Category: Living Well Written by Maya Brooks
At first, Ronald E. Hall, Sr. thought the mild headaches that began to creep up on him in the latter part of summer 2006 were the first signs of a simple head cold. They came, diminished, and returned, beginning a vicious cycle that never seemed to stop. But by December of that year, the Detroit business executive and Real Times Media board member realized something was radically wrong when the headaches continued.
An MRI confirmed a slow-growing benign tumor, a mass the size of his hand, was advancing on the right side of his brain just behind his eye. Dr. Donald Seyfried, a celebrated neurosurgeon at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, advised the tumor was operable, but warned that his right eye and motor skills could be compromised.
In February 2007, Hall had the delicate four-hour surgery to remove the meningioma from the frontal temporal area of his brain. When the president and CEO of Bridgewater Interiors, an automotive seat manufacturing company, awakened, his right eyelid drooped and he wasn’t able to open his eye—yet he was thankful to be alive.
“My first reaction was relief,” says Hall, a 69-year-old Detroiter. “I was still here; and seemingly in my right mind. They expected a full recovery for me, and the biggest relief is that they were correct it was not cancer.”
Silently growing, brain tumors can affect anyone. And after looking at factors such as diet, social habits and environment, researchers still aren’t sure what causes them. The American Brain Tumor Association reports about 70,000 new primary malignant and non-malignant brain tumors, the kinds that begin and tend to remain in the brain and affect more children and older adults, will be diagnosed in the United States this year. In 2013, about 4,300 children younger than age 20 will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor, and 3,050 of them will be younger than 15.
In 2010, the last year for which data is available, more than 688,000 Americans were living with brain or central nervous system tumors. And for every 100,000 people in the United States, 221 are living after the diagnosis of a brain tumor.
LivingWELL Publisher Jackie Berg’s goddaughter Kaitlyn Berg of Novi was 13 when she discovered she had a brain tumor. Before her diagnosis and surgery in January 2011, she also was having headaches coupled with seizures that made it seem as though she had momentarily zoned out.
“I was kind of shocked because I didn’t know what was happening to me,” says Berg, now a 15-year old Novi High School sophomore.
Since then, Berg has endured a difficult journey to recovery. The tumor in the back of her head began growing again, and she underwent a second surgery, 30 radiation treatments and several months of rehabilitation. Surgery robbed her of some memories, such as how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. She could barely read, and her parents began a long battle to help her re-learn basic skills that were simple in elementary school.
Even now, she must have another MRI every three months so her doctors at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor can check on her.
When it comes to medical issues, adults often are more understanding than teens. She remains conscious about the scar in the middle of the left side her head, visible despite her long, brown hair, and her compromised speech and motor skills. Berg’s schoolmates didn’t know what to say or do, so many walked away from her.
“I lost a lot of friends,” she says. “They didn’t know how to deal with me. Everything was different. You just feel different from everyone else.”
Her mother, Lynn Berg, says she would have rather taken on the brain tumor herself than to see her young daughter suffer.
“I just did what I could to help her through, especially with the school work and trying to deal with the kids. She would come home from school upset about the things that happened, and I tried to run interference with teachers and other parents when I could,” recalled Berg.
May is brain tumor awareness month, and although she doesn’t enjoy talking about her experience, Kaitlyn Berg is speaking out to help people learn more about the frightening masses that can develop in people’s brains. Along with her mother, Lynn Berg, and father, Larry Berg, and Aunt Jackie Berg, her team has raised $12,000 for the upcoming “Breakthrough For Brain Tumors Ypsilanti 5K Run & Walk,” exceeding their $10,000 goal.
The family also wants to help people become aware of the assistance and support the American Brain Tumor Association provides for people who live with the 120 types of brain tumors.
“When people started finding about our situation, it was literally every few weeks or so that we started to hear about more and more people who have brain tumors,” says Larry Berg, the vice president and general manager of Valassis, a large marketing firm in Livonia. “We started to hear about other people who have them, and you never heard about these things before.”
Lynn Berg believes the lack of awareness about brain tumors is part of what made life so difficult for Kaitlyn.
“Most people don’t really know someone with a brain tumor. It’s not common,” she says. “Just that alone made it really hard for people to relate to her, and in some cases even us. The more awareness that is out there, about how many people it affects, the easier it is for people to relate to others when they are diagnosed and you aren’t treated like an outcast, I would hope.”
Editor’s Note: The American Brain Tumor Association’s Breakthrough For Brain Tumors Ypsilanti 5K Run & Walk is slated for Saturday, May 11. To donate funds in support survivors like Ronald E. Hall, Sr. and Kaitlyn Berg visit: http://goo.gl/UXRhc
Stage Presentation: 8:30 a.m.
Run Start Time: 9 a.m.
Walk Start Time: Immediately following Event ends about 11 a.m.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:23
Category: Living Well Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
One of the most controversial 'Housewives' of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reality tv show has another credit to add to her self acclaimed 'gone with the wind fabulous' repertoire. Although the former Miss USA, (make sure you get it right and don't make the same mistake as poor little naive Porsha Stewart) ... the Kneya Moore Booty Boot Camp Stallion Booty commercial which is on pace to net the reality show star substantial ... well booty, in this case meaning loot.
And even though 'Real Housewives' former compadre, and now confirmed nemesis Phaedra Praks came up with the booty video idea first, Moore used her considerable production skills to beat parks to the punch.
Take a look at the video below and let us know if you'll be joing the ranks of the pa-donk-a-donk.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 17:13
Category: Living Well Written by Darralyn Hutson
The 99-day challenge - Part 2
By Darralynn Hutson
So much is going on with my body that I can’t help but pay attention to it. I feel that stomach growl and that gas bubble moving through my back down that my.....opps. Whereas, I thought I’d have to keep this juice fast thing to myself, I’m finding that I’m offering it as an excuse pretty often this week. I cross my calendar in purple marker, indicating that I’ve just completed day 14 of my juice fast. Going 14 days without eating after a while feels surprisingly kind of normal.
“I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost,” is what I tell my mother whose obsessed by numbers for some reason. I still haven’t gotten on the scale as I enter into my third week of the fast because my body tells me that I’m shrinking. I don’t need that daily gratification or disappointment. I really want to feel my body and see the results in my clothes. I want so much that I have dreams about what I’d look like in a particular outfit or in a swimsuit or walking in a pair of tall heels comfortably. WOW!, what that would feel like? So I press on.
My mind is very fluid and I’ve been able to express myself this week going on a job interview where they actually wanted to know how I come up with ideas; what’s my process? I have to admit that my words haven’t gotten jumbled since being on the juice fast. I’m able to convey myself clearer, I believe. Although my workout has been a bit boring this week, including the treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike, I got in three days of cardio this week – growing stronger.
I haven’t taken any medication this week for the usual aches and pains that I feel when I go to bed. No pain pills especially for my right knee that gives me constant grief. The grief isn’t gone but I’m not self medicating.
So, fifteen days ago, I started a personal challenge to juice my meals and open my eyes to roadblocks that were keeping me from succeeding financially, professionally and personally. And it’s a challenge. I don’t want to convey in anyway that withholding food is easy, especially that way I use to shovel food into my mouth. Everyday I want to break the fast, I want to go grab something from a fast food joint, any of them and in secret, consume it in my car where there’s no one but me. But then I think, I don’t want to be that person anymore. So I use my brain and defer my thoughts to this challenge.
Two women encouraged me while I was talking about fasting: one was a woman at the gym that I attended when I asked her where a nice juice bar was in Detroit. She was an avid juicer that had started a program, but was fiending for some fish. I told her that I was having problems finding fresh veggies if I couldn’t’ make it to the eastern market on Saturdays. She offered a market in my neck of the woods and encouraged me to keep going.
In the past two weeks I’ve grown accustomed to my morning juice of kale, spinach and Granny Smith apples. I’m still struggling with consuming 64 ounces of juice everyday. Discovering that banana and sweet potatoes make a pretty good combination has been fun and I good way to expand your palette. I’d love to get my body to the point where it craves kale salad instead of chicken salad smothered in ranch dressing. I rewarded myself with carrot juice and the juice from the collard greens on Easter Sunday and they were heavenly.
Next week Weigh In?
Last Updated on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:12
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