Mixed Emotions

It seems like just yesterday that I talked with my Aunt Sue.  Today it will be 17 days since she passed and I still cannot wrap my head around it.  We spoke on the phone frequently, and in our conversations we talked about family but mostly about our cancer.  We had both been diagnosed with breast cancer (at different times) and although there were similarities in our journeys, there were also differences as every person has a unique relationship with this ‘meanie’.  I am going to miss our conversations but I made a decision.  My beautiful Aunt has left this life for somewhere greater so I can honor her by being the best I can be until I see her again.  This picture was taken a few years ago when my Aunt Patsy and I visited her in California.  Aunt Sue is on the left, Aunt Patsy in the middle and me on the right.  Sue patsy me

When it comes to battling, we must be at our best and lately I have been slacking having more carbohydrates than usual as well as more fruity, sugar-ridden cocktails.  Anyway, I decided it was time to get back on track.   It is astounding how one small step in the wrong direction can get a person totally detoured.  This past week I picked up a book written by Vani Hari called, The Food Babe Way which focuses on the food we eat and exactly what in it including GMO’s, antibiotics, preservatives and lotsa other gross stuff.  Vani is an advocate for all of us, fighting for us and fighting for us to be able to trust in the foods we purchase.  At first I thought it was food babe waygoing to mean getting rid of a lot of what was in the pantry but turns out I am doing a pretty darn good job at deciphering food labels.  Very few of the items in the pantry failed.  This morning and started planning my strategy and I think its going to be easier than I thought.  There are so many great resources out there.   A few that I have found useful are:

It is frustrating and disappointing that we as consumer must fight our way through the sea of processed food in order to find the products that are actually safe to put in our bodies.  As of right now I am starting Chapter 3 and have been unable to stop reading for very long.  Of course, I always investigate further and find out if the information is the same across the board….check and double check. We can never have too much information about the foods we eat.

This week I am attending a seminar/interactive class for people with cancer that covers nutrition, fitness, skin care and lots of other fun stuff so a post is coming regarding that.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.  🙂

 

Baths Give Me Cold Feet

relaxing bathA week or so ago, a fellow blogger shared a story that inspired me to write this post.  The subject was ‘baths’.  Now, in my family that term is used generally which could mean a shower or a tub bath.  In this particular instance I am referring to the tub bath, the kind of bath that most people find relaxing.

The truth is….baths make me tense.  This has not always been the case.  As a kid I loved them, but then again Mama threw my sister and me in together and we played, which is entirely different.

I am, however, in love with the IDEA of a bath.  Soaking in hot steaming water with fragrant bubbles.  Zen music playing, a candle and perhaps a glass of bubbly.  The IDEA sells itself to me, but then…..

I remember what makes baths so stressful.

First, the tub must be thoroughly cleaned because after all, this is where our feet are when we take our normal showers.

Then, all the extras need to be gathered and assembled, the music, a candle, champagne.

After filling the tub with water and adding bubbles, an overwhelming feeling of guilt encompasses me.  That is a lot of water.  In other parts of the world, water is in short supply and here I am filling a tub so I can soak.  That starts the whole ball rolling downhill.

frog bathOk, in the tub…….being 5’8″ I cannot manage to get every inch of me submerged.  I have two choices, knees or feet, one must be sacrificed to keep the other out of the water.  That means one or the other is going to be cold.

For a brief second (really brief) I feel relaxed, and then……

What do I do now, just lay here.  My mind whirls like a kaleidoscope going from one subject to another about things I need to do or should be doing.  To further complicate things, I do not have pen and paper to write these things down because I am in the tub helpless. If only my iPhone was close by….I could play a game or something.  No, then I would risk dropping it in the water.  Ugh!!

Then, my restless mind speaks and points out that the bubbles I added are chemicals that are rapidly absorbing into my pores.  Recently, while shopping with my sister, I bought a fizzy yellow bath bomb.  I ran the water and tossed it in.  Cooooool!!  I watched it until it was totally dissolved, then noticed that the water was now the color of pee.  Gross!!  Reluctantly, I got in.  At least the fizzy bath ball was fun to watch.

It only takes a short amount of time before the water starts getting cold.  This either means that I must run more water and feel more guilt or get out and stop the misery.

Getting out is another story.  Now that the chemicals from bubbles have invaded my skin, I must turn on the shower, rinse really well and wash my hair which I couldn’t do in a bath.  This takes even MORE water and more feelings of guilt.

I get out.

Maybe if the water was not in short supply, if the tub were longer or I was shorter, or if I was able to turn off what awaits me outside the bathroom door then I just might be able to find a way to relax.  Until then, showers only for this girl.

Algebra Aftermath

dust storm over lakeWOW!!  The wind has been CRAZY.  A small dust storm blew in.  House is clean except for the new dust that came with the storm, dinner made, then….&**$%*$#%—–I meant Algebra homework  :/  Now, I am a right-brain person and this is either really, really hard –or I am over-thinking it.  My  strategy for passing this class is to make 100 on all homework assignments in hopes that the final average is a 70.  Before starting this class, my confidence was high, I had a great attitude and was Train your mind to see good in every situationready to slay this monster.  That confidence turned to frustration and now I am coming to terms that maybe some people ‘just don’t get it’.  (Note to Self:  Think Positive) There came a point where I just had to STOP for today.  Turns out, my time was better spent prepping a few meal helpers for the week, skimming through an anatomy book and catching up with blogs.

Check out the ‘highlights’ from this past week.  It was fun being in the kitchen for sure. When creativity hit you gotta run with it.

EXCITED to have the opportunity to use the cute bowl my sister gave me which is actually meant for olives.  Plopped one on top–perfect.

GuacTHANKFUL that the leftover Brussel’s sprouts and spinach pasta made an awesome salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls.

DISCOVERED that fresh Brussel’s sprouts are so much better.  I’ve cooked them before with seasoning but this time I left them plain. YUMMMM!!

EXPERIMENTED with fish cakes–went amazingly well.  Mixed three white fish (cod) filets, one individual package salmon, green onions and ground.  Was actually somewhat similar to a crab cake.

As far as school, Anatomy and Ethics are going really well–loving them both.  It’s just the ^)&^*&(*& Algebra.

Be Seein’ Ya

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Wrong with you, Eyebrows?

I have officially signed up for a ‘cancer wellness class’ because I NEED skin care tips and desperately need a professional ‘HOW TO’  painting my eyebrows.  Is that how you say it?  Paint on?  Anyway, since I began taking Letrozole (aromatase inhibitor) my eyebrows have thinned significantly.  Lack of estrogen can sure make daily maintenance more frustrating and time consuming.  My eyebrows have always been thick, the only dilemma being the need for constant plucking.  It has come to the point where I considered just shaving them off all together because it’s seriously hard to shape them due to the haphazard way they grow.  Then I thought about it a little harder.  Would people be looking at me thinking ‘something is missing but I just can’t put my finger on it – HA, I got it, she’s missing eyebrows’.  Or, a little kid might just come straight out and ask, Where are your eyebrows?’.  Truthfully, it’s not that big of a deal, it is just going to take some getting used to, and some training of course.

One program  I found is called Look Good Feel Better and focuses on teaching people with cancer how to manage appearance-related side effects while undergoing treatment.  This includes hair, skin, nail care and cosmetics.  The program is free and cosmetics for the patient’s specific skin tone are included.  I have been extremely fortunate that my only issues are superficial – slight hair thinning, dry skin and brittle nails.

The second program I found is called ‘Beauty and You’ at Hendricks Cancer Center in Abilene, Texas.  This particular program is more in-depth and covers nutrition, lifestyle, spirituality, as well as a cosmetic/appearance segment.

I cant wait to meet great people.  🙂

makeupJust in case I am bringing my own depressing ‘hodgepodge’ bag of cosmetics.  It’s a little messy but after wiping off the fingerprints it won’t look so tragic.  Shopping for make-up does not rank among my favorite things to do so it is usually done quickly without too much thought.

A little more thought is put into selecting appropriate moisturizers and ‘skin-preserving’ products.

Here are some of what I am using now:

 

collagenWhere moisturizer, toner and masks are concerned, LoReal is my favorite.  In the evening before I take off my make-up I apply jojoba oil to my face, leave it for about 30 minutes and wash it off in the shower.  It makes my skin feel very soft.  The Vitamin C is something I apply before moisturizer, maybe two times per week.  It’s supposed to help build collagen but who knows if that’s true.  One other thing that is fairly new for me is a collagen supplement which I’m hoping to get results from.

Have a fantastic day!!  🙂

Look Good Feel Better

Funnel People

The funnel peoplepeace

A twisters twin

Exist in darkness

Angry and bitter

Jealous and unpredictable

Creating a path

Paved with destruction

No discrimination

Emotions tossed

Feelings of pleasure

From others’ pain

Retreats only

When all seems broken

But our resilience

Delivers us safely

The funnels fate

In kharmas hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemplating Cancer

As a young child I remember hearing my grandparents and other relatives speak in a dismal tone about others who had cancer.  Occasionally, during Sunday’s church sermon, the preacher would ask the congregation to pray for certain people with cancer. Although I did not fully understand what cancer was, I knew it was something bad. As children, we hear these things but they seem to bounce off because we are not psychologically equipped to interpret or to understand.

The day cancer came calling on my family was when my Grandaddy received news that he had advanced stage lung cancer, given a few months and told to get his affairs in IMG_4115 (1)order.  My parents didn’t tell us everything, just that he had cancer.  I knew that word and I was scared. He worked on the pipeline and was a smoker, had been for as far back as I could remember.  We had a close relationship, probably because I was a tomboy who loved fishing and helping him in the garden.  Even with my tomboy ways he still called me Miss America. There were seven grandchildren, three girls and four boys – he made us all feel special.  Initially, it had been left arm and back pain that prompted him to see a doctor. At first, he remained at home but after a few weeks, he was admitted to the hospital.  My parents had been divorced a few years so it was my Mama that took us to visit him.  We entered his room and for a brief moment, I thought we were in the wrong room – where was my Grandaddy.  Feelings of guilt and shame engulfed me – I hadn’t recognized him without his glasses.  He managed to speak to us in a dry, weak voice.  We stayed awhile, telling him about school and him going through motions of eating an imaginary sausage, saying how delicious it was.  Even though he was physically present, cognitively he was absent.  A few days later, he was gone – cancer had taken him.

Years later, I would hear the “C” word again.  It was right around my 40th birthday and this time it was me that had cancer.  Hearing the news did not cause panic or rivers of tears.  All I knew was that fighting cancer had to become my full-time job.  To make a long story short, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery were completed followed by ten years of disease-free living.  That was until early in 2017.  This time the diagnosis was metastatic, treatable and non-aggressive.  Basically, this is something I will live with for the rest of my life but leads up to the point I want to make.

kermit2Pondering, daydreaming and brainstorming are things that take up a lot of my time.  Lately, I have been thinking about cancer.  Not in a bad-worried kind of way but in a curious-inquisitive kind of way.  Random questions pop into my head, questions that require some sort of answers.  Unfortunately, not all questions have answers.  One thing that peaks my curiosity is people who eat a healthy diet, exercise and strive to do everything right are diagnosed with cancers.  Makes me wonder – What is REALLY right?….and What is REALLY wrong?

Also, makes me question my own cancer – Was is something I did?  My diet choices have not been tragic nor have they been perfect, I am active and have consistently maintained a healthy weight.  As an active reader, it seems that everything we eat and everything we do causes cancer.  Are scientists and researchers really close to finding a cure or are they randomly guessing? Is the plan to keep us all medicated and under their control?  Unfortunately, most proven natural medicines that work are illegal in most places so we are at the mercy of their poisonous pharmaceuticals.  This essentially applies not only to chemotherapy drugs but all drugs.

The past two semesters (Environmental Science: Health and Safety) we referred quite frequently to routes of exposure – ingestion, inhalation, injection, and absorption which made me more curious about the things that I have personally done or been exposed to. That’s when I began making a list. Was it from or related to —

  • Food and Water Supply
  • Vitamins and Supplements
  • Childhood vaccinations
  • Silver Dental Fillings
  • Birth Control Pills or Mammograms
  • Household Cleaners
  • Laundry Soap, Dryer Sheets, and Dish Soap
  • Personal Care Products (toothpaste, hair products, lotions, nail care products, soaps, makeup, hair color)
  • Sun exposure, Tanning Beds, Lotions
  • Asbestos or Building Materials in my Schools/Homes
  • Pollution (we lived within 50 miles of a major city and oil refineries}
  • BPA’s in Plastic and Canned Food
  • Occupational Hazards (spraying pesticides, handling oil-based chemicals)
  • Alcohol and Cigarette Smoke
  • Not Wearing Gloves/Masks when I should have
  • Having Indoor Pets (and what they track  in)
  • Oil Painting
  • Constant worry, stress, and effects of unhealthy relationships
  • Moderate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Lack of Quality Sleep

planet b…and that is just scratching the surface.  There are so many variables.  In reality, I did nothing more or less than the majority of the population.  The exposures are limitless.  Maybe I did take for granted that products were safe.  Maybe sometimes being in a hurry, time was not taken to use the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).  Maybe……??

Being older and wiser, there are things I can do to protect the earth as well as myself.  Right now it is ‘baby steps’ but moving in the right direction feels better than not doing anything at all.  Bottled water no longer enters our home, the excess packaging is considered when purchasing products and time is taken to read labels on everything.  For now, I am continuing to take my ‘poison’ for cancer but am aggressively researching other options.  It is my belief that cancer is curable with natural medicine and a healthy, positive lifestyle.  Even though these small things may seem insignificant they make me feel as though I am making a difference in some teeny way.  I have cancer and I will never know why or what caused it to happen.  All I can do is live my best life and give my best to our planet while I am here.

If anyone can recommend websites or other sources of information on natural living it would be most appreciated.  

The American Cancer Society has a very helpful website if you would like further info.  To get there CLICK HERE.

It’s going to be a great day.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom line – cancer doesn’ t discriminate. I truly believe there is nothing that could have been done differently. We can’t control. We all live Canopy of cancer.

 

Viable

Navigating life takes strength and bravery

An ever-changing mission

A team of one wearing many hats

The ability to endure the elements and be resourceful

To be viable in the most extreme conditions

Dependent and self-sufficient

Smiling confidently through difficulties

Persevering through obstacles

Remaining calm under pressure

Being thankful for each new day

V….Viable

I….I

A….Accept

B….Believe

L….Learn

E….Embrace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Town Reservations

Just married and looking for a place to call home, we scoured Texas looking for the perfect house. We were both raised in suburban areas so the charms of a smaller IMG_8068community beckoned us. Neither of us had reservations about leaving city conveniences behind and delivering ourselves into the welcoming arms of a small town. After an exhaustive search we found a cozy, stone, lakefront cabin in West Texas that was perfect. Although the town was severely limited, it did have a Walmart (no comment) and a few other stores for basic needs.  Quality restaurants and places to grab an adult beverage were pretty much non-existent (only beer here) but fast food and greasy home cookin’ were in abundance.

In October of 2015, we made the move. One of the first things we did was find a church. For the first few months we attended regularly and even assisted with a few church activities. The Christmas bake sale in particular sticks out in my mind. Baking is something that I loved to do am was good at it. This was a great opportunity to help raise IMG_7578some money for the church and have fun in the process. I baked mini versions of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, pineapple upside-down cake, and three variations of cookies. I meticulously wrapped each in a holiday- themed, cellophane treat bag, carefully tied with a ribbon  and attached a hand-crafted label. Excited and ready to help and mingle about with the other ladies, I headed to the church. When I arrived, a group of about 30 women were gathered at a long table in the gym working on packaging turkey dinners for the following day. As I approached the table with my treats for the bake sale, I said hello to everyone and……nothing. They kept working as if I wasn’t even there. Did I not speak loud enough? Did I somehow put on my invisible coat by mistake? The second time I singled out a lady, said hello, and explained to her that I  was here to drop off some items for the bake sale. Without even glancing up from her work and looking me in the eye, she pointed to a small area of the gym and said, “Put it over there with the others.” Almost in tears at this point I reluctantly walked over, placed my desserts with the others and quickly left. Thinking back, I should have just brought everything back home. I wanted so badly to go back up there and tell them how I was feeling but decided it was best to just leave it alone (that was hard to do).  We have not been back to church.  Since then I came to the realization (ah-ha moment) that church is wherever I want it to be and it’s working out beautifully.

On another occasion, I was asked by our realtor to join a few ladies for game night which I found to be fun….at first. Most of the women just wanted to gossip, ask questions and try to figure out what ‘my story’ was. When they figured out that I wasn’t going to sing like a canary, the invitations ceased. The whole thing never made sense to me anyway, pray before we play and then gossip. It should have been the other way around, play and gossip, then pray about gossiping. Truthfully, there have been too many similar things happen to us here.

Like I said in the beginning, we had no reservations about relocating and giving a small town life a shot. We do, however, have reservations about staying here any longer that we have to. Our misconception was believing in the illusion that small towns create of being united as a community, working together toward common goals and being one big happy family. Blah, blah, blah. Our town boasts, on TV and radio of all places, of being a thriving community full of possibilities. This is so far from the truth. New businesses open, yes, but rarely succeed because of small town politics and negative lip service. Growth could happen if the people would allow it but they make the choices that allow it to become stagnant. This is the case with many small towns and I find it very sad especially for the people of the community that REALLY try hard to make a difference.  One such person is my math instructor, she is awesome and goes above and beyond.

move forwardAs far as my husband and I, we have bigger goals and plan to relocate once I finish college in April. We both realize that all places have pros and cons but there is something out there that is a better fit for us and we intend to find it. For now, I have shielded myself with armor and refuse to let this town suck any more from my soul. Rant over.

Have a wonderful day. May the universe shower us with an abundance of  blessings. It’s freezing outside so I think grabbing a canvas and some paints sounds like a groovy idea.  🙂

Hello 2018: Let’s Do This

Intuition tells me that 2018 is going to be sensational.  It is being met with a renewed sense of self, a positive attitude and big plans.  This last year’s focus has been primarily on all the unknowns regarding metastatic breast cancer but I’ve done my homework, feel prepared and confident…Bring it on.

Sayonara 2017….We made it.  First let me say – my sister is the best.  She sent me a box full of things I giftsLOVE….a Himalayan salt lamp, a cute serving bowl, hand scrub (smells awesome), a soft comfy t-shirt and a pair earrings she caught me eyeballing on my trip to Houston.  She’s always telling me I’m a ‘hard sell’ because I can usually talk myself out of purchasing things and she is an ‘easy sell’ so she bought them for me.   Christmas Eve was a little sad knowing that our families were celebrating and we were home so to cheer myself up I watched two movies I’d never seen before, Miracle on 34th Street and Chocolat.  Both were excellent movies….a lot of valuable lessons to be learned from both.

hair3My husband and I agreed not to get each other gifts because we have everything we need, however, I did put together a small bag of cookies, candy, summer sausage and jerky for him since ‘treats’ in the house are unheard of these days.  Guilt….that’s it.  I was feeling guilty for depriving him of ‘ junk food’.  One word….ration.  I treated myself to a haircut and highlights…SOOOO needed a little pampering

 

Visit Family More Often…. Even though this past year has been difficult with a recurrent cancer diagnosis, there is really no excuse why I did not visit my family more.  This year is going to be different.  My husband and I both come from very small families, most of which all live in Texas.  Our parents are getting older, my Dad will turn 80 in June.  Time passes at an incredibly rapid speed these days so it’s important that every opportunity be taken.

positiveSurround Myself With Positive People….This year I am climbing into my positivity bubble and entry will not be granted to those who ‘harsh my mellow’.  The time has come to focus on myself, my health and my happiness.

Create An Environment That Cancer Hates….This is easier said than done but I’m ready to give it a whirl.  There is a wealth of information available so I will make it my job to educate myself and create a body that cancer finds unsuitable.

createWrite and Create More….These two are the most exciting because they encompass a broad spectrum. I definitely want start cooking more and perhaps trying some new creative things.

Less TV – Less Cell Phone….TV will not be a problem because it is rare for me to sit for long periods anyway.  I love documentaries and things that are real but have little use for the rest of it.  .

gonzoTake More Pictures….My husband and I are the worst when it comes to remembering to take photos.  This year is I am going to make it my responsibility to remember.

This does appear like a slight over-commitment but I can do it because I believe in ME.

Have a Happy New Year and may the universe bring us all abundant Blessings.  🙂

 

 

 

Make Hemp Hearts a Habit

Hemp hearts are basically shelled seeds from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).  They have an excellent nutritional content and are considered one of natures ‘Perfect Super-Foods’.  The flavor could be described as nutty and they can easily be added to hemp heartsanything for added benefits.  It has become my newest habit, tossing a spoonful into almost everything.  The cost is a bit high if purchased in a retail store, however, considerably less online.  My store was selling an  8 oz. for $14, however, the same product can be found for $9 online, some companies advertising even lower prices.  The company I used is Manitoba Harvest.  Hemp hearts are also available in ‘organic’ but the skeptic in me has yet to become a believer in those claims.

My research always includes looking to see whether something has estrogenic properties.  So far, I have not been able to find anything stating whether hemp poses risk to people with hormone sensitive breast cancer like myself.  As always, I will continue to investigate the estrogen factor and also run it by my oncologist next time I see her.  What I did find was this:

hemp hearts 4The gamma-linoleic acid content of hemp seed works as a hormone regulator for the thyroid and pancreas, and it can reduce many of the symptoms that come from a hormonal imbalance, including severe menopausal symptoms, mood swings, depression, and anxiety. It also can help regulate the hormones that affect weight gain and hunger. Overall, by re-balancing your hormones, your body will work at its optimal, ideal level.

——Organicfacts.net 

Here’s a quick break down:

  • A complete plant protein
  • Contain essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 (balanced source)
  • Great source of insoluble and soluble fiber
  • Easily digestible
  • No phytic acid (this acid blocks digestive tract absorption of calcium and iron)
  • Safe for people with food intolerances
  • Gluten Free
  • Helps absorb vitamins and minerals from greens
  • The protein in hemp hearts is effective in reducing hunger.  Increases energy to aid in weight loss.
  • The high fiber content helps keep bowel movements regular.  Soluble fiber works in the intestines to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, and insoluble fiber has been linked to lower risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • The essential fatty acids along with the complete protein found in hemp hearts promotes cellular recovery and development. Cells use protein to repair DNA damage.
  • Hemp seeds also support the transportation of oxygen to cells of the body. When oxygen is present in cell membranes it helps to block viruses and bacteria.
  • Helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and lower blood pressure

Hemps Hearts Nutrition (4 Tablespoons)

  • 15g Protein
  • hemp hearts 215g Omega 6 (11.4g) and Omega 3 (3.6g)
  • 2.5 Fiber
  • 2.7 Monounsaturated Fat
  • 2.1 Saturated Fat
  • 4.5 Carbohydrate
  • NO CHOLESTEROL
  • Vitamin A – Hair, skin, eyes, immune system
  • Vitamin B1 – Nervous system and brain development
  • Vitamin B2 – Skin and eyes
  • Vitamin B3 – Improves digestion
  • Vitamin B5 – Helps metabolize toxins in liver
  • Vitamin B6 – Formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin D – Strengthens bones and helps with calcium absorption
  • Vitamin E – Increases metabolism/hair, nails, and skin
  • Calcium – Healthy bone development
  • Iron – Helps blood carry oxygen
  • Magnesium – Muscles function and carbohydrate metabolism
  • Manganese – Sugar metabolism
  • Phosphorus – Balances acid, helps build bones
  • Potassium – Balances sodium, helps regulate fluids
  • Zinc – Nerve/muscle function

Add Them To Anything

Salads  *  Yogurt  *  Smoothies  *  Nutrition Bars  *  Cookies  *  Breads  *  Muffins  *  Pancakes

Soups  *  Chili  *  Wraps  *  Cereals  *  Oatmeal  *  Meatballs  *  Burgers  *  Hummus  *  Dips

Sandwiches  *  Wraps  *  Rice  *  Pasta  *  Stuffing  *  Hemp Milk

I would love to hear how you use them as well.  Please send me your ideas.  

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY 🙂

SOURCES: