Do you ever get sick and tired of being sick and tired?
I have more health issues than I can keep track of.
I try really hard to manage them, count my blessings and inspire others, but some days, I just want to scream.
So I cry out to the Lord: “My burdens are too heavy! The pain is too much to bare! My body is weak & I have nothing to give that would be any value to anyone.”
Then I ask him why?
Not “Why Me?” because, why not me?
What makes me so special that I should escape illness, or pain, in a world where sweet little children suffer horrifically as they battle cancer?
But “Why Lord?”
“What are you trying to tell me?”
“Why are you not healing me from these afflictions?”
“What am I missing?”
“How can my illness help others?”
I ask questions because I feel like I could be doing more.
I constantly seek, because I want to make sure I’m doing my very best, to take care of the body God gave me, as I know, I’ve not always done that.
Maybe in some ways I feel responsible for my health issues, or maybe its just society’s way of making those with chronic illness feel like its their fault, so we subconsciously hide behind a quilt of guilt, as we struggle to find the right way to apologize, yet again, for not being “perfectly healthy,” or for the burdens we feel we have placed on our families and friends.
I seek, because I believe there is a reason for everything. I believe people are watching how we handle our afflictions. I believe they watch when we laugh, they watch when we cry, they watch to see how we cope and who we run to for comfort.
They watch because they suffer too and they want to know the “secret.”
They want answers, they want to feel better, they want to live a happier, healthier life and when they see others succeeding, they want it too.
I believe, in our pain, we have the ability to inspire others, bring hope and healing to broken hearts and wounded souls.
So what answer do I get when I ask those questions?
“Don’t ask the Lord to guide your steps, if you are afraid to move your feet!”
To me its kind of like saying: I am giving you tools and you are not using them!
Then him asking me: Why Kath? Why not? What are you afraid of?
So, I have taken on a new challenge.
I have gone on a Plant-based / Vegan diet.
I know, crazy right?
That’s what I said when my gynecologist suggested it back in February 2001.
I went to him with my breasts infected and riddled with cysts.
I was in agony and terrified something was really wrong.
He told me to go on a vegan diet for 2 weeks and they would disappear, but if they didn’t, I would have to have each one aspirated with a needle in his office and this wasn’t going to be pretty.
Are you flipping kidding me?
What the hell is a Vegan diet?
I’m Italian! We base everything around food, every celebration, every emotion, every holiday, every birthday, even death and now he’s taking away my meat?
I was convinced this dude was a whack job!
But, I was in horrible pain and at 27 years old, I had already had 9 surgeries for cysts on my ovaries and a full hysterectomy for masses and infection on and inside my uterus, as well as, unexplained bleeding that went on for a year.
I was really scared this time.
So this little Italian girl went home and ate lettuce for almost every meal and I was miserable!
2 weeks later, every cyst was gone, and the Dr. was certain that my body makes cysts and tumors when I eat animal proteins.
His suggestion was to stay on a vegan diet, but I was starving, so I left his office and went straight to Burger King.
3 Months later, I found my first breast lump and pre-cancerous cells under my other breast. I woke up from surgery Praising God that it was not cancer!
Did that scare me? Yes, and I wish I could tell you I stopped eating meat but I had every excuse under the sun and I honestly did not believe I would ever get cancer.
9 Months later, I found my second breast lump and this time I wasn’t so lucky.
My cancer was a Triple Negative, High-Grade, (DCIS) Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
What’s this mean?
Back in 2002 it meant when my children asked me if I was going to die, I didn’t know how to answer them. With tears in my husbands eyes, my children crying and uncertainty in my heart, I had to face the 3 people I love the most, and tell them I was going to do everything I could to fight cancer. Then I had to put my trust in Jesus and pray.
Now it means, I am left with no breasts, no breast implants and a broken/sunken in chest wall. I live with daily bone pain, that reminds me every day of those Moms that have lost the battle, and left their precious children, and how blessed I am that somehow, I was able to keep my promise to my husband and kids.
It means my amazing Doctors busted their butts, to make sure I saw my next birthday and because of them, I can now walk my kids down the aisle one day, and get excited that I may be blessed to hold a grand baby in my arms.
It means I was given a second chance and I don’t know why but I am forever grateful!
So why didn’t I do this right after cancer?
I did and I did it again in 2009 and had success both times but not a lot of support. Finally after the disgusted looks of disapproval and the snarky comments about my eating habits, I got tired, caved and lost the plot.
Then I gained a ton of weight, fell into another chronic fatigue relapse, so I’m exhausted every minute of every day, my cholesterol is at a dangerous level again, my face is swollen, lymphedema has taken up residence in my legs, arms and chest, and honestly I don’t recognize myself anymore.
There needs to be balance in everything and when a young 27-year-old Mom goes into surgical menopause then, because of cancer, is not allowed any hormone replacement therapy, all hell breaks loose, the body starts to break down and you end up with more trouble than you ever expected.
So I struggled to manage the afflictions that affect me, while still praising God for the gifts he has given me, on top of dealing with the awful daily pain, the last damn thing anyone was going to do was take away my sushi!
But now I am done!
Better late than never right?
It’s time I valued myself enough to manage my health issues with grace and fight for my life!
Today I am on day 4 of my new lifestyle and I have already lost 4 lbs.!
I am not Jesus. I don’t know for certain if this new way of life will cure me of what ails me. There are some illnesses I battle that will not be affected by my new diet and others I believe I will be cured of.
I know there are a lot of talented Dr.s who believe in a plant-based diet and whose books and movies have inspired me and given me hope.
T. Colin Campbell wrote a book: The China Study. This book outlines exactly what my Doctor told me in 2001!
Guess he wasn’t a whack job after all!
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn wrote a wonderful book: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
My Father and his family members have died of heart disease. I’ve had high cholesterol since I was a kid.
I have to take this chance. I owe it to myself; I owe it to my family. There are plenty of other ways to die besides cancer and I am not dying of a heart attack!
So as I take another step forward on the journey of Recreating Me, this blog will change with me.
I will be adding pages on health, women’s issues, diet and nutrition, cooking, etc.
I will be blogging about cancer and other health issues I’ve never shared with anyone.
I will be fighting to gain good health & sharing the ups and downs along the way, and asking you to cheer me on.
When I was fighting cancer I prayed God would let me live, I did not pray for more success, I prayed for more time with my family and for time to make a difference in someone’s life. I prayed God would allow me to be a light in someone’s darkness and to comfort, to care and be of service.
I fought on the front lines once and I will fight again!
What kind of war are you willing to fight, the battle of temptation, or the fight for your life?
Come on this journey with me. Maybe together we can heal a few hearts and wounded souls.
“Don’t ask the Lord to guide your steps, if you are afraid to move your feet!”