HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 13 of 2017

Did everyone have a good weekend?  Ours started out with a violent thunderstorm and tornado warnings, but we woke up Saturday to beautiful skies and warm temperatures.  I’ve been doing a lot of ebaying and organizing while I continue the minimizing and donating so wasn’t too bothered by the warm weather.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

After a beautiful, but warm weekend we are slated for more thunderstorms, warmer temperatures and high humidity as the week progresses – good thing I have a lot of inside activities this week.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

I’m having blueberry yogurt with granola and coffee.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

The house is in good order despite the activities I have going on.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • A couple doctor appointments – hoping to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • EBAY pictures and descriptions
  • Trip to surprise a friend for her significant birthday.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

Still reading Jan Deleon novels trying to get caught up on all her series books.  This week is Book #3 of the Family Inheritance series.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
TOASTED FRENCH TOAST
CREAMED CHICKEN ON TOAST
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
CREAMED CHICKEN ON TOAST  and SALAD
CAMPFIRE CHICKEN and POTATOES in foil and SALAD
GRILLED TAMARIND CHICKEN SKEWERS with MORITA CHILE SAUCE
C.O.R.N.
C.O.R.N.
GRILLED STEAKS and ASPARAGUS
TAVERN CHICKEN and NOODLES
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPES and their links FROM LAST WEEK

RECIPE FINDS TO TRY LATER

  • ASIAN PEAR and GRAPE CABBAGE SALAD
  • RED, WHITE & BLEU MEATBALLS
  • PAN SEARED CHICKEN with HERBED WINE SAUCE
  • SESAME CHICKEN
  • LEMON CURD CHEESECAKE
  • CHICKEN BOG
  • CHICKEN and SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA
  • CREAMY CRAB DIP
  • NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN DIP
  • CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY and ALMOND RUGELACH
  • MOLTEN RED VELVET CAKES
  • BRAISED TOMATO MUSHROOM CHICKEN
  • TAVERN CHICKEN

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

2017 has been a rough year so far.  My MIL passed away on the 7th and it has taken me a couple weeks to process this. Mom was 4 days shy of her 97th birthday.  Can you believe she was almost 90 in this picture taken at a family camp out several years ago? She lived a VERY FULL and mostly happy life leaving behind a long legacy of love and family.  While at that age you know it’s natural causes and inevitable, it never lessens the severity of the impact. She had been saying for years that she was ready to go, but I just never wanted it to happen. Just knowing I’ll never be able to hear her sweet voice again leaves me with a heavy heart.

Then on the 21st my favorite BIL, Ray,  entered hospice as his cancer continued to eat away at his body.  He passed quietly surrounded by family on the 25th.  Ray was one of the best men I have EVER known in my entire life. I LOVED talking to him for hours – we have so many beliefs and ideals in common, almost like we shared the same thought process despite the HUGE age difference (hubby is almost 20 years older than me and his sister is 7 years older than him and my BIL was 3 years older than her – you get the picture). He lived a VERY FULL and happy life also leaving behind a long legacy of love and family.

His death is hitting me the hardest I think as we were both diagnosed with reproductive cancers within weeks of each other. He did everything right, just a bit too late for when his was diagnosed. I have had to struggle with moving past the Survivor’s Guilt of a high mortality cancer for the past 6 years and 99% of the time I’m doing well with it, I just wish he was walking that same path with me!

I REALLY MISS THEM BOTH!

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

My violets are REALLY going to town in this window!

We had a visitor pop into our yard last Wednesday and couldn’t convince him he wasn’t ours. He had a collar, but no tags.  I tried calling rescues and local shelters and walking him through the neighborhood asking everyone I saw if they knew him.  As for the shelters they were NO help at all, at least by phone. Everyone said I was not in their jurisdiction and were actually quite rude! The last woman told me to just let him go, someone else would take care of him.  Can you believe that? So, we took him to our vet to see if maybe he was microchipped (he wasn’t) or they had any info on him.  They sent us to the nicest no kill shelter where he was immediately welcomed and seemed happy to be there. Bye Jake (that’s what we called him).  I pray you are adopted by a really nice family with 2 little boys and a HUGE yard.

INSPIRATION

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.

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CANCERVERSARY Year 6 and Counting

Six years ago today my life was forever changed when I woke up after my “Cancer” surgery. I will NEVER forget that day or all the support and love that my family and friends provided during my journey. The doctors, nurses and fellow cancer patients I met and have bonded with has been an amazing gift. I will always worry about my cancer coming back but right now I am so thankful and blessed to be here today. Thank you everyone for your love and support!!!
2192 days ago they told me they got it all.  Well to be honest I was out of it for the first 3 days after a being cut open from stem to stern and a lengthy surgery so I didn’t hear them until 2189 days ago.  But, my family knew and was relieved.   I am always waiting for the other shoe to fall and the elephant is ALWAYS in the room.  They learn new nuances about cancer every day, but no one knows for sure why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t when there is no direct link nor when or if it will come back.

Every bite of food I take, every prescription, every breath of air, every time I’m around fertilizer, clean the bathroom or use kitchen spray cleaner remind me that I don’t know how I got this horrible cancer and that there is is still the risk of it repeating itself.  My oncologist tells me that having Systemic Lupus may have saved my life because it changed my lifestyle all those years ago forcing me to eat “cleaner” with no boxed or canned products for the most part, give up “regular” junk food and just be more aware and vigilant in day to day life.

After surgery I was poked, prodded and put through every possible test to double check their findings because they couldn’t believe they got it all.  The tumor was large (volleyball size) but contained – unheard of for this type of cancer so I got a new label – rare and uncommon gynecological tumor which sparked a new round of tests. Even with complete vigilance I ended up with a secondary condition, Lymphedema, that requires daily maintenance.

I dread the waiting between check-ups, but the dread is lessening with every passing check up, but NOT the vigilance!  I’m always afraid that I might not get a clean bill of health with every blood test or check up.  While I can now claim complete remission and have been moved to the “survivor’s clinic”, but even then there are no guarantees.  While I know I am one really lucky girl, I am always vigilant.

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HOUSE FROM HELL day 458 update

I’m still under the weather, but trying to get some things done none the less so I try to pick an inside project each day that I can come close to accomplishing.  Unfortunately I’ve entered the “Full Flare” phase of Systemic Lupus and Fibromyalgia.  These are two really horrible diseases to have to begin with, but together they equal complete misery – every joint and nerve ending are on fire between shooting pains.  The SLE makes you beg for death some days with aching joints and the shooting pain and at the very least think about staying in or going back to bed.  Then the Fibro has you crawling the walls with pain, but ironically that pain feels better if you get up and move.  My motto since I was diagnosed all those years ago has been “GET UP & GET GOING” no matter what!  Eventually I feel better as the day goes on even I do crash by 8PM. I’m doing pretty well for someone who is supposed to be living a stress free life and still dealing with this house the past 14 months.

Last year I did the “turn your hangers around and anything not worn during the year you donate” challenge.  Well, I used to have an office job – the kind that actually required nice dresses and heels. I’ve moved those clothes around with us the last several years thinking they’d be good for church and nice nights out, BUT I don’t need so many of them.  So, I went through them all today (my project for the day) as well as my skirts, blouses and slacks and was able to seriously clean out my closet by 52 gallons, four 13 gallon bags full to be exact. Since I’m continuing the minimizing challenge this year, logging everything has helped A LOT!

Tomorrow I’m thinking about doing the spice cabinet or the desk.

Hubby on the other hand worked outside and  has taken over my digging on the stump trying to get all the small roots out of the way.  It took him several hours, but he made good headway today.

We’re still looking for someone to at least chainsaw off as much as possible though we’d prefer to find someone to grind it out!

 

The Big “C” and perspective

Many years ago when I first met my Rhuematologist, she refused to provide me with support groups for SLE (Systemic Lupus).  I was only 25 when I was diagnosed and quite honestly scared to death by the literature I had been reading.  I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Raynuad’s Syndrome. In the blink of an eye I went from jogging 5 days a week, playing raquetball 2-3 times a week and living a carefree life to taking multiple prescriptions and cutting out most activity because of the pain it brought on and all just so I could make it from one day to the next.  This all seemed a lot to deal with and I thought wow, maybe a support a support group would help.  My doctor disagreed.  She believed my positive outlook would carry me farther than others sob stories and pity parties.  I didn’t listen to her and sought out a support group anyway.  It didn’t take me long into the meeting to realize that while it was nice to meet others with the same condition, the outcomes really depended on internal strengths and weaknesses and that my doctor was right, I needed to focus on the positives.

Shortly after my visit to the support group, I walked into her office and held out my hand.  In it was an entire day’s worth of medications, something like 30 pills.  I told her I refused to live the rest of my life like this – taking all these pills each day and enduring not only the symptoms of the disease, but also the side affects of the medication, especially because they predicted it wouldn’t be a long life.  I anticipated her telling me that it was just what it was and to learn to live with it.

I was wrong, she jumped at the chance to help me change my life, lifestyle and overall perspective!  My college training and background is medical in nature which makes for an unusual patient.  One that understands – sometimes too much or just enough to scare yourself because you anticipate what comes next.  

Ultimately, perspective and attitude travel hand in hand no matter the diagnosis.  Along with that culture, age and personality play into every attitude.  But, attitudes can be changed and updated, it’s entirely up to us.
To refresh your memory these are the 5 stages:
The 5 stages of grief or acceptance:
DENIAL – “this can’t be happening to me”. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.
ANGER“why me?”, feelings of wanting to fight back or get even with spouse of divorce, for death, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.
BARGAINING – bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with the spouse who is leaving, or attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.
DEPRESSION – overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.
ACCEPTANCE there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the change or loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that it takes two to make or break a marriage. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn’t leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals should turn toward personal growth.

Get help. You will survive. You will heal (at least emotionally), even if you cannot believe that now, just know that it is true. To feel pain after loss (loss can also be a chronic illness or even a situation where we do not have control) is normal. It proves that we are alive, human. But we can’t stop living. We have to become stronger. Helping others through something we have experienced is a wonderful way to facilitate our healing and bring good out of something tragic.

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE ~ THE ABC’s OF HEALTHY EATING

Many of you know about the ongoing struggle I have been having after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Even before the cancer, I struggled with living a clean eating and healthy lifestyle to cope with the aspects of Systemic Lupus.  Now sandwiched right before the cancer diagnosis was also a a diagnosis of Systemic Scleroderma which now labels me with a “mixed connective tissue disease” label.  Oh and by the way none of them have cures.  This makes want to find a way to live even more healthy so I’ll be around for the cures!
Without going into a long story, many years ago after the Systemic Lupus diagnosis when I was in college and after 6 months of taking Progesterone and various other drugs, I went to my Rheumatologist (a fortunate recent referral and a truly great doctor and caring woman after several other doctors who really had no clue) and said I can’t live like this!  The Progesterone had put almost 60 pounds on me, I could no longer play racquetball (something I did 3-4 times a week) or jog (something I did 5-7 times a week after being a cross country runner in high school). It took me years just to take off that weight.   LOL at least I was a 90 pound weakling prior to the steroids!
This great and caring doctor sighed with relief and asked me to sit down so we could talk!  Really, she just wanted to chat and chat we did for an hour and a half.  I truly believe that she changed my life forever!
The first thing she did was refuse me a support group – I know that sounds strange, but she truly felt I was better off with my positive attitude working through the steps with guidance.  Step 1 was to change my eating habits.  Remember I was in college, always eating on the run from whatever vending machine was close and diet everything to keep from putting on any more weight.  So, she had me write down my diet for a week and guess what?  When you see it in writing you realize how much all those “a little here” and “a little there” things add up! After that realization was Step 2 – eliminate the “non food” items from my diet.  She qualified these “non food” items as anything that didn’t have a direct receptor in the body.  This included saccharin, aspartame, splenda, anything processed with ingredients the average person can’t pronounce and preserved in a box or a can.  Below is the new food pyramid in an easy to read and follow format.

And here is an easy to follow breakdown!

It is a personal choice, but she also asked me to stay away from pork and shellfish – you know the bottom feeders of the world that will eat anything!  As she put it, garbage in, garbage out via your kidneys and liver!


Step 3 was to get regular exercise, proper rest and meditation to care for my whole being.  Oh and to avoid stress – yeah right, not easy in this world.  Sound advice for anyone, healthy or not!
.

So, the bottom line is that you were given only one body and despite popular belief, it cannot be easily replaced and does require the proper fuel and rest to work properly.  The easiest way is to start with a good diet.

BUCKET LIST ~PLANS FOR THIS WEEK… BUCKET LIST

PLANS FOR THIS WEEK…  NOT MANY!
YOU SEE,
TODAY I AM CELEBRATING LIFE.

On 12-29-2010 my life changed forever with a cancer diagnosis so of course I made a BUCKET LIST.  No, not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. I’m doing well and recovering. Miracles DO happen.  Then life kinda got out of control and I forgot about it.  It is time to start thinking about it again make some fun plans.
There are so many things I want to do before I do die, but there never seems to be enough time, money or energy so I’m making a list as I go and changing that.  I’m fortunate that I have already done so many things, but there are so many more yet to do!  I no longer stress out over the small things and they were right, they are all small things! 
  • #  1 – eat a hangover burger – 12-28-11
  • #  2 – go to a PRO football game
  • #  3 – go to a PRO hockey game
  • #  4 – finish my novels
  • #  5 – finish my cookbooks
  • #  6 – get published
  • #  7 – Go to Vermont/New England and see the changing colors in the fall
  • #  8 – Go to Disneyworld/Epcot Center
  • #  9 – Go to an Olympics
  • #10 – Get a postcard series of pictures published
  • #11 – Go white water rafting
  • #12 – Go Deep Sea Fishing (if only for the pictures)
  • #13 – Design and publish a quilt pattern
  • #14 – Travel 1st Class
  • #15 – …
Every time I update this list I will change to the current date to show my progress.

LEMONS to LEMONADE, MY NEW MANTRA FOREVER AS I TRAVEL DOWN LIFE’S CRAZY ROAD

Life's crazy roadMany of you know that despite my normally always positive outlook on life I have not always been the healthiest of people. Years and years ago I began a life style change that would make today’s college student cringe when I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus during college. I gave up processed food, fast food, drinking and excessive sweets. It worked! I was able to get off most medications, started feeling better and was able to live life to a fuller extent.

I followed a stringent preventative schedule, got well woman exams, took my vitamins, followed a healthy diet and yet several years later was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Miracle of all miracles and a volleyball sized tumor later, my wonderful surgeon got all of the cancer and I began to breathe AND live again as I recovered from surgery.

During the surgery they discovered a Hiatal Hernia, but let it be since the cancer was more important. It was a long surgery with a 10 inch scar to remind me everyday how blessed I am to still be among the living. It was also a long recovery with a multitude of side affects along the way.

As I got stronger and began to live again, the Hiatal Hernia reared its ugly head and made me more and more miserable. The pain and side affects increased day by day and eventually led to a new surgery last June. This surgery was a Nissen Fundoplication that ended in stomach reconstruction when they needed to remove several inches of shredded esophagus and build a new valve. It also left me on a liquid diet for several months. Even after that I have been slowly adding food by food to test my ability to tolerate and digest certain foods – kind of like teaching a baby to eat one food at a time. Recovering from yet another surgery left me fighting for my strength and energy. Water Aerobics and walking became my daily friend and life saver.

The first side affect that is really making life difficult is searing pain. Until recently I was seriously afraid the cancer was back. But after a recent CT scan I’m told there is no sign of recurring metastatic disease. Yet they did manage to find a few other things! DAMN it’s always something. FLD for one. What is FLD aka Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease? Well it’s something I shouldn’t have given how well I eat! But, yet I have it. I will be going for a Cardiac CT scan in the near future to determine if my life is about to change yet again by adding a dreaded lifetime drug to maintain the FLD.

Then comes the second of the side affects that bothers even more, my vision. After the first surgery one of the doctors mentioned that changes in my vision might happen and recommended not changing to contacts right away. Unfortunately I did begin to see changes and my sight was getting worse, blurry and distorted close up. I recently met with a new eye doctor and was told I have a macular hole. Between the eye doctor, my primary and my new oncologist we all agree on one thing – there is NO good reason that these things are happening to me – I eat well, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of exercise and rest.

So here we go for more drastic changes. ALL my adult life my mantra has been about turning lemons into lemonade and some days I find it difficult to understand how it is even possible that the pitcher of lemonade is still half full and able to replenish itself. I do realize I would do whatever was necessary to stay healthy and be able to care for my family. I’ve been given a list of supplements to add to my diet, to eat even more fish, fruit, leafy greens and told to wear sunglasses ALL the time. The rest I’m choosing to do as I continue to deal with adding foods to my diet and dealing with new conditions that can’t be eliminated, but CAN BE controlled.

Being removed from my diet on a regular basis is bread in general, red meat as a whole, fast food (what little I eat) and ALL processed food!  Now you might notice on future menus red meat recipes, but that’s okay as I won’t force hubby to adapt to my new ways all the time.

PERMANENT MENU REVISIONS

menu planning 2013Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie

DATE BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
MONDAY 2/25 CHEERIOS, BANANA & YOGURT TUNA & ORANGE LEMON GLAZED RED SNAPPER, BROCCOLINI, 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS & SALAD
TUESDAY 2/26 OATMEAL, BANANA & YOGURT TOMATOES, CUCUMBERS & SNAP PEAS

PINK LEMON CHICKEN, BROCCOLINI 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS & SALAD
WEDNESDAY 2/27 CHEERIOS, BANANA & YOGURT TUNA & ORANGE AVOCADO SALAD, 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS & ROAST CHICKEN
THURSDAY 2/28 OATMEAL, BANANA & YOGURT TOMATOES, CUCUMBERS & SNAP PEAS CRAB SALAD, TOMATOES, 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS & SNAP PEAS
FRIDAY 3/1 OATMEAL, BANANA & YOGURT CRAB SALAD ROCKFISH COD, SPINACH SALAD, 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS & FRUIT SALAD

SATURDAY 3/2 CHEERIOS, BANANA & YOGURT TUNA & ORANGE BAKED WHITE FISH, BROCCOLINI, TOMATO SLICES & SNAP PEAS
SUNDAY 3/3 SCRAMBLED EGGS PROTEIN DRINK MAHI MAHI IN ORANGE SAUCE, 4 OUNCES GREEN GODESS, BROCCOLINI & SALAD

HEALTHY EATING

With my upcoming forced diet for Hiatal Hernia surgery and the wonderful weight loss that will be a happy by product, I will be adhering to strict portions in the future. I have also been informed that I MUST give up ALL carbonated drinks and straws as well as change to 5-6 smaller meals per day. The weight I had gained was a side effect of several medications that I’ve been on for SLE and Fibromyalgia as well as the hernia, so I’m happy it will be gone, but I’ve decided to adhere to a strict portion control anyway.  Here’s the Harvard School of Public Health’s guideline:
I’m also going to buy a scale and follow the following portion sizes:
DAIRY 2-3 servings
1 cup milk or yogurt
1 1/2 ounces cheese
PROTEIN 2-3 servings
2-3 ounces cooked meat
1 egg or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of meat
VEGETABLES 3-5 servings
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
1/2 cup other vegetables
3/4 cup vegetable juice
FRUITS 2-4 servings
1 medium app, orange or banana
1/2 cup other fruits
3/4 cup fruit juice
GRAINS 6-11 servings
1 slice bread
1 ounce cereal
1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta
Use oils sparingly
Everyone has super sized for so long that we have become on own worst enemies when it comes to dieting.  I refuse to be one of those people and am not going to waste this chance to stay slim and healthy.  Here’s my new sample menu for when I can begin to eat “real” food again.

DATE MEAL#1 MEAL#2 MEAL#3 MEAL#4 SNACK SNACK SNACK
Monday 7/30 Activia Peach Yogurt
1/2 TUNA SALAD SANDWICH and FRUIT
SALAD
 BLACK BEAN BURRITOS with SLICED KIWI
 APPLE
GLASS OF MILK

HARD BOILED EGG
Tuesday 7/31

CHERRIOS with BANANAS
1/2 EGG SALAD SANDWICH and FRUIT
SALAD
VEGETABLE STIR FRY and RICE with SLICED KIWI
BANANA
GLASS OF MILK
CHEESE STICK
Wednesday 8/1

Activia Peach Yogurt
1/2 PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH and FRUIT
SALAD
GRILLED CHICKEN and MASHED POTATOES with SLICED TOMATOES
ORANGE
GLASS OF MILK
CARROT STICKS
Thursday 8/2

OATMEAL with RAISINS
1/2 TURKEY SANDWICH and FRUIT
SALAD
GRILLED FISH and MASHED POTATOES with STEAMED CARROTS
 APPLE
GLASS OF MILK
CHEESE STICK
Friday 8/3

Activia Peach Yogurt
1/2 EGG SALAD SANDWICH
SALAD
TURKEY MEATLOAF, BAKED POTATOES and BROCCOLI
 BANANA
GLASS OF MILK
BERRIES
Saturday 8/4

Activia Peach Yogurt
1/2 PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH
SALAD
TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE with SLICED CUCUMBERS
 ORANGE
GLASS OF MILK
SNAP PEAS
Sunday 8/5

PANCAKES OUT SALAD
BEEF STEW (LOTS OF VEGGIES) with SLICED TOMATOES

 APPLE
GLASS OF MILK
CHEESE STICK 

 HAPPY HEALTHY EATING!

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE ~ THE ABC’s OF HEALTHY EATING

Many of you know about the ongoing struggle I have been having after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Even before the cancer, I struggled with living a clean eating and healthy lifestyle to cope with the aspects of Systemic Lupus.  Now sandwiched right before the cancer diagnosis was also a a diagnosis of Systemic Scleroderma which now labels me with a “mixed connective tissue disease“.  Oh and by the way none of them have cures.  This makes want to find a way to live even more healthy so I’ll be around for the cures!
Without going into a long story, many years ago after the Systemic Lupus diagnosis when I was in college and after 6 months of taking Progesterone and various other drugs, I went to my Rheumatologist (a fortunate recent referral and a truly great doctor and caring woman after several other doctors who really had no clue) and said I can’t live like this!  The Progesterone had put almost 60 pounds on me, I could no longer play racquetball (something I did 3-4 times a week) or jog (something I did 5-7 times a week after being a cross country runner in high school).
This great and caring doctor sighed with relief and asked me to sit down so we could talk!  Really, she just wanted to chat and chat we did for an hour and a half.  I truly believe that she changed my life forever!
The first thing she did was refuse me a support group – I know that sounds strange, but she truly felt I was better off with my positive attitude working through the steps with guidance.  Step 1 was to change my eating habits.  Remember I was in college, always eating on the run from whatever vending machine was close and diet everything to keep from putting on any more weight.  So, she had me write down my diet for a week and guess what?  When you see it in writing you realize how much all those “a little here” and “a little there” things add up! After that realization was Step 2 – eliminate the “non food” items from my diet.  She qualified these “non food” items as anything that didn’t have a direct receptor in the body.  This included saccharin, aspartame, splenda, anything processed with ingredients the average person can’t pronounce and preserved in a box or a can.  Below is the new food pyramid in an easy to read and follow format.

And here is an easy to follow breakdown!

It is a personal choice, but she also asked me to stay away from pork and shellfish – you know the bottom feeders of the world that will eat anything!  As she put it, garbage in, garbage out via your kidneys and liver!

Step 3 was to get regular exercise, proper rest and meditation to care for my whole being.  Oh and to avoid stress – yeah right in this world.  Sound advice for anyone, healthy or not!

So, the bottom line is that you were given only one body and despite popular belief, it cannot be easily replaced and does require the proper fuel and rest to work properly.  The easiest way is to start with a good diet.

5 stages of acceptance is all relative…to how you CHOOSE to deal with them…

Hi, Tamy here from OUR KrAzY kitchen, Always Eat On the Good China, 3 Sides of Crazy where life hasn’t been normal in quite some time and Tackle it Tuesday on Saturday here at The Motivation Station. 

Martha talked about the stages of change on Wednesday.  I swear we are on the same page as I was already writing about the stages of grief and acceptance.

One of the things that we all have in common here at The Motivation Station and in life is that nothing ever stays the same and we are always presented with something new to learn to conquer.

My ex-husband used to ALWAYS say, “I HATE change, quit changing everything.”  Most people do hate change, but wake up people, change is inevitable.  It’s called life and it is ever changing.  When I was young I’d say, “but it’s not fair”.  My dad’s favorite response was, “where is it written that life is fair?  Fix it or learn to adapt to it and move on.”  I do believe that is where I learned my positive attitude.  It really is easier to adapt and be happy, try to see the positive in any given situation than it is to moan about it and be miserable.  I miss my dad.  He’s been gone 17 years now, but I try to remember his little one liners and the happy times.  They always make me smile through my tears. 

Anyway, I believe life is all about change and that learning to cope with it as it happens will help you through life. I believe in Murphy’s Law, the Domino Effect, Payback’s a Bitch, and Karma. I also believe that Pay It Forward and living by the Golden Rule go a long way to keep the former from happening to begin with. I believe everything happens for a reason and that life is one big adventure.

Now despite these beliefs this brings me to my current situation, my aunt Sharon who is also my godmother and was a great role model in my life.  She has end stage Parkinsons disease and I am currently living with my uncle to try and help.

Parkinson’s disease (also known as Parkinson’s, Parkinson disease or PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer’s motor skills, speech, and other functions.  Parkinson’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. It is characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and a loss of physical movement (akinesia) in extreme cases. The primary symptoms are the results of decreased stimulation of the motor cortex by the basal ganglia, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons of the brain (specifically the substantia nigra). Secondary symptoms may include high level cognitive dysfunction and subtle language problems. PD is both chronic and progressive. PD is the most common cause of chronic progressive parkinsonism, a term which refers to the syndrome of tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability. PD is also called “primary parkinsonism” or “idiopathic PD” (classically meaning having no known cause). While many forms of parkinsonism are idiopathic, “secondary” cases may result from toxicity most notably of drugs, head trauma, or other medical disorders. The term Parkinsonism is used for symptoms of tremor, stiffness, and slowing of movement caused by loss of dopamine.  It is possible for a patient to be initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease but then to develop additional features, requiring revision of the diagnosis.
So knowing all this about how and what I believe about life, the type of illness she has and the fact that I too have a chronic illness* that does at times limit my abilities, I have trouble understanding where my aunt, the god fearing, rock to many in life, fun, positive, adaptable woman went.  At one time she was a candidate for the brain surgery, but refused it.  She now says she wants it, but the window has closed on that opportunity.  Personally I would have jumped at that chance if for no other reason than I wouldn’t want my family to have to wait on me hand and foot 24/7.  After 20 years her care was killing my uncle.  Long story short she is now in assisted living, placed there by the state because she refused to do the things necessary to attend to her situation.  I pray that I have the grace to make the “right” decision for my family as a whole if ever that situation presents itself to me.
She has serious control issues.  She wants to manage this disease and make it conform to her narrow minded ways.  She was presented just this week with new medications and a new regimen that should give her 50% more “good/on” times.  If only she’d stay open minded enough to try it.  Traditionally she’ll take one dose, say it doesn’t work and demand to be back on her “safety net” meds. The doctor has told her it is useless to make an appointment with her if she refuses to try what the doctor suggests.  Her normal way of dealing with this is to change doctors until she finds one that agrees with her.  Like I said there are serious control issues which brings me to my main point, The 5 stages of grief or acceptance.  Knowing these and living by them can make any life easier, yours AND your families.
The 5 stages of grief or acceptance:
DENIAL – “this can’t be happening to me”. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.
ANGER“why me?”, feelings of wanting to fight back or get even with spouse of divorce, for death, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.
BARGAINING – bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with the spouse who is leaving, or attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.
DEPRESSION – overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.
ACCEPTANCE there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the change or loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that it takes two to make or break a marriage. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn’t leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals should turn toward personal growth.

Get help. You will survive. You will heal (at least emotionally), even if you cannot believe that now, just know that it is true. To feel pain after loss (loss can also be a chronic illness or even a situation where we do not have control) is normal. It proves that we are alive, human. But we can’t stop living. We have to become stronger. Helping others through something we have experienced is a wonderful way to facilitate our healing and bring good out of something tragic. 

*I have Systemic Lupus, but as my Rheumatologist is proud of saying, “you’d never know it, because I refuse to let it show.”  I belief that is my cross to bare/bear and I refuse to let it affect my life when I can.  Because of that attitude though many people, family members included tend to say you look fine so you must be fine and they heap more and more on my plate to deal with as the family caretaker, sometimes for both mine and hubby’s families.  Still don’t know where I got that job, but am trying to empty that plate!

Pretty Bowls and Crystal Glasses



When I asked Am to unload the dishwasher today, she told me how pretty a glass she was unloading was. I told her it was a Princess House Heritage Crystal Glass and she immediately put it down and backed away from it like it was Uranium or something. I asked her what was wrong and she said she was afraid she’d break it, so she better not touch it. I laughed and said don’t worry about it, we use them every day. We even break them now and again. Then I asked her to put the beans in the oven and she looked at the bowl and said, “You really want this pretty bowl in the oven”? Again I laughed and said yes. Then I asked her if she had ever heard of Erma Bombeck and she said no. I had to share this with her. See many, no, most of you know me as just a fellow blogger with a positive attitude and generally friendly demeanor. What you don’t know is that I too suffer from a terrible debilitating disease that requires constant maintenance, positive attitude and a stress free life as well as a preservative free diet to stay even close to healthy. To look at me you would never know I was sick, but for that all I can say is thank you as I have worked hard to maintain that appearance and attitude, because it wasn’t always that way and it was hard work to get this healthy. I also know though how tenuous life is and how quickly it can change so for that reason I post this tribute to Erma Bombeck as a reminder to us all to burn the pink candle, use the pretty bowl and crystal glasses for everyday.

If I Had My Life To Live Over by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease.

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

final blog signature.