Cervical Cancer Awareness

As a mother my goal of life is to enjoy it and to be there to enjoy it with my family. To be around to take care of my family I need to stay healthy and so does every mother, which brings me to today’s subject.

January is cervical cancer awareness month.

Hearing the word cancer can be devastating. Cervical cancer , if detected early is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. Do you know the facts?

Cervical Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Cervical Cancer

  • Having an annual pap test is key in detection, and can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops, as well as finding cervical cancer early when it is in its most curable stage.
  • The American Cancer Society estimated in 2015 alone:
    • Approximately 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer diagnosed.
    • Approximately 4,100 deaths among women due to cervical cancer.
  • Although cervical cancer occurs most often in midlife, the risk of developing it is still present as a woman ages.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Bleeding after vaginal intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding and spotting between periods,
  • Having (menstrual) periods that are longer or heavier than usual. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam may also occur.
  • An unusual discharge from the vagina − the discharge may contain some blood and may occur between your periods or after menopause.
  • Pain during intercourse.

Although these signs and symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cervical cancer it is best to see your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Symptoms are a warning sign that something is going on in your body, never ignore them, especially when doing so could allow cancer to progress and lower your chances of treatments being as effective as possible.

Treatment

  • Treatments for cervical cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted-therapy.
  • Some of the surgical treatments, such as an abdominal hysterectomy has a hospital stay of 3-5 days after surgery and takes 4-6 weeks for a full recovery.
  • Therapies can have the following side effects:
    • Fatigue
    • Upset stomach
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Skin changes
    • Anemia (low red blood cells), can cause exhaustion
    • Leukopenia (low white blood cells), increases the risks of a serious infection

For additional information click here to visit the American Cancer Society’s webpage and get more information on cervical cancer.

Take care of yourself. You can’t take care of your loved ones if you aren’t healthy first.

If you know someone that has been diagnosed with cervical cancer please keep in mind what they may be going through physically, with their treatment plan, and emotionally. Be there for them.

Get checked, annually. Make sure you can be there for your family, for the long haul.

Show love.

Take care of yourself, so you too can enjoy the chaos and a happy healthy life.

 

©  Kelly Hupp  Enjoying The Chaos

Tough Love Is Hard

tough love etcWe have all heard of it but I hadn’t felt it as much as I did today. Being a parent is the most rewarding and terrifying experience of my life. There is no greater feeling than seeing your child happy and watching them grow. On the other end is the low parts, seeing them cry, fall, and make mistakes.

I always felt that there was nothing I couldn’t handle, I would always be there for my children and I always will be but while family was visiting me last week something more than disturbing happened. My sister and her husband were visiting from out of town and took my boys out to play and enjoy time together. Flooded with housework and caring for my mother who had recently been released from the hospital I barely had time to sleep much less leave the house so I sent them out without me. Everyone came home, the day ended, my sister and her husband went back to their hotel but then I got the phone call. My sister told me that my younger son, who is 12 years old, when he saw mushrooms growing in the park grass said he wanted eat one to see all the pretty colors. I was offended to hear this but I wasn’t sure why other than I was trying to block my own embarrassment. I am good mom. I try to be. I homeschool my kids. I am careful and mindful of their association, I know their friends and they didn’t get this from them. Where was it coming from?

Aside from where it was coming from (I knew where, the internet) I had to do something about it. Some might think it is just a kid thing, kids are curious, well curious or not I was going to handle this. We have had the drug talk, obviously that wasn’t enough. That night before bed I went to talk to my kids, my son sat there with that in one ear and out the other look and said okay but I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere. That scared me, it terrified me. Me and the kids went out to run a few errands today and I realized I had the opportunity to take action, now. I pulled the car into the local police station and walked up to the receptionist, already feeling uncomfortable not knowing what to say but when she asked how she could help me I softly responded, “I have a son, that…is going through a defiant stage and…” she must have seen that look on mothers’ faces before and reassuringly said, “You need someone to speak to him?”, as I responded yes with only a head nod she told me that I could have a seat and someone would be with us shortly.

After about 10 minutes (that felt like 45) a gentleman came out in a dress shirt and khaki pants, escorted us to the back through a couple of doors until we came to an office that said Juvenile Interview Room. The detective was very polite and kind. After I explained the situation, my son was not a trouble maker but I was bothered that he was joking around about drugs and I couldn’t seem to get through to him the officer took it from there. The first thing he said to my children was that they were not in trouble, he was only going to talk to them. He asked my son about drugs. Had he tried any? Had he seen them? Where did he get the idea about mushrooms from? Why he wanted to know what drugs look like? He also explained that being curious about drugs was just as dangerous and he shouldn’t even be curious about them because they are nothing to even be curious about. Everything about them is bad, they can cause him to get into a lot of trouble, he could end up in jail, get very sick, or he could even die. I sat there watching my son get all red and puffy, tears welling up in his eyes and dripping down his cheeks. Sitting on the opposite wall I was  about 10 feet away, it was tearing me up inside watching my son sit there quietly listening and crying. He wasn’t getting yelled at but he was so upset, the truth, the reality, the danger of what he was so curious about was finally getting through. The officer ended by reminding my sons they weren’t in any trouble and telling them that if they ever had any questions, wanted to talk, or if we needed anything to let him know. This is tough love, it was definitely one of the toughest things I have had to do so far, sit there and watch as my son had tears slowly coming down his cheeks and let him, he had to hear this, he needed to know.

hands etc

These are the tough lessons, these are the ones we will hold hands and walk through together.

 

 

My Word For 2016

As the end of the year approaches I have seen Facebook flooded with people’s posts about the word a Facebook quiz gave them for 2016. Me, being the stubborn person I am decided not to let Facebook choose it for me but to choose it myself.

compassion

 

Compassion as defined by Merriam-Webster is a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, or in trouble.  It is also defined as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

Being a parent has shown me what a scary place the world can be, being a special needs parent has shown me what a cold and unfeeling place the world can be. It has been a long journey for us and we have much further to go. Motherhood has taught me to not be jaded but to be strong. I have found a community of women, mothers of children with special needs, these women are amazing. We call ourselves Warrior Moms because we are. We fight for our children, for their education, for their health, for their safety, and our biggest fight is for acceptance. People stare and make comments, don’t be fooled, all of that is heard and seen. Sometimes it angers us, sometimes it simply hurts but nonetheless, we continue on with our grocery shopping even when we hear, “What is wrong with that child? That parent needs to get a hold of their kid.” Maybe, if they understood what we went through day in and day out, what our children deal with every day of their lives, there may not be so much judgement. This is not only true of the special needs community.

There are so many people that feel that some of their hardest days and moments of their lives while they do not wish to make them public, well, a little awareness and compassion goes a long way. When you take the time to acknowledge someone’s trials you bring a little light to their day. We can start tearing down those walls that separate us by acknowledging that a person’s struggles or life experiences are hard and painful and by saying so.

Someone once told me, it is easier to tear down than it is to build up. Let’s use 2016 to build up, to tell people…

“It matters.”

“You matter.”

“You make a difference.”

“I appreciate you.”

“I am here, to support you.”

My word for 2016 is compassion, what will yours be?

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.

What Special Needs Moms Want You To Know

Having a child with a physical disability would take so much strength as a parent and I admire these moms and dads for all they do. Being the mother of a child with mental or behavioral health issues can be one of the loneliest feelings in the world. We live day to day on little to no sleep. We are mentally exhausted and physically drained.

From behavior in public places you might judge without even realizing to medication side effects you never would have thought about, having a child with special needs is challenging enough in itself but when we see the stares (yes, we see them) and hear the comments (yes, we hear them) there are a few things we may not say to you but we would like you to know.

I asked moms of children with varying mental/behavioral health disorders from bipolar disorder to autism to obsessive compulsive disorder and tourette’s syndrome, “What would you like people to know about your child’s struggles and being the mother of a special needs child?”

These are their responses:

“My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 14. It was a painful experience that lasted two to three years before he was treated. It hurts badly to watch him struggle still even with meds.”

“My son told me he felt numb and disconnected.”

“He has Tourettes that exploded over the summer and the tics are non stop. The tics are very complex and some are painful.”

“He gets severe migraines, dizzy spells, aches, and pains every where and rarely wants to leave the house. He has been on so many meds but most all had very severe reactions OR he had the opposite effect on the med of what it is designed to do. He still will not sleep alone or even be in a room alone for more than a couple of minutes- anxiety so severe.”

“I hated that meds were our only option but they have made a huge difference. They gave him life back. Helped him feel joy and not anxiety.”

“The tough thing is that with diabetes you test sugar levels and treat with insulin. You know exactly what is off and how to fix it. With mental health issues the treatment for everyone is very individual. What works for one person doesn’t for another. Sometimes it takes years to find the right treatments. Everyone involved gets frustrated, often even the doctors.”

“It’s sad to see my son struggle and not know how to control himself when he is upset.”

“I held my son for hours while he vomited through the night in tears from the pain caused by the medicine that was supposed to help.”

“He stopped enjoying life, and even the things that once made him so happy he got no joy from anymore.”

“Every day is harder than the last.”

“The choice whether to medicate my child or not was not one that I took lightly. It kept me awake many nights wondering if I was doing the right thing. It was heartbreaking.

“Unfortunately nobody understands.”

“There are no easy answers.”

“I do love my child but it is hard to be strong all the time; sometimes I just need one moment to myself to breakdown and cry. Then I will get up and we will keep going, keep fighting, together.”

mothers SN ETC

We have days filled with pain and heartache, we have to make decisions that are heart wrenching but we love our children with everything we have. Don’t judge them, they are beautiful, amazing, and simply wonderful. It hurts when we see others joke with complete disregard for the feelings of the special needs community, young and old. These struggles are not funny, not amusing, and certainly not anything to be taken lightly or as a joke. Stand up for them, you won’t be standing alone, we will be standing with you.

 

Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.