Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When You Can't Eat Raw Apples, Sautee 'Em!

One of the things about chemo that I have found a slight bit on the irritating side, is the kind of person I have become: a germaphope.
With having very low white blood cell counts, I have had to be VERY careful about where I go, what I touch, who I am around, and even what I eat. When you know something as simple as a cold could put you in the hospital, you kinda become paranoid...
I don't spend large amounts of time in close quarters, with large groups of people, so as to limit exposure to germs. And I have had to replace my natural homemade cleaners, for bleach to ensure no germs linger on my cabinets.
I have even had to stop eating raw fruits an veggies for a time.
I really had a craving for apples today. But, knowing my counts are still low, I knew chowing down on a fresh one might not be such a great idea. So, I got creative, and cooked some up.
All I did was peel and slice two apples. Preheated some coconut oil in a pan. Placed said apples, in  the oil. Sprinkled on some cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauteed them for about 6 minutes...

and voila! A yummy, healthy fall snack.
A perfect follow-up to setting up an outdoor scene. :D

Have you tried any new recipes of late?

Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Chemo: DONE

Guess what ya'll?! Chemo is done!
It's true I do not know what the future holds. But for now, we will celebrate the end of this chapter...
After a long nap of course...
 Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Husband of the Year

I might be a bit biased, but I am pretty sure my husband should be labeled "The Husband of the Year".

Why you ask?

Not because he brought home flowers this evening.

Or purchased for me new jewelry.

Or set up a candlelight bubble bath.

Or is even taking me on a dream trip to Paris.

What has he done of late to earn such a reward?

He held me tight, while I shook with tears the day I was told I might have cancer.

He took time out of his very busy work schedule, those days leading up to my surgery, to listen to me cry my worries out on the phone.

He took me to the ocean (he greatly dislikes the beach, by the way) a few days before my surgery, because he knows it is one of the best ways to calm my spirit.

He stayed awake with me the night before my surgery, while I endured the awful bowel prep, and laid in the hallway, by my side, near the bathroom, between my visits.

He prayed with me before we left to the hospital the day of surgery.

He found the Discovery Channel on the television at the hospital, and put on "Shark Week", to try and distract me the moments before the surgery.

He never left my side once I came out of surgery. And even slept on a very hard widow seat, during that one night stay in the hospital.

He slept beside me on our couch, while I slept in the recliner those days following the surgery.

He again held me and reassured me, while I cried in fear once more, when the test results came back showing cancer, and I was told I would have to go through chemotherapy.

He has taken me to my chemo treatments, each day. And stays with me through the pre-meds, until the chemo drip starts, and then leaves for work.

He has been there holding my hand each time I have had to have an IV inserted. And helped me revive after the two separate times I blacked out because of the pain and fear of it.

He surprised me with a special cake one evening before chemo started back, since he knew I would not be eating much of anything the following week.

And one evening, when I was feeling particularly down, he took me for a ride in the Jeep on some back country roads.


He has held me, reassured me, loved me, cared for me, and been more patient than should be possible through all my tears, worries, and even my cranky, really tired nauseous bad days.

And still calls be beautiful, and finds me attractive. Even with my bald head.

Everyday he shows the attitude that Christ displays to the church.

Patience. Love. Forgiveness.

I am brought to tears when I think of how blessed I am to be married to this man. I truly do NOT deserve his sweet love.

He is my rock in a crisis.

He really is "Husband of the Year".
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grace In My Weakness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Right now the comforting aroma of the bone broth I was able to start this morning, is filling my house. I look outside my living room window, and I see the sun reflecting off the maple tree, following this afternoons rain storm. Justin texted me about 10 minutes ago, and has told me he is on his way home. Supper for the evening will be leftovers of venison stir fry. And my stomach is begging Justin to hurry home, as it is VERY hungry. :D
Going through chemo, and all the side effects it brings, has made me even more thankful for the little things in life. And the ability to do, and enjoy them.
I am blessed in the fact that the worst of the side effects have only lasted the week of chemo, and the first 3-4 days following the treatment. After that, I have felt fairly "normal".
I am able to cook, clean, be crafty, spend time with my girls...

enjoy time outdoors walking, by sitting and enjoying my collection of succulents...

or by being especially blessed by coming so close to this beauty.
It's true that I have had to slow down my lifestyle. I have had to give up my beloved weightlifting for a time. It has been replaced with more restorative exercise, like walking and yoga.
I do not go shopping often now. Or eat in restaurants. Due to low white blood cell counts, I have to limit my exposure to people, so as not to become sick.
I will not be teaching my K-3 class this year. My immune system will be compromised for months following the end of treatments, and I cannot risk becoming sick. And kids LOVE to share their germs. :)
And I will not lie. Giving up so many things that I love to do, for a season, has not been easy. Some days, it is very hard not having the energy to run. Or have to take so many breaks because of tiredness.
But LORD willing, this will only be for a short season. And by HIS grace, I will have the sort of life I had before cancer back. And I will be all the more thankful for that time. :)

What grace from GOD are you enjoying in life right now?
Have a wonderfully blessed day! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Head Covering...

Well the hair has been coming out quite rapidly this week. I still have hair. It's just become VERY thin, and is falling out EVERYWHERE. It's worse than a cat right now.

I'm thinking Justin will have the pleasure of shaving what's left very soon. Primarily, so we both don't choke on what keeps getting in our food and mouth... :D

So, I've started wearing pretty head wraps. I'm actually quite enjoying it. There is just something so pretty about head coverings. :D

These shirt and shorts I found this week at Clothes Mentor. And I am just loving how comfy they are, and the color combo. 
Oh, the price was pretty awesome too, at just 14 bucks for the pair.(the shorts still had a $60 price tag on them...) :D

I learned how to tie this covering via a Youtube tutorial. It's very simple using any type of scarf, and very quick too. :)

"Sometimes you must allow your eyes to adjust to a truer shape of something you'd once molded
and possibly loved but perhaps never wanted. Something to unravel now, straight from these roots.
... Something that at some point, you loosened your fingers around. Something that at some stage, you finally outgrew. So allow this chapter to hold you in darkly wrapped nights. While allowing desires to just be desires before lighting that flame stemmed from your longing and churned into fuel, so when it is time, you'll have enough strength to surrender to fire, that holds the burn long enough to finally take flight."
-Victoria Erickson
So, any new outfits you are loving lately? Any great deals shopping? Or, is the LORD teaching you to adjust to a new stage in life?
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Under His Wings, Means Being Close to HIS Heart

Being under HIS wings, means being close to HIS heart.
You are not only sheltered, you are loved.
You are not only secure, you are cared for.
You are not only covered, you are reassured.
-Roy Lessin
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One Week Of Chemo Done!

Guess what? I survived my first week of chemo!!!
Sweet surprise found on my door, on the last day of my first week of chemo
Day 1, Before being injected with all manner of chemicals...

A week later, and I've been totally transformed...
Scary? Huh? Don't worry, it's just a bentonite clay mask to hopefully get rid of the HORRIBLE chemo induced acne... :D
So, how did it go? Not nearly as bad as I thought it would. Not saying that it wasn't and is still not bad. Currently, it is not as horrible as I expected.
The first part of the week started out good, with no side effects until Wednesday. Then began the total loss of appetite and nausea.
The nausea was worst in the mornings. On Thursday I put into effect that morning sickness trick of eating saltines before your head leaves the pillow, and it worked like a charm. :D
My appetite is still much the same. Non-existent. Which is a really weird feeling for a girl who has always had a huge appetite.  And when I do get hungry, it's for things I never in my life wanted before.
Like spaghetti and apple juice. Together. ;)
I'm thinking I could live off spaghetti for the next few months. :D
Fatigue did not really set in until this weekend. But when it did, it was like I smashed into a wall. My daily two hour nap has become my best friend. :)
Yes, it has been a ROUGH week and a half. But my GOD has seen me through it. HE has granted more strength than I could have ever hoped for.
But more than that, HE has taught me so much! I have never in my life been more appreciative of good health. Trust me on this one ya'll. CHERISH YOUR HEALTH.
And cherish the little things in life your health allows you to accomplish. Like being able to wash dishes. Meet your husband at the door with a hug and kiss. Take a walk in the sunset. Bake your sister a cake. Hold your own glass of water and sip it by yourself.
I was not able to do most of those things last week.
But today has been a good day, and I have been able to do each of those. And I appreciate them more now, than I would have otherwise.
Suffering passes, while love is eternal. That's a gift that you have received from God. Don't waste it.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Thank-you so much for all the prayers! Keep them coming! The next two weeks will be critical, as I will be very prone to infections, as my white blood cell count will be at it's lowest. Please pray I will stay well, and no germs come my way. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's Cancer, But GOD is Good

My dear friends, I was given the test results from the surgery. And they came back showing cancer.

But I don't want you to feel all sad from that news. Because even though this news is not great, there is some good in it. GOD's goodness.

So, what's some of the goodness and blessings GOD has shown through this trial?
1. The cancer was found very early. The tumor was confined to my ovary, which was removed. Chemo will be given as the type of cancer cells are fast growing, and will more than likely come back without the chemo.
2. There is a 90% success rate with the chemotherapy.
3. My husband and I have been drawn more close than I ever thought possible.
4. I've been able to spend a lot of time with my mom and sister while they have taken care of me post op.
5. I have a new appreciation and wonder for the simple things in life. Including the ability to wash dishes (which I have always loathed...)
6. I'm going to learn how to cover my head with pretty scarves, and hats.
I'll admit, I have had a VERY hard time accepting this. Being told that this natural living, herbal remedy loving gal is going to have chemicals put into her veins, to heal her body, has not set well.
The thought of being completely exhausted and nauseated all the time terrifies me.

Hence the reason there have been more tears flowing this past week, than I am pretty sure my entire life...

But, GOD has brought me to the place that I know I can fully trust HIM with my future. I am not to worry about tomorrow, or the next day. Only today. I am going to have to take this one day at a time.

But hey! We are all called to live our days like that...

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34
I am not sure when I will be blogging again. As the severity of side effects from the chemo cannot be known until I am in it. I will be going through 3 cycles. So as long as no complications arise to delay it, I will be finishing up around the first of October. 
I would like to use this blog as an outlet to share GOD's glory during this time. But I cannot know for sure if I will be able to. So, if you would like to stay updated, drop me an e-mail, or a message on Pinterest, and I hope to stay in touch there. :)
So my dear friends, please continue to pray. Pray the side effects will not be too severe, and I will have strength to endure them. Prayers that there will be no complications from infection or cell level counts, are needed as well.
Remember, GOD is good, ALL the time!
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Since I was told I would lose my hair, I figured it would be wise to get a shorter style to help lessen the shock, as I am one to panic if the length is any bit touched during a trim. Surprisingly, I like it. Everyone says it looks like Rapunzels, from Tangled. And I agree. What do you think? :D


Friday, July 10, 2015

Came Through The Surgery

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Praise God the Father who’s the source;
Praise God the Son who is the course;
Praise God the Spirit who’s the flow;
Praise God, our portion here below!

Just a quick update for all you dear folks, who have been praying for me. I came through the surgery well, and am at home recovering.

The doctor did end up removing my ovary. Once the cyst was removed, he found some suspicious tissue on the ovary, and knew it had to come out. He believes it was cancerous, but caught very early. Additional testing was done, and we will know the results early this coming week.

Please continue to pray for quick healing. I am not in a lot of pain, praise the LORD. Just a bit tired of not being able to get a glass of water on my own, or walk around my house without someone following me to make sure I don't fall. ;)

Thank-you for all the prayers! Keep them coming! :D

Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 3, 2015

HIS Care Is This Storm

"Sometimes you need the storm in order to see the glory.
Sometimes it's only the deep and dark storms of life that put the glory of the Messiah and the kind of relief where I can now see it and I can now get it and I can say, "I'm okay, because this One has drawn me into eternal relationship with Him.

Sometimes you need the storm to see the glory. Oh, the care is not just Jesus' presence in the storm. 

The care is the storm!

That's care, just the kind of care that we need.

He's zealous that we would see and understand that we would really have hearts of faith—sturdy, assured, confident, bold, ministering, faith.” Paul David Tripp

Words can never share how overwhelmed I have been, at the outpouring of love, support, and prayers from each of you. And I can truly say, that GOD has given a peace that surpasses all understanding.
I met with the oncologist this week, and the surgery has been scheduled for this coming Tuesday.
Many more prayers are needed.
Prayers for peace of mind, as the thought of surgery TERRIFIES me. Prayers that I will not get sick before hand, as a cold is going around my family. Prayers that it will be a smooth recovery, and all who care for me will be granted patience, as I am NOT the best of people to be around when I feel bad. ;) And prayers the cyst will not be cancerous.
I have some praises. After meeting with the oncologist, there was some relief. He feels very confident the cyst is not cancerous, and that he might even be able to save the ovary.
There are no guarantees.
Only faith, and trusting in the LORD's goodness and grace.
And GOD's people boldly approaching the throne of grace, with their petitions and praise.
GOD is good, all the time!
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of Being Told I Might Have Cancer

What would you do, if you went to your doctor, and after some testing, they told you might have cancer?

I know what I did.

I cried.

My dear friends, I am facing what might be the most terrifying storm of my life. Let me share.

If you have been reading this blog since at least the beginning of the year, you know that a New Year's goal I set was to find a naturally minded doctor. Someone that would listen to the concerns I have about my health, and not just write it off, and give me pill. I wanted someone to help me look at the problem as a whole, and possibly treat any problems with natural means.

About 2 weeks ago, after quite a bit of research, I found the name of a gynecologist, and really liked the reviews of her. I called to schedule an appointment, and the soonest I was able to be seen was this past Friday.

I made a list of all the questions and concerns I have had over the past year or so. Primarily dealing with not becoming pregnant easily, and concerns over thyroid health. I wanted to be ready, and hopefully get some answers.

Friday came, and I was feeling pretty optimistic. I walked into the office, signed in, and waited to be taken back.

My name was called and the nurse took my vitals. I was ushered to a room, and quietly waited for the doctor to come in.

She came in, we were introduced, and she asked questions about family history, etc.

She then asked if I had any concerns. I shared my list, and she gave her advice. She ordered a full thyroid panel to be taken, after hearing some symptoms I have been experiencing, and she then moved to the physical exam.

She came to the pelvic exam portion of the visit, and asked when I had last taken a pregnancy test. I told her the day before my period. She said my uterus felt enlarged, as if I was pregnant.

I told her the test was negative, and my period was very normal that month.

She then named off a few possibilities, but wanted an ultrasound done that day.

I was unable to be scheduled in for an ultrasound that day. So, I had to wait until Monday at 11:15.

Never has a weekend lasted that long.

You think of all sorts of possibilities when you are to told to wait and see what is wrong with your body.

Not only that, when it is something involving reproductive organs, you begin to think your dream of becoming a mother, will be snatched away from you.

My appointment came Monday. I was so blessed to have my mom and sister with me.

The ultrasound was done, and once again I had to wait for the doctor to get the results.

But not long.

The doctor called, and asked if I could come in that afternoon. And I did.

Sitting in the waiting room, waiting, and praying, I tried to remain optimistic. But it was becoming very difficult.

I was ushered to the room, and once again, waited for the doctor to come in.

She walked in, and the look on her face, and tone in her voice made my heart sink to the floor.

She asked if I was told anything at the ultrasound appointment, and I said no.

She then goes on to say, well, it was not your uterus that was enlarged, and she paused.

You have a baseball to softball size mass on your right ovary.

What she was saying did not sink in immediately. It did not seem real.

She then began to explain that the reason she thought it was my uterus is that the mass is so large, it has pushed my uterus and other organs back.

She then told me my only option is to have the ovary removed.

She explained that it would be best to have it removed via surgery, whether it is cancerous or not. It is just so large, it could rupture, and cause other issues.

I will not find out whether it is cancerous or not, until after the surgery.

During the surgery, the doctors will be able to test the mass immediately and determine if it is cancerous. If it is cancerous, they will immediately do a lymph node dissection, to ensure it has not spread.

There is a glimmer of hope in all this.

I have two aunts that had to have their ovaries removed, when they were my age, due to the same conditions. Their growths were not cancerous.

The doctor was relieved upon hearing this. She said this could just be a genetic issue, and nothing to worry about.

But right now, I am worried. No, I am terrified.

My life seems so dream like right now. Just like when I have nightmares. I want to wake up, as I have done so may times before to hear my husband comforting me, and his arms around me, saying it's okay, it's okay.

But it's not okay right now.

I have been sobbing off and on. And while my husband has been holding me and telling me it's okay, I am still terrified.

Will you pray for me?

I need prayers for comfort, grace, and peace.

I know GOD has a plan and a purpose in all of this. And HE will work out everything to HIS honor and glory.

Lord I need You, when the sea of life is calm
O Lord I need you when the wind is blowing strong
Whether trials come or cease, keep me always on my knees
Lord I need You, Lord I need You
Sometimes when life seems gentle and blessings flood my way,
I turn my gaze away from you, and soon forget to pray
But when the sky grows darker and courage turns to fear
My anxious voice cries upward with words You long to hear
Lord I need You, when the sea of life is calm
O Lord I need you when the wind is blowing strong
Whether trials come or cease, keep me always on my knees
Lord I need You, Lord I need You
Lord help me to remember, I’m weak but You are strong
I cannot sing apart from You, for Lord You are my song
Although I’m prone to wander and boast in all I do
Lord keep my eyes turned upward, so I depend on You


Friday, June 12, 2015

Do Not Lose Heart

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to GOD.
Philippians 4:6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIM, and HE will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Have a wonderfully blessed day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!