Thursday, October 23, 2008

Got Blood?

I have been so busy lately, I have not been able to blog. My sister-in-law, who's ovarian cancer returned on her liver, has had a rough week and I have been spending all my spare time with her. I sure wish foot massage could cure cancer. I love her very much. She has been in the hospital since Thursday fighting an infection. When someone goes through something like this, you really see their true colors. She is beautiful. She has a great sense of humor, is kind to the nurses, patient, and brave. There is a chance she will get to come home today. She has three wonderful daughters to come home to. Her husband is a good man. He has been a terrific support for her.

Times like these are when I am most grateful that I am a stay-at-home mother. I know there are plenty of other women in my sister-in-law's life that would like to be there with her, but due to their schedule they can't. It is my privilege and blessing to be able to be with her. There are material things that my family and husband do without because of the loss of additional income, but it is such a blessing to be available in times of need.

I have found ways that I can be more productive and organized at home to find the time to spend with her each day. And it has helped reprioritize what is most important in my daily tasks. Right now, I get the essentials done, and let the rest worry about themselves. I learned that from my sister, who is a breast cancer survivor of thirteen years. Woohoo! She went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner when she was not able to put that meal on for her family. She and her family made that a wonderful memory, and reduced a ton of stress that way. I take my cues from her whenever I can, she is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Someone once said to me something to the effect of, I can see that through the trial of cancer your sister became a really incredible person. No. She was already incredible. The trial of cancer just magnified it. Her family knew how incredible she was all along.

My sister-in-law goes by Bindi, and if you would like to add her to her prayers, I am sure she would appreciate it. We have come in contact with so many kind people that do creative things to relieve suffering. Yesterday, a woman playing a miniature harp came by her room. Someone came by with a black dog for pet therapy. I couldn't help think of my friend Pam. Read up about her contribution as a giggle therapist on the right side of her blog.

Doesn't it just make you want to be like that? For those of us who are looking for a way to benefit others, can I just encourage you to donate blood? It's easy, and not painless. I know, I was supposed to make it sound like no big deal, doesn't even hurt, but truthfully, donating blood is really hard for me. My veins roll and they are small and when I am cold it is even worse. Last time I donated blood I had to drink 3 bottles of juice and they had heated saline bags all over me to get my blood moving. I kind of felt like I wasn't sure it was worth all that. Watching a bag of blood save my sister-in-law's life has changed my tune. She has needed one transfusion so far. Last time she went through chemo she needed two. She truly wouldn't make it without it. I have become so grateful for those who consistently donate blood. It really does save lives and there is always a shortage of your blood type. I don't care what type you have, there is always a shortage of it. There are so many people that can't donate blood because of health, pregnancy, nursing, diabetes etc., it becomes even more important for those of us who can to donate. Sometimes it is so important for us to back up our prayers with action. Maybe we could all say a prayer while we donate blood? So consider this my blogblooddrive. For those of you who can donate, please comment after you have donated. Let's see how much we can accomplish. For those of you who are unable to donate blood, well wishes are welcome. How have you been blessed by blood donation?

Here are a few tips from me for donating. Eat a hearty breakfast and drink plenty of fluids before you go. They will have lots of yummy snacks for you afterward, so don't worry about bringing any. Wear comfortable clothing that gives easy access to your arm. For women, we often run low on iron depending on where we are in our menstrual cycle. For donation they need sufficient iron levels. If you are too low to donate, it does not mean you are anemic. I think they need your iron at something like 12 to donate and something like 4 is anemic. I find it helps to have red meat for dinner the night before I am going to donate and then I never have a problem with my iron level, no matter where I am in my cycle. I prefer to use it as an excuse to have steak, but since that isn't always an option, here is one of my favorite recipes for good old chuck roast. Easy, delicious, everybody loves it.

French Dip sandwiches

1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp galic powder
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 whole peppercorns
8 french rolls split

Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until beef is tender. Remove meat from broth; shred with forks and keep warm. Strain broth; skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls.

I double the water through peppercorns. I like to leave extra juice on the meat to keep it moist and lots for dipping. It is great made overnight and then put in fridge. That way the fat in the juice rises to the top and hardens. Remove the fat, heat and serve. Your house is going to be filled with a wonderful smell. Leftovers freeze well.

1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543)

In honor of Bindi and survivors everywhere -
Donate first, comment later! Can't wait to hear from you.


McEwens said...

Hey .. you are doing great thing for your SIL. I would imagine if anyone gets "it" you do.

I can comment, I cant give until I have been home from Africa for a year

cookingsherri said...

It is amazing how many people are unable to donate. So important for those of us who can to do so. She is home from the hospital today, taking it one day at a time.

Thanks Pam!

Lisa Loo said...

I am unable to donate but I can do the prayer thing. I loved your post--even if I could donate I hate being guilted into doing something--your post inspired me! I am domestically impaired so am so excited to try this recipie--I didn't know I could make French Dip sandwiches at home. Stop laughing--I told you I am challenged!

kitchenditcher said...

Sure hope Bindi gets to come home. Sounds like her spirits are up tho. How wonderful you are to spend so much time with her. But I have to admit that I'm a little jealous. I MISS YOU!!