Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do You Wish for Your Health & Wellness?

It's Wednesday once again and this week Jamie asks: "Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do You Wish for Your Health & Wellness?"

This question is near and dear to my heart.  As I've written, I've tested positive for the BRCA2 gene which means I am more at risk for Breast and Ovarian cancer.  It was crazy to think that I wouldn't be positive.  My mom has had breast cancer, her mom,  her mom's twins sister, and my mom's grandmother.  There are a lot of decisions I need to make, but thankfully I don't need to make them right now.  Do I have surgery?  Do I pass on the surgery and try to just eat healthy and exercise and try to deal with stress better as well as have my preventative tests every 6 months?  Do I just take a wait and see approach and make the decision as time goes on?  Oh, and this gene also places me at higher risk for pancreatic cancer, which my grandmother's sister died of as well as melanoma.  These are not a really high risk , but definitely higher than the general population.  

What do I wish for my health and wellness?  I wish that I will make the right decision for my overall health, including my mind, body, and spirit.  I wish that no matter what decision I make, regarding this as well as any decision in my life, I make an informed decision based on facts and not fear.  I wish to have a healthy mind body and spirit.  I wish to make time to make this wish a reality.

What do you wish for?


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Diet, Diet, Diet!!!!

Ok, so I really should have said diet, exercise and stress reduction!  Right now, that is my plan for how to deal with my BRCA 2 test results.  At this point, I am not willing to remove body parts.  To be honest, I am scared of many things, both having surgery and not having surgery.  I honestly can't imagine removing my breasts without actually needing to, but I also am totally scared that I will get cancer and die early.

I am trying to make some pretty radical changes to my diet.  My goal is to eventually eat a vegan raw diet, but for now, it is very slow going.  I have started eating green smoothies in the morning, the problem is that I am still eating foods that are not really what I should be eating.  I am hoping that I can  increase the good foods and in return, I will decrease the amount of bad foods.  I am hoping to increase my exercise and lose weight.

As for stress management, I have 3 small kids and life is a little crazy.  I need to make sure that I make time to be creative.  That is the biggest piece of my stress reduction plan.  I also need to make time for yoga and meditation.

All this being said, I don't know what the future will bring.  As time passes, I may change my mind and decide to have surgery.  At this point, I don't want surgery, bit this is not a decision I plan to make lightly.  I will be doing a ton of research and try to find out what the next steps should be.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Test Results

If you didn't know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just about 1 year ago.  She has gone through chemo and radiation treatments and so far things are looking positive.  Her lump was caught early, unlike my grandmother her mother, who almost 6 years ago died of breast cancer.  Since my mom got diagnosed, she also got tested for the BRCA gene.  She got confirmation that she is a carrier for the BRCA 2 gene.  Currently, in my family, my mom, my grandmother, my grandmother's twin sister, and my great grandmother all have had breast cancer.  My grandmother's younger sister also had and died of pancreatic cancer, which the BRCA 2 gene puts you at higher risk for.

Now that my mom got tested, my sisters and I had to decide if we were going to get tested.  At first, I was leaning totally against having the gene test.  After talking with my doctor, I decided that it would be better to find out if I had the gene, because with my family history, without getting tested, I would need to have increased testing to ensure that things were caught early just in case I was at higher risk and didn't know it. I got met with a genetic counselor right after Christmas and with my husband decided to have the test.  Just about a week ago, I found out that I tested positive for the gene.

I wasn't totally surprised at the results, but I was still in shock from actually seeing it on paper and having one of my worst fears confirmed.  Of course, the immediate recommendation was to have a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy.  I was told that I needed to meet with an oncologist and discuss my options.  If I decided not to have surgery, I need to have a mammogram and a MRI every 6 months alternating each time.  If I don't have the oophorectomy, I need to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test every 6 months.  Even though I don't have cancer, I left that appointment feeling like I had been given a a death sentence, especially if I didn't have surgery.  Not exactly a great feeling to have especially not actually having cancer. I thought that since my family tended to get cancer later in life, I have a decent amount of time to decide, but no, they just lucked out (if getting cancer at all can be considered lucky) and got cancer later in life.  The BRCA 2 gene tends to cause earlier cancers, something I did not expect to hear.

I am still trying to figure out where to go from here.  I have 3 small kids and a great husband.  I don't want to get cancer.  I don't want to go through the pain and suffering and even potentially die, but I also don't want to have surgery.  There are too many reasons to go into right now, and at some point I will probably write about it just to put it in words that I can actually read.  My New Year's goals go along with the changes that I want to make especially now that I have tested positive for the gene.

My diet needs to change and so do my exercise habits.  I have joined in with another twins mom's blog for a healthy challenge.  I am hoping that this challenge will help me make the changes that I need to make and hopefully make theme stick.

As well as changing my diet, I want to continue to try to use natural cleansers for my home and my body instead of using chemicals.  I want to start doing yoga like I have been wanting to.  I actually saw a book that I may get so that I can do yoga with the kids.  I also want to focus on doing things to reduce my stress. According to the book "Crazy Sexy Diet", reducing stress helps increase telomerase which helps with increasing the size of telomeres which intern helps prevent chronic disease (I hope I explained that right.  I should go back and double check).  One way to help reduce my stress is by creating.  I am hopeful that living the kind of life that I want to live will help me live a long happy healthy life! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goal: Living Naturally

One of my new goals this new year is to live more naturally.  For me, this means making things when possible, not using harsh chemicals when possible, eating healthy, and other things like that.  I would love to try not to buy things at big chain stores when possible, but unfortunately, the state of our financial affairs makes it so that we have to find the best price possible.

One thing I am trying to do, is to cook more at home.  I am trying to make my own products when possible instead of relying on pre made items.  I am trying eat healthier too.  When I shop, I am trying to make sure that I only shop the outside perimeter of the store.  I am trying to plan my meals in advance so that I am not wasting food.  planning in advance and not wasting foods are 2 things that I really need to work on.

I have been cloth diapering since my twins were 6 months old.  They are now going to be 3.  Thankfully we are getting to the point of potty training and then we will be done with diapers (hopefully).  A couple of months ago, I decided to start making my own "mama pads".  I was a little afraid that I would be grossed out or that my husband would be grossed out.  After talking to another twin mom friend, I decided to try making my own.  Turns out, my husband is extremely supportive of this and I am on my 3rd cycle of using them and am really happy that I made the switch.  Unlike cloth diapering, if I am traveling I will use disposables.  My goal, now, is to refine my pattern and make better pads.  Pretty sad, but I am really excited about making the switch!

I am trying to not use harsh chemicals in my house.  I love how clean things get with bleach, but am not a fan of the smell, or having it around with little ones.  My goal is to only use it occasionally and I plan on using white vinegar and baking soda more often.  I have used both of these products depending on what I am cleaning and I have been happy with the results.  I now need to get some recipes and find natural way of making an anti-bacterial cleanser that is not bleach.  I also need to get organized (which is another goal) so that I am cleaning on a schedule (I hate cleaning!!).  I am also trying not to use harsh chemicals in my health and beauty products.  Again I am trying to stay away from buying pre made items in stores when possible and make my own from supplies!

I would love to make my kids clothes and even my own.  My problem is that I am not that good at sewing clothes and I don't have a ton of time to practice.  I try to use hand me downs for the kids so that we are not always buying new.  I am trying to plan on making toys and learning experiences for them instead of looking to the store to get what I want.  My next book to get is:

"Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects Using Cottons, Knits, Voiles, Corduroy, Fleece, Flannel, Home Dec, Oilcloth, Wool, and Beyond"

I am also trying to up cycle when possible.  We try to donate unwanted clothing, but I would love to try to use it to make things instead of just giving it away (also a way to save money and not rely on stores all the time).  I am using old receiving blanket for cloth wipes and my "mama pads".  Again, this way I don't have to buy new material and spend money after throwing away perfectly usable cloth!  My next goal is to go to a thrift store and actually buy clothing for cheap that is totally outdated and try to update it and make it current.  I am totally inspired by and would love to be as creative and thrifty!

Hopefully I can really start to work on these goals and make it so that I can feel good about doing what I can for my health, my family's health, and the environment!  I think that, for me, it is good that I am writing this down so that a) I see it in black and white, and b) there are people who read my posts and hopefully this will make me more accountable.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday:What do you wish to reclaim?

I am once again joining in with Jamie Rider at for Wishcasting Wednesday.This week Jamie asks:  What do you wish to reclaim?

For me this was actually an easy wish.  I wish to reclaim my life.  The last few years have been a little crazy.  Five years ago I got engaged in the middle of grad school.  six months later I was married to my best friend and 1 month after that we found out I was pregnant.  A couple of weeks before that I sound my grandmother's house and just days after we found out I was pregnant, my mother in law died.  Nine months later i gave birth to a beautiful boy after being on bed rest for 6 weeks.  Three months later I was pregnant again.  It was not really a surprise and we were thrilled.  Two months later, I was afraid I was miscarrying, only to find out we were having twins.  A little over two months later I was put on bed rest for fear of going into early labor.  At week 35, I gave birth to a girl and a boy and things were great until 2 1/2 weeks after they were born and my son was rushed to Children's Hospital Boston with RSV.  One week later, his twin sister was admitted with RSV too.  We had 2 infants in the NICU and a 10 1/2 month old at home.  My son was hospitalized for 3 weeks and my daughter for 2, although she was on a vent and tube fed for 6 days (until she pulled out her tubes, she's a feisty one).  My grandfather died 1 week after the twins came home from the NICU and my sisters and I drove to NC with a  year old and 6 week old twins.  Four months later, we bought our house.

Thankfully, since then, things have been relatively quiet.  The biggest issue lately is my mom being diagnosed with Breast cancer.  My grandmother, her mother died of breast cancer.  My mom was tested for the gene and is positive.  I was tested and am finding out the results today.

This is a really, really long explanation for why I need to reclaim my life.  I want to start living the life I really want.  My New Years Goals spell out how I want to live my life.  Now I have to reclaim my life and live it to it's fullest and follow my dreams and goals.  Life has been crazy over the last 5 years, but life is settling down.  Life is getting somewhat easier now that the kids are getting older.  I need to stop making excuses and start living my life the way I really want to!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday:Who do you wish to make peace with?

It's once again Wednesday and I as usual am looking forward to joining in with Jamie Ridler at for wish casting Wednesday.  This week Jamie asks "Who do you wish to make peace with?"  

I initially thought I should make peace with my brother in law.  He has been living in my house for 8 months and has not really helped out at all.  He has really only thought about himself and really pretty put down anyone who disagrees with him, oh and he hasn't had a job and really hasn't looked for a job.  And there is so much more that I could complain about, but who I really want to make peace with is me.

I really need to make peace with who I am.  I am always comparing myself with others sometimes appropriately, and sometimes not appropriately.  I am always comparing my physical self, how pretty I am or not, how skinny I am or not, how in shape I am or not.  I am always comparing myself as a parent too.  Then I start getting really negative.  It can sometimes affect my marriage/relationship as we have been together for 18 years.  I have some better days and some not so good days.

I wish to be happy with who I am and how I parent and stop comparing myself to others.  I wish to be at peace with who I am and be satisfied that my husband is happy and not looking for me to change (I know he is not.  I know that fear is all from my mind).  I need to be happy with my parenting skills and realize that having 3 kids who at one time were all under one year of age was not an easy situation and I did the best I could and my kids are great kids.  I need to stop questioning if I caused their speech delay or their inability to share or their temper tantrums.

I need to make peace with me!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Defining Goals

Like I said in my last post, I have a few goals that I want to work on in the coming year.  I think, to make sure that I actually follow through, I am going to give myself time to get there instead of making myself meet all the goals at once.  I also need to define my goals a little better.  When I wrote them, I just wrote them down to have an idea of what I wanted and needed to work on.  Now it's time to get to the knotty gritty of what I want to work on so that I know how I am going to meet these goals.  I will probably at some point actually write up these goals like I was working as a social worker with problem, goal, interventions, and time frame listed so that I can measure and see if I am actually doing what I want to do.  I will also be re-evaluating from time to time to make sure that the goals are still what I want and see if I need to change anything.  For now though, I am just going to me a little more specific about each goal.

  1. Cook more healthy foods, cook from scratch, and try to be as sustainable as possible: This is pretty self explanatory and basic, but to break it down, I want to follow through with eating the way I should be eating, stop using processed pre-made food, and try to eat local, and in season when possible.  My goal is to shop the perimeter of the store, buy less packaged foods, make what I can instead of buying pre made such as using dried beans, making bread (gluten free), and buying good healthy food and making sure that it tastes good not just healthy.
  2. Make time to be creative: I know how important it is for me to be creative, but I don't always make it easy.  I am hoping to figure out a way to be able to make it easier to be creative (maybe if our house guest of 8 months leaves, I can set up something in the basement and keep it set up instead of setting up and taking down each time.  I need to make set projects so that I am not trying to pull together everything when I find the time to do something creative.  I also need to finish one project at a time instead of having multiple projects going at one time!
  3. Try to live as natural a lifestyle as possible: I am trying to eat healthier, more sustainable, and locally.  I am going to try to make my own cleansers and bath and body products for me and my family.  I am going to try use less paper products and use cloth products more.Sometimes, I find myself using paper towels more often than not just because it is easier.  I am hoping to use towels more and paper less.  I am also hoping to use my cloth diapers more consistently.  I have been doing a really good job here, but I am using disposable wipes more often than I had in the recent past and I need to get back to using the cloth wipes (especially since I like them better).  I have been using cloth pads for my last couple of cycles.  This may seem kind of gross and a little TMI, but I actually do like them better and I like again that I don't have to throw them out I just wash them daily with my diapers for the kids.  And again, a little TMI, but I want to use more family cloth instead of toilet paper.  I was doing it for a while, but stopped for some reason I can't explain.  The best part is I have a ton of flannel receiving blankets and fleece scraps that I can use so I will not have to spend money or waste material.  As I find or think of more ways of living naturally I will work on incorporating them into my life.
  4. Spend more time in direct play with my kids: I have tended to let the kids watch tv probably more than I should.  I sometimes feel like I have contributed to my kids speech delay, but I know that there are other issues that have contributed to it too.  It has been a lot of work having 3 kids so close in age.  As tough as it has been though, I am glad that they are close in age.  Now that they are a little older (in 20 days, I'll have 3 three year olds for a month and a half), it is so much fun to watch them play with each other (that is when they are not fighting).  We got a bunch of new toys for Christmas and I am loving how they play.  We will be incorporating more structured play into our day as well as non structured play.  My twins are being evaluated for public pre-school, and while I don't think that they will get in, I will not put them into pre-school for 2 years.  I can't afford 2 in school for 2 years and I don't think that it is needed either, especially since I am home with them.  That being said, I think that have a homeschool pre-school setting is a good thing to do.  The only thing that I think will lack is interaction with other kids, but I am hoping that with playgroups, I can find kids for them to interact with.
  5. Get my stuff organized: Man, this is going to be a work in progress!  A huge work in progress.  I'm not even sure I know where to begin.  This is one where I will need to start with one room, one area of one room and start small.  I will add more to this area as I figure out what to do.  One thing i do know is that I definitely need to have a system for cleaning.  That may be the first thing that I put in place.  How to keep up with the laundry, vacuum, clean the kitchen, plan my meals, etc.
  6. Start an store: This is a goal I have had for a while.  I want to try to make a little back from what I spend on materials being creative.  I am hoping to make fun, creative small little accessories that people can feel good about buying for themselves or a gift.
  7. Learn more about the things that I am interested in instead of just knowing a little about a lot of different things: Wow, this is another area that I need to spend time figuring out how to be specific.  I want and need to learn more about gardening.  I would love to learn more about permaculture and how we can incorporate that into our gardening, both veggie and flower.  I want to learn more about herbs which also goes along with learning more about gardening.  I want to learn more about aromatherapy and how to use it in my day to day life as well as maybe using it professionally.  I want to learn more about art therapy and how I can use it as a career.  I want to learn more about sewing and other crafts that I can work on making and selling or maybe even teaching.  I want to learn more about meditation and yoga.  I want to learn more about journaling and how to incorporate it into my career path.  I want to learn more about cooking and eating healthy (not necessarily traditional nutrition, but more alternative ways of diets).  I'm sure there is a ton more that I want to learn, but for now this is where I am going to focus.
So I have spent some time figuring out more specifics to my goals.  I now need to actually work on accomplishing them.  I am definitely going to wrote these down in more of a care plan format, like I would do for work.  Maybe once I get that done, I can share a couple.  Maybe if I luck out, the twins will get into public preschool and I will have a couple of hours of free time that I can devote to making these goals are reality.  Maybe I can spend time creating and selling so that I am finding time to be creative and also so I can make some extra money.

Thanks for listening (ok reading),


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year/New Goals

It's January 1st 2012.  Like most people, I am trying to figure out if I should make any resolutions.  I am tinkling that I want to, but then there are those that talk about how resolutions are foolish.  They say that resolutions don't work.  They believe that resolutions are just a way to try to make changes but that they are just a way of making us feel better.  This year, I am thinking that instead of making resolutions, I am going to  Set goals for myself. Now this may seem like I am just using a different word to mean the same thing, but I think either way goals are better than resolutions. Also, I am not doing this because that is what you do at New Years, I am doing it because the holidays are over, life is settling down, and it just feels right!

So, what are my goals? Right now, my goals are to follow my beliefs behind this blog. To clarify this for myself, the following are my goals:

1) cook more healthy foods and to make more foods from scratch and try to be more sustainable in what we eat

2) make time to be creative

3) try to live as natural a lifestyle as possible

4) spend more time in direct play with my kids

5) get my stuff organized

6) hopefully start an shop

7) try to learn more about the things I am interested in instead of just knowing a little bit of information!

I could and probably should be more specific. From my professional career, I know that goals are supposed to be written certain way and these are not. I need to refine them make them measurable and more specific, but for now, it will do. I have more time to get more specific. I may write another post about the goals when they are more clear, but for now this will do!