What My Mom’s Death Taught Me About My Own Health

So this journey has been very difficult to say the least. If you don’t know what journey I am referring to click here to catch up. A lot of self discovery happening. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, since losing my mom I’m not exactly sure how to be me anymore. One thing I did about a week ago was sit down and make a list of things I want to do within the next year to be closer to my destination. Which is figuring out who I am again. There’s things on the list from, get closer to God, to sky diving. No I do not intend to get closer to God by skydiving. Nothing is off limits on this list. Crazy things, awesome things, impossible things, no biggie things, and so on.

The reality is that I probably won’t be able to accomplish everything on my list, at least not this next year. However one thing that is immediately attainable on my list is to take my health and fitness more seriously. Having been witness to my mothers suffering with terminal illness for the passed seven years, especially the last two of them, has opened my eyes to another side of health, that is nutrition. It amazes you when you’ve been told by doctors that your mother needs to be on a high-protein diet, but the hospital is feeding her jello. Meanwhile she doesn’t know better because her idea of eating healthy is eating lots of yogurt. In the last year of my moms life I did a lot of research on eating for health, but I was to no avail because my moms health was so declined by then that I couldn’t help her. This is when I learned that using food for medical purposes is best done as a preventative, than it is a treatment. However let me clarify that it totally CAN be used as a treatment in a lot of instances.

Upon reflecting on what I have learned I decided that it is time to start implementing these things in my own life. My mom was only 46 when she passed away. Her mom was only 58 when she passed away, and her mom’s mom was also only 58 when she passed away! Do you see a pattern here? I decided for the sake of my children to hopefully never have to know the pain of losing their mom too soon, that I have to take control of my health where I can. It only makes sense to me that the best way I can do that is by controlling what I put into my body. Now a lot of things factor into a person’s health, genetics, etc. Though I am certain, from my own experience in watching what my mom went through, that it is a lot easier to get healthy BEFORE disease gets a hold of you, than it is to restore health to an already unhealthy and malnourished individual. Shoot I might even go as far to say that if your body is kept in the right conditions that some diseases, such as cancer, wont even have the opportunity to dwell there. Though I may not be confident enough yet to say that irrefutably, I have heard it said before. So the last couple weeks I have began to exercise just bout every day, and eat for my health. At first the adjustment is a little difficult, and even made me feel crummy. My body had to detoxify a lot of junk out, and that made me feel sick. I also experienced some hypoglycemia because I cut off my sugar intake maybe a little too drastically (I suggest tapering that one down). However determined to push through, I am feeling amazing now. My husband has even joined me on this part of my journey and he is already reaping the benefits as well. As a matter of fact he has lost 7 lbs in his first week!

I will make an entire blog post about what we are doing currently with our diet and everything when the time comes, but all that leads me to my next discovery on this journey. Through all my research and commitment to myself I have found that I really want to use this to help others. So today I am adding to my list to become a holistic health and wellness coach. I truly believe that God gave us everything we need to live life healthy. The problem is that we live in a society of convenience and we have lost touch with natural remedies. Why would you put much thought into your health when there is a pill for everything? Why would you put much thought into food preparation and ingredients when there is fast food on every corner? I used to be one of those people who didn’t worry about my health because “that’s the doctors job”. It doesn’t work like that. I believe in the healing properties of medicine don’t get me wrong, but I also believe in the healing properties of nature, and I think the two have the best outcome when combined. So I am not saying stop all your meds, but I am saying that you may be surprised at just how many of them you find yourself no longer in need of once you start to take better care of your body.

So, next on my list is figuring out which way I need to turn to be on the right path towards my new goal. Any tips on where to begin? What do you guys think about nutrition, and its healing powers? Are you also inspired to eat for your health? Let me know what you guys think in the comments.

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Under Attack!

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I haven’t posted in a long time. Ever since my mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I have avoided the blog. I have decided that I really need to pick right back up. If you look around, you’ll notice some changes to the blog (and more to come) I am embarking on some fun adventures these days. But that will be another post, announcement pending.

Tonight’s post is going to be one that I have been dreading to post, the very reason I haven’t posted in so long. As a matter of fact it is hard for me to even form the words needed for this post. The things bouncing around in my head aren’t exactly easy to articulate, they’re more like feelings, so bare with me…

This year has been the worst year of my entire life, bar none. From my mom’s cancer, to my own mysterious health problems, other family emergencies, and every day there is seemingly something else. From an outsiders perspective it probably doesn’t look that bad. In fact I have accomplished a lot of great things this year, and from what people tell me I seem to be holding together very well! I get complimented all the time about how “strong” I am. I continue to push that on. I try not to complain often (hens the absence of posts), and when people ask me how I am doing I almost always answer with a “good” or “I’m doing alright!” But the truth is, I am not doing alright.

I have battled with diagnosed clinical depression and anxiety for the last decade. No one would really know it these days, because with the help of the Lord and great support of friends and doctors I considered myself to have overcome my depression, for at least the last 3-4 years. What does that mean exactly? Well, to put it simply I suppose I would say that for the last 3-4 years I have been able to live my life without the feeling of a thousand pound weight sitting on my chest.

I started feeling my depression sneaking back in a few months ago. It feels like you’re treading in deep dark waters, struggling to keep your head above the water while everyone just watches you drown… Believe me I have tried so hard to pray it away, unfortunately all that has seemed to accomplish is making me question if my faith is strong enough, because the dark and empty won’t stop. I haven’t said anything to anyone. I feel like as an outspoken Christian woman, I am supposed to set an example or something. People come to me for prayer, and what if they know that I struggle? I sit and minister to women weekly and what if they know that I can’t even help myself? How can they trust me? Am I a fraud? If people know, they’ll look at me differently… These are some of the thoughts that attack me, and hold me back from reaching out, from seeking help.

The truth is I know that I am not alone. I can’t be. Especially in the Christian community, I think a lot of us feel this way. Scared to talk about things, but we NEED to talk! Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Obviously Jesus is telling us to speak up when we are in need, so why wouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t I? I firmly believe that these thoughts that we can’t reach out for help in fear of judgment (or any other reason) are a tactic of the enemy. It is his intention to get us isolated, if we believe we are alone then we are easier for him to devour. Just like any predator will go after the straggler of a herd, the loner, the one that falls behind. Think animal kingdom, anytime you see a lion sink it’s teeth into a gazelle it’s always the one that the lion was able to isolate from the herd. Did you know that a single herd of gazelles can have up to 700 members in it? Still the lion will attack even when it is outnumbered. Think about that for a moment. No matter how big your church is, no matter how strong your faith is, if the enemy can isolate you, he will attack! No one is exempt from this.

So as my counter attack on the enemy, I am speaking out! I am not alone. I know there are others out there wanting to do the same, and I am here to tell you that you are not alone either. Despite what you think, people care… I care. God cares! I like to always think that God has a purpose for my pain. I don’t believe that He causes my pain, but I do believe that He won’t waste my suffering. If God can use my struggle to minister to someone I always allow myself to be used by the Lord. Maybe this post is His way of doing that, I dunno. But, what I do know is that I am suffering right now, and if you are too don’t be afraid to ask for help! I have overcome this before, and because of that I know that what God does one time, He will do it again.

One last thought before I go off to bed. If you know someone who struggles with depression, just be there for them. The other day I had a complete melt down. I mean, ugly crying okay. I was in that isolation and having terrible thoughts. I called my cousin in Hawaii (even though it was like 5 in the morning for her) and she stayed on the phone with me for nearly 4 hours (on and off). She isn’t a therapist or anything, she didn’t have magic words to make it all go away, but just by being on the phone with me, listening to me, and encouraging me, she really helped me off of a cliff that day. You don’t have to understand, you don’t even have to fix it, just be there.

Love you all,
Alyssa Joan

Madness on the home front!

Things around here have been super crazy! With my mom’s diagnoses and me being away from home, and now my middle kid has come down with strep (yikes time to Lysol everything!) I have been overflowing everyone with bad news and of course fundraising up to my eyeballs. So for a happy change of pace I am going to bring back my amusing blog post’s (which so far all seem to be about baby Alex… he might just be my problem child).

So you ever hear the saying “when the cat is away the mice will play”? Ha! Yeah! That’s an understatement 😉  While I was gone in the hospital with my mom, my husband Mark was holding down the fort. At one point I stopped in to get some things and snagged these photos, well, they speak for themselves, lol.

God bless this man for real! He has been a super big help to me! And even though the baby is covered in marker and getting into the silverware drawer while I was away, I am just super glad the hubs didn’t bathe him in the toilet! Lol!

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Love wins!

I don’t really know how to begin this blog post.

I guess I’ll just start with a back story. Five years ago as of January 18th my mom, Charlene was declared cancer free, and she was considered to be in remission. She is the strongest most beautiful woman I know. Even cancer couldn’t taint her beauty and grace. She had stage 3 cervical cancer and a 70% survival rate. She beat the odds and I never doubted for a moment that she would.

This week was particularly hard for my family. Just six days after the anniversary of her survival date, she landed in the hospital. Her lungs were filling with fluid among other things and her doctor had her admitted to Sacred Heart Hospital. After four days and three nights of being poked and prodded at the results came in.

We had waited intently for these results but as the doctor walked through the door I can remember thinking how I wanted to just stay in this limbo of not knowing. The doctor didn’t waste any time to let us know that her cancer has returned. This time in her lymph nodes. Everything sounded muffled as the doctor said things like, “now is the time to surround yourself with loved ones”. I felt a lump in my throat and I couldn’t even swallow.

I couldn’t say anything, all I could do was lift my tear filled eyes up to a cross that hung on the hospital room wall. I clung to that cross the entire time the doctor spoke, as she gave numbers I gave all my thoughts to God. I couldn’t find the words to pray in that moment but I just thought, “No, that cross has the final word, God has the final report.”

I don’t accept the doctor’s report. I respect the doctor and her report don’t get me wrong. But my faith is strong and I have hope that by the stripes of Jesus my mother will yet again overcome this. The Bible says that we may come boldly to God’s throne when we are sick asking for his mercy and healing. Jesus still has the power to heal us, and if what I am asking for is a miracle, then I come boldly to the throne of God and I declare that my Jesus is STILL in the business of making miracles, and I won’t move until I see it happen!

I ask that you will all believe this with me. Please pray for my mom and stand in agreeance with me today that in the name of Jesus she will be healed. Please add her to your prayer list’s and remember her in your nightly prayers.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
-Hebrews 4:16