Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treating Cancer With Integrative Medicine - Dr. Weil

Even though I work in the medical field as a nurse, I am fascinated with integrative medicine. This morning while I was doing some research I came across this interview with Dr. Weil (a specialists in integrative medicine.) Although, I haven't implemented all that Dr. Weil advises, I do find the majority of his information very easy to follow and not as radical as some in the "natural" field.

Dr. Weil's information is excellant for prevenatitive medicine, too. I look forward to exploring more into integrative medicine/nutrition/lifestyle...

Here is the link:

Treating Cancer With Integrative Medicine - Dr. Weil

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm Listening!!

Ok, OK, I’m Listening!

So, the other night when I posted this prayer on this blog:

“Dear Lord, I am yours; I am giving my life, my dreams and my hopes to You. Please use my life for Your purpose. I trust You and am ready to obey You.”

I would be remiss if I told you that I said the prayer with joy and anticipation, to be honest it was more a prayer of surrender and obedience—after the last answer to this prayer in December 2008—I was a bit scared. Not that I believe God caused the cancer, I personally believe the cancer was just a tool that God allowed to help shape me and others. Coincidently or not, after I posted the blog the other evening, within just a few hours I started running a fever and by morning I had such horrible body aches that I could barely move. I did attempt to go into work, but found myself home within a few hours. I was completely and utterly exhausted—another couch day! Thinking back on the past few months of this healing journey, it appears to me that whenever I start to get to the 7 or 8 level of energy (scale of 1-10), something happens and I am back down to a 2-3 really fast. Yesterday, it dawned on me (yes, I can be a slow learner) there seems to be a reoccurring pattern. I start reuniting with the outside world and bam! I get“grounded”. Hmmmm…I wonder, I ponder, finally, I pray!

In my quiet time, I came across a book that I have had for many years and have read many times. Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed is a delightful, life-changing book by Lysa TerKeurst. Here are a few excerpts from the book that really hit home with me this morning:

• P50 While we are not capable of perfect performance this side of eternity, we are capable of perfect love. We can settle in our hearts that we will choose God’s love and the pursuit of a love relationship with Him above all else, no matter what comes our way.

• P 48 Jesus withstood the temptations because instead of taking His eyes off of God, He intentionally focused on God and refuted each of Satan’s temptations by quoting God’s Word.

• P 49 Something will happen next in our lives as well. Will it be filled with doubts and distractions? Or will it be filled with discovering the blessing of answering God’s call on our life?

• P 51 we have to get it settled in our hearts that we will love God no matter the outcome…

• P52 This kind of radical obedience brings about a depth of relationship with God you can’t get any other way…..the psalmist David discovered this radical blessing—this intimate, deep relationship with God-where he settled in his heart to love God no matter what.

So, I am choosing (once again) to slow down—to create “white” space on my calendar. I want to hear God and I want continue developing the intimacy that has become a blessing to me.

Here are a few thoughts and changes that I can do to help myself hopefully stop repeating this cycle. (I am praying God will give me the strength to implement--I know that without His help, I will be back to having couch time again, soon!)

1) I did some research yesterday and it does take many breast cancer patients who do chemotherapy a good 1-2 years to recover from the fatigue of the journey—not to mention I had double radiation and now three surgeries, while continuing to work full time.

2) My husband and I have been facilitating a weekly community group for church; this is our last week facilitating, as we will be stepping down. Facilitating is something that I have really grown to love and enjoy, however for the next few months, I am feeling the need to just quietly “rest” in the Lord.

3) I spent some time looking at our daily schedule and listed the absolute musts…to do this; I am going to have to make some changes regarding time on the internet, sleep schedule, etc.

4) We have implemented many diet changes in our menu; however I know from experience the key to stay with the healthy choices, I will need to spend some time researching for menus, tips, etc. Besides writing, wellness is a passion that I love to research. This too, will have to have time limits, I don’t know about you…but it is so easy to lose track of time doing research. I am hoping to share some of these wellness tips on this blog.

5) I have been walking 1 to 1.5 miles a day, I know that is not a lot, but it is a good start. I still have 3 weeks before I can implement Pilates/yoga, anxiously waiting. I do believe that exercise equals energy. It is sad though, exercise is something that we so easily cut out of a busy day…so I am going to write it in pen on my calendar and even set my phone alarm as a reminder.

6) I am a firm believer that my days need to start and finish with my Father…so I am asking for His help to develop a healthy morning and evening routine.

The road to recovery continues…if you are on this road; please take the time to heal. Our bodies have been through a lot physically, emotionally and spiritually. I totally believe our God is just waiting for us to reach for His hand so He can guide us to a complete healing!

How about you? What steps have you implemented on your road to healing? (This could include healing from the cancer journey, or any other journey you have experienced.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just an ordinary girl serving and an extraordinary God!

Hi everyone! I wanted to share an exciting contest offered by Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries (http://www.proverbs31.org/index.php) or (http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/). Here is a bit about She Speaks from their web site: Through She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries encourages and equips women who are called by God to share our mission to bring God’s peace, perspective and purpose to today’s busy woman. Sharing God’s truth with love is not only a holy calling but a remarkable responsibility. We believe by equipping women to become more effective at sharing the Word of God, we multiply our efforts to reach a hurting world with the life-transforming hope of Jesus.

When I heard about this contest, I was so excited not only for the chance to enter the contest, but for the chance to share with others how Proverbs 31 Ministries has influenced and impacted my life. About ten years ago, my life began being blessed by this wonderful organization. Their magazines, web site and books (by authors who are part of their team) have helped shape and mold me into woman after God’s heart. Before I share why I would love the opportunity to attend the She Speaks conference, I would like to share a recent chapter in my life book.

Journal entry: Dec 7, 2008

“Dear Lord, I am yours; I am giving my life, my dreams and my hopes to You. Please use my life for Your purpose. I trust You and am ready to obey You.”

Six hours later…I was diagnosed with an aggressive, invasive breast cancer. With tears streaming down my face, my first thought was “Oh, God, I said You could use me, but with cancer? How can you use me when I am sick? Or if I die? What about my husband and children, Lord? Lord, I am a doer…I love serving others and helping with their needs, now I am going to be the needy one? One request, Lord, please help my family and I not to become bitter or to become angry, especially when we don’t understand. Help me trust. Help me to serve You in the midst of this unknown journey.”

When I had written the above prayer in my journal, before finding out the diagnosis, I thought God would be using my past experiences of being a mom with three children, losing a baby to miscarriage, or the challenges of marital separation and reconciliation. Or maybe God would use my brokenness through rejection and being unwanted; never, never, never… did I think I would travel the cancer road. Well, fifteen months later, the cancer chapter of my life is coming to a close; with its closure I am taking with me the greatest gift of all--the truth of the Lord!  You see, during treatment, I was bald, breastless, and not so pretty, yet for the first time in my life, I was beautiful! At the weakest point of my life with much sickness, debilitating fatigue, and horrible pain, I found freedom. At a time when I wasn’t able to care for myself, or anyone else, I finally believed that God loves me…for me. When I didn’t have anything left in me, there was finally enough room for me to accept and trust in the love of God.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I remember sharing with my family that I was satisfied in all areas of my life with one exception: The dream to write. (I had been so busy the last 20 years being a wife and mother; I hadn’t had time to dream.) Actually, until the conversation with my family, I didn’t even know writing was that strong of a dream until it popped out of my mouth on my list of regrets. Throughout treatment to keep our family and friends updated, I began journaling on caring bridge. This provided me with a wonderful opportunity to share our physical, emotional and spiritual experiences. I shared how God’s hand was touching us every minute, how His feet provided guidance, and how His arms carried us when we were too weak to walk. During the journaling, my dream of writing provided a source of healing.

Remember at the beginning of this blog, I shared what a positive impact P31 has had on my life? Well, I have one last story to share with you all. There were times when going through treatment I was discouraged, especially when the darkness of fear threatened my nights and the chances of reoccurrence appeared as a reality. During those times, I found myself going to the P31 website and dreaming of attending the She Speaks writer’s conference. I can’t count how many times I shared with my medical team, family and friends I just had to make it through treatment as I planned on going to a writing conference this summer…typically this would start a discussion about the She Speaks conference. It was exciting to share information about P31Ministries, She Speaks writing conference, my dreams of writing, and my goal of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. Thank you to the P31 team for giving me a dream to focus on through some rather difficult days.

I was hoping by attending the She Speaks conference this summer, I would be able to receive some direction for this next chapter in my life book. What does God want me to do now? How can I best honor Him with my talents and gifts? Is writing even a dream that God has for my life? If so, what is the next step? Do I need to take some courses? (The last writing class I had was an English class in high school, 24 yrs ago.) What do I do with all these words that keep floating around in my head? So many questions...Although, I don’t have answers to these questions, I do know one answer: I am going to share God’s love with others by encouragement and offering them hope. With God’s help, I want to bring the His light into everyday living.

I am closing this blog with another journal entry (I haven't prayed this prayer since 12-7-08, a bit fearful, yet I am going to trust!)

Journal entry: March 25, 2010

“Dear Lord, I am yours; I am giving my life, my dreams and my hopes to You. Please use my life for Your purpose. I trust You and am ready to obey You.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: Kaleidoscope: Seeing God's Wit and Wisdom In a Whole New Light

Who isn’t fascinated by kaleidoscopes and their beauty of colors mixed all together, twisting and turning to create something more beautiful than the last? Recently I have had the pleasure of reading the book, Kaleidoscope: Seeing god’s Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light written by Patsy Clairmont, acclaimed Women of Faith speaker. True to its name the book is filled with many colorful life examples twisted to include biblical application. Every reader of this book will be able to create a different, unique and beautiful experience from their reading and personal thoughts.

This book includes 33 chapters, each chapter including four sections:

• Selected verse from Proverbs,

• Stories, humor and real life examples of how that verse relates to our everyday life

• Bits and Pieces section--my personal favorite as there were many thought provoking questions

• Other scriptural references at the end of the chapter—I appreciated this as it helped reinforce the teaching of the selected verse

I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in a lighter, introductory study of Proverbs. The books format makes it easy to “pick and read”, an ideal devotional book for someone short on time. Another great use for this book would be as a small group resource for a weekly study in which participants could linger and dig deeper.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Low Battery

This morning when I went to take a picture to share with you all how I set the tone for my "God time", my camera kept flashing "low battery, replace".  I couldn't help but think, that is too funny, as that is how my soul was feeling last week.  So, I did what most would do, I went to replace the batteries...I really wanted to show you all my lovely candle set.  I put in my camera what I thought was a new set of batteries, "What?" This time there was just a black screen. Hmmm, I thought, where are there some batteries in this house that I can find without waking up anyone?  Afterall, that is why the candles were burning in the first place at 5 am....I was so wanting some quiet time with my Maker.  Aaaahaaa, I spied the TV remote, YES!  We are in luck, AA batteries.  I quickly sneak the batteries from the remote (this is a big no! no! at our house) and insert them in my camera.  Yes!  Camera is working, I quickly take a few pics,  WHAT? "low battery, replace."  I thought to myself, your kidding!  I take the batteries out of camera and put them back in the remote, put the camera on the counter and remember why I am up at 5 am.

For me, quiet time with the Lord is something that I have found that quickly recharges my batteries.  I cherish and covet this time, especially as of late as I have been too weakened by health challenges to awake early enough before the rest of my family. Last evening when I was walking, I had whispered to God and told Him that I miss our morning encounters and that I would really appreciate His help in getting up in the morning to have a cup of tea with Him before I start my day.  So this morning at 5 am, I was gently nudged from my warm covers.  I started some tea water, started the ipod with some soft, classical morning and lit my candles.  While the tea was brewing, I gathered my bibles, pens, notebook and blanket.  (It was than I got distracted with the camera...LOL).  After the camera distraction, the tea water was ready. I quickly made some green tea with honey and a light snack.  All the time, thinking, here I come Lord. 

It wasn't long into my study of the word when it dawned on me how much I am like my camera...last week, my body was flashing "LOW Battery" and I couldn't find any batteries to recharge me.  Isn't that so like us humans?  We think food, alchohol, TV, friends, work and/or even church activities will be enough to recharge our batteries, when really there is only one thing we need...quiet time with our Father.  Today, my batteries were fully charged and it felt AWESOME!! 

How about you, what does your quiet time with the Lord look like? or what do you do to recharge your batteries?

For those of you who would like a day brightner...
Kim Walker, I Asked You For Life

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Post surgical update

For times sake, I am posting my caring bridge entry...I am starting to see the sun shine, so I anticipate updating my blog on a more frequent basis.  Thanks for having patience with me on this journey of healing.

Today's caring bridge entry:

Watch out world, I’m baaaacckkk!!

For those who have been wondering how I’ve been doing, I am sorry that I haven’t updated my caring bridge since I had surgery on the 3rd…

I am not sure what happened but when I woke up from surgery, I found myself in tears…the only thing I can think of is that my body finally said “ENOUGH!!” The next day, I started running a fever which won me another night stay at Sanford. I was than able to go home on Friday with two drains and two antibiotics, thankfully I didn’t have much pain—just mild discomfort. Last week, I continued to fight the blaahh’s and after having the drains in for 9 days, this past Friday I was able to bid them “Good bye”—yipee!! (Thankfully, I am starting to feel better and stronger each day)

I do have an update concerning my recent oncology appt. A few weeks back when I visited with my oncologists she recommended a medication called Zometa. This medication is typically given when cancer has spread to the bones. Recently there have been some studies that have shown that Zometa may offer protective benefits for breast cancer patients whose cancer hasn't spread, possible up to a 30% decrease in reoccurrence rates. Zometa is a long acting medication and given by IV every 6 months. I was scheduled for the IV Zometa tomorrow afternoon and really worried about some of the potential side effects of high fever, flu like symptoms and horrible bone pain especially as my body continues to feel pretty weary trying to heal from my recent surgery. So, this morning I sent out a pray request to a special group of ladies that I typically have lunch with on Tuesday and asked for them to pray, specifically that if this plan wasn’t safe for me at this time, that God would close the doors and if I did get the IV Zometa, my side effects would be few...Since with this medicine there is a chance of jaw necrosis, today I saw an endodontic specialist to make sure my teeth, jaw bone, etc are healthy. Well…I don’t know if this is good or bad news, but I do know that God heard their prayers. The endodontic specialists recommended that I have a redo of a root canal…urrggghhh and yuck! I am thankful though that this could possible help prevent a very bad long term complication from the Zometa. Too be honest, I don’t know how this all fits into the “plan” and it is a struggle to not think of it as one more “hurdle”…I am trusting in God to provide and work in miraculous ways. As of now, I am scheduled for a root canal on April 5th and will be receiving the IV Zometa soon thereafter.

It is interesting as I think back on these past few weeks; I am beginning to wonder if I am not in transition to the next stage of healing. When first diagnosed with breast cancer, I was in the VICTIM stage. Something bad invaded my body, what was I going to do? Then through treatment, I was in the SURVIVOR stage…aggressively and eagerly approaching treatment, researching the latest treatment plans regarding cancer, nutrition and health, and developing my faith foundation. Now, I believe, I am transitioning into the THRIVER stage…learning how to live with my treatment choices, exploring what God has planned for my life and continuing to build on my faith foundation, and exploring the opportunity of walking beside others who find themselves on the cancer journey, hoping my experiences can help make theirs a bit easier.

As of now, I am unsure if and when I will do another caring bridge update…but if you’re interested you can read my latest ramblings, thoughts and ideas on my blog.



Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Tonight as I was packing my bag for my overnight stay at the hospital, I was reminded once again at how I am an addict to the written word. I am pretty sure most people when packing for a hospital stay would pack items like slippers, robe, toiletries, etc…but, no, not me…I packed 4 magazines, pens and pencils, notebook, book light, a few books and my laptop. Come on, I ask myself…you are having surgery, when do you think you have will have time to read? But, I can’t help it; I actually get butterflies in my tummy thinking about going somewhere without something to read and paper to write a thought down. Yesterday, I returned some books to the library and I knew I should have used the outside drop box, but, I thought I could resist the temptation if I used the indoor drop box, as soon as I seen all the books and smelled the lingering odor of ink, I just had to have a little peak at the books on the newly arrived shelf. I find myself reviewing the back cover of one of the books, “oh”, I say to myself, this sounds like just the perfect read while I am recovering from surgery. I think maybe I would have been okay if I would have stopped right there, after all I only had a few minutes as I was on my lunch break. So, don’t ask me how, but less than 5 minutes after I walked into the library, I walked out with TEN books in my arms…just giddy as all can be…I still don’t know how it happened, but I am sure going to enjoy some time indulging in my addiction these next few days.

Well, I better go put some slippers in my bag, hmmmm, I wonder if there is any room amongst my reading supplies.

How about you what are you addicted too?