Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Day of Surgery Post


journal date: April 30, 2016

Wow. April is over.
I can't believe that just 2 short months ago I was given the cancer diagnosis
and now...
it's gone.

2 months is not a long time, yet, it seems like I have wrestled with cancer and all that comes with it for a lifetime.

I've looked death in the face and realized it does not scare me.
We've asked ourselves some tough questions and come to some even tougher answers.
We've seen and outpouring of love and friendship like never before.
Older women have become mentors
and I've realized how little I know,
how much I've learned
and how big and loving my God is.

I've faced a lack of self-control and fear head on -
I've been brave in ways I didn't know I needed to be brave in.

I've learned that truly no matter what we go through there is no need for resentment,
condemnation,
anger or fear.
Those things will rob us of peace,
and of joy, they will steal precious moments and lie to us.

I've learned memorizing Scripture is more valuable than anything money can buy and nurses can say.

**********

So on a personal level here is how the day of my surgery went.

We arrived at hospital and I was taken back to prep area #7
There a lady from NH, who's uncle lives on S. Main Street in my hometown took my vitals and we shared Steven Tyler stories.

The nurse then came in and handed me a cocktail of pills in a small cup and went over some paperwork and had me sign some more consent papers.

I then changed into my hospital gown, was asked what the doctor would be doing today and my right side shoulder was marked; then I was given the biggest, most painful IV I have ever received.
"I am feeling lightheaded" I told her as she worked at getting this monstrosity into my hand.
I closed my eyes and recited Psalm 103 in my head;
especially the verse that says "as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him"
I was lightheaded and in pain but I was so settled knowing my God, the Creator of the Universe has compassion on me, just as I had compassion on Justin the night before as Steve and I helped him work through a tough life situation he was facing.
Wow God I thought, how much you love me!!

Apparently the nurse finally looked up at me and said "wow, I'm going to tilt your head back, you're as white as typing paper"--
once the IV was in she gave me some fluids to hydrate me as she asked:
"Do you eat all organic?" Yes
"Do you drink lots of water?" Yes
"Do you take any medications?" No
"That's what I figured" she said "Your poor little body doesn't like all we've just given it, plus you're probably getting dehydrated"

Once I was back to flesh color she called in Steve and 3 of my friends who had come to pray over me.
Eventually I ended up with 2 warm blankets, those heated blankets really are the bomb and I was feeling like myself again.

At last I was being wheeled upstairs to pre-op, a sassy transporter pushing me with Steve at my side. We posed for some SnapChat pics and then I experienced my first pre-op.


Every person who is going to be tending you comes in asks your name and birthday, explains their duties and if you have any questions. The anesthesiologist and then his nurse, the surgical nurse and then my doctor.

My doctor.
I think, no, I know you must have a doctor you believe in and who believes in you. I had been praying for her and she that morning for me. She marked my surgery side again and then she was gone.

I said goodbye to Steve as we parted ways in the hallway and I was wheeled through the surgery doors and into a room,
cold and metal,
shiny and sterile,
just like tv.

I was moved to a skinny morgue like table and covered again with another warm blanket. Two surgical techs were busy prepping as my arm lay out on a small thin table extending out to my side.
I was given a mask to breathe some sleepy medicine through.
"You're arm may feel a little warmth" the nurse anesthetist said as I felt the worse pain inside my body than any other pain I had experienced.
"Warm." I said "this is the worst pain ever"
"You'll be falling asleep soon" they said
Deep breathe
Deep breathe
Deep breathe

Then I woke up.
On a real size bed.
In a different room.

I slowly began to awake and talk.
Those poor doctors and nurses, to have me ramble.

After a short period of time I was wheeled back downstairs, everyone impressed with my quick alertness.

Never underestimate a redhead, a Yankee, a mom, me.

Steve and my mom joined me back in my original #7 room.
My IV was removed, I put on pants was given water!!
Yeah water!!
Could someone have at least done something with my hair!!

Then I was wheeled out to the car and after dropping my prescription I was safe and sound in my own bed.

Justin arrived moments later with Chick-Fil-A.
Grilled nuggets
Waffle fries
Diet lemonade
--nothing on my approved diet list, but everything on my empty stomach, haven't had Chick-Fil-A in months list--

I felt great!
A little woozy,
but great.
A few hours later Steve brought Illana over and we read books and talked in my bed.
Joliene and Aubry showed up, the girls played and I visited with Jo.
They left and Vaughan, Sarah and the boys came over
My heart was full.
Over joyed.

Then I hit the sack
And it was over.
I went to bed cancer free.

I know they say technically you need to be 5 years without cancer to be considered cancer free
but somehow
I feel like with the tumor gone and clear lymph nodes
I am cancer free.

I am cancer free.

So that is the day of my lumpectomy,
a day I want to remember the details of.
Remember because God is in the details,
of the nurse from NH,
the sassiness of the transporter,
teh specific people who showed up,
and didn't,
the belief of the doctor
and the peace in the storm that very easily could have swept me under.

No matter what you're facing,
no matter the size of the wave,
big or small,
know that God loves you and cares.
He is in the details, even when we think he just can't be in the details.
He is.

In those details He is doing something new.
In you, around you and through you.
Hold tight friend.

I'm not sure about tomorrow but I know this:
Thus Far the Lord has helped us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Results of MRI and More


A drawbridge, it can make you anxious or relax you, you chose. #NSBnorthcasueway

*because I love my readers... recipe link at bottom*

So the MRI results are in and while I was believing for a
"wow, you have no tumor!" response
that's not what I got.
Instead it was good news, there is only the one tumor,
in the one breast, nothing more visable.

I never know what terminology to use at the doctors,
I call it a breast, beacuse that's what they call it,
but really to me, it's my boob...


So I have scheduled a lumpectomy for the 27th of this month;
however I am still praying and asking God to
disolve this tumor to nothing or below .5cm.


It was the prophet Isaiah who said,
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."


I am being healed from so much more than this cancer.
I am finding healing in inner emotions of resentment, bitterness, judgement and more.

I believe that I am already healed.

I think the big question people have for me now is "What are you doing for treatment?"


I have been a little more quiet about this as it is not traditional.
I am, as of now, not jumping into radiation then chemo.

Cancer is individual.

When a person gets diagnosed there is no way for anyone else to know exactly how they are feeling and what is best for them.
It's truly individual.

I've only had 2 "negative" expereinces so far;
the first was when it was said to me that people would "judge me" for having cancer.
Until that was said I would have never imagined that others would judge me, or anyone, for having cancer; 

Why would someone do that? 
I guess one reason is we want to know what that person did wrong to get cancer so we can do the right thing and not get it.

Even with all my new found education on cancer I can not take God's hand out of it.
Sometimes things happen.
Sometimes healthy people get cancer, or a cold. 
Good things happen to bad people 
and bad things happen to good people.
Sometimes a child falls out of a tree, lands on their arm and breaks it;
other time a child falls out of tree, lands on their arm and walk away a little bruised.

Not saying actions don't have consequences, but I am saying that God wrote my days long before my blip on the screen of planet earth came about.
For whatever reason He wrote cancer on these few pages of my book of life.
The book of Psalms says "all my days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be."

I have peace in that truth.


My life has come to this -- photos to gain info for my oragnic food spreadsheet -- I wanna get the best deal people!


The second negative expereince was when someone critized me for not acting quickly and not doing what the doctors recommended.
Trust me I have done what the doctors have recommended so far
and no I have not acted as quickly as others have and that's okay.
It's individual, personal
and I had alot of educating to do.

I wasn't going to jump into something I knew little about because someome said I should.
That's not me. I tend to jump into things quickly that people say I shouldn't do... but that's another blog post. {wink}


So, with the knowledge that I have right now I am praying and taking steps forward toward a holistic, natural treatment plan.



I have radically changed my eating habits,
I have been educating myself on my specific cancer type, my personal lifestyle and the inner workings of how this tumor was formed and have been researching along with an amazing woman named Crystal; my holistic doctor, what natural and herbal options are out there.

My brain hurts.
For now that is where I am at.


This journey is already amazing and while I am not quite sure I am thankful for it,
somewhere, 

deep down perhaps
I am thankful for the opportunity to press in closer in my faith.To grow spiritually.
To love deeper,
live more
and practice being at peace having joy each step of the way... notice I said practice...

For those that know me and my heart about this, you get it, or at least get me.
For those that don't really know me or can't really understand why, be assured I am not walking into this blindly.
I have done tons of research,
met and spoken with lots of people who have chosen this path before me
and
for now, 
this is what I believe God would have me do.

Resting in the peace that was brought on me, on us, because of the punishment Christ received, that punishment that lead to my healing.


The holistic approach... I am sure I'll share more,
until then 
may you rest in the peace given to you,
on this exact day of your life.

XOXO friends,
 

Cauliflower Fried Rice




I have become addicted to caluiflower rice,
I have used this recipe and it's wonderfully yummy,
I leave out the braggs or any soy sauce and it's still delicious!!

Let me know if you make cauliflower rice and anything yummy you make with it

Friday, April 08, 2016

MRI Thoughts...

Wednesday I had my MRI,which I am believing will show no sign of tumor or cancer. 


If you've never had an MRI before let me tell you a few things and some tips about an MRI.

 #1: you get to go into one of those tubes 

...for those of you who are claustrophobic, as I once was, your best bet is to close your eyes and recite scripture over and over again, thinking on the truths of the words and relaxing in the peace of them.
I chose Psalm 103 a chapter I memorized in 2007 and the first 6 or so verses came back quickly and they really entertained my thoughts for the 30 minutes I was in the tube.

 #2: you get an IV 

 Yuk, I could have done without a needle in my arm, but it is what it is and again if you have issues just don't look.
Mind over matter.

#3: close you eyes. 

why would you not?
as soon as you lay down, close them and relax.

and lastly...

 #4: do not pay close attention to the actual room or the machine on the way in, 

...that way while you are in the tube you may imagine the scene outside you like some sort of movie or book.
You pick.
I chose a comic book,
you know like Captain America.

I envisioned all these sceintists around me, some with lab coats and clip boards, others in suits and a few miliary guys and girls as well. While most stood close by, I knew someone was watching from behind tinted windows.
I imagined somewhere in the room there was a machine made by Stark Eterprises and some glasses wearing, newsy-type, internet hacking, blogger kid was filming on his handheld recorder.
Then when you are all done with the MRI you can look around and see the reality of the room and be surprised, or diappointed; it's probably very hospital looking and instead of lots of cool tinted windows it will be one window with a cheap, plastic mini blind. Sure the guy sounded cool on the loud speaker but the reality is he is some 20 year old in scrubs wondering when lunch break is.

But imagine whatever you want, it helps pass the time,
and keeps your imagination alive!!

 Now a little more on why I believe in no tumor.
The more I read and think and mediate on the Lord of God, the more I see how miraculous He is.
The more I see that as a child of God I have access to the heavenly realms.

Elijah prayed for no rain and it didn't rain for 3 years!
Elisha prayed for the enemies to be blinded and they were.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus healed the blind with a touch, a word, dirt.
Jesus healed face to face, he healed at a distance.
Jesus healed a women when she touched his cloak and Elisha was so full of the Spirit of God that even his dead bones brought a man back to life.

See, here's the deal people. I don't know what you believe, but I believe in the God of the Bible. 

Creator God who made me and loves me and wants good for me.
The Word of God says He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow so why would this God of helaing and miracles NOT heal and perform miracles right here, right now.

 Healing has already happened in my life and healing is coming.
Miracles have happened in my life already and miracles are coming.

So believe with me.
Whatever you are facing,
whatever it would be;
an unsettled marriage,
a tough child,
health issues,
uncertain work enviroment,
or perhaps your role here onthis planet earth.
Believe with me.
Have the faith of a mustard seed that this mountain is moved, in Jesus name!!

 And yes, I know that God doesn't always work in the ways we desire and have faith in and I am ready to accept whatever He has for me,
for now I am believeing as my 4-year-old prays, "for the cancer to be gone before the bump comes out"

 I'll be back next week with update from surgeon...
 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Update After Seeing All Doctors

So my week of meeting with doctors has come to a close.

Here is the basic run down of my cancer.
I have stage 2, invasive ductal carcinoma.
It is estrogen and progesterone positive and Her2 negative; which they say are good.

Right now I have 3 main doctors I am dealing with.
My surgeon,
my holistic doctor and
my oncologist.

Lots of time with this guy in a waiting room, or me in a hospital gown

I like all of them, probably the most nerve racking part of this whole journey so far was chocing them.

We have been successful in making them all laugh within 3 minutes of meeting us.
If you've ever spent any time with Steve you understand this.

Due to the stage 2 and size of my tumor all three doctors agree surgery is headed my way.

Next up: I will have an MRI on Wednesday and then from there we will see if I have the one tumor or if more tumors are hiding out in there, I' thinking not, I mean small boobs don't allow for much hiding space... but ya never know.
After all their poking and proding they don't seem to think I have any more and my lymph nodes do not feel swollen, so from an outside perspective it's looking good, however an MRI is smart.

And I like to do smart things, kind of. Watching tv is not smart and I like that, but I regress.

After the MRI we will see the results and if I only have the one tumor then I can chose a lumpectomy or a mascetomy; as of now I will chose the lumpectomy. If more than one tumor then the oncologist would recommend a mascetomy... I will most likely go with that recommendation.

Today I start on some Traditional Chinese Medicines and I had already started on a vegan diet within days of hearing my cancer diagnosis. This website Chris Beat Cancer has been a wealth of knowledge for me. The holistic doctor has helped me tweak my vegan diet to include fresh, local or flash-frozen fish and eggs!
Glory!
I can have eggs, and fish.
No soy, pretty much no grains and for now a stricter fruit and veggie intake, limiting sugars that I may in a few years be able to introduce back into my diet.
Fresh squeezed Florida OJ is a no, no -- so please drink some for me.
But as a friend told me, focus on what I CAN HAVE!!

My oncologist just smiled at me as I shared a little of this holistic info and he said, "one step at a time." I shared how I am above all praying and having faith that God is going to shrink my tumor to under .5cm (the size he would not recommend chemo) and he thinks I am right on to believe God for big things, then he wanted to bet me on it.
I don't bet.

All three of my doctors have said "good idea" to the Juice Plus capsules I have been taking since November.
That made me smile.
They all agree that Juice Plus really gives my cells the flooding of fresh fruits and veggies without having to eat or juice mass amounts, and they have no sugar.

Juicing. I have been juicing about every other day and trying to get 2-3 glasses in a day, juicing is expensive and takes work but I am happy with my commitment in this area, so far.

God is really giving me strength and peace in alot of areas.

I have been making a yummy "energy ball" recipe and got the okay from the dietitian to continue making it with 1 substitution, see recipe below.

Speaking of recipes, I have some super yummy recipes I'd like to share with you all, however most of them can be found on my Pinterest Page "Winning" so for now check that out.

Winning is also the name of my cancer binder.
Apparently when you get cancer you get a binder and a notebook.
Since I already had a love for both items it was easy for me to assimilate into this part of the journey.

So that's the latest.
Stage 2
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Faith that this tumor with shrink,
faith that lumpectomy with produce clear margins,
faith that all cancer will be gone from my body.

My faith in in Christ.
 

Meditating on the words pf the Psalmist:
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me! 


Energy Balls


~ 1/2 c. flax seed (you can also use flax seed meal)
~ 3/4 c. peanut butter (or any nut butter) I use almond butter but may switch to Tahini butter for no sugar
~ 1 c. oatmeal
~ 1/2 c. unsweet coconut, shredded works best
~ 1/3 c. or less raw honey
~ 1/2 c. Chocolate chips, mini work best; I use none or Cacao Nibs
~ 1/4 c. chia seeds

mix all together and form into bite size balls, store in sealed container in fridge and enjoy!
*I use all orgainc items and find they taste yummy without the chocolate


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