Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Straight Talk About The Talk- Part 2

This is Part 2 in a short series on talking to our kids about sex and ultimately encouraging them to prepare for a healthy, monogamous, godly marriage by delaying all sexual activity until wedding day. :)

Don't be scared! You are equipped!

You can catch up on Part 1 here.

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Talk Privacy - Anything covered by a swimsuit is private. I'm okay with using the phrase 'private parts' as one of those interchangeable words mentioned before, too. No one, including Mom, Dad or Doctor, should ever look at or touch private parts without the child's permission. I have always appreciated our pediatrician for going overboard in this area. She overtly asks permission in my presence. Teach them that "No" means "No". Every time. Good touch, bad touch. These are uncomfortable conversations because we want our kids to live in the Happy Land of Butterflies. It won't ruin their happy. It will empower them that their words matter.
When discussing privacy, it is also beneficial to encourage your child to save discussions about private parts for alone times with parents. Teach your child that talking about private parts should be, well, private. Do this early. Teach your kid to whisper, for the love of Peter. Hey, I'm just trying to save you some embarrassing questions coming ever-so-loudly from the stroller about the time you are checking out of a department store.
Also, discuss privacy about body functions. Yes, it's all normal, I get that. This is just another way to raise the standard about the body being private. If we get a handle on this early, it helps the oversharing age of high school. Is it really classy to walk around school talking about "my ovaries are in pain this week"? I've heard this so much in school hallways! Let's teach our girls that this is not okay! 

Talk Real - Tell the truth. I had a mom call me once because her 2nd grader heard talk of "a girl putting her mouth on a boy's pee-pee". Mom panicked and lied. 2nd grade! I might have panicked, too. My 'go to' response at that age was "I'm so sorry she said that." Over and over.  When my first grader came home from school telling me she had heard from a friend that the teen star had taken nude photos of herself and texted them to her boyfriend, I just kept saying, "I'm so sorry she said that to you." Then, after the conversation kept going and questions kept coming, "Some people think that other people want to see a picture of other people's genitals. Those are private." By the end of the conversation, my then 7 year-old could just say, "That's so sad. I bet her daddy is sad." Amen.

For the middle/high schoolers: Be clinical. Use terms like "vaginal sex" in order to differentiate. I say this because teens will often reason that oral sex is not sex. So, be specific. When discussing oral sex (you should), it is mouth to genital contact. Remember, if you aren't specific, her buddy at school will be.
On this note, try not to freak out if your son or daughter uses a slang term that you do not approve of. Just correct it. "Yes, I do know what that is, and adults and mature teens would use the phrase 'oral sex' to describe the act of mouth to genital contact. The phrase you heard is slang and derogatory and not awesome."

Talk Purity - You can't be too pure. Raise the standard, here. Be extreme. Be radical in your fight for your child's purity! We must fight fire with fire! There is a war raging against purity! Remember those yay-hoos putting a bounty on Tim Tebow's virginity!? Aggh! I wrote about this before, read that post here. I just read it. Man, I was fired up! I just realized, too, that I am repeating myself a little. I guess I mean it. :)

Talk to your kids about the eyes being a gateway to the heart. Protect what they see and what they allow others to see of them.
This brings us to the issue of modesty. I have girls. It is not cute for young girls to be half dressed showing bellies and chest, period. These short skirts and tight everything... Good grief! I know you know when you are letting your daughter wear something sketchy. Be the parent. This is a hill worth dying on. Now, if your child wants to wear some style you don't love, but everything is covered up, maybe that's not a battle worth fighting. But, the covering up part--Non-negotiable. Again, this has all been said before, but we have to engage in battle here. You aren't going to be too pure.

That being said, I will not say "Modest is hottest" because that phrase makes me want to stick skewers in my ears. Our goal here is not to raise hot, young Christian women. My goal is not that my daughter would one day be someone's "smokin' hot wife", pass the skewers. My goal is that my heart and the heart of my girls be pure. That my children would not hinder their ability to follow Jesus completely. That they would not hinder your son's ability to follow Jesus completely. That my girls would be prepared for fantastic marriages.
Just this week, we were having a discussion with my girls about the Parent Class I taught. Spouse said, "Girls, what we want for you is a great marriage. We want your marriage to be the best it can be and teaching you girls to save sex for marriage is one of the ways we can help you prepare for it."

Talk Marriage -Marriage is awesome.We are not living in a culture that values marriage. Be very counter-culture in this area. As much as depends on you, honor the covenant of marriage. Be pro-family, pro-marriage, and pro-sex! :)

When discussing saving sexual activity until marriage, be sure to use language like "husband and wife", not just "man and woman". You want to plant those words deep. The world is hitting us all with 'friends with benefits' (I say 'friends with liabilities') and, at best, uses phrases like "when a man and woman love each other". No. Not "when a man and woman love each other", "when a man and woman get married" or "when a husband and wife". Set the standard for marriage extremely high, and discuss marriage and sex as a wonderful gift from the Lord. God created sex! Yay, God! Sex is for procreation and recreation within the covenant of marriage.

Sex is awesome.
You know what else is awesome? A milkshake is awesome. Milkshake on my lap? Not awesome. The milkshake is not intended to be in my lap. When a milkshake is in it's intended place, it's awesome. Drink up. Sex outside of it's intended context--marriage, is not awesome. It's less than awesome.

You know what else is awesome? A fire in a fireplace. A fire in a fireplace is warm, soothing, comfortable. A fire in the middle of the living room is destructive. Sex is the same way. Sex in it's intended context, marriage, is wonderful. Any sex outside of that is destructive and unhealthy.


These conversations do not have to (read: shouldn't) happen at one long sit down. These are intended to just give you some talking points to remember as opportunities arise. Movies, songs (my word, listen to the songs!) etc. 

We've made it to Part 2! Next up: Goals, Consequences, and Media. Wahoo!

You are the bravest parents and pre-parents ever!

Click below to share this info!

Monday, May 27, 2013

FAQs.

Happy Memorial Day! So grateful.

For my five loyal readers *grin*, the "Straight Talk About the Talk" series all ready to go. I have a post for later this week and the subsequent installments ready to post while I'm on vacay. (This sort of planning is so out of character for me, so I couldn't resist telling you. Also out of character is the restraint not to publish all three posts back to back in one day. You're welcome.)
Do I need a reason for this pic? No.
Anyway, on to this post. It's been 14 days of "Prayin' it gone" and juicing.

If you haven't been reading, you might want to go here first. Then here. Then here. :)

I'm getting a lot of questions about this little nutrition, hippie episode I'm in the middle of right now. I get it. It's a little outside the box. I say that, but y'all have been so super encouraging to me about this decision and I have learned that my little hometown of Plant City has quite the few closet vegans/vegetarians! And, a good lot of serious and occasional juicers! I love it!

I love that several of my peeps are adding juicing to their diet, too! Some are even doing a full-on juice fast. So cool!

I have been encouraged by every story of healing, so thank you for sharing them. They increase my faith in the Healer, no doubt.
I've really only had one negative conversation, which is ok, really. I know that it is my faith that matters to the Lord in my healing process. Mostly, the questions are from curiosity and ALL are out of genuine concern for me. (I also know there is more negativity, I'm just not hearing it. Thank you for that. :) )

I'd like to answer some of your questions here, if that's alright with you, yes?
I promise I won't always post about this jazz.

Just remember:
I'm not a nurse or medical professional of any kind. I'm not a nutritionist.
I am not even a reliable source of celebrity gossip.
There. That's your disclaimer. 

Also, friends, if any of this isn't clear or doesn't make sense, let me know. I'll update it. 

FAQs:


What exactly are you eating?
The goal is 90% plant-based foods. 10% everything else. I'm drinking about 4-5 20 oz. juices a day. I'm also drinking 80 oz. of water. I've had 2 pieces of salmon. I know a lot of my foodie people would even say don't eat the fish, but I have peace about this. Evidently, Thyroid Cancer is different that other cancers in the way that iodine is a big factor in suppressing it. Leafy greens and seafood are good. I'm still sticking to my 90% raw veggie & fruit. I've made bread a couple of times.

As typical with my personality, some days I am super extreme and juice only and others I eat a piece of homemade bread or have a Lara Bar. Total schizophrenic.

Did you go through a detox?
Oh, did I. Please remind me of this if you ever see me touch another diet can of anything! Dude. For real. At the time I wrote that post about the detox days, I didn't know that the Little Sister had called Spouse at work. It was so ugly. Plus, I was embarrassed! Really? You had to go home cause your wife was vomiting from her toes as a result of HER OWN POOR CHOICES!? Bless. I just read that post. It was worse than I described. I was probably still sort of out of it when I wrote it.
I did think I was dying, though. That was the worst day, for sure, but I was tired for several days.

How do you feel?
Now? Dude. I feel grand. Brang it.

As of yesterday, the Diet Coke temptation was still there. (Now's when you remind me of the day I was hugging the toilet.)

Everybody keeps telling me that you crave what you eat/drink. I am finding that to be true so often.

Spouse is even dropping weight like crazy. I want to feel happy for him. ;)

What are you avoiding and why?
Essentially what I'm trying to avoid is Radioactive Iodine Treatment. (Notice the last paragraph of that document.) You can read more about the risks of the treatment here. (Extreme from the hippies, yes, but just think about it. I don't know.)
At the end of the day, these are the instructions I would be sent home with after the treatment. Read it. It's nuts. I would literally be poisonous to my family. I did this before and I'm just trying to avoid having to do it again. I'm not saying I won't do it. I just REALLY don't want to. And, praise the Lord, I have the option of giving it a little time. 

As far as food goes, I'm avoiding aspartame and sugar 100%. That's done. I've had 0%. I'm extremely, not 100%, avoiding animal products (meat, dairy). No milk. I'm not using salt at all.

This is not easy. At all. I guess it would be easier to take the pill and go back to normal, but then what?
I don't know...maybe I'll go schizophrenic again and one day just say 'screw it all' and take the treatment and get a steak. I hope not.

How long are you doing this?
I don't know. Y'all know I have a commitment thing! Right now, I'm doing it until. That's it. Until.
My next endocrinologist appointment is in mid July. We'll go from there.
Now, my goal is to get to the day that my scan comes back clear and continue eating this way because I feel so good! Oh my word, I really do!!
My family clearly has an end in mind. ;) So, we'll see.

Are you going to move to Colorado & build a greenhouse?
Umm... *smiling*. No. No greenhouse in Colorado. Last I looked, Colorado is landlocked. This is not okay with us.

What about your vacation?
I'm pretty pumped about this trip, as you can tell. I know the Lord's timing was perfect in it. It was bought and paid for before any appointments or scans and I'm so glad. We wouldn't have gone. I even looked into postponing it. But, at the end of the day, I believe the Lord is going to honor the time spent with my Spouse. We are going to go and enjoy. I am committed to the 90%. The resort can accommodate meal restrictions. We will pray over every. single. meal. and believe Jesus to fix it to what my body needs. Then, I'm going to be eating digestive enzymes like candy. :)

Do you eat out at all?
Uber limited, with vegan choices. (With the exception of one meal. It was planned.) Listen. The resolve here is pretty good right now. I don't know how long this will last. We not perfect at it, but we are doing well.

It seems really expensive?
We have been spending an obscene amount of money eating out. So dumb and so wasteful. The produce can be a little more expensive, but when you eat at home, cut out buying meat (Hello? Priceyyyy!) and the other junk, there is plenty in the budget.
At the end of the day, we spend on what we want, don't we?

Is it a big ole veggie mess?
I make 1 or 2 batches of juice a day. I clean the juicer twice a day. (We have the Breville.) I keep cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge. I am finding that I'm getting more efficient even to the point of washing my veggies in a certain order for less mess. Like anything else, you get a system.
Overall, I don't think it's messy. Well, other than this day.

What are you cooking for your family?
Listen. These turkeys are on their own. I'm kidding! Sort of. My fam is awesome. Spouse is on board with me 100% now. He takes juices, fruit, and nuts to work.
We are mostly eating raw, but I have cooked broccoli, mashed cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, that sort of thing. We've made some eggs. (Not for me.)
My girls are trying really hard to be supportive. If they eat something questionable, they try not to do it in front of me. They have tried several new foods in support of me, but they don't have the resolve, of course. They are operating on about 80/20 plant-based. I'd like to get them to the 90/10.
I haven't gone totally cold turkey with them...yet. :)

You have to remember that I'm eating to cure. They are eating for health. These are different things.

Are you scared?
Nope. Not even a little bit. None of this led by fear. I am not even really fearful of the treatment, I feel more...I don't know...knowledgeable? Is that the right word? I know I have choices. I know that the more I'm exposed to radiation, the higher my risk of getting leukemia later on. I know about processed foods. So now, rather than fear it, I feel like "I know something you don't want me to know and I don't have to follow along with everything you have told me to believe since elementary school." (Example: the myths of the food pyramid.)

Wanting to avoid something doesn't equal fearing it. I hate birds at the beach. I hate them. I come out of my skin when geniuses feed them. But, I don't fear them. I want to kill them. See the difference?

As a matter of fact, I feel more empowered than anything. I believe the processed foods are bad for us. I've believed that for a while, but I didn't want to admit it. Still, you can't unknow it. At the end of the day, I like food and I didn't want to detox.
Well, I detoxed and it was ugly. I'd rather give birth 10 times.

Hopefully, if some of you have been thinking that I have lost my "elder lovin' mind" (what Maddy used to say), this will at least help you see where we are coming from. Cause I know you've been awake at night wondering. 8D

Even if you read this and you still think we're nuts, can you pray it gone anyway?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Favorites.

The other day I said to one of the Sisters, "I can still smell the sunscreen on youuuu! So good. You know that's my favorite smelllll!"
"Mom, that's a weird favorite smell."
Well. Whatever. Sunscreen is the smell of funness. <--- Should be a word.
It is a glorious smell and, yes, on occasion, I even wear it. Judge.
I'll even take the sweat that goes along with it because that's how wonderful it is.

I have a couple of other favorite smells. I have favorite other stuff, too.
So today, is
Just-for-Fun Friday Favorites.
Feel free to judge.
This post will in no way challenge you or change your life.


{Fruit} 
Pineapple.
The ultimate tropical fruit. The stuff is heavenly.

Watermelon.
Happy. It's the Official Fruit of Summer. Pretty sure that's a law.

{Bath & Body}
Irish Spring Body Wash.
I'm not all about those tootie frootie washes. 
The smell of clean from this stuff comes second only to the sunscreen awesomeness. 

The post-workout shower.
See above.

Acrylic on my big toes. 
Judge.

Moroccan Oil.
Makes my hair less visible from space. And it has a good smell.

Mascara.
If I had to choose one, this would be it. 

{Office Supplies}
Old school legal pad.
I recently bought my first pack in a long time. 
Canary yellow is where it's at.

Sharpies.
I've expressed my love for the all things Sharpie before. 
But pair the Sharpie pen with the legal pad?! Bless the bliss.

{Clothes & Accessories}
I can't believe I just typed the word "accessories" in my blog! Not a big accessories girl.

Palm Tree Necklace.
I do have a few accessories (three times now!) and this is my fave. By far.

The peasant skirt & dressy flip flops.
For the newbies, peasants are my uniform and dressy flip flops are a thing in Florida. 
Maybe parts of Texas, too, I don't know. 

{Movies}
Remember the Titans.
Denzel. Cutesy little curly-headed Hayden Panatierre. Strong side.

Good Will Hunting.
How do you like them apples?

Orange County.
Judge. I know you just lost all respect for me.

{Fiction}
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Can't beat it. 

Before Women Had Wings.
More contemporary. Takes place in Tampa. 
Oprah made it into a movie which I've never seen.

These books are funny because I abhor birds.

{Place}
Beach. 
Period. 

What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why I Don't Live for my Kids

I once overheard a woman on her cell phone talking about her children making her feel guilty about something. Of course, I only heard one side of the conversation, but at one point she replied to her caller, "I know! I absolutely LIVE for my kids!"

Now, I don't know this lady, so I can't say if she was speaking hyperbolically or not, but this facially-expressive non-eavesdropper raised my eyebrows to the sky!

Cause here's why: I absosmurfingly do not live for my kids.

I am straight up smitten with my girls. They are coolios. My girls have tender hearts toward people and love to laugh. They are sometimes more disciplined than I am and they teach me something every single day. I dig them.
All that and I do not live for them.

Look at em. Freaking Fantastic.
I'm involved in my kids' lives and engaged when they speak. I have taken sole responsibility for my girls' education by teaching them at home. That's work, let me tell ya. I cart them from place to place and research-ad nauseum- that the said places are worthy of our carting. I interrogate interview potential friends to make an attempt to examine their hearts to see if they are going to be good friends for my girls. I lead my girls to the Cross of Jesus, hopefully, every day.
I'm their mom, I parent them. There's so much more I do.
Just like so many of you, I do for my kids in countless ways.

I do for them. I do not live for them. There's a difference.

This is why I don't live for my children:

  • That's a lot of pressure on a kid. To live for your kids is a heavy load for them to carry. That's too much. What if she cracks? What if she stumbles? What will happen to you? The perfectionist trap is already waiting to bait kids today, and parents don't need to contribute by being an extra burden.
  • Kids' failures are their failures. They will crack. They will stumble. My girls are going to make mistakes that have nothing to do with me. If my sole purpose of existence is for them, their failure is my failure, my fault. That's too much of a burden for me to carry.
  • Kids' successes are their successes. Just like I can't take all the blame when my girls fail, I can't take all the credit for their successes, either. The wins belong to her. On the same token, this living out dreams through our children is nonsense. Nonsense. Win or lose, it's their game to play or not play.
  • Children don't belong to us. These little ones are a gift from the Lord. We are to prepare them for the battle for the Kingdom of God. For the Kingdom of God. Not for ourselves. They are here, just like we are, to make much of Jesus. He has a work for them to do that is not about us as parents.
  • I live for  Jesus. I want them to live for Jesus. I don't want them to live for me, either. Just Jesus.

I live for Jesus. I love my girls more than peanut butter and marshmallows and bananas. I love them. I love them. I love them.

I do not live for them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Juice Shenanigans & Ballyhoo.

For the love of Joe the Juice Man. I am cry laughing.
Shenanigans and Ballyhoo. That is what has gone on here this morning. Shenanigans and Ballyhoo.

Such a high level of shenanigans that I am typing this post on a PC that has reached the age hip replacement. The homeschoolers felt like their math took precedence over my post. Whatever.

I was late on making my juice for the day. As I got started, I was so bummed I hadn't done it earlier because it looked so pretty and earthy.

My grocery was out of fresh kale so I had to make do last night. Spouse and I bought 3 bags of this jazz. Never again. It was much more expensive than the fresh and was a dadgum hassle putting it in the juicer. Crumbling up all over the place. Falling out of the chute. My assistant juicer, Maddy, and I were dying laughing about how ridiculous it was. Meghan left the room cause cackling was disturbing her studies....

Then, one whole entire pound of kale produced this much juice:

 So ridiculous! All we could do was laugh. I had to juice all three pounds just to get a spittles worth of juice. This has tripled the amount of normal juice time, by the way.

My struggle with juicing is the waste of the pulp. I hate it. We don't have a garden or any way to compost and we end up with a lot of wasted pulp in the garbage disposal. Spouse doesn't like me putting it in the disposal, but I don't like it in the trash cause I don't want stink.

Then, this:

The last freakin bag of horrid bagged kale. Clogging up the disposal and just sitting in my sink mocking me. You got a spittles worth of juice out of me and now I shall clog your drain! 

I'm running around the house like Sweet Brown, "Lord Jesus it's a clawg! Where's the plunger?!" Then, naturally, this is a semi-emergency so I nearly peed my pants. I was dying. It's what I do. Some people ugly-cry. I pee-laugh. Who am I kidding? I do both.


So to screw it all, I left it. The plunger didn't work.  I hit the reset button on the disposal and all that jazz. I scooped out what I could and put it in the trash. I vacuumed the floor of kale bits and left it just like this:

 I took my juice and grabbed this decrepit computer and gave you shenanigans and ballyhoo.


You may return to your own shenanigans. May you be free of the ballyhoo today.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Straight Talk About The Talk- Part 1


Today, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents at my church about talking to their kids about their sexual purity. Naturally, it led to the updating and reposting of this blog from last summer. In true Melissa fashion, I added a lot, leading me to break it up into installments. It looks like there will be 4. Unless I add more. :)

In the least self-promoting way, because I believe in the message, I hope these become the most shared posts of all the Spouseisms posts.
Preparing our kids for a fulfilling, monogamous marriage is the ultimate Spouseism. :)
______________________________________________________________

Parents, Pre-Parents, Educators,

Let's talk about sex. :) (My blog hits just went from 5 to 10 just like that!)

It's time for a little straight talk about The Talk. 

It has to be done. And, as the 'Rents, you are the ones to do it. This business of expecting the I promise, there is no need to worry yourself to the point of hives, nor is there cause to bury your head in the proverbial sand! You can do this! There is, however, cause for you to take seriously the need to talk early and talk often with your kids about sex and the importance of saving all sexual activity until marriage.

Talk to God - Pray. Pray for your child's purity. Pray for what your child is exposed to outside of your presence. Pray that those you entrust with your kids would protect them from exposure to harmful media images. Pray that he would be blind to images that are preying on him. Pray for your child to see herself the way God sees her, a precious gift, purposed in this world to change the world. Pray for your child's future spouse. A really smart momma told me that she always prayed that her children's hearts would be asleep until God had the person to wake it up. Is that precious?!
Pray for these things with your child/teen. 

Bonus: It changes your relationship. Really. They see into your heart and truly believe that you don't want what's good for them, you want what God has for them.

Talk Early - With the Littles, use correct anatomical terms. Penis and vagina are not dirty words. Honestly, it's cute to hear a toddler say vagina. Mine said "sagina" and it was the best! You need to be comfortable saying these words and so do your children.
I explained it to my girls this way: pee-pee/penis or pee-pee/vagina are similar to sofa and couch. They mean the same thing. I gave several examples: chair/recliner, bike/bicycle...you get the idea. Children are not squeamish about saying a word like 'vagina' until they learn to be. Really, it's not a big deal--head, shoulders, knees, toes, penis. It's all about learning their 2000 'fearfully and wonderfully made' parts!


Talk Often - Talking about sex with your child is not a one-time deal. Use teachable moments. Media gives us plenty! Here's the deal, your kids WILL get a sex education. They can get it from NBC, government school, a Kardashian (Lord forbid it), the cool cousin, church, or YOU. I can not say this to enough Mommas: The first person to talk to your child about sex is the expert--Be the expert! 
I'm not saying oversaturate your kid with inappropriate sexual conversation, I'm just saying don't let the moments pass you by and don't wait for some special dinner. Just be casual. Never let 'em see you sweat.
You end up repeating some things and that's okay. Each time, new areas of conversation will come up. And, more details will come up. Don't wait for them to ask questions. By the time the questions come, they've been brewing. Stay ahead of 'em if you can.

I'd love to hear your stories and ideas. Let's help each other out here!
Do you use correct anatomical words in your house? Is this a subject area that causes you angst?

Upcoming Installments: Talk Privacy, Purity, Marriage, Goals, Consequences, Media. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wheezin' the Juice is hard.

Spouse thought it would be a good idea for the girls to make a documentary of my little faith and veggie journey here, but they don't seem to keen on the idea, so I'm journalling it. And, since a lot of my journalling is out there for all 5 of y'all, you can keep up, too.
Maybe I'll post a vlog or something, I don't know.

Also, the disclaimer is the same:  
I'm not a doctor.
I'm not a nurse or medical professional of any kind. I'm not a nutritionist.
I am not even a reliable source of celebrity gossip.

I'll just tell you now that there may be a sentence fragment or nine. If I do not make sense, don't feel like it's a cipher, just ask. I don't want you decoding anything. This should be informative and inspiring, right? Also, some of it I write in real time, and some is not. Ignore any and all tenses that do not agree, please. I'll try to keep it straight, but ya know...

Here's a little backstory. (In case you missed it.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Today, we made the decision to hold off on treatment for a while and redo the body scan in 4-6 months.
Then, like geniuses whose god is in our stomachs, we went to Gringo's.
I had chips, salsa, a fajita, and 3 glasses of Diet Coke. Poison.

Came home and read from my book about how all that is food for cancer. Awesome. Jesus, kill it.

We resolved to do the thing. All of us. Eat mostly cancer-fighting foods (vegetables, fruit) and starve the cancer of its food (sugar, animal products). I need all the iodine I can get, so I'll do fish. (I'm certain that the occasional Chick-Fil-A has to be okay cause it's the Christian Chicken. Annointed.)
I'm kidding.
Not really.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

God is amazing. I prayed and others prayed that my withdrawals from aspartame and sugar would be absent and that this transition would be more pleasant. Today, I had no headache or fatigue. Now, to be clear. God did give me several hours at the pool with beautiful sun. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever experienced headache at the pool. Hmmm...
I wasn't super tired during the day (again, sun), but I fell asleep on the couch watching Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead for the fourth time for inspiration. :) (Netflix it.)

Also, my people, near and far, are the best cheerleaders ever. Texting, calling, and getting on board with me in the most tangible ways. So cool and so very motivating. All Jesus people.

I am supposed to be eating about a pound a day of vegetables and a pound a day of fruit. I just can't do that. It's so much. So, I'm juicing, which I already like and have a little experience with.

There are so many conflicting ideas about how to eat. Paleo is best for optimum health, straight vegetables for cancer fighters, fruit, no fruit.
Here's where we are with it: I need a full on detox. No doubt.  Cut sugar, Diet Coke (!), and drastically reduce meat, if not cut it all together. I also know that I need seafood. With Follicular Thyroid Cancer, iodine is key.

Spouse and I started shopping for a new juicer. It's hard. They all do different things and have different features. Bless.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

6:26am- Woke up with head feeling full. Uh-oh. "Jesus, I know I did this to myself, but please do today  what you did yesterday."

7am- Full on headache. This is one that, normally, I can feel is going to become migraine-ish. I'm throwing back water. Also, I text about 14 Jesus girls. :) Enlist an army.
The prayers are so sincere and so specific. Overwhelmed and teary. So precious.

9:15am- Dude. I'm dying. I've drank a juice and a half and I feel sick.

10:00am- My brain feels like it's going to pop out of my eyes and ears. Turned on a documentary for the Little Sister (Big Sister is doing internship).

Got sick. Violently. I texted Spouse in the midst of the episode, somehow. I knew it was detox,  although I hadn't heard of vomiting being a part of it. I was wondering, Why the crap am I throwing up good stuff? 

I went back and forth from the couch to the bathroom for I don't know how long. At some point, I texted my girls again to ask for urgent prayer. Amazing. Spouse came home and worked the rest of the day from home.

I was knocking on heaven's door, dude. I knew that a Diet Coke and ibuprofen would stop all the pain.

Finally, I was able to fall asleep. I slept off and on for a few hours and about 4:30pm woke up to this:

Actually, there were about 17, but it didn't occur to me until a few minutes later to screen shot it. These are texted prayers to Jesus on my behalf that I got to see. Gracious. I woke up feeling a great deal better. I even went to swim practice and verbally vomited on some sweet swim moms. Bless em.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am praying the worst of it is over. I feel reasonable this morning.

I wish I could say that the horrid experience left me saying that I would never have another Diet Coke again. I still want one. I'm not going to get one, but I want one.

The sun is shining again today. I'll be taking this school to the pool later.
That helps.

I won't always put all the gory details out there, but somebody is going to feel this stuff and will hopefully need to know that he or she will, in fact live through it.

Plus, it increases the intensity and frequency of your prayers.

Praying it gone.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prayer, Peace, & a Plan.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled 
and do not be afraid. John 14:27

OK. Let's get something straight here, Kids. I'm not a doctor.
I'm not a nurse or medical professional of any kind. I'm not a nutritionist.
I am not even a reliable source of celebrity gossip.
There. That's your disclaimer. 

But, here's what who I do know: Jesus.
I know that where Jesus is, there is peace. 
I'm choosing peace. I'm choosing Jesus.

Spouse and I went to see my endocrinologist today to discuss treatment for these little cells growing where my thyroid used to be. My Jesus-loving friend, Keri, works in the office, recommended this doctor,  and sat right there with us the whole time, too. (Y'all know I'm gonna turn everything into a social function. Also, she has quickly become one of my favorite people.)

We are dealing with a recurrence of (or residual, we don't really know) Follicular Thyroid Cancer. Cells were visible on the Body Scan, but so small and few that the Ultrasound didn't pick it up. Also, my thyroid function (blood levels) have been good. We were all (doc included) pretty surprised to hear that the scan showed a positive result for cancer cells. 
We aren't anxious. Really. (The doc did keep asking over and over if I was irritable or moody! Ha! We had fun with that; I've been on this crazy Low Iodine Diet---dern skippy, I'm irritable!  We introduced the kind doctor to the word "hangry". :))

We have a couple of options for now, since this is a seemingly slow growing, slow moving cancer. We could opt for another round of Radioactive Iodine Therapy (RAI) or watch it for six months. 

I've never had peace about the RAI. Not even last week when I had to take a low dose for the scan. I did not love that, years ago, I put something in my body that caused me to be poisonous to anyone within 6-feet of me! I've always said that if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do it.

And, here I am.

We have looked at the advantages and risks, of which there are several. Spouse and I are in agreement that the peaceful option for now is to pray and plan. We were not at all settled about the RAI. We are peaceful about using the tools that the Lord gave us (nutrition, prayer) to heal our bodies. 

I am right now looking into some crazy, hippie alternatives to try. Like one-step short of Colorado.
My soul-sister, Cassi, gave me this card on Sunday.
We get each other.

We figure it won't hurt to go a little granola while we wait it out and the doctor was satisfied with either option we chose. He plainly stated this situation was rare and not a clear-cut decision. 
(Of course it's rare. My name is Melissa. If there is a small chance of anything...ya know....)

I am believing that in 6 months of prayer, there will be nothing. There will be a loud-mouthed, walking, blogging example of Jesus' healing power.
Real prayer. Real faith. Tested.

The prayer is still the same: 
Pray it to be gone, in Jesus' name.
That's it. Gone.

I have appreciated every call, text and message prayer I've gotten. I will appreciate them again next week and the week after when I will (knowing me) begin to question my hippie moment here. 

Keep prayin' and we will have a good Jesus story! Those are the best kind!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good Work: STILL Under Construction! :)

Remember that one time, last week, when I had a week of doctor appointments leading up to a Body Scan on Friday? Here's the story.
Well, I did it.
Got injected. ("Which cheek?", she says.)
Swallowed Radioactive Iodine. (Jealous?)
Got a blood draw. (Blood suckers.)
Got the scan. (50 minutes of not moving.)
All week, I kept thinking this is so dumb. I'm feeling good, I don't need to subject myself to the radiation, this is a waste of time and a bunch. of. money.
But, it was already started and Spouse said I had to. So, we go.

Ready with my special bracelet!
So the pill is in this little canister. So weird.
 48 hours later...on Friday...
Looks comfy.
It wasn't bad. 
I got a nice, warm blanket, so I tried to sleep,
but as soon as I got in the thing I had to go to the bathroom.
Something about being trapped.
Plus, I kept thinking how my Superman friend, Mike,
used to flip out like a school girl in these things. Spouse & I had a giggle.
We miss him.
The appointments weren't bad, really. Plus, I didn't really care cause I am feeling so very good! Getting my thyroid levels in a good place has made all the difference in the world! I've felt back to my Getter Done self. Punching my to-do list in the face, going to the park, cleaning my (horrific) room, catching up (!!) on laundry, schoolin' the Sisters, schoolin' the Sisters at Rummy, lying about schoolin' the Sisters at Rummy, getting my tan on, getting a pedicure, a volleyball clinic, swim practices, swim meets, getting concessions for swim meet, got my windshield repaired, car washed, etc. 
Bee-Oh-Oh-Em.
Not to mention the clarity of thought I've had! Sweet Milli Vanilli! I am a champion decision maker! 

So, after the scan, we were to "wait for the doctor to look it over, she may want some more pictures or to talk to you or she may say you are free to go", the technician tells me. We waited. No big deal.
Tech guy comes in and says doc wants to talk about my results with my doctor, so please wait. Ok. Still waiting...
We waited until the doctor came in and ruined my lunch date. 
She did!
She told us that my endocrinologist wanted to see me this week, much sooner than my follow-up appointment. I had to go into my famous/notorious Inquisitive Mode and she showed me my scan photo. 
We saw it. A noticeable black spot where a thyroid used to be and nothing should be. I did not love it.
She goes on to tell me that my doctor will tell me more, but to plan on doing a round of Radioactive Iodine Therapy to treat this as a recurrence of cancer. Go back on the Low Iodine Diet and do not take my Synthroid. 
Whoa. Remember? I mentioned that the isolation from the RAI was the worst part! Blesssss.

Also, the Low Iodine Diet is less than awesome. Low Iodine is not the same as Low Sodium, it's just that most things with sodium are made with iodized salt. So, basically, it means prepared, whole foods sans seafood & leafy greens. We should be eating whole foods anyway, I just wasn't prepared. We'll get there. Right now, it just seems like it's all consuming, ya know? Having to constantly think about what I can and can't eat. I've been juicing, but without my spinach and kale.

Instead of an awesome lunch with my Spouse, we left the hospital in the pouring, flooding rain and went a got a juice from the juice bar. He got his things from work and didn't go back for the rest of the day. We just needed to process.

OK, so Saturday Meghan had a swim meet. It was wonderful & there's a few swim moms that I've met &, of course,  just love and have already begun praying.
Mother's Day has been great and my Jesus people are praying.

I'm really not worried, I'm just keepin' it real. Yet again. Y'all are eventually gonna get tired of my real and I'm gonna need to make up a happy story about the time we said we'd never live in Texas and...wait... :)

Here's what's we know:
Jesus is King.
The King is not surprised.
Thyroid cancer is the "best cancer" to have, even a second time. :)
"Best cancer" is a dumb statement, no one should say it to anyone, ever.
This body is not mine.
The "good work" is still not complete. Philippians 1:6
It's all gonna work together for my good and His name.
I have an appointment on Monday.
We've got tickets and reservations for all kinds of fun beginning May 31, which would be right in the middle of treatment.

We have many more questions than answers right now, but we do have a specific prayer for you:
Pray it to be gone, in Jesus' name.
That's it. Gone.
I'm gonna be very honest here. I don't need "happy thoughts" or "positive vibes" sent my way. I'm asking for real, sold out, fruit-producing Jesus followers to reach out and touch his garment on my behalf and ask the Great Physician to speak life into my throat and kill the death.
Boom. That's it. Pray big. Pray expectantly.

All I want to hear from Jesus is "Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well."
(Matthew 9:20-22)

And, I'll tell e'erbody!

Momisms: What She Said?

Happy Mother's Day to all the less-than-perfect moms! Enjoy!
I'm the mom that, on account of all the outrageous(-ly side-splitting & controversial) things that come out of mouth, when my girls say, "My mom said ______....", I tense up.
Scared.
Cause, my word, what did I say and in what context and in what frame of mind was I in when I said it? Was my mind even inside a frame or was it completely out there in some unrecognizable abyss of insanity? And, did my children drive me there? Was I hungry? And what kind of sense of humor does this person have that my girls are speaking to? Will he or she get it?
Welp. Too late.

Being a momma has caused me to say things that I NEVER thought would come out of my mouth, for a myriad of reasons. I bet you've got some of these, too.

Here's a few stories of some unbelievable things that I've said to my kids:
(I'll await the visit from the authorities.)

"That's it. Neither of you get to pray now."
This was the first crazy momism. The Sisters were arguing over everything, including who got to pray first at every. single. meal. I was done. One morning for breakfast, no one got to pray. Then I had to go to work at the Christian non-profit that I worked for and tell my friends what I had done to forfeit my Mom of the Year Award that year. We laughed about that for years.
What she said: My mommy wouldn't let me pray today.

"Do not get in that pen with that bull, Meghan. I'm not kidding."
Crazy bull in the pasture and my kid wants to dadgum get in there and make it her pet. 
This was about the time I said...

"Meghan, that chicken is not a baby. Put it down."
Ellie Mae Clampett would seriously carry our chickens around like little babies. Gross.
What she said: My mom doesn't like our chickens.

"I'm coming in there and I'm just gonna start swingin' a flip flop!"
What she said: My mom beats kids with her flip flops. College kids, too. 
Those things hurt.

"Girls. Tinker Bell is a little trollop."
OK. This was the original Tink. From Peter Pan. She was a little boy-crazy trollop in a short skirt! We preferred Wendy. The new, improved pixie is better.
What she said: My mom doesn't like Tinkerbell's clothes.

"If the adults are doing it, you can do it. Do you see the adults doing cartwheels in the middle of a conversation? No. No, you don't."
We've had to revisit this statement when around some immature adults. Gracious, Nelly.
What she said: Mom, the adults are eating ice-cream, can we?

"No more books til _____________ is done."
Yes. I "grounded" my child from books. Do not second-guess decisions made in the field. I did what I had to do.
What she said: I can't believe you won't even let me read.

"You do not interrupt unless you are gushing blood. I don't mean a little blood that you can put a band-aid on, I'm talking gushing blood that requires real medical attention."
I have a visual learner that needs a mental picture.
What she said: Mom's on the phone, I'll ask her later cause I'm not bleeding. 
Lesson learned.

"Really? You are freaking out cause she is touching your book? What do you think she is going to do to it? What if she does this [licks the book]?"
Yes. I licked a Nancy Drew book. I was sick of it.
What she said: My mom licks our stuff if we don't share it.

"I'm gonna go straight Madea on y'all if y'all don't get those rooms clean, 
little heathen children."
This was just this week. 
What she said: Mom, we are not heathen children and Miss Carolyn would not approve of you saying that cause she knows we never do anything wrong!"
Our friend has these children thinking that she actually believes they are perfect! Out of control over here, I tell you!

"Listen. Girls. I'm not mad. You aren't in trouble, I just need y'all to stop talking for a minute."
What she said: Mom needs a snack. She's hangry.

"How much of it did you eat? Just drink some water and wash it down."
This has been regarding Play-Doh, dirt, etc.
What she said: It's grittyyyyy!

"Hey, girls, what do you think if we start homeschooling and 
Mommy will be your teacher at home?"
What she said: You mean I don't have to wake up early?
Brilliant.

"Girls, you do not always have to repeat every little thing I say."
Can I get a Word?!

"No, Ma'am. You abso-smurfingly cannot act like that up in here. We homeschool and if you do junk like that in public, people will blame me and homeschoolers everywhere. Act like you've had some home-training, for the love of Peter. Social skills, Girls."
What she said: Ughhhhh.
Ha. 

I know y'all are judging. That's okay. Somebody out there is feeling like a little bit better of a mom now that she has had a glimpse into our shenanigans.
Seriously, why do I not have my own show? I can't understand this.

This picture was taken before church with no threatening or pinching or talking through teeth.
Score for Mother's Day.

What are some things you can't believe motherhood has forced you to say?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekend "Camping" & Marriage Test.

We called ourselves camping this weekend. I use this term very loosely. 
Judge all you want: the weather in Houston was heavenly. It was fun and relaxing and no one had to sleep on the ground. Win.
Bought this after we went camping at the beach. Very used, very old, very adequate.
The other side has a push out for the dining table, too.
Look how perfectly that sucker is backed on to that slab. *See below*
There was corn hole.
There were hot dogs. Bun length. All beef. This is important in our house.
There were chips and selfies.
It was rough around breakfast.
There was snuggling with the new "M",  Maverick
There were microwave smores.
We Bananagrammed.
We UNO'd.
It was too lovely not to be outside and these girls are adorbies.
Ridiculous. This is first thing in the morning.
Then, in true Spouse fashion, he decided to put down new flooring in the camper. It looks magnificent!

Workin' man.
Oh, my goodness. So much improvement.
It has been a truly wonderful weekend for The Spouses and The Sisters. I hope yours has, too!
_____________________________________________________________
On Friday afternoon, I posted on Twitter & Facebook:
A true test of a marriage is the ability to back a camper/RV 
into its lot and still be on speaking terms when finished.

Is this not so true?!

<<Note: This was not AT ALL about Spouse and me. Honestly. I didn't even help him back it in. Big Sister did. I wasn't even there yet. By the time Little Sister and I got there, it was nearly done. Also, he's very patient about this sort of thing.>> 

Have you ever listened to a couple do this? Or a couple at the boat ramp? It can be funny or not at all.
My friend, Matt, commented on Twitter that he thinks premarital counseling should involve a canoe trip. Bah! Yes!! So true.

Spouse and I paddled the paddle boards from Fort DeSoto to Egmont Key once. Once. It wasn't pretty. The channel was not easy paddling and it took a long time. There was boat traffic, wind, and hunger. Maybe hunger. Maybe hanger. I can't be sure, I think I blacked it out. Except for the part about Spouse should have gone to marital counseling while I got something to eat. I remember that well.

What about you? Any home improvement projects put you over the edge? Night time feedings?

What are some of your "tests" in marriage?

Good Work: Under Construction!

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete 
it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Fact: He started it, but He's not done. :)
(Tell me you read that in Dwight Shrute's voice.)

This week is sort of an anniversary for me. Eight years since I had this little "cancer episode".

The BackStory: 
In Spring of 2005, it was discovered that I had a nodule on my thyroid gland. By the Lord's direction, we tested and tested and two surgeries later my thyroid gland was removed, along with the cancer that was growing on it. With some RAI (radioactive iodine) treatment and whole lot of prayers, the cancer was gone and I was free to go about my life with a Spouse, a four-year old, and a two-year old.

That was the year of the cancer, but also the year of the headache. And, I mean THE headache. All year. 11 months of one solid headache. I remember walking around the outlet mall one day with my praying, cooking, and cleaning friends and I said, "Hey, Y'all. Stop. I think my head isn't hurting!" I had to focus for a second because I wanted to be sure!

Let me tell you something, that was not an awesome time. But, it was. I got a front row seat to the show called "The Body of Christ Takes Care of Its Own". My people prayed incessantly and specifically. The headache was keeping me from sleeping, so my friends, Kay & Stephanie, called one another and prayed for me one night over the phone without my knowing. I slept. Jesus. My people showed up.  Spouse and my very best sister friend on this planet were the first faces I remember when I woke up from both surgeries. Meals came floating in to my house for three solid months. I sometimes watched as my laundry was folded, floors vacuumed, and dishes were put away. It was so weird, but I was grateful. And, when I was feeling good, they just showed up. I was going to be recovering on Easter, so my friends came for an Easter Egg Hunt at my house on a Thursday. A sweet young couple who had gone through a great deal of medical bills in the past dropped off $400. No joke. Young couple with two young boys at home. Not wealthy grandparent-types, either. Amazing. Only God compels that kind of sacrifice for your sister. My girls' birthdays were made great. A week after one of the surgeries, I tied a little scarf on and we had dinner with Cinderella & Prince Charming at Disney. Magical. It was something not easily forgotten when your people show up for you that way.

As far as the treatment, it wasn't much more than a little drama, really, and I was never scared. February to May and it was over. Surgeries were not great, but it wasn't terrible. The worst part was the radiation. I took a Radioactive Iodine pill that resulted in 5 days of isolation from everybody. I mean everyone. The nurses only came in my room once a day, wearing a lead vest and pointing a Geiger counter at me. Seriously. It was crazy. I was crazy. I had taken my trusty Beth Moore Bible Study materials with me, declaring it was going to be "Me, Beth, and Jesus." Whatever. I think I did one day of my Fruit of the Spirit Study. I was stir crazy. SANGUINE girl was alone. Isolated. Not really feeling well. I could see a Target outside my room window. Sigh. And, it was the weekend of the Runaway Bride from Georgia. Y'all remember her!? Lord, I'm sorry I didn't do my study, but I was nothing less than obsessed with that bride. She was the cutest thing. I did eventually complete all my homework. :)

Honestly, though, it was all pretty quick. I consider myself and my family on the receiving end of the gifts of early detection and a good life.

Gifts given by the One who gives perfect gifts for His own name's sake. Jesus.

The NowStory:
Follow up treatment includes taking a synthetic thyroid hormone every day and getting my TSH checked every 90 days. My TSH had been pretty stable for several years, but in November and every test since then my Thyroid has been off in one way or another. And, I have felt it. Suffice it to say I was livin' in a fog: there was not enough sleep to be had, inability to make a decision (me. no opinion. that's all.), just foggy. I'll not even mention the rest of the physical stuff, but to say there has been some physical stuff. Evidently, moving can be a major life stressor that can discombobulate your endocrine system. Yay. That's what I need. Discombobulation.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, my doc changed my Synthroid dosage. It was actually a little too high and as of 4 or 5 days ago, I am feeling brand new! Puh-raise the Lord! Seriously! I can make decisions all by myself! I have gone a good week without crying! *Happy Zumba Dance here.*

<<<<Note: I have mentioned before that silence on the part of this blogger is typically not a good sign. It's been a month since the last post, but I noticed today that I have 5 drafts. Fog brain couldn't even finish a post. Well, I'm over it. Brace yourselves. <--- That may be a little unnecessary hype, but I'm excited! >>>>

Also, since my doctors had different ideas about body scans and whatnot, I haven't had one since May 2005 (Hush. I know.)---well, now it's time. This week I begin to prepare for the scan on Friday. I will have an appointment of some sort each day of the week and stop taking the Synthroid. I am getting an injection called Thyrogen that allowed me to stay on the Synthroid longer and avoid the Low Iodine Diet (Which I unknowingly did for 4 days. Boo.) I've already had an ultrasound, which showed no thyroid tissue and I am not concerned in the least about this scan. Not a bit. Jesus peace.
My biggest concern was feeling better and I am. Now, I don't know how I will feel after 5 days off the medicine, but it sure is a lot better than the original 3 weeks off the medicine. :)

Here's the schedule, cause apparently, I can make decisions but have no boundaries:
Monday, Tuesday: Thyrogen injections. Wednesday: Radioactive Iodine pill (Not as high of a dosage as last time, so no isolation.) Thursday: Blood draw. Friday: Scan.

So, here I sit in a little camper while my family sleeps giving you, my five faithful readers, the longest status update in the history of Facebook. (I say "five" because I learned my friend Ricky reads. I used to say "four".) Those of you who get upset about mundane FB posts may never read my blog again! Ha! I am tempted to comment how boring this is must be for you, but I won't.
The God of the Universe began a work- a good work- and His work is never boring. With Jesus, it's a ride!

Thank y'all for being so patient with me and coming back to this little space on the interwebs.
I love it and I love you.
It is the coolest thing to me that you read this jazz.