Friday, July 18, 2014

How Stories Help You Bring Comfort to Your Children During Scary Times.

My Dad was dying. 

I was devastated and I knew my children aged 3 and 5, would be too. 

I realized I needed to tell them what was happening and give them opportunities to ask questions. But I didn't feel I had the language  to explain to them in a way that would be meaningful, honest and age appropriate. 

As a matter of course, when my boys were small, we read together every night and this was a familiar ritual and a comforting time at the end of the day.

I love books and as a parent and educator, I know that appropriate stories are a great vehicle for introducing new ideas to children  and for calming their fears.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to Be Mindful When Your Mind is Full: A Ridiculously Easy Step by Step Method

Have you or has someone you love, been extremely stressed in the last year?

If so, you and 50% of America, are in the same boat, according to a new survey from National Public Radio, Harvard School of Public Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

1 in 4 people reported stress last month and one in two were incredibly stressed over the course of the year.

Our stressors are not going away.

 Our fast paced lives and worries about problems, that are not in our control as the survey reports, are all compounding the stresses we are intimate with. Death of people we love, poor health for ourselves or loved ones, 24/7 caregiving, problems at work, financial difficulties and worries about our kids are a few examples.

You may not be able to take the causes of the stress away. 
But
you can take steps to manage how your mind and body responds to the stress 

Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Talk to Your Kids About Violent Death & Terrorism

The murders of three innocent teenage boys, captured at a bus stop in Israel, have brought the country to a standstill. Jewish people around the world are united in grief. 

 We are at a loss for words that this is the outcome. Many of us, together with our children, have kept vigil for 18 days, hoping and praying Eyal, Gilad and Naftali would come home alive. 

Now our fears have been realized, what do we do with all that pain, fear, anger and confusion? 

We have so many questions.

These are legitimate feelings and they need to be validated.
There are no bad or inappropriate feelings.

As we process our grief, we also need to consider our children, who are watching and learning from our responses. 

They will be listening to our conversations with other adults and learning about how we respond to bad news. 

Here are some things to remember:-

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lost For Words? 12 Suggestions For What to Say (And Not Say) to a Friend Who Is Bereaved or Dealing with a Trauma

The three of them, met up on a glistening Spring day. They picnicked under blossom-covered branches with a gaggle of families. Their children danced in and out of their vision, as they caught up on the 8 months since they'd last seen each other.

They discussed jobs and childcare, picky eaters and their children's schools.

Dafna kept an eye on her three young kids as the conversation continued. Lindsay a pediatrician and Jack an accountant, avoided the one topic that hung heavily between the three of them:- 

Dafna's husband.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On Parenting: How to Bring More Balance to Your Life and Comfort to Your Soul.

Do you remember when babies were your life?  When each day was a whirlwind of food stops and diaper changes and the need for more sleep.

What kept you going? 

What provided a counterbalance to your exhaustion and brought you joy?

Your baby's smile that crinkled her eyes when she spotted you?

 The sound of gurgling chatter from his crib? 

A blissful uninterrupted nap or shower....for you?


We all rush around depleting our emotional and physical energy reserves, responding to work deadlines, children's karate classes and our parents' failing health.


And when the opportunity comes to refuel, to take a long walk, a weekend away, a meal for two, or to join a celebration out of town, it sometimes seems easier to turn the chance down. 

We're too tired, We don't feel 100%. It will take so much planning to leave the kids for two days….and on we go. 

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Remembering Debra 1964-2014

(You can listen to this post by clicking the arrow above)

A childhood friend died today, in London.

Debra had beautiful chestnut hair that always smelled FLEX-shampoo fresh, a lovely smile and a wicked sense of humor.

She had been fighting breast cancer for 18 years and she was only 49. She leaves behind, her husband and two children, her parents and sisters, their families and many, many friends.

The crowd of us who met up every weekend as teenagers, are scattered across the globe as adults. 

We may not have seen Debra recently or kept in touch, but Debra was part of the fabric of our social life then and her untimely passing, rips a hole in us now.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Warning:You May be Tripped Up by Unexpected Emotions! You're Not Alone.




(You can listen to me read this post by clicking on the arrow above)

I don't normally tell anyone when I'm going for a check-up at the doctor.  

It's almost like posting a picture of what I ate for dinner, on Facebook….. Not very interesting.

But on returning home from this particular visit, my emotions are choking me.

I feel tears welling and I'm shocked that my body is responding this way to a routine appointment.

But here's the thing…….. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

9 Simple Ways to Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Feelings


(If you prefer, you can listen to this post by clicking on the arrow on the picture above)

Meet Sisi Gamble, my new role model. 

She was featured on the Facebook page, Humans of New York, (HONY)  last month and I cannot erase her message from my mind.

Sisi explained to Brandon, the creator and photographer of HONY, 

"For the longest time, I was so focused on being deaf in my left ear, that I almost forgot my other ear was perfectly fine. "

Sisi's words were so simple and yet so profound…..

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Is Our Parenting & Teaching in Crisis? What We Can Do About Kids Failing to Be Kind.



(Click the arrow above to LISTEN to me read this post.)

Tom is adamant that he doesn't want a birthday party.

He's sure none of his classmates will want to come.



Tom is just turning 6, but he feels this very acutely.

He's tried making friends and has asked if he can join groups in the playground. The other 6 year olds say no. They're too busy to play with him!!( Where did they learn that phrase?)

Tom broke his leg a few weeks ago and now he can't run around during recess.

So he sits by himself. 

One activity  the other kids do want to do with Tom, is to play with his crutches. The teachers have told Tom he mustn't let them because it could cause an accident. Tom finds himself having to enforce this rule in the playground, further diminishing the other children's interest in him. 

Kindness is not an attribute Tom's classmates seem to connect with how they should behave with Tom.

It's devastating to Tom's mom to hear these stories when Tom comes home. He is sad and alone.

She's wondering why these children have failed to be kind……..

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ignoring the Homeless. What would you have done?


What would you have done?

(If you would prefer to listen to me reading this post, click the arrow below)

As we opened the back gate of our garden towards a wooded area behind our house, we noticed a white tarp bunched on the worn ground.  

My husband and I had been taking a little walk around the inside perimeter of our fence, checking its condition and notching up what might need repairing.  

Having spotted this discarded tarp and having just read a great psychological, detective story called In The Woods by Tana French,(See Amazon link at the side of this page)  our minds were racing. 

We speculated aloud about what could be underneath….. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Ways to Entertain an Introvert at a Party: Helping Everyone Feel Comfortable at the Table.

 It was a humid Saturday in September when we were invited to the Rabbi for lunch. We had been living in the USA for just 3 weeks, and we and our three young children were still very much in culture shock. 

The Rabbi and his wife, a warm, gregarious couple, welcomed us and 6 of their friends -all pillars of the community, to their table. 

 I sat there, fearing our crawling 8 month old was going to pull something precious off a low surface, and tried to make small talk with the other guests whom I had never met.  

That was intimidating enough. 

But then the Rabbi announced that to get to know each other, we were going to go round the table describing to the other guests, how we had first met our spouses. At this point, I was horrified and terrified and focused on just one outcome - how I could make a quick exit.......

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Surprising Secret to Joyful Living.


On my Facebook page, I asked my FB friends this question,

 "If you could repeat one simple pleasure or go to your favorite  spot, what would it be?" 

The answers, and I got many (thank you!) included,

beach walking during the day or at dusk,  picnics, sunny spots, sunsets, diving, honeymoon vacations, star gazing, a soccer stadium.

Cities with special memories, childhood homes and rose gardens.

Snow capped mountains and busy markets,

Pina coladas, iced coffee, tomato soup and warm bread, belgian chocolate and peanut butter ice-cream.

To be fair, I wasn't quite honest with my question. 

What I really wanted to ask was.........

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Listening Should Be Easy. So Why Is It So Difficult?


   Listening should be easy. So why is it so difficult?

After all  we have been listening from the womb. Scientists encourage us to talk to our pregnant bellies and companies have made millions of dollars marketing CDs of classical music to our yet-to-be-born proteges.

Babies learn to speak by imitating the sounds they hear. And we know our  children are  listening because they quote us far too accurately in embarrassing places....

Monday, March 10, 2014

When You've Been Let Down AGAIN by Someone You Depended On: 5 Ways to Cope.


America has expended a lot of energy, trying to change Putin. Sanctions, threats and many meetings and discussions have not made any difference.

Typically people don't change just because we want them to. 

I'm no political theorist and I don't have a solution to the Russian conundrum, but I do understand something about relationships. 

Whatever kind of relationships we are talking about, one thing I know for sure: we can't change other people. Only they can change themselves. 

So where does this leave us?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Healing Fractured Lives: What You will Learn From the Wisdom of a Holocaust Survivor & an Ancient Art of Pottery Restoration


The death on Feb 23rd of the oldest Holocaust survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer  at the age of 110 gave many of us pause for thought. 

In 1943, by the time she was imprisoned  in the concentration camp in Terezin, Alice was an accomplished musician, married and had a 7 year old child. Playing in the Nazi camp's orchestra, saved her and protected her young son's life. (A documentary of her life just won an Oscar: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life) 


Having her mother transported to Dachau- the death camp, her husband die of typhus in the concentration camp in which she was imprisoned and witnessing the atrocities of the camps, I wondered how Alice not only managed to contain her feelings, survived the wounds of her experiences, but also pieced her life back together. 

How did  she go on to thrive, grow and live a rich, rewarding, remarkably long life?

There is nothing that can compare to the horrors and evil of the Holocaust, but Alice's story begs the question - how do any of us pick up the shards of our shattered dreams and recover from the difficult challenges life throws at us?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Behind Closed Doors Everyone is Struggling with Something: Here Are 3 Ways to Show Compassion & Provide Comfort

3 Closed Doors

Three Closed Doors

1. In a shocking story reported in the Daily Mail, on CBS news and many other sources, a 20 year old student, Nicholas Barnes was found dead in his dorm room at the University of Chicago, a week after anyone had a record of seeing him. 

You may be wondering how it was possible that his neighbors, friends or family, in this technologically savvy century, had not been concerned by his absence. 

 In the world of instant connectivity via text, Facebook, twitter and mobile phones, how did this happen?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This One Question Will Change The Way You See Yourself Forever

This morning we woke up to an over-night snow dusting. Temporarily it has softened the landscape and beautified winter's harshness. It reminds me of the magic of foundation over face wrinkles and a golden tan over cellulite. It covers flaws and surfaces, only to reveal them again as it melts away. 

But beneath this frozen ground, important work is going on to prepare for the beauty of spring. Bulbs are rejuvenating themselves, woodchucks and chipmunks are sleeping deep in their burrows, the soil and seeds are taking a hard earned rest. These are the enduring, lasting, magical components hidden from sight, but important for long lasting health and growth of the lives that depend on them. 

This metaphor reminded me of a Dove commercial about beauty and how to redefine it. It also gave me an idea for a simple exercise any of us can do to remind us of what is truly unique and more than skin-deep beautiful about each one of us.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Parenting When Your Child is Sick: Finding Strength You Did Not Know You Had Until You Were Put To The Test.

It can be tough being a parent, even when things are going well.

Juggling your children's meals, activities, learning, moods, hormones, social lives and school schedules along with your own, can be challenging at the best of times.

So when something goes wrong for your child, that may affect them for a lifetime, only then do you realize where your strength lies and how it re enforces what it means to rise to the tough task of parenting.

Living in Hong Kong in 1999, at the age of 3, our middle son Aron was diagnosed with a rare developmental ( acquired) cataract in his right eye. 

This meant he could barely see the big A on the screening board.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Finding Calm After an Emotional Storm: The Power of Validation

We've all been in situations when a friend, family member or co-worker feels angry, disappointed  or upset and wants to vent.

Often our instinct is to problem solve or try to diminish their difficulties in the hope of calming the situation. 

We are often surprised that we have not brought them comfort through our suggestions, or by trying to put their issues into a perspective.

The truth is, that listening and validating their feelings rather than trying to solve them, is what was needed, to soothe and bring relief.

Here is an example of the importance of validation. It shows clearly how the lack of it can exacerbate a situation and the power of it can turn your loved one's storm into a calmer sea.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Year's Resolution is Something That Goes in One Year and Out The Other. 3 Easy Ways to Make Sure it Doesn't!

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.  ~Author Unknown

Guest blogger: Dr Anita Sanz


Not everyone makes New Year's Resolutions...
there are some people who don't see the New Year
as a time for reinvention, recharging, reconditioning,
re energizing, reinvigorating, reorganizing.
It's just January.
But if you're one of those people who have made a resolution
to change something in 2014...
and, by the way, if you are one of those people,
you are TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY to make a significant
improvement in your life this year...
then this post may help you to do that!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Shocking Truth About a Megalomaniac's Daughter: How One Person's Courage & Kindness Can Change History

Moses in the Bulrushes
Last weekend was a joyful time as our son Jacob celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. 

As is customary in our synagogue, he spoke at the end of the service about something he had learned to do with the Torah portion he had read earlier in the morning. This portion tells the well known story, set in Egypt, of Moses (Moshe) being hidden in the bulrushes and subsequently rescued, to prevent him from being killed by the ruling Pharaoh. 

The lessons Jacob articulated in his speech, relate to bringing comfort and caregiving through empathy, courage and kindness. He also discusses how we can learn to resist the tendency to stereotype at first sight. I thought these messages would resonate with you and so I have reproduced the speech here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Healing After a Serious Injury. You Might Just Want To Get a Dog!

This week please meet my guest blogger and friend, writer and researcher, Robin Gould. 

Robin describes how a four-legged friend has brought more comfort to her son than she could ever have imagined and a bonus she never predicted.

Let us know how a pet has been therapy for your family and leave us a message below.

Have a great week
Gillyx
***********************************
As I head outside, leash in hand, dog in tow, for our ritual morning walk, I notice frost on the grass, the first frost of the year.


It’s 28 degrees outside and I wish I were back in my warm bed. 
It’s mornings like this one that I ask myself,

 “Why did I ever cave into my almost 10-year-old son to get a dog?”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's So Simple! How You Can Give and Receive Comfort Through Social Media.

Credit: http://www.fonality.com/
In the midst of making my Jar of Joy, I marked the15th anniversary of my father's death at the age of 59. My inclination was to mark this loss quietly, without mentioning it to anyone. 

However what I really wanted to do was reminisce about his life with others who remember him. 

The problem is, I live continents and large time differences away from those who knew him. There is no one apart from my husband, who lives close by to share memories with, in person. 

I hesitated to put something on social media, but then I decided that perhaps if  I reached a little beyond my comfort zone of privacy, I would be able to share a small piece of what I loved and miss so much about him.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stay Happy This Holiday Season & Beyond:How to Harness Your Joyful Moments Even In Tough Times

I have found a clean, empty jar and labeled it 'Jar of Joy.'



Over the last few weeks, one challenge piled on top of another and as I was feeling weighed down, I spotted a post on Facebook (thank you Rama!) and thought it was just what my family and I needed - A reminder. A jar full of joyful memories! 



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Family Home Destroyed By Falling Tree - Do Worries Like These Keep You Up at Night?

Ever since we moved into our house, this worry has kept me up at night. 

With every raging storm, I have been convinced that the whining, creaking sounds outside are emanating from a tree about to collapse.

 Last weekend those worries rose to the surface again.  

It's not always easy to see the silver linings in the gathering clouds. 

It's not easy to be thankful when plans are upended and unexpected situations take away time, money, future plans or good health. 

Sometimes, however a prevailing feeling helps us to understand that even when seemingly bad things happen, there is goodness within.

Since I wrote my last blog post a week ago, a huge tree came crashing down, in our garden. When Jonny (my hubbie) posted a picture of said tree on Facebook, a friend commented,

"Never a dull moment in the Cannon household." 

And that was an understatement.

Too right! It's never dull!.....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

4 Powerful Words That Show You Really Care

Have you been wondering if a friend is ok because he seems out of sorts?

Have you realized you haven't heard from your cousin for weeks or months?

Have you noticed the absence of your neighbor at synagogue or church or exercise class?

Has someone you haven't spoken to in a while, suddenly dropped into your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Typhoon's Deadly Toll: How You Can Go From Feeling Helpless to Helpful In This One Simple Step


Aida, our former housekeeper, was born in the Philippines. Her sisters and brothers are directly affected by the super-typhoon that hit Tacloban.

The deadly storm, Typhoon Haiyan followed hot on the heels of a 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15 and has further devastated the towns and villages of Aida's family and friends.

World catastrophes can make us feel very helpless in the face of such enormous devastation and tumult.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Friendship, Death and Bear Hugs

Due to a sick son and work-away husband, I have spent a lot of time at home over  the last few days and have been able to catch up on 7 episodes of Grey's Anatomy, back to back.

There is something delicious about watching one of your favorite shows, episode after episode, wrapped in a warm blanket, steaming hot tea in hand, skipping the ads and not having to wait a week to know what happens next. It's even better watching with a friend!

I don't just watch it for McDreamy. I'm very fond of many of the characters, having been a lifer since the series began (10 years ago!) and I have to admit I shed a few tears over my 7 episode marathon. 

I was not looking for deep messages whilst I was watching, but there is one theme that resonates over and over, through the seasons.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Moving Home? 10 Ways to Calm Your Fears And Feel Positive.


A friend from abroad is packing up her home and sent me this message on my Facebook page today.......(Including the icons!)





  • Dear Gilly, 
    Please find calming words for me, as I pack up to move house!!! I spent the afternoon tidying my desk of Stuff. I came across an album of photos from 2000. I hope, I know what we are doing.....

    As I thought  about how best to reply, I reflected upon what had helped our family as we moved from continent to continent over a five year period. I came up with 10 suggestions to calm and soothe in many situations that require transition including packing up your home......Here's my answer and the list. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Great Fitness App, When It's Hard to Get Moving



Dancing in the window
If you pass my house at certain times of day you may catch a glimpse of a small blonde person, dancing carefree, arms moving to a beat, uninhibitedly past the living room windows. 

This is not because I have gone completely out of my mind. 

More that I have finally got my mind around a great method to get moving. 

Six years ago, I was running up to 15 miles a week, doing yoga and  taking step and weight classes at the JCC. I was very focused on fitness.

Then life interrupted my workouts....

Monday, October 14, 2013

How to Succeed Despite the Naysayers.

Do you have a naysaying voice in your head?  A little devil that jumps on your shoulder and whispers in your ear.....

"That's the silliest idea I've ever heard."

"Don't waste your time." or " It'll never work."


I certainly have. It's the same voice that tells me I did not complete a project perfectly. I ate too many cookies, didn't exercise enough, should have preempted my children leaving their cellphones/homework/ PE kit at home and should have written that thank you letter 2 weeks ago.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What a 12 Year Old Knows About Driving in The Rain

A number of the male species in my family are organizationally challenged. They have been known to forget to put their laundry in the dirty wash pile, clear the plates from the table or  have difficulty remembering to take their forms/phones/school ID/homework with them to school.

You get the idea.

I got a panicked message today from Jacob, my 12 year old who had left his English book by his bed, at home. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Raise Your Happiness Barometer With This One Scientifically Proven Action



When we moved to Washington D C  in August 2001, we rented a house and inherited a party. 

The home owners had hosted this event every September/October on one of the Jewish holidays.

You did not misread that party piece. 

I know it sounds strange, but for years, friends of the owners had been coming to celebrate and they jokingly told us, that even though we were now living in the house, they thought they would come anyway. Many of them had welcomed us when we first arrived and entertained us in the first few weeks of our new American lives. Some we had never met!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Out of Bed. 5 Ideas to Help When It's Hard to Face The Day.


Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed. ~Mason Cooley



When I first read this quote it made me laugh. 

Yes! I thought. Courage is definitely needed as winter begins to hint at its arrival. 
As hope for a dry, crisp day replaces the hope of a warm, scented one. 

As mornings become darker and colder, the changing seasons do that to you. They can make you want to hold the covers high around your body and squeeze your eyes tighter to stop the grey light from seeping in.  

I wonder how many of you feel this way on a Monday morning. (Or Tuesday or Wednesday....)

Sleep is a quiet, contemplative space. A time where you can retreat inside of yourself, into your dreams and thoughts and nothingness.

For some, getting out of bed is more than just getting over the alarm clock nudge. It takes true courage and hope to face another day. 

You may have had the odd day like that. Or many in a row.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Comforting Without Words:The Power of Touch

In 1998 when my father was dying in a hospital in London, we all tiptoed round him, sat close, but not too close and observed him drifting in and out of sleep. 

Benjy, my first-born, who was five years old at the time, came into my father's room to say goodbye. He walked to the end of my father's bed  and in a clear voice asked him very simply, 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apologizing: Valuing Your Relationship More Than Your Ego


As the Jewish season of repentence reaches a crescendo and apologizing is high on the to-do list, I have been thinking a lot about why apologizing can be so difficult. The  process for giving an apology is well documented by psychologists and Rabbis alike. 

1. Recognize you have upset someone
2. Ask for forgiveness
3. Offer to make reparations
4. Don't do it again.

Relationships we value are precious and require nurturing. However that does not mean they are without controversy, misunderstandings or disagreements. Relationships - professional and personal - need constant work and communication. Even with the best intentions, arguments can ensue and feelings can be hurt. 

Here are some questions I have been grappling with and I wonder if you have too.

When we do argue with people we care about, what is it that can make apologizing so difficult ?

Why do we have a difficult time apologizing without justification or caveat?

and 
What must  we do BEFORE we make the apology?

A story first.....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Pantry Exposed!:What Clearing the Clutter Does for Your Mind & Spirit.

When we came home from our annual week at the beach I had a whole boxful of half eaten foods to return to my pantry. Open packets of crackers, started cereals, cans of tuna, boxes of angel hair pasta...... You get the idea. 

The problem was my pantry was already jam packed full of these same items, in complete disarray.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Words of Wisdom For Our College Bound Children (and Kindergardeners)


My fingers are running over the computer keys, wondering where to begin. 

I can hear Aron our 18 year old and Jacob our 12 year old murmuring together. Their words are not clear, but the filtering sounds are upbeat and conversational as they rise and fall in sync and at times are spotted with laughter. The two boys are inseparable at the moment, playing Minecraft together, strategizing, building, challenging, but mostly enjoying each other's company.

This scenario is particularly heartwarming, because in a few days Aron is going to college and Jacob will be home alone. (No other siblings to divert parental attention anymore.) 

Each of us is dealing with this impending separation differently.....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Family's Journey With Trigeminal Neuralgia - What YOU need to know.


Thank you Rebecca Thorpe.
On Tuesday August 27th at 8pm ET, I am thrilled to have another opportunity to be a guest expert on Treatment Diaries.

Our goal this time is to raise awareness of living with chronic illness in general and trigeminal neuralgia in particular. 
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic illness my husband (J) was diagnosed with 5 years ago. I also want to highlight the opportunity for sufferers and their caregivers to find support on Treatment Diaries  for this rare, excruciating, disease.

There are three things I plan to talk about during the hour's chat and I want you my readers to know and understand the first two and from the third, learn about  ideas of how YOU can help. 

Please keep reading .......

1. Trigeminal Neuralgia  is a brutal, relentless, unpredictable disease with no permanent cure.

What is trigeminal neuralgia (TN)?

      TN is an excruciatingly painful and debilitating condition, known as "the suicide disease."
     
 It is regarded as the most painful condition that is known in the medical world. It is more painful than kidney stones, giving birth or a heart attack.
     
 It is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve in the face which results in its overreaction to everyday stimuli, such as talking, eating and light touch.
      
TN triggers a violent, electric shock-like pain which can last for a few seconds to a few minutes and repeat in episodes lasting weeks and months.
     
 The pain can also be described as stabbing, shooting, burning, excruciating, and unlike any other pain previously experienced.
     
 Normal painkillers, even morphine, have no effect and initial treatment with anti-convulsant drugs can have very unpleasant side-effects.
      
When these medications cease to be effective, or the side-effects become intolerable, various types of surgical procedures are carried out but to date there is no known cure.
     
 Although uncommon, children and babies can also have TN.

2. My husband is still living with a form of this disease. 

He had brain surgery 2 years ago to put an end to  his TN which was no longer responding to strong drugs of any kind.  I wrote in my updates at that time, that the surgery had successfully taken away the brutal stabbing, electrical pain that he was experiencing in his face 24/7 without a break before the surgery. Thank goodness that still holds true and we are extremely grateful for that outcome.

However TN is a dark enemy....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

6 Unexpected Lessons For Life, Learned From Drying Hydrangeas!

Hydrangeas in my garden in June
I am trying to dry hydrangeas. (Bear with me! I promise to move on from flower drying.) 

 I am on my third attempt. 

The first time I thought I knew best and surmised it was just like drying herbs or roses so I hung them up side down, bound together,  on a hook from the ceiling. Not a bad idea I thought.  I imagined they would keep their shape, their color would fade a little but the individual flowers would remain open and beautiful, if a little dulled.

 It was a disaster..........

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to Meditate When You Can't Sit Still: The Ultimate Guide



Rachel Ducker Wire Sculpture
             Today, I inadvertently came up with a way to relax my brain and release myself from all my racing thoughts for 30 minutes. 

Have you ever tried to clear your head for half an hour and breathe deeply? 

Have you ever tried to stop the thoughts pounding your brain, problems encroaching your clarity and the to-do list preventing you from slowing your breathing?


 I have tried. Many times. Only to have one of three things happen......


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Guide to Thriving Beyond the Crises in your Life: 4 Effective Steps

It's not just tea that revives you
As a spouse, parent and caregiver I have been on hyper-alert for 5 years.


Why?

It’s because my family is very good at having serious medical conditions with unpronounceable names.

My husband was first diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia in 2008. And if trigeminal neuralgia wasn’t difficult enough to say and remember, in 2009, our oldest son Benjy won the prize. 

He was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff Parkinson White with supraventricular tachycardia. (Try saying that a few times, very quickly.) This condition is sometimes connected with sudden death. Benjy's version of this syndrome meant that he needed two heart surgeries, between January and April  2010. 

My husband had invasive brain surgery ( MVD) for his trigeminal neuralgia in 2011. You can see why I might live on high alert!

Living on hyper-alert puts you in survival mode. You are either waiting for a symptom to show itself, in the midst of an attack, or recovering from the fallout:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate) Would Find Treatment Diaries Comforting.


How many of you keep or have in the past, kept a private written record of your thoughts and feelings?

How many of you would feel comfortable publishing your emotions and having hundreds or even thousands of people read them?

During my teens I often expressed my teenage angst in a diary that is so well hidden I have no idea where it is now!

So given my preference for privacy you might be wondering how I came to be writing a blog, especially one that expresses a myriad of emotions.( I often wonder this myself!)