MEMORIES FADE and YOU DO GET BETTER

MEMORIES FADE and YOU DO GET BETTER, but there’s always a niggling in the back of your mind keeping you alert and cautious… I wrote the post below 7 years ago and while I feel incredibly Blessed to have avoided most of the pitfalls of cancer, I still wonder with WHY, why me? I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs and I eat incredibly well with scratch cook and yet my health is a continual issue, still even now.

A New Beginning… and oh SO Lucky

I’ve been struggling with a way to get back into the swing of things here in blogland. You see just 2 months ago today I was struck with those words that we all fear hearing from our doctor. You know,  any phrase that includes the words cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. For me it was the worst Christmas present imaginable so I persevered and didn’t really let on to most of the family in the beginning – no sense ruining anyone else’s holidays since no further testing could be scheduled until after Christmas.

You truly do go through the 5 stages of grief augmented with periods of disbelief and a lack of comprehension.  It doesn’t matter how well schooled you are or how intelligent you are, those words hit you like a ton of bricks.

Last year when I began my food blog, Always Eat On The Good China, I developed the name after reading a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote when she knew she was dying from cancer.  I even put a quote from her on my side bar that I found extremely poignant.

It was around that same time that I had an appendicitis attack – I still had my appendix and it had been chronic since I was 9 years old.  Or at least I thought I was having an appendicitis attack.  We now know that I was having pain from my ovary that was growing into what was being described as a cantalouped size mass.

Fortunately for me at my well woman exam the nurse practitioner noticed what she thought was an enlarged uterus and she ordered an ultrasound because she feared uterine cancer.

The ultrasound was on the Tuesday after Christmas. The words changed, but stayed the same, cancer was still in the phrase, but now it was ovarian cancer.  To it they added terms like tumor and oncologist.

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My brand new doctor (I’d never met him prior to the ultrasound tech calling him into the exam) in a brand new town thought I was in shock because I didn’t cry and react hysterically. He just didn’t know  me well enough to know I was really okay.  But, I’m a fixer, so my next phrase is always, what next?  What next turned out to be a referral to MD Anderson Cancer Center and an oncologist, whom I adore by the way!.  She and her team made it possible for me to stay both positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Motto is “making cancer history” which struck me as the right positive note for me.

The next 2 weeks and 5 days were a whirlwind of blood draws, X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, chemical stress tests, consultations, clearances and…

I underwent surgery on the 1st knowing full well all the fine print, legal jargon and potential pitfalls of this diagnosis.  I also knew that because of the size, I would awake to only a possible pathology.  I awoke to hear things like “self-contained”, “non-invasive cancer” and “surveillance” as well as the cantaloupe was actually a volleyball with a balloon twist.  While we are still awaiting final pathology I am now at home after a week in the hospital and catering to the whims of a 10 inch zipper through multiple layers of muscle and the needs to get my energy back and regenerate the tissue.

With that, for now, I’ll leave you with this email story that crossed my desk.  True or not, it’s heart warming and endearing and worth the read.  I choose to believe in the bright and positive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’

Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body  felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.
Lucky… He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.
Remember….live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.
 
If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
A small request
All you are asked to do is keep this circulating.
Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer.
Amen

RECOVERY UPDATE

I did begin my exercising this week, but it’s going slow as there are a couple complications not to mention being so weak from the excessive weight loss so fast.

For the first 6 weeks after surgery I only left the house about 3 times, twice to the surgeon for follow ups and once to church for Christmas. Our biggest fear was me catching something because of my compromised immunity, the drastic surgery and the fact that flu season is so horrible this year.  I’ve only been venturing out for the past 2 weeks and have been VERY cautious where I go and being around those that appear sick. BUT, somehow I managed to pick up a new infection 🙁 and are back on high dose antibiotics and have an ultrasound tomorrow for swollen glands in the back of my neck. I’m not normally paranoid, but I am to the point where I’m afraid to leave the house because I really want to get well and move forward.

I WANT MY STRENGTH & ENERGY BACK!!!

The other complication is learning to eat ALL over again – just like a baby. Food has to be reintroduced slowly and in very small quantities to test for tolerances, as well as be nice to all the suturing that took place.   I ate VERY well before this surgery because of other health conditions, but I eat even BETTER now! So when there are complications it just frustrates me beyond belief.

The picture above is a typical example of a stomach bypass.  Below though you’ll see what mine was.  Because of the ischemic portion there was even more suturing for me.  This surgery was more challenging also because I didn’t need to lose weight (well not this much – 30 pounds so far and still averaging about a 1/2 pound loss every day) so it’s been a serious challenge to get enough calories and food. My FitPal account won’t even post my daily results because they think it’s unhealthy.

Dumping syndrome is a condition that can also develop after surgery to remove all or part of your stomach. Dumping syndrome is also known as rapid gastric emptying. Dumping syndrome occurs when food, especially sugar, moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly. Early dumping syndrome is likely to resolve on its own within three months and can completely go away, but it can also last for the rest of your life!

Early dumping syndrome usually occurs 10-30 minutes after eating, but symptoms can occur as early as immediately or as late as 3 hours later (late dumping syndrome). Changing your diet can alleviate the chances of developing dumping syndrome, but unfortunately during the first few months you have to experiment with your food intake to see what your personal tolerances are. Plain old sugar is the BIGGEST culprit in causing dumping syndrome.

Dumping syndrome can be severe for some. Early symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flushing, dizziness, lightheadedness and rapid heart rate. Severe cases can require medication. Late dump symptoms can include sweating, hunger. fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness and rapid heart rate.

Fortunately, for me I have only had this syndrome a half dozen times as I’m experimenting with new foods and with limited symptoms; nausea, flushing, lightheadedness and a rapid heart rate. Honestly it feels like you’re having a heart attack and are about to pass out so I am VERY careful with what I eat and more importantly WHERE I eat. We went to lunch today at a popular burger place. We will never be going back for other reasons, but evidently they “sugar” their french fries as so many places do these days to make them brown better. This is assumption on my part, but all I ate was a hamburger patty with cheese, 2 tomato slices and 2 french fries and it ruined the remainder of my day when I ended up having the syndrome.

 

COMMENCE EXERCISE!

Today is day 60, well it’s actually day 63, but it’s day 60 of being released from the hospital and I can officially begin an exercise routine!  Knowing I would be doing my exercise at home, I researched and ordered a set of training discs a couple weeks ago so I could watch the discs in advance and familiarize myself with the routines and timing. It has been quite a long while since I have done anything this organized, but I know it’s a now or never scenario for me. So far, I’m loving these discs done by a personal trainer as if she’s working personally with you.  It’s a 12 disc set and I’m looking forward to discs 2-12. 😀

Six surgeries plus additional anaesthesias for some of the testings in 7 years have ALL taken a toll on me physically being coupled with having lost so much weight so fast (30 pounds in 60 days so far) with this surgery has left me feeling in serious need of toning my body as well as rebuilding my strength and energy.  My FitPal account won’t even post my weight loss because they say it is happening too fast and is unhealthy – DUH, hence why I’m trying to get more strength.

I ordered Personal Trainer, a 90 day program narrated by (you guessed it) a personal trainer.  I haven’t actually watched ALL 12 discs, but do like the pace and energy so far. I know this program is just what I needed!

I’m hoping that the increase in exercise will speed up digestion and increase hunger so I can actually eat more to keep my FitPal account happier 😀  LOL, the doctor says to eat whatever I want, but with a stomach now the size of an egg and the inability to eat sugar, alcohol or high fat items, what is he thinking??  He did say that eventually I probably CAN eat those things, but I’m here to tell you I have serious doubts and that’s okay too.  I’m adjusting really well (or at least better than I thought I would) to no coffee, sugar or alcohol and eating even better than before which was already REALLY good.

ON THE ROAD TO A FULL RECOVERY

Surgery was 6 weeks ago. I’m probably at 80%, but it still hurts to sneeze, turn over in my sleep and there are a few things I can’t do yet like lift heavy objects (anything over 10 pounds) and I’m still short of energy, but it is time to start getting it all together.

Food is still an issue, but it is getting better, SLOWLY! In 2 more weeks I can start a regular workout which will also be the 7 year anniversary of my Ovarian Cancer surgery, hopefully bringing this whole ill health cycle full circle AND to a close!

The BIG key here is to LISTEN to your body! Being able to talk comfortably WHILE working out is a GREAT pace to start at. Aiming for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for cardio and 2 days a week for strength training is a GREAT place to start and build from.

Your body will adapt to the exercising so you can physically push yourself as time goes on. You will also burn less calories as time progresses and these exercises become part of your daily routine. I did do some research though and there are 3 key areas to focus on after this type of surgery:

FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the best place to begin to avoid too much straining and injuring yourself. I still feel sore and tight, but know that will pass as time goes on. STRETCHING is the best way to begin. Warm ups and cool down periods are vital for the best exercise routine. Take each stretch slowly and hold it for ten seconds going far enough to feel the beginning of a burn, but stopping short of actual pain! Warming up 5-10 minutes helps get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, and loosens up your muscles. Cool down for 5-10 minutes to reduce your heart rate back down to a normal resting pace.

WARM UP EXERCISES include stretching, walking, jumping jacks or light jogging.
COOL DOWN EXERCISES include walking and stretching as well as helping your body get rid of any lactic acid that was created during your workout. Lactic acid is bad for your muscles.

CARDIO – gives you more energy and helps you sleep better by working through anxiety. In order to get your energy up and boost your metabolism you have to get your body moving! Cardio also strengthens your heart and lungs, increases your bone density as wells as boasting your mental sharpness and ability to focus.

I’ve been walking and doing the treadmill at slow speeds for short periods of time up until now. It’s time to speed up the treadmill a bit and, do some cycling and as soon as things warm up adding in the pool is on the recommended list.

Since I was forced into the surgery and didn’t need to lose the weight I’m not as concerned with the calorie burning as much as I am the getting into shape. But, it’s always nice to know the potential breakdown.

STRENGTH TRAINING – I’ve lost quite a bit of muscle tone and REALLY need to work on this area the most! Having had 6 surgeries in 7 years I seem to have the hardest time regaining my muscle tone with each successive surgery and recuperation. Strength training exercises like squats, lunges, sit-ups, crunches and weight lifting are some great strength training exercise to help build up your “core” and re-tone your muscles. Being more active helps you get back into everyday things and enjoy life more!

Strength training requires a slow start with a gradual build to 3 sets of 15-20 reps. AND this is NOT the time to think no pain, no gain! Any sharp pain requires an immediate stop.

VITAMINS & MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
The new required vitamins and mineral supplements are mandatory in order to avoid malnutrition. These vitamins and supplements also help build both healthy bone and muscle as well as give you more energy. A regular routine of these helps to maximize the effectiveness of your new exercise routine.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 2 of 2018

WOW, it seems like it was just new year’s eve and here we are on the 8th already entering week 2! I hope you all had a great week. Mine was still low key as I continue to recuperate.  2 more weeks and I can enter a more normal activity life. YAY!!!!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

The SUPER cold snap has broken here and the day time temps are supposed to be in the 60’s with the lows in the 30’s and 40’s, so I’m actually loving the weather right now.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with golden raisins

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the drive to get anything accomplished during this recuperation. I’ve just been so slow to get my energy back.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

I had a good 1 month check up with the surgeon this past Thursday. He said I’m doing great , but still have 2 more weeks of no lifting or cleaning etc… He did give me the go ahead to start experimenting with veggies and fruits to see what my body can tolerate. He wants me eating more calories because I’m losing too much weight.

The one thing that many people don’t understand is that this will never get bigger or stretch, IT IS WHAT IT IS FOREVER! So, I made up a diagram that makes it easier to see that the change is permanent.  It also shows why more chewing and smaller portions are necessary as a few digestive processes are now bypassed.

The biggest issue I recently found out about is that there are tons of medications that I can NEVER take again because of the bypass because they can do serious damage to the “new” smaller stomach.  Among them are the medications I take for Fibromyalgia and Systemic Lupus leaving me with only an occasional Tylenol as my only alternative for ANY pain.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

With the deep cold I never left the house except to go to the doctor so never even took a picture last week.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYquite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREASplan on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow
  • KITCHENpretty clean
  • STUDIOis mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD nothing
  • BLOGsome recipe updating, future post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • I’m reading Sophie Moss’ Wind Chime series during my recuperation and am book #3, WIND CHIME SUMMER.

COMEDIES

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, LIFE IN PIECES

MILITARY, POLITICAL & CRIME DRAMAS and a couple that qualify as comedies

  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, WISDOM OF THE CROWD, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM, BLINDSPOT, MACGYVER, SCORPION
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0, ELEMENTARY
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED

DRAMAS

  • THE GOOD DOCTOR, THIS IS US

SYFY

  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, SUPERGIRL, DC LEGENDS
  • ORVILLE, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE X-FILES

COOKING

  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT
  • KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
In the beginning I told hubby NOT to get used to my existing diet and the doctor has given me the permission to cook though I still cannot lift so hubby still has to help with the shopping, but is going to have to give up the bachelor foods 😀   While I can only eat a bite or two of what I make, there is NO reason hubby shouldn’t get a few home cooked meals this week. Food will go a A LOT further now, but I am going to have to adapt the recipes A LOT.

I also began Home Chef again for 4 meals this month to ease me back into things.  No matter how you look at it proportions are going to be a challenge so now is the time to start rewriting and reworking recipes.  I will also plan more C.O.R.N. nights into my menus.

In the meantime I will continue working on combining blogs with older recipes and developing newer recipes that encompass ALL the new requirements. I look forward to previewing those rework recipes in a few months.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
B-FAST
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
2 times a day
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 time a day
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
ME 2 times  day

 

 

 DINNER FOR HUBBY

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

PINEAPPLE PEANUT BUTTER BABY BACK RIBS

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

COFFEE BREWED POT-ROAST & BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

& SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

WEEK 4 UPDATE – RECOVERY IN PROGRESS

The bottom line to me is THIS JUST ISN’T FAIR. I didn’t need this surgery for its original intended purpose, I don’t drink or do drugs. I don’t do fast food. I have cooked from scratch (FRESH perimeter shopping, no boxes or cans) for over 30 years since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia. That said, it just proves my point that LIFE isn’t FAIR!

Despite doing everything right most of my life, I’ve ended up with the Systemic Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Ovarian Cancer and have now had an unnecessary gastric bypass because of FAILED MESH to fix a hiatal hernia, not once, but twice before!

So, while, it isn’t fair, it is now reality and I’m learning a new normal. My NEW NORMAL isn’t that much different from my old normal food wise except for amount, frequency and the BIG addition (or subtraction) of ALL sugar, most carbs and fat from my diet. I watched my sugar before, but I did take it in my 1 cup of coffee in the morning and the occasional holiday sweet. I REALLY miss coffee.  Now though there is the possibility of “DUMPING SYNDROME” which frankly scares the hell out of me. As time passes the threat of this will become less and less.  The doctor said he truly believes that by the time I’m “released” in March I will be able to eat and drink WHATEVER I want. Here’s hoping!

I had a really cool doctor doing my Upper GI test today and he showed me everything as he was doing it and where the dye was going.  Good news is there are no  leaks!  The freaky thing was his showing me my “new” stomach and it’s actual size. OMG it’s tiny – like a small hard boiled egg and it does not stretch or give at all.

DUMPING SYNDROME happens because there is no longer a “holding” vessel aka your stomach for food to sit in and gradually pass along to the small intestine. When sugars and starches that you have eaten are dumped into the bowel, they may act like sponges, rapidly absorbing water from the body into the intestine.  This leads to a number of symptoms including diarrhea, low blood sugar and feelings of weakness or dizziness.

ALL Food now passes directly into the small intestine hence why the small amounts, more frequently are more important than ever. From what I’ve read up to 75% of gastric patients may experience DUMPING SYNDROME at some point in their life, but it is most common immediately after surgery and may subside over time. The key is to avoid ALL the triggers.

There are two phases of dumping syndrome; early dumping phase and late dumping phase.

Early Dumping Phase 15-30 minutes after eating
• Caused by rapid entry of food into the small intestine
• Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and feeling full after eating only a small amount of food. Weakness, flushing, dizziness and sweating may also accompany early dumping syndrome.

Late Dumping Phase 90 minutes to 3 hours after eating
• Caused by a rapid rise in blood sugar followed by a rapid decrease in blood sugar
• Symptoms may include sweating, fast heart-rate, weakness, feeling tired, anxiety or mental confusion

General Guidelines to Prevent Dumping Syndrome

  • Eat six to eight small meals daily to avoid eating too much at a time.  You may be able to tolerate larger portions over time, but keep servings small at first.
  • Have a protein food with each meal and snack such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, tofu or peanut butter.
  • Do not drink liquids with meals. Drink 30 to 60 minutes before or after meals. Eventually you may tolerate small amounts of liquid with meals.
  • Limit high-sugar foods such as soda, juice, Ensure, Boost, cakes, pies, candy, doughnuts, cookies, fruit cooked or canned with sugar, honey, jams, jellies.
  • Choose high-fiber foods when possible.  These include whole wheat breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose foods high in soluble fiber.  This includes apples, oats, beets, Brussel sprouts, carrots, spinach and beans.
  • Try adding a serving of fat to meals and snacks such as butter, margarine, gravy, vegetable oils, and salad dressings.  Fats slow stomach emptying and may help prevent dumping syndrome.
  • Some people find that avoiding very hot or very cold foods can be helpful.
  • Chew foods well and eat slowly. Try to relax while eating.
  • Lying down right after eating may lessen symptoms.

YAY!! Today we start the new phase of my diet – trying to add back in fresh fruits and vegetables in VERY small amounts. I have to say that I have missed salads the most! I’m praying I can tolerate that salad!

WEEK 2 RECOVERY UPDATE

I an now entering the “SOFT” diet for at least 2 more weeks and then everything has to be in VERY small portions that are protein packed. SOFT is a relative word in the world of food.  They are really only adding 3-4 things to my diet, so it is still basically bland, unflavorful and plain. This ENTIRE process is about retraining my body and my mind.  Life as I knew it in the food world is over! It really is that plain and simple!

The part about this surgery that sucks is that I am NOT obese and did NOT need a gastric bypass for weight loss, but ended up with one because the doctor could not save the stomach after the BIO mesh side affects from previous procedures. So, life literally got tipped on its end from when I went into surgery and when I woke up – what was scheduled had to be drastically altered mid surgery.

I had wanted to lose a few pounds, which is definitely a done deal now. Now, I just have to make sure to get enough calories to not let it get out of hand!

I have been craving a silly scrambled egg FOREVER it seems! I also get to add a spoonful of peanut butter – YUMMY! And I told hubby not to get too comfortable with his bachelor diet. Starting next month as soon as I can muster enough energy to cook I am going to to take a hand at some Ramen Fusion. 

I’m already looking forward to 2 weeks from now when we enter the Pre-Regular Stage. The real trick will come in March when the lifetime diet takes affect! I am looking forward to the taste of REAL food, but not the digestive process.  Honestly REAL food scares the hell out of me. I’ve always been a type A person who eats too fast and food that too hot.  This is FORCING me SLOW down, chew more and eat less more often.

DAY 7 of a RECOVERY IN PROGRESS

You know the old Yiddish proverb, Man Plans, God Laughs? If not, you should learn it just to keep yourself sane.

So, as many of you know I have been suffering from some health issues the past few years, especially this last year. To give you a quick background when I was 24 I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and not doing well. Several months into the disease I went to my rhuematlogist, held out my hand with 32 pills in it and said “I can’t live this way”. She agreed and we moved into treating the disease and it side affects like Fibromyalgia with BETTER diet.  I immediately gave up ALL steroid medications, preservatives, splendas, aspartames, diet food of any kind, non GMO food, canned “food”, boxed “food”, fast food as a whole and started perimeter shopping and scratch cooking with “REAL” foods. My life improved almost immediately.

Fast forward many years to 2011 and my oncologist claiming this change in food prep and eating for all those years saved my life when she was able to lift out a twice torsioned (wrapped around the ovary 2 times) volleyball sized ovarian tumor from my body intact and I have been NED (no evidence of disease) for almost 7 years since.  She decided it was because the cancer had nothing else to feed on in my body except itself. I knew I was extremely blessed when after 6 more months of testing everything and everywhere to make sure it was the only tumor, that they found none. I follow up regularly with blood work and testing.

Fast forward another year and I’m having problems with the hiatal hernia that my cancer doctor found, but left alone. Enter a new gastroenterologist who was able to fix the hiatal hernia and shredded esophogaus with a Nissen Fundoplication (2012). This didn’t alter what I ate except in the beginning 2 months, but did alter how much and how often I ate.  I also gave up 90% of bread – just filled me up too fast.

Fast forward 9 months (2013) and the mesh from the Nissen Fundoplication failed requiring a revision surgery and another period of liquid food adjustment.

Fast forward to 2016 and the E.Coli bacterial infection that landed me in the hospital with a concussion because I lost consciousness and fell after becoming violently ill.  For the next 13 months I was tested by neurology and cardiology for my symptoms before they finally handed me off to gastroenterology which had a HUGE wait time so my wonderful primary doctor got tired of waiting and began doing logical testing on her own. She was the one who founda new hiatal hernia (again) from mesh failure and referred me to the surgeon.  His testing was further delayed another 6 weeks past their normal backlog by Hurricane Harvey.

I love my surgeon and his immediate staff as well as my hospital nurses Ericah and Lexi.  Other than that the hospital will be getting a not so favorable review from me.  The recovery nurse should NEVER have contact with human beings and the respiratory therapist is negligent with he lack of follow through and the nurse’s aides need to be trained in patient care and helping.

We went into last Wednesday believing he was going to be able to fix the fix on the revision surgery.  Unfortunately this is where the Yiddish proverb enters.  I had planned food and EVERYTHING on the fix of the fix, but he was unable to correct the issue and had to make a drastic decision to do a bypass. This is a HUGE DRASTIC LIFE CHANGE for anybody, but for me there is very little information written on it because it isn’t for someone who isn’t doing it for weight loss.  I mean EVERYTHING written about the subject is for people who need to lose significant amounts of weight. The diet is strict because of the bypass in general and I can live with that, but the recovery time has now doubled!

And once recovery time is over the way you eat and how often, etc.. is a lifetime change! I can live with the long term lifetime diet and special vitamins as it is high protein, low fat and REALLY healthy which is right up my alley anyway.

So here we are on day 6 of 90-120 days of nothingness except keeping a food and medicine journal.  I cannot tell you how much ALL of your thoughts and prayers have meant to me and are seeing seen me through this ordeal. There is 1 good thing. I did want to lose about 15 pounds and now that is already a given. 😀

I’m starting to research getting the highest protein, nutrients and minerals into the most flavorful recipes compactly. So I will obviously be revamping some old recipes and looking into some flavor packed Japanese Ramen and/or Thai recipes where I’m making my own noodles with high protein. At the end of the recovery time above an average day for the rest of my life will be small nibbles of small meals that total 4-8 ounces per meal three times a day with 2-2 to 4 ounce high protein snacks, up to 64 ounces of water or tea and 5 mandatory vitamins.

The bottom line is that I need to learn to live with a NEW normal.  You know what they say, LIFE is 10% what happens and 90% how you’ll deal with it. I’m up for the challenge and looking forward to better health.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 50 of 2017 DAY 5 of RECOVERY

I hope everyone had a wonderful week and are having a wonderful holiday season. I’m home from the hospital, but will address that in the Things On My Mind section.  The weekend was quiet and VERY uneventful thankfully.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

Temperatures are FINALLY down into the tolerable range. We even had to turn the heat on when we got home from the hospital on Friday. Friday was an ironic day here in southeast Texas.  7 years ago when I had my cancer surgery, we had a rare ice storm in the area.  Then we moved away for several years, but came back to work on my grandparent’s house and are here again for this surgery.  Ironically, we had SNOW last Thursday and Friday. yep I said snow! What a shock that was to wake up to in the middle of the night! I don’t get to go outside for another week give or take so am not yet enjoying the change in temperatures though.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

3 ounces of peach high protein drink.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

Unfortunately for the next 90-120 days this is hubby’s category. I am not allowed to do anything or lift anything heavier than a bag of flour.  Hubby is being a GREAT sport though and tending to my every need. Because of the risk of infection we are still having to wash every day.  He’s just not used to doing it, the vacuuming, cleaning up after the cat and dog, etc…

  • LAUNDRY... quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREAS... I did a serious deep clean just before surgery so am hoping this will get hubby through until March LOL NOT
  • KITCHEN… pretty clean
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… nothing much
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

I haven’t done any reading since last Tuesday, but am hoping to do some later today and get back into a routine. I’m still trying to finish Ava Miles book #9 Calendar of New Beginnings.

  • BIG BANG THEORY and YOUNG SHELDON
  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED later this season
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0
  • MACGYVER, SCORPION, BLINDSPOT, ORVILLE, WISDOM OF THE CROWD
  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, DC LEGENDS, INHUMANS
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • THIS IS US, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE GOOD DOCTOR
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

Probably nothing this week, but am hoping to start sketching the door series and tree of life next week.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

This category is a sad and sore subject for me until about March.  My surgery did not go as planned which is changing so much about food, but sure beats the alternative of being 6 foot under. Hubby is loving being able to eat what he calls bachelor food – S.O.S., chili, hot dogs, hamburger helper, etc… I told him NOT to get used to it though, as soon as I can cook again we will be eating healthier than ever.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
2 times a day
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
3 ounces PROTEIN drink and GREEN Tea
2-4 times a day
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
4 ounces strained pureed soup
2 times a day
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
4 ounces vanilla yogurt
2 times a day  4 ounces jell-o 4 ounces jell-o 4 ounces jell-o 4 ounces jell-o 4 ounces jell-o 4 ounces jell-o  4 ounces jell-o

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

These are recipes that have been waiting in cue to post, I’m definitely NOT back to cooking yet.

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

You know the old Yiddish proverb, Man Plans, God Laughs? If not, you should learn it just to keep yourself sane.

So, as many of you know I have been suffering from some health issues the past few years, especially this last year. To give you a quick background when I was 24 I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and not doing well. Several months into the disease I went to my rhuematlogist, held out my hand with 32 pills in it and said “I can’t live this way”. She agreed and we moved into treating the disease and it side affects like Fibromyalgia with diet or better said, lack of diet.  I immediately gave up ALL steroids, preservatives, splendas, aspartames, diet food of any kind, non GMO food, canned “food”, boxed “food”fast food as a whole and started perimeter shopping and scratch cooking with “REAL” foods. My life immediately improved.

Fast forward many years to 2011 and my oncologist claiming this change in food prep and eating for all those years saved my life when she was able to lift out a twice torsioned (wrapped around the ovary 2 times) volleyball sized ovarian tumor from my body intact and I have been NED (no evidence of disease) for almost 7 years since.  She decided it was because the cancer had nothing else to feed on in my body except itself. I knew I was extremely blessed when after 6 more months of testing everything and everywhere to make sure it was the only tumor, that they found none.

Fast forward another year and I’m having problems with the hiatal hernia that my cancer doctor found, but left alone. Enter a new gastroenterologist who was able to fix the hiatal hernia and shredded esophogaus with a Nissen Fundoplication (2012). This didn’t alter what I ate except in the beginning 2 months, but did alter how much and how often I ate.  I also gave up 90% of bread – just filled me up too fast.

Fast forward 9 months (2013) and the mesh from the Nissen Fundoplication failed requiring a revision surgery and another period of liquid food adjustment.

Fast forward to 2016 and the E.Coli bacterial infection that landed me in the hospital with a concussion because I lost consciousness and fell after becoming violently ill.  For the next 13 months I was tested by neurology and cardiology for my symptoms before they finally handed me off to gastroenterology which had a HUGE wait time so my wonderful primary doctor got tired of waiting and began doing logical testing on her own. She was the one who found the hiatal hernia (again) and referred me to the surgeon.  His testing was further delayed another 6 weeks past their normal backlog by Hurricane Harvey.  I love my surgeon and his immediate staff as well as my hospital nurses Ericah and Lexi.  Other than that the hospital will be getting a not so favorable review from me.  The recovery nurse should NEVER have contact with human beings and the respiratory therapist is negligent with he lack of follow through and the nurse’s aides need to be trained in patient care and helping.

We went into last Wednesday believing he was going to be able to fix the fix on the revision surgery.  Unfortunately this is where the Yiddish proverb enters.  I had planned food and EVERYTHING on the fix of the fix, but he was unable to correct the issue and had to make a drastic decision to do a bypass. This is a HUGE DRASTIC LIFE CHANGE for anybody, but for me there is very little information written on it for someone who isn’t doing it for weight loss.  I mean EVERYTHING written about the subject is for people who need to lose significant amounts of weight. The diet is strict and I can live with that, but the recovery time has now doubled!  Once recovery time is over I can live with the longterm lifetime diet and special vitamins as it is high protein, lowfat and REALLY healthy which is right up my alley anyway.

So here we are on day 5 of 90-120 days of nothingness except keeping a food and medicine journal.  I cannot tell you how much ALL of your thoughts and prayers have meant to me and are seeing seen me through this ordeal. There is 1 good thing. I did want to lose about 15 pounds and now that is going to be a given. 😀

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

I was able to get most of my elf on the shelf photos taken before surgery and definitely have a few favorites. 😀

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday, Terri at Darling Downs Diaries and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

AN ADVENTURE – THE HARD WAY

Life has been so topsy turvy lately and we both just needed a break.  We decided to take a day and visit a favorite park of ours, Brazos Bend State Park.

There is a don’t touch or pester the alligators rule and as long as everyone behaves there are no issues seeing the alligators via their natural habitat.  They are not caged or fenced and people just know to leave them alone and enjoy the park.  There are also several wonderful birds, turtles and old mossy trees to enjoy making this a truly unique experience.  Boots and Alien Cows is a post from a few years back if you are interested.

On our way to the park I kept a look out for Alien Cow. It had been several years since we’d seen him, but we ALWAYS look just for fun.

But, the universe had another idea on how we were going to spend our day. The park closure changed our day big time. Alligators wander off from the park during the best of times, but the flood waters were 4 1/2 feet in the park and the estimate is that 300-350 alligators just floated out of the park in floodwaters along with several venomous snakes. There was a pretty informative article here if you’re interested. Here are some images from GOOGLE to give you an idea of what a trip to Brazos Bend is like.

Personally I fear the cotton mouth snakes more than the alligators.  The park itself has been flooded during the last 3 BIG floods – Memorial Day 2015, April 2016 and Hurricane Harvey 2017 which was the worst and forced the park closure so pathways, ponds and signs could be re-created.  This time they lost several buildings too.  The wonderfully informative Ranger at the front gate told us they were slated to re-open November 7th so we will try again after that time. I’m anxious to see how it’s changed.

So we decided to head for the coast, Freeport in particular just because we had never been there, but once again the universe had another idea as a HUGE fire detoured us. Fortunately it was a very nice day and we went with the flow to Surfside Beach.

The beach was absolutely perfect and many people were out enjoying it just like us, including the pelicans and surf birds.

This is an area that builds its house on HUGE pillars because of strong storm surges during storms and hurricanes.  While most places appear to have gone unscathed here, there were several still in need of repair and many already undergoing a rebuilding.

And no road trip for us would be complete without major roadwork in our path.

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6 years 7 months 10 days and counting – OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my birthday month.  Is there a correlation?  Probably just for me, but the irony is NOT wasted on me.  At this age many people just say, it’s another day, oh well.  For me, I look forward to it like a small child.  Not because of cake and presents, but because I’m alive to celebrate it. In a few months I will have my 7 year check up, an event fairly rare with this type of cancer, so I’m ecstatic to be having another birthday that puts me that much closer to being labeled cancer free AGAIN! I have vowed to tell my story every year in hopes of raising awareness.  My story was not just pure luck.  In today’s world it’s hard work to stay on top of awareness, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle, but it is also SOOOOO worth it!  BE AWARE. BE VIGILANT. BE HEALTHY. BE POSITIVE.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history of breast cancer.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas (December 2010) to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here. Because of my family history I not only got BRCA done, but I was ready to act on it f necessary.  Being prepared mentally is one of the best things to do fo yourself.

I cannot say it enough:

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.
Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here.
Go check these out NOW!
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit THEM online at www.cancer.org.

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CHAT TIME ~ Life as it Happens ~ WEEKLY WRAP UP

With all the work on the House From Hell, I got away from my Life as it Happens of just chatting once a week or so.  It’s time to start doing a weekly wrap-up again.

Things have finally slowed down a bit in my life, but as it happens, just in time to get crazy again. In 2011 I had my cancer surgery and began the long trek back to health and fitness.  All in all, I was already pretty healthy and fit – I mean I cook from scratch, perimeter shop without the junk food and eat extremely little fast food.  The oncologist had said that those 3 things probably helped save my life as the cancer had nothing to feed on in my body.

But, the length of surgery caused another problem.  Turns out I had a Hiatal hernia and the stomach acid seeped up and started eating away my esophagus. So, a year later I had to have another operation to remove the shredded esophagus and rebuild the valve.  Then 9 months later an allergic type reaction to a prescription they gave me for my Fibromyalgia started lowering my potassium levels and shutting down my heart and I collapsed, literally close to death.  Fortunately, hubby insisted they take me to the hospital despite the idiot ambulance driver who was convinced I’d been drinking (strongest thing I EVER drink is iced tea) and tried to get me to sign a waiver so he didn’t have to transport me. The hospital staff work quickly to revive my potassium to a safe level and life went on.  When I came to though out on the street I became violently ill.  A few weeks later I knew something was wrong and several weeks after that I had surgery to repair my stomach and esophagus, AGAIN.

Fast forward a few years later and guess what? Here we are again.  Turns out I appear to be a statistic, a part of those late night commercials for the class action suits against products that fail.  I don’t see the surgeon for a couple weeks, but have been doing research and it appears from the last article I read that the type of mesh used to repair my stomach failed 17 out of 24 times – not very good odds in my opinion.  I’m anxious to meet the new surgeon who has gotten rave reviews from patients and doctors alike, and see what he has to say about a more permanent fix.

I have begun amassing cooking magazines and simple projects like changing over the address book, password book, etc… for when I’m laid up.  Unfortunately, this type of surgery leaves you unable to do much more than walk (no lifting, no stretching, etc…) after for quite awhile and on a very strict liquid to soft foods diet for quite a long time too.  I figured I would use the time to read, develop some ideas for new recipes and work on updating the blog compilation. I might be able to do a few simple craft projects to.

At least it is summer and since I’m relegated to the indoors during this weather anyway, it’s a good time to get well.

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