Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post - Heather Von st James

I got an interesting email from this lady asking if she could do a guest post on my blog.  I suppose this means I might be a mini-bit famous now?  Any way, she is:

Heather Von St. James

Courageous mother, wife and survivor of mesothelioma cancer.


Optimism in Tough Times
The dictionary says that an optimist is a person who looks on the favorable side of things, or a person who is hopeful and confident. However, my friends like to joke that my picture should be beside the word optimist in the dictionary! In a way, it's true. I have always been a cheerful, positive person, and can usually make others smile in tough situations.
At the age of 36, my optimism was tested in a way that I never expected. That year started off wonderfully with the birth of my first and only child, a beautiful baby girl. Just 3 1/2 months later, I heard the words I never thought I would hear: "You have cancer." When you are faced with life's toughest challenges, you have an important decision to make. You can become bitter, angry and depressed, or you can get up, brush yourself off and get ready to fight. I was determined not to lose my positive attitude, and decided to fight this disease with everything that I had.
I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. I was blessed to find one of the world's leading mesothelioma doctors to treat me. I had full confidence in my physician, and agreed to schedule my lung removal surgery for Groundhog's Day in 2006. My family and I decided to call Groundhog's Day Lungleavin Day instead, to remember the day of my successful surgery. To complete the nicknames, we affectionately referred to my tumor as Punxsutawney Phil. As a cancer survivor, it is important to remember your journey. Each year, I still celebrate Lungleavin Day with those who are closest to me. It is a special time to reflect on our blessings and the lessons learned through my battle with cancer.
At times, cancer has been both my best friend and my worst enemy. However, I can honestly say that I would not change one thing about my life, including my cancer diagnosis. It was through this disease that I found out that I could be strong, even in the face of overwhelming obstacles. I am proud of the way that I journeyed through cancer, and I am thankful to say that I am still able to look on the bright side of life.
Many people that I had the privilege to meet during my cancer journey have now become my lifelong friends. We are forever bonded because of our common journey, and we are now united in our desire to help others. We are young and old, male and female, rich and poor, but our hearts have been knit together thanks to our cancer battles. I want to spend the rest of my life giving hope to others who are dealing with cancer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yes for a day COMPLETED!

So far today has been a lot less stressful than I expected.  It’s 20 past 4 in the afternoon, and I’m stopping at 7pm which is their normal bedtime (it’s school in the morning, so sleep is not optional).

Today the kids have done a lot more than I usually let them, and it’s been an eye-opener for me.  I said yes to Mapera helping me with clearing the breakfast table, then she decided to do all her jobs as well; so her bed is made, her room is tidy and she put away all the things in the “tidy-up box”.  Her brother and sister had a ½ hour bath and Mapera decided to make Kaitereo’s bed for her too, so their room is looking lovely, and I didn’t even have to nag!

I cut Mapera’s hair yesterday due to tangle issues, and Kaitereo asked if I would cut her hair today.  I had to say yes, even though my hack job on Mapera’s hair did not fill me with confidence.  Luckily, they both love their haircuts and have declared that they don’t want to go back to the hairdresser again.

They’ve also been allowed to look at my pictures in frames that sit on the windowsill.  Usually I am afraid of breakages, but they were very careful and put them back afterwards, Hakopa also enjoyed saying “Uncle Tom” repeatedly.

We found some balloons to play with after breakfast, and then Mapera asked if they could watch a DVD as it was raining.  I said yes but after Hakopa went to sleep, and they agreed.  They then proceeded to have a 4 hour Clanger and Bagpuss marathon, with toast and butter for lunch in front of the TV.  After that Hakopa had woken up, so I insisted on it being switched off and they went outside to play.

We ran 3 races, and I helped Mapera and Kaitereo to ride on the big bike, and caught some chickens for Hakopa to pat.
I had to start getting dinner ready at that point, and the kids have been playing really nicely.  Afternoon tea time rolled around, and they asked for oranges to eat outside.  Then they wanted Tigerstix which I usually ration to 2 or 3 each.  Mapera had 9 and Kaitereo had 9 and Hakopa had 5.  Fortunately that was all the junk in the house eaten, so they had a drink of milk and went off to play again.

I’m going to make some playdough after writing this, something I have been promising to do for weeks and not got around to yet and which Kaitereo asked for again today.

Ok so now it’s 9pm and they went off to bed at normal time.  Dinner time was pretty normal, they wanted special cups and glasses which I said yes to, and they wanted to get down and play before pudding which was their final yes before bedtime rolled around.

Overall it was a much easier day than I feared, mainly because they spent most of it glued to the DVD.  I did insist that they keep asking nicely for things, and the old threats that the treat thing would be removed if they started fighting stayed.

I would not repeat the 4 hour telly marathon again, but I am going to be saying yes to them helping more, yes to the special cups more and yes to them looking at the photos of my friends and family (under supervision) more.  Now I just need a day where they say yes to everything I ask.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yes for a day

I spend a fair amount of time saying “no” to my kids;
“can I play in the mud in my party dress?”
“can I tie this to my little brother?”
“can we have cake and lollies for dinner?”

I read somewhere that a Mum tried saying yes to her 4yr old for a week, I think that’s a little excessive, but I thought I might try it for one day.  I’m going to go for Sunday (because I’m already half-way through Saturday) and I am going to set a few rules.  Feel free to join me!

Rule 1 – Don’t tell the children
The idea is to see what they do when you start saying yes.  If you tell them you’re going to do it they will immediately start asking for everything and it won’t be as much fun.  Or easy to do.

Rule 2 – it has to be possible
Anything that is prohibitively expensive, physically impossible or dangerous is off-limits.  Everything else, well use common sense people.

Rule 3 – timescale
A day lasts from normal getting up time (7am in our house) to normal bedtime (7pm).

If this works out I may well do it again.  I will take pictures and post all about the results once it’s all over.