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Veteran With PTSD Releases Special Book For Daughter, ‘Why is Dad So Mad?’

Sherry Rucherman

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Seth Kastle is an Army veteran who served for sixteen years in the military, spending much of his time overseas. Upon returning home, Kastle was a very different person. Despite having a job, a loving family, and all of the friends that he could ask for, things were still very different. For many soldiers, their return home is often the most jarring moment of their entire lives. What many soldiers end up dealing with, and suffering from, is something known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that tends to develop in response to stressful events or traumatizing experiences, such as those faced by most soldiers who go to war. Kastle is just like many other soldiers who return home with a new case of PTSD because he didn’t really even know what it was. Kastle said of his experience with the disorder, “I waited until it was too late. I didn’t even know what PTSD was.” 

For Kastle and his family, the fallout from PTSD can be downright devastating. Kastle was a different person, and his PTSD would cause him to push away those that he cared about. What’s worse, Kastle also suffered from angry outbursts which were exacerbated by the depression that sent him to drinking. Kastle says, “There have been a thousand times looking back where my wife should have left me.” Despite his struggles, Kastle’s family stayed close to help him work through his new and devastating disorder.

Kastle struggled to join any meaningful VA therapy groups because time slots were either always full or scheduled in such a way that he’d never have been able to attend. At the end of the day, things were looking very bleak. Eventually, and thankfully, Kastle was able to find a therapeutic resource that worked for him. Most PTSD resources help you to understand the topic on a medical level, but that medical level isn’t easy to translate to your young daughter, as was the problem with Kastle. To bridge the gap between the man he was and the man he became, Kastle needed a way to talk to his daughter about his problem.

To reach his young daughter, Kastle ended up writing down an experience that he had with PTSD. He filed the document away on his computer intending to leave it to rot. That is, until, a close friend of Kastle’s published their own book. Kastle was inspired to follow suit, but Kastle was going to take his story in a different direction.

When Kastle decided to write his own book, he knew exactly where to go. He pulled the story off of his computer and instantly began to translate it into a story that his daughter would understand. Kastle says, “There’s a section in the book where I describe the anger and things associated with PTSD as a fire inside my chest.”  When Kastle read this segment to his young daughter she replied, “I’m sorry you have a fire in your chest now, dad.” At the time, she was just four-years-old.

Kastle ended up publishing the children’s book under the title, ‘Why is Dad So Mad?’ The story featured a number of illustrations that featured animals in place of humans. With amazing artwork and palatable language, the book served as an instant bridge between father and daughter. Kastle says that his goal with the book is to erode the stigma that has developed around PTSD, to erase ‘warrior culture’ and to remove the concept of masculinity from dealing with the disorder.

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Life

Could There Be Answers to the Famed Peanut Allergy on the Horizon?

Mackenzie Freeman

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Peanuts are incredibly delicious as they permeate candy, condiments, snacks, and numerous other parts of the food industry. At the same time, peanuts also contribute to one of the most common food allergies on the face of the Earth. Those who are allergic to peanuts often have deadly allergies, known as anaphylaxis. This reaction can cause someone to stop breathing if they even simply inhale some of the dust associated with peanuts. As a result, many kids have to carry around an EpiPen that might be needed to save their life. Therefore, peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, peanut chocolate, and more can pose a serious health risk. Indeed, some kids will never know the delicious taste of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Some people might even be shocked to hear that peanuts can be found in potato chips, icing, and more! It is hard for people who have severe food allergies to have a normal life. Furthermore, peanut allergies have actually been becoming more common. Many schools have even banned peanuts to protect their students from harm. This is a drastic, but necessary, measure in the eyes of many people.

Now, there might be an answer for those who have been waiting for what seems like forever. Scientists from Australia have recently announced that they might have found an answer to this common problem. A team of researchers have been using a novel treatment method called immunotherapy to help children get over their allergies to peanuts. In this treatment option, patients are intentionally exposed to something that they have a serious reaction to. In this case, that item would be peanuts. Of course, this exposure takes place in a controlled setting to minimize the potential health risks that might come with an intentional allergic reaction.

When children in this experiment are exposed to peanuts, the immune system reacts. After all, this is the basis of an allergic reaction. Over time, the body is exposed to doses in higher and higher amounts. With the right treatment, the body learns to handle the reaction and the allergic reaction gradually subsides. This is called tolerance. Essentially, the body “gets used” to the peanuts. In this clinical trial, which lasted for 18 months, about four out of every five children who were involved in the trial had developed a tolerance to peanuts. Now, five years later, most of the kids who devleoped a tolerance are still eating peanuts to this day. This represents a breakthrough in the field of medicine that has the potential to help children all over the world who suffer from severe peanut allergies.

It can be exhausting for parents and children to go around constantly wondering if they are going to be exposed to peanuts that might lead to an allergic reaction. It can be hard to carry around an EpiPen every day. Now, there might be a way to get around this problem. At the same time, this is only one study. There is still a long way to go and parents should not go around giving their peanut-allergic children allergens to force a reaction. The next step is to try to replicate the results of this study on a larger scale. Then, this therapy needs to reach the open market to be distributed. At the same time, this study still represents a tremendous hope for those who suffer from allergies. If the results of this study can be replicated on a larger scale, it might provide a way to help people who suffer from food allergies.

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Life

Happiness Is: When the Kids Grow Up and Move Out of the House

Leslie Tander

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Research tells us that people with children are happier overall than single adults. Why? For a number of reasons, including:

  • Parents don’t have to worry about being alone.
  • Children are evidence of a legacy in this world, and they give parents a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
  • Parents are happier knowing that they have someone to take care of and provide for them in their old age.

However, according to Fartherly.com, the parent’s happiness that exceeds the happiness of single people won’t be realized until these parents become empty nesters, and the kids actually move out of the house. Parents have to daily practice delayed gratification and wait decades before their ultimate happiness blossoms.

But still, is it all worth it? Is sacrificing your youth for decades worth any measure of happiness you might experience later in life?

Yes, according to a study from The Daily Positive, where questions were asked of patients in a terminal palliative care unit. One of the top ten regrets that dying patients had was that of not having children. The research stated:

“With today’s modern thinking, kids may be viewed as inconveniences or hindrances to pursuing your goals. But keep in mind that your children will be the ones to show you love when you are old. They will also be the ones to whom you will entrust everything you’ve worked hard for after you’re gone.” (Top 10 Regrets When You’re Dying, Dale Partridge)

Geraldine had a difficult time raising six children as a single mom in Texas. She often worked multiple jobs while sewing on the side to make extra money. Life was difficult, but with a mind made up, every one of Geraldine’s children grew up, finished school, and made a life for themselves.

When all the children were out of the house, Geraldine began enjoying her life by traveling, modeling, and sewing for fun. On her 65th birthday, her three daughters took her to Hawaii. At the airport, Geraldine ran into Mrs. Phelps, an upstanding career woman in the community who had all the trapping of success, but no family.

Geraldine worked for Mrs. Phelps for over 15 years as her cleaning lady. Mrs. Phelps was in her late 60s, but the onset of Parkinson’s disease made her look 15 years older. When she saw Geraldine, Mrs. Phelps gave a convenient hello, but Geraldine’s energy and bubbly personality took over the conversation as she introduced her daughters and enthusiastically told Mrs. Phelps about going to Hawaii for her birthday.

“Wow, sounds like you’re going to have a great time,” Mrs. Phelps said longingly. “I don’t have any family. I never had kids.”

“While you were busy working, I was busy having babies,” Geraldine said. “Now my children are taking me on vacation for the time of my life. I thank God that I made the better choice.”

Geraldine’s story illustrates what researchers have told us: having children makes parents happier than singles later on in life when the kids move out of the house. The time invested in parenting makes the post empty nester season in life all worth it.

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Life

Dad Films Zoo Tiger Attacking & Getting Stopped

Leslie Tander

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When a boy goes to the zoo with his dad, especially under the age of 10, he typically expects to see big animals in cages, hear a lion roar, see walruses and seals, and watch elephants pick up things with their trunks. There might even be session watching chimps and gorillas move around from branch to branch. What he and his father do not expect or have on their mutual agenda is for junior to become the next snack target of a full-grown tiger.

Tigers are not dumb animals. They are exceptionally geared to hunt and take advantage of opportunity to keep themselves fed in the wild. Even in a zoo, where there wellbeing and food sources are taken care of, the instinct innate within a tiger’s mind is constantly operating and working. So, when 7-year-old Sean decided to stand in front of the containment window to the tiger’s den and his father was filming him, neither expected what happened next.

The father and son went to the Dublin zoo for the holidays as a good time off and bonding session opportunity. The personal camera filming starts off with Sean smiling to his dad while turning back quickly to look at the tiger in the far part of the den. The cat sees the boy and is already in motion moving forward but it freezes when the boy looks at the tiger. As soon as Sean turn around again to look at the camera, the tiger rockets forward with claws extended fully expecting to catch the boy and apply a killing bite on his back. It’s only at the very last second that the tiger senses that something is between it and the child, skidding to crash into the barrier wall that keeps the tiger contained. However, the thud into the clear wall and the clawed paws and teeth were enough to make Sean jump away for safety while his father filmed the entire event.

As far as Sean’s father is concerned, the social media verse is probably taking sides whether he kept his cool continuing the filming or whether he should have grabbed his son. Sean probably had a few nightmares the next night or two afterwards as well. Either way, the tiger attack was likely not going to be something either of them forgot anytime soon. And it’s probably likely Sean’s mother gave his father a good whacking on the back of the head for letting the boy anywhere that close to the tiger’s den in the first place, even with the obviously effective barrier for safety. Moms are like that.

For the rest of us, Sean’s furry friend at the zoo gives us all a good reminder that animals a fundamentally wild and remain that way. They don’t switch to Disney characters simply because they now live at a zoo. It’s something everyone should accept and understand clearly, but every year there’s a story of some knucklehead going into a cage or den to pet the animal because it seems so sedate and calm. It’s enough to make anyone wonder what would happen if “survival of the fittest” did apply to humans.

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