June 22, 2008

Should You Bank Your Baby's Blood?

By Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld
Published: June 22, 2008

With all the excitement at the birth of a healthy baby, most parents don’t give the umbilical cord a second thought after it’s been cut. But the blood in the umbilical cord, called “cord blood,” is a rich source of stem cells that could be used in many ways—maybe someday to save your life or your child’s. Today, the cells are used to treat people who have leukemia or other blood disorders and to help rebuild the immune system after cancer treatment. In the future, scientists hope that the cells may help fight a host of illnesses including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s. If you wish to save your child’s cord blood, you can put it in a private or public bank. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:
• Private blood banking is suggested for families with a history of illnesses like leukemia. You control use of the blood and can receive it instantly if needed. However, stored blood can’t be used to treat genetic diseases in the child from whom it was collected, because the stem cells possess the same pre-existing genetic condition. You also should know that the chances that someone in your family will need the blood are very small, and it can cost more than $2000 to collect and store the cells.
• Public blood banking is usually free. When you donate your child’s blood, his or her name is added to a national registry. He or she is then guaranteed to receive cord blood if needed, but usually from another donor. Not all hospitals collect cord blood for public use, but if yours does, the chances that it will help save lives are much greater than when it’s stored in a private bank.

June 18, 2008

Art Therapy for Stress Management

This is an excellent video demonstrating how art can reduce stress.


June 17, 2008

Grandpa Butch was precious for his love, his laugh

He carried a package of Chiclets gum in the bib pocket of his Big Smith overalls. He toiled the land of his small Kansas farm with a John Deere tractor.

His name was Edward but everyone called him Butch. I called him Grandpa.
I was his oldest grandchild and only granddaughter. He doted on me and I adored him. He had an infectious laugh and I loved spending time with him. One summer he built me a play house complete with a sliding glass window. None of my friends had glass windows in their play houses. I felt so special.
He enjoyed indulging me. He once handed me a cardboard box which he said contained freshly dug potatoes. When I peeked inside I saw, to my surprise, not potatoes but a furry, white puppy. I can still recall the smile on Grandpa’s Butch’s face when he saw my reaction to that puppy.
I was seven and at my grandparents home the night my mother went to the hospital to give birth to her third child. We anxiously awaited a phone call from my father. I already had a younger brother and I desperately wanted a sister. When the call finally came and my father announced it was a boy I was devastated and couldn’t stop crying.
My grandparents tried every trick in the book to calm me down. Finally, Grandpa suggested that if I stop crying he will take me into town in the morning and buy me a new red wagon. It was music to my ears. I dried my tears, put on my pajamas and went straight to bed.
Grandpa always kept his promises to me so the next morning, after breakfast, he drove me into town and we went to the hardware store. It no longer mattered that I didn’t get a baby sister. I had a brand new, shiny red wagon.
I was 15 and enrolled in driver’s education. Grandpa learned that the car we would drive for our instruction was the same make and model of his car. He suggested I practice driving using his car. I passed drivers education with flying colors.

One day, while dismantling a fence, the end of a barbed wire coil flew out of his hands and struck his eye. The damage was extensive and Grandpa had to learn to live with a prosthetic eye. Ever a man with a sense of humor, he would tell people that his new eye looked so good he was considering having his other eye replaced.

I was nineteen and in college the day I got the call that Grandpa Butch had died from a massive heart attack. I jumped in my car and hurriedly drove the fifty miles home to be with my family. My tears flowed as the men’s choir sang “Nearer My God to Thee” during the funeral at the little, white, country church he and my Grandmother attended.

Losing Grandpa was like nothing I had ever experienced. I missed phoning him and hearing his voice fill with excitement when he realized it was me on the other end. I feared forgetting the sound of his laughter so I would revisit memories of times when he was laughing. My goal was to keep his laugh indelibly etched in my mind.

I grieved his loss for years. I wished he could have seen me graduate from college and marry. When I became a mother I imagined how excited he would have been to hold his great-grandchildren.

He’s been gone for nearly 30 years. The joy he brought to my life continues through old photographs and a ball of fabric salvaged from a pair of his overalls. Precious memories, filled with the sound of laughter; of Grandpa Butch.

June 8, 2008

Getting the most from your money

With the cost of groceries increasing as fast as the cost of gasoline, it's worth the extra time to examine your purchases and determine if you are getting the best quality and the best price for your dollar.

These web sites can be of assistance: