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Learning from the children in our lives

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Children have a totally different perspective than we "time-tainted" adults. Until life and experience change this, we can learn so much from the way they see things.

Case in point.

We have this beautiful little 3 year old in our family who has been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. It completely fills his abdominal cavity, wrapping over and behind all of his organs and infiltrating the bones. The doctors have given a 70% survival rate....if...he gets through each stage along the way.

As you can imagine, when this news was dropped like a bomb on his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, we had some difficult days. We still have some moments when it hits anew but Raiden has been a champ and has been teaching us about life.

The second of five rounds of chemo is completed. Along the way there has been a drainage tube to try to relieve pressure from a belly full of gallons of fluids caused by the tumor. A feeding tube to augment his nutrition since he had no interest in food in the early days of his hospitalization. A catheter to drain the bladder until he started taking fluids and being able to do this on his own. A port surgically placed to aid in the chemo administration and surgery to biopsy and stage the cancer. The diagnosis involved scans and other procedures that couldn't have been fun for a little boy. There has been pain from various causes and sores in the mouth, night terrors, rashes, loss of hair.....many hard things for him to go through or for mom & dad (and all of us) to watch.

But....in this month in the hospital, he has also trick or treated in the halls of the hot unit. To encourage his walking in the halls, the physiotherapists have made it fun by sticking gators in all sorts of unexpected places that he hunts with his nerf gun. He's also had nerf wars with his grandpa (my nephew) and the giggling battles have been shared on facebook as have some of these other fun activities. Any doubts of the value of the internet are totally dashed. LOL

Now, mom & dad are hopefull that they will all be able to go home for a brief bit of normalcy before the third round of chemo. Being able to go home of course is predicated on all things being OK so it's a hope right now not a reality.

Here's another of Raiden's lessons for us. He told mom that it doesn't matter 'cause he LIKES it at the doctors. LOL He's been having some fun, lots of attention. Mom & dad are living in his hospital room with him, grandparents visit on a regular basis. The nurses bring soup, Popsicle etc. whenever he calls to them to bring food. LOL Although some of the doctor and nurse visits mean uncomfortable things, he quickly shoves those things out of his mind and focuses on the fun side of their visits to his room. When he feels good he plays, when he feels badly he cuddles. Simple!

Now you and I have set goals for ourselves. We spend a lot of our time looking ahead and sometimes allowing ourselves to feel badly because we aren't reaching our goals or aren't doing it quickly enough. We look at our exercise as a chore we HAVE to to instead of a game we GET to play. We think in terms of the difficulties instead of living in the moment and enjoying the journey.

Time to remember the lessons we learn from the children in our lives!

It's snowing here. The first of the season for us. I could groan, thinking about the cold, the shoveling and the months of the same over and over again. But I won't. I choose instead to imagine playing in the snow. Running around, head tipped to the sky trying to catch the silver dollar sized snowflakes on my tongue. No calories in snowflakes!!! LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATANTIGO 11/10/2014 9:18AM

    Raiden is such a sweet boy to watch on FB. Let's all keep the childhood joy in our hearts.

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JANET552 11/10/2014 8:35AM

    We do tend to worry too much about things that aren't the most important part of life. You're right, we can learn a lot from how children handle things - in many ways.

Now, I want to know why you were just imaging playing in that snow. Time to play!!

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GINIEMIE 11/9/2014 12:10PM

    I've learned that during my "hard" times I should look to someone who has it worse. Our problems inevitably seem less important.
I love the optimism and hope Raiden exhibits and the joy in small things. He certainly is sharing an important message with all of us who hear his story.
BTW, could you make some angels in the snow for me?
Once again my prayers for Raiden, his parents and extended family. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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HOLLYM48 11/9/2014 11:55AM

    Yes, it puts it all in perspective doesn't it! I work with so many people that are facing the biggest challenges of their lives and it does make me think that I have no problems that I should be complaining about compared to what they are going through.
I wish this little boy all the best in his cancer journey and sending prayers for healing and living cancer free once he has gone through all that he has to endure.
Praying for all the family involved. It is a heartache to watch a child face this. emoticon

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GEORGE815 11/9/2014 11:51AM

    Great welcome to the snowfall!

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It's a Sign of the Times..........

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Lyrics of old songs pop into my head and run in a continuous loop in there even if the song itself was never a particular favorite.

Today, it is an old Petula Clark song..............

"It's a sign of the times
And I know that I won't have to wait much longer

You've changed a lot somehow
From the one I used to know"


Well, I would have gratefully sat with my laptop and my coffee enjoying the cozy warmth of my fleece jammies this morning. I kept glancing up at the thermometer which was refusing to rise.

Of course I needed to run. I wanted to run. I am stomping out those virtual cancer cells that have plagued my great nephew Raiden. And, I have some Sparkfriends/facebook pals who are running NY today in the cold and wind. Getting dressed and going out for a run is the least I can do. LOL

It's a sign of the times............I had to give a great deal of thought to what I would wear. 36 degrees by the time I was preparing to go out the door means careful layering.

The ice on the puddles at the end of the road showed me that we won't have to wait much longer for winter. Who was getting impatient? LOL

At least we didn't have the brisk winds that the NY runners faced. Sorry Nancy, I would have taken that from you if I could.

As is often the case, when I push myself to get out for a run, I find it to be a pretty good one. The cold helped my pace. I started to unzip layers in the first 1/2 mile and ditched the gloves shortly after. I create a lot of heat when I run so I soon decided to make note that I had mis chosen some of my layers but thankfully I had skipped the wind pants. As I crested the hills on the north side of the lake, I encountered some breeze and the zippers were adjusted but all in all I was warmer by then than necessary or desired. Plugging in to the computer when I got home, I saw that I maintained a very good pace and even managed negative splits. This is highly unusual for me. So perhaps.............

I can repeat that second line.

"You've changed a lot somehow
From the one I used to know"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANET552 11/6/2014 9:56AM

    Isn't it funny how we have to push ourselves out the door only to discover how much we love it? I'm glad you had a good run and I hope you get lots more of those before the snow and ice start to interfere!

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WASCALLYWONE 11/3/2014 9:08AM

    Wow! What a change, indeed! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You're running circles around the cold, girl!

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CATANTIGO 11/3/2014 7:47AM

    Wow, that's great getting out for a run in this weather. I know it will get worse, but I just hate the thought of it. Let's just keep stomping.

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GINIEMIE 11/2/2014 10:17PM

    Good for you. The old song themes are starting to run playbacks again. I've had a few dancing in my head.
I got on the tread mill Friday because I had not gotten in my walk. I don't know what I did, but I hurt my back again. I do believe it was probably the footwear and an impatience to get "up to speed" Go speed racer....
Whatever, I'm not a racer and I'll be sure to A. wear appropriate shoes even on the treadmill and B. use the 5 minute warm-up button on the treadmill instead of manually picking up speed after 2-3 minutes....
Be careful my friend.
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AGING.......funny for the day

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I was lying around, pondering the problems of the

realized that, at my age, I don't really give a rat's ass

If walking is good for your health, the postman would be

.. A
whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still

.. A
rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while
tortoise doesn't run and does mostly nothing. Yet it lives for
150 years.
And you tell me to exercise?? I don't think

that I'm older, here's what I've

1. I
started out with nothing, and I still have most of

My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and

3. I
finally got my head together, and now my body is falling

Funny, I don't remember being

Funny, I don't remember being

6. If all
is not lost, then where the heck is

It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get

Some days, you're the top dog. Some days, you're
the fire-hydrant.

9. I wish
the buck really did stop here. I sure could use a few of

Kids in the back seat cause

Accidents in the back seat cause

It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been

The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my

When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play

16. It's not hard to meet
expenses... they're

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the

These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter .
. .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here

Funny, I don't remember being


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WASCALLYWONE 10/31/2014 8:58PM

    So true.

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    Loved them. emoticon

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TWEETYKC00 10/30/2014 7:10AM

    love em!

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JANET552 10/30/2014 6:06AM

    Thanks for sharing -- I enjoyed the laugh!

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CATANTIGO 10/29/2014 7:18PM

    Oh, you're so funny. LOL

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GINIEMIE 10/29/2014 1:45PM

    Oh my and I needed a good chuckle. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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BOB5148 10/29/2014 11:32AM

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I love when I discover something new!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I've got these little plastic microwave pasta cooker things that frankly did not impress me after I got them. Pasta is not that big a deal to cook on the stove top and it's not like it's a time saver. So these things have been stored on a top shelf in the kitchen cabinet above the sink and I had been thinking of packing them up in the Goodwill bag that we keep going until full when we take it into town.

But today, as I was thinking about lunch I decided to make myself some kale and emoticon how easy is that for the par boil step? I finally found a good use for this cooker, it did a super job and when the five minute nuke was complete I could lift the inner strainer and voila! my kale was ready to add to a little skillet. Happy dance!

Hmmm.....wonder what that lovely green water tastes like? Full of vitamins I'm sure so I pour it into a nice glass mug and sip....tastes slightly reminiscent of broccoli ( a flavor I love) so I don't waste a thing as I drink my kale tea. LOL

Ok, this is all probably sounding pretty dorky but those who know me aren't surprised. LOL

Sometimes, I'm pretty easy to please.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATANTIGO 10/18/2014 8:27AM

    That sounds like such a smart idea. But I never doubted you would think of it.

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JANET552 10/18/2014 7:38AM

    Waste not, want not. I'm glad you enjoyed your tea!!

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DEBBIECK 10/17/2014 11:23PM

    I love the kale tea idea! Points for you for creativity:)

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GINIEMIE 10/17/2014 5:48PM

    I'm with you. Pasta is not a big deal to cook. I bought those cylindrical things to cook them in years ago, now I use one of them with water in it to keep my celery crisp.
I would have used the broth to add to a soup or a stew, but to each her own. Glad you found it a tasty tea type beverage.
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JCLJR4547 10/17/2014 4:39PM


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JANEMAR2 10/17/2014 4:04PM

    More power to you drinking "kale tea". I have tried and tried to like kale and haven't gotten there yet. emoticon

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Raiden Sweety, I'm doing this for you

Friday, October 10, 2014

There is so much of this health journey that is about motivation.

5 years ago, I saw an add in the back of a magazine. Sparkpeople, a free web community to help you meet your goals. I had regained a lot of the weight I had lost on weight watchers. I had been trying to lose it again without going back to WW but it wasn't working. I was motivated, but not enough to do it alone.

Here, I found tools to help me and more importantly I found the support and connection with others who guided me through more than just the diet and exercise. This became a journey of self discovery and unloading of emotional baggage. Those last two things are necessary before change can be complete, at least for me.

I've been mostly on maintenance now for a long time but last winter took a toll. I met spring and summer holding the higher limit of my maintenance window. You know the drill, go back to basics, plan, commit, track and make sure there's accountability.

A lot of my friends here already know that I didn't really accomplish much this summer to improve the situation and as October rolled around, I realized like my friend NINJALINDA, I needed to go back to square one. Ok....gonna do this!

Enter that key ingredient. MOTIVATION I know, I am motivated but I needed to be motivated enough.

Now, last Saturday, we got a call from my nephew's wife. My nephew's 3 year old grandson was admitted to the children's hospital Thursday last and is diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. I shared this devastating news with one small team and had little intention of saying anything about it in a blog because......after all, there are so many of us who have devastating family concerns, loss etc. and I didn't want to appear to think that my worries were any bigger than anyone elses.

I had forgotten the value of sharing like this though. The friend I had told have been so very supportive and understanding and I am ever so grateful.

So I am sharing the story.

First, I should explain, that having no children of our own, my oldest sister's boys are the closest to having my own children as could ever be. We have had and still have a parent/child relationship with these guys. We were lucky enough when the oldest had children of his own to be given the opportunity to have our "grandchildren" for vacations etc. The father of our sick little Raiden spent weeks with us when he was the same age. So you see, hearing that Raiden is so sick has broken our hearts. The Drs. are giving a 70% chance of a five year cancer free survival. That's an improvement over a few years ago when it would have been 30% at best so we're grateful, hopeful and yes still very fearful.

If any of my sparkfriends reading this are moved to do so, I would ask you to check out the facebook page my grand niece set up. Raidens Battle. Many of you who are my facebook friends have already done this. If you check it out please "like" the page. It's a little thing but my grand nephew told me on the phone they are so stunned by all the page "likes" and the expressions of concern, prayers, well wishes from family and friends of course but also from people they don't know. It's showing them that this world of ours is one big caring community.

Sometimes, just knowing someone cares, helps.

Back to motivation.

I have been dedicating my runs and strength training to Raidens battle. Yesterday, I didn't feel like going out in the cold to run but I thought about him getting his first chemo and thought I had no right to "choose" to not do something when he has to go through this.

I ran and every time my shoes hit the pavement, I imagined stomping out a cancer cell. That was over 8500 cancer cells I killed and since he was getting his treatment at about the same time, we did double duty.

I hate ST, and have always had trouble motivating myself to to what I know I need to but today, knowing I was building strength to knock the crap out of cancer, I did it.

I'm going to continue to dedicate my fitness to Raiden.

Raiden, sweety, Aunt Donna's doing this for you! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANET552 10/12/2014 1:32PM

    My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to this little guy and all the family, you included. It is a sad, sad thing that kids have to deal with this. This year I have a friend whose granddaughter has been dealing with a neuroblastoma on her spinal cord. That little girl has defied the odds (she's back in school this Fall, at least a little) and I hope the same for Raiden. He's at a great hospital (my friend's granddaughter was at University Hospital in Madison) but cancer in kids sure does change the family. Does the family live close to Milwaukee?

We aren't FB friends and I don't get to the SP Teams as often, but know that I add my voice (and steps) to others who are pulling for this kiddo!

Comment edited on: 10/12/2014 1:33:02 PM

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TUFFYBIRD 10/11/2014 10:59AM

    I'm so sorry to hear this, Donna. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


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CATANTIGO 10/11/2014 10:56AM

    I am going to do something every day to 'stomp out those cells'. Raiden has become very close to my heart. You and your family will never be alone in this battle.

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GINIEMIE 10/10/2014 10:06PM

    Oh Donna, what a heart breaking event. I'm so sorry your little Raiden is having this battle, but I know that if you can use this as encouragement to get on track I know that he'll probably enjoy the visuals of you stamping on cancer cells.
I am adding him to my prayers and the book of prayers at my church.
I'm not one of your FB friends so I'm telling you here, we love you and by extension your family know that many of us will be adding Raiden to their prayers.
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