Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year- New and Exciting Possibilities for 2012

May God Bless each and everyone of you with health and happiness in 2012. May He give you wisdom and guidance in your situation and may He give you peace.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Clinical trials in Chicago for Children with Sarcoma

Children get cancer and it sucks. Here is a quick video from the University of Chicago explaining the need for more money for research for cancer in children.

Visit this youtube video for the newest research at University of Chicago for Sarcoma in children.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Ideas, New Prayers, New Book Cover, New Focus.......

Many of you know that I am a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse as well as a writer. The focus here has been on children with a serious illness but in 2012 I will be expanding the focus to include pregnancy/fetal growth and development information as well as more up to date information on childhood illness.

I will be having give aways for books like What to Expect When You're Expecting and other children's books on death, illness, first aid, wellness, and literacy. I am pumping up my writing career and expanding my goals so that I can use my expertise as both a nurse and a writer to make a difference.

Keep checking back for the give aways and product reviews. Soon there will be a free e-book for signing up for my email list. I am working on that as another way I can help parents who are dealing with kids who may be sick. Whether the illness is acute or chronic, parents ultimately have questions or ideas. I hope to be able to encourage and support parents and children in many aspects of sickness and in health.

Visit my other blogs :

and my website :

It is going to be a different kind of New Year in 2012. New focus, New prayers, New book, and hopefully making many new friends as readers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Ideas, New Prayers, New Book Cover, New Focus.......

The holidays bring happiness but they can be bittersweet for those parents dealing with a child who has cancer. My picture book will be out in the spring and I hope it helps both children with cancer as well as their peers to understand the disease and the daily battle these children face.
While my new book shows a positive outlook for children with cancer, keep in mind that many children and their families are not having such a positive experience. This experience and battle seems more devastating during the holiday season. I have an ongoing prayer list for children I follow on my Caringbridge sites who are very sick this season. Some of these children will win their battle, some maybe not. All of these children need prayer. Please consider praying for  Haley, Noah, Ben, Emily, and Kate sometime during your holiday celebration. And look for many new things here in 2012 to celebrate children with cancer. These are very special children who show bravery, honesty, and unconditional love as they fight their own battles against cancer. May God bless them all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November is NaNoWriMo and PiBoldMo- What are you writing today?

This is picture book idea month and I am participating in it. The point is to come up with an idea everyday for a picture book for kids that can later be developed into a story or book.

My goal is to have at least half of the ideas I come up with to have a health related theme. Why? Because kids need more books, fiction and nonfiction, that entertain while educating. And children need to be educated on many health related themes, not by nagging parents or by government restrictions but by stories about other children ( characters) that they learn to care about and to love.

A character who has leukemia as in my soon to be released picture book, The ABC's According to Lilly Isabella Lane, shows the reader what it means to go through treatment for cancer and survive.

A character who loves basketball but who suffers with Sickle Cell Anemia will show the reader what dreams are made of and what it means to be courageous as in the next book in the ABC's series I am writing.

A character who is dealing with the parent's divorce, a sibling on drugs, obesity, bullying, or diabetes will show the reader real life truths about these issues while entertaining and educating. Books with serious themes will encourage even young readers to make changes or take actions in real life.

So look here for more information on health related issues important to kids as I research and find the newest tidbits to share with parents and kids as I go on to write some really good books.

If you have ideas for topics that need more coverage in the form of stories for children or teens, please feel free to comment or email me your ideas. I look forward to hearing what matters to you.


Blog for writers:

Blog for those with cancer:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye

It is always sad when a child looses a pet. Here is a book that can help your child to understand the pain and loss of loosing a pet and find the good memories left in the heart. This book will help open the conversation about just such a loss.

Title: The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye

By: Jane Yolen and Jim LaMarche

Published by: Random House; Date: 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86663-0

Price: $16.99

Ages: 4-8

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

Synopsis: Have you ever experienced the death of a pet cat or dog? Tiger Rose is a gray striped tabby cat. She was born in the city but now lives in the country with a boy and a girl who love her, a dog named Rowf who tolerates her, and two grown-ups named Mom and Pop who let her sit on the sofa as long as she doesn’t use her claws. She is surrounded by bushes, pine trees, butterflies, blue jays, moles, voles, chipmunks, snakes, starlings, ants, bees, sparrows, and goldfinches.

However, Tiger Rose has grown old and tired and slow. Her kitten days are so long ago that they are only small sparks of memory. Her legs sometimes hurt, and she no longer has an appetite for chasing food. One soft, spring day, she knows that it is time to say goodbye. “It is time,” she says to Rowf who is lying on the porch. She says goodbye to Mom and Pop as they drive off in their cars. She says farewell to the boy and girl as they walk to school. She says goodbye to all the rest of her friends. Finally, she cleans herself from head to tail, lies down under the roses, curls up into a ball, and falls asleep. What will happen then?

Overall thoughts: The loss of a beloved pet is a difficult time for children, and sometimes for many of us who are older too. When I was growing up, we had lots of cats and a few dogs, so we had our share of kids’ pet funerals. In the last almost twenty or so years, we have had three house cats in our family, and when the first two passed on each instance was hard on our boys. Author Jane Yolen, whose Owl Moon won a Caldecott Medal, tells a very touching and sensitive story, beautifully illustrated by pastel drawings by Jim LaMarche, which will help to provide a sense of peace and comfort to a child whose pet has died. Yes, the book is sad, and I must admit to having eyes blurred by tears when I finished it, but I heartily recommend it as a tender, loving tale that can well be called “as much a celebration of life as of its gentle end.”

Links: (author), (publisher)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Guest Post: Rachael Benson

Please Help me welcome author Rachael Benson to the blog today. She has a wonderful and inspirational testimony about living in a wheel chair. She is a great example for those who have a child with a physical challenge because she is such a positive example. She is someone these parents need to know.

As the last few months of the year are upon us and the holidays are just around the corner, may her story inspire you to reach beyond today and do something for others. She will change the way you think about physical disabilities believe me.

Please feel free to visit her blog or leave a comment. Rachael is always available to answer questions or to help others who may be living with a physical challenge. She really is an inspiration.

The Unexpected Visitor

I volunteer at my local hospital. I’m known as the “patient visitations” volunteer but I have many names. Nurses and doctors who have known me for a while and know what I do say, “Here comes the magazine lady.” But I like to call myself, ‘the unexpected visitor.” At the hospital, I knock on a patient’s door. When I hear “come in,” I enter with a big smile on my face as I say, “Hi, my name is Rachael. I volunteer here. Would you like a magazine? It’s free.” Patients are often surprised when I say that – for a couple of reasons. One reason is that they can’t believe something free is being offered to them. Once a patient answered, “What a delight.” The other reason people are often surprised is because I’m in a wheelchair, and I have cerebral palsy. Many people are surprised by the fact that someone with a disability is out in the community, let alone out contributing to society. They wonder how I can help others when it looks as if I need help myself. They might also wonder why I’d want to help others. No one says anything, but it’s obvious that people don’t know how to react because I’m in a wheelchair. Silently, their first reaction seems to be, What is she doing here?

My wheelchair starts conversation. People will ask, “What kind of illness do you have?” “It’s not an illness,” I tell them. “It’s a condition. It’s called cerebral palsy. I was born this way. I have a walker at home. I use the wheelchair in the community for faster mobility.”

People are also surprised by my openness and my ability to communicate. It makes them want to know more. Some patients may have been told by their doctor that they’re going to have to start using a wheelchair at home. They’ve never had to use a wheelchair before, and now they want to know what it’s like. “It takes a lot of practice,” I tell them. “It’s like learning how to drive a car. Even if you’ve been driving for years, every time you get a new car, you have to learn how that particular one works because each one is different. It takes time and patience. But once you get the hang of it, you can do it.”

At the end of a visit people are encouraged. Seeing me in my wheelchair often gives patients and their families the assurance they need that everything is going to be okay. Many times someone will say to me, “Thanks for coming by.” “You’re welcome.” I reply. “I’m glad to be of service.” People also say, “God Bless you.” I smile and say, “Thank you.” Volunteering at the hospital reminds me to be thankful for what I have. Some patients I visit don’t have any family at all, or their families live too far away to come visit them. I may be the only person they see besides a doctor or a nurse. If they want to talk, I’m usually the only one who has time to sit and listen to them. For these patients I call myself, “the unexpected visitor.” If I didn’t come visit them, who would? I’m able to brighten someone else’s day. It’s my pleasure.

Volunteering at the hospital and visiting patients also gives me a sense of fulfillment. People are always looking for ways to help me because of my disability. When I’m volunteering, it’s the other way around. I’m able to show them that having a disability doesn’t mean they can’t be a productive member of society. Even if they suddenly have to adjust to a lifetime in a wheelchair, they can still do the things they used to do, maybe just a little bit differently. I’m able to get people to start thinking, If this girl can do it, and she was born this way, then what’s stopping me? I always say that I was born with extra determination. If someone asks me, “Rachael, don’t you thinks this is a little dangerous?” I look at them and say, “Danger is my middle name!” It makes people laugh as they reply, “Well then, go for it!” That’s how I strive to live my life, and I try to communicate that to the people in my community. If you really want to accomplish something, nothing is impossible! Go for it!


I was born at Tarzana Hospital on February 8, 1983. I have Cerebral Palsy. I was two months earlier than expected. I was originally supposed to come on April 8, but due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain, I got pneumonia in my mother’s womb, and had to come out early. I was not expected to live. I’m only alive today by God’s grace. I’m twenty-eight years old, and I’ve been a Christian since I was very young. I live in Valencia California with my mother. My dad died of a massive heart attack on January 27, 1995.

I graduated from College of the Canyons with my A.A. degree in Social Science in June 2007. I’ve been published locally in the Canyon Call, the college newspaper, in March 2005. I’ve also been published in The Santa Clartia Magazine in April 2009. My first published work was a rebuttal, written in response to an editorial headlined: “Religious Nuts Expose Spongebob Squarepants.” The other one was called, “Would You Like A Magazine?” It was about the volunteer work that I do at the hospital, passing out magazines, and bringing smiles to patients. A lot of people don’t expect a person with a disability to be helping others. They’re surprised! I also have a blogspot.

My passion for writing began with Sesame Street books and Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I attend Grace Baptist Church where I help out with the Awana program, where I get many of my story ideas. The idea for The Hunt for heaven sparked from a child who asked, “What will heaven be like?” The story is built around the parable of the hidden treasure found in Matthew 13:44.

Now, I’m working on a second book called The Special Gift. The story line revolves around a girl named Rebecca who is in a wheelchair and also has CP. Rebecca likes to dance, but how can someone in a wheelchair dance? My goal in writing this story is to spread the gospel and raise disability awareness- to show people that having a disability does not mean deaf and dumb. People with disabilities are able to contribute to society, just in a different way. I’ve got a lot to say and I’m going to say it! As my writing advances, I want to be very similar to Joni Eareckson Tada. She is paralyzed from the waist down from a diving accident at the age of seventeen. Now she has her own disability ministry in Aguora Hills California called Joni and Friends. She helps people with disabilities and their families cope with the daily challenges of disability as well as address the spiritual aspect of it. She has written many books. I call her my spiritual mentor. I want to be the next Joni. My goal is to minister to kids and their families through my writing for many years to come.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Challenged Life:

Raising a Child with Special Needs

By Danielle Zimmerman


In a heartening book based on her personal experience raising a child with global development delays, devoted mother and debut author provides inspirational and enlightening guidance for parents and professionals caring for special needs children.

Today, one in five households with children in the United States includes at least one child with special health care needs. In fact, nearly 20% of all children in the US under the age of eighteen have special health care needs. However, despite such staggering statistics, parents, family members, friends, and even specialists oftentimes fail to fully comprehend what the future holds when they realize their child is not developing typically and questions quickly arise regarding what steps to take, how to cope, and especially how each life will be affected. In an honest and reflective account of her experiences raising a daughter with global development delays, Danielle Zimmerman reveals the life altering impact that her daughter’s diagnosis has had on her family, as well as their careers, finances, and relationships. Danielle Zimmerman’s brave writing in A Challenged Life: Raising a Child with Special Needs not only give readers an inspiring look into the world of parents of special needs children, but also provide indispensable advice for families embarking on a similar journey.

When Danielle Zimmerman’s daughter, Abigail, was eight months old, doctors not only diagnosed her with global development delays, but also put a ceiling on her entire future. However, as a result of successful strategies that she and her husband implemented, combined with their continuous love and support, Abigail’s development has been phenomenal. Through an intimate account of the emotional journey from the time Abigail was diagnosed up until the present-day, Danielle describes how she and her husband have learned to deal with some of the more recurrent challenges associated with raising a special needs child, such as doctor’s visits, marital intimacy, finances, and education. Having experienced first-hand the joys and pains associated with raising a special needs child, Danielle’s advice in both compassionate and practical. Furthermore, by addressing such real and personal issues, readers will walk away laughing, crying, and with a better understanding of how to cope with a child with special needs.

Through her role as an experienced mother of a special needs child, Danielle Zimmerman hopes her heartfelt words illustrate that even though a diagnosis helps with medical services and insurance payments, it should not mark the end of a parent’s hopes and dreams for their child. While A Challenged Life serves as a vivid depiction of the daily social, financial, and marital challenges associated with raising a special needs child, it is most of all a testimony to a mother’s unconditional love and the power of the human spirit when faced with uncertainty.

About the Author: While a pre-med student at Barry University and Nova University, Danielle Zimmerman became certified in early childhood development, as well as a certified EMT. During this time, she also opened B.E.S.M. Inc., a telemarketing company, with her soon to be husband Brett. Today, Zimmerman is the CFO of B.E.S.M. and KB Promotions, a subsequent telemarketing company that she and her husband opened in Tampa in 2007. Moreover, she is the Founder and current Treasurer of Abi’s Place, a non-profit private school in Coral Springs for children with moderate to severe disabilities. Danielle Zimmerman currently lives in Coral Springs, Florida with her husband and their two children, Abigail and Ethan. A Challenged Life: Raising a Child with Special Needs by Danielle Zimmerman (published by B.E.S.M. Inc., RRP $14.95) is available from Amazon and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: and then there was me

and then there was with a dying loved one

Author: Sloan Rogers

A memoir

Tate Publishing 2011

ISBN: 978-1-61739-852-0

Family, Relationships, Elder care

All of us will become a caregiver of some sort in our lifetime. And it will take it's toll no matter the love and devotion, determination and concern, or the compassion and care we give.

and then there was me  is a book that details the life and love of author Sloan Rogers for her husband, Dick.  It is an honest memoir that answers some of life's tough questions about how to deal with the death or deterioration of a loved one.

In her story, the author tells the heartfelt story of watching her husband decline and the emotional toll it took on her both mentally and physically, yet the story is of LOVE. She is honest, direct, and careful with details so the reader is brought into the life and the situations that she faced.

A reader cannot help but come away with a tear, but also a smile as you learn the tips Sloan offers the caregiver in each of us. A well done memoir that exemplifies family and relationships in a positive light despite the sadness of death and loss.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Cancer Prayer Book

Welcome to Blog Jog Day!

I am a pediatric/neonatal critical care nurse and a freelance writer. Here I offer encouragement, inspiration, and resources for those parents and children going through a serious or terminal illness. You might even meet the character of my children's book, Lilly. She is a quite spunky but aims to tell you a thing or two about what it is like to have childhood cancer. The release of this book is not until 2012 but bits and pieces somehow sneak onto the pages here when you least expect it.

Please enjoy my site then click over to Families Matter at  to see what the next Blog has to offer! Lost in the links? You can always go back to the main Blog Jog Day Blog at and find a new link to jog from. Thank you for stopping by my site!

Leave a comment, a link to your site or blog, and your email for a chance to win my book The Cancer Prayer Book published by Dream Word Publishing. It makes a perfect gift for someone you know who is dealing with this disease. You can see the book here at  I will cruise on over to your site and you will be entered into the blog jog give away here on my site. My archives will have posts on grieving, SIDS, cancer, coping when your child is ill and all kinds of tips for parents. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Caregiver's Devotions to Go

Caregivers' Devotions to Go: Caring for Yourself as You Care for Others

Author: Gigi Devine Murfitt

Extreme Diva Media, Inc

ISBN: 978-1-934626-09-2

From the Back Cover: Caregivers' Devotions to Go is for moms, grandmothers, and adult children and many others given the charge of caring for another person. it offers encouragement for a difficult task and gives both professional and family caregivers a breath of fresh air to continue the assignment god has given them.

My take on this book:  As a nurse and one who is a caregiver in many capacities, this book is a wonderful tool. It is Biblical, inspirational, and encouraging. So many times the caregivers do not care for themselves, they don't sleep, they don't eat, and most of all they don't take even a moment to renew their spirits.

That is not what God had planned for those he calls to be the caregiver. This tiny book gives great stories and verses that encourage but also teach us how to serve God well as the caregiver He wants us to be. Caregivers are not alone, they are a chosen group that have been blessed with a serving heart. God wants them to be rested, healthy, and joyful. This purse size book offers the tools and the information a caregiver needs to care for themselves so they are better equipped to care for others.

This book makes a great gift for someone you know who is a caregiver in whatever capacity or situation they are in. It fits into a pocket or purse, is easy to read in short spurts, and offers activities and thought provoking ideas to enrich the life of a caregiver. This book is part of the  Women's Devotions to Go Series and will bless those who read it.

The author can be reached by email at  Visit the website for the nonporfit organization that offers encouragement and resources for those in the caregiving role at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Max's Ring of Fire... Childhood Cancers, Research, Fundraising, and More.

It is a fact that kids get cancer. Kids also die from cancer and those not affected may tend to hide their heads in the sand thinking " This can't happen to me"

The truth is that Cancer is a leading cause of death in children under the age of 15 and every one of us can do something. Check out this site with information on some childhood cancers and what is being done about finding a cure. There are links to many stories about children going through treatments but there are also links to drug studies and information on clinical trials. There are ways to volunteer and to donate but first readers should educate themselves on childhood cancers and what research is being done.

Visit this links and let me know what you think

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Easy Berry Pops That Kids will Love

Do you need a fun summer activity that doubles as a healthy sweet treat? Try these nutritious berry pops. Here is the recipe, easy and tasty too. It also may be easier for children who are dealing with an illness to suck on these Berry Pops because of the cool temperature and the great flavor.


Makes 6 servings

Equipment Needed:

-Measuring cups and spoons
-Saucepan and blender
-Wooden spoon and hot pad, cookie sheet
-Paper cups, aluminum foil, Popsicle sticks


-1/3 cup berry juice blend
-1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
-1 ½ cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
-1 ¼ cups frozen unsweetened berries


1. Place the juice in a pan and sprinkle the gelatin over it, Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until gelatin crystals dissolve.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and place on a hot pad.

3. Mix the yogurt, berries, and warm gelatin mixture in a blender. Secure lid and blend until smooth.

4. Fill six-ounce cups with the blended mixture and cover each with a sheet of aluminum foil. Place the cups on a cookie sheet.

5. Insert the Popsicle stick in each cup by making a slit in the foil.

6. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze until hard.

7. Peel away the paper and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: 1 Popsicle
Calories: 71
Fat: 1 g
Protein: 3 g

Sunday, June 5, 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Review: A Wish and A Prayer

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Book Review: A Wish and A Prayer: "A Wish and A Prayer Author: Beth Bence Reinke Publisher: 4RV Publishing 2010 ISBN: 13-978-0-9826-423-1-3 Illustrated by: Ginger Nie..."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stupid Cancer...

A generation of people dealing with cancer is our young adult population. Think about it, there is more in the media about kids with cancer and older adults with cancer, but no one seems to notice the young adults.

I am talking about the 19 to 40 year old group of adults who are in the prime of their sexual lives, becoming newly weds, having children, climbing the career ladder, and owning their first homes. And folks, they get cancer. Many of them are in the fight of their lives.

Well there is a group founded by and for young adults called Stupid Cancer. Visit and check it out. It is for those from 19- 40 ish who are either dealing with the disease or have survived and now are trying to figure out how to live again.

Many may not realize it but sometimes the treatment to survive cancer causes many other health issues. Things like blood pressure problems, diabetes, stroke, mental challenges, physical challenges, and God forbid another type of cancer.

I'm too young for this is their motto! Their advertisement states it best. Welcome to the club that no one wants to belong to but once you're here, you're family. This is your life plus Cancer where remission is not a cure and survivorship is all that matters.

If you are a young adult dealing with cancer or if you know of one who is, pass on the website link. It is a wonderful place to visit with resources of all kinds for young adults. Now you don't have to feel like you are dealing with this alone. is the site to visit and it will link you to other sources as well. You can find them on Twitter @stupidcancer and on Facebook/stupidcancer  or on the blog at

You are too young to go it alone. Find others who are living the same life as you. Check it out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Get Moving Kids- Tips for Children with Chronic Illness

Summer is coming and warm weather is a great time to get off the couch and get moving. Kids need to move, even kids who are dealing with a chronic or long term illness. The key is to monitor activity and to be on the look out for signs of trouble. Here are a few tips:

  • Allow  chronically ill children to engage in physical activities that they enjoy and can tolerate. This means that you monitor your child for signs that the activity is too much but that you also allow age appropriate activities if your child is able. It gives them a sense of normalcy
  • Keep your child hydrated. Provide water and power drinks like Gatorade for those hot days. Avoid sugary drinks and soda as those can add to dehydration
  • Have fruit and snacks available to keep blood sugar levels normal and to help avoid nausea
  • Encourage periods of rest
  • Don't hover. Children who are chronically ill need to feel normal. Try to avoid pampering and hovering. Just be there to provide support.
Watch for signs of pain, swelling, vomiting, fever, shortness of breath, or distress that may mean your child is overdoing an activity for the disease. Check with your child's physician before beginning a sport or strenuous activity to make sure it will be safe for your child. Avoid allowing activities that your child is too weak to currently participate in. Look for activities that will promote socialization yet limit strain if your child is too ill.

Generally speaking, your child will be able to determine what activities he or she is up to doing. Let them be your guide. The way they look and act can help you to decide if today is a good day for getting off the couch or if today is a day of rest. If a child is up to doing an activity that he or she loves to do, the exercise may help the overall health and feeling of well being so enjoy the moment. If in doubt, don't hesitate to ask your health care provider for advice.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: National Backyard Games Week is this Month.

This is a good link to check out for summer activities that can be very inexpensive. The picture of the little guy is adorable too.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: National Backyard Games Week is this Month.: "Jump into spring! The 14th annual National Backyard Games Week takes place this month. It begins the Monday prior to Memorial Day and ends..."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: Walking With Sophie

Walking With Sophie                                             

Author: Adam Webb

ISBN: 978-1-4610-7697-1

Lazy River Books

Picture Book

Ages 3-10

From the back of the book: Take your child on a special journey, with an enchanting girl. Explore the magic of childhood memories and the imagination that captures each precious moment. Tiptoe into Sophie's world once. Keep her in your heart forever.

My view: This book is just what it says it is...enchanting. But it is so much more. The reader follows Sophie to all her favorite places and you sense the importance of everyday quality time spent with a child. It is not until the end that the reader understands that Sophie is in spirit and what a wonderful way to ease the pain of the loss of a child.

This story is written with simple words and on the surface it has a simple concept following a child to all her favorite places. The after affect and take away value of this story is enormous. Any adult reading the story with their child will come away with a renewed sense of the importance of everyday things and the quality time your child deserves. The story is a gentle reminder that you only have today, not sure of tomorrow, and to make every moment memorable.

This enchanting story also can be used as a stepping stone to open conversations about life after death. The story is so warm, loving, and enchanting that it erases the negativity associated with talking about death. As a nurse who has cared for children who are terminal, this book would be such a blessing for both parent and child going through this trial.

I give the book 5 stars. This book is a must have for anyone who collects children's books.  I can only hope that author, Adam Webb, will be writing more of these enchanting books about meaningful life experiences for children.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

R is for Rest

Rest is the one thing that most parents ignore for themselves when they have a sick child. Rest seems to escape most parents until say your child is over 21.  As parents we worry about illness, activities, school grades, do our children have friends, what kind of friends do they have, could they do better, and on and on.

If a child is ill the worries are even greater. Parents watch and worry over blood counts, fevers, growth and development, medicines, scans, and everything else that can change in a heartbeat with a sick child.

Rest is essential to health. Rest helps your emotional state, your cognitive state, and your physical state. Tips for getting rest include
  • learn to say no
  • don't over book your free time
  • take naps when your child is resting
  • delegate house hold chores
  • go to bed early
  • enjoy down times without guilt
These are a few reminders to keep in mind which may help you to gain a few moments of rest.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Q is for Quilts

Q is for quilts and quilting. There is nothing better for a infant, child, or teen who is feeling ill then to snuggle up with a homemade quilt.

Quilting is also a great hobby for those who may like to sew. Check out for some great ideas, tips, and free patterns. Consider making a small lap quilt if you are a beginner, and share it with someone who will find comfort in it.

Use bright washable cotton fabrics for those quilts for kids. You can also use soft flannel fabrics for backing making the project even more comfy. Send me your photos and we will post them here.

A handmade quilt also makes a great item to raffle off as a fundraiser to help with charities who provide research for childhood cancers and other childhood diseases.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

P is for Pillowcases-

P is for Pillowcases- handmade and comfy. What better way to make a child, family member, or friend feel better while dealing with an illness. There are several quilting organizations that are participating in the pillowcase challenge. Those who love to sew are making pillowcases and donating them to hospitals or charities where they can be given to those in need.

Pillowcases are fairly simple to make and a great project for beginners. Check out for free patterns and suggestions on how to sew them or donate them. It is a wonderful gift idea for holidays or just because. They make great gifts for kids in the hospital because most often kids don't need candy or flowers. It can be challenging to find something that makes a child feel special.

Pick bright fabrics or cartoon character fabric and sew away. These cute pillowcases will brighten any hospital room and make your favorite kiddo feel more than special. Send me pictures and I will post them. Have fun with this and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

L_M_N_ The Letters in the A to Z Challenge

L is for Lilly, my fictional character that tells the reader in a fun and spunky way what it is like to have leukemia. She is just adorable and I hope to introduce you to her soon, as soon as I have a publisher confirmed that is.

M is for meningitis- a not so common infection that has been in the news lately because of several cases diagnosed across college campuses. Menigitis can be bacterial or viral. Bacterial mengitis requires antibiotics to cure. Viral menigitis does not respond to antibiotics and must run it's course. Handwashing is one way to prevent the spread of menigitis. The symptoms may include headache, neck stiffness, fever, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. If you are worried about your child who is experiencing these types of symptoms, seek medical treatment and advice immediately.

N is for natural medicine- Natural medicine can be very helpful as treatment for some symptoms in conjunction with traditional medical treatment. Common natural medicines that help with nausea or mouth sores may be suggested by your physician. Be careful to read all labels and  to discuss any alternative treatments including over the counter natural medicines that you may be considering for your child or yourself. Some very good results have been reported but there are some not so good results reported as well. Most natural medicines are not approved by the FDA.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

O is My Next Letter in the Challenge

Parents of children who are ill have a different idea about spring cleaning and organization.

O is for organization. Spring it the time we think about re-organizing and throwing out what we don't need. Parents of children who are ill become experts at being organized because they have to be for other reasons.
  • They always need a bag packed and ready for the unexpected hospital or ER visit
  • They have snacks handy for kids whose appetite suddenly appears after an illness, for siblings who need to eat when other things interfere with dinner, and to grab when they have been so busy worrying about a child they have forgotten to eat.
  • They don't worry about things that don't matter like clean windows, flower beds, or piles of unopened mail. They worry about doctor appointments, medication schedules, and therapies.
  • There is a whole group of parents caring for children who need to order feeding tubes, ventilator equipment, and tube feeding formulas. They don't worry about which fertilizer to buy, what weed killer to put on, or which ceiling needs paint.
Organization is important and spring is a good time to put your things in order. Keep in mind that if your kids are healthy, stop and say a prayer for parents who have kids who are ill. And if you know of a family with a sick child, maybe you will be moved to help them with some of the spring organization tasks that have been put on their back burner. It could be a win-win for everyone.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Letter K in our A to Z Challenge

K is the next letter of our alphabet challenge for me, because I am behind due to work, storms in the Midwest and the electrical issues that involves,  and life.

K is also for knowledge. Any parent of a child newly diagnosed with a serious illness knows first hand about this K word. Parents are immediately overwhelmed with the need to know and gain more knowledge about the disease the child has. They also become overwhelmed with all the facts and figures that they soon discover. Here are a few tips to organize and keep track of all the new found knowledge that comes with having a child who is ill.

1. First, listen to your doctors and the health care providers with whom you trust before searching the Internet or outside sources. Use what the physician offers as a baseline of information with which to start your research.

2. After the initial diagnosis and the testing that goes along with that, now search the Internet or other resources but do it with a purpose in mind. Do you want to find alternative treatments? Are you  searching to be confident that you are being told the complete story about the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis? Or are you researching to understand and to learn more about the disease to prepare for the future?

3. Keep in mind that you must take one day at a time initially to protect yourself from emotional and physical exhaustion. Basic knowledge is good but you don't have to learn everything there is to know the first 24 hours. Give yourself time to adjust to the initial news before scaring yourself  silly.

4. Do not hesitate to seek a second opinion if you are not confident about what your health care providers are telling you. Be realistic in your expectations, but realize you are the parent and have the right to seek other opinions.

Friday, April 15, 2011

J is for Jaundice

Jaundice is the yellowish color that newborn babies get in the first few days of life. Some have levels so high they require treatment with IV fluids, a Bili blanket, or the Bili light. Minor cases of jaundice in the newborn can actually be treated effectively by placing the baby near a window with natural light. This is a medical decision and should be discussed with your physician.

Newborns are not the only patients who can show signs of jaundice. Children and adults who have a sudden onset of a yellowish skin color may need evaluation by a physician and a few blood tests. Without getting too technical, the jaundice is the result of liver function and the breakdown of bile. It is not usually a normal symptom and most often requires testing to determine the cause.

Some viruses can cause the temporary coloring of the skin as the liver works to heal the body. It can also be the sign of blockage to the bile ducts. Jaundice in older children and adults is most often related to something going on in the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder and the surrounding ducts from those organs. It can be serious, I won't mislead you here. But it doesn't mean it is terminal or that it cannot be treated.

Jaundice should always be evaluated and your physician should make every attempt to find the cause. Rapid diagnosis is the best way to get proper and timely treatment for any disease or illness. Jaundice is not usually normal so it is always wise to seek medical attention first. Your family doctor is a great place to start.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I is the Next Letter in Our A to Z blog

Inspiration can come in all kinds of tasks and emotional support from family or friends. Be creative.

I is the letter for inspiration and insight. When you have a family member who is going through an illness providing them with inspiration may be just what the doctor ordered. I don't mean earth shattering mountain moving inspiration necessarily but more of the hand holding, come on we can do this kind of inspiration. Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Instead of coming over empty handed bring a hot casserole. Providing a hot meal for the rest of the family may just be what is needed for this family.

2. Come with windex and paper towels. While visiting offer to do a small spring cleaning project. " Let me just get this window for you so you can see what a beautiful day it is." may be a task that needs doing but the ill person just doesn't want to ask.

3. An appropriate prayer book or journal is a thoughtful gift and may be more appreciated than candy or fruit which may not be easily digested depending on the illness and treatment. Comfort books say the things that are difficult to speak out loud and the person can read and appreciate while home alone.

4. Offer to do outside errands. "Let me go to the store for you" or " I will pick up the kids for you so you can rest." are great suggestions. Often the ill person doesn't want to burden with daily tasks but if offered will usually take you up on it.

Offering your time, meals, or tasks can often be just the inspiration and insight the ill friend or family member needs to regain strength and interest in life. Please feel free to suggest other ideas in the comment section.

A-Z Blog Challenge for April- Letter H

H is for hope and healing. Any parent who has been in the position of taking care of a child with a serious or terminal illness knows that the prayer is always always for healing. A parent never gives up the hope of healing even in the final days of a terminal journey. And that is exactly what parents are supposed to do. Always, always, hope for a complete healing.

And I know from being at the bedside of dying children, this is the most emotionally devastating thing any parent must endure... first the praying for healing  and then the loss of the last thread of hope. My heart goes out to any parent facing this painful knowledge that hope is gone.

As a nurse,  I know in my heart there is a heaven where life really is eternal. I know no other way to endure the loss of hope when I am with a family whose child is dying. Heaven is my hope... a hope for a life without pain, without disease, and with true healing.

So my prayer for every parent whose child is ill. Keep praying for the healing, and always hold onto the hope of health. But find it in your heart to learn the truths about heaven, for there is the real hope for all of us.

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is the Next Letter in Our Challenge- Can You Guess What it Means?

G is for gratitude. My question to the readers is this. How difficult is it to be grateful when you are in the midst of chaos and crisis?

It has been my experience that when I work hard to show and feel gratitude even when things go bad, it really does make the bad seem less .... well ... bad. It is difficult to put into words sometimes and at the risk of sounding phoney and too rosey I stand by the statement. Being grateful during rough times helps you to appreciate the good, stop dwelling so much on the bad, and helps you to cope with today. 

How do you feel about that? Can you think of a sad, bad, or really tragic time in your life when you can now look back with some smidgen of gratitude for the lessons. Maybe you can simply be grateful for the love and support of family and friends even during a loss.

Being thankful helps to balance the unfairness of life and life's circumstances. Keeping a gratitude journal may help you to recognize the good things you have. Try it for  a week and re-evaluate. Let me know how that feels.

Today I am grateful for you, the reader. Really thankful.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Letter F is for Fever

Fever is frightening for parents especially when the cause is unknown,  but every fever is not life threatening nor does every child with a fever need to be seen by a physician immediately.

Here are some tidbits about fever to help you decide if the fever your child has is a reason to contact your physician or take your child to urgent care:

1. Fever is an indication that the body is fighting some form of germ either bacterial or viral. It is the body's way of telling you that something is not right.

2. Some physicians may not recommend treating a temperature under 102 F. degrees while others say treat if your child's temperature is 100.4F. It is best to discuss this with your doctor before a fever occurs so you will be prepared to treat in the manner your physician suggests.

3. Children are most contagious during the time of a fever even if the fever is reduced by medication. Most often it is best to keep your child away from other children during the time they are febrile.

4. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are the drugs of choice to use for children to reduce fever. Again, check with your physician to understand whether he or she prefers to alternate the medications or stick with one choice.

5. Febrile seizures can occur usually when a temp is greater than 104 F. If this occurs unbundle your child, protect their airway during the seizure, and seek medical attention. If this is a first seizure and you are alone, calling 911 may be appropriate.

6. Pay attention to how your child looks and behaves while experiencing a fever. If your child has a change in mental alertness and is not urinating the child should be seen by a physician. On the other hand, if your child acts alert, is able to eat, drink, and stay hydrated it may not be necessary to see a physician for colds and simple stomach upsets.

If you are in doubt, check with your physician about how to treat your child's fever. For more information and up to date resources check the Academy of Pediatric website.  The Academy of Pediatrics  Another resource site recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Letter E is for Emergency

E is for Emergency. How do you decide what needs a visit to the emergency room, what can wait for the doctor's office, and what can just wait and see?
Follow these tips to make a quick decision:

  • Bleeding- active bleeding that cannot be controlled, bleeding from the rectum, or vomiting blood needs to be evaluated in the emergency room. Sutures will close lacerations and wounds, and bleeding from the stomach or intestines requires immediate evaluation and intervention by a qualified physician.
  • Breathing- compromised breathing, noisy breathing, breathing that sounds like an obstruction, and any breathing difficulty that causes a change in color or mental status needs evaluation. Children with severe asthma often need to be seen on an emergent basis for an acute onset of asthma. Croup, epiglotitis, and whooping cough all can be causes of noisy breathing that should be evaluated by a physician if you are in any doubt.
  • Level of consciousness- any change in the level of consciousness of a child should be evaluated. I am not talking about a sleepy child who talks silly when he first wakes up. I am talking about a lethargic, slow to respond child who may have sustained an injury or illness which is altering his level of normally alert behavior. Any undiagnosed seizure should also be evaluated by a physician.
  • Fevers over 104 F- that do not respond to Tylenol or Ibuprophen within 30-60 minutes should be evaluated by a physician. This can be a gray area. If you are lucky enough to have a pediatrician who takes calls, fevers can be handled over the phone by discussing treatments with your doctor. In most cases, fevers that run over 104 F and do not come down should be seen in the emergency room.
  • Broken bones- any time you suspect an injury may have caused a break in a bone the emergency room is the most likely place to go. The exception would be if there is a single injury to a wrist or ankle and your doctor is in the office, that may be the quickest and most appropriate place to take your child. In general, broken bones result from a trauma of some sort and it may be related to more than one injury. The emergency room is prepared to evaluate this type of thing, intervene, and refer you to a specialist if needed.
  • Burns, near drownings, multiple injuries- Seek treatment in the nearest emergency room if there are significant burns with blisters, a near drowning incident, or multiple injuries that make it difficult to evaluate.
Keep in mind this: Airway, breathing, circulation, level of consciousness-When you have a serious compromise or alteration with any of the four issues listed, it should be an emergency room visit.

Anytime you have an auto accident, have a cardiac event or chest pain that may cause a cardiac arrest, or think someone maybe having stroke symptoms, don't hesitate to call 911 for immediate assistance.

When you are home and have a choice to make about what kind of care to seek, use the above tips to help you decide.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Letter D in the Challenge- Diagnosis

What do I do?
What do you do while waiting for a diagnosis? Diagnosis is the D word for today.

Waiting can be worse than knowing what it is you are up against. Often our fear and our imagination make a problem much worse than it is. On the other hand, we are an educated society and we also know that symptoms that appear to be nothing can turn into nightmare diagnoses and treatments.

Here are some basic tips for seeking and waiting for the diagnosis.

1. Seek diagnosis and treatment early when you have a symptom you cannot explain. Never assume it is nothing, and never assume it will just go away.

2. Get  a second opinion if you think you are not being taken seriously. Cancer for instance, goes undetected in young adults more than 50 % of the time initially because health care providers look at young adults as a healthy age group and do not look into their complaints thoroughly. One young adult every 8 minutes is diagnosed with cancer. April 3-9th is is awareness week for young adults with cancer.

3. Find a physician you trust. Going from urgent care clinic to urgent care clinic on an as needed basis is not consistent health care. It can actually contribute to overlooking a serious illness just because of their purpose in treating the immediate symptoms. Find and follow a physician you trust.

4. You have found a physician, you have had the medical testing he or she suggested, now you must wait for the answers. Be patient for results. It can take a week or more to get the answers read, a report typeds, and the copy sent to your physician. But don't assume the office will call you. Contact the office in one week if you have not heard about the results. A friendly reminder to a busy office staff that you are home waiting is an appropriate response. Be careful not to freak out. Take one day at a time while waiting.

5. Diagnosis is made, now sit down with your physician to map out a plan. This will more than likely mean more visits to specialists, more testing, and much waiting before a treatment plan is established. Again, be patient and stay in contact with the office. Ask for a time frame for results, ask about the projected treatments, and get a quick idea of what the plan will be. If the diagnosis is strep throat, that will be a much less involved discussion than if your physician suspects the lump in your breast is cancer. Take time to discuss the options with your doctor and this is most important. Make sure the plan he outlines is one you feel comfortable with. If you don't feel right about something that has been discussed, seek a second opinion to make sure.

6. Deal with your emotional health as well as your physical health. Allow tears, rants, and tolerate those if the diagnosis is not you but a child or spouse. It is all part of the process of diagnosis and treatment. Deal with fears head on. If you fear pain, discuss this with your doctor so pain can be taken care of. If you fear surgery, discuss this as well. Be open and educated. This will help to lessen the fears of what is to come.

Diagnosis can be frightening. Diagnosis  can mean a long term condition like thyroid or diabetes, or a more serious malignancy. Whatever the diagnosis is, finding a physician you trust and can be open with will make the journey more successful. Include family in the diagnosis so you will have the emotional and physical support from family and friends that you need. If you are not comfortable with what your doctor is telling you, please always seek a second opinion for peace of mind. You will deal best with knowledge and the facts, so blessings on the journey to find them. Feel free to email me if you have questions or great resources for the readers here dealing with any kind of diagnosis.

Monday, April 4, 2011

C- The Next Letter in The Alphabet Challenge

C is the next letter in the alphabet challenge and today it stands for Charity, Christ, Critical Care, Caregiver, and Chaplin.

Wow, that is a sentence full of emotion. I want to bring attention to an organization that encompasses all of these C words in one mission. To serve the critically ill clients they encounter and showing the love of Christ by transporting these patients and their caregivers to the facilities or homes where they can get the best caregivers available. I am talking about Grace On Wings. My son is applying to be a volunteer with this great organization as a paramedic and respiratory therapist. He has degrees in both and will serve with the team of Christians in delivering the patient by air to where they need to be for the best care possible. He is so excited to be starting the process with this group from south of Indianapolis.

Check out their website for information at  They transport critical patients by air ambulance that cannot afford to get to the care they need. It is just awesome how they help people and for no charge. It is an organization I will be contributing to in the future and who knows, maybe as a critical care nurse, I can volunteer someday.

Let me know what you think about this organization. I would be interested to know if any of the readers have experienced this kind of need and how that need was met.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Letter B in the A to Z Challenge = Blood

The letter can represent babies, bottles, brooms, or bargains. But for many parents the letter B represents blood counts, blood transfusions, blood draws and needle sticks, and blood cancers. Blood cancers are one of the most common childhood cancers and can affect infants to adults of all ages and nationalities. Blood cancers also have a very high remission rate which is another B word... a Blessing. 

Blood cancers are not contagious and should not be confused with other blood diseases like hepatitis or HIV/AIDS that are blood borne pathogens which can be transmitted to others.

 An average of one student per 400 in every elementary school in the nation will be affected by a blood cancer before the age of 18.

The best resources I think come from the organizations who do the research and clinical trials for blood diseases and blood cancers. The American Cancer Society is a well know resource and can offer families support during an illness. My favorite resource for education, information, clinical trials, and fund raising opportunities is the Leukemia and Lymphoma organization. The amount of educational material available is astounding and the links and connections to the best cancer treatment centers around the country are connected to them in some way.

If you, your child, or someone you know is facing the challenge of being diagnosed, treated, or managed for a blood cancer please check out It is a hopeful and honest resource with reliable educational material available to anyone who seeks it. Sign up for their newsletter to receive wonderful and powerful stories of those who have been returned to health. Look for ways that you can volunteer in your community to support this organization. The research continues so that someday no one you know or love will ever have to deal with a disease starting with a B especially blood cancers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A-Z Blog Challenge for April

I am joining in on the blog challenge for April. I am not even sure where or who started it and I am sure there is no prize but here is the thing. It will challenge me to post everyday in April using the the letter of the alphabet to get me started. So follow along and see what tibits of health or medical information I can bestow on the readers this month. Maybe some of it might even be useful.

A- is for Attitude. My children's book about my fictional character Lilly starts with A for Attitude. Attitude is a good place to start and so important in every aspect of life no matter if you are dealing with an illness, injury, financial problem, a good time in your life or a family or friend issue. We each are responsible for our own attitude toward any given situation. A positive attitude is proven to bring more positive feelings and emotions even when the outcome of a situation is still negative. A positive attitude comes from serves as a one of the tools we have to help us cope with life.

A negative attitude breeds more negativity even in a positive environment. You have seen this happen among co-workers, family and friends who can't seem to see the sunshine even on a sunny day.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to look at your attitude. Try to tweak it to be a bit more positive today. Tweak it a bit more tomorrow and the day after that. Soon your attitude will be more positive and you will actually feel better. Try it and let me know how it works.

Check in tomorrow for the letter B.

Until then, no matter how serious or how tragic your day may be, remember A is for attitude. May God bless you with a positive look on your situation today.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: World of Ink Tour For Children's Authors: Judy Sni...

Join the tour for fun and information on a great new book for children. SFC Blog: Families Matter: World of Ink Tour For Children's Authors: Judy Sni...: " Author, Judy Snider  Please join me in welcoming Judy Snider as our guest today. She offers a first hand look at how she writes...."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sring is Here

Winter is behind us according to the calendar but the cold weather is still with us according to the thermometer. What to do when it is still too cold to plant, play on the playground, or be outside for more than a few minutes each day? Get ready for warmer weather.

1. Continue to eat healthy and take those vitamins. The change in weather on a daily basis can cause a new influx of flu and cold bugs to invade. Spring colds and RSV season should be winding down, but we have still seen many kids hospitalized this past couple of weeks with the symptoms. Eating fruits and veggies, drinking plenty of water, and taking a daily vitamin means you are giving your body the best chance at staying healthy and avoiding an illness.

2. Wash your hands... often and after using the rest room, being in a public place, and after sneezing or coughing. Practicing good hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs.

3. As the sun comes out, try to get out in it at least 10-15 minutes per day. Dress for the temperature and take a quick walk or let the kids play outside for a few minutes to run around and burn off some energy. Everyone needs a few minutes of sunlight after a long winter and the sunshine will help you to absorb and metabilize your vitamins.

4. Organize and spring clean the inside of the house so you are ready to be outside when the temperatures stay more comfortable. Take a task a day and don't be overwhelmed but a clean drawer or closet will make you feel lighter and ready for the new season.

5. Gather new recipes for those spring and summer garden harvests. Winter meals are behind you and it is time to step out and try new things. The Internet and the library are two places to find the best new recipes for spring.

6. Evaluate your budget and your other goals for the new year. Four months into the year and you should be able to decide what is working and what isn't. Give some thought to what the next four months could bring by setting your new goals and getting a fresh start for spring.

7. Change your attitude. We all get down with the long winter months, so no matter what your circumstances, take spring as the time to perk up the attitude and look at the more positive side of what it is you are dealing with. This is very hard to do if you are dealing with a serious illness or a devastating financial situation but even a small change in attitude can make a big difference in your personal abundance. Think gratitude and making a conscious effort to smile and be positive.

8. Try journaling. Spring is a great time to begin a journal and to put your hopes, dreams, and ideas on paper.

Whatever new beginnings you experience this spring, may sunshine wrap you in warmth helping you to feel refreshed, renewed, and loved. For me, spring means Easter and the Resurrection and there is nothing more real and healing than that. Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Logo for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Launches New Logos

New Logo as announced in the newsletter. Readers here know my passion for kids and adults with cancer and especially those blood cancers that are curable. This organization offers so many great resources, education, and assistance for those dealing with blood cancers, that I wanted to help spread the word about the new logo. Same great society, just a new look. Please consider supporting this great agency. You never know when someone you love may need just what they have to offer.
Here is the announcement directly taken from the newsletter I receive.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer, is getting a fresh new look and feel in its 62nd year.

LLS has unveiled a new corporate logo, as well as new logos for all of its campaigns.

"Our new logo is the first step to increasing overall public awareness of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society brand and to better align our campaigns with the master brand," said Nancy L. Klein, LLS Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer.

In addition to contemporizing and streamlining the corporate logo, LLS has changed all of its campaign logos to raise the LLS brand to greater prominence, and to give a more unified look to all of the campaigns. The blood drop icon in the logo has been refined to make it more recognizable. The new logos will be phased in over the year.
Visit today for more information on how you can help. Feel free to ask for information too if someone you know has a blood cancer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Second Chance- How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism and His Shelter Dog

Book Review: Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog

Author: Sandra J. Gerencher

ISBN: 9780981461922

Pages: 28

Tribute Books- 2008

I had a chance to review Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog. The book was a heartfelt story of how the boy blossomed and the dog found a loving home. It depicts the influences having a pet can have on a child and does so in an honest and loving way.

Here is the synopsis provided by Tribute books:

Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism & His Shelter Dog

by Sandra J. Gerencher

The timeless tale of a boy (with autism) and his (shelter) dog. Over the past 10 years, author Sandra Gerencher has been on a mission to save dogs from high-kill animal shelters. Her first rescue was P.J., the black and white Pomeranian in the story. She also adopted the orange Pomeranians Shelby and Lil Rascal, and of course, Chance, the big black Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix. All characters in the story are based on Sandra's real life family. The book is filled with softly blended watercolor photos of her loved ones. Her most significant adoption was her son, Terry. He was considered a special needs child because he was born with a genetic disorder known as Fragile X Syndrome. The disorder can cause many cognitive disorders, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation and depression.

I think the story would be difficult as a read alone book for those children under the age of 8 but it would be a treasure to read together with your child. Older children will find the story a good read and will long for a dog of their own, but some may miss the deep rooted message the author intended. All in all, a heartwarming honest and loving book about both animals and children who need to find a place called home. It will act as a spring board for discussions with children about adoption, special needs, and making one feel loved.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tips for Distracting Children in Pain

It can be very difficult to get an intravenous line in a screaming infant or a blood sample from a toddler in pain. It is especially hard when a preschool child has already encountered numerous tests and knows what happens next as a professional in scrubs comes close with a needle. What things work in distracting children from painful tests or general pain from an injury or illness?

Try these tips:

1. Explain in a simple way that the procedure must be done and describe the distraction that will be used, for example: " The nurse needs to do a special test. While she is doing that lets sing... hold your arm and lets make a song"  yada yada.... Use language that your child understands and an activity that is new or interesting to your child as well as age appropriate.

2. Play a favorite video or music on a portable player. Talk to the preschooler about what is playing and engage them in conversation while trying to keep their level of vision away from the procedure.

3. Have bright colored toys or movable rattles for toddlers and infants. Very small infants may suck on a pacifier dipped in "Sweet ease" which is a slightly sweetened water solution. This has been proven to be very soothing in combination with sucking on the pacifier.

4. Offering a stuffed animal to squeeze during the procedure also is a spring board for talking with the child. " What is your friends name?" or similar questions can distract the child during the event. Children become engrossed in talking about their favorite pets, stuffed animals, favorite vacation, or favorite cartoon. Know the age of the child and the level of understanding to be able to better relate in conversation.

5. Allow the staff to do the restraining if an infant or toddler must be held tight for the procedure. That keeps the child from associating the painful experience with the parent and most often the professionals can get it done quickly. You can then console the child after the event.

6. Moving lights, motion screens or mobiles, bubbles, music, and sometimes just plain silly actions can distract children fairly easily for short procedures. If a procedure is lengthy, consider asking your physician for pain relief or sedation to ease the event for your child.

7. Offer small rewards for success. Stickers, rocking, cuddling, or small healthy treats may be in store at the end of a painful procedure. Praise and gratitude also help toddlers and older children to learn to cope with repeated procedures.

There is nothing that will completely remove all pain that a child might endure during a lifetime, but these small tips may help to make the pain of a necessary procedure more tolerable. If any parent has other suggestions for tips that have helped their child, please leave a comment or email them to me so I can pass them along. Parents and nurses together can make many needed procedures less stressful if we work together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Suggestions for Kids Whose Parents Have Cancer

As a parent we are the adults who protect our children and help them to battle when they become ill. Who helps a child protect and battle when the parent is the one seriously ill especially with a disease as frightening as cancer?

Here are a few books that address  this problem for kids whose parent may be dealing with cancer.

1. Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings
2. My Book about Cancer
                                 3. Becky and the Worry Cup
                                 4. Once Upon a Hopeful Night
5. The Paper Chain
6. Someone I Love is Sick
7 My Mommy Has Cancer

Here are just  few books to get you started with open discussions and conversations with your child. Discussions can be simple, age appropriate, and hopeful. The important thing is to remember that your child will sense something is different. His or her imagination may be more frightening than the truth, and the truth is always better from the parent. Read books together as a spring board to questions that your child may have and be afraid to ask. Contact your family physician or the American Cancer Society for more information on how to talk to your child about your cancer diagnosis.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Help 911

Link to a good article on why and when to call 911. Basic information that may save a life.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Help 911: "It is so important for everyone in your home to know how to dial 911. It is also important to know WHEN to call 911. Here is a clear explana..."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Hospital Critterz- The Prairie Pet by Author Stace...

Here is a great review of the book if you can't wait to have it posted here.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Hospital Critterz- The Prairie Pet by Author Stace...: "The nurse in me loves this book, and the parent in me thinks this is a magical adventure that kids will love to read. Look for more about t..."

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Author Stacey Laura Lloyd Talks about Hospital Cri...

This is such a fun adventure story for kids with the protagonist as a hospitalized patient. More about this series to come but check out ths SFC blog for a preview.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Author Stacey Laura Lloyd Talks about Hospital Cri...: "First, let me say how much I enjoyed speaking with author Stacey Laura Lloyd. She is fun, passionate, and full of excitement for her book Ho..."