thankful thursdays 7/7

Jul 7, 2011 by

* I’ve always believed the number seven was the most special number in the world (or in the heavens!) and today on the seventh day of the seventh month it has proved true once again! By the way, the number seven is said sheva in Hebrew and it means holy, complete, and covenant. I was born on the seventh at 7:00 after seven minutes of pushing and weighed seven pounds. Definitely a wonderful number in my life!

Anyway, today, I met with Dr. Jones, the breast surgeon, and she would like to do a remove the lump in my breast! Imagine that! After all this time and all these appointments, a physician finally said they would like to take the darn thing out!

I’m a little blown away by the whole thing…I had basically given up on that even being a possibility. Now I need to decide if I would like to do it in her office with just a local anesthetic or if I would like to do it at one of the surgical centers with IV anesthetic. The thought of less meds is appealing to me, but I don’t really know if that would be wise since I am fairly needle-phobic. She said since I have given birth unmedicated four times I should be able to handle just the local anesthetic, but what she doesn’t know is I was in a lot of pain during those births…it wasn’t a question of not being in pain, it was a philosophical and physiological opposition to having medication. She would like me to decide in the next 24 hours, so I need to come to a decision quickly.

I don’t know what to do…any thoughts?
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* I am thankful to be doing this cleanse. I know it is helping my body get healthier! I’m on day ten and doing well. I am so thankful to my mom for getting me all the supplements – there is no way I could have afforded them on my own. She has been such a hero through this whole thing…listening to me when I am freaking out over this lump, helping me stay focused on truth, helping me have courage, loving me, buying groceries, and listening some more. I adore my mama!
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* I am so thankful for my children. They have had to put up with a lot these last few months as I have been gone frequently to doctor’s appointments. They have really pitched in and made my life as easy as they can. During this cleanse, Keziah has made my green smoothies for me everyday and Blythe has been helping make dinner because it is really hard for me to be in the kitchen cooking stuff I can’t eat.
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* America. I love my country. I love the Constitution. I love the founding generation and the countless sacrifices that were made. I have loved focusing our school time this week on freedom, liberty, courage, persistance, public virtue, and what it all means for us today.
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I am thankful for so much more, but I have no more time to write today!

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the cleanse: the first week

Jul 5, 2011 by

I have completed the first week of the 21-Day Standard Process Purification Cleanse. I have not cheated with even one little crumb of non-vegetable or non-fruit matter – although it has been close a few times! I have found myself automatically picking up the children’s food and lifting it to my lips and then remembering right at the last moment and putting it back down. I have successfully downed thirty pills and two SP Complete shakes a day…I mix the powder with my green smoothies (confession: Keziah makes almost all my green smoothies for me…she is Wonder Girl).

For me to actually stick with something for eight straight days in a row is something of a miracle. I am pretty proud of myself. I have also felt surprisingly well. This weekend was kind of rough since we were out of the house so much at Independence Day activities and I didn’t have ready access to all my veggies and last night I had a wicked headache (I never get headaches, so I know this was either detoxification related or lack of food related), but other than that I have felt great.

I have realized just how much I think about food…how much I love it, really, really, love it. I SO enjoy a delicious egg sandwich, a bowl of popcorn, a hearty whole wheat pancake, chips & salsa, brown rice with apples & raisins, quinoa with spinach, and so many other yummy, whole foods. I also love some things not on the whole food list…like ice cream and lots of it. Even though my overall diet is pretty healthy, this new thing of eating ONLY vegetables and fruit is still an adjustment.

For those of you who have never done this cleanse, you are to eat twice as many vegetables as fruit and at least 50% of your intake should be raw. I am trying to do almost everything raw. I have had some veggies sauteed for less than four minutes a few times, but other than that everything I have eaten for the past eight days has been raw. Red peppers and sugar snap peas have been my favorites this week. I have also eaten a ton of broccoli and cabbage. I recently learned that cilantro is a powerful tool in blood chelation, so I need to figure out a way to get that in me by the handfuls.

Today we pulled out my old auger-style juicer and made “ice cream” with frozen fruit…can’t believe I forgot how delicious and easy it is! We fed some to Brother Ritchie when he came by to fix our windshield and he loved it as well.

I can tell my body is working hard. I feel like I need a lot of sleep, so I am taking things pretty easy…at least easy for me ! I am praying that this cleanse helps my liver get up to speed and kick starts all my other organs into a fine-tuned machine…and of course, I am visualizing estrogen flowing right out of me. I wish I had some sort of estrogen measuring device so I could quantitatively see the changes in my levels. Come to think of it, a liver measuring device would be super-handy as well!

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burns in me

Jun 28, 2011 by

I bought the Jenny Phillips – Every Breath CD for $2.99 back at Passover time when I was looking for an Afikomen gift and have been listening to it ever since. The first time I heard “Burns in Me” I was swept away. I listened to it again and again and AGAIN right then. I couldn’t get enough of it. At first, I focused on the cello music at the beginning of the song. Then I started focusing on the phrase “There is no time, it seems” because at the time I was right in the middle of Blythe’s Shakespeare play rehearsals and was worn right out with all the things I needed to get done on a daily basis. Then I started focusing on the phrase “How quickly I can fill my life with less important things” and since I was so concerned about breast cancer, I started really evaluating how I was spending my time and making a plan to make sure I spent my time on the essentials, not the superfluous. I recommitted myself to personal scripture study and to really nurturing my children’s souls. Then I started focusing on the part about thinking we are strong. That first part of May, I felt anything but strong. I felt powerless and I was literally barely hanging on. As my communion time with God became longer and longer each day, I began to feel peace again. I began to feel His great love for me. I have listened to this song over and over again for the last two months and loved it each time. On Saturday night, I listened to it again while driving home from the LDS Holistic Living Conference and it hit me with more power than it ever had before. I was thinking about this lump in my breast and what I need to do about it and what this whole journey is supposed to teach me. The answers came in these words…they might not mean anything to you, but they mean the world to me.

There is no time it seems
We’re rushing to meet everybody’s needs.
There is no time to breathe.
How quickly I can fill my life with less important things.

I’m hungry and I’m empty till your words reach deep inside.
I humbly drink from waters deep that fill me with life.
Your teachings have the power that I seek
and the Spirit of the things I read, burns in me.

Sometimes we think we’re strong.
Pushing on through days that seem so long.
I try to carry on, but without the daily bread of life
I’m barely hanging on.

I’m hungry and I’m empty till your words reach deep inside.
I humbly drink from waters deep that fill me with life
Your teachings have the power that I seek
and the Spirit of the things I read, burns in me.

I pray, I ponder, I’m thirsting.
I read and know that You hear me.
I pray, I ponder, I’m thirsting.
I read and know that You hear me.
I pray, I ponder, I’m thirsting.
I read and know that You hear me.

I’m hungry and I’m empty till your words reach deep inside.
I humbly drink from waters deep that fill me with life.
Your teachings have the power that I seek
and the Spirit of the things I read, burns in me.

They mean God knows. He knows me and my fears and my hopes and my needs and my family’s needs and I am safe in His hands. Not safe in terms of nothing being wrong or anything like that…just that I am really, really safe with my God…regardless of what His plan for me is, it IS what is best for me even if I can’t see how it will all work out.

They mean He has the power to save me. The power to heal my body, to eradicate this tissue from my life. More importantly, He has the power to heal my spirit and to teach me exactly who I am, what I am worth to Him, and how I can return to Him.

They mean the atonement is real. It’s real for me and it’s real for you. I’ve always known there was a way back to Him, but trusting that I could really make it back to Him has been so hard. I have no doubt that others can, its just me I have questions about.

They mean His words are what heal me. His words are what bring me peace. Nothing I do can give me the peace, the healing, the strength, the perspective, the love that I need. Only His and as I immerse myself in His word I will be filled with exactly what I need.

I wish you could hear the cello.

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catching up

Jun 20, 2011 by

After pouring my soul out a few days ago, I haven’t had anything left of me to share…so I haven’t written. I am not one of those “write on command” types that write just because another day is here. I have to have something to say, something of myself to impart to the world…and after Thursday’s post, I had nothing left in me.

I’ve also been busy, busy, busy. On Friday, Jodie Palmer came and stayed with me for the weekend and brought her three little munchkins…remember Miss Maggie of Make It For Maggie fame? On Saturday, I attended a class on Parliamentary Procedure and learned gobs of useful information. My head has been somewhat swimming since then with the little filing guy in my brain trying desperately to get all that info stored away into its proper folders and filing cabinets. Then, that night we had an extended family party to honor the fathers in our family and we didn’t get into bed till about midnight. Sunday was church, nap, planning, studying, pondering, and loving on my family.

Now we are to Monday and a new week of mothering, schooling, loving, learning, and becoming. What will I become this week? What will I improve upon. Whose life will be better because of me? Weighty questions that hit me hard each week.

The only things I know right now are:

1. I am starting my new scripture journal today.

2. I am starting my 21 Day Standard Process Purification Cleanse tomorrow after I go grocery shopping today for oodles of vegetables. I love vegetables…in fact, I was a vegetarian for about two years back when Blythe was a baby…but I cannot even imagine how I am going to live on only vegetables and a little fruit for the next 21 days. This is surely going to be an adventure in willpower and creativity.

3. I am going to focus on nurturing my children each day…filling their souls up with my love for them.

I should find out what Dr. Jones’ decision is in the next few days. Until then I feel like I am on pins and needles. I have been praying she will be guided in her decision and will be able to have an open mind about thermography. If you are the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers for her as well.

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the lesson of submission

Jun 16, 2011 by

I have been learning much.

Learning that I can’t solve my problems.

Learning that I can’t control my life.

Learning that I have been far too prideful.

Learning that I am much too reliant on my own pitiful attempts to rescue myself.

Learning that it doesn’t matter how smart I am, how good I am, how angry I am, how deserving I am, how anything I am…I am not in charge, I can’t change my husband’s job, and I can’t change this lump in my breast.

Now, I am not saying I am powerless…I AM saying relying on my own strength, tenacity, brains, or anything else of MY own won’t work.

I have had to give this all to God and let Him change things.

I have had to submit…in some ways it is the most frightening experience of my life.

It is also the most humbling.

Several weeks ago, I was told that because my mammogram results came back clear, I was no longer eligible to receive funding through the Early Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. Since then, I have made countless phone calls, had numerous appointments with specialists in a variety of fields, and been researching till the cows come home…actually far later into the night than when the cows come home. Through all this study, I have decided that the mammogram results are not accurate due to my dense breast tissue and that I need to pursue further testing.

The Screening Program said they would absolutely not pay for any other appointments and they would certainly not pay for the $5,000 biopsy. No way around it. I did not meet the guidelines to continue with further testing and there was nothing I could do about it.

I have pondered fundraising ideas. Bake sales, selling my beloved bike, my cello, some of my books, creating some sort of new business that could quickly raise the money needed. Ideas have poured through my head and all of it was completely overwhelming. I knew I wasn’t up to doing anything that large or that quickly. I am tired. Each day is a struggle to get through and there is just not enough of me to get it all done.

For years, I have thought if I just worked harder, stayed up later, smiled more, or involved more people, I could solve whatever problem is in front of me. For the last four years, I have been learning that I can’t solve our financial problems. I can’t magically give Richard a new job. I can’t give him more hours with us. I can’t go back in time. But, I have made myself miserable and exhausted by taking the weight of that burden on and trying to solve it and feeling the weight of guilt and torment that has gotten us here. I have beat myself up over and over and OVER. I have distanced myself from God because I have felt so absolutely unworthy of His love. I have sobbed into my pillow all night long more times than I can count because the pain is so unbearable. I have not allowed the atonement to work in my life…all because of debt and poor choices and guilt and not measuring up to my vision of a good steward.

Sometimes the reality of trying to get through the day feels like a boulder pressing down on my chest. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. Sometimes I try to escape into a book, but at the end of the last page, the problems are still in front of me. Sometimes I look into the eyes of my children and start crying because I can’t solve this problem.

I know God does not want me to feel this way. Yes, He wants us to be good stewards, but He does not want me to hate myself and be unwilling to accept His atonement because of my self-imposed guilt. My priesthood blessing of a few weeks ago helped me to feel and know His great love for me. It helped me to let go of the guilt and bask in His peace. Since then, I have felt His love on a daily basis. I have felt wrapped in His arms.

Many times, I am able to be comforted by the fact that innumerable miracles have fed, clothed, and sheltered us in the past four years since our business closed. Many times, I am able to remember hope. Many times I am functioning in a state of shock as my family and friends give me clothes, make-up, gas, food, trips to Utah, warm meals, books, and all the other wonderful things people have provided for us. Many times I am so embarrassed by the help people give us that I am unable to communicate and perhaps they don’t know how grateful I am and how perfectly timely their gifts have been. Many times, I know, absolutely know, that I am in God’s hands and that I need to trust.

But mostly, I still think I can solve everything.

This lump has taught me that I can’t. I can’t get rid of it. I can’t find out what it is on my own.

I can eat healthy foods. I can cleanse. I can relax. I can trust. I can simplify. I can try to fix the hormone imbalance.

But I can’t solve it.

I don’t know if anything I am saying is making sense. I am typing a million miles a minute and pouring my heart out into my keyboard and probably not really communicating the feelings of my soul. I hope someone can sense what I am saying.

Last night when I got home from having a wonderful time with my friends, Jessica and Jessica, I had a message from the screening program.

By some miraculous turn of events (and by miraculous, I mean miraculous…I’m sure there had to be some angelic intervention), they have decided to pay for another surgical consult AND the biopsy if it is necessary AND follow-up appointments.

I’m speechless.

I cried and cried last night. I do not deserve this. I haven’t earned it. It doesn’t make any sense.

But that is exactly how God works. I need to stop trying to earn His love and just love Him, just trust Him, just submit my willful, prideful, selfish self to Him.

The next miracle happened this morning.

Dr. Jones’ (the best breast cancer surgeon in our area) office called and said they had a cancellation for this afternoon and it was mine if I wanted it.

What??????

Generally they are booking appointments 4 – 6 weeks out.

Miracles are everywhere.

I am learning to submit to God’s plan for my life. It is hard, but I am learning that His hands are best place for me to be.

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thankful thursdays 6/9

Jun 10, 2011 by

I have missed my last few Thankful Thursday posts and have regretted not taking the time to ponder the things I am grateful for. My heart is so full with the blessings of my life. I had a really grumpy day yesterday and was feeling so discouraged by the lump and the tests and the costs and the fear and the lack of control and the overwhelming weight of dealing with all of this. Yesterday it felt like too much. I felt like crying all day long. I felt like I could not go on. Then, Keziah convinced me to take her to the library to sign up for the summer reading program, Kat heard the despair in my voice and came and met us at the library, and then we all took a spur of the moment trip to see my old chiropractor and see if he could make sense of all of this. Last night, I held a colloquium at my home and was able to be surrounded by people pondering and searching for truth. It was lovely.

I woke up this morning feeling more myself…more hopeful, more committed, more me…and so, I need to write out my gratitude.

* Love…the power of love is huge in my life. I am surrounded by people who love me, who nurture me, who build me up, and feed my soul. I have known for a long time that I was greatly blessed to have such a vast army of friends and family, but this whole lump experience has made me appreciate the love from that army so much more.
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* My lil’ sister, Mikelle was able to be sealed to her husband, Logan, and their son, Easton, two weeks ago. It was one of the most precious experiences of my life. I am so happy for them to be building an eternal family and to be growing closer to Christ.

Mikelle, Logan, and Easton

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All the gang…we were looking into the sun…so excuse the squinty eyes and hands in front of faces.

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Mikelle and her daddy

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Logan and his buddies

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Our family

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Glory, glory, hallelujah!!!!
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* Kat sewed me new camper cushions…she is the most fabulouso seamstress EVER! I am so, so, so grateful to have her in my life. I feed her yummy food and she sews for me…what a great deal!

I haven’t taken a picture of the old, hideous covers, but here is a picture of the new ones…aren’t they adorable!

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They bring such a smile to my face each time I see them! The sad news is, one of the blue ones got gum stuck to it at swim camp, so now I have to figure how to get that off of it.
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* Blythe is at a wonderful youth conference for homeschoolers today and tomorrow. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by youth who are dedicated to studying the great classics, finding out what God wants them to do, and serving their fellowman. I love these youth and am so grateful my daughter has a rich environment of friends who are on the same path as she is.
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* My new scripture journal came! I am in love. I love the way it feels and the way it looks and can’t wait to fill it up with treasures!
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* As frustrating as it is sometimes, I am grateful to have a body that communicates with me and is teaching me what I need to do to heal. I am grateful for the messages my breast is sending me. It is not letting me ignore it at all…which just may give me time to reverse this whole process.
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* My new iPad. I have never owned an MP3, ipod, smartphone, or any of the other gadgets that are so popular these days, so this is a huge deal for our family. We are loving the books, the scriptures, the ease of email, the speed, and the learning apps. The whole thing is simply amazing. I don’t know why it was gifted to me, but I am so grateful to have it. Just this morning, Fisher and Annesley worked on phonics, Keziah did some geography and math, and I was able to look up oodles of info on the internet, all while being snuggled up in my bed together. Thanks mama!!!!!!!!!!!
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* I love my little plot of land with the trees, wildflowers, sagebrush, dandelions, chicken poop, birds chirping, nine new puppies, morning sunshine, afternoon shade, and even my bumpy dirt road. It is so nice to have a place to call our own.
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This may be the longest post in history, so I will stop now and let you get back to your regularly scheduled lives. Just know, that I know, I am blessed…richly blessed. Sometimes I have a hard day and forget about those blessings. Sometimes I lose my temper. Sometimes I get discouraged and overwhelmed. Sometimes I want to give up…and then I start thinking and start remembering all that God has done for me, all the blessings He has promised me, all the peace He gives me, all the love I am surrounded with, and my heart is buoyed up for another season.

Thank you for helping me remember.

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it’s all coming together

Jun 8, 2011 by

I am a researcher…I crave information…so when this lump showed up I, of course, started studying everything about breasts, lumps, tests, treatment, and outcomes.

I have felt for awhile that my estrogen levels were sky high…I haven’t felt right since my miscarriage last fall. I have known for years…since my post-partum days after Keziah…that my progesterone levels were low. Back then my luteal phase was 1-2 days!

I have known my liver struggles to metabolize toxins when I am pregnant and have wanted to do a liver cleanse for years, but since I have always either been pregnant or nursing for the past fifteen years, I have put it off.

With each of my ten miscarriages, I have slowly come to see that something is terribly amiss with my body. But, I have failed to see the big picture. I have failed to understand that all of this is connected.

What I am starting to understand now is that my estrogen levels have most likely been high for years…that in turn has worn my liver right out (proof: vomiting throughout all my pregnancies, inability of my body to metabolize medicines, exhaustion, strong aversion to smells, liver coming up on every health evaluation I’ve had in the past fifteen years, blood-sugar regulation issues, and passing out) and this has made it even more difficult for my liver to metabolize the excess estrogen.

With my hormones so out-of-kilter, I have had a very hard time staying pregnant and now that I am immersed in this research I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the four children I have been able to get here…and am in awe of the miracle of it all. The downside is that each pregnancy has further burdened my liver and my estrogen imbalance has grown.

Now my breasts are full of estrogen and estrogen has a special job of stimulating cell growth…multiplication of cells. Unfortunately, estrogen can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and abnormal cells, so it directs all the cells to multiply. Read this article to get a better understanding than I can give you.

Prepare yourself for this final analysis…it’s huge and it’s real and it scares the bejeebies out of me.

A Johns Hopkins study found that premenopausal women with estrogen dominance have a 540% increase in breast cancer than women without estrogen dominance.

Pretty big number, eh?

That is me. I now know I have had estrogen dominance and a weak liver for years. I see how all these seemingly unrelated symptoms are all very related and I am ready to heal my liver, balance the hormones, and get the excess estrogen out of my breasts.

It’s time.

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thermography results

Jun 7, 2011 by

Today I had an appointment to learn about my thermography results.

So many emotions were swirling through my soul as I drove the 75 miles all alone. I tried to prepare myself for all possibilities and I think I did a pretty good job of it, but I am so exhausted from the process.

I learned I have TH3 results – this means there is something abnormal going on, but they are not sure what it is. I have a lot of vascular development and enlarged blood vessels in both breasts and one hot spot in the right breast. The thermography practitioner feels the enlarged blood vessels are most likely due to excess estrogen being stored in my breasts, but it could also be a sign of malignancy. Even if is excess estrogen, she said that estrogen will eventually grow a tumor, so I need to get rid of the estrogen pronto.

She wants me to do a whole “bring balance, cleanse, and heal” protocol which is going to turn my life upside down. It is going to be an interesting process to experience such an intense focus on my health and I need prayers to stay on task and be diligent. I have a hard time sticking with any kind of routine for very long and this is going to be a big routine for the next several months.

I still wish someone would just stick a needle in this lump and tell me what is growing there, but until that happens I will down my pile of supplements, take my Epsom salt baths, meditate, study the words of my Savior, and focus on my family.

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the waiting game

May 18, 2011 by

I met with a surgeon today and she felt the lump…she called it a nodule…and she said she would like to wait and see what it does over the next two months before she makes any decisions.

Don’t know what to think.

I am feeling fairly calm and peaceful. I desperately want to know what this thing in my breast is, but I am willing to go on with life and put what I have learned through this process into practice.

Lessons learned:

1. Calmness is a choice.

2. Love is a choice.

3. My calling as a wife and mother are paramount in my heart and I need to make sure they are paramount in the ways I choose to spend my days.

4. I am loved by God above and many family and friends here on earth.

5. We are being watched over by our ancestors.

6. Communion with God needs to take priority in my life.

7. Life is precious…savor it, seize it, and live with zest.

8. Live in such a way that people know how much you care about them.

9. Look for beauty everyday.

10. God is love and I must learn to trust Him completely if I am to have true peace in my soul.

11. I am not alone.

12. I can do hard things.

13. Laughter is powerful.

14. Love, gratitude, and forgiveness heal the soul.

15. Looking into my children’s eyes is the most lovely part of any day.

16. My husband loves me deeply, passionately, and tenderly. He will do anything for me to make my journey here better. He will not abandon me…emotionally or physically…he is here for the long haul.

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