Things I’ve Changed to Fight Cancer

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Football moms appreciation night!

One year ago today, I received the horrible news that the lump removed from my breast was cancerous. I was only 43 years old when I received this news.

I remember exactly where I was at 2:15pm on October 28, 2016. I was teaching Spanish 2 when I noticed my doctor’s office calling. I slipped into the hallway for some privacy, and there, next to the cold, brick wall, I heard the words, “The tumor we removed is cancerous.”

I’m not sure how I remained standing because it felt like the blood was draining from my body. The surgeon explained that I would need to come in to discuss the details and talk about a second surgery to check lymph nodes and treatment.

Treatment? Huh?

So today, 10/28/17, is not my favorite day. But I’m going to redeem the day by dedicating it to sharing with you, my readers, the things I’ve done to reduce my chances of developing cancer again.

So here goes!!!

#1 Cut sugar — even natural sugar (like in fruits). I’m super careful with this and stay away from added sugar especially. I use stevia or xylitol to sweeten things now. This has been VERY difficult, but when your life depends on it, you do what you gotta do.

#2 Exercise 150 minutes/week (30 minutes, 5 days) — I still hate exercising, but research shows that this reduces your chances of cancer AND many other diseases. Plus, it helps us manage stress … which brings me to #3.

#3 Manage/Reduce stress — I’ve had to make some difficult decisions in this area concerning jobs & relationships. I made changes to reduce stress, and it’s been worth it.

#4 Essential oils — I’ve added some specific essential oils to my daily routine, rubbing them directly on my breasts, including frankincense, myrrh, lavender, and sandalwood. I also use Thieves oil regularly for immune support.

#5 Supplements — Per my doctor’s orders, I’ve added some supplements to balance my hormones and neurotransmitters and support my liver and digestion.

#6 Foods & Beverages — My doctor wants me only eating and drinking warm things, so that means no raw foods — everything is cooked. This is to hopefully help my body not make lumps & bumps (this is based on Chinese medicine), and so far, I think it’s working! I also eat as much organic produce as I can afford.

#7 Water — I drink only distilled water (with minerals added) now which is free from fluoride and other toxins found in our water supply. My next goal is to get a filter for my shower so that I’m not bathing in toxic water either (got my fingers crossed for Christmas!!!).

#8 Put myself first — As a mom and wife, this one can be hard, but I have to take time to take care of myself or I won’t be around to take care of anyone else. My sleep matters, my nutrition matters, and I’m worth investing in. This means saying “no” sometimes when I want to say “yes.” I’m still growing in this area.

#9 Down time — This is related to #8, and I’m still working on this one too, but making time to RELAX is super important. We were not meant to work & go 24/7, but naturally, I’m kind of that not-sit-still, always-gotta-be-doing-something gal. This isn’t healthy. So I’ve had to force myself to relax and have downtime without multitasking … again … I’m still working on this. Habits die hard! 😦 Balance is key.

#10 Mindset — I’ve had to learn how to emotionally just let some things go. Emotionally holding onto things that I cannot change, worrying about things, wishing things were different — these are not healthy mindsets. I’m examining my self-talk and my thoughts to make sure they are positive and full of hope. I’m choosing to enjoy my life no matter what’s going on, no matter what I’m facing. Again, this is a process, but I’m trying.

#11 — Spiritually strong — Finally, last but certainly not least, I’ve dug into the Bible, prayer, and connecting with spiritual friends more over the past year than ever before. It’s been wonderful, and I continue to do this. These things continue to be a huge source of strength, hope and peace for me.

So, as you can see, fighting cancer is multifaceted: it’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. My best advice: don’t wait until you get a diagnosis to make the lifestyle changes you need to make. Make them now. You’ll be glad you did.

I’m thrilled to announce that my cancer numbers continue to decline and are almost in the “negative” category. God has been SO good through it all. I’m SO thankful, and I’m looking forward to a long, full life!

 

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Celebrating 1 Year Being Caner-free!!!

One year ago today, I had surgery to remove a suspicious lump from my breast. Honestly, I wasn’t too worried as both my mother and grandmother had had benign lumps removed themselves when they were my age. I honestly thought it would be no big deal; I would have it removed and get on with my life. After all, my surgeon said that only 20% of lumps they remove end up being cancer. No problem ….

But 2 days later when the surgeon told me that the lump was cancer, my world stopped.

Stopped.

Unless you’ve had the “C” word spoken over you personally, you cannot begin to imagine what that does to you emotionally and mentally.

I was in shock.

How could *I* have cancer? I was young and healthy. I ate pretty well, didn’t drink soda, gave up gluten a long time ago. What was going on???

THIS WAS A WAKE UP CALL.

I began to question everything I ate, drank, breathed, and put on my skin. I began devouring books, articles and webinars. I had to learn what I could do to prevent this from happening ever again.

At the same time, I began to wonder about chemo, radiation, losing my hair, blood tests, medications … I was suffering from information overload for sure.

But through it all, my FAITH IN GOD is what kept me strong, confident, and secure. My husband was my rock, comforting me when I needed it and supporting my treatment decisions. My immediate family stood by me continually. My church family relentlessly fought for me.

If I said I didn’t fight fear, I’d be lying. But I can tell you this: I didn’t fear death. It was the strangest, most wonderful thing. Of course, I didn’t WANT to die, but I resolved within myself that if I ended up dying from this, I would be OK; I would be with Jesus in heaven, and I’d be free from cancer.

BUT … there was NO way I was going down without a fight!

I decided to do my part (changing my diet & lifestyle), and I would trust God to do His part — no matter how things turned out, I would trust Him, love Him and continue to serve Him. I figured, “if the devil thinks he can get me to deny Jesus or renounce my loyalty to Him because of cancer, then he is sorely mistaken!!!”

So, I celebrate today — the day that cancer was removed from my body — and I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO thankful for LIFE. I’m incredibly grateful to the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to me and my family. God is good ALL the time!!! And He ONLY has good for us.

PS — If you’re not sure where you would go when you die, or you fear death, I’d love to encourage you and share my experience with you. Shoot me a message!

PSS — On Saturday, exactly 1 year since I was told the lump was cancer, I’m going to share tons of anti-cancer info that I’ve learned — things that I’ve changed to greatly improve my health and reduce my chance for another diagnosis. This is my way to FIGHT BACK and “redeem” that horrible day in my life. So stay tuned …

This is my BEAUTIFUL family that I’m SO thankful for and blessed with!

Experiencing God’s Peace

So I get emails each day with the “verse of the day.” Today was this one:download

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NLT)

So … I read this and thought, there is NO way you can read this verse and NOT read the verse before it! After all, this verse starts out, “THEN …..” You can’t have what’s in the “then verse” without DOING what’s in the verse before it.

So here’s the verse before it:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

NOTHING is supposed to cause anxiety in us. But if we are experiencing anxiety instead of God’s peace, then that’s our signal that we need to PRAY and ASK (supplicate) God for help and answers while maintaining a thankful attitude. Now, we aren’t thankful for the difficulties or trouble, of course, but we choose to think about what we’re grateful for instead of focusing on the anxiety-causing issues.

I think about my kids. If they need something, I want to get it for them. But if they come to me with worry or doubt or ingratitude for everything else I’ve done for them and given them so far, I’m not likely going to hear what their current needs are nor will I be feeling overly generous toward them. But if they come with humility, thankfully acknowledging all that I’ve done for them so far, I’ll be very open to trying to meet their current needs and helping them.

Finally, since we looked at the verse before verse 7, let’s look at the verse following it too:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Keeping our thoughts on track will defeat anxiety and definitely help us have a more peaceful mind. We have the responsibility to CHOOSE our thoughts; no one can do this for us. We must be careful who and what we listen to, from music and other media to friends and family members. Instead, flooding our minds with God’s word and uplifting music and spending time with encouraging, life-giving friends will help us maintain our peace.

Peace and anxiety cannot coexist; you either have God’s peace or your anxiety. Reject anxiety. Pray and put your requests before God, be thankful for His faithfulness, and keep your thoughts focused on positive things. And soon you’ll find that you’re experiencing God’s peace, guarding your heart and mind, no matter what’s happening around you.

What are you thirsting for?

Water … it’s vital for life. In fact, most experts say you can’t live for more than 3 days without it, though some have survived miraculously for 8-10 days without it. Water makes up roughly half of our body, so we can’t discount its importance.

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So here’s the question: If you were in a desert, what would you be thirsting for? … DUH, WATER, of course, right?

Well, I was reading Psalm 63, and in verse 1, David says,

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”

So … what struck me here is this: David is in a “parched and weary land.” The description in my Bible just before verse 1 says A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah. David is in a wilderness, but instead of thirsting for water, he’s thirsting for GOD! In fact, his WHOLE BODY is thristing for God!

I’m sorry, but I’m not there yet. I want to be there, but I’m not there yet. If I picture myself in a wilderness, I see myself thirsting for water, not God. (And I’d probably be hungry for food too!) My immediate bodily need for water would probably overwhelm any spiritual need. I’m just being honest; is anyone with me?

But, oh, how I LONG to be like David here … putting aside my physical needs and desiring God more than anything. … What do you need? More money? Physical healing? Improved relationships? … What if instead of desiring those things we desired God? I understand that those are immediate needs, but David’s urgent need was water, yet he still desired God over water.

Holy Spirit grabbed my heart with this verse. I have some immediate, pressing, real needs that I’ve been petitioning God about. I know that He has only good for me and my family, but He’s challenging me to long for HIM, not for what I physically need. … This is tough; this isn’t natural. In the natural, we have needs that we want taken care of, and I’m not minimizing those needs. But I wonder if we truly longed for GOD instead of our natural needs, what would happen? What if we got our focus off our immediate needs and longed for God with our whole being? My prediction is this: God would absolutely take care of our needs.

I don’t think it’s by accident that Jesus said in Luke 4:10, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” Perhaps He was referring to Psalm 63:1 as He spoke to the woman at the well. He could see her thirsting for the wrong things; He knew that He alone could satisfiy her thirst.

shutterstock_199262555-waterglass-1000x636Are you in a parched and weary land? Are you tired of striving and trying to make ends meet, restore relationships, or find true joy and peace? Maybe like the woman at the well, you’re thirsting for the wrong things. Try putting those needs aside. Put your need for “water” aside and stir up your thirst for Jesus who will quench your thirst with His living water.

Defeating with my Testimony!

As I was exercising and listening to scriptures this evening, one of them in particular jumped out at me:
“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”
This scripture is about how believers in Jesus defeated the devil (“him”). THEY defeated the devil — God didn’t defeat him — the believers did!
And how did they do it?
1. With the blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world … John 1:29)
I believe that by the blood of Jesus and the wounds He took on His body, I WAS healed (Isaiah 53:5). I declare on a regular basis that HIS holy blood is pumping through my body bringing supernatural life and wholeness and eradicating EVERY trace of cancer and disease.
2. With the word of THEIR testimony
And then it struck me! I need to get my updated testimony out there! My testimony is a powerful weapon against the enemy. Not only will it defeat Satan; it will also bring glory to God!
So … here’s the latest …
If you’ve been following my blogs at all, then you know that in October 2016 I had a cancerous lump removed from my breast (God showed me this very small tumor and spared my life in revealing it). It ended up being Stage 1 Invasive DCIS. It was the biggest shock of my life. And the biggest wake up call too.
I had it surgically removed, then had another surgery to clean up the margins a bit more and remove lymph nodes.
Chemo was never recommended (thankfully), but radiation and hormone therapy was. I didn’t have peace about either option for many reasons. So I considered a radical route: a double mastectomy. I went to the doctor’s appointments and even had it scheduled, but just a few days beforehand, I didn’t have peace about it.
My naturopath left it up to me and said that if I chose not to do conventional treatment that we would follow me very closely. She’s recommended some targeted supplements, and I’ve changed my lifestyle like crazy (diet, sleep, exercise, dealing with stress, etc.)
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Long story short, I did a special urine test to check a certain level that would tell us the status of cancer in my body. I just got the results back, and they are GOOD! Praise God!
My number is 54 — and anything between 50-400 is in the “faintly positive” range (numbers can go all the way over 10000!). 1-49 is “doubtful” range, and I’m super close to that!
This is considered my baseline, so please pray that when I do this test again in a couple months that the number will be EVEN LOWER!!! I want to be in the DOUBTFUL range and then ZERO/negative range!
So that’s my testimony — God is GOOD and God is FAITHFUL! His healing power is manifesting in my body and disease cannot exist in me because the Kingdom of God reigns in me. Cancer and the Kingdom CANNOT coexist!
Thanks for your continued prayers and for fighting alongside me!

Why the Skinny Girl Walks

So … I’m going to get really vulnerable here … so if that’s something you’d rather not be a part of, here’s your chance to exit. If that doesn’t scare you, then read on ….

I’ve been a health/wellness coach for over 18 years, and I have a confession to make: I hate to exercise. There. I said it. Now it’s out in the open; it’s public. I can’t do anything about it now.

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If you know me, then this doesn’t surprise you. If you don’t know me very well, then maybe it’s a bit surprising.

I’m not proud of the fact that I hate to exercise. I wish I liked it. I really do. But here are some of my personal struggles with it that I’ve had to come to terms with recently:

  1. I don’t have time. (I can’t even keep up with my housework!)
  2. I have better things to do with my time! (Like read a book or play with my kids.)
  3. I don’t like to sweat. At all. AT ALL! YUCK! (And then you stink! Yuck!)
  4. It’s boring. B-O-R-I-N-G!
  5. I hurt afterward. And I don’t like to be sore. That’s no fun.

I could probably think of a few more excuses -ER- REASONS that I didn’t/couldn’t exercise, but I’ll stop there.

OH YEAH! There IS one more. And it’s stupid. It has to do with the title of this post: Why the Skinny Girl Walks. BIG REASON: I didn’t want other people to think that I was exercising to lose weight.

There. I said it. You see, I didn’t need to lose weight — nor have I ever really needed to lose weight (don’t be a hater). In fact, I recently have inadvertently lost about 10 pounds because I cut sugar and junk out of my diet and have switched to a pretty much whole food, veggie, salad, less-animal-protein diet.

BUT — I let other people’s opinions stop me from doing something to help me be healthier (not that I didn’t have plenty of “reasons” of my own — but this didn’t help either).

Can you see me? Walking with my little hand weights in my cute little workout outfit (which my husband loves me in! 😉 ) … skinny as a rail … people looking at me thinking…

“Why does SHE need to exercise? She’s a bean pole!”

“She’s crazy if she thinks she’s fat. If I could only be as “fat” as SHE is!”

“Look at her go! She must think she is SO hot and in shape. <eyeroll> What’s she exercising for anyway? She doesn’t need to!”

Yep. That’s what would go through my mind. People seeing me walk through my neighborhood would SURELY think this, right? …. maybe …. maybe not …. either way, I’M OVER IT!

So why does this skinny girl walk? It sure isn’t because she wants to, nor is it because she has nothing better to do with her time. . . .

  1. Being at a healthy weight AND exercising reduces my chances of the breast cancer returning (goal per medical experts is 150 minutes/week of moderate exercise … Jesus, help me … that seems like a LOT of minutes ….)
  2. I’ve gotta get my lymphatic system flowing so that it can help remove the toxins and excess hormones that are surely built up in my body
  3. I need to tone my upper body because I’m pretty boney now 😦  So I’m using weights while I walk (and I feel pretty ridiculous too), and I hope to put some muscle back on
  4. I’ve got to deal with my stress better, and exercise is a great way to do it

So … I’ve been exercising regularly for about a month or so. It’s still nowhere near my favorite thing to do, but I’m not letting what other people think of me stop me from doing what’s good for my HEALTH. I’m NOT trying to lose weight but trying to tone and up my chances of never having cancer again. Plus, I’m done with my own personal excuses too. DONE! I’m going to NIKE it — JUST DO IT!

Here are some things that I’m trying to make exercising more tolerable …

  1. I recorded myself speaking healing scriptures, and I listen to them as I walk (very inspiring!). I LOVE music, and listening to music also helps me keep my MIND doing something while I exercise.
  2. I got my bike down, and lo and behold, I can still ride it! I actually like biking, and I’ll start alternating that with walking. Maybe I’ll even start jogging at some point, but don’t hold your breath! LOL
  3. I’m going to add some simple yoga in at some point. Pray for me. Seriously … I’ve never been super coordinated!yoga

So my final confession … I’m actually feeling pretty good after exercising … better than I thought I would. I’m not really in pain or sore, but as I vary my exercises, I’m sure that will happen at some point. But I’d rather be sore than face cancer again, and that’s why the skinny girl walks.

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Share some of your exercise tips, tricks or struggles below! I’m open to feedback/suggestions. Does anyone relate with me here?

THX for reading!

Living Water in my Bird Bath

IMG_4548As I was making breakfast for my kids this morning, I looked out the window over my kitchen sink at the waterless bird bath. I noticed a small bird sitting on the edge, and I immediately felt compassion for this bird who expected there to be water in the bird bath.

I called my 8-year-old son, gave him a watering jug, and told him to go out and fill up the bird bath so the birdies could get a drink. He gladly complied. It wasn’t 5 minutes later when I noticed a bird land on the bird bath, settle himself on the edge, and dip his beak into the water. I felt some joy that I met this sweet creature’s need for a drink.

I continued to watch, calling my son to the window to join me; we saw more than a dozen birds flock to the bird bath: robins, a large blue jay, cardinals, and other smaller birds (perhaps swallows). We enjoyed observing the birds with their beautiful colors as they drank and then flew away. Usually only 1 bird would come to the bird bath at a time to drink, but one time there were 3 birds enjoying the water together. I think our bird bath was so popular because we haven’t had much rain, and the birds were glad to find some water.

After I got my son on the school bus, I began doing some dishes and glanced out the window toward the bird bath again. I smiled when I saw a female cardinal sitting IN the water; she began to flutter and flit her wings, splashing water everywhere! She was enjoying a bath. She wasn’t going to just enjoy a nice drink — she decided to go ALL IN and get wet!

I laughed at her lack of inhibition and appreciated her courage to jump right in and not hold back. She wanted a bath — to get cleaned up — and that’s exactly what she did!

And you know what? Right after she flew away, her partner, a beautiful, red cardinal, dove into the bird bath and began splashing himself with the water. And after he flew away, another small bird followed suit, flinging water all over himself with his wings.

All morning long, the birds kept coming … and God began to speak to me about many things.

> Like this bird bath, our lives should be a “fresh drink” to those around us. People should be drawn to us because our lives offer something they need: peace, hope, encouragement, love … Jesus said in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

> There are people in need all around us. They are looking for water, not for their bodies, but for their spirits. They are looking for the living water that only God offers through Jesus. This living water should be gushing from us to quench the dryness of a thirsty world. Does living water from God flow from us to others?

> People are looking for life and hope and peace, and if those things are IN us, then they can flow OUT of us, just like Jesus demonstrated. Can people encounter God’s living water when they come into contact with us?

> Jesus understood and modeled this. In John 4, Jesus went to a well; He was physically thirsty and in need of a drink. A woman also came to the well to draw water, and Jesus began to engage her in conversation:

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? …  Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

My birds knew where to find water because the bird bath has offered water in the past; they expected the bird bath to have water. Many of these birds returned again and again to enjoy the water. Our lives, our families, and our churches should be “bird baths” for people to come and drink from to revive their faith and encourage their spirits. Do people know to come to US to find living water? Or when they come to us, are we all dried up, self-absorbed, too busy, or uncaring?

Some people will come and just take a drink. They may return for another drink from time to time. But others will jump right in and “do life” with us like the birds who bathed themselves in the water and inspired others to do the same. I want to be a bird bath full of spiritual water for others around me. As God’s Living Water flows from me, others can splash around in the LIFE of God and be refreshed by His goodness!

Who needs your living water today?