Cancer Brought Me To Colliape

Something amazing happens when I get to spend time with my sis….I forget all about having cancer or the poking and prodding that comes along with it.  Last week was the week of my regular bone density test, bone and CT scan as well as following up with my oncologist.  All the tests showed great results.  The doctor is urging me to consider a bone density drug called Xgeva.  I read up on everything and this one has numerous side effects, one being necrosis (rotting away) of the jaw (now my would anyone sign up for that).  All signs point to HELL NO.  My curiosity wants to know why a drug that claims to improve bone density will selectively destroy a jawbone.  Is it because people cannot physically see their other bones and the jawbone can become more visible as it deteriorates?  Sounds to me like the pharmaceutical industry is pulling the wool over peoples eyes.  They also state that while taking this particular drug that people are more prone to femoral and hip fractures…..the very thing they claim it is supposed to improve.  I will also like to add that this injection (eeewww) comes with a price tag average of $1700.00 every four weeks.  Again…..HELL NO.

Anyway….on to the sunny side of this story….

My sister met me in Dallas, we did some shopping and enjoyed good food (and a couple of trendy cocktails) in between trips to the medical center.  Three cocktails that really impressed me were a mezcal blood orange margarita with a small spoon of avocado cilantro, a tangerine infused champagne with a marigold garnish and a prickly pear margarita.

One of the things we REALLY love to do is visit thrift stores, unfortunately, the ones we found had nothing but junk so we came up empty-handed.  What we did find was a small marketplace outside of town that had an awesome little assemblage of shops with homemade candles and soaps (all the good stuff).  I bought a campfire scented candle which I absolutely LOVE.  FullSizeRenderI am ashamed at how much it cost so I’m not going to say (LOL).  At another shop had the pair of sunglasses I have searched a long time for (score). I always take random pics so here are a few from this trip.  I had to include a pic of Colliape, a little aloe vera plant that we rescued from a Mexican restaurant.  Someone had given her pink highlights and plopped her in an empty vegetable can.  We busted her out and she is now living happily on my back porch in a proper container waiting for the pinkness to grow out.  🙂 I cannot grasp how someone thought painting a plant was a good idea.

I can’t begin to say enough how much I needed a little time with my sister.  Even in the times I was being poked by needles and laying in scanners, all I was thinking about is the fun times we were going to have when all of it was finished.  She is truly the bestest.

Hope everyone has a super wonderful day 🙂

 

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I’m Gonna Starve….

A peek into the future…….

Waitress:  May I take your order?

Me:  Ummmm…I will have the broccoli salad, dry, with a side of broccoli. Sigh!!

Today a friend sent me a couple of videos pertaining to the food industry.  It is both shocking and sad that our country is basically killing us.  These are the two videos I watched.  They are both available on Netflix, YouTube and Amazon.

quicheFor over 180 minutes I was at a loss for words.  I sat there, hungry, but didn’t get up because I couldn’t stop watching.  After finally making my way to the kitchen I cut a slice of freshly baked spinach quiche and found a piece of black rubber, most likely a piece of drive belt from the machinery used to process the spinach.  How is that for perfect timing?   Disgusted, I threw the whole thing out.  What is this world coming to.  It was a beautiful, delicious quiche but it had a flaw, IT HAD RUBBER IN IT.  (Scream)

Dinner for tonight is still up in the air.  There is half a poached salmon filet that probably contains mercury, Brussels sprout that may have been sprayed with pesticide so the only safe thing is broccoli sprouts that I grew myself.  Actually, the salmon is labels safe, the Brussels sprout are organic so I should be good, right?  Or are they lying about that too?  And as far as sprinkling anything with cheese, well, shredded cheese contains sawdust to keep it from sticking together.

Is there hope?

My tummy is growling.  Sigh!!  :/

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Chickpeas – Please

A few weeks ago I woke up with the intense need to write. Nothing obvious was coming to mind so grocery shop took priority. As fate would happen, this trip provided the answer. I bumped into a former classmate who I’d not seen since for quite some time due to the fact that she had relocated to another city.  Not only did she look amazing, she looked refreshed. She told me that she had lost over 100 pounds and made a lot of lifestyle changes.

She and I hardly know each other but Facebook makes it easy to keep track of what people are up to.  While living in our town, her posts were mostly ‘gray’, now they are like the colors in a rainbow. She has taken up painting again and appears to be getting ‘back to self’. Positive proof that when something isn’t working – change it.

This morning got me thinking about my own life and all the positive changes I have made. Having cancer isn’t easy by any means.  There are things I really want to do but know they would have a negative effect on my health. For the past week I’ve been experimenting with new recipes, some successes – epic fails. Never know until you try though.  I am working on compiling a post consisting of nothing but smoothies. So far, all of them have been winners. One recipe I did try was roasted chickpeas.  I had purchased a can with the intention of making hummus, but then decided to cook them from dry beans.  I will say that the house smelled wonderful while they were roasting.

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roasted chickpeas1 can chickpeas (used organic)

Salt, black pepper, Korean red pepper and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Toss with spices and transfer to cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Spread evenly on sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes stirring once. Let cool.

The chickpeas develop a smoky, nutty flavor.  They will really compliment a salad or wrap.

Sending everyone good vibes.  

 

 

 

 

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