People All Over the World

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One of my closest friends leaves for India next week. In 2011, I had the pleasure of accompanying her for two and a half months. It was the best thing I have ever done. We travelled the country, indulged in delicious food, explored temples, and attended the most amazing parties. It was the kindness, however, that stands out to me most. People I had never met, willing to open their homes and hearts, despite having never met me. When word spread of my Moms battle, I receive many messages of hope and prayer from those individuals who grew close to my heart during that time. The feeling that people, not only in your immediate circle, but also throughout your community and across the world are supporting you is pretty amazing. It reminds me that kindness knows no boundaries, hope no limits, and love no distance.

ROAR!

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow'”
– Mary Anne Radmacher

To be brave means to face something new or difficult with an air of grace. I learned that courage doesn’t appear in the absence of fear but rather, in spite of it. Often, it is the difficult moments that most define our character and help us to realize what is important. And when we don’t think we can continue, those who care for us most, pick us back up, dust us off, and remind us why it is that we are fighting so hard.

Check out this inspirational cover of ROAR by Toronto teen Olivia Wise:

Olivia passed away from brain cancer November 25, 2013.

A healthy ice cream alternative for summer that will leave you wanting more!

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When faced with cancer, one of the most important aspects of recovery that is so often overlooked is our diet. We need to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies but that doesn’t mean we don’t still get cravings for something sweet. For cancer, sugar is a BIG no, no, as it feeds the cancerous cells and helps it to grow. While natural sugars should still be limited, they can supplement processed sugars in small doses, and taste just as delicious.

In the summer months, we often crave a cool treat. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and popsicles that are high in sugar are not the best option for individuals battling cancer. A healthy option? Yonanas is great for anyone who is looking for a healthy dessert option! The best part about it? All you need is frozen fruit! I know you might seem skeptical about this at first, I know I was. Where does that ice creamy texture come from when there’s only fruit in there? The frozen banana makes the texture more like ice cream. If you don’t use a banana your going to get something more like frozen yogurt or sorbet – equally tasty if you ask me, it just depends what you’re in the mood for! You can add in other things like chocolate chips or get creative and freeze vanilla, really, your options are quite limitless.

For more information check out their website here: http://yonanas.com/

Seizures

Seizures can be medically defined as electrical impulses radiating through all or part of the brain. According to Epilepsy Ontario, “There are more than 40 different types of seizures. Most fall under two main categories:

1. Generalized seizures occur when there is widespread seizure activity in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The most common forms of generalized seizures are:

  • absence seizures (formerly known as petit mal)
  • tonic-clonic or convulsive seizures (formerly known as grand mal)

2. Focal (or partial) seizures occur when seizure activity is limited to a part of one brain hemisphere. There is a site, or a focus, in the brain where the seizure begins. The most common forms of focal seizures are:

  • simple partial seizures (sometimes referred to as an aura)
  • complex partial seizures

The American Brian Tumour Association cites that approximately 60% of patients with brain tumours experience seizures. As a result of multiple brain metastasis a year prior to her death, my Mom began experiencing focal seizures. The first one happened when I had driven her to get ice cream with her friends. We had gone into the Pizza Pizza to get some water and my Mom was explaining to her friends how she had been having a bit of an ‘off’ day. She told them how she had been making soup earlier and her arm kept dropping onto the pot and she didn’t realize until she began to feel the burning sensation. This is referred to as an ‘aura,’ or signal of an oncoming seizure. It can occur in the form of a headache, twitch, change of mood, or smell. Ironically, it was at this point that her arm began to twitch, and her friends asked, “Oh, you mean like that?” My confused eyes met hers, the exchange only lasted a moment before the entire left side of my Moms body began to convulse and she cried out in pain. She lost control of her body as she began to slide out of her chair, her friends moved to help stabilize her while I called 911.

We later found out that this was a focal seizure as a result of the progression of the disease. She spent over a week in the hospital because the cramping from the seizure was so severe that it caused a loss of function in her arm and leg. Although you are often told not to restrict a patient who is seizing, we discovered that holding my Moms foot straight so that it couldn’t curl under greatly reduced the cramping and after affects of immobility.

The doctors prescribed a variety of medication for the seizures, which, once they found the right dose, worked well. The steroid Dexamethazone was used to control the the brain swelling. Dilantin and Carbamazepine were used in combination to control seizures. We found this combination worked well without making my Mom feel too foggy. We tried other medications for her seizures throughout the diseases as well, however, we found that these three medications were both consistent and effective.

Proof of Heaven

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.”
—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955)

The book “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” recites a chillingly clear recollection of a near death experience from the first person perspective of medical doctor, Eben Alexander. The author utilizes his medical knowledge and practical experience to communicate to readers his life after death experience. The novel is a short and enticing read for those who have had a brush with death, lost a loved one, or have simply wondered about the beyond. It has provided my mom, step-Dad, and other family members with a comfort that there is something beyond this life. It can be picked up at any Chapters, Coles, or Indigo book store, or ordered online here:  http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Proof-Of-Heaven/9781451695199-item.html?s_campaign=goo-BooksByTopSales&gclid=COWM8fistL8CFQQPaQodfCoAUw