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
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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!

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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.

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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.

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