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Heartbreaking Story Of a Midwife She Feels At Being Given a Second Chance At Life

When Penny Lown took part in a controversial cancer campaign, she had been told her illness was terminal and she should simply try to enjoy the time she had left.

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Suffering from ‘unfashionable’ pancreatic cancer, the mother of three didn’t hesitate when asked to feature in a national TV advert in which patients pleaded: ‘I wish I had breast cancer.’

The haunting black and white campaign aimed to highlight the appalling survival rates for that form of the disease compared to others, but was attacked by critics for pitting one cancer against another.

Former midwife Mrs Lown, 52, and two fellow sufferers who featured in the ad were vilified on social media.

Miraculously, 18 months on, Mrs Lown has defied the odds and has been told she is cancer free. But the other two – Kerry Harvey, 24, and Andy Luck, 42 – have both died.

Now Mrs Lown has spoken for the first time about their deaths and being given a second chance at life. ‘Some people didn’t understand why we had to do the campaign, but we never hesitated,’ she told the Daily Mail.

‘Yes it was shocking, but it had to be. Every time I picked up a magazine there was an article about breast cancer, we all had the unfashionable cancer which no one seemed to care about. Being part of something which shocked to raise some awareness was a privilege and none of us had any doubts. The prognosis for all of us at that time was very bleak, but it still hurts so much that Kerry and Andy both died. We bonded over the campaign and all became very close.

I was so frightened, and at times Andy was the only one who could help because he understood. Sometimes I would spend all night texting him.

‘Andy had gone back to work and was doing well and it shocked me so much that he died. Kerry was unbelievably brave. For someone so young she was incredible.

‘I’ve 100 per cent no regrets about doing the campaign, but it’s a very strange feeling to be the only person left, it’s a very lonely place. But then I have to be grateful. I have been given this chance and I have to take it.’

Mrs Lown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013, a few months after marrying her partner Terry, 58, a designer for a sportswear company.

The disease is the 11th most common cancer in Britain, with 9,000 people diagnosed each year. It is also one of the most deadly, with only 3 per cent surviving for five years, against 87 per cent for breast cancer and 98 per cent for testicular cancer. It initially causes few symptoms and Mrs Lown’s cancer was inoperable and had spread to a lung when it was found.

She had chemotherapy which left her too ill to attend the funerals of Miss Harvey and Mr Luck. But it was working. Following more treatment, in May last year she was well enough to have her pancreas removed in a seven hour operation which left her cancer free.

She has to have six monthly scans to check her progress, but the self-confessed exercise addict is back at the gym and her future looks bright. ‘I am 100 per cent convinced I survived because of how fit and healthy I was,’ she said. ‘And I really wanted to live. I would not give up.’

She said she has ‘re-evaluated’ her life and is training to be a yoga instructor, while she and her husband are moving from Farnham, Surrey, to Cornwall to be by the sea.

source;http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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what it’s really like to live with psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis is much more than just a few body aches. From pain and stiffness to severe fatigue, the condition comes with an array of symptoms that pose daily challenges for those who live with it. For those who don’t have the condition, the mental and physical toll of psoriatic arthritis can be difficult to understand. Here are 15 statements only those who have psoriatic arthritis are familiar with. If you don’t have the condition but know someone who does, start deepening your understanding with this list.

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1. Half the battle is getting the right diagnosis.

Teresa Dishner, 60, a former chemistry teacher from Virginia, saw her primary care doctor after experiencing sudden painful symptoms. “I was having extreme pain while getting dressed, and my fingertips bled while teaching class,” says Dishner, who was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2002. The doctor initially told her to simply lay off salt. But Dishner had a feeling that something more was amiss, so she decided to see a rheumatologist. That’s how she got the right diagnosis.

“If you suspect there’s something behind your pain, don’t ignore it and think it will go away,” says Renae Rabe, a finance manager living with psoriatic arthritis in West Allis, Wisconsin. “I was only diagnosed five years ago, but I think I’ve had it for ten years. Go to your doctors until you get answers.”

2. Your energy level is like a bank account.

Psoriatic arthritis can cause extreme fatigue. For every task you complete, or plan to complete, you drain your daily energy bank. Putting on mascara or talking to a neighbor on the street costs you energy. And sometimes, even if it’s the first thing you do after waking up, a shower may be all it takes to put you right back in bed.

“It’s important to rest when you need to and not push yourself too hard, especially on days when your symptoms are particularly severe,” says Joseph Markenson, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. It’s also important for the loved ones of those who have psoriatic arthritis to understand how draining the condition can be — for example, people with psoriatic arthritis may have to cancel plans frequently, or head home early.

3. Just because you’re not strong enough to push a shopping cart doesn’t mean you don’t work out.

Rabe says she exercises four to five times a week at home and in the swimming pool. But on some days the pain can keep her from doing the simplest things, like pushing a shopping cart. While exercising can’t completely alleviate your symptoms, it can help strengthen the muscles around your joints. Biking, walking, and swimming are all good fitness options for people with psoriatic arthritis.

4. Changing your diet won’t cure psoriatic arthritis . . .

There is no known cure for psoriatic arthritis, and going Paleo or gluten free isn’t a remedy. The good news, however, is that a healthy diet with plenty of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables that’s low in fats and sugars can help keep psoriatic arthritis symptoms under control. “Also try to steer clear of dairy, caffeine, and corn,” says Dr. Markenson, “all of which may aggravate psoriatic arthritis symptoms.”

5. . . . neither will taking deep breaths or meditating.

While your well-meaning yogi friend may think the cure for your symptoms is to practice a few asanas, try as you might, yoga is not a cure for psoriatic arthritis. However, it may alleviate stress, and stress can worsen symptoms and bring on a flare-up. So if you find the practice relaxing, go for it!

6. Hearing the words “But you don’t look sick” can make you cringe . . .

While you might be able to take that phrase as a compliment, it can be frustrating to hear it when you’re struggling with an invisible disease that makes you feel sick all day, every day. Psoriatic arthritis has the potential to put you in a wheelchair, and just because you’re walking around on your own doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’d much rather hear someone tell you how strong you are for keeping it together given the amount of pain you endure.

7. . . . as can the words “You’re too young to have arthritis.”

“When you say the word arthritis, every older person you meet has it too,” Dishner says. While well-meaning people may sympathize by comparing their own ailment with yours, psoriatic arthritis is a much different form of arthritis and does not develop because of aging. It can occur at any age but typically begins to cause symptoms among those between 20 and 30 years old.

8. You are a serious germaphobe.

You wash your hands religiously, carry sanitizing wipes everywhere, and avoid germ hubs, such as bowling alleys and movie theaters. And with good reason: Anything that can affect your immune system may worsen your symptoms. Many psoriatic arthritis medications suppress the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to germs, and flare-ups can occur when you get an infection. While vitamins and general attention to hygiene can help ward off sickness, having to skip bowling night with your family to avoid getting sick can still sting — even if it does help you avoid a monthlong cold.

9. Chair selection is important.

It can be extremely difficult to get in (and out of!) different types of seats, depending on their height, width, and design, because of pain or stiffness. “Luckily, I was a chemistry teacher, so I had lab stools, which were much easier for me,” Dishner says. “But outside school, I would find myself scanning a room to find the right chair.”

10. You might avoid wearing short sleeves on a hot day if you have psoriasis too.

As if psoriatic arthritis wasn’t enough, most people with the condition also have psoriasis, which produces patches of thick, red skin and silvery scales. Even when the temperature is 80 degrees and climbing, sleeveless shirts aren’t an option for many. “My psoriasis is mainly on my elbows, so I would never dream of wearing a sleeveless dress,” Dishner says. “Three-quarter sleeves are my best friends.”

11. A trip to the physical therapist can feel more heavenly than a massage.

A few months after being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Rabe began physical therapy. “I went two to three times a week, and the exercises I learned to do helped me cope with the pain,” she says. “Now any time I feel an ache in a new part of my body, I’m right back at the physical therapist’s office.” Exercises recommended by a therapist can help keep your joints flexible while strengthening your muscles and reducing pain.

12. A good day doesn’t mean you’re better.

Many people who live with psoriatic arthritis have good days and bad days. Although good days do not mean you’re healed, it’s important to work with your doctor to find ways to have more good days than bad. Tracking your symptoms and their impact on your life, as well as your ability to participate in everyday activities, may help your health care provider identify new ways to help you, says Markenson, including potential lifestyle changes and additional treatments.

13. You’re always on the search for the next best thing.

In recent decades, there have been more advances in medications and studies confirming the benefits of certain therapies for psoriatic arthritis than ever before. Doing your own research and following up on it with your rheumatologist will help you and the doctor find and maintain the best treatment plan. Says Dishner, “It’s important to understand your options and to never give up hope.”

14. You wish more people understood what you’re going through.

Because psoriatic arthritis affects only about 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population, it can be hard to find someone else who’s going through the same thing you are. “It took 12 years after my diagnosis to meet someone else with psoriatic arthritis,” Dishner says. That means it’s important to create your own support system. Keeping your friends and family involved in your experiences with psoriatic arthritis and your treatment plan, says Markenson, may help them to better understand what you’re going through and how to help you.

15. You’re a psoriatic arthritis expert.

Most people who have psoriatic arthritis usually do research on symptoms and new therapies after they’ve lived with the condition for a time. They also take it on themselves to talk about their findings with people close to them. “It’s important to educate the people around you,” says Rabe. “I consider myself an expert because I’m always researching and learning about my disease, which makes me comfortable answering questions to help my loved ones better understand what I’m going through.”

source;http://www.everydayhealth.com/

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Surprising 5 Facts I Never Knew About Lyme Disease—Until I Got It Myself

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One morning in the beginning of August, I noticed a tightness in my upper left thigh as I got out of bed.

I had just powered through an intense leg workout the night before, so I wasn’t too concerned. It was probably just soreness, I assumed.

I reached down to try to massage it out, when my fingers stopped at something unexpected—two rubbery, pea-sized lumps an inch or so from the top of my inner thigh.

They were swollen inguinal lymph nodes, a fact I knew since a few other ones had popped up the previous summer.

Back then, my doctor assured me they were nothing to worry about—anything from a tiny cut on the leg to a nick shaving could cause them to swell up, thinking there’s an infection to fight. They eventually went away.

So when these new ones emerged, I figured I’d just give them some time to go back down, too.

But two days later, an oval-shaped, red rash appeared in the same area. It quickly spread to the size of my hand, fingers to palm.

I called my primary care doctor, who was able to squeeze me in for an exam later that day.

The eventual diagnosis: Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can cause joint pain and other frustratingly non-specific, flu-like symptoms.

That was the beginning of my first-hand crash course on Lyme disease. Turns out, a lot of things most people think about Lyme are just plain wrong.

REAL FACT #1: YOU DON’T NEED TO RECALL A TICK BITE TO HAVE LYME DISEASE.

Each year, around 30,000 cases of Lyme disease—an illness transmitted by the bites of infected blacklegged ticks—are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But in many cases, you’ll have no knowledge that a tick even bit you.

In fact, only 30 percent of people with Lyme disease remembered a tick bite, a 2010 study in Clinical Infectious Diseases found. And that was in Wisconsin, a Lyme-prevalent area where people would probably be on higher alert for the insects.

As for me? The possibility of a bug bite causing the rash—let alone a tick bite—never even crossed my mind.

That’s not to say it shouldn’t have: I live in Pennsylvania, a state where about 25 percent of all Lyme cases occurred in 2014, CDC data found.

What’s more, two of my regular running courses included short sections of wooded areas, where ticks like to hang out.

But I never even saw a tick on me—scary, considering that the tick was probably attached to my skin for 36 to 48 hours, the amount of time it generally needs to transmit the Lyme bacteria, according to the CDC.

Turns out, ticks are pretty skillful evaders: Because they like warm, moist areas, they often move to your armpits or groin—spots where they easily escape detection, especially since immature ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, says my primary care doctor, Cynthia Martin, D.O., of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

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REAL FACT #2: YOU DON’T NEED A BULL’S EYE RASH TO HAVE LYME DISEASE.

Not only did I miss the tick bite, but I also didn’t think my rash looked like Lyme: It was just oval and red—nothing like the stereotypical “bull’s eye” often associated with the condition.

But while about 70 to 80 percent of people with Lyme disease develop some kind of rash, the bull’s eye rash, which resembles an archery target with red and white circles, is not nearly as common as you may think.

In fact, after analyzing 53 studies, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center concluded that only 19 percent of people with the disease in the U.S. develop a rash with the bull’s eye appearance. (Some people don’t even get any rash at all.)

To the professional eye, though, my rash did look like Lyme: Its large, well-defined area of redness had my doctor considering Lyme from the beginning.

But it wasn’t quite that simple: Other skin conditions, especially cellulitis—an infection characterized by red swelling, where bacteria enter through breaks in the skin—can mimic the rash of Lyme.

And my other symptoms—a low-grade fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes—can be indicative of either cellulitis or Lyme disease, too.

Plus, complicating my situation were two unrelated, small, healing wounds on the periphery of the rash from an injury a few weeks prior.

“Open wounds can often be a portal where bacteria can enter the skin,” says Dr. Martin.

As a result, cellulitis can develop—and my rash appeared to be a pretty strong candidate for it.

So I left the office with a diagnosis for cellulitis, but also with orders for blood work to make sure nothing else was going on, either.

Real fact #3: Diagnosing Lyme disease can be tricky.
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REAL FACT #3: DIAGNOSING LYME DISEASE CAN BE TRICKY.

One of the tests on the order was for Lyme disease.

Diagnosing Lyme isn’t exactly clear cut, so doctors use a two-tiered approach to nail it down: The first is called the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test, or the ELISA test.

This test shows how many total antibodies you have for the pathogen in question, which in Lyme’s case, is a kind of bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, says John Aucott, M.D., the director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.

But it’s not perfect—it can produce a good chunk of false positives, meaning people show antibodies even if they are not infected with Lyme, he says. (This can be due to other infections like mono, bacterial stomach ulcers, or even autoimmune disorders like lupus.)
So when my ELISA test came back positive, doctors had to take one more step before confirming a Lyme diagnosis: the Western Blot test.

This test looks at the antibodies your body makes to several different specific proteins of the Lyme bacteria. It weeds out most of the false positives seen with the ELISA test.

The Western Blot detects two classes of antibodies: the IgM, which appear soon after infection, and the IgG, which can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to show up.

My Western Blot came back positive for antibodies in the IgM class—showing that my infection probably occurred within a four-week period before the test, says Dr. Aucott.

Real fact #4: The treatment for Lyme can make you feel worse than the disease.
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REAL FACT #4: THE TREATMENT FOR LYME CAN MAKE YOU FEEL WORSE THAN THE DISEASE.

My doctor prescribed the standard treatment for Lyme disease caught early—100 milligrams (mg) of an antibiotic called doxycycline twice a day for 21 days.

I took my first dosage the night I was diagnosed. The next morning, I felt way worse than before.

My head throbbed, my stomach cramped, and my fatigue increased.

I remember consciously trying to avoid turning my head: It seemed to take way too much effort, and I also knew it would end up creating a pounding so sharp it’d leave me sick to my stomach.

It wasn’t that my Lyme was getting worse: I learned that my symptoms might have been caused by something called the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, a condition which occurs in roughly 15 percent of people after taking their first antibiotic dosage for Lyme treatment, says Dr. Aucott.

It actually can be considered a good thing, since it shows your meds are working.

When the antibiotics begin to kill off the Lyme bacteria, the dead bacteria release proteins that trigger inflammation, says Dr. Aucott.

As a result, you can experience new or worsening symptoms, like fever, chills, or achiness. The reaction only lasts a few days, he says.

In my case, the first two days after I started the doxycycline were definitely the worst: Afterwards, my symptoms—minus the rash, which disappeared within a couple days of treatment— returned to pre-antibiotic levels.

Real fact #5: The fatigue with Lyme disease is no joke.
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REAL FACT #5: THE FATIGUE WITH LYME DISEASE IS NO JOKE.

This past spring and early summer, I’d been on a fitness upswing: I was lifting 5 or 6 days a week—continually adding heavier weight to my workouts—and running at least 3 to 4 miles almost every day.

Then, by mid-July—right around the time I suspect I was bitten—I hit a wall.

Running one mile felt like 5. Weights I could easily press by myself the week before were suddenly at risk of smashing me in the face.

I even remember consciously choosing to do one exercise over another because it used a bench—and I could lie down on it after I was done for my “rest.”

I figured I might just have been pushing my body too hard, so I dialed it back a little to give it time to recover.

But when my Lyme test came back positive, it was actually a relief to know my body was stalling for a reason.

I wasn’t alone: The exhaustion you can feel with Lyme is often much more severe than with other fatigue-causing illnesses, says Dr. Aucott. And it could come on well before the Lyme rash shows up.

That fatigue—along with the related weakness and lack of endurance— was probably my most-pressing Lyme symptom, and it stuck with me throughout most of my treatment.

The gym wasn’t the only place I felt it: My transitional stand-up desk at work remained in the sitting position. I cleared my weekends so I could fit in long naps.

Unfortunately, though, the sleep didn’t help much. I went to bed with the fatigue and achiness, and woke up with them the next morning

source;http://www.menshealth.com/

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Surprising 10 Things About Bipolar Disorder No One Talks About This

How much do you know about bipolar disorder? You might mention the mood swings. The depression. The mania that follows.

If you don’t live with it, or know a loved one who lives with it, that’s likely where your knowledge stops.

But what else is important about bipolar disorder that we don’t talk about? To honor Mental Health Awareness Month, we teamed up with the International Bipolar Foundation to explore the unspoken corners of bipolar disorder, and asked what parts of bipolar disorder really need awareness not just this month, but every month.

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Here’s what they had to say:

1. “The effects of various types of medications — from weight gain (or loss) to ‘brain fog,’ forgetfulness, word-finding difficulties… It’s frustrating and can lower your self-esteem.”

2. “It seems like no one, including doctors, wants to discuss the ‘hyper-sexuality‘
that can come along with bipolar mania. This can be a very shameful part of the illness. It can cause serious damage to the person suffering.”

3. “Manic states aren’t fun, like many think. You can become self-destructive, and often impulsive decisions are made that have potentially devastating consequences. It can be overwhelming to deal with racing thoughts, and I get incredibly irritable. I think mania reduces my inhibitions and I get aggravated much more easily. I also don’t sleep much at all when I’m manic. It’s not a euphoria for me, and it’s often followed by severe depression.”

4. “The media portrayal of the illness is very narrow. It focuses on the acute stage of mania and depression and rarely acknowledges that patients have stable moods and their symptoms can be in remission for a good deal of time.”

5. “Having bipolar can lead to darkness in your life. Mental illness is just as deadly as many other life-threatening diseases.”

6. “People don’t talk about how it actually feels to have bipolar. People talk about signs and symptoms, but not what it actually feels like going through them. How frightening it is to have it, how totally out of control it makes you feel. People without it don’t see it as debilitating — they know it as a ‘mood swing’ when it’s so much more.”

7. “People need to understand it is not an excuse, it is a disorder. Read about it before you judge.”

8. “I think nobody talks about the difference between our mood swings and our actual emotions we feel as human beings. I have encountered my legitimate feelings being mistaken for my mental illness. I feel like my mental illness gets blamed for anything negative I’m going through, taking away my right as a human being to feel those emotions.”

9. “The mixed episodes are rarely mentioned. People without bipolar often assume there’s only two phases, mania and depression, and they present in specific ways with specific symptoms. However, each episode can present itself uniquely and aren’t always pure mania or pure depression.”

10. “I’m very open about my bipolar disorder, but I never talk about hallucinations. People can handle when you explain highs and lows, but trying to explain hallucinations when manic is just a recipe for disaster.”

source;http://themighty.com

 

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A thing experts don’t talk about Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory processing refers to the way that sound is processed after it is heard. A person with Auditory Processing Disorder may have difficulty interpreting sounds they hear–often related to speech. The structure of the ear can be typical while the person experiences varying degrees of difficulty making sense of the sound.

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I’ve been giving a lot of thought to raising happy and safe Autistic children.  Happy and safe children make parenting them a lot less stressful.  So I’m raising a topic that I think plays a major role in the lives of many Autistic children (and adults) unbeknownst to the parents.

It is important not just because it affects communication abilities but because it can lead to extreme frustration and other emotions which can result in unexplained behavior.

Auditory processing difficulties.  I don’t know why there is not more of a focus on this as a frequently occurring disability secondary to Autism.  In my experience it doesn’t even seem to be on the radar of most professionals.

I will share our diagnostic experience and then some really important things that Autistic adults shared with me about APD.

Our experience getting Evelyn diagnosed:

Evelyn “passed” her newborn hearing test.  When she was about three, we started to notice that she didn’t seem to hearing when we talked to her.  We wondered if she was experiencing hearing loss and had her tested again–even though we noted that she heard other noise.

She “passed” the screening again.  Her neurologist thought it was worth having an ABR hearing test.  This is done under sedation in young children and tests the way the hearing nerve responds to different sounds.  She “passed” that too.

 "Dear Teacher: A letter from H" of Thirty Days of Autism Click Image to visit Thirty Days of Autism.

After she “passed” that, we were lead to believe that she was simply ignoring us.  That this was a behavior.  That it needed to be corrected…ABA was apparently the only way to do it.

Fast forward to last school year.  Evelyn was seven.  I went away for several days which I don’t normally do so it was a big deal.  When I came back, Maxine met me at the door and we had a loud greeting.  Evie was sitting on the couch playing with her ipad.  She didn’t even look up.  I started greeting her excitedly.

She didn’t look up until I bent down in front of her and put a hand on her knee.  She didn’t know I was there prior to that.  I know this because the moment I touched her, she lit up, threw herself at me, and didn’t let go for several minutes.

She wasn’t ignoring me.  She didn’t process what she heard.

Because I knew nothing of the possibility of auditory processing difficulties, I had a difficult time wrapping my brain around what was happening.  We knew she could hear because she had all of the tests.

Over the next several weeks, I began “testing” her.  I would offer her something desirable.  She wouldn’t respond without a visual cue.  These were words that I knew that she comprehended.

I raised the question at a school meeting.  One of the people on her team responded that the team agreed that Evie didn’t seem to process language.  I was floored.  How had this not come up?  How was she not receiving accommodations for this?  They told me that only a neurologist could diagnose her with “central auditory processing disorder.”

We went to her neuro.  The diagnosis process looked like this:  I told him what we’d experienced.  He said she has Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  He wrote a letter to school saying that she needed accommodation around this disability.

When I think of the ramifications of our failure to detect this disorder, I could cry.  Not just the ramifications on speech, language, and academics.  But the assumptions everyone made about the function of her behavior and all the ways Evie was offended by those assumptions.  This was not Evie being stubborn. This was Evie being disabled in a way that no one seemed to acknowledge as worthy of support.

source;/loveexplosions.net

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To the Lady at the Pool Who Spoke Up During One of My Lowest Parenting Moments

The concept of rest is laughable to any mother, let alone a 9-month-pregnant one with a 19-month-old and 3-year-old, who would later be diagnosed with Autism.

I’ll never forget that summer.

It was hot, I was 9-months pregnant with our third child and supposed to be on rest. My OB had instructed me not to lift more than 10 pounds.


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I neglected to tell my doctor that I spent most days underarming my 3-year-old out of public places, with a diaper bag slung on one shoulder, my daughter’s hand in one of my own and tears in my eyes. Every public meltdown, every set of eyes on me, made me feel deflated. At that time, I felt my son’s behavior was a reflection of my parenting skills.

That summer my husband got us a pool membership. The plan was to have the kids wear themselves out in the kiddie pool and water tables. I could plunk my pregnant self in the kiddie pool with them and “rest.”

In reality, I’d manage to wrangle my toddlers and all our pool gear into the car, drive to the facility, lug everyone through the building and out back to where the pool is located only to have my oldest melt down, after which we’d get him out of there, all the way back through the facility and home.

The other moms would look away in an attempt to be polite. They would rifle through their diaper bags or start up a quiet conversation with their children, pretending not to notice us. It was impossible not to notice us.

We arrived at the pool one excruciatingly hot and humid morning. My son immediately melted down, and all the moms did their pretending-not-to-see-it thing. I tried to talk him down, but it wasn’t working. Cheeks flushed, heart pounding, I tried to calm myself down. Defeated but determined not to convey it, I set my jaw and collected our belongings. My son continued melting down. I was moving as quickly as I could for an extremely pregnant woman.

The pool moms continued to look away as I struggled to lower my 9-month-pregnant-body down to his level to pick him up. Once I had him, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and our bags.

“Excuse me!” I heard a female voice from the opposite side of the pool call out. I hesitated. I was trying not to cry. Reluctantly, I looked up and met her eyes. The woman was walking toward us with gusto, arms swinging.

“Bravo, mama! Bra-vo! No one here will say this to you,” she said, as she gestured toward my silent audience with one hand, “but you are doing the right thing. You’ve got this! Good job, Mom!” And then, she started to clap her hands. She applauded my parenting at one of my lowest parenting moments to date.

Mother and her children having fun in the swimming pool

I thanked her. She had validated my parenting when I was questioning it and feeling small.

“Thank you,” I mouthed again, for my words were now gone. She nodded and turned on her heels and walked away.

When I finally made it back to my car and managed to get the kids clipped into their car seats, I put my head to the steering wheel and did the ugly pregnancy cry thing. I realized I had been feeling quite alone with this spirited, strong-willed 3-year-old. On this day, I felt supported and was extremely grateful for that woman’s words. I wanted to go back to thank her properly, but my son was still melting down in his seat and I was far too emotional to be coherent.

Do you know how often I think of that stranger and her kindness? It has been five years, but I think of her all the time.

I think of her when I’m in Target and someone’s kid is “acting up.”

I think of her when I am checking out at the grocery store and the mom with four “whiny” kids in tow is behind me; I see that look in the mom’s eyes and I know she’s struggling to hold it all together.

I think of her every single time I see a pregnant woman managing toddlers.

I think of her when the frazzled looking mom in the minivan cuts me off and then apologizes with a wave. I can see the ruckus going on in her backseat. I know how loud it must be in her car, how difficult it must be to think, let alone drive.

I think of her when I see a mom whisking her crying child out of mass on Sundays.

I think of her every time I see a child “pitching a fit” or a mother who looks exhausted.

We have all been there, haven’t we? And some of us have been there more than others.

Do you know what? I always say something now. Always. And, if I can’t say something due to distance or whatnot, I make eye contact and send that mom a genuine you’ve got this smile. I know how much a kind word can mean in a dark moment, and I know kind words are contagious. They can alter behavior.

I don’t know where the woman from the pool is today. I wish I could thank her. I wish I could let her know the words she spoke to me on that day changed me and my behavior, forever. Thanks to her, I am not fumbling with my purse, trying not to notice the elephant in the room. Now, I know better.

As kids, we were taught if we don’t have anything nice to say, we shouldn’t say anything at all. I’d like to add an addendum to that saying for all the mamas out there:

If you are thinking kind thoughts, always share them. If you have something nice you could say, say it.

Think about how lovely this world would be if everyone poured forth all the kind thoughts and observations that they keep in the silence of their minds.

source;http://themighty.com

4

A Letter To My Daughter With Down Syndrome On Her Life

Dear Juliyan,

It is the afternoon of your wedding. June 27, 2015. In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you’ve achieved to get to this day. I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them.

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You are upstairs now, making final preparations with your mom and bridesmaids. Your hair is coiled perfectly above your slender neck. Your bejeweled dress – “my bling,’’ you called it – attracts every glimmer of late afternoon sunshine pouring through the window. Your makeup – that red lipstick! – somehow improves upon a beauty that has grown since the day you were born. Your smile is blooming and everlasting.

I am outside, beneath the window, staring up. We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time. When everything we’ve always imagined arrives and assumes a perfect clarity. Bliss is possible. I know this now, standing beneath that window.

I have everything and nothing to tell you. When you were born and for years afterward, I didn’t worry for what you’d achieve academically. Your mom and I would make that happen. We’d wield the law like a cudgel if we had to. We could make teachers teach you, and we knew you’d earn the respect of your peers.

What we couldn’t do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, What’s a kid’s life, if it isn’t filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?

I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare, “I don’t have any friends.’’

We all wish the same things for our children. Health, happiness and a keen ability to engage and enjoy the world are not only the province of typical kids. Their pursuit is every child’s birthright. I worried about your pursuit, Jillian.

I shouldn’t have. You’re a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met.

Do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now… look at you.

You’re the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy, and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know. It worked out for you, because of the person you are.

I would tell you to give your fiancé, Ryan, your whole heart, but that would be stating the obvious. I would tell you to be kind to him and gentle with him. But you do that already, with everyone you know. I would wish for you a lifetime of friendship and mutual respect, but you two have been together a decade already, so the respect and friendship already are apparent.

A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, “I’m here to take your daughter to the Homecoming, sir,’’ every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished.

Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together. It’s a new challenge, but it’s no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.

I see you now. The prep work has been done, the door swings open. My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream. I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. “You look beautiful’’ is the best I can do.

Jillian thanks me. “I’ll always be your little girl’’ is what she says then.

“Yes, you will,’’ I manage. Time to go, I say. We have a walk to make.

source;http://themighty.com

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I’ll never forget that summer Who Spoke Up During One of My Lowest Parenting Moments-term life

The concept of rest is laughable to any mother, let alone a 9-month-pregnant one with a 19-month-old and 3-year-old, who would later be diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.

I’ll never forget that summer.

It was hot, I was 9-months pregnant with our third child and supposed to be on rest. My OB had instructed me not to lift more than 10 pounds.

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I neglected to tell my doctor that I spent most days underarming my 3-year-old out of public places, with a diaper bag slung on one shoulder, my daughter’s hand in one of my own and tears in my eyes. Every public meltdown, every set of eyes on me, made me feel deflated. At that time, I felt my son’s behavior was a reflection of my parenting skills.

That summer my husband got us a pool membership. The plan was to have the kids wear themselves out in the kiddie pool and water tables. I could plunk my pregnant self in the kiddie pool with them and “rest.”

In reality, I’d manage to wrangle my toddlers and all our pool gear into the car, drive to the facility, lug everyone through the building and out back to where the pool is located only to have my oldest melt down, after which we’d get him out of there, all the way back through the facility and home.

The other moms would look away in an attempt to be polite. They would rifle through their diaper bags or start up a quiet conversation with their children, pretending not to notice us. It was impossible not to notice us.

We arrived at the pool one excruciatingly hot and humid morning. My son immediately melted down, and all the moms did their pretending-not-to-see-it thing. I tried to talk him down, but it wasn’t working. Cheeks flushed, heart pounding, I tried to calm myself down. Defeated but determined not to convey it, I set my jaw and collected our belongings. My son continued melting down. I was moving as quickly as I could for an extremely pregnant woman.

The pool moms continued to look away as I struggled to lower my 9-month-pregnant-body down to his level to pick him up. Once I had him, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and our bags.

“Excuse me!” I heard a female voice from the opposite side of the pool call out. I hesitated. I was trying not to cry. Reluctantly, I looked up and met her eyes. The woman was walking toward us with gusto, arms swinging.

“Bravo, mama! Bra-vo! No one here will say this to you,” she said, as she gestured toward my silent audience with one hand, “but you are doing the right thing. You’ve got this! Good job, Mom!” And then, she started to clap her hands. She applauded my parenting at one of my lowest parenting moments to date.

I thanked her. She had validated my parenting when I was questioning it and feeling small.

“Thank you,” I mouthed again, for my words were now gone. She nodded and turned on her heels and walked away.

When I finally made it back to my car and managed to get the kids clipped into their car seats, I put my head to the steering wheel and did the ugly pregnancy cry thing. I realized I had been feeling quite alone with this spirited, strong-willed 3-year-old. On this day, I felt supported and was extremely grateful for that woman’s words. I wanted to go back to thank her properly, but my son was still melting down in his seat and I was far too emotional to be coherent.

Do you know how often I think of that stranger and her kindness? It has been five years, but I think of her all the time.

I think of her when I’m in Target and someone’s kid is “acting up.”

I think of her when I am checking out at the grocery store and the mom with four “whiny” kids in tow is behind me; I see that look in the mom’s eyes and I know she’s struggling to hold it all together.

I think of her every single time I see a pregnant woman managing toddlers.

I think of her when the frazzled looking mom in the minivan cuts me off and then apologizes with a wave. I can see the ruckus going on in her backseat. I know how loud it must be in her car, how difficult it must be to think, let alone drive.

I think of her when I see a mom whisking her crying child out of mass on Sundays.

I think of her every time I see a child “pitching a fit” or a mother who looks exhausted.

We have all been there, haven’t we? And some of us have been there more than others.

Do you know what? I always say something now. Always. And, if I can’t say something due to distance or whatnot, I make eye contact and send that mom a genuine you’ve got this smile. I know how much a kind word can mean in a dark moment, and I know kind words are contagious. They can alter behavior.

I don’t know where the woman from the pool is today. I wish I could thank her. I wish I could let her know the words she spoke to me on that day changed me and my behavior, forever. Thanks to her, I am not fumbling with my purse, trying not to notice the elephant in the room. Now, I know better.

As kids, we were taught if we don’t have anything nice to say, we shouldn’t say anything at all. I’d like to add an addendum to that saying for all the mamas out there:

If you are thinking kind thoughts, always share them. If you have something nice you could say, say it.

Think about how lovely this world would be if everyone poured forth all the kind thoughts and observations that they keep in the silence of their minds.

source;http://themighty.com

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THE TRUTH ABOUT FAT AND SUGAR IS FINALLY EXPLAINED-diet program

Why did it take us so long to realise sugar, not fat, was the enemy? In a move that would make most big pharma companies proud, new research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found sugar companies paid to downplay the white stuff’s role in heart disease during the 1960s. Scary stuff, even more so because it’s had lasting effects on public perceptions. It’s time everyone woke up to the truth about fat and sugar. MH investigates…

This morning, as I do most days, I breakfasted on a three egg omelette cooked in coconut oil, with a whole milk coffee. I enjoyed a wedge of full fat cheese with my lunch, poured a liberal dose of olive oil on my evening salad and snacked on nuts throughout the day. In short, I ingested a fair amount of fat and, as a cardiologist who has treated thousands of people with heart disease, this may seem a particularly peculiar way to behave. Fat, after all, furs up our arteries and piles on the pounds – or at least that’s what prevailing medical and dietary advice has had us believe. As a result, most of us have spent years eschewing full fat foods for their ‘low fat’ equivalents, in the hope it will leave us fitter and healthier.

Yet I’m now convinced we have instead been doing untold damage: far from being the best thing for health or weight loss, a low fat diet is the opposite. In fact, I would go so far as to say the change in dietary advice in 1977 to restrict the amount of fat we were eating helped to fuel the obesity epidemic unfolding today. It’s a bold statement, but one I believe is upheld by an array of recent research.

These days I make a point of telling my patients – many of whom are coping with debilitating heart problems – to avoid anything bearing the label ‘low fat’. Better instead, I tell them, to embrace full fat dairy and other saturated fats within the context of a healthy eating plan. It’s an instruction that is sometimes greeted with open-mouthed astonishment, along with my request to steer clear of anything that promises to reduce cholesterol – another of those edicts we are told can promote optimum heart and artery health.

As we will see, the reality is far more nuanced: in some cases lowering cholesterol levels can actually increase cardiovascular death and mortality, while in healthy people over sixty a higher cholesterol is associated with a lower risk of mortality. Why, exactly, we will come to later.

First though, let me make it clear that until very recently, I too assumed that keeping fat to a minimum was the key to keeping healthy and trim. In fact, to say my diet revolved around carbohydrates is probably an understatement: sugared cereal, toast and orange juice for breakfast, a panini for lunch and pasta for dinner was not an uncommon daily menu. Good solid fuel, or so I thought, especially as I am a keen sportsman and runner. Still, I had a wedge of fat round my stomach which no amount of football and running seemed to shift.

That, though, wasn’t the reason I started to explore changing what I ate. That process started in 2012, when I read a paper called ‘The toxic truth about Sugar’ by Robert Lustig in the science journal Nature.  In it, Lustig, a Professor of Paediatrics who also works at the University of California’s Centre for Obesity Assessment, said that the dangers to human health caused by added sugar were such that products packed with it should carry the same warnings as alcohol. It was an eye-opener: as a doctor I already knew too much of anything is bad for you, but here was someone telling us that something most of us ate unthinkingly every day was, slowly, killing us.

The more I looked into it, the more it became abundantly clear to me that it was sugar, not fat, which was causing so many of our problems – which is why, along with a group of fellow medical specialists I launched the lobbying group Action on Sugar last year with the aim of persuading the food industry to reduce added sugar in processed foods.

Then earlier this year I had another light-bulb moment. In February Karen Thomson, the granddaughter of pioneering heart transplant surgeon Christian Barnard, and Timothy Noakes, a highly-respected Professor of Exercise and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town, invited me to speak at the world’s first ‘low carb’ summit in South Africa. I was intrigued, particularly as the conference hosts are both fascinating characters. A former model, Thomson has courageously battled a number of addictions including alcohol and cocaine, but lately it is another powder – one she labels ‘pure, white and deadly’ – that has resulted in her opening the world’s first carbohydrate and sugar addiction rehab clinic in Cape Town.

Noakes, meanwhile, has recently performed a remarkable U-turn on the very dietary advice he himself expounded for most of his illustrious career: that is, that athletes need to load up on carbohydrates to enhance performance. A marathon runner, he was considered the poster boy for high carbohydrate diets for athletes – then he developed Type 2 diabetes. Effectively tearing pages out of his own textbook, Noakes has now said athletes – and this goes for those of us who like to jog around the park too – can get their energy from ketones, not glucose. That is, from fat not sugar.

Alongside them were fifteen international speakers ranging from doctors, academics and health campaigners who between them produced an eloquent and evidence-based demolition of “low fat” thinking – as well as suggesting that it is carbohydrate consumption, not fatty foods, which is fuelling our obesity epidemic.

Opening the conference was Gary Taubes, a former Harvard physicist who wrote The Diet Delusion, in which he argued that it is refined carbohydrates that are responsible for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and many other of our Western maladies. The book caused controversy when it was released seven years ago, but his message is finally gaining traction. And that message is this: obesity is not about how many calories we eat, but what we eat. Refined carbohydrates fuel the over production of insulin, which in turn promotes fat storage. In other words: it’s not calories from fat themselves that are the problem.

It’s a robust message that was reinforced time and again at the conference. Take Swedish family physician Dr Andreas Eenfeldt, In his home country, studies show that up to twenty three percent of the population are embracing a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. A ticking time bomb you might think – but contrary to expectations, while obesity rates are soaring everywhere else, they are now starting to show a decline there.

More research on this correlation is yet to be done – but in the meantime The Swedish Council on Health Technology has made its position clear. After a two year review involving sixteen scientists, it concluded that a high fat, low carb diet may not only be best for weight loss, but also for reducing several markers of cardiovascular risk in the obese. In short, as Dr Eenfeldt told the conference, ‘You don’t get fat from eating fatty foods just as you don’t turn green from eating green vegetables.’

This, of course, is a difficult message for many to swallow; particularly for heart patients, most of whom have spent years pursuing a low fat, low cholesterol diet as the best way to preserve heart health.

It’s a public health message that was first promoted in the sixties, after the globally respected Framingham Heart study sanctified high cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart disease. It’s a cornerstone of government and public health messages – yet what people didn’t know was that the study also threw up some more complex statistics. Like this one: for every 1mg/dl per year drop in cholesterol levels in those who took part in the study there was a 14% increase in cardiovascular death and an 11% increase in mortality in the following 18 years for those aged over 50.

It’s not the only statistic that doesn’t sit with the prevailing anti-cholesterol message: in 2013, a group of academics studied previously unpublished data from a seminal study done in the early seventies, known as the Sydney Diet Heart study. They discovered that cardiac patients who replaced butter with margarine had an increased mortality, despite a 13% reduction in total cholesterol. And the Honolulu heart study published in the Lancet in 2001 concluded that in the over-sixties a high total cholesterol is inversely associated with risk of death. Startling, isn’t it? A lower cholesterol is not in itself the mark of success, it only works in parallel with other important markers, like a shrinking waist size and diminishing blood markers for diabetes.

Conversely, a mounting slew of evidence suggests that far from contributing to heart problems, having full fat dairy in your diet may actually protect you from heart disease and type 2 diabetes. What most people fail to understand is that, when it comes to diet, it’s the polyphenols and omega 3 fatty acids abundant in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, fatty fish and vegetables that help to rapidly reduce thrombosis and inflammation independent of changes in cholesterol. Yet full fat dairy has remained demonized – until now.

In 2014, two Cambridge Medical Research Council studies concluded that the saturated fats in the blood stream that came from dairy products were inversely associated with Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Meaning that in moderate amounts – no-one is talking about devouring a cheese board in one sitting here – cheese is actually a proponent of good health and longevity. The same study, incidentally, found that the consumption of starch, sugar and alcohol encourages the production of fatty acids made by the liver that correlate with an increased risk of these killer diseases.

It is around type 2 Diabetes, in fact, that the anti-fat pro-carb message of recent decades has done some of the greatest damage. A lot of patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes – the most common kind – are laboring under the dangerous misapprehension that a low fat, starchy carbohydrate fuelled diet will help their medication work most effectively. They couldn’t be more wrong. Earlier this year, a critical review in the respected journal Nutrition concluded that dietary carbohydrate restriction is one of the most effective interventions for reducing features of metabolic syndrome.

It would be better to rename type 2 diabetes “carbohydrate intolerance disease”. Try telling this to the public though. Like the man who called into a national radio show in Cape Town on which I was taking part to discuss the relationship between diet and heart disease. Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he was under the impression he had to consume sugar so his diabetes medications could ‘work’ – when in fact it was going to worsen his symptoms. And how many doctors and patients know that although some of these medications to control blood sugar may marginally reduce the risk of developing kidney disease, eye disease and neuropathy, they don’t actually have any impact on heart attack, stroke risk or reduce death rates? On the contrary dangerously low blood sugar from overmedicating on diabetes drugs has been responsible for approximately 100,000 emergency room visits per year in the United States.

But who can blame the public for such misguided perceptions? In my opinion a perfect storm of biased research funding, biased reporting in the media and commercial conflicts of interest have contributed to an epidemic of misinformed doctors and misinformed patients. The result is a nation of over-medicated sugar addicts who are eating and pill-popping their way to years of misery with chronic debilitating diseases and an early grave.

It’s why, these days, I very seldom touch bread, have got rid of all added sugars and have embraced full fat as part of my varied Mediterranean-inspired diet. I feel better, have more energy and – even though I didn’t set out to do so – I’ve lost that fatty tyre around my waist, despite reducing the time I spend exercising.

Perhaps you can’t face making all those changes in one go. In which case, if you do one thing, make it this: next time you are in the supermarket and are tempted to pick up a pack of low-fat spread, buy a pack of butter instead or, better still, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Your heart will thank you for it. The father of modern medicine Hippocrates once said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. It’s now time we let “fat” be that medicine.

Dr Aseem Malhotra is a cardiologist, founding member of the Public Health Collaboration and advisor to the National Obesity Forum. 

source;http://www.menshealth.co.uk/

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Teen applies for college, then learns he’s been a “missing person” for the last 13 years

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When he was just 5-years-old, Julian Hernandez was taken away from his mother in Alabama. Back in 2002, his mother reported him missing, but the search ended up in vain. She suspected that his father, Bobby Hernandez, took him as part of a noncustodial parental abduction, but he vanished as well.

It was apparent that Hernandez abducted his son during a custody dispute, but because he went under the radar (meaning he drained all previous bank accounts and leaving no traces), it was impossible to find him.

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Source: Youtube Screenshot

It took 13 years for the police department to finally find a lead on little Julian Hernandez.

The incredible story unraveled when the 18-year-old boy was applying to college.

While trying to apply to college, Julian found out that his social security number did not match his name. Confused, Julian went to his counselor for help. She ran a background check on Hernandez and discovered that he was listed as a missing person by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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Source: Youtube Screenshot

Local authorities were then notified and an investigation was done.

After months of investigation, it was confirmed that Julian Hernandez has been found.

The father, Bobby Hernandez, has since been charged with tampering with records. Officials say he will be extradited back to Alabama to face additional charges, which may include interfering with custody, a felony that carries imprisonment of up to 10 years.

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Since finally locating Julian, his mother has been notified, and she is overwhelmed with happiness.

The family released a statement saying, “Our family was overjoyed this week to locate Julian and learn that he is safe. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during Julian’s disappearance.”

Such a scary experience for any mother to go through. For over a decade, her son was missing, but eventually he was found. This story should serve as a reminder to others who are searching for missing children to never give up hope. We should always be patient and hope for the best.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

source;http://shareably.net/