building Formula
This product can be found at stores like Savon, and GNC. it is packaged in a large 52oz can.
1 can of Ensure Plus, Boost Plus OR Prosure
Prosure is not available in stores. It may be purchased on-line at:
It is formulated for cancer patients to help build muscle, promote weight gain, and increase strength.


1-2 tablespoons chocolate sauce
¼ cup decaffeinated espresso or rich, dark coffee

Place in a blender with:

½ cup coffee ice cream
Use Starbuck’s, Haagen-Daz’s, Double Rainbow or other high calorie ice cream. One half cup of these contains 250 calories.

Blend until smooth. Store refrigerated and shake before use.

I make 2 shakes at a time in the blender, three times (a total of 6 shakes) and store in the refrigerator to make it easier for me.

Experiment with amounts of coffee and chocolate sauce and types of ice cream. Starbuck’s makes coffee/Carmel, coffee/chocolate chip and coffee/mud pie ice creams.

My friend who started making these shakes says that the coffee/chocolate flavor is the best to cover the unpleasant taste of the ensure/prosure and protein powder. If you do not care for the mocha flavor you might try Strawberry Boost Plus with strawberry jam and ice cream OR vanilla Ensure with peach jam or sauce and peach ice cream. Be creative to adjust to your taste.
Thanks to Theresa Schultz for the recipe. Check out her blog at
Let me know how it tastes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hugs ... anyone need one today?

Sometimes we just need a hug. It would be nice if it came from Mickey himself, but alas, that is not always possible.

But we can play Mickey and give out the hugs when someone least expects it.

The hug doesn't have to be a physical hug. It can come in the form of a hand written note, a flower, a card, a favorite sweet treat, or a phone call or email.

Each person you know and some you don't know are going through something. Maybe their first born has gone off to college for the first time. How about an elder from the church who doesn't get many visitors or letters in the mail. Then there are your casual friends at work, or maybe a teenager you know who could use a lift or some words of encouragement before starting the new school year. Do you know anyone going through a health crisis, big or small?

The list is endless when it comes to finding someone who may need a hug. The problem is we are busy, we have our own needs, we have our own issues, and we become so wrapped up in our life that we don't look around at who we may be able to touch with a simple and kind hug of sorts.

I challenge the readers here to look for one person you can encourage or send a note to, someone you can give a kind word to or even a smile. It will open you up for so many blessings to come your way if you take just one quick moment to bless someone else with just a sweet hug.

Pretend you are Mickey Mouse and it is your job if you have to, but do it. You will feel better for it, I promise.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shave your head for the cause

This is a site you just have to visit. Go to to find out what this organization does for children with cancer.

They shave heads for the cause. They raise money for cancer research and they hold all kinds of fun events to raise the funds needed for these kids so they get the treatment they deserve.

Visit the site and click on THE KIDS to view personal stories about children with cancer, both those who are fighting, those who have won the battle, and sadly, those who have passed away.

This site is full of information and ways that you can help if you want to get more involved. Be ready to laugh, to cry, and to pray for the kids you read about. The site makes cancer real for those readers who have no experience with children who fight this nasty disease.

Visit the site and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New blog for kids

This picture is from a great new blog site for kids by the author of Flying Hugs and Kisses , Jewel Samples.
She writes for kids and now has a site where they can explore and be safe, learn and enjoy without being preached at, and all around stretch their minds while having fun.
I love sites like these because even if your child is ill and confined to a hospital bed or inside for a length of time, they can still stay connected to their peers with the computer and great sites like this one.
This site has information and news that will interest kids of all ages. Check it out and let me know what you think. More important, leave a comment for the author so she knows what you think. The site address is
Thanks, Jewel, for an exciting and stimulating site for kids.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Death of a frog...and other truths

My granddaughter called me today to tell me her momma frog died. She has this little family of toads actually, who live by her basement window. She follows them closely and frequently calls me or shows me the little family and their recent activity.

So, to make a long story short, she is five and I tried to make light of the event and told her that maybe the momma just hopped away to visit some other frogs. This is what she told me......

" No, mamaw, her head is flat and her legs are stretched out and her belly is sucked in and she isn't moving. She is dead for real."

So the point of this story is this. Kids know more than we give them credit for. If your child is dealing with a serious illness, he or she knows more than you realize... for real.

Parents need to be honest when dealing with a child who is going through a tough time. Language should be age appropriate and the truth should be given in small doses but the key here is for what is said to be the truth...

If something is going to hurt...say it may hurt but you will be there with them.

If a medicine will taste terrible...say it will taste terrible but you will give them a sweet treat afterwards.

If your child asks tough questions about his or her illness... take it one step at a time, be age appropriate, but be honest and simply say you don't have all of the answers.

Never force your child into feeling like he or she has to protect you and your feelings, because kids are so smart and they know much more than we are ready for them to know, for real.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Brillante Weblog Premio- 2008 Award

I am excited to display this Brillante Weblog premio award for 2008 given to me by children's author and illustrator Dawn Phillips for this blog. Visit her blog at to see her work.

We have been in the Working writers coaching club for several months together. Suzanne Lieurance is our writing coach and has helped each of us grow into better writers so this award for my blog is very special. This encouragement from such a talented writer and illustrator touches my heart and will help to keep me focused on writing more of what the readers of this blog need.

I thank you from my heart. In turn I would like to pass this award on to other who have encouraged me as well as other writers. Please visit their blogs and leave a comment about the work you see. There are truly talented writers out there who need to be heard and have great wisdom to share.

Dorothy Massey

Lisa Kirby

Carma Dutra

Judy Ferril

Theresa Schultz

Dorit Sasson

Jewel Samples

Here are the rules for the next recipients of the Brillante Weblog Premio 2008 Award, established in 2005:

1. The award may be displayed on a winner's blog.
2. Add a link to the person who you received the award from.
3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.
4. Then add their links to your blog.
5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on to in the comments section of their blog.

Again, thank you and please keep reading. Enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

School Health for Kids

Kids of all ages will be going back to school soon and because of the privacy laws in each state, teachers and school personnel may not always be aware of a student who has faced an illness of consequence over the summer.

I am talking about an illness which would leave that student with a compromised immune system. An illness like cancer, leukemia, certain anemia's, sickle cell disease, or diabetes for example.

If the student is your child, consider being honest with school personnel about the state of your child's health.The more the staff at the school know, the better they can protect your child.

Parents of other children who have never faced the fight of a compromising illness need to keep in mind a few tips.

  • Keep your child home if he or she has a fever, and keep them home until they have been fever free for 24 hours.
  • Fever indicates a virus or bacterial illness is brewing. Attending school with a fever exposes anyone else to the unknown bug especially those kids you are not aware of who have an immune deficient illness.
  • Keep your child home if he or she is vomiting. The rules apply to vomiting as to a is a sign of a virus. Avoid exposing others to the same bug.

For more tips on how to keep your child well or how to keep from exposing other children to your child's newest bug, visit or where I will post other articles on these subjects.

Arm yourself with as much information as possible when dealing with your school age children to keep them healthy and to keep the children they come into contact with healthy as well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Information on Breast Cancer

I am a
firm believer in educating yourself on health issues. I also believe there is an abundance of excellent resources out there for you to make wise decisions regarding your health.

  • Here are two websites to go to for the newest and best information on inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms can be deceiving and at these two websites you can find current information on both signs and symptoms and how to follow up with your physician.
  • I believe in self breast exams as one way to detect an abnormality. It does not take the place of a mammogram and a physical from your physician.
  • Breast cancer does hit all ages and be aware, it also can occur in male breast tissue.

Please visit these sites for more information and to educate yourselves about good breast health. And use this information to educate your teenage girls about good breast health. It is important and may be life saving. Do it for yourself and do it for the girls and the women in your life whom you love and adore.