Healthy, Wealthy and Wise! Managing Juvenile Diabetes!

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise!  Managing Juvenile Diabetes!

The month of November marks the 75th anniversary of the American Diabetic Association, a group of dedicated leaders who are striving to help increase the medical research and resource options for those living with diabetes, as well as those who are looking to live a healthier lifestyle.  And while the Association’s main focus is to improve the lives of all people impacted by this disease, type 1 diabetes, best known as juvenile diabetes, has become a critical priority of the organization!

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Becoming more informed on living healthy, not only serves us better in each of our own lives, it helps us teach our children good habits too.  The “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” journal entry this month, gives attention to a type of diabetes that can turn a family’s life upside down when one of their children is given this diagnosis.


A simple definition of diabetes is that the pancreas (located just behind the stomach) loses its primary function of producing insulin, which is necessary for the body to metabolize sugar properly. 


Most children will likely experience many of the same symptoms as their adult counterparts when diabetes is suspected, however, their diagnosis isn’t necessarily dependent on diet, weight or genetics.

While the treatment for type 1 diabetes has come a long way since the days of my youth, where my only memory of the disease was of a good friend who had it and couldn’t have the sweets and candy that most of us enjoyed everyday and had to endure daily blood tests and injections.  That’s not to say that it isn’t a struggle to find a good balance in the lives of young children who are given a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes!  Just recently, a good friend of mine found out the life changes that are required of all family members to help manage the effects of this disease when her son was diagnosed with diabetes.  Here is her endearing story!

Managing Juvenile Diabetes!

Nicholas’ mom, Catherine, adds that unlike some other childhood illnesses, diabetes is a lifelong diagnosis that will follow him where ever he goes, no matter what he’s doing.  As a family they have to be diligent about balancing what he eats in conjunction with his activity level.  But by doing this, Nick will be able to live a relatively normal lifestyle full of all the activities a boy his age loves! 

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Catherine also notes that while she is constantly learning about diabetes, it can get overwhelming at times, so she is very grateful for help from a supportive network of  family and friends.  She hopes that in Nick’s lifetime he will be lucky enough see a cure for this disease!  Until then, “Team BioNIC-K” is going strong!

Managing Juvenile Diabetes!

As a nurse, I often see superheroes reside in the brave hearts of small children fighting big battles!  

You’ll find more information on juvenile diabetes by checking the Type 1 American Diabetic Association website here.

What has your experience been with someone who has diabetes?  If you have a child with juvenile diabetes, what are some of the things you do as a family to help with the treatment of this disease?  


Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Coping With Endometriosis!

The Healthy, Wealthy And Wise!  Coping With Endometriosis!

It is generally known that October is breast cancer and women’s health awareness month.  Having some key women’s health issues highlighted will hopefully serve as a good reminder for all of us to better care for ourselves and be more proactive when it comes to any unresolved health concerns.  We are worth it, you know!  A checklist to a more commont sense approach to women’s health can be found here.

For this month’s “Healthy, Wealthy And Wise”  blog post, I’d like to present some important information about the very prevalent, but often misunderstood disease of endometriosis.  The website,  states that as many as one in ten women suffers from the painful effects of endometriosis.  During my child-bearing years, I endured endometriosis and my daughter-in-law has been coping with the symptoms of this devastating illness for several years now, so I’ve asked her to share her story here.

Healthy, Wealthy And Wide! Coping With Endometriosis!

“Endometriosis is not thought of as a big deal because it doesn’t kill like cancer, but for me, it’s the biggest life event I can remember.  It consumes my whole world.  Endometriosis is constantly shaping my present and my future.”   Padma Lakshimi, Celebrity Chef

Signs and Symptoms Of Endometriosis!

First of all, let’s tackle the tough task of defining exactly what endometriosis is, and the symptoms associated with this disease.

According to Endometriosis Foundation of America, endometriosis is when the growth of tissue that is usually found inside the uterus, grows outside the uterine cavity.  Endometriosis often occurs on the ovaries and outer surfaces of the uterus, but can also spread to the intestines and other internal organs.  When a woman’s hormone levels change during her period, the abnormal tissues often grow and break down leading to severe pain and eventual scar tissue formation.  The cause of endometriosis is not too well understood, but hereditary factors seem to play a role.  It’s also possible that the endometrial tissue travels to these areas during a normal menstrual cycle.


Symptoms of endometriosis may include the following: 

• Severe pain and excessive bleeding during a menstrual cycle.

Painful urination or bowel movements are often experienced as the endometrial tissue  rubs against the intestines or other organs from implants on the back of the uterus.

• Fatigue and depression also becomes a big factor with this disease as a woman’s body often suffers unusual hormonal imbalances.  

Exercise and normal activity can be impeded by the severe pain of the abnormal tissues and scarring that causes binding of internal tissues and organs.  

Infertility is often the most devastating symptom of this disease, since the ovaries are very susceptible to the damage caused by the scar tissue that develops with this disease. 

There is no cure for endometriosis, but common treatments include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants to help control pain, including short-term use of narcotics during peak pain times, usually at the onset of a woman’s menstrual cycle.  Birth control pills and other hormone therapy help keep the endometriosis from getting worse.  Surgery via a minimally invasive laparoscopy procedure is a viable choice as well, to help remove endometrial growths and scar tissue.

Whitney’s Story!

My father loved to hear about other people’s life experiences, he always used to say, “Wise is the person who learns from another’s story and makes his own better!”   Here then is my daughter-in-law, Whitney’s story…I hope it will inspire you as you face your own unique life journey. 

First of all, I want to make it very clear that what I’m going to write in this post are my personal feelings and experiences after being diagnosed with endometriosis.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis about two years ago.  The doctors I saw didn’t really suspect I had endometriosis until I started seeing a fertility specialist, but it’s likely that I have had endometriosis for many years.  In the research I’ve done since my diagnosis, I feel that endometriosis is often misunderstood by the medical community and that women would benefit a great deal if more research was done about this disease.  There is no real clear explanation as to why endometriosis happens, and treatment is somewhat limited,  however, this is not necessarily due to lack of understanding about the disease, but more because of its nature.

My biggest complaint in the years leading up to my diagnosis was severe cramping during physical activity, such as going for a run.  This wasn’t the typical cramping you get when you have pushed yourself to your full capacity, but rather a cramping in the pelvic region that’s very similar to menstrual cramps that would start after only about a mile of running.  When I attempted to explain the symptoms I was experiencing to the gynecologist I was seeing at the time, he acted like he really didn’t know what was going on.  In hind sight, I find it a bit strange that my doctor didn’t suspect endometriosis as being the culprit.  This is one example of why I believe that there may be many women who are suffering some of the symptoms of this disease that are not being recognized as such.

As already mentioned, I was first diagnosed with endometriosis disease after I began seeing a fertility specialist, and a third failed in vitro fertilization attempt ultimately led me make the decision to have laparoscopic surgery to help determine the exact condition of my reproduction organs.  During the surgery, it was found that I had stage three endometriosis–stage four, being the worst case scenario.

Even after repeated surgeries, the likelihood of endometriosis returning is usually guaranteed.  A laparoscopy procedure is considered a minor surgery, but it is still surgery–which involves anesthesia, a recovery period, and the possibility of bleeding afterward etc.  Other treatments involve hormone therapy that requires taking some form of birth control pill, but often these medications resulted in me being sick and somewhat emotionally unstable, which isn’t good for either you or your husband.  The option of having a hysterectomy at my age,, I believe needs no explanation, and comes with consequences that I’m not ready for now.

So here’s some advice I’d offer readers, do not rely solely on the information your doctor may be telling you.  If you suspect you have endometriosis and your gynecologist isn’t listening to you, seek another opinion.  Go see an infertility specialist if needs be, simply because he has more knowledge and expertise where this diagnosis is concerned.  The more informed you become and the sooner you confirm that you do indeed have endometriosis, there’s less likelihood that it will have such an inhibiting impact on your daily life…and taking control of your health is very empowering.  It would be helpful as well, to see a community of women brought together who are all coping with similar symptoms of this elusive disease, where you feel comfortable asking questions, discussing concerns and sharing information as the research and treatments are advanced.  Obviously, it goes without saying that being more aware goes a long way to improving quality of life!

You can read more about Jake and Whitney’s story and their decision to adopt here.

Coping With Endometriosis!

A fervent hope of anyone who is coping with a debilitating illness, or dealing with any other sort of personal struggle, is that these words will resound in the hearts of all of us who offer our support!

Quote on caring.

Here’s to much health and happiness for all of us!

How do you take on a challenge or deal with a personal struggle?


I’d Love To Have Lunch With Taylor Swift’s Mom!

I’d Love To Have Lunch With Taylor Swift’s Mom!

Taylor Swift performed in my home not too long ago……and the talk since then from all the teen girls (and even a few “older” ladies) I know, who were lucky enough to score her concert tickets, has not only been filled with ooh’s and ahh’s about how her show was nothing short of amazing, but more importantly, they have also shared how impressed they were with how genuinely nice she seemed to be.  Whether or not you are a fan of Taylor Swift, as a mother of three grown children, I know first hand, that raising kind, productive human beings, who develop a degree of passion to pursue their dreams can be hard sometimes, then throw in the unpredictable lifestyle of being a celebrity of sorts, and I have got to hand it to the mother (and father) behind this seemingly thoughtful, smart and creative young lady.  I am not one to necessarily be star-struck by anyone, (with the exception of maybe Blake Shelton on “The Voice”) but I’d love to have lunch with Taylor Swift’s mom and visit with her about raising her daughter and what she’d say to young people today that would help inspire them to realized their full potential and channel their energy in positive ways, while still maintaining their integrity and keeping a level head in this sometimes crazy world we live in; she’s obviously done a good job of doing this with her own daughter.

I'd Love to Have Lunch With Taylor Swift's Mom!

(via Academy of Country Music Awards)

I’ll admit, I won’t soon forget the sweet dedication Taylor Swift’s mom gave her daughter as she presented her with the Milestone Award at the Academy of Country Music Awards a few years ago.  (You can view her speech here.)

After our initial introductions and some “get to know you” chit chat, was out of the way, my conversation with Taylor Swift’s mom might go something like this…

♥ How did you nurture Taylor’s creativity when she was a young child?     

What other creative outlets does Taylor have besides music?

I have a cute granddaughter who sings and dances and has the sweetest little conversations with herself…my daughter has put her in ballet and gymnastics classes, as well as few sports activities, while still allowing plenty of time for regular play–since Marli is just four years old, she figures it’s probably a good idea to tap into various different options for her to try at this point in her life, then she has the opportunity to find out for herself what she truly loves!

Nurturing creativity in children.    “The same parenting that helps children become emotionally healthy, also encourages creativity!”  

Dr. Laura Markham creator of Aha! 

♥ What are a few of the things you did that you felt were helpful in supporting Taylor, and calming her fears, as she pursued a career in the music industry?

Big dreams also require hard work, how did you help Taylor learn good work ethics?

I think a question we all ask ourselves is, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” and yet, realistically, getting over fears is only part of the picture; hard work is a mainstay to accomplishing most worthwhile goals.  Rarely does life offer a “free lunch” so to speak–many people who are living out their dreams, will most likely tell you that it involves a lot of hard, albeit enjoyable work!  My profession as a newborn intensive care nurse is very rewarding and a dream come true for me, but it requires hard work and some long hours at the hospital

Working to fulfill our dreams.“The artist is not necessarily a special kind of person; rather each person must work hard to become a special kind of artist!” 

Ananda Coomaraswamy

 By all accounts, you seem to have a very close relationship with your daughter.  What do you to help your relationship stay strong? 

What are your favorite things to do together?  Now that Taylor is older, do you find yourself offering much in the way of relationship or career advice?       

When your children get older, I love that they become as much your peers as they are members of your family!  My mom truly was one of my best friends, I had the deepest respect for her and the advice she offered me on occasion, even when I had a family of my own.

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 “Families can help us discover how good we can really be!” 

Hal Urban, author of “Life’s Greatest Lesson!”

I’m sure these few questions would lead to many more during our lunch; I know we’d laugh, we’d learn from each other, and maybe have a few tears, (women do that…) but mostly we’d chat about aging gracefully, staying relevant, loving our families and how as women we need to champion each other more!

I'd Love To Have Lunch With Taylor Swift's Mom!


“Here’s to good women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!” Heather Stillufsen

And one more thing…..being a country music gal at heart, I’d ask Taylor’s mom if she thinks her daughter will ever do another country album?  I would also tell her that when the time comes…she’ll love being a grandma!

Have a great weekend…and take someone you love to lunch!

What would be your dream celebrity encounter?  Have you ever met anyone “famous” in person?