Cinderella’s Attic Lillington 2017

Total Body Therapy & Wellness employees volunteering for our 2017 Prom Boutique.  Pictured is Morgan, Katrina, Roxanne, & Sara.

Total Body Therapy & Wellness recently hosted our non-profit’s, Cinderella’s Attic Lillington, 3rd annual prom boutique!  The event went beautifully and we were able to get 100 local girls prom dresses, shoes and accessories for their upcoming formal event.

Pictured is four girls who received dresses at our 2017 Prom Boutique

A Little About Cinderella’s Attic Lillington

For those of you who don’t know, Cinderella’s Attic Lillington is a non-profit organization run by Total Body Therapy & Wellness that gives prom dresses, shoes, and accessories to girls who cannot afford to go to prom otherwise.  We give them these items, completely FREE of charge!  Our local chapter of this organization has been running for the past 3 years.  It’s been such an amazing experience getting to help so many girls get dresses throughout the past few years.  In our first year, we were able to help 45 girls.  In year two we were able to double the girls that we saw and see 96 girls.  In this year, we were able to help 100 girls find the dresses of their dreams!

A personal shopper helping a girl pick out a dress at our 2016 prom boutique.

Our organization started 3 years ago in 2014.  We are actually the second chapter of Cinderella’s Attic, with the main chapter being out of San Diego, California.  Sara met with the president/director of Cinderella’s Attic, Kerry Spark.  Kerry has been operating Cinderella’s Attic in San Diego for many years and when Sara talked to her, she realized that something like this was needed in our local area.  Sara brought back the idea and with a little work, we became our very own chapter of Cinderella’s Attic.

Some of the dresses put out for a prom boutique!

Why Start This Organization Here?

Cinderella’s Attic Lillington was started here because we are in a very rural area.  There is a lot of need in this area, and this was an organization that had not been addressed before.  Upon starting this organization, we quickly realized how great the need was in our area and not just Harnett County.  We have gotten girls at our prom boutique from all over central North Carolina.  We are so happy to have had the chance to help them and start building this organization a home here in Harnett County.

A girl who received a dress at our 2015 boutique

The Prom Boutique

Preparing for our prom boutique consists of collecting prom dresses, shoes, and accessories all year long for the girls.  On one day a year, we host a prom boutique to allow the girls to come and get their very own dress.  The prom boutique is scheduled for before the local proms are happening.  The girls are encouraged to make appointments, but walk ins are allowed.  To come to our boutique, we require no proof of need, just the girls to come and get their dress.

Volunteers at our 2017 Prom Boutique

The purpose of the boutique is to make each girl feel like she is coming to an upscale boutique.  Even though we hold our boutique in our physical therapy clinic, we rearrange and set it up to look like a boutique.  Each girl is assigned a personal shopper to help her pick out a dress.  They can go to dressing rooms and try out their dresses until they find the one they absolutely love!  Then it’s time to head over to shoes and accessories.  The purpose is to make these girls have their very own special day to pick out a dress.  It gives them the opportunity to have their very own Cinderella moment.

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Girls receiving dresses at our 2017 boutique

A Thank You

After working with this organization in our community for 3 years, we want to say that we are so in awe of the amazing community which we are a part of.  We have had so many donations from all over the place to our organization.  Honestly we are completely astonished that we have gotten such a positive response from our wonderful community.  We are so grateful to have started here in this area with such amazing people. We have received donations from individuals of dresses, shoes, accessories, and even monetary donations to help with our cause.  We wanted to give a special shout out to Carter’s Economy Cleaners in Lillington for dry cleaning the dresses for the PAST 3 YEARS!  We are so grateful to you, we truly cannot express how wonderful you are enough.  Our organization is blessed to be a part of such an open armed, loving community that has taken us in and helped us build up our organization and expand our reach.

Dresses hung up for the boutique

If you would like to donate to Cinderella’s Attic Lillington, please reach out and let us know.  We take donations all year long.  You can also check out any upcoming fundraisers or events on our Cinderella’s Attic Lillington Facebook page.  We also need volunteers for different events all year long.  If you’d like to volunteer your time, let us know!

Autism Awareness Interview: Ellen Mullen

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Because April is Autism Awareness Month, we believed that it would be beneficial to learn about how autism impacts different families who are affected by it.  In this blog, we wanted to share the story of Mrs. Ellen Mullen and her husband who care for their autistic grandson, Charlie.

Q:  Tell me a little about yourself and your family.

My husband and I have lived with Charlie since he was 6 months old.  We moved him and his parents to Alaska to live with us.  When he was 5, we became his guardians.  We moved from Alaska to North Carolina in 2015.  My husband is retired and I am a housewife.  Charlie keeps us young and on our toes.

Q: How was it first discovered that your grandson was autistic?

Someone from Fairbanks Social Services was coming to the house to work with him.  He was under 2 years old and she told me that I should get him checked out/tested because she said he was showing signs at 2 years old.

Q: How old was he when he was diagnosed?

4 years old

Q: Are there any characteristics that stood out about him before diagnosis?

Not saying words, only Oma, Papa, eat.  His eating habits were not good, even then.  Did not crawl or walk very much.  He would only smile at certain people, was behind in everything.

Q: What are some challenges that you face caring for an autistic child?

He eats different food.  Trying to potty train him.  Calming him down either if it’s a melt down or temper tantrum.  Teaching him about strangers good/bad ones and acting out in public.

Q: What have you learned from raising him?

Be Patient!  At times, you are not in charge anymore.  It’s challenging.  He is one of the most loving children that I have ever seen, but you can’t expect him to act the same way twice. He keeps you on your toes.  I’ve learned to be calm and staying calm through melt downs and tantrums.

Q: What are some activities that he really enjoys?

Watching airplanes take off and land, playing outside, going to Monkey Joes.  He loves to help clean up either at home or at school.  He likes to go out walking and helping in the yard.

Q: How did his diagnosis of autism change your life?

My husband and I were talking about retiring and when the diagnosis came, all of a sudden we were asked by his parents if we wanted to become Charlie’s guardians.  They (his parents) didn’t want the responsibility of raising a special child.

Q: What advice would you give to other caretakers of individuals with autism?

Just have patience and be calm.  When they start yelling or screaming, if they throw things put them in time out on the floor.  We also go a lot of professional help from doctors, behavioral specialists or anyone else that is needed.  I have also read boks and found other people in the same position as me.  I take it one day at a time.  At times, it seems to change weekly.

 

Blogger: Mrs. Ellen Mullen

**TBTW would like to say a thank you to Mrs. Mullen for participating in our blog.  Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and allowing us to share your story!

April is Stress Awareness Month

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Stress…we all feel it and know what it means but do we know what it can do to us from the inside?  Studies are now showing that by not taking care of stress that we experience can lead to some serious health issues.  Your stress can lead to a poor immune system, which puts you at risk for catching and difficulty recovering from bacterial or viral infections along with poor wound healing.  And for those of you who get the flu shot, stress can prevent your immune system from properly responding to the vaccine, making you still susceptible to catching the flu.  Un-managed stress can also put you at risk for elevated blood pressure, which can then lead to heart problems later on if it continues to go untreated.

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So…you’re probably thinking how do I eliminate stress for good?

Well…the truth is, you can’t.  This is because stress is a natural response that helps us get trough the difficult situations, but if it is not regulated, it can negatively impact our health.  We already cope with our stress without even knowing it.  Most of the ways that people deal with stress are considered unhealthy.

Here are some healthy ways to deal with stress:

  • Get up and move!  – Whether its going to the gym for a hard core workout, dancing to your favorite songs, or going on a casual walk.  Moving around in any way stimulates your body to release Endorphines, which make us feel good and lower our stress.
  • Connect with friends and family! – Talking about what makes us stress, whether it can be resolved or not, can decrease the tension.  And if talking to friends and family isn’t enough, sometimes getting professional help may do the trick.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress! – We sometimes put ourselves in situations that bring on more stress that could have been easily prevented.
    • Avoid people who stress you out.
      • This is not always realistic, especially if your boss or a family member but ten try to limit how many times you interact with them and make those interactions short and sweet.
    •  Saying “No” is okay.  Know your limits with taking on responsibilities in the work field and at home.  When possible, divide the work load.
  • Have fun and relax. – Make it an everyday plan, that is YOUR time, to de-stress.  Take a nice bubble bath, read a book, or go fishing.  Also plan something fun for the weekend, whether its going out to eat, getting a massage, or to the movies.  You can also find out what is free in your community if you don’t like spending.
  • Avoid the unhealthy choices of dealing with stress:
    • Binging on junk food (usually full of carbs and sugar)
    • Smoking
    • Sleeping too much
    • Taking stress out/withdrawing from others
    • Consuming too much alcohol or caffeinated beverages

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So you now have been educated on what stress can do to your body and even ways to manage it.  For more information and additional ways to manage your stress visit Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Resources for Information:

  1. Slowing of Wound Healing by Psychological Stress.  Prof J. K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, P.T. Marucha, A. M. Mercado, DMD, Prof W. B. Malarkey, MD, Prof R. Glaser, PhD.  Published: 1995 by Elsevier Ltd.  Available online 30 September 2003.
  2. Hemodynamic and Autonomic Adjustments to Real Life Stress Conditions in Humans.  Daniela Lucini, Guido Norbiato, Mario Clerici, and Massimo Pagani.  Published: January 1, 2002.
  3. Chronic Stress and Age-Related Increase in Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine IL-6.  Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser.  Kristopher J. Preacher, Robert C. MacCallum, Cathie Atkinson, William B. Malarkey, and Ronald Glaser.  Edited by Burton H. Singer, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.  (Received for review April 2, 2003).
  4. Chronic Sress Alters the Immune Response to Influenza Virus Vaccine in Older Adults.  Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Ronald Glaser, Stefan Gravenstein, William B. Malarkey, and John Sheridanii.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA Vol. 93, pp 3043-3047, April 1996, Medical Sciences

 

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Blogger: Christina Williams, PTA

 

Depression: Let’s Talk – World Health Day 2017

Today, April 7th, is known as World Health Day.  The focus of this year’s World Health Day is Depression: Let’s Talk.  The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness for the many individuals who suffer from depression and allow them to seek treatment earlier!  According to new estimates of depression diagnosis, the number of individuals living with depression has increased by over 18% between 2005 and 2015!  Depression is also known as the largest cause of disability WORLDWIDE!

What Is Depression?

Depression is an illness that can be characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities that you would normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.  This is something that can happen to anyone at all, no matter age, race, or economic background.  Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.  It can happen at any age, but oftentimes begins in adulthood.

Other Symptoms of Depression May Include:

  • Loss of Energy
  • Appetite Changes
  • Increase/decrease In Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Feelings of Worthlessness, Guilt or Hopelessness
  • Thoughts of Self-Harm or Suicide
  • Restlessness

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom listed above.  In order for a proper diagnosis of depression, several persistent symptoms, in addition to a low mood, are required.  Symptoms may vary based on the stage of the illness.

Depression in Older Adults

Depression is commonly found in older adults, but often overlooked and under-treated.  In older adults, depression may be associated with their physical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, difficult life events, or a reduced ability to do things they were possible when they were younger. It is important for caregivers to watch for the signs of depression in older adults.

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Depression is Treatable!

Depression is treatable.  Treatments vary from antidepressant medications, talking therapies, to some combination of the two.  Always remember that depression is not a sign of weakness!

What to Do If You are Depressed:
  • Remember that with help, you can get better
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits
  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Seek professional help.  Your doctor is a good place to start.
  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings.  Most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them.
  • Try to be active and exercise.
  • Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs, as these can worsen depression symptoms
  • If you feel suicidal, CONTACT SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY FOR HELP!  

For those individuals who seek treatment, 80% show an improvement in their symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks of starting treatment.  The problem is, around 2/3 of people with depression do not actively seek treatment, or receive the wrong treatment.  Left untreated, depression can lead to suicide, which is the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals ages 15 to 44.  It is vital to talk to your doctor if you feel that you or someone you love is depressed.  Seeking treatment is the only way to stop the feelings.  Starting with treatment will allow you to gradually feel better and your doctor will know what the best treatment is for you!

For more information check out:

World Health Organization

National Institute of Mental Health

TBTW Has A Published Author!

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TBTW is proud to announce that our owner, Dr. Sara S. Morrison, has officially become a published author.  Sara has worked so very hard on this book and we are so proud of her accomplishments.  We sat down to talk with Sara about her book and find out why she wrote it and even what her plans are for the book.  She told us:

“This book has been a passion of mine for a number of reasons.  Most importantly, I saw it as a way to give back to my community, the citizens of Harnett County.  When my husband and I moved down here over 15 years ago, the people of Harnett Couny were quick to accept me as one of their own.  Their passion, love, and zest for life made me realize that this is truly where I belong.  That’s why I made it my goal to help the citizens of Harnett County trough the use of my medical knowledge and expertise.  I have been so incredibly blessed by God with the talents and opportunities to help the people I love, in the county that I love.

My book, “Heal Your Body, Live Your Life!” is really just the first step in my gift to Harnett County.  My main objective is a new initiative I have created called, A Happier, Healthier Harnett!  It is my drive and goal to make Harnett County the happiest and healthiest county in all of North Carolina!  Through the utilization of my physical therapy practice, in conjunction with my wonderful staff, I believe that we can make this a reality.  I feel indebted to my community to create an outreach where everyone can be positively enriched and lead the happiest, healthiest life possible!

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I created, “Heal Your Body, Live Your Life” as a gift to anyone in Harnett County, free of charge!  It is my way of saying thank you.  It is my way of saying that I am here for you.  It is my way of saying that I love you. It is easy to get caught up in the turmoil and struggles facing our entire world.  Sometimes that world seems bleak.  But I believe that God puts us in the position to change our little corner of that world for the better.  That is what I believe we are doing here in Harnett County.”

We are really looking forward to spreading the word about Sara’s new book and her initiative to better Harnett County.  Be on the lookout for Sara in locations around the county talking about her book.

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If you want a  copy of Sara’s new book, please contact us and let us know!  We will get you your very own FREE copy!

Autism Awareness Interview: Mary Thompson

Today, April 2nd is World Autism Day.  We believed that it would be best to represent Autism through the eyes of a parent with an autistic child.  For this blog, we talked to Mary Thompson, who has been a part of the TBTW family for years.  We sat down to talk to Mary about her son Austin’s diagnosis and how her family dynamic has changed since his diagnosis.

Tell me a little about yourself and your family.

My name is Mary and I am the mother of two wonderful boys.  My oldest son, Austin, has Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Austin has a baby brother named Dylan and a loving father named Chance.  We live in Youngsville, North Carolina.  I stay at home with Dylan while Austin attends school part time.  We enjoy arts and crafts, watching Disney movies, and playing outside.

How did you first discover Austin was autistic?  How old was he?  Are there any characteristics that stood out about him?

Around 18 months old, we started noticing that Austin was behind developmentally.  So we started early intervention.  Austin would not respond to his name, he would not make eye contact, his speech regressed, and he would walk on his toes.  IN July of 2015, he was officially diagnosed.

What are some challenges that you face with Austin?

Austin’s biggest challenge is transitioning from one activity to another, especially during outdoor play.  He also struggles with communication.  Sensing danger is another big challenge for him and for us.  He often runs towards the road, unaware that he can get hurt.

What have you learned from raising Austin?

We have learned that no two people with Autism are alike.  Each person has different struggles, but also shines in their own way.  Austin shines with his memory.  He remembers parts in movies after only watching them once.

Austin really enjoys dressing up as the Flash!

What are some activities that Austin really enjoys?

Austin loves to wrestle with his dad and likes to play outside as much as he can.  His favorite things are trains!

Here is Austin with his Auntie Em at an Autism Awareness walk, representing Team Awesome Austin!

What has made the biggest difference for Austin?

Austin attending pre-k at a local elementary school has made the biggest difference. He attends a mixed class and his speech has improved tremendously.  His social skills are improving every day and he is able to sit and do activities with other students.

How did his diagnosis of autism change your life?

I look at everything differently now.  I see the same things my son sees and I try to figure out how he interprets it.  I’ve also learned how to slow things down and be more patient.

What advice would you give to other parents raising a child with autism?

I would recommend other families to seek out early intervention services.  It has made a big difference for Austin. Also, having a great support system in place has helped us.  Family and friends can be helpful when you need a break.  Lastly, the Autism Society of North Carolina has resources available for families in need.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to them!

Blogger: Mary Thompson

 

JJ Virgin Diet: Katrina’s Journey

Many people struggle with their weight; I for one am one of those people. When I was in grade school, I started to notice weight gain.  Before, I was a petite little girl.  I never had the healthiest diet growing up.  My mom would make home cooked meals with a lot of starches.  I also did not make the best food choices.  Today, those are the foods I still tend to crave.  We sometimes eat foods that we think are healthy, and may just be harmful for what our body can tolerate.  So let me take you on a little journey on what has worked best for me.

How It Began..

A few years ago, I started to have stomach issues, an increase in weight gain, bloating, headaches, brain fog, and feelings of fatigue.  My main symptom would hit me about midnight with gastric issues. I wasn’t sure what was causing it.  What I didn’t know is that it was something I was eating.  I went to the doctor and had blood work, a CT scan, and an ultrasound of my organs to rule out any medical issues.  Everything came back normal.  I still had no answers.  Then, I ran across a book called “The Virgin Diet”.  It totally changed my life.  Foods I thought were healthy were not for me at the time.

About The Virgin Diet

Let me tell you a little bit about The Virgin Diet.  Basically, you take away 7 different types of foods for 3 weeks, which may be causing food intolerance.  Then, you re-introduce 4 of the 7 back into your diet to see what foods trigger the food intolerance.  Food intolerance is different from allergies.  Food intolerance symptoms may vary from person to person.

The most common symptoms of food intolerance are:

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Mental Fog
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Weight Gain

The 7 foods include, sugar (including artificial), peanuts, corn, gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.  I know…you’re probably thinking, “What CAN I eat?”  You basically go to foods which don’t contain junk, like fresh vegetables, fruits that are low in sugar, fish, and grass fed meat.  There are many other options, and the book has many examples. Corn, sugar, and peanuts are the foods which you want to keep out of your diet 95% of the time.  These 3 foods can cause the most reaction.

The 4 types of food you add back into your diet after 3 weeks are gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.  You introduce one each week for 4 days and then you go back to dropping all 7 for the next three days.  If any symptoms occur while you are testing them, you can stop those foods immediately, as your body has a sensitivity o that type of food.  Gluten are soy are also two types of food you want to also keep out of your diet 95% of the time, even if your body was able to tolerate them.  These are not good for you.  Dairy and eggs are the lesser of the seven evils, but you still want to only add them in every other day, instead of every day.

If you have any type of autoimmune disease, you want to always stay away from gluten, soy, and dairy.  These three can cause inflammation throughout your body and sometimes mocking other “diagnosis” like Fibromyalgia.  This is why it is important to pull these foods from your diet and pay close attention to what is happening to your body.  It is necessary to write down what you eat daily.  Your water intake is also very important.

My Experience

Briefly, let me tel you about how things are going as I am currently testing my 7 foods.  My first week, I lost 7 lbs and 2 inches from my waist.  After 3 weeks, I lost a total of 10 lbs and 4 inches from my waist!  I also lost inches from my hips and chest, but I won’t go into detail.  If you lose excessive weight or inches, like I did in my first week, it is a sure sign that something you are eating is causing the weight gain and bloating, among other things.

After the first three weeks, i chose to test my dairy.  My first day, I had tested organic mozzarella cheese and started to feel my stomach tighten and I had discomfort.  I decided to try the next day and test organic cottage cheese.  My symptoms worsened as I noticed increased bloating and 1 inch increase around my waist, even though I did not gain weight.  I decided to stop after 2 days.  No need to be miserable for the rest of the week.  A few days after I stopped, the symptoms also stopped.  Now I am off to test my gluten tomorrow.  After gluten, I will test eggs and then soy.

Retest, Retest, Retest!

It is important to retest every 90 days or so, because what your body can’t tolerate at this time you may be able to tolerate in a few months after you give it a rest.  Same is true the other way.  The next time you test, these foods may react differently.

The Virgin Diet teaches you what food is causing food intolerance and how to eat correctly to become healthy.  This is a life style change and is manageable.  If you decide to try the Virgin Diet and your body does not respond to it and you’re still having symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.  As always, before starting any diet, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor prior.  I hope someone found this helpful!

For more information on The Virgin Diet, check out the book!

Blogger: Katrina Braham, PTA

Jaclin’s Haiti Mission Trip

Hi everyone! My name is Jaclin Iodence and I am the Rehab Tech Manager here at TBTW.  I moved here about a year ago with my husband Tyler, from Las Vegas, Nevada.  We moved so that he could attend Campbell’s Medical School. We had an opportunity to serve on a medical mission trip through Campbell and recently visited Haiti during his spring break.  It was my first mission trip, but it was Tyler’s third. I’m here today to tell you a little about my life changing trip to Haiti!

Arriving in Haiti

Upon arriving in Haiti Saturday night, we hopped a bus and traveled to the south side of the island to a town called Les Cayes.  It was a grueling 4.5 hours on crowded roads, but let me tell you…it was SO worth it!  We stayed at a place called the Hosanna House, specifically built for missionary groups to stay at while serving the people of Haiti.  We instantly rushed to bed because the next day, we attended church at 6:00 am! In Haiti, everything starts REALLY EARLY in the morning to beat the heat.

Attending church in a foreign country was a first for me, but not for Tyler.  We had no idea what they were singing or what they were saying, but we did know that they were head over heels in love with Jesus.  They may not have power in their homes, or running water, but they had Jesus.  And that is enough for them.  After sharing smiles and handshakes with dozens of people from the church, we headed back to the Hosanna House to start organizing the pharmacy for the clinics we stared the next day.

Hosting Clinics

On Monday, our day stared again bright and early at 6:00 am.  We traveled around the bottom side of the island about two hours away to a church to host our clinic in.  It had no roof, a few doorways, and a stage.  This was enough for us to work in!  We threw up tarps for shade coverage and blocked many of the doorways, as the people of the community were already filing in to be seen for medical care.  We set up a triage station, where the medical students worked to take blood pressures, temperatures, weight, height, and chief complaints from patients.  There were then seen by the student doctors.  Several board certified doctors were nearby for questions and confirmations for the correct prescriptions for patients.

This is where I saw Tyler really shine for the first time.  For the past two years, I have seen Tyler put in countless hours of studying and lose many hours of sleep stressing over medical school.  But the only thing I’ve ever seen benefit from all of this were his grades so far.  He was doing physical exams on dozen of infants, adults, and seniors.  He was then able to diagnose several complaints and even knew what kind of drug to prescribe them! To say I felt like a proud wife was an understatement.  I saw his dream coming to life, right in front of my eyes.  I saw Tyler’s passion pouring into these patients.  I’m normally a basket case of emotions, so you can bet there were tears shed throughout the week.

Being from Campbell, the student doctors were encouraged to take a spiritual history and even pray for their patients. It almost seemed like the patients were more excited to be prayed for than to be receiving medication for their illnesses. From there, we sent them to the pharmacy to receive their prescriptions and directions on how to take them.  Then came the women’s ministry station!

Women’s Ministry Station

In many third world countries, women are incredibly under-served, disrespected, and more prone to violence based only on their gender.  Only women worked at this station, including me. We had water basins set up with soap and towels, and there we washed their feet.  In the bible, the book of John tells us the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you”

-John 13:13-15

This exemplifies the spirit of humble servanthood that believers are to show to one another.  The women came pouring into our station, SO excited to have their feet washed!  We even added a fresh coat of polish for those women who could hide their toes in their shoes! (Haitian women are not allowed to paint their nails).  Our translator, Merline, did a beautiful job ministering to the women and getting the connected to the local churches.  We had several women who were believers of Jesus as their Savior.  But we also had women who didn’t believe, or had fallen away from their faith.  I had prayed for every single woman who came through the station that week, and although it was only a few minutes of meeting them, they left feeling full from the gospel and knew that they were fearfully and wonderfully made by our Lord.

Prayer Station

After the women’s station, we had a prayer station.  This was led by a  Godly man named Reese.  A 91 year old man, from Cambridge, Maryland!  He fought in WW2 and set off to travel the world, ministering to as many people as he could, ever since.  He told us that when the time comes when the Lord decides to call him home, Reese wanted to be out serving God’s people. What a God fearing man he is.  I’ll tell you.  I have never met a man like Reese.  A man who can endure an entire day of travel, grueling tropical temperatures and long hard days at 91 years old and not complain once, is a true servant.  Reese prayed healing over many of the patients.  He would use olive oil to anoint the areas of pain while deep in prayer.  A few of the people who visited his station left without any pain once Reese was done praying!  It was something incredibly beautiful to see, I’ll tell you that much!  Tyler spent some time with Reese at his station, and he even prayed over Tyler and his journey through medical school.  That was a gift to witness as well!

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The Children

When I wasn’t working at the women’s station, I helped out with the kids! Duh, typical Jaclin running off to play with the babies and kids. We had no translators working with the kids, because they were all being utilized in the clinic.  So, since I only knew how to ask someone’s name in Creole, i got creative.  Many of the kids were begging for just an ounce of attention, and of course, they got it from me! I ended up playing a tickle game with a couple of young children, which quickly escalated to around thirty! We got in trouble because we were giggling and screaming too loud next to triage, so we moved to the beach to play.  There we ended up playing a version of Simon says.  The kids would copy everything I did, so it was a perfect and easy game to play with a language barrier. And boy, did it seem like they were the happiest kids in the world.  The older kids that were playing soccer actually got jealous of all the fun we were having and wanted to join in! We had SO much fun!

The “Tap-Tap”

The rest of our days that we held clinics looked about the same.  There was one day that we didn’t have transportation to a clinic location, so we took a taxi.  Only, it wasn’t a typical taxi like the ones in America.  It was a small pickup truck with two benches in the back, covered with colorful tops.  It was called a “tap-tap”.  No seat belts, no doors, and no rules for the driver as he weaved in and out of traffic!  It was a fun experience, and we of course, loved every minute of the unexpected adventure!

We can’t wait to goon our next mission trip together and be the hands and feet of Jesus once again.

Tyler & Jaclin

Preventing Lymphedema from Worsening

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It is possible to take steps to prevent Lymphedema from happening or keep it from getting worse.  Taking preventive steps may keep Lymphedema from ever developing.  Health care providers can teach patients how to prevent and take care of Lymphedema at home.  If Lymphedema has developed, these steps may also keep it from getting worse.

 

Preventative steps include the following:

  • Notify your health care provider right away if you notice symptoms of Lymphedema.

    • The chance of improving the condition is better if treatment begins early.  Untreated Lymphedema can lead to problems that cannot be reversed.
  • Keep skin and nails clean and cared for, to prevent infection.

    • Bacteria can enter the body through a cut, scratch, insect bite, or other skin injury. Fluid that is trapped in body tissues by Lymphedema makes it easy for bacteria to grow and cause infection.  Look for signs of infection, such as redness, pain, swelling, heat, fever, or red streaks below the surface of the skin.  Call your doctor right away if any of these signs appear.  Careful skin and nail care helps prevent infection:
      • Use cream or lotion to keep the skin moist
      • Treat small cuts or breaks in the skin with an antibacterial ointment
      • Avoid needle sticks of any type into the limb (arm or leg) with Lymphedema
        • This includes shots or blood tests.
      • Use a thimble for sewing.
      • Avoid testing bath or cooking water using the limb with Lymphedema.  There may be less feeling (touch, temperature, pain) in the affected arm or leg, and skin might burn in the water that is too hot.
      • Wear gloves when gardening and cooking.
      • Wear sunscreen and shoes when outdoors.
      • Cut toenails straight across.
        • See a podiatrist (foot doctor) as needed to prevent ingrown nails and infections.
      • Keep feet clean and dry and wear cotton socks

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  • Avoid blocking the flow of fluids through the body.

    • it is important to keep body fluids moving, espeically through an affected limb or in areas where Lymphedema may develop.
      • Do not cross legs while sitting.
      • Change sitting position at least every 30 minutes.
      • Wear only loose jewelry and clothes without tight bands or elastic.
      • Do not carry handbags on the arm with Lymphedema
      • Do not use elastic bandages or stockings with tight bands.
  • Keep blood from pooling in the affected limb.

    • Keep the limb with Lymphedema raised higher than the heart when possible.
    • Do not swing the limb quickly in circles or let the limb hang down.
      • This makes blood and fluid collect in the lower part of the arm or leg.
    • Do not apply heat to the limb.

Putting Your Best Fork Foward

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March is National Nutrition month, which has been a campaign by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics that started in 1980.  This March, we will feature blogs specific to healthy eating and allowing you the “Put your best fork forward”.

March is the time for you to start making small changes to the way that you eat!  It is important to start with small changes so that you do not overwhelm yourself.  Setting small goals is a good way to make larger changes to your diet in the long run.  One thing to remember is to focus on eating foods that are nutrient dense.  This includes whole foods, healthy fats, fruits/veggies, plant based proteins, etc.  You should try implementing these types of foods into your diet, instead of focusing on the limitation of foods from your diet.

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There are many tools which are beneficial to you when planning out your dietary changes.  One of these is the MyPlate website.  There are many items on this site that can help you make the necessary changes to eat healthier.  There are dietary checklists for servings of grains, proteins, fruits/veggies, and dairy that should be consumed in one day.  The site also includes a super tracker, which allows you to keep track of how many calories you are consuming in one day, as well as a breakdown of your diet.  This can hold you accountable for what you’re consuming and what you should change to your current dietary habits.  There are even sample menus to help you make those small changes to your diet (example below)!

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website includes many options for nutritional sheets for you to learn more about proper nutrition for your body.  The nutrition tip sheets are beneficial for learning more about proper nutrition and how to eat the best for your lifestyle.  There are tip sheets for eating less salt, eating healthy on a budget, healthy eating on the go and more!   Everyone’s lifestyle is different, so nutrition can vary from person to person.  You can also check out our blog later in the month for more details on eating right!