Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 1 of The Maker's Diet

Oh, if my keyboard was a bar of chocolate right now...

I just feel like I have to tell you about this so far...Seriously, you want to see God? Give up the foods you typically eat and eat something you literally have to force down your throat!  
I am very adamant about sticking to this diet for the next few weeks because I know the benefits in the end both physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  However, I didn’t think I would come up with some realizations about food so quickly. Like... 
#1 - I can’t believe how I have taken the taste of food for granted.  
#2 - How much I depend on Andrew for support.
#3 - How happy chocolate chip cookies, girl scout cookies, chocolate cupcakes...chocolate basically, makes me.
#4 - But how much HAPPIER I am because I feel that much closer to God and have shown self control.

So let's start with #1...Day 1 of the diet and I was gagging by lunch time yesterday.  I have a pretty bad gag reflex anyway, but when it came to eating tuna salad, it was just not going to go down my throat.  I like tuna casserole and tuna in other things, but in this tuna salad I made -wow- lets just say that after the first two gags, I plugged my nose for the rest of the sandwich to get down.  I did it though as I thanked God for the foods that will make me healthy…like tuna.  
#2 - Andrew agreed to do this with me and it has been a great way to lean on him for support.  I can call him up and tell him how hungry I feel when he is working, and he can encourage me to stick with it.  Makes me love that man a little more for taking this on with me.
#3 - I'm just going to make a list of foods that make me happy because since I can't eat them right now, I'll just close my eyes and think of them as I type...chocolate-anything chocolate, Oreos, noodles and mashed potatoes, blizzards from DQ, pretzels, peanut butter, sushi, Captain Crunch, mac and cheese, PIZZA, Chinese food, La Cha's, pasta, bread, ohhhh and the taste of a Carter Bar from Bath High School would be AMAZING!!!!!
#4 - Even though all of those foods sound incredible right now, I'd still give them up in a second for the experience I have had with God so far.  Nothing like praying for the food to go down your throat, and then seeing how spoiled you are that you just prayed for that.  I instead gave thanks to God for the Life that I have and the choices I have everyday to make.  Those choices now are helping me to live a healthier life, not only for me, but for my family.  Eating healthier gives my family the opportunity to have me around a few years longer.  And as I told Andrew on February 13 when I presented him with my plan to get healthy (it was a special date because it was 10 years ago to the day when I first met him at his church, on stage playing that guitar-knowing that THAT was the kind of guy I was going to marry one day, never dreaming I could be so blessed to have it be HIM) I told him that I want 10 more years with him and although this diet will not be convenient, fun, or particularly tasty, I want to do it because I love him that much and will do anything to see our dreams come true :) 
So as of yesterday, I am 'eating to live' now, instead of 'living to eat' and it feels good to do something for my body, a body that is finally thanking me for after the last couple years I've put it through.  


Friday, February 24, 2012

My best Remission check up yet!

It's that time again...another 4 month cancer check up.  So I've made a habit of reading through a few of my old blog post before I head into my appointments because it helps me remember how far I've come, and if I hear bad news for some reason, it reminds me that I can do this all over again if I have to.  It's crazy the things you forget if you don't write them down...like I look back now and I can't believe the I ever asked my sister to keep my cancer a secret for 5 days, or how I was SO afraid of needles the way I was, and I'm still amazed at the amount of support I got from so many people who didn't even know me.  It was a year ago that I became disease free, heading into a new life of remission and this past year has been interesting without any cancer in my body.  I've looked at situations differently than what I would have before...things that may have bothered me before, don't bother me so much now.  I guess that is one good thing that comes out of being in the 'Cancer Group'.  I'm proud that I've been able to take what I've learned from cancer and try to apply it as much as possible to my everyday Life situations.  'Life' and all it's situations is just God allowing me to gain more wisdom for the future and the future is what you make it...I'm gonna make mine worth it :)

Ok, enough of my rambling and on to what I know you really want to know............I heard those sweet words that bring a smile to my face, I am still in Remission.  And have never had a better check up! :)  My tumors are not growing and my lab results were never better!  I have never had my blood work come out so good and I credit that to daily exercise and healthy eating.  I have cut back on processed foods a TON and have exercised at least 4 days a week.  I told my parents a few days ago that I think I just have a sensitive body and if I don't take care of it, it starts to act pretty temperamental.  I haven't had nearly the stomach aches as I typically do and I have more energy than ever.  This could all be a result of all the meds getting out of my system too from the past year, but I know the changes I have tried to make and I really think it has helped.  So with that being said, next week Andrew and I are starting The Maker's Diet for the next 40 days.  This is not a 'diet', it's just a meal plan that can cleanse your system by going back to eating the foods we were meant to eat.  It is going to be very challenging, but I'm up for it if it's going to help my body become even more healthy by reducing my chances of diseases, inflammation, ease my digestive track, and balance my hormones...who knows, with balanced hormones, I may just get that baby on my own with out fertility after all!  I'm excited for this next adventure in my health life :) Oh, and I've made it to the 6 month check up point! Now I will only see Dr. Powell ever 6 months unless something comes up before then.  It will be six months in August and I'm gonna say that as quick as time has been flying by, it will be here before we know it!

On the other health note, I recieved word from my neurologist.  She spoke with another neurosurgon and the next step is to go back down to Columbus for the day to recieve a CT arteriogram.  This is a test that will show the blood vessels and arteries in my neck and brain and show how the blood is flowing.  The best part is that I'm staying there that day until my results come back so I don't have to wait for them for a long time.  I'm really glad these doctors are checking into evereything because I tell you what, nothing is more frustrating than to not know how to fix something and feeling like you are at the end of the road.  Very discouraging and can make for a pretty grumpy Laura :)  Please pray that either we find something that is causing this pressure, or that these symptoms somehow float away. Thanks :)

And last but not least...remember how each time I hear remission, I'm going to try to cross another thing off my bucket list? Well, I got out my paint brushes and bought a canvas and here it is.  My first painting displayed.  Please do not ever look at it up close because I had 100 things go wrong from running out of paint, to a dog chasing a cat.  This painting was extremely simple, yet was inspired by a store sign I saw in Iowa that looked like this.  But it's not about the painting anyway, it symbolizes so much more...determination, energy, Life - and the beauty of it.  Thank you for being apart of my Life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life's about playing the hand you were dealt...

It's Friday night and I'm in my sweats and after 6 rolls of sushi with a faithful friend, I am finally ending a frustrating week with a smile on my face and belly full of therapy. :)

Andrew went with me to Columbus bright and early in the morning and my instinct was right...there was nothing new on the MRI that showed why I would be having these symptoms (remember the Hochstetler motto 'Nothing ever the easy way' :).  I asked her if the stenosis/osteophyte complex/fused discs/ect... could cause these symptoms and she said not the symptoms I am having.  Then I asked her about my Chiari surgery after she showed us my scar tissue and how my skull now looks after the surgery and she is going to consult with another neurosurgeon who has worked on people who have had Chiari (remember, she is a neurologist who concentrates on the back. BTW-for my back pain, the MRI's still showed scoliosis, so I need to keep stretching those muscles that are tight because of the curve in my spine.  Andrew says that doing nothing is the worst thing I could do so I have been very good at going to the YMCA lately to some different classes...that and a trip to Punta Cana in May to see a friend get married could be a motivating factor as well ;)  So my doc told me to be expecting a phone call from her next week letting me know what the other doctor had to say after looking at my films and see if these symptoms are like others who are post Chiari surgery patients.  That's a whole long story in itself and if something comes up on that, I'll go into more detail...but lets not jump ahead.

Trust me, I know how silly this all sounds.  And there has been MANY times I have told Andrew that I'm just done with doctors.  He encourages me that He would hire a doctor from England if he had the money to fix me :) He can be so sweet.  But this blog has been about my health and for me, it seems like my health is just something that I can't ever NOT think about.  My health has gotten in the way of a lot of milestones in life...Chiari Malformation kept me away from moving to Indiana and going to college at Taylor University, scoliosis kept me from having a pain free back for years, PCOS has kept me from a balanced hormonal life, and cancer has kept me from having my own family at the time I wanted to start one.  Now with this constant dull headache and head pressure, it's making my job harder and all around life just a bit more tense and short circuited.  Sometimes I feel like cancer was easier...I have learned more from being sick in my life than from any other experiences I have encountered.  Now there's a story!

You ever have a plan for your life...then it really goes NOTHING like you planned?  Should you be disappointed when it doesn't work out the way you plan or is that just your life?  If I wouldn't have had these health issues, I may have lead a completely different life!  But this is the life God planned for me, I know it because He wants me to draw so near to Him through all of these Life struggles (not just health ones)...so I need to start playing the cards I was dealt and maybe win a hand or two, instead of folding and waiting for a royal flush everyday.  Sometimes you grow closer to God, the One who really matters, when life hits you hard...it's like hitting on the river card! I had a few reality checks this week, enough to make some tears flow, but they are showing me how much I can handle, how much sushi I need to eat, and how much more I need to learn about this life :)  I am so young, and have so much to learn...I am SOOO learning that everyday.  I swear I will be a great mother because I have so many life experiences to draw from!  As you can see, I seem to be more sensitive around these times when I get checked out for cancer again.  My CT scan is on Monday and I meet with the doctor on Feb. 23.  I'll update you then :)

On a fun note, I'm finally able to wear my dangly earring again after a year and a half.  My hair is finally long enough to balance it out and its great!  I'll have to post a picture soon! I've got some other great updates too...like Andrew is SO close to finishing our bathroom and I'm getting a piano in my house!  My niece Maci was dedicated in church today and my WHOLE family was at the Lima Community Church and then went out to eat...that was awesome :)  If there is one blessing I know that I have in my life, it is my family...Lord help us if we ever live more than 20 minutes away!