Words Can Make or Break Your Day

It’s been one of those weeks where I have had to bite my tongue a few times. I haven’t been feeling great ( what’s new) and I guess I have a bit less patience than I normally have. I’m also going down from the prednisone which causes yucky side effects including grumpiness. This will pass though. I know it will because I can get through bigger obstacles than this.

This week I was snappy at my kids, at my husband, quiet at home by myself because sometimes it just feels easier than facing people in public and trying to be happy.

On Monday , I received an email from someone at my doctors office that was incredibly rude and disrespectful. It left me with a feeling like I didn’t matter. I was just another name in the system. All over an appointment time. It took everything and a whole lot of encouragement from my husband not to reply to the email. My reply was all written out and I would have happily sent it. Instead I chose not to.

The thing is , this person doesn’t know me from Adam. She has no clue how her words were hurtful. Her words made me feel like my fight over the last 2 years meant nothing. That me as a mom and wife means nothing. Most importantly, I’m a human being with a soul not just a patient with a number. Here’s the other thing. She could have just been having a bad day. Maybe her dog died or she got in a fender bender on the way to work. Maybe she is abused at home or has mental health issues that are bogging her down. I don’t know. What I do know is words can hurt and words can heal. I probably should have responded in an encouraging way but at the time the best encouragement I could give her was no response.

So my encouragement to you all is to remember that we don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life . People hold things in. Throw a smile on their face and pretend like everything is alright. Make yours words be kind. Remember that words can hurt and sometimes it’s hard to forget those hurtful words. If you know someone is struggling , let your light shine and use words that will heal and brighten their day.

On the flip side, don’t take mean words too personally. You could have just been the persons punching bag in the midst of a hard day. It says in the bible,

Matthew 5:38 -40

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 

In the end I think you and I will feel much more at peace with ourselves and that person if we follow the advice of Jesus.

I’m learning to let things go. I’m a work in progress . I’m not perfect and I know that this has been a really good lesson for me. It takes a lot of work.

MDS Awareness Day Today

Today is my opportunity to spread some awareness on Myeloid Dysplasia Syndrome . Many people have never heard of it as it’s considered more of an “old people disease.” I know how wrong that assumption is because I know many young people who have this.

Mds is often a secondary cancer brought on by previous chemotherapeutic drugs. I was always so thrown off by chemo because it caused cancer. However that isn’t always the case. People who have been exposed to harmful chemicals in their job or their home can get it and some there just isn’t an explanation.

Mds has a very wide range of degrees. You can have and live a healthy life with MDS for years. Doctors will just watch and wait to see how it progresses and then there’s me and many others who get RAEB-2 . That stands for reactive anemia with excessive blasts and I think the 2 makes it the highest severity . There’s also lots of things in between but you can google that if you want.

My symptoms:

-Very early in spring of 2016 I had night sweats . That I couldn’t understand but looking back we know now it’s a symptom.

-I was always tired

-Fatigue hit bad around 2 months before diagnosis.

-Nausea

-Vomiting

-Headache

I had all these things going for me and I had a hard time getting a doctor to listen to me. It took me telling one doc if he didn’t admit me I would die. Good thing he listened because I was right.

Those are only my symptoms. This is my experience.

Since it is awareness day I would like to encourage you to visit blood services website and find out how to be a stem cell transplant donor. Or book an appointment to give blood.

https://www.blood.ca/en/stem-cells

Thanks for reading!

Say Cheese…

I love taking pictures, looking at pictures, being in pictures and sharing pictures. Pictures are great. From the very first day of being sick , I made people take pictures of me. I took pictures of medical equipment, fantastic hospital room views, bruises. I have pictures from my very first bone marrow biopsy and my first chemo. I wanted everything documented. I have bald head photos and photos of my hair on the floor. I have photos with my favourite doctors and nurses. I have family photos from when we thought I wouldn’t survive. Not everyone is comfortable with that and I wasn’t always either. I wanted everything documented so my kids and Aaron would have my story to remember me by. A stage in life no matter the outcome, would have a visible reminder or treasure . That’s why I started blogging. My story is all written out. I don’t remember a lot of it because I was so sick. So I’m thankful that it’s there. I hope to make some sort of photo/ blog book out of it and have it printed.

I wanted to encourage you all to take more photos. Don’t be shy in photos. Enjoy and embrace the you that God made.

2 nights ago I was reminded how precious life is. You see 17 years ago when I was pregnant with Gavin, I joined a mommies group online. This group has been through a lot. 17 years later many of us are still part of the online group. We even have a Marco polo group where we can talk to each other and see each others faces. We’ve been through divorce, marriage, more children, trauma, trials and sickness together, financial problems and so much more. We’ve supported each other through the toughest of times. Well 2 nights ago one of our own at only 40 years old, passed away in her sleep. So far cause of death is not known. Her best friend is also a part of our group and received the devastating call from our friends husband. This has been a hard thing to process for many . It makes you think. Any day could be your day. There was nothing wrong with Melissa. No known sickness that anyone was aware of, She now leaves behind 3 kids and a husband.

The pictures they have will be treasured forever. I know Steph has been posting many pictures of fond memories that they had together and it’s wonderful that she has these keepsakes .

So don’t be shy! Take photos. Take selfies . Invest in family photos. I am so happy that my wall is covered in photos of my family and hope that they will always be cherished. ( Our family photos were taken by http://www.karinlouwerse.com)

Day 7 A Day of Rest

This is the last day I am doing posts everyday. Thanks for joining me as I kick off my new blog. Today my family will go to church. I will be home but will still listen online ( not feeling well at all 🙁). May your day be filled with joy and peace and rest .

Enjoy your day everyone.

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Keto Diet

As I struggle with my quest to find a weight balance on prednisone, it seems the only way to control the excess weight is through a low glycemic diet. Some of the weight gain is water retention. So reducing sodium is a must . It feels uncomfortable having a swollen face. The tight feeling is not nice. I’m going to venture and try to eat a low glycemic diet which has led me to the ketogenic diet . I’m hoping I can get through the ravenous carb cravings and always wanting to eat. It’s hard to reach for raw veggies because steroids have made my teeth incredibly sensitive to cold. I will try though! Until I’m off the steroids I need something to help. So I hope I can succeed . Do you have any good keto ideas? Let me know ! This doesn’t look easy 😳

Imagine… A Raw Look into My Past

Someone asked me a really good question this week. How did I know that the path God has put me on has led me exactly where I was meant be? I had a couple days to think about this question. Trying to figure out the best way to answer it so it’s understood. I will do my best. I decided rather than replying privately I would use the opportunity to do blog post and hopefully it helps more people.

First before I get into the cancer stuff I will give you a bit of a background you may or may not know about me. Before I became a Christian I wasn’t really on a good path. I did things my way with no care in the world of how it affected others or myself. I abused my body, my health, I could care less what happened to me. Then God decided to change my path. He decided to make me a mom. I wasn’t a Christian at the time or really had an opinion on whether I was pro life or not but no matter the circumstances  ( I was 18 and not married) I choose life. I became pro life. Who was I to decide to not have this baby. My friends who stuck by me ( I lost a lot of friends) were amazing. Some friends bought me my first bible. I started praying that God would take care of me and the baby. Family came around. Friends encouraged me and took me to church and supported me. I had a free warm roof over my head and a job that I put every cent away to care for my baby. I stopped doing all things self centered and started looking after myself. I endured a lot of pain in peoples words but I leaned on God and He helped me through the dark days. The day my baby was born was the best day of my life. I had a purpose. Someone who depended on me. This was not a sad occasion by any means. At 19 I was over the moon and full of joy with the incredible blessing that God gave me. I still feel this way. He is an amazing teenager now. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to me if I didn’t have this child. (16 years later roles were reversed and he has often been my caregiver while watching me very sick). I am grateful. However at this point I still don’t think I believed in my worth. I did believe in the worth of the unborn though.

The years went by. Aaron and I were brought together by our beautiful son. We pursued love on terms that were real, not expected. We fell in love and were married and had 3 more children. Between Brandon and Dylan I lost 2 babies. Both were early miscarriages. Still heartbreaking. I think life got away with me and my faith struggled a lot. I went through many hard time with depression that are hard to even speak of or think about. My faith suffered so bad. The depression hurt. The anxiety was unbearable. No one understood, or I should say I thought no one understood. There was always the worry about what everyone would think of me. I always cared way to much about other peoples opinions of me. Was I being a good mom? Were my kids behaving to standards? Am I being the wife God wants me to be? On top of all this I suffered from chronic pelvic pain and chronic migraines. The Chronic pelvic pain resulted in a hysterectomy at 28. And how could we forget when Aaron almost died from sepsis and almost lost his leg. The weeks of hospitalization. Me at home while the house flooded with 3 kids 4, 2 and 1. 4 knee surgeries and 4 month of full time IV antibiotics. Not knowing if my husband was ever going to be ok. We have had our shares of trials and not all of them are in this post. Through these trials I was bitter. I was angry. I was sad. It got me no where.

So whats the point in me telling you all this? I am getting to that. Fast forward to 2016. I had been doing pretty good. We joined a new church which took us in with open arms. It was like an instant new family. I had still been struggling in my faith but it was getting better. I decided to work hard and focus on my calling as a mom and a child of God.  Work had been going well. Always found so much joy in my job at William of Orange. So that summer I decided to be a counsellor at Stepping Stones Bible Camp. I did the teen week and in the end it was a giant blessing. The girls and my co counsellor were all amazing and the way you focus on what God has done and is doing in your life was so inspirational. I would say this was the start of a healing journey for me. My co counsellor is now one of my closest friends and is still such a support in my faith life. God knows what he’s doing. After summer things got tough again. I thought I was getting depressed again. I joined Freedom Session through a local church and was able to work on some past issues that I was holding on to. Unfortunately this is when things took a turn for the worse and January 25th, 2017 I was diagnosed with MDS RAEB-2 and so began my life as a cancer patient.

But that’s not how God saw it. God saw it as a time to strengthen my faith. I was not beginning my life as a cancer patient, I was beginning a life of incredible strength in Jesus. I was beginning my life as a Child of God who fully and completely for the first time ever understood without a doubt where my hope and comfort came from. The worries were there but not in the same way. Here’s where the imagine comes in.

Imagine you are 34 years old and have just been told you have cancer. Now imagine telling your loved ones. Calling your children because they can’t be there with you because you have been whisked away to stay isolated for a month. Telling your 8, 11, 12 and 14 year old that their mom has cancer and not being able to comfort them. Cry with them, pray with them. No one had a dry eye at the news. I was in a very ill state and if treatment didn’t happen asap , things would not last too long. Imagine being told the only way to be cured is to have a bone marrow transplant. Imagine getting the call that your one and only sibling is not a match. Imagine being told a 10 out of 10 match has been found, only to be told your antibodies will reject it. Your antibodies will reject any match. Imagine the feeling of realizing that it’s coming close to your time to meet your Heavenly Father. Yes a joyous thought. Going to heaven to be with Jesus is nothing short of amazing. However when you are faced with this you learn a whole lot about yourself. You think about your kids living without a mom , your husband without his best friend and wife, taking care of life at home all by himself. Leaving your parents before they leave you. It’s not suppose to be that way. Seeing your friends cry with the thought. How am I supposed to watch all this and not see how much I am loved. How much my life matters. I matter! Put yourself in those shoes for a minute and just image that this is you. You are valued. Your life is worth feeling that, its worth feeling Gods love and the joy you can get from that. Here’s where my quote from my first post comes in.

It’s funny how life takes you on journey you weren’t expecting, only to find that the path you have been led on has brought you to exactly where you’re supposed to be. The path may not be easy but choosing to embrace the good, the bad and the unexpected can bring you an abundance of peace and joy and fulfillment.

I look back at my life and see it all so clearly now. I didn’t in the beginning and you may not see it in your life right now but you will if you keep going and fight! I did at times see how God had worked in my life for the good. It wasn’t always difficult. I did see small blessings and even some big ones but never to the place I am now. God brought me through a lot! It took something incredibly difficult to get me to this place. My prayer for you is that you can also find this peace. It takes work. Find what helps you. Writing my blog helps me. Talking about my faith and struggles with my friends and family helps me. Prayer and bible study helps me. Church helps me. Christian music helps. Encouraging other as much as I  can has been a gift for me. I never knew you could encourage people even when being physically unable to do much. Life isn’t perfect . I still have my fears and worries and struggles. I am a sinner who needs to lean on God. I know that and it has brought me closer to wanting to lean on Him more and please Him more. You want to focus your daily living on being joyful in Him. You see the blessings more. I don’t know if the cancer will return. It could come back any day . I have learned that everyday is a gift. I have watched people die and lost friends from the BMT clinic that I thought were going to be ok. The reality is we never know when our time will come. It could be a heart attack in a completely ” healthy” person or a car accident.  Know your worth. Jesus gave His life on the cross for you. That is a pretty amazing gift of love right there. I will leave you with a passage we read at dinner tonight. I thought it was appropriate for this post.

1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

Immune System Health

First I want to say that no one is paying me and that the opinions in this post are of my own.

Being a transplant patient I have to be on immune suppressing drugs. Even though I am 1 year post transplant, I have GVHD which makes it hard for me to go off of the medication. There are things that I choose to do to help protect myself against getting sick.

1. Flu shot! I got my flu shot done on Monday. It makes me feel a little bit more protected. There are also many around us who are not allowed the flu shot so if you go get your flu shot , you are helping protect those with weak immunity.

2. Wash your hands . Keep hand sanitizer in your car or purse .

3. We diffuse thieves oil in our house a lot this time of year. It’s basically like spraying Lysol around the air to kill bacteria but it’s natural essential oils. No harmful chemicals.My kids love it too. I’m a big fan of essential oils . If you want me to hook you up let me know.

4. I am trying something new. Young living sells a juice called ningxia red. It’s supposed to be good for a lot of health benefits including helping your immune system. So I figured I would try it out and see how it goes. It certainly can’t hurt. I just started the drink yesterday. If anything , I will be getting lots of good vitamins.

4. Isolation … this one sucks. I have to stay away from sickness as much as possible. I did get the flu shot but there’s many other things out there that aren’t covered by the flu shot. However, I still like to get out so I will just have to be extra careful when I do.

Stay healthy everyone! Wash those hands , cover your mouth when you cough and stay in when you’re sick.

Tania