Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hydrocephalus Walk

So a couple weekends ago was the hydrocephalus walk.  Remember hearing about it?  (Need a reminder? Go HERE.)  So the walk went well.  The weather turned out beautifully and everyone had fun (or at least it looked they they were all enjoying themselves).  And according to the Hydrocephalus Walk Event page (HERE) the walk raised $82,186 for research benefiting hydrocephalus.  Here are some pictures from the event! Enjoy!

Listening to Dr. Browd speak

Learning about different shunts

Exploring a firetruck!

Me and Mary after the walk

Go team Mary!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

80 Days

Have you ever heard of Nellie Bly? Well, Nellie was a journalist who in 1889 set off from New York to travel the world in 80 days.  

In a little over 80 days I too will set off.  Not on a steamer to England, but in an airplane to Mexico.  And while I'll be spending 18 months on my mission (instead of traveling the world) it will still be a great experience.  Nellie had a challenge, traveling the world in 80 days had never been done before.  And in lieu of this 80 day mark, I'm giving myself my own challenge:

To study (and finish) the Book of Mormon in 80 days.

Reading the Book of Mormon again is part of my mission prep and I'll honestly admit that while I've been reading, it hasn't been with my whole effort.  I love studying the scriptures and I know they're true.  I know they've blessed my life in so many ways imaginable, yet often I get distracted when it comes time to study.

But I've decided I'm going to do this.  I'm going to read and study and learn these next 80 days so that I will be slightly more prepared than before.  And thanks to this handy website LDS Scripture Tools.  I can calculate what exactly I need to read, and when I need to read it by.

My 80 days starts today and ends the day before I leave.  Nellie Bly finished her trip in 72 days, we'll see how long it takes me.  80 days is going to go by fast, so who's with me? (And I promise to keep you updated).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Parable of the Tire

Story time! Once upon a time, I emily, the soon to be sister missionary, decided to spend time with the sister missionaries in my ward.  While we were driving around to our (cough their) appointments, they told me how they had the unfortunate experience of popping a tire, and had to call the Elders (yeah, my ward is blessed to have both) to come change the tire.  Well, anybody who knows me, knows that I'm stubborn, strong-willed and had absolutely no desire to have to depend on the elders if while driving we happen to pop a tire.  Plus, from what I've seen/heard, sister missionaries sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to cars, and why enforce that idea?
So I came home that night, determined to learn how to change a tire.  Monday night comes and due to various activities, we ended up having no formal FHE.  I came home from work and asked my dad to teach me how to change a tire.  The conversation went like this:

"Hey Dad, can you teach me how to change a tire?"
"Do one of our tires need to be changed?"
"Uh, no I just want to know, in case I need to on my mission..."
"I'll teach you when a tire needs to be changed."  End of conversation.

My mom was listening in on the conversation wanted me to call a sister who works at the Seattle mission home and ask her if sisters actually needed to know car maintenance.  Me (remember strong-willed and stubborn) replied that I didn't care if I needed to know I wanted to know.  And this resulted in the actual end of the conversation.

Fast forward a couple days.  Friday night a bunch of friends and I went to see a movie and we came out to this lovely sight...

Guess who had a flat!  Me!  Guess who had an unhappy daughter on the phone! My parents!

Luckily though, one of my friends knew how to change a tire.  And I had seen it happen, but never had actually done it, so between the two of us we were able to start replacing the tire.  Let it be known though, that both of us were wearing skirts.  And let it also be know that my little brother was with us, but decided that the curb was really comfortable.  As can be seen in the picture.  Yeah people were really nice and offered to help, but we didn't need any help, we had it under control.  Until we tried to get the lug nuts off... they ended up being screwed on wayyyyy too tight.  So by this point in time, Superman was coming to the rescue (aka DAD!) and so we just tried working on the lug nuts, to no avail.  Eventually though, my dad showed up, we got the tire off, the spare tire on and all of us could go on our merry way (especially the boys... they ended up driving home with dad, must have known a car ride with me would have been miserable after not helping...).

So why did I name this the parable of the tire?  In basic terms, parables are stories that have a deeper meaning.  So my story: changing a tire.  My point: the Lord prepares his people.  My take away one night after spending time with the Sisters was not about any of the lessons, but was the fact I needed to learn to change a tire.  And while some may think that it was merely a coincidence I had a flat tire less than a week after asking for a tire changing lesson, I disagree.  I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Everything... that included flat tires.  So why do I need to know how to change a tire?  Besides it being a handy skill to learn, I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe I'll use it on my mission (trust me, if I do, you'll know), maybe it will come in handy after my mission (I definitely think this is true), but right now it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that the Lord prepares people and things always happen for a reason.  So remember that as you go throughout your day.  Who knows what you have in store?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hydro What?

Today I have decided to write about hydrocephalus.  What? You don't want to read about hydrocephalus?  When then, go read another blog... cause my blog, my posts, I decided what I write.  But you might just want to stick around, it may be interesting (and by may I mean it ABSOLUTELY will be interesting).

But before I tell you about hydrocephalus, I'm going to tell you about my best friend Mary.

Do you see the year on that? 1998! We've been friends longer than that!

You see, Mary and I met a VERY VERY long time ago around the age of 2.  And we have been friends ever since.  In fact, the first time we ever lived apart (aka other than 10 minutes away) was college (and that was a challenge... good thing it's summer now). 

This is what we do during summer... 2 summers ago

Last summer, right before school started.  

But I digress... Mary connects to my topic of hydrocephalus becase she was born with what is called congenital hydrocephalus (pronounced hi-dro-SEF-a-lus).  Hydrocephalus is when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), doesn't properly drain from the brain.  CSF is a clear fluid made in the brain's ventricles.  A normal brain would have CSF made in the ventricles, from into the brain and into the space around the brain and spinal cord and then be absorbed by the body.  The body is always making and absorbing CSF.

Left- hydrocephalus, right-normal brain
The picture above shows two different MRI scans, with the the dark areas being the ventricle.  When CSF can't flow or be absorbed it builds up.  This is where hydrocephalus gets it's nickname "water on the brain" and that is where problems start.  A build up of CSF puts pressure on the brain and causes discomfort, and in young children can cause development issues if not treated properly.  

So how do you treat it?  The most common procedure involves brain surgery to place a shunt into the ventricles.  The shunt is used to drain the CSF into other parts of the body.  A shunt has a tube that goes into the ventricle, a valve that controls the amount of fluid drained and a second tube that drains the fluid.  The commonly used shunt is a ventriculoperitoneal (pronounced ven-trick-yoo-lo-pair-ih-tuh-NEE-ahl) shunt (VP shunt) and it drains into the abdomen.

The shunt though, is just a solution to a problem... there is no known cure.  And while congenital hydrocephalus happens to 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 babies, it can also be developed later on in life.  This is called acquired hydrocephalus and can happen due to (but not limited to) intraventricular hemorrhage, head injury, brain infection or brain tumors.

So what's the point of this post?  Well, in one sense it's to raise awareness.  It's not a commonly known about disease, but it currently affects over 1 Million Americans.  And while Mary has had 5 brain surgeries, she is considered one of the "luckier" ones because she can still live a normal adult life.  Depending on the severity of the case, some children often have more than 5 brain surgeries and some live with complications, such as cerebral palsy.  

And this is us a couple weeks ago.  Haven't changed one bit...
So now you're aware.  If you're interested and what to learn more, you can visit the Seattle Children's Hospital page on hydrocephalus (click HERE). Or the Hydocephalus Association (click HERE).
If you want to learn more about Mary's story you can visit her post (click HERE).
And if you want to know more about research, you can learn about the Hydrocephalus Research Guide (click HERE).

And if you became aware and you actually want to do something, the annual Seattle Hydrocephalus Walk is this coming Saturday (July 20th).  It is a free event and helps educate about hydrocephalus and options available for those who have hydrocephalus.  You can learn more about that HERE.  And I encourage you to come if you need Saturday plans.  It was a super fun experience and very educational.  And if you don't live locally, find out what hydrocephalus events happen in your area!

Team Mary from the Hydrocephalus walk 2012

So now you know know.  And it's up to you to decide what you're going to do about it! So get up, get going and have fun!  And hopefully, we'll see you at the Walk next weekend!

Cites Used:

Monday, July 8, 2013

100 Days!

Guess what!  I have 100 days until I report to the MTC!!! (The countdown on the side is a little off... think of it as the day I fly out!)  These are letters I sent off to a couple of the Elders I'm writing (maybe you'll hear more about them later...) and I'll be completely honest when I say, one of them only got a letter so I could decorate the back.  So excited for these next 100 days!