Making Progress

It has been a while since I have written anything here. So much has happened. I will give a brief update.

Most of my time over the last few months have been focused on getting my non-profit, Defense Against Diabetes, up and running. I’m one document away from having 501(c)(3) status. I have a website up and running, although it could use some help, lol. One of the biggest hurdles I was facing was the expense of the training that the CDC required to be a recognized diabetes prevention program.

Well, I was in southern California last week to complete the Lifestyle Coach training I needed. Now that training is complete, I will be having an informational session next week, and hope to begin classes in August. I am so excited and nervous.

The other big event in my life is my oldest son going to college. It just hit me that he will be leaving in a couple of weeks! ūüė≥ I was excited shopping for stuff for his dorm room but had to show some restraint since he is having a party next weekend. Some days it is hard to believe that I have a child old enough to be in college and that I played a part in him getting there. I’m a proud mother to say the least. Now to figolut how to entertain my 8 year old.

As far as school goes, I have not been keeping up with my homework as I should but am still doing well. I was recently invited to joining Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. Of course I accepted. ūüėĀ I often feel I’m not smart enough to be in graduate school or to be a nurse practitioner, but I guess I am doing something right.

These past few months have been full of ups and downs, but I chose to only write about the positive things at this time.

Birthing a Dream

In previous posts, I have discussed how I am a nurse and in graduate school.  I may have even mentioned that I have an interest in type 2 diabetes, particularly among youth.  Well, I am pleased to say that I am in the process of becoming a Lifestyle Coach so that I can implement a youth diabetes prevention program in my city.

As I have embarked on this journey, I have discovered that there are not a lot of resources for youth at risk for or who have type 2 diabetes.  I have always wanted to work in preventative medicine because I believe if we can make positive changes in lifestyle while young, those habits are more likely to follow through adulthood.  Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease.  Just because someone has a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, that does not mean that they will.

Another fascinating fact that I discovered is that there is not a Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in mid-Missouri. ¬†This is interesting to me because there are a lot of rural areas in mid-Missouri and a lot of patients with and at risk for diabetes.

Due to the lack of prevention programs available in my area, I am working to becoming certified to implement a prevention program. ¬†I am unsure if I am going to partner with a church-based program that is currently being offered through my county health department. ¬†Or if I will take steps to start a non-profit organization. ¬†I am waiting to hear back from the CDC to find out if I could run the DPP as an independent organization or if I have to partner with business. ¬†I also am having to decide if I want to focus solely on adults at this time since the program through the CDC is for those 18 and older. ¬†Or if I will partner with another organization to start a program and form my non-profit organization that targets high-risk youth. ¬†So many decisions to be made. ¬†While researching how to start a non-profit, I have come¬†to realize it is a lot of work! ¬†I do not know anything about writing a business plan! ¬†I’m just a nurse!

At the end of the day, I never envisioned myself starting a non-profit organization, being in a leadership role, or teaching in group settings. ¬†However, my desire to make a difference has led me in this direction. ¬†The learning curve is steep, and I am having to network, which is something that makes me uncomfortable. ¬†There will likely be bumps along the way in addition to some disappointment, but I am in this for the long haul. ¬†The sleepless nights, tears, and frustration will be worth it if I can make a difference in someone else’s life.

Wish me luck!

Mental Health & Our Youth

I volunteered to pick up a shift as a sitter for the pediatric unit over the weekend.¬† Usually when I sit, it’s for a suicide attempt and/or overdose patient.¬† Sadly, I am no longer shocked by the number of patients we would see in a week for this.¬† However, the patient that I was sitting with was in for seizure monitoring.¬† To make this story short, the patient needed more assistance than seizure monitoring.¬† After the parent’s not liking the information that the doctor’s gave them, they decided they wanted to leave AMA (against medical advice).¬† Which I thought was weird because they had just agreed to the treatment plan.¬† So then things got really awkward because the patient is mouthing “Help me” and “this is what I deal with everyday”¬†while the mom is on a rant.¬† I asked to be relieved so I could relay this information to the doctors and nurse caring for the patient.¬† Luckily, they eventually agreed to having the patient evaluated by a psychologist, but it took some work to get to that point.

The point of that story was to provide some insight into the challenges that health care providers face when it comes to getting assistance for our youth.  I was able to talk to the patient while the parents were out of the room and some of the things that were shared broke my heart and I wanted to do all that I could to make sure they obtained the assistance needed.  Psychiatric issues run on both sides of the family but the family was more concerned with being able to get back home than getting their child the care that was needed.

This isn’t the first time I have witnessed a family not willing to acknowledge that there is a potential for psychiatric reasons for the behavior or they are in denial.¬† I have witnessed a mother and daughter joking about the daughter’s admission for cutting herself again.¬† I did not see what was funny about the situation.¬† We have had to prevent family members from visiting patients because they would get the patient upset because they did not want to accept a diagnosis.¬† I have had patients tell me that they will attempt suicide again if they have to go back home with their family.¬† I literally cried when I walked out of that room because I knew it was an unsafe environment and I feared that one of her attempts would be¬†eventually be successful.

Being a child is so much harder it seems than when I was growing up.¬† While there is more awareness about mental health, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.¬† There are so many children who are attempting to kill themselves and it is often chalked up to “attention seeking”.¬† Which in some cases that may be true, but there are may children out there who genuinely want to die for a multitude of reasons and often their home life is the reason¬†but they have no one they can confide in or who believes them when they try to explain¬†the way that they feel and the thoughts they are having.

I used to want to be a social worker but quickly realized that was not the field for me because I would have a hard time taking work home with me.  I want to save as many children as I can but unfortunately I would not be able to and would have to send kids back to places that I knew were not safe for them.  Not to say that being a nurse is any easier.  There have been many parents I have wanted to shake some sense into but cannot or prevent them from being able to take their child home because they were too selfish to really see what was going on with their child.

Ignoring the symptoms and behaviors of mental illness is not going¬†to make the issue go away.¬† Pretending that it doesn’t exist does not mean that it will go away.¬† Ignoring only leads to finding ways to self-medicate which often is¬†unsafe for the person and possibly for¬†those around them.¬† More needs to be done to¬†treat mental¬†illness and¬†it should be taking place at as early an age as possible.

Happy New Year! (Super late)

I can’t believe this is my first time writing in 2018 and we are almost halfway through the month of February.¬† Quite a bit has been going on in my life which is part of the reason I have not written.¬† I am currently on¬†a brief break before my next classes start, so I figured I would do some writing.¬† I managed to get a B+ in my MPH course which dropped my GPA down to a 3.65 because I missed an A- by 0.04 points.¬† I was a little bit upset but did not have the energy to dispute that grade as that class caused me so much stress and anger, I was just happy to be finished.¬† I have a 4.0 in my FNP program!¬† Yay!¬† While I enjoy both programs,¬† I am thinking that I will have to focus on one, FNP, and continue the MPH at a later time.¬† I am happy to report that the last three weeks of both classes, I got over my procrastination bug and actually submitted all assignments early!¬† Now to see if I can keep that trend as I start my next round of classes in a week.

I FINALLY met my 2017 goal weight in January, which I’m okay with since I could not walk the last¬†four months of 2017.¬† The problem I am running into¬†now is lack of motivation to go to the gym.¬† I have had more “bad” weeks than good, so I am trying to get back on track with working out consistently.¬† I have managed to get down¬†to an 11-minute mile but I want to shave at least another minute off of that.¬† I also want to complete a 5K and half marathon this year.¬†¬† This means I really need to step my workout game up.

My oldest son signed his letter of intent last week to play football in college which was pretty exciting!  And he is still getting acceptance letters in the mail, thankful for options!  Now that we know where he is going to college, I can go back to focusing on preparations for graduation, which we still have yet to receive the graduation announcements that cost two arms and a leg!

I’m trying to plan a last minute trip to celebrate turning 40 next month but can’t figure out where to go that will be warm in March.¬† I’m open to suggestions.¬† Hopefully I figure something out soon.¬† I have a lot to be thankful for and I love to celebrate!¬† I am looking forward to seeing what other good things 2018 has in store.