Why I Dance: HuskyTHON 2015

By: Maddie Love, HuskyTHON dancer & social media guru #Huskython #FTK

huskython 1Since I was a young girl, my parents always said that I have the ability to change the world and make an impact on someone’s life. I would always brush their words aside, undermining the fact that what he said could possibly hold some sort of validity in my life. To think that a college student could even remotely make that much of a difference was beyond my wildest dreams. I never imagined that I could leave my footprint on the world. That was before I became involved with HuskyTHON.

huskython 3HuskyTHON is unlike anything I have ever been apart of in my entire life. Some say that you truly have to “see it to believe it.” There is really no organization, fundraiser, or event that even comes close to the magic of HuskyTHON. Imagine dancing alongside 2,400 of your closest friends all night long until the sun comes up the next morning, knowing the entire time that your dedication to HuskyTHON could make a difference in a child’s life.

For one night out of the year, college students leave all of their stress and worries at the door and get to be silly and act like kids. And for the kids who visit HuskyTHON from CT Children’s, they get to be just that: kids. They are taken outside the hospital walls and are able to jump on the moonbounce, run through the inflatable obstacle course, sing karaoke, get their face painted, and dance on stage. The kids always say that HuskyTHON is like Christmas; they countdown the days until the big event arrives and once the 18-hours are over, they begin their countdown once again.

I am honored to be apart of HuskyTHON; an event that reminds me that anyone, even a college student, can make a difference in the world.

Connecticut Children’s Live-Tweeting Gastric Sleeve Procedure to Highlight Bariatric Surgery

by: Dr. Christopher Carroll, Connecticut Children’s Pediatric Intensivist

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. When medical management is not effective, surgical options are considered for weight loss, even in adolescents.

Each year, 400-800 children/year are referred to Connecticut Children’s for treatment of obesity. In 2014, 28 families sought surgical intervention. To be considered for surgical management for obesity, need BMI>45 and significant medical comorbidities. Patients and families undergo 6 months of intensive screening prior to surgery. During this evaluation, children need to adhere to diet & commit to lifestyle changes. Only after adhering to this medical approach to weight loss are adolescents considered for surgery.

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Traditional surgical approaches to weight loss include Gastric Bypass and Lap Bands. Gastric Sleeve is a new technique though that is thought to be safer than Gastric Bypass & more effective than Lap Bands. Gastric Sleeve involves removing part of the stomach and creating a tube or “sleeve” shaped stomach. The effect of this surgery is to make you feel full more quickly and therefore helps with weight loss. Unlike the Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve doesn’t cause malabsorption. And unlike the Lap Band, the Gastric Sleeve doesn’t need to be filled every 3-4 months and is not reversible. Connecticut Children’s is only hospital in the state offering Gastric Sleeve procedure for adolescents.

This Thursday, we’ll be live-tweeting a Gastric Sleeve procedure performed by Dr. Meghna Misra & Dr. Christine Finck. Follow #CTChildrensSurgery on Twitter for updates!

Make Safe Happen

by: Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, Director, Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center & Kevin Borrup, JD, MPA, Associate Director, Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

“Make Safe Happen,” the Nationwide 2015 Super Bowl Commercial, touched a nerve and created concern among many. The key point of the commercial is that injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children and young adults. The good news is that injuries are not truly accidents, they are predictable and preventable.

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The leading causes of unintentional injury include motor vehicle related collisions involving occupants, pedestrians, bicyclist, motorcyclist, and all-terrain vehicle riders. Falls, burns, poisoning, and drowning are other important causes of injury. The damage to children is not from a virus or bacteria, but from the five forms of energy (mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, radiation) or the absence of essential elements (oxygen, heat) in amounts sufficient to cause damage to the human body.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a Level One pediatric trauma center, treats the broken bones, lacerations, and life altering head injuries in our Emergency Department, operating suites, and pediatric intensive care unit. With proper treatment many injured children recover fully and are able to resume an active family, school, and social life. Unfortunately, some sustain severe or even fatal injuries. The financial and human cost in pain and suffering is substantial. The Nationwide commercial was a vivid reminder of the potential life lost due to preventable injury.

Since opening twenty-five years ago, the Injury Prevention Center (IPC) has worked to prevent injury through the 3E’s of injury prevention (education, environmental change, and enforcement). Through our IPC community education and outreach programs we raise awareness among parents and caregivers and seek to persuade them to adopt safe behaviors such as making sure their children are properly restrained while riding in a motor vehicle, or wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or all-terrain vehicle.

Through our research we seek to identify ways to modify the physical and social environment to create safe places for our children at home, school, on the road, and play. Through our policy and advocacy we seek to prevent injury by working with our lawmakers to pass common sense safety legislation such as Connecticut’s child passenger safety laws and graduated driver licensing system to reduce teen motor vehicle crashes. In collaboration with our state and local agencies, we work with the police to promote enforcement of these safety laws and regulations.

In the last 25 years, our state has made significant progress in reducing injury. However, each one of us can do more. We can be more thoughtful in the way we drive, we can pay more attention to the potential dangers in our home, and we can do a better job in exercising our common sense by enforcing basic safety rules wherever we are. While the ad shocked many, that was the point. Now we are talking and thinking about how to “Make Safe Happen.” We should have been doing this all along.

 

Dear Transverse Myelitis

By Alex B., patient at Connecticut Children’s

Transverse Myelitis is a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord that can leave sufferers with permanent disabilities or paralysis. 17 year old Alex B. shares her journey with TM, what she’s learned and how it’s helped her discover who she is. To find out more about Transverse Myelitis or to follow Alex’s blog, please visit https://alexandherjourney.wordpress.com/.

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Before I had Transverse Myelitis… I never EVER heard of it, now I can’t EVER unhear it. It’s plastered in my brain forever.

An only 18 letter word ripped a 14 year old girl from her perfect life and threw her into a crazy one, ripped her apart, took away her legs, her freedom, her 8th grade school year, changed her life as she once knew it. Just an 18 letter word that dictated my future, dictated my hopes and dreams…

An 18 letter word has changed thousands of people.

I don’t want anyone to feel the pain I’ve felt, the pain my family has felt… I don’t want anyone to know how it feels to not be able to walk, to look at your legs and they don’t even feel like your own and they just don’t work. No matter how hard you try, they just don’t.

This 18 letter word has changed my lifestyle, my abilities, who I talk to, who I love, who I trust, how I think, how I feel and who I am.

This disease has made me become who I always have wanted to be, but never knew how to become.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t know how I was going to help people but I knew I wanted to, I didn’t know how I was going to change people’s thoughts but I knew I had to.

I had so many thoughts and ideas but used to be SO AFRAID of what everyone thought.

I was afraid they’d not agree with my thoughts. I was afraid… so I didn’t ever speak up.

This 18 letter word taught me how to speak up, even if I was afraid, even if everyone laughed, even if everyone didn’t agree with my thoughts…

Transverse Myelitis taught me that even if you’re scared, do it anyway. You’ll regret not doing it and you may never have another chance.

This 18 letter word has made me KNOW I want to work in the health field, with kids.

Now I know that I have a voice and I never knew that.

This stupid 18 letter word isn’t who I am, or what I am.

It’s a tiny part of me, this 18 letter word has made me become me, and even though I hate TM with a burning passion…

I have to thank it for teaching me so much, for showing me- my thoughts matter, showing me to live each day as if I’d never have another, showing me what’s important, teaching me it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks, it only matters what YOU think of yourself, and if you like yourself it doesn’t matter.

So…….Dear Transverse Myelitis,

Thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t know who I am. Thank you for the lessons, thank you for showing me that walking isn’t everything, thank you for showing me my real friends, thank you for making me become brave, thank you for giving me the people I’ve needed all along, thank you for keeping my life interesting, thank you for knocking me down but letting me get back up again, thank you for being so horrible..

Because you taught me that there is so much good in the bad, nasty and horrible…