Blog

Eating Out, KETO Style!

Eating Out Keto Style can be challenging at first but surprisingly its not that hard, and you will feel great for making healthy choices and have fun while you are out. Some examples are

+ As pictured, “The Nash Burger” Organic burger with bacon and egg ordered on lettuce with no sauce and a side of avocado slices (skipping fries) ….Many restaurants will lettuce wrap your burger ….if you need a bun bring your own bun ( smart baking company listed under “Holy Grail” post

+ Many, Many dishes simply require a little planning….for example If I’m going out and I know I will get a meat but not much fat like steak, fajita, chicken, brisket, pork, ….I’ll bring a little container of MCT oil and drizzle on my food or you can ask for a side of olive oil, you can also ask for a side salad for your side item or cauliflower rice

+ Don’t want to skip the appetizers, most dips are keto friendly its the bread and chips we cant eat so ask for a side of celery, lettuce, or cabbage they make great dippers and wraps out of appetizers.

+ Want a Starbucks drink? I’m pretty sure Vanilla is the only truly sugar free latte you can get, but….with summer approaching go for “Unsweet” Tazo Passion Tea, Pineapple Tea, or Black tea and add a few of your stevia or sweetener drops.

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I couldn’t make a post without adding something sweet ya’ll !!!

If you love Nutella here is a great substitute Sugar Free Low Carb and Tastes GREAT!!!

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Ch.5 Faith, Hope, Love, and getting to know the NEW ME

I was in a good place in life, I mean I loved our small horse farm and custom built home and felt blessed to raise my kids so naturally spending most of the day outside! From barn chores, to gardening, 4-wheeling and pottery…to the pride in watching my daughter love, ride, compete, and take care of her horse to my son exploring and creating worlds (battles) in the woods and playing with his best buddies (our rural neighbors) Personally I felt we made it to that sweet spot in life, we had enough money to vacation, buy the kids nice things, heck maybe get a boob job! Life was great!

It’s no surprise going through cancer changed me. I mean I went through a multitude of phases from shock at diagnosis, sadness at my bleak future, and those horrible thoughts of why me? I’m too young! My kids need me! My husband needs me! It’s not fair, I want to see my kids graduate high school, get married, …No I NEED to be here for all their big life moments! My mother should not lose her child! Oh Dear God please hear my prayers!

FAITH: Oh the bargains and deals and promises I made to God if he would allow me to survive. Why couldn’t I have faith and KNOW He was with me, carrying me? The truth my faith was weak. I had a relationship with God but it was lacking. God was there I just needed to have faith and trust in HIM. No bargains, no promises, just pure surrender of all the doubt, fear, anger, sadness, worries, I had to find my faith again and trust with all my heart that no matter what God was with me and my loved ones and No matter what the future held I felt very close to HIM and had a renewed faith and was at peace no matter the outcome.

HOPE: Don’t read the statistics they said…well I became the most well read Ovarian Cancer patient out there! Didn’t look good at all. Over the course of my chemo, my daily cancer warriors online that I followed slowly died one by one truly saddest thing ever! I had 2 friends I saw regularly with same diagnosis both gone. It was extremely hard to have hope I kept those dark thoughts mostly private because when you are surrounded by family, friends, and a community rooting for you and showing you their love their support and prayer chains from coast to coast, I thought I had better muster up some hope from somewhere because these odds are bad but I just might be on the good side of those odds, there’s my hope don’t lose sight!

LOVE…so often taken for granted or said lightly…well let me tell you I’ve never felt more loved or given more love as we went through this crisis. I’m thankful For the opportunities to say and show my love for friends and family that may have never been expressed with such sincerity I’m also so blessed to receive such genuine love from my family, friends, and community, it was truly overwhelming and heartfelt. It meant the world to me to feel such an outpouring of love!

The New Me: I just don’t think you come back from a traumatic life event unchanged. The great news was I had SURVIVED! We had a celebration trip as soon as I was strong and healthy enough. I was so elated to be ALIVE. I was ready to resume my life, but I quickly learned I just wasn’t that same person anymore. Honestly mostly for the better. I didn’t have the same interest in shopping and materialistic things. I was all about making memories, not wasting my time God has given me. No more nit picking all the small stuff. Living my best life! I got almost 6 years cancer free before battling and beating it again…I will keep cherishing Every. Single. Day. I will keep making great memories with my family and in the end God has given me the gift to live and love deeply and appreciate all of life! To think I could have gotten hit by a bus and died and never experienced the gifts before me ❤️

I see the beauty in Life everyday from the Sun shining on my face to the sweet sounds of my loved ones’ voices. No one knows when we shall pass but I want my loved ones to know I wouldn’t have changed a thing! I wish for you to always see the beauty in your life.

Ch.4 Where are my people?

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I feel like many people will be able to relate this who have had or are going through cancer…You are surrounded by loved ones, friends, and a supportive community, so why do you feel so ALONE? The sun is out, people are laughing, riding bikes, playing with their kids and you’re watching the living world happen as if you’re outside looking in on the world. You feel strange, have a zombie walk, a cloudy and slow mentality, fatigued, and possibly in pain….and you wonder “Where are my people?”

I searched and there was no support group near me, but I found a few blogs and an amazing website that has hundreds of thousands of members, you can choose your cancer and join your community. For me it was Ovarian Cancer and once I joined I finally felt a unique support system. There were many others just like me going through the same thing. I received so much support, knowledge, and lasting friendships, but most importantly HOPE. Please, I encourage anyone going through any disease cancer, HIV, diabetes, etc. to join this group and you will be able to share your journey with the only people who KNOW what you are going through.

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Ch.3 The Plan, Walking the Tight Rope

Once it was determined I had Ovarian Cancer no time was wasted. I had been referred to a gynecologist in Nashville and had made a list of questions prepared. He was not at Vanderbilt though and I have to admit I initially thought “This is my LIFE, I need the best, I’ll go to this appointment and probably get another opinion at Vanderbilt”. I had become well read on treatments, outcomes, and statistics. Sadly Ovarian Cancer is one of the worst in terms of survival rates. I needed the latest in technology and treatments.

At my first appointment I met my with my doctor and he had the most compassionate bedside manner. He talked to me about several things and always emphasized on my needs or wants and made that the focus for the treatment plan. He started off telling me about the standard protocol for OVCA for the last 30 years and before I could even jump in and ask he said everything to me that I planned on asking ….he said…but YOU are much younger and healthier than most with this disease (only because it’s usually caught later in life) and he thought we could try a much more aggressive approach which combined standard chemo (chemo intravenously through a chest port every 3 weeks and adding an abdominal port to receive direct (large volume) chemo drugs in the abdominal cavity. This would allow the abdominal area to basically bathe in the meds for a period of time. There are many different names for the meds but it Carbo/Taxol (standard) Given through a small tube to the abdominal port and Taxol IV chest port. He then explained how treating cancer is “Like walking on a tightrope, you are constantly trying to balance the most effective amount of cancer killing drugs without actually killing the patient in the process”

My doctor had the exact plan I wanted and was eager as me to get started. We scheduled a surgery for exact staging and diagnosis plus adding the 2 ports. He sent in his Nurse Practitioner to go over what to expect, chemo protocol, …so much information! This team was really on top of it, by the time I left I had a surgery scheduled and planned chemo and all appointments set. I really liked her too! She said you are in the best hands, this doctor taught at Vanderbilt many years and is highly respected for this specialty, he’s on their board and they even named Vanderbilt’s baseball field after him. (Guess I won’t be looking for that second option after all! Lol )

My staging results were Stage 1C grade 3 Ovarian Cancer with a 70% chance of 5 year survival. BRCA Negative. Which is very good odds in my case, caught early.

I caught a MRSA infection during the staging and port surgery. I remember many people coming in to have me sign off on tissue donation for studies right before ( which is great) but in hindsight maybe do that another day? There are many ways I could have caught it but it would seriously affect my treatment in the long run. Here is an excerpt of my journal right before my first chemo:

“OK I have 3 days to mentally prepare for my 1st chemo. I already feel whooped….2 surgeries in a month and then a mrsa infection from the hospital. My abdominal port is still bothering me, bra or no bra it is just in a bad spot and my abdomen is still oozing a little from my infection site. I have developed a lovely anxiety problem…it seems anytime I get ready for something wether a ct scan or blood transfusion my heart starts racing and I can’t calm down. I am given ativan for it now and they are already preparing for me to freak out on chemo day, so they will give me that in iv. In the meantime I have bought some meditation cd’s that I hope will help with this. After spending 11 days in the hospital I am dreading going back, scared I may not leave! I check in Tues morning and get my iv chemo and stay the night and day 2 i get ip chemo and hopefully go home. Please say prayers for me, I need them!!!”

Another journal excerpt:

May 10, 2011 at 9:53 am:
“A couple weeks ago I had a routine IP/iv chemo that was anything but routine. The iv went fine for the 18 hour drip then when IP started it instantly hurt. Unfortunately it happened late at night in the hospital so as my doctor got messages of my pain getting worse, they kept offereing me higher levels of pain meds. and slowed my ip drip way down. I hurt so bad I started screaming and my husband reached over and turned the drip off himself, big no no, but I immediately felt better and started to fall asleep. They finally brought up dilaudid, which was the only med that worked with my level of pain. At the end when they flushed my port it also hurt very bad….turned out I had an infected port. I had it removed and I am still healing from it. I hope to God this infection is gone, because I really don’t know if I can go back to the hospital, I actually feel nausiated just thinking of it!

My doctor is now putting me on Dose Dense….I start next week as long as I am strong and hopefully done with the infection. I am getting lots of info on dose dense from alot of you, just wondering does anyone else get 3 shots a week of neupogen??? I think it sounds extreme? I am hoping my body can handle this new chemo for me, because I really need it to work since IP did not.”

As it turns out I had probably more complications and infections than I can count. My doctor and NP were always at my side getting me through each crisis. They said I developed PTSD and began giving me Ativan to prevent my panic attacks. The mind and fear can be your worst enemy! That’s for another chapter.

Found: Holy Grail of Keto

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Keto Kween has found the Holy Grail of Keto! Hamburger buns, YES! Cake Yes! ZERO carbs Zero Sugar ….I’m in Keto heaven because these taste amazing! I am given products to review and only post the BEST. Some are…. just not that great, but I am sharing these from The Smart Baking Company!  I received a box that had samples of the hamburger buns and a cake of each flavor. I dove right in and tried the chocolate cake of course! OMG, it tastes like a sinful cupcake with sugar sprinkles on top. They got the flavor just right. I tried the coconut and there were actual coconut flakes. I haven’t been this excited to find a new product in a while! The company has offered us all 10% off by using the coupon code KetoKweenKickingCancer  at checkout expires 3/12/18 the link is here

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We all know how expensive it can be to find great treasures like this and I’m ordering the deluxe smart box you get enough buns and cakes to last a few months! Try it I promise its worth every penny!!!

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Ch.2 Getting Correct Diagnosis in a Band-Aid World

I realize many cancers and diseases are not easy to diagnose and I’m telling my diagnosis story through my experience so my children, family, and friends can think about my situation if they ever need an example of “Trust Your Instincts”, “Be Your Own Advocate”, “Do not be intimidated nor allow your Doctor to belittle your concerns”, and most importantly…“Keep doctor shopping until you find one that genuinely cares and feels as concerned to find answers for you, He/She will make the difference”

I just want to say first, I love my doctors (now) and appreciate the amount of time and dedication given to saving and making lives better. Looking back, I see clearly that my previous primary care doctor was a good doctor, he just had a “Band-Aid” approach to everything that bothered me. I had my regular appointments and bloodwork like clockwork for years and when I started having symptom after symptom he had a medication for that or a specialized doctor for that…independently, everything got a temporary and sometimes unnecessary fix. But my intuition knew that something was wrong, and my body was telling me hey lady you are out of balance. When a patient otherwise healthy presents with multiple symptoms I wish they could do a head to toe body scan and put our fears at ease, but I’m sure things are done according to insurance and standards of trying basic approaches and a wait and see approach….BUT if you have cancer all that waiting can be deadly.

Below are my symptoms and responses and I kept going back and going back and I just felt really sad that my doctor(s) didn’t seem as worried or concerned as me. Everyone had their own answers (band-aids) but no one looked at me as a whole and wondered why am I all the sudden having all these issues?

*I started have really painful legs after working all day on my feet. After being seen by a vein specialist, I wore compression hose for a few months and it helped but didn’t cure it. Then an ultrasound of my legs’ veins which showed the main vein in each leg was not working! The vein doctor was baffled and set me up for a surgery to have them removed. (Hind sight…had the technician looked 1 inch up to the groin area… the discovery would have been found a huge ovarian cyst on each ovary blocking the veins from functioning) I had the surgery, my veins removed, and my legs felt better.

*I started having episodes where I could feel my heart racing, just driving in the car or sitting at home, nothing prompted this and it scared me which caused me to have a rush of adrenaline which caused my heart to race faster and I thought I was having a heart attack. (In hind sight I went into full blown panic attacks due to fear of what my body was doing) After several ER visits, Testing, home monitoring, they said I was fine. I didn’t know what a panic attack was at the time and I was really worried because these episodes lasted a good hour each time. It got to the point that if I even thought about or told someone about it, it would cause one! One night I had like 4 in a row and went to the ER. I sat at my doctors office the next morning and waited for it to open. I said I don’t have an appointment but I’m not leaving here until my doctor figures this out. Something is wrong and all the tests say I’m fine. They monitored me for 3 hours and I had one while there. They could see my heart rate go crazy and my blood pressure rise. He prescribed me a blood pressure pill. I was thrilled to have an answer, a diagnosis, I filled that rx fast and took one right away. I felt so sleepy, like a zombie, but it seemed to work…until it wore off then I would have another one but not as frequent.

*I was feeling bloated and my gynecologist did the usual pap and felt my abdomen very thoroughly. Everything was fine (despite the fact I had high grade ovarian cancer with 2 cysts 5-8 cm each) I still wonder why this was not noticed? Or why my pap came back ok?

*The bloating got worse, then added constipation, and now acid reflux. I got put on Nexium and told to eat certain foods.

*Right around my 38th birthday we took a Gatlinburg weekend vacation. After a day of fun I felt really bloated and just wanted to eat at the hotel (unusual for me) I remember looking at my plate of food and only being able to take 3 bites and I was seriously full. I knew in that moment something was REALLY wrong. I mean I can eat some food! I just decided I needed to see my doctor again and get a referral for this. I never made it that far because a few nights later I was in the ER.

*Along with the bloated feeling I started having a dull pain on my left side of my stomach when I ran on my treadmill in the evenings. I was still waiting for my referral to go through but one night I woke up in excruciating pain on that left side. I couldn’t hardly move. We went to the ER and they discovered a cyst on each ovary, the one on the left had twisted and was blocking the blood flow causing pain. My gynecologist wanted me to be transported to Vanderbilt in the morning but I was in too much pain they had to do the surgery. When I woke up I found out I had a complete hysterectomy, I mean everything was gone. I was told everything went well and I should recover fine and by the way they sent some of the tissue for biopsy but it all looked great and I shouldn’t worry. For a moment I thought biopsy? What for? but soon forgot about it. I didn’t even consider cancer, that’s for old people right?

After a few checkups from the surgery everything was looking fine until my last appointment. With no notice, no warning, I was given the news the biopsy came back and I had Ovarian Cancer High Grade  Stage 1C. The doctor referred me to an oncologist in Nashville but I honestly didn’t hear a word he said after “cancer”. I was in shock, In my mind I was told you “You are going to die”  The only experience I had with cancer was you get cancer and you die a terrible death.

But, that wasn’t the worst day, the worst day was waking up one morning shortly thereafter and being able to stretch and roll around in bed. I felt good. The sun was shining through the windows and I felt healed and happy, then I remembered, I HAVE CANCER.  

 

 

 

 

Power of The Pili Nut!

Pili Nuts are a staple food item rich in magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and more….Low Carb and No Sugar of course!

I like to add Pine nuts and Pili Nuts to my salads, the Pine nuts more for rich flavor, and the Pili nuts for the benefits of the nutrition and healthy fats. The ones I’m using on the salad are raw and slight crunch, they are described as a butter flavor but to me they are flavorless and that’s fine because it doesn’t interfere with my salad taste. You can also buy roasted pili nuts and those are great snacks, they are actually rich and filling compared to other nuts. Check out the nutrition label, and as always link where I buy mine.

 

These are raw you can also find roasted if you prefer