Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lesson 270: Heroes

Happy weekend, Readers.
The night owls had to go to bed without their bedtime story.
You can enjoy the weekend inspiration with an extra cup of coffee this morning.
Have one for me.  Eloise is starting the weekend a bit tired.

I was up late last night editing pictures and making a video of my daughter Natalie and her friends at the Miss Shining Star Pageant at Harbor Creek High School.  It is a special night set aside each year to highlight the beauty and talent of girls with special needs.  30 girls and young women took the stage last night donning beautiful gowns, to showcase their inner super star.

Here are my superstars (plural intended).

Natalie is on the left.  She has autism as defined by the medical community.
Mother Eloise just thinks of her daughter as being unique.
Ellen is on the right.  She is defined as a typical thirteen year old as defined by society.
Mother Eloise rolls her eyes at this daughter, because that is all she does to me.

I love them with every ounce of power a mother can.
They are both heroines in Eloise's Book of Life.

This is Natalie with her little brother Sam.  

You can tell by the look in his eyes how proud he is of his sister.  Sam has natural protective instincts and even at 6, he steps up to assist her whenever he sees she needs help.  Sam enjoys being Natalie's hero, and luckily for her, this hero comes with a plastic sword.

A strong family unit is so important for the success of any child.  Families that include children with disabilities rely on the strength and patience from everyone.  Healthy sibling relationships are key.  Children with disabilities can be taxing on time, expenses, and attention.  Finding that balance for all children in the house can be tricky when one tends to need more than the others.  

There were lots of siblings involved with the pageant.

Some supported their sibling back stage.

Some coached from the foreground,

to make time in the spotlight possible.

There were even some that hopped right on stage with their sibling.

Eloise didn't see an ounce of jealousy anywhere.

Everyone deserves crowns if you ask Eloise.
A role models is as much a hero as the girls in the pageant.

Sibling animosity has never been an issue at the Lamp Post.  Ellen and Sam have never once complained about any limit imposed on us because of Natalie's autism.  Perhaps that is because she is the oldest, and Ellen and Sam never knew otherwise.  Or perhaps it is because we see a life for Natalie with no limits.  All our girl needs is time.

Really, that is all that any of these girls need--a little extra time.

Extra time to get from place to place.  

Extra time to get the words out.

And some extra time in the spotlight, because they don't want to leave it.

Take all the time you need, says Eloise.
We enjoy watching you.

Keep on singing,

and dancing,

and cheering,

and smiling,

and making us laugh.

Our lives are richer and more rewarding because of you.

Eloise extends this cyber thank you on behalf on anyone who gives a person with a disability a little attention and some time.  Natalie can learn, too.  She just learns differently and not at the same rate as others.

 Look at what Natalie is now doing in Art class.

Thank you everyone!




and anyone who came out to watch the show.

Eloise is proud to call you ALL my heroes.

Lots of people did turn out to support the lovely ladies and the Harbor Creek Debate Team.  I was given the opportunity to announce the pageant details on a live broadcast on the Erie morning news.

I knew it was going to be a good experience when I ran into one of my favorite celebrities in the WICU/WSEE lobby.

I was more interested in the set up of the studio than anything else.
They even let me take pictures.  It seems news people are camera friendly!
My kind of people.

The news station tour was the beginning of the day.  By the end of it, I was headed to the dentist.  I spent 90 minutes in the dentist's chair and barely made the show!

I'm not a fan of dental work, although I love my dentist.  She's a four foot ten inch Polish woman, with a gentle hand and a heart as big as her accent.  She came in on her day off just to work on my big mouth. When you have someone in a mask standing over you with a drill and a crowbar, you need a certain level of trust.  I trust Doctor Wilczanski. I've even asked her to keep a flask of Polish Potato Vodka on hand in the cupboard for my appointments.  She keeps forgetting.... Plus her assistant always holds my hand.  And that's just for cleanings.

One of my top molars finally gave.  The tooth cracked.  I knew it was a matter of time because it had a filling in it from years ago.  Eloise takes good care of her choppers.  I have toothbrushes stashed everywhere, and I can't get to sleep without flossing.  The dark spots you see in my mouth aren't cavities.  They are a reflection of 1970's era dentistry.  At the time, dentists considered it a proactive measure of good health to fill ridges in molars with mercury fillings to prevent tooth decay.

The correct name for the fillings are amalgam fillings.  They are made up of 50% mercury, and the other parts consist of silver, tin, copper.  Mercury, a neurotoxin, is sitting in my teeth because someone years ago thought it was a good idea.

Readers, take a minute to do your own research, especially if you have these sitting in your mouth.  On this blog, I try to link you to sources that are concise and easy to read.  For this topic, I will link you to some information from the Dr. Oz's website.  The article is title Toxic Teeth.  Allow Eloise to highlight a few sections of the article written by Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, posted on March 27, 2013 (which was Sam's birthday!).

 On public knowledge of this issue:

Amazingly, 72% of those surveyed in the US did not know that silver fillings contain mercury and when they do find out, 92% of the respondents would have wanted to know about the possible mercury issues when the silver fillings were first placed.

On what the World Health Organization knows:

Studies have found that the amount of mercury vapor from amalgams varies from 1- 3 ug/day (micrograms/day), at the low estimation, up to 27 ug/day. This translates to 3% to 68% of workplace air quality standards that are allowable by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, our federal environmental agency). What this means is that at the high level – and with continuous exposure – we could be at levels that OSHA says are unhealthy. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the exposure to mercury vapor can greatly increase beyond this number due to personal habits such as grinding of the teeth, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated drinks. This could lead to a fivefold increase in mercury levels after these activities.

On environmental impact (posted specifically for Kristen Currier):

The WHO (World Health Organization) reports that mercury from amalgam and laboratory devices accounts for 53% of total mercury emissions into our environment. The EPA recommends that dentists use amalgam separators to catch and hold excess amalgam waste, to decrease the release of mercury into the sewer system. At this time, these are not mandatory in the US. Let’s all be aware of the environmental issues surrounding amalgam removal and nudge our elected officials to get current on this problem and come up with solutions.

On politics:

The US is not alone in this conundrum. In 2008, Scandinavian countries took action and banned the use of amalgam fillings for environmental and health reasons.

Scandinavia takes action, five years later the US is still talking about it.................

There are conflicting studies between Sweden and the United States. In Sweden, they have conducted a number of studies where people, with pre-existing neurological and health issues (Chronic Fatigue-type symptoms), had amalgams removed; 78% reported improvement in their health status. In the United States, official studies hired by the FDA and National Institutes of Health (NIH) stated that “the current data is insufficient to support an association between mercury release from amalgams and the various complaints that have been attributed to this restorative material.”

On more bullshit:

In 2001, the US National Health and Nutrition Examination surveyed 31,000 adults and found that the number of dental fillings correlated to the incidence of cancer, mental conditions, thyroid conditions, neurological issues (including MS), diseases of the respiratory system, and diseases of the eye. However, the United States, FDA and various Supreme Court justices determined that “the correlations do not sufficiently demonstrate causation.” 

I guess 31,000 people wasn't enough.

You can read the rest of the article for yourselves, because just writing this is getting my stomach churning. It is making me angrier by the minute.  Friday nights celebrating the week's successes are no place for soap box speeches.  I'm not big on lectures anyway.  Connect your own dots.  Search and come to your own conclusions.  I've made mine a long time ago.

Take it from the woman who has lived on caffeine for almost 20 years just to keep moving because she is so tired without it.  Don't want to listen to her?  Then take it from the gal who had three miscarriages.  Still not listening?  How about hearing the story of the chick plagued with nervousness, sleep problems, and legs that twitch when she tries to go to sleep at night.  And if you still choose to ignore the messenger, then maybe this will prick you ears up--listen to Eloise who is raising an autistic child.  Do your homework on mercury and report back to me when you do.

Eloise cannot escape the mercury that is in her mouth just yet.  I cannot find a dentist in Erie who supports the necessity.  There are some in nearby cities, but a cost estimate when I looked into the process of removing my fillings a dozen years about was about ten grand.  I would have to become the 58 Day Challenge Champion three times over, and still ask for a dollar from all my weekly blog subscribers to do the procedure.

How long is it going to take, Readers?  How long is it going to take to admit that we've screwed up. Miscalculated.  Misunderstood.  The very things thought once to help us, may very well be the things harming us.  Miserable mistakes we've made and it's high time we move in another direction.  Right now we're stuck.  We're getting nowhere with this besides becoming tired from arguing.  It is time for a change.

So what's a girl to do with mercury filled mouth and a life to live?  Topics like this weigh on my mind and severely impact the quality of my life.  To counter it, I exercise to keep my stress level down.  There is simply nothing better than working up a good sweat every day.  Plus, studies have proven that perspiration removes toxins from the body.  (Well, wait.  Those were done in Scandinavia.  The US wouldn't recognize something that made that much sense.)

Now that it's winter, I have a daily date with my treadmill.  My friends call it the dread mill, and make fun of me, but I don't mind it.  I can watch TV, blast my music, and talk to my plants.  I also work on my speed.  I completed a 5K the other morning in 27 minutes and 33 seconds.  That is FAST for Eloise.

Still, I need to get outside daily.  It is essential to my health and well being.  I'll be beginning my "Streak" suggested by my friend Bri.  The challenge is simple.  In order to keep the habit of outdoor running through the holiday season, one pledges to do a one mile run outside, every day from Thanksgiving to New Years.  For me, that means about 10 minutes.

Eloise decided to run a test route the other night to see how it felt to run outside on a country road in the dark.  I desperately wanted my friend Leslie's new running coat.  She wore it to a recent hill challenge.

 Every girl in my workout group was green with envy.  The pony tail peep hole was the selling point.  Many of us have been scouring the town for a coat just like it, but it appears as though Leslie got the last one.   And she snagged it on an incredible deal at TJ Maxx, nonetheless.

I looked on line for something similar, and the closest thing I could come up with was a $75 model from a different maker.  That is way too much for Eloise's budget this time of year.  So I did what any other resourceful person would do-

I made my own.

An old sweatshirt (preferably with the hood string still intact),

a pair of scissors,

and a little reflective tape is all you need.

I'm testing it out later today. 

Some bad wardrobe news of the week:
The McGraw's made the Worst Dressed List.

I actually liked the pants.  
Maybe I am not a good judge of pants though.
These are Sam's.  
He won't wear them because he says they are girls pants.
Tell me, Readers.  Do you agree?

Be a hero today, Readers.  If you are not sure how, watch the video below containing more photos from the Miss Shining Star Pageant.  The photos are set to the song Hero by Enrique Iglesias.  It was the song the song to which Natalie and her friends danced.

Forever Your Cheerleader,

1 comment:

Tom Bourne said...

Great Video Eloise, well done