September 23, 2017

Determination


Determination…a word of action needed to get through life…

I have been through many circumstances in life; as a child, a teenager, and many more experiences in my adult life. Recently, as I was out running, I had to push myself to keep going. It reminded me of this photo. This was a time about 8 years ago when I was training for the open 400m race. I was actually trying to make the upcoming Olympics. Although, my time was close to tryout times, I needed to knock off several more seconds. Anyway, as I thought back to this time in my life during my now getting back in shape jog, I kept running to finish my last mile. I then thought to myself how being determined is sometimes what gets you through things in life; it’s what got me through the last year of my life for sure. Unfortunately, in the past few years of my life, I’ve had at least a few circumstances that I needed to dig my way through. I was determined to be a better mom, a better wife, determined to not only make it through cancer and chemotherapy, but to come out on the other end in better shape than I was before; healthier, physically and mentally stronger and more spiritually fit. That is where I am now; getting back in to shape, constantly trying to cut certain foods out of my diet (a work in progress ūüėČ ), and my oh my, what God has shown me about Him – that will be in another blog!

Subsequently, in the midst of wanting to be done with this workout, it came to me that choosing determination is what I’ve had to decide within me over the more recent course of my life. If I choose to be determined no matter how much I hurt, no matter how tired I am, no matter what others say, then I can keep going. If I choose to be determined, even if I don’t know what the next step is, I know God will work it out for me. Sometimes, I just need to commit, bringing me to see the next step as I get closer to it. I ask God to help sustain me, show me how to get through, and to show me what’s next; humbly admitting I don’t know what else to do.

So here I am, determined…to do life…to be happy…to love…but most importantly, to keep learning and leaning on my God.

Detoxing My Chemo Effects

Chemotherapy treatments for cancer was the absolute last thing I would have ever thought I would have to endure. Unfortunately, that is where I ended up. I didn’t know anything about chemo and cancer, but I knew I didn’t want to do it, and there was something about it that just wasn’t right. (Please research all options natural and medical before deciding what to do. Everyone’s case is different, and I am not a doctor). However, I didn’t have anyone on the natural treatment side to reach out to. There were acquaintances who said, “Don’t do chemo. There are natural ways.” I didn’t know who these people were or who to listen to. Moreover, I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket, since medical insurance does not cover, for a naturopathic or holistic doctor. However, I know in some cases chemo is necessary, but in my mind, there was something not right about chemo. Needless to say, off to chemo I went.

Shortly after beginning my chemo, I met someone who shared some supplemental and essential oil info with me to help lessen my effects. I had never heard of essential oils, and I love them. They are so beneficial for your health! I use them all the time now, instead of some other remedies that have been recommended to me. I call them natures‚Äô solutions. I started with four rounds of Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Taxoter (ACT). Then, I went through half of my six “treatments” of  Taxotere, Carboplatin, and Herceptin (TCH). The effects that I consistently dealt with were nausea, constipation, headache, low fever, body aches (that kept me curled up in bed), and tiredness. The good thing was that my effects were like clock work, so I knew what to expect.  Although, they were the same, the intensity was sometimes worse on different weeks.

As you know your chemo effects you heart and liver the most. So, when you detox, you are going to use detoxification methods that cleanse your liver.

Here is what I did to detox during my chemo:

  1. Lemon Essential Oil in my water or tea.
  2. Milk Thistle Seed in 4 oz of water.
  3. Liquid Turmeric in 4 oz of water.
  4. Castor Oil Pack
  5. Epson Salt, Baking Soda, and Essential Oil Bath
  6. Green Juice
  7. Wheatgrass Juice

During the week of my chemo, everyday I would do at least three of the above (#1-5) detoxes. Number 6 and 7 were daily things I did from the time I received my diagnosis until. In between treatments, I would continue to do at least two a day. My chemo was on Tuesday. I started my detox on Monday, 3-4 times a day. The first time I detoxed, I was amazed at how much better I felt. I was not in bed all day following my Neulasta shot. I had no fever, much less aches (a little in my ankles as opposed to all over), I wasn’t as tired, and no nausea. I still took it easy, but at least I didn’t feel like I had to lay still and not move to avoid being dizzy, or curled up in bed for a day.

My schedule went as follows: Morning – lemon oil, Mid-morning before lunch – milk thistle seed, afternoon before dinner – turmeric, before bedtime – castor oil pack. After doing this for five days, my hair started to grow back!

Now, depending on your chemo and what your doctor says, this detoxing will not override your chemo. The drugs are way too carcinogenic and strong to be rid of by this type of detoxing. However, you should always consult your doctor regarding anything extra you do at home.

Instructions:

Lemon Essential Oil or Zendocrine Oil

I am an advocate for doTERRA essential oils. doTERRA oils are certified pure therapeutic grade oils (CPTG). Meaning they use proper methods of growing, harvesting, and distilling to maintain purity. There are no artificial fillers or pesticides used. Many of their oils can also be ingested, compared to other companies. Do your research, and choose what you like best, but I am partial to doTERRA, and therefore, you can order your oils through me ūüôā Oils can be used aromatically, topically, and ingested.

Add 1 drop to 4 oz of water or tea and drink throughout your day as wanted. I use 2-3 drops in my green tea because I prefer to do extra.

Milk Thistle Seed

Follow directions on the bottle. Add 30-40 drops to 4 oz of water and drink in between meals 3-4 times a day. I used the Gaia low alcohol brand.

Turmeric

Follow directions on the bottle. Add a dropper full to 2 oz of water or juice and drink in between meals 2-5 times a day. I used the Herb Pharm brand.

Castor Oil Pack

First off, you do NOT drink the castor oil!

Purchase a bottle of castor oil, a 36″ x 18″ flannel cloth, and a heating pad or water bottle. You will also need a plastic bag (kitchen garbage bag worked best for me).

Rub castor oil over your liver area (located on your left side just beneath the portion of your ribs) on both the front and back side. Saturate your cloth and place over your liver allowing the cloth to wrap around your side to your back. Or you can place a cotton hand towel over the area with oil. Place the plastic bag over the cloth to avoid getting your clothes or heating element oily. Lastly, place the heating element of your choice over your liver and lay on your right side for 45 min. Do this 4 times a week for four consecutive days. Take a break, then repeat for 4-6 weeks following for best results. There are directions on your pack that tell you how often you can reuse your cloth. I would drizzle the oil on the cloth and spread it with my hands so that I would not have to use the whole bottle in one application. The next time I would detox, I would only have to use a little more to re-oil the cloth.

Epson Salt, Baking Soda, and Essential Oil Bath

Items needed: Aluminum Free baking soda – 2 cups, Epsom Salt – 2 cups, Rosemary and Juniper Essential Oil – 4 drops of each.

Put the baking soda and salt in a very warm bath and dissolve (about 5 min). Then add your oils and swish around. Climb in and soak. At the time, I only had lavender, lemon, and rosemary essential oils, so that’s what I used.  All of them help to detoxify, but the rosemary and juniper the most. This works by reverse osmosis, pulling the salt and chemicals through your pores. The salt helps flush out toxins and heavy metals. Baking soda helps rid the body of drugs, radiation exposure, and chemicals from food. Your body will sweat out the toxins.

Green Juice and Wheatgrass Shots

When I was going through treatments, my husband learned how to grow wheatgrass to keep our cost of buying it down. You can learn more about what he did here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/aboutwheatgrass/ Although there are many benefits from wheatgrass, here is what I could see that benefited me the most. It strengthened my immune system while going through surgery, healing, and going through treatments. It aided in detoxing as well. Moreover, for cancer patients, it has a high(est) content of chlorophyll, therefore, your cells are able to get more oxygen. One of the main findings with cancer patients is that doctors have realized their cells are oxygen depleted when diagnosed.

You have to purchase a specific juicer in order for the wheatgrass to be juiced properly. If you use a regular juicer, you will end up buying and going through much more grass than needed in order to get an adequate amount. We used an Omega Juicer. My husband gave me at least two (2 oz per day).

Although I no longer drink wheatgrass, I juice green vegetables often. This was most beneficial to get as many nutrients into my system as possible. That also helped with my healing and making sure I got enough nutrients during treatment to keep me going strong. You can juice any combination of cruciferous (dark) green vegetables that fits your taste, and you get a variable amount of vitamins and nutrients. However, the basics for detoxing are green apple, celery, and cucumber. Then you can add other veggies like kale, parsley, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, arugula, and spinach. Check my favorites menu for links to juicing and other great resources.

Happy Detoxing!!!

Shaving My Head – Chemo

A Day I Will Never Forget…

11188214_10205361246703277_213929887643240912_n(4)My journey began February 5, 2015. I was scheduled to have my first ever mammogram. It ended up being a few hours visit which entailed three sessions of mammograms and then an ultra sound. I was pretty much told there was concern, and it was a 50/50 outcome. So, I was scheduled for a biopsy the following week, February 12. After having the biopsy, I went in to work the next day and figured I wouldn’t hear anything over the weekend.

The work day went by without any problems.¬†February 13, 2015, I received a call from my primary care physician telling me that my biopsy tested positive for cancer. As I answered the phone, knowing it was her, I thought to myself, “I’m alright.” However, at the same time, there was a feeling that made me wrench a¬†little, knowing that wasn’t the truth. She began giving me instructions and phone numbers for my next steps. I continued to remain calm and wrote down everything she said. Since I was at work, my next step was to finish gathering my things, deliver paperwork to my boss, while being composed after such news; knowing I had to call my husband. He took it worse than I did in the beginning. And then I broke down.

We decided that we would not tell the kids anything on the way home. I wanted to wait until after dinner. We sat on the couch and called our three teenagers over to sit. I wanted my husband to break the news, but we would make sure we also told the kids what our next steps were, not only to soften the blow, but so that they would know there was a plan and no matter what, we would get through it. We cried, and ended our discussion in prayer.

As the weeks went on, I met my breast care surgeon, my plastic surgeon, my oncologist, and my cardiovascular doctor. This all became more real with each step, but still u believable and certainly not real. This¬†couldn’t be mine, my life. I was not ready to own this, and neither was my husband. That would have to come later. My diagnosis was Infiltrated Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2a, 3.2cm in length.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I was absolutely against doing chemo, but we had already met with two oncologist and felt like I needed to get started right away and not let this cancer grow or spread.

I had surgery on March 10, a port placed in my chest on April 7, and began chemo on the 14th. By the end of April, my husband shaved my head; it all began to fall out in clumps every time I would touch or comb it.

This seemed like it would never end. However, I completed my chemo through the rest of the summer. It all seems like it went faster than we thought it would, but it was certainly not an easy journey. I was given four treatments of adriamycin, taxotere, and cytoxan (ACT) ¬†– once every two weeks. Then six treatments of Herceptin, Carboplatin, and Taxotere (TCH) – once every three weeks. There were days of fevers, headaches,staying in bed for a few days. I generally felt off for the whole week of chemo. I guess in general, compared to most other cancer patients, I did well health wise. It was still the worst thing I’d ever experienced, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. On my two weeks off, I would get as much done around the house as possible. Then I would realize I probably did too much.

By the end of September, I found a new oncologist. I actually had one treatment of TCH that I was supposed to complete. My husband and I were not comfortable with the previous doctor, and although I had been with her through the gist of chemo, we still knew I had a ways to go, and finding a doctor we trusted¬†and were more comfortable with was important. My new doctor agreed that I should not have done the first part of my treatment that was prescribed by my previous doctor. I didn’t have to take the last treatment. However, he reassured me that my treatments to come he was certain of. As of now, I have ten more herceptin treatments once every three weeks, I take a hormone blocker pill called Aromasin daily, and an injection once every three months called Lupron. Eventually, I will have a CT scan and a bone scan done. I just completed my reconstruction surgery and had my port removed.

The surgery marks a big finish for me even though I am not done. Through all of this, I have done lots of holistic research. I had begun using supplements and detoxing during chemo. I will share more on detox, essential oils, and supplements. I never felt like I had the time to do any research before. If I had known what I know now, I would have walked out on my chemo. As I am currently doing more research, specifically for her2 positive breast cancer, I may not finish the treatments I am on now. I think it’s time to rebuild, instead of tearing down…

More to come…

At Rest…

Blue Ridge MountainsMy spirit is at rest. It is experiencing a sense of peace in such an uncertain world of chaotic circumstances – in sync with God.

When there is so much buzzing around me, a number of decisions to be made, futures to plan for and obstacles that keep getting in the way; at times the accomplishments made seem wasteful – causing panic, confusion and worry. An attack on what God has planned.

But when my heart and mind are in sync with God’s Word and promises, my soul is at rest. It is here that I continue to learn to seek Him, surrender to him and abide in His love and care for me.

New Season

JeffMy husband Jeff, had a screw put in his left foot a few weeks ago after a long haul on wearing a boot; hoping it would heal. He has been in a cast for the last three weeks. He will have to go another 3-4 weeks of non-weight bearing on crutches. He’s having a difficult time during the recovery with not only boredom, but nausea as well. Please pray that God will help him to heal quickly and that God would give him the comfort he needs.

Family Fun

Kristen

On February 18, 2014, my daughter Kristen turned 16! She has been a special joy in our lives. I can’t believe it’s been this long. She wanted to celebrate by having friends (co-ed, might I add) over for dinner and a big bonfire! We had a great time! Very happy to watch my girl grow into a beautiful, bright, and level-headed young lady. Tear…

Trusting God

The God Who Created All Things

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

3     He refreshes my soul, He leads me beside quiet waters,

He guides me along the right paths

for His name’s sake,

through the darkest valley, 4 Even though I walk

I will fear no evil,  for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

6 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me

        all the days of my life,

       and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

       forever.

A New Season

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Upon planning for my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary, my husbands mother began having some health issues earlier this spring. As time progressed, her memory suddenly worsened. It brought us to an unexpected point of immediately taking both parents in with hopes of reversing a mild diagnose of Dementia and Alzheimer’s for his mother.

Although it has only been a little over a month, we have found ourselves in the position of possibly taking them in permanently. She has definitely improved in her health, but along the way, other health circumstances arose – from having a cast put on to a pretty serious surgery to take place, not to mention their overall health in general to be looked after.

Which brings us to a new unexpected season of life in care taking. We have surely had some great laughs along the way, and have added several new stories to our memories thus far. Although it seems like it’s been longer, I know this is only the beginning of more stories to come.

Clissie Rogers’ Recovery

Family Fun

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A while back a tree fell in our backyard after a rain storm. Embarrassed to say; since it was far enough in the rear of the yard, we left it for months before deciding what to do with it. Upon deciding, I implored with my husband to turn it into a fire pit. He contested; we can’t do that! There’s no way!

At last, the day came. I had finally influenced my husband to move forward with the fire-pit idea. Yay! We inquired about renting a chain saw from Home Depot. The six of us, including our Jack Russell/Rat Terrier, Bolt, attacked the fallen tree. As my husband sawed the trunk of about twenty feet long and two feet wide, the kids and I rolled or carried the trunks to the woods of our yard. The stumps that were of great size we used as seats, and the smaller pieces we lined up for fire wood.

It was complete! The downside of this whole event was that both my daughters and husband ended up with poison ivy that lasted for a couple of weeks. We couldn’t burn the wood because we didn’t know which wood was covered with dead poison ivy.

All in all, it was still a great idea. We were able to use it a couple of times before summer came, and we plan to use it within the next few weeks for the fall. It was also a great family building activity.

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