The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Posts tagged “Health

OMG, seriously…

Oh, My God! Thank the Lord above for all that may be about to ‘be.’

Through His grace, He gives the knowledge and ability to do great things that will benefit all mankind. He touches mankind often through other individuals to benefit even the unknowing, the unfeeling, the uncaring, the unaware, the unbelieving, undeserving,  and the ungrateful. Those who know me well know for an absolute that this is not how I begin any conversation.

But this is H-U-G-E!

My children are affected by many diseases and conditions that I [moi] have passed down to them through the genetic process. There is the Malignant Hyperthermia that has affected many in the family, most especially myself and my daughter. My eldest son is now a ‘chair’ user because of myopathy that was finally diagnosed as ‘related to Malignant Hyperthermia’ by those at Emory University Hospital, and after initial help from the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is one of Jerry’s Kids even though he is no longer a child. The doctors and medical personnel at MDA and Emory were patient and listened and did not dismiss him as having a ‘make believe’ condition. He intelligently guided the doctors to ‘find’ the condition even though it may have been masked by other benign symptoms. Only a couple of doctors at Emory had given the adequate amount of time to actually witness the presenting problem. These doctors were astounded at how the synapses exploded on their monitors with the triggered bursts of calcium. Thank the Good Lord for them.

You see, we do not know whether the others would have the same problem because they have been healthy enough not to require surgery or anaesthesia. I don’t know whether those are the lucky ones or not; since it is relied upon that the personnel take the threat seriously and take the necessary precautions; the precautions are time-consuming and often expensive. There are no short cuts.

Then there is the Amblyopia, the Diabetes, the tumor, the strokes, the hypertension and the allergies that lead to asthma. You get the picture. No sympathy is elicited here; I just wanted everyone to understand how miraculous this might be, if not for my loved ones, then perhaps for yours. And I can think of no one else to credit other than the big man upstairs.

Someone, a  hithertofore unknown individual, has effected the power of healing from within. I know, it is a miracle. This is an overnight sensation. It is too bad it took twenty years or so to perfect this overnight success. A remarkable substance extracted from pig guts enables the body to regenerate lost muscle tissue. Adam Piore writes in the July/August 2011 issue of Discover magazine that pioneer Stephen Badylak is working on treatments that would allow patients to regrow entire limbs. Enough. Enough, I say about ‘the pigs in a blanket’ that we heard this last week from testimony in the Casey Anthony trial; this is important. And, yes mother, evidently they can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – at least close enough to government work for me. And for those who were young during the 1960s, no the ‘pixie dust’  is not LSD.

Lord, please let your ‘pixie dust’ regenerate atrophied muscle tissue. It has been shown to regrow lost fingertips. The documented case of regrowing thigh muscle in the case presented in the article is astounding, stupendous, amazing! The leg was in need of amputation said the experts to Corporal Isaias Hernandez, a nineteen-year-old Iraq marine wounded while on duty; you would be better off with a prosthesis which would come with less pain. Then ensued medical

Cpl Isaias Herandez' thigh

Photograph by Scott Lewis from Discover Magazine page 69, July/August 2011 Issue showing Marine Cpl Isaias Hernandez' regenerated thigh tissue

procedures and three years of intense physical therapy, but to no avail. Recently talk of amputation had begun again.  Then his well-being took a dramatic turn when he viewed a documentary on the Discovery Channel dealing with a ‘magic powder’ that regrew another soldier’s fingertip with nail, bone, tissue and all. The other soldier’s brother is the one who invented and provided the ‘pixie dust.’

For the Corporal there were more rounds of intense physical therapy and surgery that included the insertion of a portion of a pig’s bladder known as ECM [extracellular matrix]which is the same source for material that is made into the ‘pixie dust.’ It had been believed to contain powerful proteins that can reawaken the body’s latent ability to regenerate tissues. Trials are now being conducted, that if successful, they could fundamentally change the treatment for catastrophic limb injuries.

The story of Stephen Badylak, regenerative-medicine pioneer, says this changes “the body’s default mechanism of healing.” His background in the most unlikely of fields led to disbelief in the medical field of experts. He became quiet of his results for years because no seemed to believe him. He then entered medical school and became an M.D. so that he could conduct his own research with the knowledge base of a doctor and researcher. And, viola! Twenty years or so later, his results are now a matter of public knowledge. He is an overnight sensation. Good for him; and good for mankind.

Source: Piore, Adam. Discover Magazine. July/August 2011 Issue, pages 68-73. Photography by Scott Lewis.


Things I Learned from Cancer 101 (9)

Lobular Breast Cancer. Single file cells and c...

Lobular Breast Cancer Cells

by Sandra Pullen on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 9:51am

You know that sinking feeling you get in your gut while standing on the edge of a cliff?  Yeah, that one.  Hold that thought.

Now, imagine that you have just been told to step off…………..

 There is nothing but air.   You will surely fall and die. 

Next, I want you to take that “feeling of fear”  and transpose it on to the face of every one you love. That is what the family of a cancer patient looks like………….

I am the oldest of five children.  Born and raised in a time when you never worried about your children playing outside, as a matter of fact, none of us ever considered staying inside on a beautiful day. 

A bicycle was the accepted mode of transportation.  Designer jeans were not an issue.   No cell phones for distraction.

You had everything you needed…your best friend and a dollar for a drink and a honey bun at the store.

You went to Church on Sunday, and Mom never had to make us go.  Our attendance was expected.

Life never got much more complicated than that.

Our family has been abundantly blessed with good health.   Grandparents lived to ripe old ages, after living a full and happy life.

The closest I had ever come to cancer was a paternal aunt with Breast Cancer.   It was so long ago, that I barely remembered it.

Then it happened.  The diagnosis. The surgery.  The recovery.  The acceptance. The establishment of “new normal.”

To rebuild  your life after the beast enters is not the easiest thing to do.  I did what I had to do. It never occurred to me to give up, to not do what I had determined I would do and be in my life.

But.. my precious family still had to deal.

Looking back, I can see that each of them dealt with the beast in their own way.

My brothers and sisters have always known and still do, that I am here for them. They can talk to me about anything. Sometimes I give good advice, and sometimes I just listen.

But I’ve always been here.

Now they had to face the possibility that I may not “be here” 

I know they love me.  I never doubt that, just as they know I love them.  We have and will always love each other.

If you know my family, you know these truths..

1. We are affectionate.

We love one another and  are not afraid to show it.  Hugging is acceptable. Kissing is optional.

2. We are loyal.

All for one and one for all.

3. We are always and I mean always here for each other. 

No one has to go through troubles alone, not with the Peebles Clan.

4. We are LOUD!

I know, but the truth is what it is.  I have watched many videos of us at family gatherings and the volume has to be turned down.

Like my daughter Shelley says, “It’s the only way to be heard in this family, to get louder than others.”

My family is very important to me.  I was taught that you “took care” of the little ones.  And I did that. 

I have been told, I did it so well, that I would take their punishment for them. 

Now before you get all “well she is just bragging” on me, wait a second…

I was only a little girl, and I certainly don’t remember doing it…….so it’s not as noble as it sounds. But… I would do it today in a heartbeat.

Just as they would for me.

But the beast was one enemy that they couldn’t fight for me. That one had to be dealt with one on one 

.Man to man.

Beast to SURVIVOR

Every brother, every sister that I have would have fought the beast for me. I know that, if they could they would have gladly done what ever it took to get me through the battle with the beast.

But in life,  there are some battles that are meant to be fought alone.  The only help you have or will ever have is HIM.

And that is all a warrior needs in a battle of any kind is HIM.

Please never think that I am better than any other survivor out there. I never felt special or singled out for any special or divine purpose.

I was just a working mother, with a life that I loved and a family that I loved.

Battling a beast as strong as cancer was not on my life’s agenda.  Or so I thought. Now, looking back, I realize that it is exactly what I was supposed to do and be.

It is a time of my life of wonderful lessons.

Lessons learned and hopefully taught to others through my struggles of how life can be lived.  And that the beast doesn’t always win.

Most of the time it wins, but there are those times that we can look at with new hope, new faith, new strength. Those are the times that we should strive for whether dealing with cancer or with the jerk who cut you off on Woodward Avenue.

Those times when you know you are loved, you know you are strong, you know you are the “best you can be”

You just know !

And if the battle with the beast is lost………………………..

What then???

Well, to be absent here is to be present……………where???

That is the question.

I love my family, they love me.

There are just no givens in life. No certain outcomes. No promise of another day. No guarantee that what you want is what you’ll get. Not one of us is guaranteed our next breathe.

But you are promised an eternity. Time without end.

A wonderful alternative to the beast

Eternity, what a lovely word

The next lesson I learned from cancer, and every day life is this.

Family is the heart of the matter

We don’t get to choose them. They are GIVEN to us.  I love that idea!!   This group of people were chosen just for me. This Mother, this Father and these brothers and sisters are mine.

There is no one in the world who has a family like mine.  The unique personalities and bond that we share is not so common these days.

I’m not saying that we are perfect…… just that we are perfect for each other.  Mom, Dad, Anthony, Beth, Bryan and Karen

You are truly my foundation.

Family…. The Heart of the Matter.


An Alabama girl kicks cancer’s butt…

The Things I Learned From Cancer 101 (6)

by Sandra Pullen on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 6:08pm

Lessons you learn from cancer are ones that change your life. The changes are sudden and permanent.

It begins by shifting your priorities, and the funny thing about priorities, you think you have them all arranged.  Got them just like you like them. Then………….bam!

I liked my life.  I loved my job. Had wonderful friends. A husband who loves me, awesome children and grandchildren.

Was  fortunate enough to still have both parents to love. Yeah, my life was pretty much the way I liked it. There was nothing  more I could ask for, well maybe to win the lottery, but I’ve given up hope of that ever happening.

I lived life in days.  Now, what does that mean, you may ask? Well,  I would get up, go to work, come home, fix dinner, go to bed.  That is basically how I existed. Routine was a comfort to me. Doug was always there. 

After all this time, it is still difficult for me to admit, but , yes, I took it all for granted.  I just assumed things would stay the same and that life would continue to be exactly as I wanted it to be.  Day in and day out. 

You see, that was the problem.  Cancer came into my world and suddenly, I found out how to start living! 

When one is faced with a life threatening illness,  there are stages you go through in order to arrive at a place that allows you to deal with all of the changes and shifts that come along with it.

But the one thing that nagged at me from the moment I first heard the word, cancer.  What if I die?   What if this cancer beats me?   What will I do??

Looking back, I realize what silly questions those were!

You see, it was never up to me.  The choices I have to make and the decisions that affect my life are limited. I can only do so much on my own, and in this frail human body. The decision to get up every morning is one that is easy to make. Not rocket science that. 

But whether or not I would live or die was never the issue!   I am going to die!   Now here is the kicker…………..So are you!!!

You see how silly that is?  We all are only given temporary passes. This is not our home. 

I have always said, “I am ready to go, just not today”  If I die to day, just know that I was happy yesterday.  Now that is easy for me to say…..about myself. 

I could not say that about my two year old grandson with Leukemia.  It was no less true for him, but it was not easy for me to say.

In my heart, I could not bear the thought of losing him to the beast. The battle was not an easy one to win, and I know how hard it is to fight the cancer, but he was just a baby, only two years old. How in this world would he ever be able to with stand the chemo monster?  How would his little body be strong enough to battle the pain this beast could cause?

Watching this brave warrior in the fight of his little life was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

I wished so many times that I could take his place.  I knew how to fight the beast but my baby didn’t.

My little Austin showed us that it can be done.  Cancer can be beaten.

Every time I see this child smile, I am amazed at how much he has endured.  For six years, he has been cancer free. Now at the age of eight he has blossomed into the little boy that I had always hoped he would be, and I can’t wait to see the man, I know he will one day become.

I love all of my grandchildren with my whole heart. But Austin and I have a kinship that was not of our choosing. We are related by more than just blood. We are kindred hearts in a fight that is lost by so many people every day.

Babies are not supposed to get cancer.  How does that happen????   What has gone so terribly wrong in this world that tiny babies in their mothers arms get cancer?? 

Of one thing, I am certain… I have been given an opportunity to share, and let others know that, cancer doesn’t win every time!

After all of these years of learning these lessons,  I have finally come to realize, that I am still learning!! 

Every day there is a new revelation in my life.  It is like a light bulb goes off in my head, and I want to slap myself and say “Oh, yeah!  I get it now” 

There is no secret, no special remedies in the life of a cancer survivor because we know, it’s not up to us. All we have to do is grab onto the moments!! 

Stop living day by day, in an endless rut and start SAVORING THE MOMENTS! 

The older I get, the more I realize how very little I know about a lot of things, but of one thing I am more certain of now than at any other time in my life is this……………..There is a GOD that loves us. He loves us so much that he even takes pleasure in our slumber.

How many times have you tip toed into your child’s room at night and just gazed at that precious, sleeping face?  What an absolute joy it was to know that little person was safe and sound and peacefully at rest!

Our heavenly father loves us so much that he enjoys watching us sleep!

Can you really grasp that?  Just like an earthly father, he loves to see us at peace and rest.

When I question, WHY?  It’s not for the reason you might think.

I never ask, ” why me?  or why Austin?”  Instead my question is a little more complex.

I say”  Why do other children not get the same wonderful outcome as Austin?  Why do other breast cancer patients not win the battle against their beast?

It makes no sense that babies die from this disease, but it happens every day. I have lost count of the precious little friends that Austin has lost over the years we have spent at St. Jude’s.

Brave little people who face death with the un waverable courage of child like innocence. You see, they don’t know that they are as  sick as they are.

Oh their parents know, you can tell by their faces. The fear, the worry, it’s all there, in every blink, smile and tear.

But the children have no idea how sick they really are.

That is the gift of innocence. You and I had it once, but lost it as time passed. But the children, how unafraid they are of what they face.

I can’t think of anything more painful than the loss of a child.

I have always said that St. Jude is where GOD sends his angels to help sick children.

My family and I love St. Jude!!

It is a place that offers hope to a family who came to them with so much despair. Our lives will never be the same since cancer entered. It is better because now we take NOTHING for granted, Not one second or moment goes by without a thankful prayer for the gift that we have been given.

It may sound crazy, but I wouldn’t trade my experience with cancer for anything in this world, because it taught me how to truly live!!!

And there you have it! The next lesson learned from cancer is …. how to live!  Celebrate the moments!!!


The funny thing about cancer is…

Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart

NOTHING!

Things I learned from Cancer 101 (5)

by Sandra Pullen on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 12:40pm

 The funny thing about cancer is….oh wait……..there is nothing funny about cancer! But, there is no rule that says one can’t laugh AT it!

And that is what I did.

Humor is a wonderful way to feed the spirit.  There is a rule at Nana’s house, if Nana thinks it’s funny, nobody is in trouble.

The problem with that is ….I think everything is funny.

Humor is found in circumstances that sometimes seem difficult to face, whether you believe it or not.  It just made dealing with my situation easier. I knew that if I did OK, then so would my family. They were watching me.

So, if I smiled, they smiled. It was a learning process.  I had never dealt with this before, so I just took it breathe by breathe. Some days I couldn’t even see day by day, it had to be one breathe at a time.

After surgery, the hospital sent a counselor or a helper or a busy body, I’m not really sure what to call her, but my friendly “counselor” came by my room just to discuss recovery options and prosthesis.  She brought me an attachment to wear home.

It never entered my mind that I would need something like that to look “normal” on my way home. 

It was just a small cushion that fit under my arm so that the front of my body resembled a normal female’s. Now I have always been blessed with curves, shall we say, so when I put the little cushion on , Doug and I both burst out laughing!

It was so obvious that this little cushion was not my size!  I looked at Doug and said ” they brought me 32 petite instead of a 34 long”   I still have that “little” (little being the key word here) cushion.

Laughter truly is the best medicine! To smile when you are concentrating on NOT throwing up is a real gift!

I used to tell my oncologist that I am the only person I know, who for six months, twice a week took chemo treatments and threw up on a regular basis and STILL gained forty pounds! 

Now, I don’t care who ya are, that right there is funny!

Steroids will do that to you, so they tell me.

The chemo room, or family room setting where our infusions took place was a huge, sunny room filled with recliners all around the room.

Some were big lazy boy types and others were small, petite ones.  So I made it a point to always find the small ones, because I could let my feet actually touch the floor.

While getting my labs done, (blood drawn) I asked Doug to go ahead of me and “reserve” my chair.

When I finished and got to the room, I saw an older man who was small in stature like myself.

I had seen him many times before but he always had a scowl on his face that made him unapproachable.

On this day, I determined that I would introduce myself and just see what happened.

Boldly I walked right up to  where he was sitting with his wife and said ‘hello, my name is Sandra, how are you today?”

Still scowling he looked at his wife and said ” Yeah, this is the lady that always steals my chair”

Now I just told you , that I find humor in strange places, so instead of being offended, I just smiled sweetly in return and said  ”  OK, you big baby, if you want your silly old chair, you can have it!”

Wait for it………………………………………..

The biggest grin spread across his face and I honestly thought he was going to laugh out loud!!

From that day on we enjoyed prodding each other with good natured insults. As it turns out, he was not such an ogre after all. He just wanted to be talked to and have fun.

In his own way, he was coping with the “beast”.

It is true, you really never know the things a person is dealing with or how they feel unless you actually get involved.

His is gone now, as are so many faces that sat in that room at that time.

I wish somehow he could know what an impression he made on me that day.

I had one of the sweetest nurses. Her name is Kim. I have lots of wonderful people in my life named KIM! Go figure!

On the first day of my first infusion, she was explaining how the chemo worked.

In an off hand way, she explained that it would make me sterile. Now at the age of 46, being sterile was not the tragedy that it might have been for some one else, so I just looked her in the eye and said with a grin……”Sweetie, you better hope it does, because if I get pregnant, somebody is gonna go broke around here!”

She still laughs about it to this day!

Laughter is defined as … the display of merriment through sound.  I love that!! 

I usually don’t wake up every morning with the intentions of being an ass that day, how ever circumstances often cause that result. But by nature, I am not generally in a bad mood.  I try very hard not to  project my moods onto others, and I hope that I have been successful.

Oh wait, except for that one time in Walmart to that lady who broke in the check out lane if front of me. Now that was a circumstance beyond my control. I had an out of body experience and while I was gone my evil twin, Julie took over and well, let’s just say…..even the cashier was apologizing by the time she left.

BUT, I did smile at her as she was leaving and told her to have a nice day.

Now that counts for something, right?

Oh, well maybe not.

My poor oncologist….poor Dr. Patel!

Not even he was spared my humor!  It didn’t help that my sister works for him. That only made him more vulnerable because we tag teamed him!

She would tell him that there was a lady in room two that just could not wait to see him, so of course when he came in I would take over.

I told him that he was the only man other than my husband who could get me to take my shirt off!  Being of Indian ancestry, I could never be sure, but I think he blushed!!

 I know that some of you may think it odd that I find humor in a life threatening situation, but let me tell you, each of us has the ability to see the silver lining!

It may take a while, but it’s there. Sometimes you have to look really hard to find it.

My diagnosis came right after September 11, 2001. The whole country was shocked. Every one was in a  state of disbelief.

You can imagine how, after all that had happened, how frightened I was.

I had to deal with the beast in my own way.

I discovered that laughter heals the spirit. A body is simply a house, but your SPIRIT is where you LIVE.

A sick body is sad to see, but a sick spirit is heartbreaking. The defeated attitude can sneak in before you know it, so one has to always be on guard.

It would have been so easy to sit and cry. To just give up and give in. Oh, trust me, I tried that. Not the way I wanted to live the rest of my life, but had I done that, I feel like I would have been letting down every person who loved me. My husband, my parents, my children. All the people who loved me and that I loved right back and more!

So, I just decided one day after my hair started to fall out that I would just stick my tongue out at cancer and get on with living.

The lessons I have learned from cancer are so valuable! How else would I have known how strong I am, or how much my body can endure without quitting?

How else would I have obtained the gift of compassion for others who are suffering, or the ability to show others that cancer is just a word, not a sentence?

How else would I have become who I am today without the tough schooling by cancer?

No, cancer is not what I would have chosen for myself, but without it, I would not be the ME, that I am today!

And the me that I am is not perfect but I’m not done yet.

I am not what I was yesterday, and not what I will be tomorrow, but I am me today! and the one thing I want all of my friend to know, without a doubt is this…………………..

If I die today, you are to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was HAPPY today!!!!  That is how I want to be remembered.

My children have been informed that I want a “drive-by” funeral.  Every body is to drive my  grave side and blow me a kiss then go home  and …………..LAUGH !

The next thing I learned from cancer is to laugh in the face of fear. I love to laugh. I believe even GOD  has a sense of humor.

If you don’t believe me just look at some of the animals he created. A hammer head shark?  Are you kidding me???

How funny looking is that?

A squid????? An octopus???  Come now, you gotta admit, that’s funny!!!!!!!!!!!!

LAUGHTER…..The display of merriment through sound!!!!!!!!!!!  ENJOY YOUR MOMENTS!  Even the ones tainted by cancer. I believe it pleases God, much like it would any parent to hear the joy in their child’s laughter!