Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Community support lifting Gold Coast family dealing with baby Blake’s cancer diagnosis after 12x9cm tumour found

By Lauren Paris – Gold Coast Mum
A Gold Coast couple who recently received the heart-breaking news that their baby son has cancer, are blown away by the support being offered by the GC community.

The couple, from Upper Coomera, were told last month that their firstborn, Blake, has a 12cm x 9cm tumour in his abdomen.



The tiny tot, now 11-months-old has started chemotherapy – this week undergoing a gruelling 5 rounds – with treatment to continue for at least another 42 weeks.

The community is rallying behind Bake and his parents Kylie and Chris, with a fundraiser planned for this Thursday 9th June, 2016 in Burleigh Heads – organised by staff from the medical clinic that referred the family to hospital to have scans done.

Blake’s Mum Kylie Neal told Gold Coast Mum.com the tumour was diagnosed on May 6th.

“It was a normal morning at home when Blake was playing and pulled himself up to his activity table, then was suddenly hysterical! 
“He was crying and in a lot of pain. Due to him having reflux I initially thought he was having a flare up, or he is prone to wind. So I tried to help him using the usual techniques and nothing was helping. He cried like that for 20-30 solids minutes. Very unusual for him,” Kylie said.






“Then, his breathing changed, he wasn't breathing properly, he went pale, floppy, unresponsive. Like he was passing out. I called the ambulance and they came and checked his vital signs. By the time they had got there Blake's pain had passed and he was back to normal again.

"I then had an appointment with Shahn at Health 1st for Kids in Robina for that afternoon. We had seen Shahn before about my concerns with Blake's increasing pain/’reflux’ issues. She was concerned when I told her what had happened and wrote me a letter to go to the [Emergency Department] at Robina Hospital. 

"We went to the hospital and [during] the scans, they found a large 9cm x 12cm Rhabdomyosarcoma in Blake's abdomen. That episode he had that morning was due to pain from the massive tumour. We were told then and there to go to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.”

Kylie said she had seen countless GP's and child health nurses and had “paid to see a private paediatric gastroenterologist only one month prior to the tumour being found”.


“[I]was always fobbed off with the cause of his pain being ‘reflux’ and that he would grow out of it,” she said.

“If it weren't for my appointment with Shahn that day a few weeks ago we may not have found Blake's tumour when we did. I don't know how to thank you but just know that I'll always be eternally grateful,” Kylie wrote to Health 1st for Kids on the fundraiser Facebook page.

Shahn Horrocks Emergency/Paediatric NP and Co-director of Health 1st for Kids, who is arranging the fundraiser event, told Gold Coast Mum.com that on the day Blake was admitted to hospital, “he was a beautiful smiling baby boy who looked generally well but on this particular day when he presented we also knew something wasn't right”.





“I assessed Blake and on this history knew he needed imaging as I was considering either a surgical cause or intra-abdominal pathology so I sent him immediately to the local Emergency department for an ultrasound. 
It was then that the 9x12cm rhabdomyosacroma was found - he was then immediately transferred to Lady Cilento children's hospital where further testing confirmed the diagnosis of the malignant tumour. 
This was devastating for this beautiful young family. Blake is Kylie & Chris' only child, they are supported by family and close friends. The Health 1st for Kids Team are trying to help in any way we can.”

“Blake is bound for 42weeks of chemotherapy - almost the length of his little life. Prognosis of this particular tumour is good however a lot can happen in 42weeks and infections are a major concern. He has already had 1x admission for neutropenia and fevers needing treatment with antibiotics.

“We are hoping funds raised can help with travel expenses, accommodation in Brisbane and generally keeping themselves afloat. Dad has had to return back to work so Kylie will have to endure some chemo days by herself.”

Blake is 4 weeks in to his treatment plan of 42 weeks. And is being looked after by Dr Wayne Nicchols of the Oncology team at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

“Blake can have some of his chemo as an outpatient which allows us to come home some weeks. Although other chemo treatment requires us to stay in hospital – for example [this week] we are staying in for 5 days as he has chemo every day for 5 days,” Kylie said.

“Although, we have been told to expect his treatment to take a year. It is early days as yet. He has already had a biopsy, bone marrow aspiration from his hip, a port inserted into his chest as well as countless tests/scans and rounds of chemo therapy. His treatment will also require surgery to remove the tumour and radiation as well as chemo,” Kylie said.

Blake in happier times.


Kylie said it has been an extremely hard time for the family - emotionally, financially, and mentally.
“I was just about to go back to work in July. My maternity leave was finishing up, [and] has since ended so we are down to one income now. Chris has been able to take some time off work, so we've been able to go to the appointments together for now. His work have been really supportive but he won't always be able to come with us to Brisbane as he is supporting us financially,” Kylie said.

“I feel like the financial strain is just about to hit us now that my maternity pay has recently stopped. I am concerned how we are going to stay afloat on one income now with the added pressure of Blake's medical costs, petrol, food at the hospital, bills etc. financial stress along with the stress and anxiety we have about Blake being so sick is really taking its toll on us as we try to remain strong for Blake, some days it is very hard.”




“Girls Night Out for Blake”
Thursday 9th June, 2016
Justin Lane Pizzeria and Bar, Burleigh Heads.
Tickets: $60 (includes dinner, welcome drink on arrival and amazing luck door prizes/ raffles.)
All proceeds will go to Blake’s family to help them with the costs involved in Blake’s chemotherapy and care.

Event details/ to book:
07 5580 9603
reception@health1stforkids.com.au
(This is the correct email address as the one listed on the brochure is incorrect)

To donate (almost $8000 has been raised so far), please visit:
https://www.mycause.com.au/page/125922/blake-neal

 To follow Blake's journey, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/BlakesDiary



LET’S CONNECT:

Friday, 3 June 2016

Review: Indoor skydiving on the Gold Coast with iFly

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum





Have you ever been skydiving?
I haven’t. And I have no desire to do so either.

My husband and a bunch of his best mates jumped out of a plane in Sydney the DAY BEFORE our wedding day nine years ago. 

The day before? I know…right!?

It was supposed to take place as part of the Buck’s Weekend celebrations a few weeks before, but the weather wasn’t suitable so they had to postpone. And the only available date for all the guys to do it was the day before our wedding (as if we didn’t have enough to do. Oh and the fear of actually having my fiancĂ© survive and actually make it to the wedding in one piece).

So while jumping out of a plane has never been on my to do list (I’ll stick with Shotover Jet in Queenstown, New Zealand, climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, sea-canoeing through caves in Thailand and Italy, and abseiling down huge cliffs, among other exciting activities I have ticket off), the flying aspect is certainly something I was keen to experience.

So, recently I did something wild and crazy – but also safe and fabulous!
And best of all; had my 6-year-old daughter and my mother (aged in her early-fifties) take part.

We did INDOOR SKYDIVING! 

Right here in Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia – a new family-friendly Gold Coast activity by iFly (also available in Penrith, NSW).


Indoor Skydive Australia Group Limited (ISA Group) was founded by two ex-SAS soldiers to bring the joy of simulated flight to the region.

The specially constructed vertical wind tunnels include a flight chamber which allows individuals or groups to experience the free fall experience usually felt when skydiving  (and fly within the tunnel and perform aerobatic manoeuvres in a safe and controlled environment).
Indoor Skydiving facilities are used by tourists, enthusiast and the military (including the Australian Military) and active skydivers.

What a treat it was!
It was an awesome experience without putting your life on the line by jumping out of a plane.
It was as close to skydiving as I ever plan get!

After signing in, the instructor took us to a presentation room where we watched a short instruction video and practiced the hand signals we might need to know – for example if, during the ‘jump’, the instructor needs to tell you when to:
* Relax
* Bend your legs
* Straighten your legs
* Chin up




After getting suited up (complete with ear plugs, helmet and safety glasses), and getting some photos taken, we were taken over to the see-through cylinder where it all happens.

We were trying SO HARD to smile. The goggles made it difficult, lol.

Pic: Gold Coast Mum.com, iFly, indoor skydiving, skydiving gold coast, surfers paradise, things to do on gold coast when it's raining, family friendly gold coast, wet weather activities gold coast, birthday parties, hens night, bucks night, gold coast mum,
Seriously, we were trying SO HARD to smile, but the goggles made it difficult, lol.


Our family and friends and other spectators could easily watch and take photos.

Once in the chamber, we took a seat and then the instructor took me in to start my turn.

To be honest, I was absolutely crapping myself but put on a brave face as Miss 6 was watching on and I didn’t want her to be deterred at all.
Once I entered the wind tunnel, with the instructor holding on to me at all times, I was off and racing.
For 50 seconds, I got to experience the thrill of free-falling!


Pic: Gold Coast Mum.com, iFly, indoor skydiving, skydiving gold coast, surfers paradise, things to do on gold coast when it's raining, family friendly gold coast, wet weather activities gold coast, birthday parties, hens night, bucks night, gold coast mum,


The kids were watching through the see-through cylinder and I was pulling faces/ intentionally opening my mouth so they could laugh at my cheeks blubbering in the wind (and drool leaking out, lol).



I was pulling faces/ intentionally opening my mouth so the kids could laugh at my cheeks blubbering in the wind (and drool leaking out, lol).

After my thrilling ride, it was my Mum’s turn.

I was in hysterics! Mum had always wanted to sky dive, but hasn’t yet, so was super excited to be able to try out indoor skydiving with iFly.




Miss 6 and I were laughing as was ‘Nan’ who was having a great time.

It was then Miss 6’s turn.
She was hesitant at first so the kind instructor guided her into the wind tunnel to show her how safe it was and familiarise her with the surroundings. 

As he did that, the control operator – who sits just outside of the wind tunnel, but within the cylinder – applied the wind pressure so Miss 6 could gently ease into the experience.

Soon, she was comfortable and she was experiencing the full free-falling experience.

Offering Miss 6 encouragement and the thumbs up for being such a daredevil.



When her 50 second ride was finished, she came out of the wind tunnel excited and proud that she had done it and was looking forward to her second turn.



Pic: Gold Coast Mum.com, iFly, indoor skydiving, skydiving gold coast, surfers paradise, things to do on gold coast when it's raining, family friendly gold coast, wet weather activities gold coast, birthday parties, hens night, bucks night, gold coast mum,






Then we went around again. I had my second 50-second turn, then Mum, then Miss 6.

As our confidence grew, we spent more time free-falling (and where needed, the instructor could hold on to us - even just our shoe if needed - to help direct us/ ensure we didn’t face plant the sides).

The staff were all fantastic – super helpful and kind. 
Our instructor was so friendly and super patient – especially responding to questions like this from my Mum:
“What happens if there’s a power outage while I’m in there? Will I suddenly crash to the ground and fall through the grate like mince in a mincer?” ;-)
The easy and high-tech check-in was impressive (legal documents regarding safety etc at check in.)

When we had completed our 'flights' we headed back to the counter to return our suits and equipment (goggles etc).
We viewed the professional videos of our experience on large screen TVs and also got to check out all of the professional photos available for purchase.




It was a good giggle watching ourselves on the screens and re-living the moments.






Indoor skydiving is an experience I would definitely recommend!

According to iFly, people aged from 3- 103 can take part!

My Nanna recently turned 80 and we suggested she might like to do it to celebrate this birthday milestone, but she needs a bit more convincing, lol. ;-)



iFly is a fabulous addition to the Gold Coast – especially family-friendly indoor activities for tourists, locals and even something to keep teenagers entertained and engaged.  
iFly also does birthday party packages.
This is also a cool option if you ever need something to do on a rainy day on the Gold Coast, or a way to entertain visitors from out of town!


We did the beginner package ($99 per person for two 50 second rides) but there are other packages where you can let loose and fly higher up within the cylinder and do all sorts of amazing tricks.

The wind tunnel can be seen from street level, so it’s a hoot watching other people taking part!
If you're visiting Surfers Paradise, be sure to check it out! 


Pic: Gold Coast Mum.com, iFly, indoor skydiving, skydiving gold coast, surfers paradise, things to do on gold coast when it's raining, family friendly gold coast, wet weather activities gold coast, birthday parties, hens night, bucks night, gold coast mum,




Video: Look what we just did!

Would you try indoor skydiving?

Disclaimer: Gold Coast Mum was a guest of iFly for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

LET'S CONNECT:
www.facebook.com/goldcoastmum

www.instagram.com/goldcoastmumblog

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Is it REALLY OK to leave a baby to “Cry-it-out”? How to get your baby to sleep

By Lauren Paris

Block your ears peeps or stock up on ear plugs.
For it seems we’re about to be hit with an influx of screaming babies, left to cry on their own, in their cots, while parents happily ignore them.


Media outlets around the world are publishing headlines such as:

“It's OK to let your baby cry himself to sleep, study finds”
 
“New research says 'Cry It Out' baby sleep method doesn't harm babies”

“Parents Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Training Babies to Sleep”
 

Media outlets are claiming ‘Cry-it-out’ is OK; that letting your precious baby cry itself to sleep causes no harm, after the American Pediatrics journal published results of decade-long Flinders University research.


“Dr Gradisar said the 43 participants were retested for salivary cortisol 12 months later, and again researchers couldn’t find any harmful effects on children’s behaviour or emotions,” according to Adelaide Now.

“He said that mothers of children who didn’t sleep well were at a two-times greater risk of developing maternal depression, and improving sleep through controlled crying could actually outweigh the stress some parents felt when conducting the method.

Precious babies. Love, cherish, respond to.

“While Dr Gradisar advocated ‘bedtime fading’ as a gentler sleep method, he said controlled crying should definitely be available for parents.

“Dr Gradisar said more research was now needed to see if the results could be replicated and parents could further rest easy.”

Such studies are fascinating for parents. The research findings are very interesting/ good to know.

I can understand why and how Controlled Crying may work for some, however, my real concern here is the media’s focus on “cry-it-out” instead of “controlled crying” and that the research relates to babies and toddlers aged from 6-16 months. Not younger than 6 months.

There’s a HUGE difference. 

Consider how many sleep deprived mums are now seeing headlines pop up in their news feeds suggesting it’s OK to just leave their babies to scream until they pass out from exhaustion, with their needs unmet. Well, that really doesn’t sit well with me.

CIO = leaving bubs to cry themselves to sleep to enforce a strict routine (when baby could be crying due to hunger/ wind/ wet nappy).

CC = parent checks on bub at intervals, for example, 1 min, 2 min, 5 min, 8 min to reassure them and then starts process again.

Even the researcher in charge of the study (Dr Gradisar) advocated “bedtime fading” as a gentler sleep method. NOT CIO!


Image: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelLeunigAppreciationPage 



It’s a shame that many people are encouraged to program their babies, these precious little humans, into becoming robots who feed and sleep at set times.
Instead of, I don’t know… FOLLOWING their needs, responding to their communication – which is in the form of crying because they can’t talk yet - and watching for their tired signs so they can tell YOU when they’re ready for sleep!

 If they’re crying, it’s usually because they’re wet, dirty, hungry, thirsty, or in need of some affection. 






What if I told you, you CAN have your baby sleeping well using a GENTLE approach!?
It worked for us. We had our second child sleeping through from around 4/5 months old (and was still demand breastfed in awake times) and our twins from 5 months (they were also demand-tandem breastfed).
No leaving babies to scream. Ever.

Breastfed to sleep and happily/gently transitioned into self-settling in their cots so they could sleep through from 5 months.




“Bedtime fading is the more preferred technique parents choose when provided both options. … It’s a gentle technique that works quickly,” Gradisar told Fox13Now adding that the university’s website has instructions on how to carry out both sleep training methods.

What’s more, the study offers an alternative to letting babies cry it out.Dr Gradisar advocates a gentle approach, however the media are running with the ‘let your babies cry’ line without any concern regarding the huge impact this will have on many mothers around the world, who are already vulnerable in their sleep-deprived haze, and may not realise the age range (the huge impact CIO or CC could have on babies younger than 6 months!) and the differences between CIO and CC.

In her book ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ (extract on http://www.kidspot.com.au/baby/baby-care/baby-sleep-and-settling/the-con-of-controlled-crying) author Pinky McKay, an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) specializing in gentle parenting techniques said controlled crying and other similar regimes may indeed work to produce a self-soothing, solitary sleeping infant. 

However, the trade-off could be an anxious, clingy or hyper-vigilant child or even worse, a child whose trust is broken.

“In teaching a baby to fall asleep alone, it is due to a process that neurobiologist Bruce Perry calls the ‘defeat response’. Normally, when humans feel threatened, our bodies flood with stress hormones and we go into ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. 
However, babies can’t fight and they can’t flee, so they communicate their distress by crying. 
When infant cries are ignored, this trauma elicits a ‘freeze’ or ‘defeat’ response. Babies eventually abandon their crying as the nervous system shuts down the emotional pain and the striving to reach out,” Pinky’s book says.

“One explanation for the success of ‘crying it out’ is that when an infant’s defeat response is triggered often enough, the child will become habituated to this. That is, each time the child is left to cry, he ‘switches’ more quickly to this response. 
This is why babies may cry for say, an hour the first night, twenty minutes the following night and fall asleep almost immediately on the third night (if you are ‘lucky’). 
They are ‘switching off’ (and sleeping) more quickly, not learning a legitimate skill.”

Sleepy cherubs.




A parenting educator I am friends with raised a valid point:
“Who benefits from CIO system? Yes, sleep training practitioners. 
And what other impact is there? CIO is not conducive with a strong breastfeeding relationship; so who would benefit if breastfeeding is interrupted? Just saying? Why the push all of a sudden with lots of publicity?”

Apparently the real winners here are formula companies and sleep trainers such as one who advocates leaving your baby to cry even if it vomits.

To the rest of the mothers struggling to digest this new information that goes completely against your natural instincts, I say, follow your gut and respond to that baby a thousand times.

Love them, hug them, cherish them, nourish them and reassure them.

This ‘sleep deprived’ state won’t last forever, there ARE alternatives to CIO or CC (you can have your babies sleeping well by using gentle techniques I used on my own babies).

(We started putting our bubs down if they were drifting off to sleep during a feed. Soon they were able to happily self settle and could peacefully transition through sleep cycles without the need for a ‘sleep association’ - such as breast or bottle - and could sleep through. 
Though they do suck their finger/ thumb.)


Go to your baby, love your baby, comfort your baby. They're not babies for long.




My happy twincesses were able to sleep through using a gentle approach.






What are YOUR thoughts?


Lauren Paris is a multi-award-winning journalist and former magazine editor who juggles working as a business consultant/ social media manager/content producer/ parenting coach and breastfeeding educator as well as life as a mum to her 4 young children (including 2-year-old twins who were happily demand-tandem breastfed until their 2nd birthday and were HAPPILY sleeping 10 hours each night by 5 months old using a GENTLE approach).Lauren helps women achieve their goals in business/career and parenting at: www.instagram.com/the_mummymentor       www.facebook.com/themummymentor
And blogs at www.goldcoastmum.com    www.facebook.com/goldcoastmum 

Get in touch for support with your breastfeeding journey or for tips on helping your baby sleep through the night using a gentle approach.
Email: lauren@themummymentor.com.au


FROM THE GOLD COAST MUM ARCHIVES:

Breastfeeding twins - Celebrating 2 years!


Personal best - 18 months of breastfeeding twins


What helps my twins sleep through the night?


Creating a rod for your own back...what's so wrong with feeding your bub to sleep?


This is how we do. How we became accidental cosleepers




Thursday, 19 May 2016

Secret garden: Great Gold Coast park - RACV Royal Pines Resort

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

My family and I have been visiting the fenced children's play park within the RACV Royal Pines Resort in Benowa for a few years now - and we LOVE it!

We were there visiting friends who were staying at the resort yesterday.
After sharing a pic on the Gold Coast Mum Facebook and Instagram accounts, there was a great response so I thought I'd share more details and pics here.





We regularly have friends and family members visiting the Gold Coast and they choose to stay at the Resort due to the fab location and facilities (multiple restaurants, golf, 5-star day spa, gym and more - all of which we have been fortunate enough to enjoy on multiple occasions).

(Before we moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney, and before we had kids, I visited the Resort for work events. 
When I was a magazine editor, I was flown up a couple of years in a row to attend a Women's Tennis Tournament held at the resort - and it was a great chance to also visit my family who moved up here around 10 years ago.)

During our second year of living on the Gold Coast (while we were figuring out where we wanted to live permanently), we rented a home within the Royal Pines Estate for 12 months  - which was fab as we could hear/ see the Metricon Stadium and could hear/see fireworks when special events were being held.
It was a beautiful community and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
The fenced park is a huge hit with my kids - all aged 6 and under 6.
And, best of all, it's somewhere I can actually relax a tiny bit and engage in conversation, knowing the kids are safe.

There's climbing equipment, slide, swings, bouncy things and, a jumping pillow!




The park area features picnic tables and plenty of space to set up a picnic rug.
The kids love running up and down the pathway surrounded by the gorgeous landscaped gardens.

For toilet breaks, you walk back into the resort. 
I always ensure we leave the restrooms looking clean and tidy for the comfort of other resort guests (eg my way of thinking is I don't want conference delegates or golfers to get annoyed by kids throwing paper towel everywhere - which can sometimes happen with my 4, so I make a point of keeping tidy).

Off one of the Resort's restaurants and terrace area (where we've also enjoyed lunch/celebrated birthdays before) is the pool area.There are slippery dips and 'beach' areas as well as plenty of deck chairs to relax and unwind.
The new aqua zone for kids looks fabulous!
New water features and water slides, and secure little zones where parents can put their feet up while little ones can play right near them under their supervision.

(I can totally picture myself there - cocktail in hand! OMG, paradise, take me therrrrrre! Who needs a holiday when a 'nearcation' is calling my name?!)

 Mr 4 enjoyed checking out the water play equipment.









Perfect place for kids to frolick!

  Mr 4 REEEALLLY wanted to spend some time enjoying the facilities.

This little zone looked perfect for toddlers and parents to enjoy.
Glass fencing help to enclose the area so little ones can't run off - though it's not completely cut off from the other areas, so there's still opportunity for little ones to 'escape' and/or for bigger kids to come back and forth between enjoying the bigger kids' area/ water slides.





The main pool and Terrace area.

There are signs at the park indicating it is for the enjoyment of guests only, however, the park can be hired for functions and the public is welcome to dine at the restaurants etc.

It's also handy to grab a coffee or drink/snacks etc from the Golfer's kiosk/cafe and take to the park as outside food isn't permitted.

To get to the park:
* Park under the resort.
* Lift up to reception area.
* Walk past reception/gym and get lift down to ground level.
* Exit lift and follow signs/ walk way outside to the children's play park. Stairs and ramp walk way available, so suitable for prams/ wheelchairs.

Location: RACV Royal Pines Resort, Benowa (off Ross St, Ashmore/ Benowa/ Ashmore Rd/ Currumburra Rd round-about. Near the new Coles and Benowa Village Shopping Centre).

PS: This post totally isn't sponsored. Just wanted to share a fab place my family, friends and I love!

(I'm looking forward to spending some time at the Resort in September for the ProBlogger 2016 Conference - where hundreds of bloggers from all over Australia (and some international guests) will congregate to immerse ourselves in all things blogging, social media and more!)

Have you been there before?
Do you have any special parks/places on the Gold Coast for families/ kids to enjoy?


LET'S CONNECT:

www.facebook.com/goldcoastmum

www.instagram.com/goldcoastmumblog

JOIN THE GROUP:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/goldcoastmum









Other things to do on the Gold Coast:
Day trip to Gold Coast's Love Heart Waterfall - Killarney Glen
http://www.goldcoastmum.com/2016/01/gold-coast-day-trip-love-heart-water.html

Top 5 child-friendly Gold Coast suburbs
http://www.goldcoastmum.com/2014/11/top-5-child-friendly-gold-coast-suburbs.html