I gave up my super delicious breakfast smoothies and spent some time with bad habits that made me feel sad. Yesterday, I was at the grocery store and almost passed by the frozen fruit and then thought twice. So, yesterday I loaded up and today I blended up, and now I am sipping the smoothie you see in the image above while I blog to you about it. I know that it looks like a mud puddle, but it's really good, really easy, really healthy, really filling, and really natural. Really. I kept track of what went in so I could send it along to you. Please let me know if you try it and like it or if you have a yummy recipe that I should try or share here on my blog.
4 Frozen Strawberries
20 Frozen Blueberries
1/2 cup Frozen Cut Pineapple
1 cup Frozen Cut Spinach
1 cup pure Coconut Water
Dump everything in your blender (no, it does not need to be a smoothie maker or other fancy gadget). Blend until smooth. Poor it into a cup. Drink it. You will feel better and look better than you did when you had 2 bowls of sugar cereal like I did yesterday.
I had an appointment with Dr. White a couple of weeks later and Chris met me there. My mom stayed home with the kids. At the time I wasn't thinking much about what my mom and dad might have been thinking or feeling during that appointment, but looking back, I hope I am never in the same situation as they were that day...my child getting biopsy results.
Dr. White explained the biopsy results- that I did have skin cancer and it was melanoma. He gave me a plan...another procedure followed by another biopsy, to see if it had spread. If it had, I was going to need some type of dye which would travel to my lymph nodes so the doctor could see where to work next. Then, maybe chemo. He told me that my chances were great. He said that it was more likely that I would get in a car wreck and die on the way home from the appointment than that I would die from melanoma. That seems like a weird thing to say now that I think about it, but you would not believe how slowly and carefully I drove home from that appointment. I know that my survival from skin cancer was in no way related to how carefully I drove home, but it seemed like it did. What Dr. White meant was that my chances were really, really good. I get that now.
On that seemingly long 10 minute drive home (Chris and I drove separately), my brain went to some crazy places. Like, what it would look like for my kids to grow up without me? I just prayed over and over that God would let me raise my kids.
I completely broke down emotionally when I got home. Chris was really good about it. I told my mom "It's cancer." That's all I remember.
I'm an introvert. There are times when I like a lot of attention, but mostly I don't want people to look at me or make a big deal out of anything that has to do with me. I told my dad who was my pastor and boss that I didn't want to tell the youth or the church. I kept it a secret and only talked about it with my immediate family and very few friends. I was okay with my extended family knowing, but I didn't want to discuss it. I also didn't want to scare the youth who I worked with. I didn't want them to automatically assume something more tragic than what was actually going on. So, for those of you who are reading this and had no idea that I was going through this at that time, I'm sorry. I know now that you would have given me my space and been a huge prayer support. I just couldn't deal with sharing any more than I had to.
I had the 2nd procedure and waited.
That Christmas Eve was very memorable for one reason. We sang Silent Night and lit our candles and I was praying it wouldn't be the last time I experienced that service.
I started doing a very early morning devotion where I read from a book and then journaled and prayed. I woke up before anyone else in my house and just sat there. I found a deep peace and a much stronger faith because I gave it all over to God and accepted whatever might happen. I chose to be faithful in a desperate place.
In January, Chris and I had another appointment with Dr. White. The cancer had not spread. I would have checks every 6 months. That was it.
My parents were at my house when we got home and shared the news. My dad and I looked out the back window where there was a rainbow and he told me it was a promise from God. He was right. No, it doesn't mean that I will never have cancer again, but it does mean that God will not leave me in my darkest time and that I have no reason to fear.
Lilly was born on April 4, 2 weeks early and beautiful and healthy. I was healthy, too. Today, she is 7 years old, David is nearing his 9th birthday, and Chris and I have been married for 10 1/2 years.
A few months before the first visit with Dr. White, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I will blog more about that later. But, it relates to this story because I was haunted by melanoma for a very long time. I would wake up to panic attacks that it was back and would make appointments with Dr. White for re-checks. I couldn't listen to anyone talk about cancer and when I watched "The Bucket List" I went through intense anxiety. I am better about all of that now.
And I do my best to remember that God will never leave me and that I have no reason to fear.
You are God's creation and you are deeply loved. No matter what you are going through in your life, whether you are in a dark place, a joyful place, a confused place, or a place of doubt....God is there and will not leave. God loves you even if you scream at, shrug off, or ignore God's presence. God has not forgotten about you.
The next time you see a rainbow, breathe deeply and be thankful. I will be doing the same.
My firstborn, David, was born on July 13, 2005. I had just turned 24 years old. When the nurse was checking on me, she noticed the mole on the front of my left thigh and suggested that I have it checked before I left the hospital. I was in new mama bliss and didn't do anything about it.
My life kind of goes in fast forward sometimes...I think a lot of it has to do with Chris and I always moving or getting into new adventures. We get really busy and are both guilty of not taking the time we need to take care of ourselves. Having a mole checked was one of the last things on my mind.
I found out I was pregnant with Lillian soon after I had started working with the Lima Trinity youth. Several months later it was December of 2006 and I saw a segment on The Today Show where Matt Lauer went to a dermatologist to have his skin checked. The show followed him through the process and listed some things to look for that might be signs of melanoma skin cancer. I listened closely and immediately started looking at the mole on my leg to see if I had any of the symptoms. Uneven edges- check. Uneven color- check. Equal to or larger in size than a pencil eraser- I found a pencil and held it eraser side down on my thigh. The mole on my thigh was exactly the same size as the pencil eraser. That's when I accepted that I should go get it checked. If I had the symptoms, I had to, just in case. For a sense of peace that everything was ok, if nothing else. I had no idea.
I made an appointment with a dermatologist nearby, explaining to the receptionist that I needed a mole checked. I was about 6 months pregnant with Lilly. When I got to the appointment, I was nervous and I just looked through a celebrity magazine. An older guy in the waiting room had a bandage on his face. I felt sorry for him, and just as much as ever, didn't think it would happen to me. I was young and healthy, pregnant with my baby girl. God doesn't do things like that to people like me...
I showed Dr. White the spot on my leg that I had assumed was an ordinary mole and he did whatever dermatologists do. I was really looking forward to having the appointment done and moving on. Dr. White told me that he was concerned about the mole on my thigh. He was getting ready to go on vacation for the holidays and urged me to allow him to remove the spot that day...right then....at that appointment where I was just supposed to get checked and then go on my merry way. Wait...what? Removing it...sending it for a biopsy...results later...
Being 6 months pregnant and since I had been at the office for awhile, I had to pee really, really bad. I asked the nurse about going before the procedure. She pointed me in the right direction and said "I guess we really scared it out of you!" She was teasing me, of course, but all I could think of was......"She thinks I have reason to be scared. This is serious." It was like walking through a dream or watching a movie about someone else.
Dr. White removed it and it didn't really hurt much. He said I would hear from him when he got the results. I wanted to know a million things, but also didn't. I had a million questions, but I didn't know what they were. I wasn't prepared for my life to be turned upside down. Are we ever?
Sometimes life changes in the blink of an eye. When you least expect it. Like, when you are in a new job and pregnant with your 2nd baby and married to the greatest guy on earth and then you go to the doctor and he says it could be cancer.
I will continue my story in my next post. Until then, check out this information which is similar to what I learned on The Today Show in 2006 and consider any spots or freckles or moles on your own body. (My mole looked very much like image E in the diagram)
Real Life RachyBurns....Here's one I don't talk about very much. I'm bringing it to you today because the message is important.
Recently, my family was eating dinner at a Subway which had a tanning salon next door. I was sitting facing the parking lot and watched teenage girls and young women enter and exit the salon throughout my meal. I saw myself in them.
I don't know why anyone would ASK FOR something that I would have given anything to have taken from me.
I don't know why someone would take the chances.
Here's the thing...I was not a year long tanner. I got a suntan in the summers from playing outside. I went to the tanning salon for 3 years in the spring time so I would look good in shorts or a swimsuit. The doctor told me that those things may or may not have had anything to do with the cancer and not to feel guilty. But, I know what I did and that if I had made different choices that I may not have gone through that...or at least wouldn't wonder.
I knew the risks, they were printed on the back of the door in each tanning booth, but I convinced myself that the rays were good for me and that the truly dangerous rays came from the sun, not a light bulb. Dark skin made me feel more confident, prettier, even healthier.
I asked for something that I would later have given anything to have taken from me.
I took the chances because I didn't think it would happen to me.
Today, if someone asks about my scar, I am happy to tell them about it. Or, if the subject somehow comes up I will openly share my story. But, I don't typically confront people who seem to be at risk or who talk about using tanning beds. Even though inside it feels like a slap in the face. So, I'm telling my story here, because it's important for others to know.
It's the age old story of judgment based on skin color- just in a different way than we are used to seeing it.
And- it's the age old story of a sick mixture of vanity and poor self image.
This is part 1 because I don't want to sell this short. I want to really tell you about it and I hope that you share it.
It's important. Stay Tuned.
Here's how it goes down:
1. Light Sensitivity
2. Headache/"My Forehead Hurts"
3. Upset Stomach/Throwing Up
I took my daughter to the doctor today because I couldn't figure out why she was tired all weekend, wouldn't eat, was sensitive to light, threw up, and had a headache. C'mon! My son has been getting migraines for at least 4 years. Why I didn't realize that was what was going on is beyond me. My kids are 8 1/2 and almost 7.
What is it with migraines? I need to do some more research. For David, we think that he gets them when he has been active and not hydrated properly. He loves to run and play hard and he sweats a lot, so it doesn't take long for him to dehydrate which leads to a migraine and throwing up. He knows the signs now and we are getting better at preventing them, but they still happen.
I didn't get headaches when I was a kid. I never had a migraine until after I had kids and they are not as intense as what I've seen other people go through. Chris gets horrible migraines.
Is this something that is more common then it used to be or are we unique? Does anyone else have experience or advice for kids with migraines?