We had so many reasons to celebrate 2015 at Boston Children’s Hospital. It was a sheer delight to page through this year’s blog posts and remember the families who graciously shared their lives, hopes, joys and challenges with the Thriving staff. It was impossible to re-visit each and every one. Here are some of our top-read posts and some personal favorites of the writing team. Here’s to a wonderful 2015 and an even better 2016!
For kindergartners through teenagers, it’s back-to-school time. And while this annual rite of passage is often met with groans, for children undergoing cancer treatment, this can be a welcome change – provided you properly prepare.
“School serves as a normalizing experience for kids with cancer, because it’s what their peer group is doing,” says Lisa Northman, PhD, a staff psychologist in the School Liaison Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “It’s important for them to know that even in the midst of their treatment, there is a life available to them outside the hospital. They should participate in this developmental milestone as much as they can.”
While every case is different, and certain types of cancer involve longer inpatient stays and medical restrictions, Northman says there are many ways that parents can work with their school and care team to help children return to the classroom on a regular or occasional basis.
Catch up on what you may have missed on Thriving last month. Our staff takes a look back at a few of this month’s favorite posts.
How to survive six months in the wilderness with type 1 diabetes
Rachel Hemond, an 18-year-old who has type 1 diabetes, doesn’t need much direction when it comes to survival. This winter, Rachel completed a 600-mile circumnavigation of Vermont by backcountry ski, white water canoe, rowboat and bicycle—and kept her diabetes under control.
Read more about how Rachel manages her diabetes.
Overcoming IBD obstacles…and traveling the world
Megan was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis on December 23, 2009—her life changed forever. She went from a healthy and active 14-year-old to a teen with some very concerning symptoms. A few years later, a decision to have surgery changed her life and allowed her to travel the globe.
Experience Megan’s journeys.
“When you hit rock bottom…the only way to go is up.”
The Franciscan Hospital for Children Heartbreak Hill 5K on June 14, 2014, was a special day for Justin Ith. It was the first time the 16-year-old, who weighed a mere 70 pounds at the time, had been outside for months. As a nurse pushed the wheelchair-bound teen across the finish line, he turned to her and vowed, “Next year, I’m going to finish this race by myself.”
Learn about Justin’s triumph.
Getting in the ring with asthma
10-year-old Joel was diagnosed with asthma at age 2, which was difficult news for his mother Ellis. At age 6, a severe asthma attack landed Joel at Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine with the risk of a collapsed lung. After spending two weeks in the hospital, Joel was released home and referred to Boston Children’s Community Asthma Initiative (CAI)—a free program that helps Boston-area families manage their child’s asthma at home.
Find out how Joel and Ellis keep his asthma under control.
Depression impacts many youth and families across the U.S. Up to 28% of young people experience an episode of major depression by age 19 with an average onset age of 13 years old. However, only 38% of teens experiencing depression receive treatment. Raising awareness is a key step to addressing depression.
Learn how you can help teens with depression.
Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)—the expert panel that provides recommendations about preventive services—published a draft recommendation about screening for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children. The recommendation does not support early screening for ASD.
It is currently open for public comment. Many pediatric developmental specialists and researchers are concerned with the conclusions. Drs. Sarah Spence and Carolyn Bridgemohan, co-directors of Boston Children’s Hospital Autism Spectrum Center, offer some insights into the recommendation and the benefits of early screening. …