Tag Archives: Health

Merry Christmas from Robbin and Co.

The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas!

I took this photo above in our front room on one of our rare snowy and chilly nights just days ago.  It looks like Christmas perfection, and luckily my head elf / youngest daughter got us moving towards Christmas this year by picking out the perfect tree, decorating, and even doing a lot of the shopping and wrapping for us!

I’ve been reexamining Christmas and what it means to me, in particular as our world changes so rapidly around us. Although I was raised Catholic, on the surface Christmas appears to be a day we work towards, to come together and share gifts we’ve purchased or made, and eat, drink and be merry. The time together is the real gift however, and it’s should be done more often. I am grateful that Christmas gets us all together, but I am becoming more of the mindset to just leave all the present shopping for birthdays!

Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni's house... (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)
Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni’s house… (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)

My children are all young adults now, and it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Christmas Letter.  This year marks over 5 years that I have been back in Canada after life in The Bahamas, and no regrets. I love being home and I love my country.

My mother Corae has been living with us since September 2015 and all is going well. She turns 83 on December 23rd. For those that do not use Facebook, mom’s become quite the star as I share stories about her under the hashtag #ParentingOurParents.  They are tiny little excerpts of my life as I grapple with trying to be a good daughter, while what seems to be, ‘parenting’ my aging parent.

This year The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, and I took my ex husband Brian into my home! For those not aware, Brian has Parkinsons, and his health spiraled downhill rather rapidly this summer. He’s been back in Canada since October and although glad to be home, and with family, he has a long road ahead. I’ve been helping him transition back to the real world as he awaits his new healthcare assessments. He’s improved a lot just by being here.

My eldest Loryn (26 years) is now a married working woman, and is speeding through life not only on the snowboarding slopes, but she’s progressing very quickly in her career as a banker. Go see her at HSBC if you are looking to invest.  She and Lorraine (a nurse) have purchased their first home, as well as their first car. The girls live conveniently just down the road from us.

Tohni (now 24 yrs) has been enjoying life in the fast lane and lives in East Vancouver. She’s in a great relationship with Patrick and has been co-managing a fun restaurant called The General Public on Main Street in Vancouver. Do stop in to see her, she’ll give you a super discount. This year Tohni worked her butt off so she could take in as many music festivals as she could over the summer, and traveled a couple times to the USA.

Nathen (22-yrs-old) is studying now at Simon Fraser University and is working at Vision Electronics. Go see him, he’ll also give you a good deal!  While taking on a full course load, he managed to move out last month, so his life is full of responsibility.  He lives just up the hill from us. His present goal is to become a chiropractor like his father, but he said he’ll see how things progress.

Jackie (20-yrs) is the last egg in the nest and has been a huge support around the house with helping take care of her grandmother and father. She’s been working at Dynamite women’s clothing at Coquitlam Centre and is still keeping up as the voice of the ‘community calendar’ on 98.7 FM. She can be heard every hour, on the hour at ckpmfm.com.

As for me, life is full on! I’m still working TheBahamasWeekly.com and this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I had hoped to get back for a celebration but the hurricane took care of that.  I’ve taken on several other clients that I do writing or social media work for.

Some 2016 highlights
Some 2016 highlights

This  year I was elected president of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society which manages a salmon enhancement program in the woods near my house. I love my volunteer work there, and have been furthering the HSWS public relations by building and managing a new website, Youtube and social media accounts. Check us out at hoyscottcreeks.org.

I’ve just completed my first year of dragon boating with the 50+ Nothin’ Dragon Masters, and loved every minute of it.  I raced with the team in 4 or 5 festivals this year, which was very exciting. Our oldest teammate is 80. I’ve also been playing soccer with my daughter Loryn on a Div. 3 team once a week, and it’s special time with her and my favourite game. I took my love for the Coquitlam Crunch, a hiking mountain in our city, to new heights by co-chairing the annual event, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge, and was featured in the city’s promo video. In fall of this year I joined Ultra Throw, a brand new local club of 20+ athletes training and competing in javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throwing. In 2017 I will start competing. I am excited (and scared) of this, as competing in sport ‘solo’ is brand new to me.

As for my love life, when a girlfriend from the Bahamas asked if I was dating, I said, “I’m open to it, but any group I join, or people I meet, the guys are either gay, already in relationship or married.” Another girlfriend suggested I join the dating group, “Events and Adventures,” to which I chuckled and replied, “My life is already an event and adventure! I don’t need to pay for it, and I don’t have the time in my schedule.”  Another girlfriend suggested I try online dating. I tried that once – went on one date, and although it was fine (meah), I’ve resolved to waiting to see what life doles out. So yes, I am happy and single.

In 2017 I look forward to keeping my life afloat, and also have some long-range writing goals I hope to get started on if I can find the time!

Below is my interview with Tri-Cities Community TV featured on Shaw TV where I talked about #ParentingOurParents, my salmon work, The Bahamas Weekly, and dragon boating. Click the image to view or HERE.

My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV
My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV

Whether I’ve seen you this year, or not; whether we only communicate now and again, or via social media; thank you for being in my life.  Have a wonderful holiday season!

Court Allows Expert Testimony in Litigation Alleging Cell Phone-Linked Tumors According to Consumers’ Legal Team

Brain-tells-which-Ear-to-be-Used-for-Cell-Phone-biWASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — A Washington D.C. superior court ruled that five scientific expert witnesses can testify for consumers suffering from brain tumors allegedly caused or promoted by cell phone use Ashcraft & Gerel LLP Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC Lundy Lundy Soileau & South L.L.P. and co-counsel said today.

Judge Frederick H. Weisberg who is presiding over 13 consolidated lawsuits against the telecom industry ruled that experts met the Dyas/Frye legal standards and can offer testimony related to injury causation and health effects. The court held evidentiary hearings in December 2013 and January 2014 and reviewed hundreds of exhibits.

Judge Weisberg noted that while the court did not decide the issue of whether cell phones cause brain tumors new scientific studies and information have emerged recently. His order referred to a May 2014 French case-control epidemiological study that found support for “a possible association between heavy mobile phone use” and brain tumors.

Each of the plaintiffs in the litigation suffers from a brain tumor or is suing for a family of someone who died of brain cancer.

The plaintiffs are represented by Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC of Birmingham Mich.; Ashcraft & Gerel LLP of Washington D.C. and Lundy Lundy Soileau & South LLP of Lake Charles La.; The Knoll Law Firm LLC of Marksville La.; Pribanic & Pribanic LLC of Pittsburgh; Frasier Frasier & Hickman LLP of Tulsa Okla.; and Bernstein Liebhard LLP of New York.

Hunter Lundy of Lundy Lundy Soileau & South LLP said “The telecom industry argued for years that cell phone consumer litigants could not produce scientists who could relate exposure to cell phone radiation to tumors. The ruling today refutes that contention and our experts’ opinions having met the Dyas/Frye test are admissible.”

Jeffrey B. Morganroth of Morganroth and Morganroth PLLC said “We now have opinions and testimony from prominent scientific experts that will be admissible and support our clients’ claims that cell phone radiation can cause brain tumors in humans. With this landmark ruling the cases are moving forward to fact discovery.”

Michelle Parfitt and James F. Green of Ashcraft & Gerel LLP said “The evidence presented at the evidentiary hearings months ago only included publicly available materials and did not include any testing data or information in possession of the defendants. We will seek that information as soon as possible.”

The first of the consolidated cases is “Michael Patrick Murray et al. v. Motorola Inc. et al.” Case No. 2001 CA 008479 B in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. The defendants in the cases are Motorola Inc. Qualcomm Inc. Nokia Inc. Audiovox Communications Corp. and Samsung Telecomm American LLC.

Canada to host Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit

Image from Melinda Gates facebook page, "Every year, more than one million newborns die on their first day of life. The good news is these newborn lives can be saved with simple and relatively inexpensive interventions."
Image from Melinda Gates facebook page, “Every year, more than one million newborns die on their first day of life. The good news is these newborn lives can be saved with simple and relatively inexpensive interventions.”

According to the Lancet study each year 2.9 million newborn babies die around the world, while another 2.6 million are stillborn.

Noted philanthropist Melinda Gates issued an international call for more funding May 20th as she helped launch new research in the medical journal The Lancet on the plight of new mothers, babies and young children in developing countries.

This report puts  pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he hosts a major international meeting next week on his signature aid initiative — maternal, newborn and child health.

Harper committed $2.8 billion to the cause during 2010’s G8 summit and will be chairing the three-day event in Toronto.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today further program elements for the upcoming Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit, which is taking place from May 28 to 30, 2014, in Toronto, Ontario. Prime Minister Harper will be speaking at plenary sessions and moderating a panel discussion. He will also be participating in a roundtable with Canadian MNCH partners.

The Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit will provide Canadian experts and global leaders with an opportunity to build consensus on the focus of future international efforts in maternal, newborn and child health. More specifically, Summit participants will work together on three key objectives: delivering results for mothers and children, doing more together globally, and undertaking real action for women’s and children’s health.

On Wednesday, May 28 – the opening day of the Summit – a discussion among panelists will focus on how the global MNCH agenda is delivering measurable results for women and children. Additional sessions will focus on increasing global attention to nutrition and saving lives of children through immunization.

On the second day of the Summit, a key session entitled “Doing More Together Globally” will explore those elements of the global partnership on MNCH that have been key to success: political leadership, financing commitments, focus on high-impact, cost-effective interventions and accountability. Concurrent sessions will also take place on: innovative financing and new partners; civil registration and vital statistics to promote accountability in MNCH; newborn health: further reducing child mortality rates; and the need to accelerate progress on maternal health.

On the third and final day of the Summit, participants will gather for a plenary session entitled “MNCH at the heart of post-2015.” This panel discussion will focus on the concrete steps needed to ensure real global results on maternal, newborn and child health to 2015 and beyond.

Additional details on the Summit itinerary can be found at: http://mnch.international.gc.ca/agenda-ordre_jour-en.html. Further information will be added as it becomes available.

Quick Facts

  • The Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit will bring together Canadian stakeholders and experts, as well as global leaders from developed and developing countries, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and foundations to take stock of the progress made to date and discuss the way forward.
  • Key international participants will include:
    • Jakaya M. Kikwete, President of Tanzania;
    • Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan;
    • His Highness the Aga Khan;
    • Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations;
    • Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group;
    • Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
    • Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization; and,
    • Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF.
  • The Summit will contain high-level keynote speeches and a mix of plenary and thematic sessions. They will focus on reducing newborn mortality; improving accountability through strengthened civil registration and vital statistics systems; saving lives through immunization; scaling up nutrition as a foundation for healthy lives; and building new partnerships with the private sector to leverage innovation and financing.
  • There is solid international progress being made to address maternal, newborn and child health, but more needs to be done.
  • The number of women who die each year during pregnancy or childbirth has dropped substantially – from 523,000 deaths in 1990 to 289,000 in 2013.
  • The global number of deaths of children under the age of five has dropped significantly as well, from nearly 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012.

“Canada continues to be a leader in pressing for global action on maternal, newborn and child health issues. I look forward to welcoming key international partners to the Saving Every Woman Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Summit in Toronto next week so that together we can keep these critical issues at the forefront of the global agenda and put an end to the tragedy of women and children dying needlessly, from causes we know how to prevent.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Short Agenda: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Summit

www.canada.ca/MNCH

Death, Grieving, Healing: In Memory of My Father, Curt Whachell

“I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later...”

My father passed away at 87 years old on March 11th, 2013. I’d seen him twice this year before a visit just one week prior to his death.  He was doing so well those first two times, that the last time I saw him, was when it finally sunk in that my father was actually going to die. Until then, I naively never felt it possible.

I’d always felt blessed that all of my loved ones were alive around me, while so many families deal with sudden deaths, accidents and sickness. The whole idea of death and dying waited until now to visit my psyche.

My father lived a full and rich life. I have no regrets regarding our relationship, and have no thoughts or words left unsaid to my father, as we had a relationship that seemed even-keeled throughout my entire life.

On his last birthday I had the pleasure of reading this poem (see link at bottom) to him as he laughed and listened, and I am so glad I had that opportunity, as I also read it at his funeral, and I am glad it wasn’t only the latter.

This my first experience in grieving death and it is still very fresh. I’ve grieved lost love, and I have to say they are nothing alike. Lost love ranks up there with personally dying, whereas the grieve I am feeling now, comes in waves. There was the initial shock, sadness, and heart-wrenched outpouring of sorrow, that led to moments of disbelief, and denial, which were hit by the next unexpected wave of sorrow.

The funeral, or memorial, is such an important process to go through. My older sister reminded me that the funeral is not only for the deceased, but also for the living. It helps up to personally come to terms with the loss; to realize, and release, the attachment to that person.

How dad reacted to the poem  I read about him. This was his last birthday.
How dad reacted to the poem I wrote bout him. This was his last birthday.

Losing a parent is like losing a part of your identity. Another benefit of putting together a funeral is, that in the process and delivery, you revisit that identity. I know for certain that our family’s identity was strengthened through my father’s passage. What a gift he gave us.

With my 50th birthday approaching this month, I’d asked my eldest brother to convert our old home movies to DVD so we could show them at my party. How perfect that in doing so, they were ready for my father’s funeral and dad even saw a few clips on his last day on earth. We watched hours of old movies covering Wachell life from the 50s and 60s leading up to the days before the funeral, and the montage you see here (see link at base) was produced from those films by my nephew Davyde.

Curt-TBW-RobbinsNest

Our family and step-family came together to support one another and to grieve together as a family;  and of course to share our sentiments and honour the man that touched our lives individually, and collectively, in so many ways.  With seven children, and a divorce and second marriage, his life created a thread-work of stories and connections, and yes, even disconnections. We were able to share many stories, not only about my father, but about times gone by.

With the death of a loved one you end up having to honour the place you end at, even if there were things left unresolved. I witnessed this with some of my siblings.  I am content to know that I am at peace with each of my parents, but I realised that it’s ‘my decision’ to have that peace that really counts. Forgiveness truly is a gift one gives oneself. I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later.  And if you have not told a loved one that you love them, do not wait another day to do so. Life is so very very precious.

Rest in peace my sweet father…I miss you so.

Link to HOME MOVIE MONTAGE (1950s/60s) on Curt Whachell: http://youtu.be/MvL_0Sftvn8

A WEBSITE created for my father: http://curt.whachell.com/

Writing-Dads-Birthday_1
What I wrote for my father on the last birthday he had… just 2 month prior to his death.