Be Kind

Since the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other passengers I have been doing some thinking just how short life is.

When his wife wok that morning she did not think she would be planning 2 funerals before the day ended, her life was turned up side in a moment and will never ever be the same, those girls will be without their daddy and the new baby will never know her daddy.

Just today, I was talking to a co worker about this, her husband died suddenly 18 months ago, she said it is sad how it takes tragedy to change a person, to make them a different person, a kind person, a person who don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.. a person who cares how others are feeling and giving someone a hug to make their day better, buy that homeless person a coffee, smile at someone.

10 years ago when the doctor looked at me and said I have a disease that has no cure, i changed, I became a different person, not because I had to but I realized how short life is, life can change for anyone in any moment. 

So the next time you get worked up about someone driving slow in traffic, or a problem at work or anything… just think… ‘this is a great day to smile and be kind’, find something good to do for someone, your outlook will change and the day gets brighter.


The Importance of End-of-Life Planning

Everyone wants to have control over their own life and their own health.

However, as you get older, there may come a time when you are unable to be completely in control. Many people reach a place in life when they have complex care needs, and they may not always be capable of making decisions on their own.

If this is something that you are concerned about, end-of-life planning and advanced directives are two issues that you might want to consider carefully.

 End-of-life planning allows for people to have control over the treatment and care that they receive. It can involve things such as planning for pain management, what sort of environment you would like to live and receive care in, and what type of care you want to receive.

 Just over a quarter of Americans have an advanced care document in place, which allows them to set out their wishes for these things and have them carried out if necessary. It can be difficult to face the reality of this type of future planning.

Many people don't like to think about it and avoid planning ahead for the end of their life. Thinking about getting older and perhaps developing a chronic illness or being disabled isn't something that many people like to do. However, spending some time thinking about what you would want the end of your life to look like or how you would prefer long-term care to be delivered to you is practical.

There is a high chance of requiring long-term care before reaching the age of 65.
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Helping Your Family To Lead Happy And Healthy Lives'

Keeping your family healthy is no easy task. Simply keeping yourself healthy requires hard work, so putting the same amount of time into keeping each of your loved ones healthy isn’t really possible. Instead of overwhelming yourself with such a big responsibility, you should encourage your family to work together to look after each other, both physically and emotionally. Here are some ways in which you could help your family to lead happy and healthy lives.

Exercise together.
A good way to help your family lead happy and healthy lives is to exercise together. This will make it easy for you to ensure that everybody is staying physically active on a regular basis. You should go on frequent walks or even bike rides together. Maybe you could go on more outings to your local park. Get creative and think of fun ways to exercise. That way, it won’t feel like a chore to you or any of your loved ones. It’ll just feel like a social event which happens to involve physical activity.

Have family meetings.
Having meetings is another great way to ensure that the members of your family are happy and healthy. Your happiness counts. It affects your emotional wellbeing, and that’s an important aspect of your health. Yet, people don’t often address their mental health problems as quickly or effectively as they address their physical health problems. That’s why talking to each other can be so beneficial. You can all talk about the things that have gone well or badly for you during the week. You or one of the children might simply want to mention an achievement.

Of course, family meetings can bring all sorts of lifestyle problems to light. Remaining close and connected with your loved ones is such an essential way to ensure that they’re happy and healthy. Make sure you check on your other relatives, too. It’s much easier to check on the family members who live with you than those who live elsewhere, but you should make the effort to ensure the rest of your loved ones are well. If you have elderly relatives who are struggling, make sure you visit them regularly. Try to make improvements to their living situation. You might want to take a look at these electric scooters for seniors. One of those could help an older family member stay mobile. This could keep them emotionally healthy and improve their overall wellbeing.

Set a family bedtime.
You might also want to set a family bedtime. Obviously, you tell the kids to get in bed at an early hour, but what about the adults? Sleeping well is important for everyone, regardless of their age. Plus, if you get in bed at a reasonable time, then your children won’t feel as if they’re missing out. Getting enough rest will keep you physically healthy (it’ll strengthen your immune system, heart, and metabolism), and it’ll keep you mentally healthy (it’ll improve your focus, energy levels, and emotional wellbeing with regards to stress, anxiety, and depression). That’s why a family bedtime is such a good idea. It’ll help everyone to form healthier sleeping habits, and you won’t have to keep nagging people to get more rest.


Simplify Your Business Travel: 9 Smart Life-Saving Hacks

Are you often obliged to take business trips? Well, then you probably know just how tricky it is to stay sane and healthy on the road. Luckily, there are a few hacks that can make your business trips simple and practical—these are literal life-savers, so take a look. 

Make sure your documentation is in order 

This will not only ensure you can take your trip, but it will make every airport and border visit quicker, smoother and less stressful. Ensure your passport is valid not only on the date of your trip but even after you come back (the USA government requires your passport to be valid for at least six months AFTER you return home). Check in advance whether you need visas or certain Ministry invitations for your business trip.

Come up with a good routine

A good routine will set you free! Make sure to leave plenty of time between appointments to avoid the rush and keep all your possessions neatly packed in separate bags so that you always know where to reach for your things. Every time you wake up away from home, try to stay true to your regular habits—this will make you feel more “at home” and allow you to get back on track when you return home. 

Have your travel bags ready at all times

Keep your suitcases packed at all times to reduce the stress of packing. If you take shorter business trips, it’s enough to have a pre-packed toiletry bag and a small backpack waiting to be grabbed. This will ensure you never forget anything and allow you to be ready to embark in literal minutes. Pack a few comfort items as well, they will definitely come in handy. 

Arrive early everywhere

Hit the airport early, go to the city early and come to your meeting early. Business travel is full of unexpected things—flight delays, gate changes, long lines, traffic—so you need to learn how to jump over your obstacles even before they come along. By giving yourself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to time, you will reduce stress and exhaustion. And while you wait, you can catch up with work, answer emails, finish writing your blog post or edit your column. 

Get practical accommodation

If your business trip lasts longer than a few days, consider renting a small apartment. This will give you plenty of freedom, give you an opportunity to practice healthy living and allow the best relaxation after a long day at the office. Wherever you go, you can find cute studios for rent and get some sort of semblance of your life at home. Having a place of your own will do wonders for your mental and physical health, so don’t hesitate to rent! 

Get a SENTRI card 

If you live in the U.S., make sure to get a SENTRI card from the Department of Homeland Security. With this cheap addition to your wallet will allow you to use expedited lanes at the U.S. airports and international borders. Boarding is quicker and you can skip all those long lines at Customs when arriving. When you’re utterly exhausted, you’ll love these little perks. 

Handle your sleep issues

Not getting enough sleep is one of the most troublesome issues for frequent travelers. Jet lag, new beds, unhealthy food and insufficient hydration all add to your sleep deficiency. So, in order to be able to catch plenty of Zs while away from home, try getting some supplements which will encourage sleep and fight jet lag. Supplements like melatonin, magnesium and valerian root drops will calm your nerves and encourage good sleep. 

Bring a multi-device charger

You probably have a smartphone filled with apps and important contacts, a laptop with business documents, maybe even a tablet for presentations—all of these require daily charging which can result with you drowning in cables. So, in order to simplify your travels, grab a multi-device charger which will free up plenty of room in your suitcase and ditch all those unnecessary cords. 

Organize your spending 

Most of us organize travel expenses when we come back home, but that’s an amateur way. Instead, try managing your spending while you’re still away. In order to make this a little easier, download an app that lets you photograph receipts and save them on your phone. This will keep you ready for tax season and allow you to fully relax once you get back from your business trip. 
With these tips in mind, you’ll actually look forward to your business trips and be at the top of your game while impressing all your associates and potential clients. 


5 Foods To Boost Your Immune System'

January is the perfect month to kick start a new health regime, whether it’s trying a new class at the gym, downloading a self-care app, or buying a healthy recipe book. If you’re on a quest to boost your immune system, try working plenty of these foods into your diet! 

1 . Broccoli
To boost the immune system fast, broccoli is a surefire way to do so. You’ll find all the vitamins in this super healthy green, including A, C, and E. Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, which can help to protect your cells from free radicals. What’s more, it also contains fibre which can help lower risks of heart disease and lower your cholesterol too. Broccoli is a super easy vegetable to add to your diet, whether it’s a homemade broccoli soup, or a tasty side veggie for some meats and fish.

2. Spinach 
Spinach is another green which is loaded with healthy antioxidants. Spinach contains plenty of vitamin C, which helps to protect against skin problems and cardiovascular disease. As well as this, a diet rich in vitamin C can reduce your chances of coming down with a cold. Spinach also contains beta carotene, a substance that the body converts into vitamin A. With vitamin A, you’ll be sure to keep your immune system healthy. Vitamin A has also been linked to decreasing the risk of developing cancer.

3. Green Tea 
Bit of a cheat this one (because it’s not technically a food)! However, if you want to boost your immune system fast, green tea is an excellent way to do so. Green tea contains a type of catechin which is called EGCG. These are antioxidants that can protect molecules and cells within our bodies. As well as this, green tea has also been linked to helping the body to burn fat.

4. Oily Fish 

To give your body all the goodness it deserves, try oily fish like tuna or salmon. With fish, you get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart health in particular. Omega-3s have also been linked to reducing high blood pressure as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. To give your health a real kick start this year, adding a little more fish to your diet could be the way to go.

5. Garlic 
For a real flavoursome immune boost- add a little more garlic to your next recipe! Garlic has anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties too. According to Healthline, one study found that garlic worked to ‘reduce the number of colds by 63%’. As well as this, garlic has been linked to the prevention of both Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

Further ideas 
When it comes to boosting the immune system, there are a number of things you can do to prioritise your health. Simple things like getting enough sleep and water go a really long way. It’s also important to keep on top of your regular health checks, from eye tests to dental checks. Spotting underlying issues early is the best way to stay healthy ongoing. Those looking for a great dentist would be well advised to take a look at Dr. Lisa A. Muff.Here you’ll find an excellent service offering both general and cosmetic dentistry. 

The Growing Importance Of Community Libraries

Many of us think of libraries as vaults filled with aisle upon aisle of books, but community libraries are so much more than a book exchange. With more people spending more time online and less time interacting with others face to face, libraries play a critical role in facilitating and promoting community engagement. Whether you already have friends in the local area, or you’re new to the neighborhood, the library is a welcoming, safe place where you can meet, take your children or collaborate on projects for school, college or work. Over 70% of people think their library is important, and over 90% believe a local library strengthens community ties. Libraries boast resources that are designed to benefit every member of the community, and they provide opportunities for children, teenagers and adults. In addition to encouraging people to learn and engage in subjects like politics, libraries also provide practical advice and guidance. From assistance with job seeking for homeless people to support with healthcare for those who have recently moved to the US, many libraries offer free advice and even one-to-one sessions. The library is also a valuable platform for learning and development, with children, employees, college students and budding entrepreneurs able to access resources for work projects, creative activities and business tasks. For parents, libraries can be particularly valuable. Through storytime, reading programs and summer schools, children can develop their reading skills at the same time as meeting new friends. More than 80% of people said they would like libraries to run free early literacy schemes to prepare children for school. Finally, one of the most critical benefits of the community library in 2020 is providing access to free Internet. As we spend more time online, public libraries offer a means of leveling the playing field and helping those who don’t have wifi at home to reap the rewards.
Infographic Design By USC

Tough Topics- My health story


My Story
It begins back on July 02 2010- we went to a Canada day party ( July 01), I was hanging out with some awesome kids playing on the trampoline etc, we had so much fun… July 02, Brooke asked me to take her shopping, of course, I said yes, just as I walked in the doors to the mall,  I got a sharp yet weird pain on the right side of my chest, I thought it was just a little something and nothing to worry about, I walked by the pharmacy and the pharmacist there is a friend of ours and he called out to me and waved me to come in, he took one look at me and asked me if I was okay, I said I have a little weird pain in my chest, he said I looked horrible and I need to head to the Emergency
I called my hubby and he came to get me, while I was registering he went to drop Brooke at her friend’s house in case I would be there a while… the doctor took me right in, I went quickly through triage and they started blood work etc, all my vitals were high, then something showed in my blood… the Dr first said it looks like leukemia… my life flashed before my eyes, I thought it was the end of me… I cried out to God and begged him to take this burden off my shoulders, what did I do to deserve this diagnosis.
They admitted me and wanted to run more tests, for which we were thankful.
Thankfully that next morning I was told it was not leukemia, it was a cyst growing on my chest cavity and it would need to be drained… they kept me on painkillers and oxygen because it was getting hard to breathe because it was so big and on my lung cavity, it was scary…
They made plans to drain it and I could not go to sleep because it was too risky, by this time my mom was with me for a while to help out, so thankful that I have a mom who is able and willing to come and take care of me.
I remember laying in the operating room, listening to everything they were saying, I had to remain completely still one wrong move and my lung was punctured, and the song that was going over and over in my head was.. Peace, Peace Wonderful Peace coming down from the father above, sweep over my spirit forever I pray In fathomless billows of love, I had so much peace come into that room.. then the next day they had discharged me and told me I would be okay..
3 days later Guess what…. I am back in there and they decided to do lung surgery to remove it.
My doctor wasn’t familiar with doing this type of surgery but we decided to give it a go…
My surgery was scheduled for October 6th, 12 days before my 27th birthday.. my family were here along with family who was like parents for me, the surgery was going to be 12 hours as long as everything went ok.. before I went to the operating room my family all prayed, it was so peaceful. It is a picture that I will never loose from my memory- my Dad and the guy who was like a second dad were at my head- my mom and my other mom was at my side,  before praying I was terrified, I never knew if I would ever hug my baby or hubby ever again, when they prayed, I felt carried by angels-  I knew then that this wouldn’t be my last chance to tell  my family I love them. I told them to not worry I would see them in 12 hours, and peace that came over me was nothing like I have ever felt.

I came thru the surgery fine, I convinced my doctor to let me go home one day before my birthday, she said no but she did let me go on my birthday, I went home thinking I was going to take the next year stay home, rest, get better- lung surgery is very hard to recover from and I also had 3 broken ribs because they had to break them to get at the cyst…

5 days later is when something just wasn’t right…
October 18  is when I first started having pain like a bladder infection, it kinda made sense to have some sort of infection- just after having a catheter for 7 days so I would buy over the counter medications to help, it would help for a bit then it would flare up again, there was no indication when it was going to strike me…
Numerous times I went to the ER and complained of a pain in my bladder area, numerous times they told me its all in my head…. it would make me feel like I was crazy and not sure what to do, I would end up in pain again in a few days and go thru the same things over and over.
I was starting to believe that I was going crazy and there was nothing wrong with me, UNTIL finally a doctor in the Emergency asked about Interstitial Cystitis and really thought I had this disease.. so we started with running tests, all the signs added up, the pain was just like described, that's when he suggested I go to see a colleague of his..Dr. Strand, so I had seen Dr. Strand previously to get an IUD, this appointment was about 6 months earlier then this issue started.
Went to see Dr Strand, he wanted to do a exploratory surgery to see if he could see anything that was causing this pain, he planned to have me in the ER and go from there.
Day of surgery arrived and I arrived at the hospital, was ready to get this over with and to find out where my pain was coming from. Hubby waited with me, I don't remember anything about going in the ER etc, and when i came out I was out of it, I can vaguely remember being wheeled to the car and home to rest..

Dr Strand did tell me that i had little pin holes in my bladder and that was causing my pain, he prescribed medications and sent me home, telling me to come back in 3 months… Thanks… not really helpful but anyway

I went to my family doctor a few days later and he had my results, neither of us were happy with Dr. Strand, just putting me on medication that we didn't know would work or what the next steps for me would be.
Both myself and my family doctor ( who was amazing) decided I needed a second opinion…
made sense to me and so we went on the look for one who I would like to talk to about this.
This is when I found an angel of a doctor( she was so helpful, she listened, she gave advice and helped everywhere she could.

Dr Basjack was her name and she was a lifesaver for myself and my husband.
She first and foremost listened to me tell my story, how I felt etc…
she then confirmed it was Interstitial Cystitis ( Interstitial cystitis (in-tur-STISH-ul sis-TIE-tis) — also called painful bladder syndrome — is a chronic condition in which you experience bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain., and my journey began….

First thing she wanted to do was to stretch my bladder- that hurt and I wasn't able to it finish. It was horrible pain and afterward there was blood etc, then she wanted to do another test, it was almost like an allergy test- this one didn't hurt as much and we manage to finish this one, there was a catheter in place etc, I don't remember much about it.
She then proceeded to give me a meal plan to follow very closely.. (Interstitial Cystitis, can be controlled mainly by your diet)within the meal plan I had to cut out a lot of foods, foods that I love so much like:

Oranges - anything Orange is a major trigger for me
Orange juice
all fruit except blueberries.
anything tomato based
nothing citrus or with acid
this cuts out a lot of things
but I was willing to try this instead of being on a lot of medication.

It was very hard to just not eat any of the above, I started reading labels and being very careful, but it didn't matter how careful i was, the flare-ups were still happening. I was at the point where I was scared every day that i could have another flare up and if this happened I would have more pain then i could physically bear, there were times when I was having a flare up that my body would shake and shiver like cold chills, then my fever would start, and I would feel very very "off", nurses told me my blood pressure would be up by then as well.

This is when the journey of finding the correct dosage of medication began- wow, quite the journey it was… just when you think you have the right amount, flare ups begin again and again.
I was tried on different types of medication, such as :

Elmiron- 4 per day
Elavil- 2 per day
Tramacet- this was a life saver in the beginning
Hydroxyzine- 1 per day

It was always a hit or miss with the medications because of the pain that was worst each time it happened.
My poor doctor i think she was tired of seeing a phone MSG from me, yet she always called back and most times got me in to see her the next day.
Finally, I was having some relief with the dosage.
I was taking all the above and was doing well for several months…

Brings me up to July when we moved to a new province and I had no family doctor here-
my flare ups kept getting worst and worst, there was no relief and there was no one who really knew how to treat me, I called my doctor back home and there was nothing she could do because she can't see me and don't want to change any medications now- which makes sense…but it is so hard to deal with this.

Many trips to the ER and it would take more and more to have the pain gone, like in the past few weeks, it took 6 dosages of pain medication {including Demerol, toradol and some other type that i don't know what it is because at this point, the pain was very bad…}
They also did a ultrasound the last time i was there and it showed up that i have a cyst on my ovary as well, thanks body, i didn't need this

The Emergency room arranged for me to go see a urologist- she wanted to start me on bladder instillation- I would have to get 52 treatments thru a catheter, the first couple was very uncomfortable because I was so inflamed, after the treatments I would be sick and extremely tired, the medication that was given to me did not help me at all, but I carried on for 52 treatments… a long year of being sick every week from the treatment.

One of my recent trips to the Emergency room, the nurse that triaged me also has IC, she recommended to my doctor for her to prescribe Pyridium, the problem was it was only sold in the USA, so I had to find a way to get it across the border, I could not take a Canadian prescription down there as my doctor wasn’t licensed in the US, i called several pharmacies and finally I found one that would compound it for me, we decided to go ahead and get them to make it and pay the cost because my insurance would not cover it.

The pyridium helped some for a while but still in 2019 this pain is a nightly thing. I am tired, I am worn out but this is interstitial cystitis. 

This is being handcuffed and given a life sentence. 
This is a chronic panic condition with no cure, that effects more then 200,000 people a year. This is a pain so severe it’s in the category with cancer pain. 
This is knowing more then your doctor. 
This is knowing you can’t wear “sexy underwear”.
This is wanting to scream every time you hear the word cranberry. 
This is feel equal parts burden, and of value.
This is knowing you’re years of working or having a career are numbered.
This is constantly wondering who around you thinks your being dramatic.
This is wishing you could rip your bladder out every single day.
This is chronic pain.
This is real. 
This isn’t all of me, but it’s a big part of me, and if it’s a big part of you. I feel you and I see you, and I know it doesn’t feel like it but some moment in the future you will feel ok again. 

You are strong. You can do hard things, maybe not with a smile, but nonetheless. YOU ARE A WARRIOR


Keeping The Romance Alive After The Birth Of Your Baby

The arrival of your baby is a happy and special time for you and your family. It can be all-consuming, affecting your sleep, your eating, and of course, your relationship. The lack of sleep is enough to make you both grumpy, and you’ll both be so busy you’ll barely have time for each other. 

But on this new journey you’re sharing together, it’s important that you build a strong bond and make time for each other. While the baby will be a big change for you, you’re still a couple who love each other.

Take a look at some of the ways you can keep the romance alive after the birth of your baby.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Make the time

It can feel as though there’s no time for anything except the baby, but even if you can only spare a short amount of time to spend with your partner, do it. From having breakfast together to a cuddle before bed, it’s important that you make the time. Take advantage of those little moments that you get to spend time together, it will help you keep that emotional connection that will get you through the toughest times.

Talk to each other

It’s good to talk, and that’s why it’s vital that you make time to speak to each other and try to make it about something other than the baby! A lunchtime phone call while your partner’s at work, or some texts back and forth during the day are another great way to communicate. Try to talk over dinner and check in on how each other’s doing - it could make a big difference. Talking about each other’s days can help you to de-stress and can help you spot when your partner might be struggling.

Meanwhile, if you’re having issues, try to talk about them at a time when you’re not exhausted and likely to get angry. Some quality time to work through your issues is important and could lead to a faster resolution. Check out some little ways of improving communication in your relationship that will benefit you post-baby.

Make the most of naptime

Naptime is precious time for your family. When your baby’s napping, there’s a lot of things you can do with this time. From resting yourselves to enjoying some time in the bedroom, you can use nap ime to connect and focus on the two of you. Why not treat yourselves to some Durex toys and have a bit of fun? It’s important not to lose the intimacy in your relationship.

But putting the baby down for a nap isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. If you struggle with your baby’s afternoon nap, why not check out daytime sleep tips to help give you more time during the day. 

Do something nice for your partner

It’s those little gestures that help keep the romance alive. Something as nice as being cooked for, having a bath run or even just a small gift like a candy bar are nice things you can do for your partner. Get some inspiration from this list of small gestures that can keep the sparks flying

Keep doing the things you love doing together

When a baby comes along, things like hobbies can go out the window. But it’s key that you remember that you were people with interests and personalities before the baby was born. What sorts of things did you and your partner love doing before? Whether it was watching a box set, exercising together or heading out for dinner - try to do these things when you can. While a baby can completely change your routine, they need to adapt to your life in addition to the other way around.

Count to ten

When you’re frustrated, suffering from cabin fever or are simply feeling tired, a bit of anger is inevitable. But if you snap or start arguing with your partner, it could lead to issues that don’t need to be there. When you’re feeling angry about something, try counting to ten or some other anger management techniques to cool off. You’ll likely find that the problem isn’t as big as you think it is, and you can sleep on things to wake up to a more positive perspective. 

Find babysitters

Every parent needs some time off from parenting, so taking the time to enjoy a night out or lunch together can help keep your relationship on track. Perhaps there’s a relative who can help you out, or a friend who’s eager to do some babysitting? If all else fails, it can be worth it to pay for someone to babysit for you and give you some much-needed quality time together. 

One of the best ways to help you stick to a date night is to plan it in advance. Get somebody to agree to babysit on a certain date (with a backup if necessary), and get some plans in place! Try not to cancel, or you’ll get into some bad habits where your relationship time falls down your priorities list.

Enjoy a date night at home

Date nights can feel few and far between after having a baby. So why not have some at-home date nights instead? There are all kinds of things you can do for your date night at home, including playing games, making dinner together and even watching Netflix. Put the baby to bed and forget about your other chores and responsibilities, enjoy some dates at home instead. You could even get dressed up to make it feel more like a real date!

Having a baby is a rollercoaster, filled with different emotions as well as ups and downs. Maintaining a strong relationship can make it easier, which is why it’s important to make some time for romance. Want some more relationship advice? Take a look at ten habits of happy couples to give you some more ideas for keeping your relationship strong.

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