I bet a lot of you didn’t know September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I also bet a lot of my readers didn’t know I had a sister that lost her battle to cancer at only 9 years old. So many us of skip over this month to get to October. During Breast Cancer Awareness month, we get to wear pink, sporting shirts that say “Save the ta-ta’s” or “Squeeze a boob to save a life”. But what actions do we take to support the estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old who are diagnosed with cancer?
Did you know, approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnose with cancer before their 20th birthday? To put this in perspective, the chances of winning the lottery are 1:175,000,000. Every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world a mother or father is being told that their child has been diagnosed with cancer.
Are you empowered to do something about this? I sure as hell am. But, if you’re like me, you don’t have money to freely donate to a cancer research organizations. So what can you do?
1. Donate your time.
There are TONS of non-for-organizations that provide services to children diagnosed with cancer. One that is very dear to my heart is Camp Good Days and Special Times. They offer year-round programs to sick children and their siblings to let them “just be kids” for a while. They also offer support groups for parents, and a summer camp program for the kids that is held at Keuka Lake. You can help by volunteering your time to be a camp to be a counselor at their yearly programs & summer camps. Other volunteer opportunities can be found at any Ronald McDonald House, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and Brian Moorman’s PUNT Foundation. There are many more out there, but these are some that I’ve either volunteered for, or helped my family when my sister was sick.
2. Donate blood
It’s as simple as that. Many cancer patients will need blood or a platelet transfusions, and you may be the perfect match for them. If you’re afraid of needles, you can always help organize a blood-drive in your community. But, if you’re feeling really courageous, you can look into donating your bone marrow. It’s much more difficult to match bone marrow, so Be The Match helps connect patients in need of a transplant with their donors.
3. Create something that can be donated
If your crafty, this tip is the one for you! A hospital stay for a patient can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. You can help make their stay feel a little more homy by creating comforting items for them. When my sister was in the hospital for her bone marrow transplant, she received a no-sew fleece blanket that she loved to cuddle up with in her hospital bed. Other items you can make for the children are hats, scarves, pillows, and stuffed animals.
4. Donate your hair
Your hair could be made into a wig for a child who lost theirs during chemotherapy. The rule of thumb when donating your hair is that it needs to be 10-12 inches from the scrunchy to the bottom of the pony tail. Please be careful which organization you are donating it to; some charge families an arm and a leg to purchase one of their wigs. I’ve donated my hair over 5 times and went Bald for Bucks once, and I’ve always donated it to Wigs for Kids.
5. Attend event that are donating their proceeds to a good cause
Just because you’re helping others out doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun, too! Many ticketed events or parties donate a portion of their proceeds to local charities. My favorite event in Buffalo is the World’s Largest Disco. It’s always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and they donate their proceeds to Camp Good Days.
These are just 5 simple ways you can help put a smile on a sick child’s face. In 3 days, Americans will spend on Starbucks coffee what the federal government spends ALL YEAR on childhood cancer research. Don’t let September be forgotten. Help raise awareness for Childhood Cancer patients and families!
"The only time a goodbye is painful is when you know you’ll never say hello again.”
Dear best friend,
Today, we had our last conversation for what might be years. No, you didn’t die, but it sure feels like it.
Life happens and sometimes gets in the way; friends become distant and turn into old memories. As much as I’d like to believe this was the case, I don’t think it was...
You’ve been struggling with your work-life balance for a while now. It was even difficult to see each other during the school year, but we made it happen. You’re full time job has been wearing you down and new significant other fills the time not spent at work. You’ve had to make some life changes to stay afloat, but I never thought cutting ties with me would have been one of them.
Instead of being bitter, I wanted to end our friendship on a good note. I wished you the best in your endeavors and reminded you that I’ll always there for you.
I still remember the first time we met; you were introduced to me as my friend’s best friend. Little did I know we'd become best friends as well. I gave you a nickname because it was too hard to differentiate between all the other friends we had with the same name as you. A group of us went to Applebee’s for dinner and you paid for me. Our personalities instantly clicked and we never looked back.
In the beginning, our time spent together was spent hanging out in group settings. Over time, we became comfortable with one another and began to hang out on our own. It got to the point where we would talk every day and see each other at least once a week despite the 25+ miles between us.
I’ll miss hanging out in your basement or dorm room watching you play video games. I’ll miss you introducing me to soundtracks of video games I’ve never heard of and explaining what challenges the character was dealing with in that particular song, or introducing me to new rappers and describing their unique rhyme patterns . I’ll miss making dinners with you, grocery shopping while we were on healthy kicks, and going hiking while talking about everything and nothing.
I could tell you anything...literally anything. You helped me get through some tough times in life, and I helped you get through yours… that’s what friends are for.
If you’re reading this, I’m so proud of everything you’ve accomplished and how you’ve matured over the years. The way you’ve dealt with your demons and other challenges life threw at you inspires me to take on mine. You’re going places kid, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you start your own business and make it to the 30 under 30 list. And thank you for being one of my few friends who came to visit while I was recovering from my surgery.
And to their significant other, treat them well, because they deserves the world and much more. They are a very kind human being with a huge heart, and those types of people don’t come along often. Be patient while they explains a new topic to you, and take the time to appreciate how passionate they are about what they’re saying. I’m sure that same passion and commitment to knowing even the smallest details shows through your relationship too.
So, old friend, this is goodbye for now. I hope our paths cross again.
Self-love is a hard topic for me to talk about. I know this because I’ve began this blog approximately 7 times and haven’t been able to get past the first paragraph.
As of recent, this topic has been on my mind a lot. The new year has inspired women all over my Instagram feed to embrace themselves. They’re not afraid to show off their bodies and love their imperfections. I like and comment on their photos, cheering them on from the sidelines. I’m able to support other girls in their self-love journey, but why not mine?
I guess I’m not sure where to start. When I look in the mirror, all I can see are my imperfections. My eyebrows aren’t even, my face is breaking out because of stress, my shoulders are too broad, I’ve gained weight... I could go on. Self-love isn’t limited to just physical appearance either. I rarely think my work is ever good enough, rather, that I’m good enough. I wonder if my friends are truly my friends, or when they’ll change their minds about me, and leave me for better. And from there, it’s just a downward spiral into my depression. Despite my cheery personality and ever sarcastic humor, I’m pretty miserable
“Hello darkness, my old friend.”
What does self-love even mean? To start loving myself, I should know its definition and how to do so, right? I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos, read multiple blogs, and listened to too many podcasts. One thing I know for sure is that there’s not a correct definition for self-love. I think it’s safe to say the concept of self-love is very fluid, and it’s definition is different to every person. So, what does self-love mean to me?
I think self-love is to believe that you are worthy of everything that life has given you. It’s accepting all the shit life has thrown at you, but moving forward and learning from your mistakes and bad times instead of letting these memories consume you. We are all human. It’s not just accepting your physical appearance, but working towards a healthier, happier state while loving yourself though the journey. It’s embracing exactly who you are, and who you will become.
The first step to loving myself is surrounding myself with people that love me unconditionally, who will cheer me on in whatever life choices I make (unless it's buying another cat... please don't let me do that), and will help pick me back up when I fall. When I look in the mirror, I’ll embrace my broad shoulders, tiny Asian nose and eyes, because that’s what makes me, me. I won’t worry about the weight I’ve gained, because I know I’ll shed off the pounds while practicing new habits like eating healthy and exercising. No more lloyd burritos for me 😭.
Although these steps look easy on paper, it’s going to be hard, really hard. And I’ll probably slip up… a lot. Like come on, who doesn’t love a lloyd burrito!? But in all seriousness, this year is about me, my health and wellness, and just growing into the person I want to become. If you’d like to join me in my journey of self-love, be my guest! Reach out to me on FB or slide into my DMs. If we haven't talked in a while, once at a basement party, or not at all, I'm here to support you. ❤️
I am a cancer survivor.
Three months ago, I was telling the world (Facebook) that I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Three months have passed and I’m in remission. What?
Where do I even begin?…
I remember… waking up to nurses sticking my arms with needles, trying to draw blood and check my levels. Being rolled down the hallway, into an elevator, and then down another hallway to what I would call my bedroom for the next two days. Throwing up every hour on the hour. Not having a voice, so having to whisper into the remote to ask a nurse to help me clean up. That God, awful band-aid on my neck that would fill up with blood every 12 hours.
And that, that was the easy part.
Being radioactive sounded fun; I was hoping I’d turn into the next Captain America or Spiderman, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the doctor told me I couldn’t be around people or pets for 8 days and would have to quarantine myself to my bedroom and bathroom. At least I didn’t turn green. I remember coming home from radiation, and having to tell my dog I couldn’t pet her, with tears running down my face. In those 8 days, I finished Season 12 of Supernatural, Season 9 of Vampire Diaries and Season 1 of Riverdale.
When the 8 days had passed, I was due for another Total Body Scan. The results came back, and doctor said I was in the clear. I didn’t have to come back until next year. And just like that, it was over.
Coping with what I went through is a lot harder than actually going through it.
I guess you could compare it to going to college. You have a plan: graduate college. There are certain classes that need to be taken, a specific amount of volunteer time that needs to be fulfilled, so you do it. And when you finally graduate, then what? I’m at the “what do I do now?” phase.
On top of it all is the guilt. The guilt that I only had to deal with my cancer for 3 months. My sister dealt with it for 3 years, and didn’t make it. My other friends who are survivors went through surgeries, lived in hospitals at months at a time, and went through multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. I didn’t have to, yet I still have the same title as them: “Cancer Survivor”.
“Nevertheless, she persisted”.
Over time, my story will make sense to me and the guilt will fade. I’ll start every morning for the rest of my life taking medicine to make sure my body functions properly, and will wear my scar proudly.
I did it. I made it through.
I’d like to thank Dr. Belles for carefully removing my thyroid and taking care of me for as long as I live, my radiation doctor at Mercy Hospital, and my friends and family who send me a text, letting me know I was in their thoughts, sent me flowers, or came to visit while I was recovering. I love each and every one of you and will continue to remember your kind words and generosity whenever I reflect on this chapter of my life.
Yes, you read that right.
I, Juliana, have cancer.
You can sit down if you need to; I am too.
I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in early September. In case you don't want to click on the link, PTC is the most common form of Thyroid Cancer, and is caused by exposure to radiation. I'm going into surgery tomorrow to get my thyroid taken out. Hopefully, this will be the one and only medical procedure I'll need to win my battle with cancer.
About a year ago, my primary doctor felt something on my thyroid, and send me to get a sonogram. The very friendly nurse, who thought I was in middle school and kept calling me sweetheart, assured me the nodule was nothing to be worried about. At this year's check-up visit, the nodule grew larger than it should have. Not even two hours after my sonogram appointment, my primary doctor called and notified me he had scheduled a Fine-needle aspiration biopsy for the growth.
A Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is exactly what it sounds like. They stick a bunch of needles in your neck (not at the same time) to grab cells and test them for cancer. The nurses I had during this procedure were also very nice and cracked jokes with me the whole time. And the doctor, mmmmm, he was some good eye candy. The worst part of the procedure was getting stuck with the first needle that had the numbing serum. When the nurse began to inject it, I lost my breath and thought my heart was going to stop. It didn't, but I was short of breath the entire time. The needles were the longest needles I've ever seen. And they had a trigger mechanism which sounded like someone was shooting a bebe gun. That was pretty nerve racking. After 8 pricks, they were done. The nurse said they ran out of small bandaids, so he put a huge bandage on my neck. Too bad vampires weren't popular still, or it would've been totally trendy.
About 5 days later, I received a call from my primary doctor while I was at work. I thought it was going to be a quick "We found nothing, have a great day", but it wasn't. He told me what I have, and what I had to do to get it fixed.
To this day, I still don't remember the name of and have and will constantly ask my boyfriend what it's called. I'm not as nervous for the surgery as I thought I was going to be. But then again, ask me how nervous I am tomorrow when I'm in a hospital gown laying on the operating table. Nonetheless, I hope everything goes well tomorrow. I won't know if I'll have stay overnight or not. It all depends on how I come out of the surgery.
Thank you to my amazing friends and family for standing by my side through these past two months. You guys are the best.
I have a horrible immune system. I'm sure I've missed 1/3 of my classes (if not more) this semester from the common cold or the flu. The drastic weather changes and lack of washed hands in class could get anyone sick! It just happens to be me, every... single... time. I've become a pro at writing papers and studying for tests while combatting a runny nose and fever. If you're going through the same thing I am, prepare yourself for those long hours at the library with these few tips!
1. Get some sleep!
But sleep is for the weak, right? Wrong! Studies have compared two groups of people, one group sleep deprived and the other drunk, putting a puzzle together. It turns out we act the same as we would drunk without sleep! And on top of that, the group that was drunk finished the puzzle first because the other group fell asleep. So to ensure you don't ruin your notes with drool, or fall asleep during an exam, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep.
2. Take a study break, but not for too long
Did you know the best way to study is to focus for between 40 and 90 minutes? Afterwards, it's good to take a 10 minute break where you do some kind of exercise. You're already exhausted from being sick, so don't exhaust yourself more by studying too hard. After you've done gone through a round of flash cards, get up and stretch, walk over and talk to a friend, but not for too long. 25 minutes or more will get you out of "your flow".
3. Tea is your new best friend
No, I'm not talking about iced tea. Hot tea is where it's at! Especially with a dash of honey. Loose leaf tea contains natural antioxidants that will help reduce swelling that causes pain and fevers. The warmth of the tea will help sooth your throat as well. And don't forget tea has caffeine in it! Everyone needs caffeine during finals week. I would recommend green tea, ginger tea, or peppermint tea. Just don't drink camomile or it'll put you to sleep!
4. Make yourself a library care-package
Your time in the library is very precious. You don't want to spend the whole time getting up, going to the bathroom to find something to blow your nose on. So do yourself, and everyone else in the library, a favor and bring a box of tissues with you. Also a plastic bag to put your used tissues in. Other items in your library care package may include, but are not limited to: hand sanitizer, cough drops, OTC medicine, a blanket, eye drops, saltine crackers, tea bags, etc.
5. Make a "To-Do" List
I know, it sounds silly, but it really does help! I make my To-Do Lists weekly to give myself a time frame to complete it in. When making your list, write down your assignments along with the date it's due. This way you can decide which is more important to get done first before you call it a night. It also helps to bullet under each assignment the tasks needed to finish it. For example:
COM 414 Final Project (12.02)
-Finish Annotated Bib.
-Have friend read over for spelling/grammar errors
Crossing things off your "To-Do List" will also relieve stress... and man, is it satisfying.
So grab your books, a box of tissues, and a cup of tea. You can do this!
When you mix together sugar, spice, and everything nice, you get the Powerpuff Girls. But when you mix together the curiosity of a cat, the soul of a gypsy, and the spirit of a 6 year old, you get me.
Hi, I'm Juliana. I'm 4'11", Chinese, and like long walks on the beach. (Actually I don't. I'm not a big fan of sand...it just sounded right). I'm not really sure why I decided to start a blog again. I've tried multiple times before, but I "never had time" to add new posts. Now that I'm graduating college, and don't feel like taking a full time job just yet, it felt like the prime opportunity to do so.
This post doesn't really have a meaning. No life lessons to learn from another person just yet. I needed to get the first one done and over with, rip off the band-aid per say. And I did it! (やった).
Feel free to look at my portfolio, follow me on social media, and contact me if you'd like me to post about something specific or inquire about my work. Catch ya on the flip side followers.