Health

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My sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg lives only in our memories since her passing at the young age of 39, on August 13, 1989. Those were sad days leading up to and following her passing. The cancer stole so much from her. She was skin and bone by the time she died. Marlyce was developmentally disabled, and in most was she was an adult-kid. She loved candy. It was a vice she really had to have, and if that was the worst bad habit she had…well, that’s not bad. In the end, I suppose it was the extra weight she carried from the candy, that kept her alive as long as she hung on. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a  horrible disease. In Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow abnormally and can form growths (tumors) throughout the body.in Marlyce, they tumor was in her esophagus, and she couldn’t swallow much. She ate baby food in the end.

It was so sad, but I want to concentrate on the good memories. Marlyce worked at Wood’s School, which was for the handicapped at that time. They ran a laundry service there, and she worked in that laundry. She was so proud of her job. Marlyce was very dedicated to her job, and would go on sick, if need be. She was very proud of making money.

Marlyce was also a great baker of Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I loved them. They were the best I ever had…now or then. When we went out to the house to visit, I always hoped Marlyce had been baking. She made other kinds of cookies too, but when I came in the door, I was always happiest when she said, “Caryn. I made Chocolate Chip Cookies!!”

Marlyce also made knitted stocking caps. She sold them at craft fairs, and they sold very well. These were talents that not every developmentally disabled person could do, but Marlyce excelled in those areas. I love the sweet memories of my sweet, gone-too-soon sister-in-law. Today would have been Marlyce’s 71st birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Marlyce. We love and miss you very much.

My daughter, Corrie Petersen is one of the hardest working people I know. She works full-time, and goes to nursing school full-time too. Anyone who has been in nursing school will tell you that it is not and easy, and it’s even harder if you work. Nevertheless, Corrie is determined, and she is so excited about the future. Every skill she achieves, every class she completes, and every semester that is behind her are cause for celebration. She loves the work she does and she really has a heart for it. I have spoken to friends she has taken care of, and they told me that she was so good to them. In fact they couldn’t wait to tell me that she took care of them, since she could not tell me due to privacy laws.

Corrie is an important member of the CNA staff at Wyoming Medical Center. CNAs are hard to find and harder still to keep, and many times she is the lone CNA on her floor. It’s a tough job, with lots of heavy lifting, and lots of work that many people feel is “beneath them,” but Corrie takes it all in stride. I know this because, while I’m not a nurse or a CNA, I was a caregiver for 14 years, and Corrie was a part of my team. She went on to continue the job of caregiving and then decided to become a nurse, starting by becoming a CNA, so she has been doing this job for more than 16 years. She did the work of a CNA, and even of a nurse, long before she had the title, and her four grandparents were grateful to her and the rest of the team for the care and comfort she and the rest of the team provided. Corrie did not go into the career of nursing blindly, like many people who decide on it right out of high school. Yes, some are sure of what they want to do, and follow through with great success, but others find that the work isn’t for them, and they soon move on to other careers.

Becoming a nurse is no easy task, as any nurse will tell you. You have to stick to the plan, work and study hard, and never give up. If you don’t have “stick-to-it-iveness,” you won’t make it in this line of work…or in the schooling it takes to get into this line of work. I am very proud of all the hard work Corrie has done and continues to do to achieve her dream. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece Cassie Iverson is spending her first birthday without her mom. My sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg went to Heaven on January 19, 2021, after suffering a stroke. It’s been a hard year for Cassie so far, as anyone who has lost a parent can attest. Really that first whole year is the hardest. All the firsts without your parent. Cassie and her mom were just the two of them from the time her mom was 16 years old. They were so close. I could say that they were best friends, but they weren’t Rachel was the mom and Cassie was the daughter. They were closer than just friends could be. A person has enough friends, and can always make more, but a mother is a treasure, and you truly only get one.

Life changed, as life does. Rachel got married and had two sons, Cassie’s half-brothers, Riley and Tucker. Then they divorced and Rachel was a single mom again. Just her and her kids. Cassie was older then, and she and her mom grew closer. Rachel watched as her beautiful daughter grew and found new interests. Sure, there were difficult times…teenaged years, sibling fights, and such, but Rachel loved her kids and they all knew that they were going to be ok.

When Cassie got married and had babies of her own, Rachel was so proud. She loved her grandchildren beyond measure. Rachel was also very proud of her only daughter. Cassie is a very talented photographer, and Rachel would often tell me about her photography trips. She was just so proud of Cassie. She was also so proud of the mother Cassie was. She watched as Cassie raised Lucas, who was born with Down Syndrome. Cassie became the best advocate for her son. Cassie is a real fighter when it comes to her children, Lucas and his little sister, Zoey, and that made Rachel so proud. She knew that Cassie would give her children the best life she possible could. Cassie learned about being a mom from the best…her own mom, Rachel.

Life without her mom will never be the same for Cassie…she will always miss her mom. It is impossible not to, but I hope she also knows just how proud her mother was of her. Often when we spoke on the phone, Rachel would tell me, with pride in her voice, about the wonderful accomplishments of her daughter. Photography, kids, camping…another thing they both loved, and so much more. Cassie, your mom is in Heaven, but she is still watching over you, and she is still so proud of everything you have accomplished. I know this year is a tough one, but remember that she lives on in your heart. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! Your mom would want that for you. We love you!!

After ill health in multiple forms caught up with my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg eight years ago, she set out on the journey that would forever change her life…getting healthy again, and staying that way. The journey was long and hard, but Brenda just kept plugging along, until one day, she found herself of the top of that hill, looking over at the lush green grass on the other side of the rainbow…so to speak. While the metaphor paints a beautiful picture, the real beauty of the picturesque journey Brenda took, as been the views seen from the seat of her bicycle. Brenda struggled with her weight all her life, and riding a bicycle wasn’t something she ever did very much, but when she finally got her weight down to a healthy level, she decided that she wanted to rider a bicycle. She bought a purple bicycle…yes it had to be purple, because Brenda is all about purple…and set out to discover the world of bicycle trails. She doesn’t go on the dirt trails that some people ride on, but there are so many nice paved trails her in Casper, Wyoming, as in many other places too, that she in never hard pressed to find a place to ride.

If I said that Brenda isn’t fanatical, I would be lying. She will get up at 3:30 in the morning just to be ready for work with enough time to hit the trail for a sunrise bicycle ride, before heading into her job in Human Resources at Hilltop National Bank. Lunchtime rides are not out of the question either, if the weather permits. That topping of the hill just to see the other side, is really sort of a motto to Brenda. Brenda has many hilltops under her belt…and many in her future. Brenda has no intention of a backward slide in her health, in fact, she holds a yearly party to remind herself of just how far she has come, and to remind herself to keep plugging along, so she never goes back there again.

While there was a time when food was addictive for Brenda, she is always working to keep that kind of addiction at bay. These days, however, there is an addiction that Brenda still struggles with…shopping. Of course, she doesn’t consider that an addiction that bothers her. Brenda was never really able to buy new clothes, because there was only so much that she could wear, and that was downright depressing, so she shopped from a catalog. These days, however, stuff fits…cute stuff!! Brenda doesn’t have to worry about going to her closet, hoping there is something in it that she can wear. She can wear all of it, and buying new stuff is fun!! Who wouldn’t want to go shopping? If Brenda finds herself going on a road trip, you might as well understand that there will be a mall in the mix. If you are going with her, you should be prepared to hit a few stores. I think her trips are as much planned around the stores and malls, as the city or town she is actually going to visit. From one fanaticism to another, but hey, this one’s healthy. Nothing wrong with a good shopping trip. Today is Brenda’s birthday. Happy birthday Brenda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely is a Labor and Delivery nurse, and has been for about 40 years. I have no idea how many babies she has assisted in delivering, nor how many she has delivered herself, but I can imagine. Taking a wild guess, I would say between 20,000 and 50,000. That’s about the population of a small city. Now I could be off, but I don’t think so. I can’t say how many she has actually delivered, because they came before the doctor could get there, but I imagine there were some of those too. Jennifer has never wanted to be anything but a Labor and Delivery nurse. I have never seen anyone so focused. She knew what she wanted to do in high school and she has never waivered.

Of course, Jennifer, like everyone else, is more than her career. She is mom and grandma, or in her case, Oma. Jennifer had three sons, Barry Schulenberg, JD Parmely, and Eric Parmely, and now, she has four grandchildren, Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve Parmely. She cherishes her family, which includes, daughters-in-law, Kelli Schulenberg and Ashley Parmely. Jennifer love getting together with all of her family, but she also loves taking each of her grandchildren for a day that is all their own. They often go shopping, and of course, that includes a toy of their choosing. They love going with her, and it is a treasured special time for her too.

Another thing that Jennifer has never waivered in, is her health. Years ago, after having three children, Jennifer, like many mothers, had some extra weight to lose. She made the decision to get that weight off and get healthy, and she never waivered. Diet was a major part of her transformation, of course, but just as important was the strict exercise “routine” Jennifer had. I emphasize “routine” because, she never thought of it that way, exactly. Jennifer began to be an energetic, fast-paced, “everything” exercise enthusiast…she hiked, did yoga, skied, every exercise machine she could at the gum, you name it, Jennifer probably tried it. Like most of us, there were forms of exercise she likes better than others, but she has never gone back to a sedentary lifestyle, and she has never stopped eating healthy…that has kept her healthy for many years now. Today is Jennifer’s 60th birthday, and well…she certainly doesn’t look 60. Years of healthy living have certainly paid off. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I can’t think of anything that is harder for a mom than watching your child go through some of the worst events of their lives. Many people who go through that kind of thing, would sit down and stew in their depression, but not my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. The past year has been harder on her and her daughter, Siara Olsen than it was for a lot of us. On January 25, 2020, Siara’s three month old son, Alec passed away after a short illness. On top of that her marriage fell apart, and she got divorced. It was the worst time of her life, and she needed the love and support of her family. Chantel stepped in and Siara moved home for a time of comforting and support from her parents. Both of these girls are strong women, and they were not going to sink further into depression. Instead, they supported each other, encouraged each other, and made a plan to have a year of self improvement. Chantel’s husband and Siara’s dad, Dave Balcerzak was right there too. Giving the girls the extra support they all needed. They were all hurting, but they had to move forward.

The girls took a look at themselves, and saw that as many people had done, during the Covid-19 shutdown, they and added a few pounds and lost some muscle, and they decided it was time to get back on the right track. So they began working out over Siara’s lunches, and even set a goal for them selves. They had seen a commercial in which some chipmunks who were out of shape decided to go for “All Buff ~ No Fluff” and they made that their goal. Siara has spent a number of years in high school and college as a cheerleader, and of course, she is 23 years younger than her mom, but she tells me that sometimes Chantel beats her when they are doing pushups, so that is really cool too. Chantel doesn’t do girly pushups anymore either. They do the hard kind where you are on your hands and toes. I believe the girls will reach their final goal of looking amazing. They have already come a long way.

Siara tells me that her mom was always there for here throughout this hard, hard year. She was there to comfort her and take her mind off of her troubles, and give her advise when she needed it. When Siara moved out again and got a place of her own, Chantel was there to help her decorate it and make it her own. Chantel is an artist, so of course, Siara’s place is incredibly beautiful, and that is a gift in itself. When the chips are down, Chantel is really the person you want to have in your corner. I’m very proud of her and Siara too. Today is Chantel’s 50th birthday. It’s a milestone, and she looks incredible for it. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The people of my generation will remember the Hula Hoop. They are still around, of course, so the people of the current time might know about them too, but actually may never have tried one. As a kid, I suppose I was able to do the Hula Hoop to a degree, but I was never at the expert level by any means, even though I tried. When I say expert level, I an not talking about being able to keep the Hula Hoop going, because I could do that, but there were people who could keep it going on their arm or leg, and even their neck. I was always amazed at their agility and their skills…especially since I couldn’t master those tricks.

The Hula Hoop was invented in 1958, and quickly became a huge fad when it was marketed by Wham-O. It was patented on March 5, 1963 by the company’s co-founder, Arthur “Spud” Melin. The company sold an estimated 25 million of the hip-swiveling toys in its first four months of production alone. Melina and Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed “Hula” after the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name, and demonstrating it on Southern California playgrounds. Hula Hoop mania took off from there.

The Hula Hoop has even set some records in it’s day. “According to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, in April 2004, a performer at the Big Apple Circus in Boston simultaneously spun 100 hoops around her body. Earlier that same year, in January, according to the Guinness World Records, two people in Tokyo, Japan, managed to spin the world’s largest hoop–at 13 feet, 4 inches–around their waists at least three times each.” The enormous popularity of the Hula Hoop was short-lived and within a matter of months, the masses were on to the next big thing. However, the Hula Hoop never faded away completely and still has its fans today. In fact, the “Smart Hula Hoop” is taking on a whole new look and a new use…exercise. Not that it wasn’t exercise before, but no one really thought of it that way, maybe because you couldn’t really keep it around your waist long enough to get a really good workout. So, someone came up with a version that doesn’t exactly look like the original Hula Hoop, but it works essentially the same as it’s older version.

My niece, Gaby Beach completed her nursing degree with the December 2020 class, and has been hired by Wyoming Medical Center to work in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU). She has wanted to be a nurse for some time now, and once she left the US Navy, has used her GI Bill to realize that dream. Following her graduation, Gaby applied for a job at Wyoming Medical Center, and was quickly hired in the Progressive Care Unit(PCU), which is just a step below ICU. Gaby was hired on the day shift, which is a bit unusual, since many new nurses have to accept the night shift. She starts her new adventure on January 25th.

Gaby and Allen have been renting a loft apartment out in the country while she was not working, but now that they both work at Wyoming Medical Center, it makes more sense for them to live in town. Their next plan is to buy a house in town, but that will have to wait until Gaby is established at the hospital, besides when you think about it, moving in the winter is the pits anyway. For now, Gaby is enjoying being out of school for a while. She will need to go back, because nurses really need to have a Bachelors Degree, and the program she took gives an Associates Degree. Right now, she is looking at her options, because there are requirements the college must have in order to qualify for the GI Bill, and Casper College doesn’t offer the Bachelors Degree for nursing (BSN). Gaby is a person who isn’t likely to put off that part of her training, because she is highly motivated. My guess is that she will be back at it by fall.

For now, she is relaxing, free of her studies, and enjoying her dogs and her plants. Gaby has a definite green thumb when it comes to house plants. She likes the unusual plants, and posts about her success on social media. Her posts have actually turned her hobby into a bit of a business, because people love her posts and her plants so much that she has been able to sell plant shoots for astonishing amounts of money. Her mother-in-law, my sister, Caryl Reed can’t believe anyone would pay that much for a plant clipping. I guess the value of something like that comes from the person selling and the person buying the item. Unusual plants would likely bring more money. However she managed it, Gaby is very talented in nursing and horticulture. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My little great grand niece, Hallie Joy Moore came into this world on December 19, 2020 at 5:00am, in Laramie, Wyoming. Her family had excitedly anticipated her arrival, and she was already so loved, but she arrived two months early, and her time on Earth was not to be long. Hallie, who’s name means “Praise the Lord,” tried very hard to stay, but then she went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The doctors and nurses who tried so hard to help Hallie stay, will never forget this sweet little girl who stole their hearts immediately. In the end, she was just too early. Hallie went home at 5:37am, just 37 minutes after her birth.

Hallie Joy wasn’t here very long, but for those who knew her, in the womb during the months before her birth, in the moments after her arrival and passing, and in the hopes and dreams for her planned future, her impact was everlasting. This sweet little girl captured the hearts of all who had the honor of being there with her, in life and even after. Her spirit and strength will live on in all of her family members. We all feel like we knew her even though we didn’t get to “meet” her in person, because her spirit lives on in our hearts…and we will get to meet her when we go to Heaven.

Hallie is the second daughter of her parents, Lindsay and Shannon Moore. She has a sister named Mackenzie, with whom Hallie bears a strong resemblance. That in itself will be a blessing to her parents, because as Mackenzie grows, they will be able to see the shadow of her little sister Hallie Joy. Every time they say her name, Hallie, they will be saying, “Praise the Lord,” and they will also know that their little girl was a joy to all who knew her, and to all who know of her. She will always be a Joy to her parents hearts whenever they think of her. A child has a deeper impact than just the ones who got to meet them. Her extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many more loved this little girl before we ever knew that she was a little girl. We knew Lindsay and Shannon were having a second baby and we were all excited about it. We couldn’t wait to meet this baby, and that has not changed. We are all looking forward to meeting Hallie, who is with the Lord, and yes, still praising Him right now. That is the beauty of Hallie’s current life. She has had the opportunity to meet her grandparents, cousin, and many others who have gone home before her. She has been held in the arms of our Lord Jesus, and she has seen the face of God. Her life is not sad. It is glorious, happy, and beautiful. She is perfect, not weak or sick, just perfect. That is the greatest physical part of Heaven. Of course, the truly greatest part is knowing God…knowing Jesus…knowing Holy Spirit, and being always happy. One day she will know her big sister, when the Moore girls are together in Heaven. They will have so much fun, laughing and playing. There are no tears in Heaven…just eternal joy!!

There are lots of people who enjoy people watching. It’s a source of entertainment for them. Many of us are that way, myself included, but it is not a pastime I ever associated with animals. Maybe I should have, but somehow, the idea never crossed my mind. Oh sure, we know that our pets watch us for clues about what is going to happen, such as is it time to go for a walk, or a ride in the car, or if they jump on our laps, will we pet them. That is not really people watching, but rather owner watching. There are other animals who like to watch people, however.

Yesterday, I read an article about the Lake Superior Zoo, in Duluth, Minnesota. That one caught my eye, because I was born in Superior, Wisconsin…just over the bridge from Duluth, but as I looked around the internet, I saw that the same situation is going on in many zoos. The animals miss the people who come to the zoo. I really never gave any thought to the idea of the zoo animals watching the people who are watching them, but the do. They are interested in the goings on of humans!! Shocking, but it’s true. I guess that it is more than just the humans who are adversely affected by the quarantines and shut-downs.

The zoo keepers are finding themselves being the entertainment for the animals, and it’s not just for something different to do, it’s necessary. Like people, the animals need mental stimulation to stay healthy. Many beings, especially those in zoos, have been locked up during this time. We have talked about the elderly people in nursing homes, or even in their own homes, who can’t have visitors, and how very lonely they have become. Sadly, the animals in the zoos feel the very same way, and until the shutdowns cease, there is little that can be done about it. The job of a zookeeper is an essential one, and it’s a good thing, or these animals would see no one. One of the zookeepers at the Lake Superior Zoo, Lizzy Larson said, “You guys as visitors are the main sources of entertainment for the animals at the zoo. As much as we like watching the animals through the glass or behind a fence, they also love watching us. We walk by, we do things. It’s really exciting for them to see us.” That is a strange thought for me, but I guess it makes sense. It makes me feel sad for them, because while we at least know the reasons for the closures, they don’t, they just know that no one is coming to see them.

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