Category Archives: health

How to Build Bridges in Business and in Life

My Grandpa was a cabbage and lettuce farmer and for many years as a young curious girl,  I watched  him work and helped him harvest the crops. There is nothing else he would have rather done. It was in his bones.  I asked him one day if  I could take a turn driving  ‘Ole Blue’ as he called his rusty and reliable tractor.   He responded, “Have you been paying attention?  Yes Sir.”IMG_0032

Pulling his hankerchief from his pocket, he wiped the sweat off his brow, stepped down and said,  “Well, get up there and give it a go.”

 Like my Grandpa, many of us  feel driven by a purpose or calling- to start our own business,  become a life coach, create a blog,  write a book,  or get healthy.  Or perhaps even wish to master the art of staying calm under pressure. Yep, a few of these are on my list too.  So, how do we do this and meet with success?  

There are four key factors in building  bridges and accomplishing our goals: 

1.  Know the leaders/competitors 

Seek out and study those in the industry  and in life who have thrown themselves In the Arena and become champions in their field. What skill sets, resources and connections do they possess?

2.  Be their customer/follower

Listen to their story. Pay attention to the characteristics and behaviors of those you wish to emulate. Demonstrate loyalty to their product and service and reciprocity is sure to follow.

3.  Be their partner

True leaders want to see and help others succeed. What will your contributions be in this relationship? How can you help build them up? 

4.  Create your own niche

Be authentically You.  Focus on your unique talents, skills, traits and passions . This is one of the most important tools needed in building bridges in both our professional and personal lives.

Here are a few of the leaders in their respective industries that I follow and partner with who encourage, motivate and greatly inspire me to  step  In the Arena  in accomplishing my goals and reaching my dreams.

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*Steven Pressfield author of The War of Art, Turning Pro and The Legend of Bagger Vance- made into a major motion film starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.  Pressfield   offers invaluable wisdom  and great insight on  beating Resistance often disguised as our Muse.

*David Scott Mann– 

Founder of Lead Strong  leadership coaching, author, real estate investor , mentor and veteran- Lt. Colonel(ret), Army Special Forces Green Beret.  Scott’s expertise and skills extend well beyond the battlefield; training others to connect, succeed  and leave deep tracks  in this world through the power of storytelling. An Elite Leader like no other.

*Danny Ray Jr.–  Contributing writer- Life Hack,  and creator of  Dream Big, Dream Often .   Danny is a visionary  and community leader both on and offline with a seemingly inexhaustible reserve for helping others recognize and reach their dreams. A dedicated servant and advocate for those whose lives have been impacted by Multiple Scerlosis. The world could use a few more Danny’s.

Dreams

“Pay attention and give it a go”  Grandpa 

 

 

Adversity & the Middle Finger

My sister gave cancer the finger and lived 5 years past what the docs said she would. 

My grandmother gave cancer the finger, had a mastectomy and lived into her 90’s. 

My sister-in-law is now telling cancer to fook off & recently had a double mastectomy-currently going thru chemo/radiation. 

May we always fight the demons who try to invade our mind, body & soul for what is sure to be a worthwhile life. 💖💖

Room 3

I found myself in a gorgeous hospital gown last evening enjoying my large suite and gazing adoringly upward at the beautiful flower(yep, that was the morphine talking). 


About twenty minutes into my Staycation, Paramedics brought in a gentleman probably in his early 50’s suffering from chest pains- they placed him in the room next to mine. After the doctor looked him over, his family shuffled in eagerly waiting to wrap their arms around him.

It’s amazing when you’re all hooked up and doped up how keen your  senses become-ahmmm… hearing.

No, I wasn’t eavesdropping they were talking loudly and the curtain to my suite was wide open.

This family spoke lovingly to him and laughter was abound.

And then a few moments later…

“I NEED HELP” as he went into what appeared to be cardiac arrest. A nurses assistant quickly escorted the mother and patient’s elderly father back to the waiting room as the mother cried out “WHY?”

The ER doctor on duty and several others ran to his aide putting forth every bit of effort, training and skills to bring him back to life… to no avail.

While this post has a somber tone, I write it as a wonderful reminder to myself and for others:

-There will always be someone who has it worse off than you.

Count your blessings. 

-Find something beautiful everywhere you go-See

-Enjoy the laughter that fills a room-Hear

-Savor the flavor of homemade family recipes-Taste

-Breathe in fresh air-Smell

May the gentleman in room-3 feel the love of his family and God’s arms surrounding him.

To his family… I offer my thoughts, prayers and appreciation for Life!

To the ER staff~ I applaud you for your courage, compassion and resiliency you bring to every time card you punch.

May God Bless you all.

Much Appreciated

Thank you for all of the kind, caring messages and offers to help with regard to my son’s health issues.  It does not go unnoticed and is very much appreciated.  I have gotten a bit behind with posting and responding to comments so my apologies to those who haven’t received a response back yet.

 

It has been a whirlwind of doctors visits, tests, long drives etc…    We remain hopeful that he is on an upswing to recovery.  

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Give presence to those you love and care about. 

 

Chiari Warrior

What?  How do you pronounce that?  Kee-AR-ee

My sweet and very brave Chiari Warrior  eleven year old son is approaching his year Zipperversary(6.9.15) of having brain surgery.  He was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia more than a year ago. Tomorrow we will journey four hours north of here  once again to meet with his neurosurgeon.

While recent MRI images and reports were not what we had hoped they would be, we will remain optimistic and determined to do whatever is necessary to keep him living a healthy and happy life.

“I’m just a normal kid who had brain surgery.”

Rather than write a ‘dumping’ story, I’d like to try and educate readers on this rare brain disorder to the best of my ability as a non-medical professional.

Alternate Names:

-Arnold Chiari Malformation(ACM)

-CM

-Tonsillar Ectopia

-Hindbrain Herniation

Subcategories:

There are 5 subcategories of Chiari ranging from Chiari 0-IV with CM 1 being the most common.  It remains on the list by NORD(National Organization Rare Disorders) as a rare brain disorder and  affects approximately 1 out of 1,000 people.

CM is a structural brain abnormality at the back  of the skull and spinal cord. It is believed that the area at the base of the skull is too small or narrow which results  in the hindbrain(cerebellum) and brainstem being pushed downward into the spinal canal.  Currently, doctors believe this to be a congenital defect, it can also in rare cases be acquired via trauma or injury.  Through my own personal research and meeting countless numbers of people impacted by Chiari, it also appears there may be a genetic link.

Chiari

LT-normal brain  RT-Chiari & Syringo(Syrinx)

Once the cerebellum and/or the brainstem begin to protrude down into the spinal canal, this can potentially create a spinal fluid blockage.   Some CM patients may or may not be symptomatic.

My son’s herniation was measured at over 20mm;  with  significant csf blockage resulting in Syrinx in his spine.

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His actual MRI image showing Chiari

 When there is csf blockage, this can also cause a secondary problem called Syringomyelia(Syrinx) which are fluid like cysts that develop in the spinal cord due to built up pressure. Overtime these cysts can get larger causing nerve damage potentially leading to paralysis if left untreated.

Symptoms:

While every CM/SM patients symptoms vary, the following are some of the more common ones.

Headache|neck pain/stiffness| blurred vision|numbness/tingling in arms or hands|syncope|ringing in ears|sleep apnea|difficulty swallowing|vertigo

My son’s symptoms- seizures|numbness/tingling in arms hands| neck stiffness|coordination & balance issues|

Treatment:

There are a number of variables that factor into the best course of treatment for CM patients. They include but are not limited to:

-drug regimen

-physical therapy

-monitoring of symptoms

-surgery

It is usually a combined team effort with your General Practitioner, Neurologist, Ophthalmologist, Radiologist, Physcial Therapist and Neurosurgeon to determine the best course of action.

It was determined that surgery was necessary for my son based on a number of factors; cerebellar herniation, csf blockage, syrinx  in spine, symptomatic and his age.

 There are a number of ways to perform this surgery and I certainly am not  by any means an expert or one to elaborate in this area.  chiari surgery

The particular surgery that my son had was three-fold:

1.) decompressive suboccipital craniectomy

2.)duraplasty

 3.)cervical laminectomy.

Phew, that’s a mouthful!  In laymen’s terms, his neurosurgeon cauterized the cerebellar tonsils, cut his C1 vertebrae, trimmed part of the base of his skull and opened the dura to alleviate pressure.

too much brain

Prognosis:

There is currently no cure for Chiari however with prompt diagnosis and proper treatment, most CM patients go on to live relatively normal lives.  While the medical professionals continue to further research the origins and best treatments for CM/SM patients,  so much more research and awareness is needed.

My one personal piece of advice from this experience is NEVER ignore symptoms.  Many people kept telling me- “there is nothing wrong with him” and  “you’re crazy.” Listen to your gut instinct!

My son has to live life a little bit differently now(he’s not so happy about not being able to ride rollercoasters or go on trampolines anymore)- it is our hope- it is my hope as a Mother of one brave boy -that through our experience that we continue to provide awareness, assistance and grow to appreciate that their scars  are worn with tremendous pride knowing a Chiari Warrior has won!

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#42  “No Excuses, No Quit”

Additional Resources:

Mayfield Center :

http://www.mayfieldchiaricenter.com

NORD: http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/chiari-malformations/

Conquer Chiari:

http://www.conquerchiari.org/index.html

*Numerous support groups on Facebook

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Be well.  

 

 

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