Wednesday, March 31, 2010

beautiful boy... a book review

beautiful boy- A father's journey through his son's addiction

Author: David Sheff

IBSN 13-978-0-618-68335-2

Houghton Mifflin-2006

  • As a nurse and writer of this blog, sometimes I neglect to write about and offer resouces for parents who have a child suffering from addictions.

And let me tell you, any parent who has a child going through an addiction problem whether it is drugs or alcohol, sex or pornography, feels that their child has a terminal illness. Parents will discover that the same feelings and emotions a parent experiences when their child is diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness also experiences those same emotions when they find their child afflicted with substance abuse.

Substance abuse destroys families, it underminds trust, and changes family relationships. It is financially and emotionally devastating.

beautiful boy- a fathers journey through his son's addiction is a great resource for parents because it is a real life account of what a family has felt. It validates the emotional roller coaster that a family experiences and offers a guide to how one family coped. The book offers resource sites at the end of the book as well, however, the impact from the book is the validation of a parent's feelings.

If you or someone you know has a child dealing with addictions, suggest this book as another source of real life information. It does not offer a cure, but does offer hope and a real life account of how you keep going. Check it out and let me know what you think. This can be purchased at your local book store, found at your local library, or at I think you will find it eye opening and honest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A great resource for leukemia and lymphoma research

Another great resource for parents and children diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, is the Leukemia Research Foundation.

Someone is diagnosed with Leukemia or lymphoma every 5 minutes....EVERY 5 MINUTES. That is an astounding statistic. And where do those parents go when they have been handed this blow.

I have many times suggested and now I am pleased to add this new site as well.

Check out and find out more valuable information. LRF donates over 1 million dollars a year to research for a cure for leukemia. They also offer over 200,000 dollars in financial help for families. Check out there site to see what they offer. I think you will find information, fundraising sites, and more tips for dealing with this disease. Let me know what you find so we can share it with other parents and kids fighting this fight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tips to Help Your Child With Bad News

  • Parents often feel like they need to have all the right answers for their children. That theory is blown away when the parent must share information that is heart wrenching. When the news is about the child, the parent remains in some control and may choose to share the information about a diagnosis or treatment plan in small snippets.

But what if the information is bad and it is about the parent rather than the child? How does a parent go about telling a child about an illness or other bad news when the parent knows it will break a child's heart? Here are a couple of tips to consider when sharing information with your child about your own health.

1. Be honest and age appropriate. A teen can digest more information at one time than a 5 year old. Information given on a need to know basis must be honest and timely. For instance,don't wait to the last minute to tell a child you are in a terminal state. A child should be part of the diagnosis and treatment process as their age allows and as your treatment plan changes.

2. Be frank about what your treatments will involve, what the child can expect from you, and what they can do to help. Do not make your child responsible for your care, but let them know what symptoms you may experience during treatment so the child is not so frightened. Suggest things the child might do to help you, like keeping their room clean, making a snack, or playing quietly from time to time when you are not feeling your best.

3. Understand that your illness will be heartbreaking for your child, but that children may not show their true feelings the same way you do. Children will go on and play, be with friends, and often act out in anger and or other behaviors because they do not feel in control of what is happening. Avoid reacting in anger towards your child, but attempt to have open and honest conversations. Let your child know that no matter what the future holds, your love for them will never change.

4. Allow your child or teen some choices about what directly involves them. Maybe they can choose whether to spend the night at a friend's home or a grandparent's home for one of the nights if you are hospitalized. Maybe they can decide if they want to miss a practice or game rather than you telling them what to do. Allow them to set the tone for hospital visits as well, and avoid being hurt if your child chooses to stay away for a time. Remember children process things differently than an adult, and may not always be able to handle the hospital atmosphere.

5. Never lie to a child if the diagnosis is serious. You can have honest conversations about outcomes without being morbid. Always point out the brighter side of things as well as the more serious side, but never promise that everything will be fine especially if you don't know. It is better to help the child or teen work on coping skills for the time when things might get tough.

It is always always difficult to tell your child you have been diagnosed with a serious illness. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, our children were 5, 10, and 12. It was a very tearful and heart wrenching time but we were honest and gave them the information in small amounts. The children knew when we had doctor's appointments, they knew the day of surgery and they attended school with a grandparent waiting for them after school, and they knew when radiation treatments started. We talked about the side effects of the treatment that they would visually be seeing and we talked about the prognosis with a hopeful spin.

Above all, the children knew that they were loved and that as a family we would handle what came next with the faith and strength God would give us. It was a very hard time, but we made it through. With these tips, you take things one day at a time and love, always love.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Expert in Arthritis Author Irene Roth

Welcome Author Irene Roth to the blog today. She is a known author, expert in arthritis, and has recently published articles on arthritis in a national newspaper.

Children suffer from arthritis too, and Juvenile Arthritis is one of the number one illnesses for children under the age of 18.

Here Irene gives you some very basic information and links to more information for those of you who have or think you may have arthritis.

About the article: Title: Are you too young to be achy and sore?

In this article, I examine how kids can cope when they feel different because they have arthritis. They may feel slower than their siblings because of stiff and sore joints. They may be slower getting out of bed because of the pain in their joints. I then list a few things that kids could do if they have arthritis to cope with the disease.

Some of the things that I suggest are as follows:

1. Realize that you're not alone;

2. Tell your teachers about your diagnosis;

3. Accept your disabilities by using a few self-management techniques such as pacing yourself and to listening to your body.

About my experience with arthritis: I have been leading arthritis self-management workshops for almost ten years. It is a six week workshop on how to manage arthritis. It includes a book and a lot of reading material on the different types of arthritis. P

articipants are given a lot of valuable information during the six weeks and feel much more able to live with the least amount of pain.

I was first diagnosed with arthritis in 2000, and I took this very same workshop myself. I felt so alone and out of control. I was 40 at the time and felt that life has somehow cheated me.

The workshop so changed my life and my confidence level that I just knew that I had to help others have the very same feeling that I had at that moment.

So, I got trained through the Arthritis Society to run the workshop and have been running them ever since then here in Perth county and London, Ontario.

I also run some workshops in Kitchener, Ontario.

Visit these links for more information, for copies of the original article, and for links to Irene's sites. Let me know what you find.

The name of the publication that the article appeared in was: The Beacon Herald. It appeared in the Saturday edition of the paper. The web address for the Beacon Herald is:

Writer's Blog: blog for girls: Blog: of: of: Children's Writers Coaching ClubMember of Children's Writers NetworkICL Member Member of CBI Clubhouse

Friday, March 12, 2010

Arthritis and Children, New Cancer Site, and More from Lilly

We have seen signs of spring this week, birds, sunshine, and the scent of spring rains. Spring brings a sense of adventure and new beginnings.

Here at Heartfelt4kids we are feeling the same sense of adventure. We will be honoured to host author Irene Roth next week. Irene is an expert in arthritis in adults and children. She is a published author with articles about the subject and we will share her information early next week with links for parents who need more information.

Lilly, my fictional character who is teaching us about Leukemia will also give us another sneak peak into her book The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. Stay tuned for that snippet.

Finally, I will be linking you to information about another fantastic agency that funds Leukemia research and assists families who are dealing with this and other blood cancers.

I am always looking for more sites for information for parents and kids with serious or terminal illnesses, and I will be gathering more information on other illnesses besides cancer.

Check back often next week for all of this current info and updates on things you may want to know. In the mean time, enjoy whatever signs of spring are sprouting up in your area. Keep a look out for the robin. I have seen robins, blue birds, a cardinal, and two raccoons so far this week. Can spring be far behind?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Leukemia and Lymphoma newsletter

I have posted about various organizations that help families dealing with cancer but I cannot post enough information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This organization offers so much to families who are dealing with these blood cancers. They offer clinical information, financial assistance in some cases, and more importantly they offer hope for a cure for these diseases.

Visit the site and sign up for their newsletter. Here you can find so much factual information and good places to contribute time and funds for research.

When my fictional book about my character Lilly gets published, this will be the first place I contribute a portion of any profit the book makes. As a nurse, I have seen first hand how this agency helps families deal with these blood cancers. I give it an A+ as a service agency and highly recommend it as a resource for parents with a child newly diagnosed with leukemia.

Check it out at