Brick Crushers

This weekend I had the opportunity to go on a board retreat to work on planning for 2018 for a girl’s organization I am honored to be a part of. In between planning, I was able to interact and enjoy the company of two virtious and powerful women. As I reflect back over the weekend, I found a quote that sums up these two women:

Both of these women have amazing stories of how they have and continue to overcome the “bricks” that life has thrown their way. They are also both dedicated to helping others overcome their bricks. I believe that you have to surround yourself with people who inspire and these two women inspire me daily.

We all have “bricks” that are thrown at us. What makes you successful is how you deal with those bricks. I tell my clients “you can’t change the things that have happened to you, but you can choose how you allow those things to affect you today and in the future.” Each one of us has to make the decision to either let go of past hurts or use those hurts in a positive way. If we do not make one of these two choices, then we are doomed to live an unfilled life.

This weekend has reminded me that I am successful and I have crushed the bricks of my past. It has also given me confidence that I will continue to be successful crushing new bricks because I choose to handle them with wisdom, maturity, and class in the same manner I watch these two women.

Make a muscle, make a difference!

Tonight I sit and watch the MDA show of Strength Telethon.  For the past 46 years, the MDA telethon has been held on Labor Day weekend to raise money and bring awareness to muscle diseases because of the support and help of Jerry Lewis.

We all have seen the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, and last week I even took the challenge, but the  Muscular Dystrophy Association research for treatments and cures for other diseases such as muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases. There is actually a list ranging from A to Z. Check out the full list at MDA Disease Directory.  Symptoms range from mild muscle weakness to complete paralysis to include those used for breathing and swallowing. These diseases can occur at birth or at anytime over a person’s life span. It can also have a short duration or be life long depending on the specific disease. To get a first look at life living with a muscular disease meet Kate.

MDA.org is currently funding over 250 research projects around the world. They also provide support to patients and families, provides summer camps for children with muscular diseases, provide education, advocate for the cause, and sponsor community programs.

I have watched the MDA telethon all my life and I remember as a little girl thinking how brave the children were and wanting to help. I am now able to help. Join me in donating to MDA at DONATE!

muscle

#ALSIceBucketChallege

I am sure everyone has seen the #ALSIceBucketChallenge that has taken social media by storm. Well I was finally challenged after commenting that one of my friends cheated on his. LOL I wonder how many people actually understand and know about ALS. So as a part of my challenge, I am dedicating a post to ALS. 

ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The motor neurons die, which causes a person’s brain to no longer be able to communicate with the parts of their body to initiate movement. The progression of this disease can lead to person becoming totally paralyzed and eventually leads to death. There are three forms of ALS: 

  • Sporadic – the most common form of ALS in the United States – 90 to 95% of all cases.
  • Familial – occurring more than once in a family lineage (genetic dominant inheritance) accounts for a very small number of cases in the United States – 5 to 10% of all cases. There is a 50% chance that offspring will develop ALS in this form. 
  • Guamanian – an extremely high incidence of ALS was observed in Guam and the Trust Territories of the Pacific in the 1950’s.

ALS is diagnosed through a series of tests:

  • electrodiagnostic tests including electomyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
  • blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals
  • spinal tap
  • x-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • myelogram of cervical spine
  • muscle and/or nerve biopsy
  • thorough neurological examination

Symptoms of ALS include: 

  • muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech,
    swallowing or breathing
  • twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • impairment of the use of the arms and legs
  • “thick speech” and difficulty in projecting the voice
  • in more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

Check out what living with ALS is like from this video. It starts off as a parody, but gets very serious after the ice bucket challenge. Click Living with ALS He is such a brave young man for doing this video and sharing it with the world!

Because ALS does not affect a large number of people (in the pharmaceutical world) and pharmaceutical companies are not able to make a lot of money (because it does not affect a large number of people), there is not a lot of funding for research. The ALS Association raises money to assist patients and to fund research for treatments and cures. Please visit ALS.org to make a donation. 

So now I present the video of my #IceBucketChallenge! In the video I challenge people to either donate to ALS.org, to donate to a charity of their choice, or to donate to my mother who is walking as a Survivor at the St. Petersburg #LightTheNight Walk to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Click here for the video: Dr Shan Walks ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

 

#100HappyDays

100 days ago I decided to become apart of the social media phenomenon #100HappyDays! I am happy to report that today I have become apart of the 27% of people who completed this challenged. I became interested when I saw several friends on Facebook posting their happy days. I decided to research and find out what this was all about. I went to the website #100HappyDays where I found the information for the challenge to post something happy from your day for 100 days. The site reported:

“People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.”
 
So i figured why not! What do I have to lose?! I opened an Instagram account (DrShanWalks@Instagram) and started posting. (You can click on the link and go to my page to review my 100 days!)
 
I should also note that I began this quest shortly after getting out of the hospital, being demoted at work, and going on a mission trip a week later. A difficult period to say the least!
 
Today as I look back over the 99 pictures that I have posted, I relived some beautiful moments. I will be the first one to tell you that there were days when it took me 20 minutes to find something in my day to be happy about. But I found on the days when I did not do it, things just did not feel right! I would review the days I missed and post to catch up. I tried to make sure I never got behind more than two days.
 
Finding something to be happy about has carried me through my dark days. At a time when suicide has been pushed in the spotlight again (with the untimely death of comedian Robin Wiliams, RIP), I feel this is a tool that I will challenge clients, friends, and family to use as a coping skill to combat depression.
 
I will say everything on the list that the website developers stated would happen, happen except the falling in love. Darn it! LOL But you know it doesn’t matter that the last one on the list did not occur because I can honestly say that I have been blessed by this experiment. So much so that I think I will keep going. Who knows maybe falling in love is around the corner.
 
Some of my friends have been wondering what I would post for my 100th day. I have this a lot of thought and decided to post a collage of my favorite people and things collected from posts from the last 100 days. So here it is!
100th Day

Dental Health and Cancer

Tonight I am preparing for my mother’s dental procedure that will occur tomorrow. You may ask why I am talking about this subject and the answer is because there is an increased risk of a person developing dental problems after chemotherapy. I remember a childhood friend who found out that she had cancer after a dental procedure that did not heal. 

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a serious condition that can occur in some cancer patients. Researchers have not found a definitive cause and effect, but there is a link between the two. ONJ can occur when the jaw fails to heal after tooth trauma, such as teeth extraction. Symptoms include pain, swelling, poor healing or infection of the gums, loose teeth or numbness or a feeling of heaviness in the jaw. It is recommended that cancer patients inform their dentist of the changes in their health and monitor their oral hygiene. There are some risk factors that increase the risk of cancer patients developing ONJ: radiation therapy to the head or neck, chemotherapy. corticosteroid therapy, anemia (low red cell count), infection, poor dental health, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, poor nutrition, poor blood circulation, and clotting problems. For more information check out the Luekemia & Lymphoma Society’s website where they discuss Dental Issues: http://www.lls.org/?gclid=CjkKEQjwlcSdBRD3wva3-KOAo80BEiQAjNIhiUnGJ4LyZmHrAlLApJi_BAEpqEboCHJ1TIVpyhTN7Qjw_wcB#/diseaseinformation/managingyourcancer/treatmentnextsteps/sideeffects/dentalissues/.

Mouth checkup

Check in on 2014 Goals: Evaluate & Adjust!

So in December, I wrote a post about setting goals for 2014. In that post I discussed how you should check in to see where you are on your goals. Well, today I am checking in on my goal to to write a blog at least once a week giving me at least 52 blogs. Well…I fell off my goal after having a health issue and going out of the country. For the first 3 months of the year I had 12 posts with one occurring every week. In April, I had 10 posts because I blogged each day on my mission trip, but prior to going I had 3 posts. In May 2 posts and in June only 1 post. This post will make 2 for July. So, needless to say I need to reevaluate where I am on my goal and make adjustments. 

I wanted to write this to show people why it is important to evaluate where you are on a goal, so you can make changes to get back on track. Many times when people get off track they give up instead of making adjustments and checking to see if they need to revise the goal or objectives it takes to reach that goal. For me, it is getting back into a routine and creating a new time slot to blog because my schedule changed. 

I encourage everyone to sit down and take some time to evaluate where you are on your goals. You still have time to make changes before the end of the year. I must go now because I need to evaluate the progress in other areas! See you next week! 😉 

evaluate-adjust

Human Trafficking is in the USA

So yesterday I shared a video that someone else shared of a video diary done by Jada Pinkett Smith (check out the video at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152439160046320) back in April while she worked on a documentary about human trafficking. I was shocked by the number of comments and messages that I received about the video, so I decided to dedicate a blog to human trafficking.

The definition of human trafficking is “abducting, forcing, deceiving or recruiting someone into working against their will. Most commonly for the purposes of sexual exploitation.” Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbiXdohJ5H8.

Let’s look at some statistics from the website http://dontsellbodies.org/.
• It is estimated that between 700,000 and 4 million women and children will be trafficked this year.
• It is estimated that 40,000 men, women, and children are currently enslaved in America right now. Between 14,500 to 17, 500 human beings are trafficked into the USA annually.
• The going price for a slave in 2009 was $90.
• 46% of victims know their recruiters. So this is not strangers who are manipulating people into these situations.
• The majority of victims are female and 50% are children.
These are alarming statistics!

Taken from the http://dontsellbodies.org/ website, here are some warning signs that someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking:
• Rarely allowed out of the house, unless their employer or guardian is with them
• Has few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes regardless of the weather or circumstances
• Lives in a location that has high security measures (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
• Seems to work excessively long or odd hours
• Lack of Control
• Does not have identification documents, or is not in control of his/her own identification documents
• Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating
• Abnormal Behavior in Public
• Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
• Avoids eye contact and speaking with others
• Inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
• Poor Physical Health (Shows signs of physical abuse or physical restraint; Appears malnourished)

If you believe that someone is being trafficked or exploited, call the The National Human Trafficking Resource Center to report your suspicions and seek help. All calls are treated anonymously: 1-888-3737-888

i-aint-even-sorry:

Human Trafficking Awareness Month—Educate yourself. Build awareness. End Slavery—Take a Stand: http://ow.ly/svaeB
#2014STAND



Join us for our talk about 2014 goals in the anti-trafficking movement tomorrow at 12pm PST/3pm EST on Twitter! Join with the hashtag #DSBchat.

Spiritual Parents

We are completing a study of the book of Titus in my She Reads Truth (www.shereadstruth.com) community and on day four we focused on spiritual mothering.  As a little girl, I remember reading the book Angels Along the Way by Della Reese and focusing on how she discusses the many people throughout her life that have come along for long and short periods of time to teach her things that has lead to her success professionally as well as personally. That book changed my life because when people came into my life I made it a goal to soak up whatever knowledge they had and to enjoy the relationship for whatever length of time they would be in my life. My mother tells everyone that  have truly been raised by a village. I often say that if I was to have a big wedding, there would need to be a section just for my “Other mothers.” LOL

When studying the beginning of Chapter 2 of Titus, specifically 2:3-4 where it says “they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women.” I remembered woman along the way who have taught me so many things. From my second grade teacher who taught me to always push myself to go beyond what others think I should do and taught me a greater lesson than mother could about fighting in the third grade. Or my high school JROTC instructor who taught me about time management, how to carry myself, and so many other business skills I don’t even have the time to explore. Or the wife of one of my campus ministers who answered my call for a female mentor. While these women and a number of others have been instrumental in my life, I have two couples who are currently my spiritual parents. It is great to have a female mentor, but having couples who are married is a different level! I get the benefit of seeing how a Godly marriage is supposed to be on top of having women and men to teach me.

One couple came into my life in 2010 by way of a young lady who is instrumental in helping me care for my mother while she went through cancer treatment. They accepted my mother and me during one of the toughest periods of our lives. They conducted services in our home during the time my mother could not attend church. If I have any questions, I can just pick up the phone or show up to their door without issue.

The other couple has been in my life since I was in high school. They have watched me graduate high school, college, and two graduate schools. They have not only mentored me spiritually, but the wife has mentored me throughout my career. Earlier this year I was able to return to my mission work and went with this spiritual father. I was so honored to be serving next to him and I beamed when he stated that it was good to have several of his daughters together serving all at one time. He continues to teach me daily.

I have been blessed to have so many angels along the way and I know that there will be more to come. I am also on a mission to emulate these wonderful people by being a mentor to young ladies and gentlemen. I have two beautiful spiritual daughters who have been with me since they were in high school. One is a professional chef and the other just started her own baking business. I am so proud of the women they have become. I also volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters where I just celebrated 3 years of being matched with a young lady who will be starting high school this fall. I also have a young man who I mentor and just watched graduate from high school. Family members can also be mentors, as I have taken on mentoring one of my younger cousins who is starting her own business.

We all need mentors who teach us, as well as we need to become mentors who help others. I would not have been able to become the woman I am without the people who poured into my life! 

Rebuild, repent, reorganize…rebuild, repent, reorganize…

Let me first apologize because I have not posted since the beginning of the month. I can make excuses, but I will not. I am behind on one of my yearly goals, but I am getting back on track today.

So in my She Reads Truth (http://shereadstruth.com/) community we have been studying the book of Nehemiah and have been charged with reflecting on how the book ends and what we feel God is wants us to see. Now the book of Nehemiah is about rebuilding, repenting, and reorganizing. Nehemiah, who by the way has an awesome job working for the king and no worries, finds out that Jerusalem’s gates have been destroyed and the city is in disarray. He sets out on a mission to rebuild the gates and the city, and even asks the king for help. Now that’s favor. He goes and rallies the people to build the gates despite others telling him not to and threatening to attack them. These people had to not only build the gates, but protect themselves at the same time. After the gates are completed Nehemiah gets the people back on track by first having them repent for straying away from God’s word and than praising Him for the chance to get it right again. Nehemiah reorganizes the people and the city. He then returns back to his job with the king. He later goes back for a visit, and wouldn’t you know the people are not following God’s word again! And, this is how the book ends.

This is another story in the Bible where I want to go back in time and shake these people! God has yet again delivered you into safety and set things right, and you go and mess it up again! How many times does it take for you to learn? And then, I go look in the mirror. And I see myself in these people. I have lost count of the number of times God has had to rebuild me, I have had to repent, and I have had to reorganize my life. And let’s keep it real, it is going to happen a bunch of more times. God wants us to see that no matter how many times we mess up, He will be there to help us rebuild, to repent, and to reorganize.

There are many areas of our lives where this can occur. Instead of being frustrated we need to embrace the process and work on learning from the experience. I am currently in the process in a couple of areas, and I had a moment of wanting to feel sorry for myself. I realized that will only prolong the process and let’s face it I am the one who put myself in this position. I chose to look at this experience in a positive manner, work on getting back on track and remaining on track. So I encourage you to look at what areas in your life need to be rebuilt, where you need to repent, and where you need to reorganize. And remember that this is a continual process that you may go through at different stages of life and in different areas, but now He has your back!