Dandelions & Boobs

imageOctober is breast cancer awareness month. I’ve had family who had breast cancer, friends and coworkers.  I personally wish we could find a cure and end all cancers.

Back in 2011 I had my first mammogram scare. My midwife at the time suggested I start getting mammograms early because of family history.  In 2011, during what I expected nothing on my exam,  they found a lump in my right breast. I had been having pain there but really hadn’t thought much of it.  I’ve shared the nightmare I went though with my midwife and the diagnostic center. I am happy that I now use a nicer diagnostic center and have a new doctor.

This year I went for my yearly mamo and ultrasound. I now get them together since it’s easier and I have dense breast tissue. I assumed, nothing would be different.  A few weeks passed and my mammogram paper work came back saying I needed an ultrasound. I laughed as I had it done the same day as the mamo and they knew that.  I wrote it off in my mind that the ultrasound paperwork would be in the mail in the next day or two telling me I was clear and would see them next year. It never came. I finally called my doctor’s office and was told they were just about to call me. It seems something different was going on in my breasts and I needed to have more testing done.  This all ended up leading me to the Smilow Cancer Center at Yale. Which , I confess scared me.

I am grateful for the way they doing things. First they uploaded my images and had their diagnostic tech look them over. This step saved me from having unneccessary testing my doctor thought I should have. I got a phone call that the testing planned didn’t need to be done. I was relieved, and exhaled on the phone. Then I was told I needed to come in and see one of the surgeons.  The anxiety came flooding back.

I have to say the Breast Center at the Smilow center is beautiful. The whole cancer center is beautiful. I had become familiar with the healing garden that was just across from the children’s hospital when my grandson was at Yale.  The staff at the breast center was even more amazing.  The only thing upsetting was the fact that they gave me a hospital bracelet when I checked in. I guess in my mind I assumed it was just a doctor visit. No need to have a hospital bracelet. This somehow made it all to real. My anxiety came back again. Breath in….breath out.

The surgeon I saw was extremely nice and was willing to explain everything after he found out I wasn’t even sure what was going on and why I was there.  It seems my doctor and the diagnostic center  were worried about some cysts. All of which the surgeon explained were simply the result in hormone changes in my body that are normal. What he was concerned about was the lump that was found in 2011. It’s not a cyst. My mind then began focusing on the Black Cohosh study that was posted on the wall behind him. I kept thinking I should have stayed on it longer darn it.  My brain began thinking of a bunch of other things I should have done. I was “should-ing” all over myself.

He went on to say that he isn’t into doing anything invasive and so since he had all my records and images since 2011 he felt that there was nothing we should do. The lump had not changed at all in the years it had been there.  He explained why he would not remove it and why he would not biopsy it. He assured me it is not cancer but we would continue to watch it. If it changes we will discuss what to do then. For now there is nothing to do. Here’s where the big exhale came in.

I left feeling happy and confident. The only problem now is how to get this sucker to stop hurting. The pain I get now and then is what I imagine it would be like to have a steak knife put into my breast and then have it twisted. I am told this pain is the result of the breast tissue swelling due to hormones. Lovely.

I’ve read things of what to do for healthy breasts. I’m very fond of Susan Weed’s teachings.  So when my naturopath suggested dandelion oil to use for a breast massage I said , yep, that is what Susan Weed suggests.

Thing is there is not one health food store or herbal store around me that sells dandelion oil.  I thought ok, I’ll make my own. Reading up on it it’s the flowers that are best but you can use the root or leaves. I call around again. Nobody seems to have dried dandelion flowers. I had no luck. It’s fall so going out to my lawn isn’t going to do it either. So I bought some dandelion root tea to sip and a bag of dandelion leaves and some almond oil and made my way home.

Making your own oil is really simple. I’ve made a few over the years and they always turn out really nice. Once you have your oil you can add a little beesewax and you have a salve.

What you need is a glass jar with a good lid. What ever herb you are going to make oil from. Fresh is best but I found sometimes dried is better as there is less water in the plant. Each plant is different so experiment with it. Then you will need an oil. You can use almond or olive oil.  Play with that as well Just don’t use coconut oil as it tends to go solid in cool temps and never use canola or vegetable oil. Neither are healthy to eat so don’t use on your skin.

I am not giving amounts because the size of the jar and how much you want to make is the thing to play with.  Make sure your jar is clean, then pack it full of the herb your making oil with.  Don’t be afraid to really pack it full. Pour your oil in and with a chopstick or something like it,  push around to make sure to get any air bubbles out. This helps to use all of the herbs and prevent mold.  Fill with more oil if need. Your jar should be filled totally with oil and herbs. No air bubbles. Put the lid on and it put it in on a shelf away from direct heat or sunlight. I write on the lid the date I made the oil. Six weeks later,  strain off the herbs and collect the oil in another clean jar and you are all set to use  for massage. You can add your favorite essential oils to give it a nice scent.

I am eagerly awaiting for my dandelion leaf oil to be ready. In the mean time the pain in my breast acted up and I went online and found a little shop on Etsy and bought some dandelion flower oil from a woman in NC who does all organic oils. I am pretty excited to get that oil and I was told it has shipped. I’ll use that till my oil is ready.

It really is that easy.  Dandelion oil is not only good for breast tissue  and helping with the cysts and lumps some of us ladies get , it is also good for sore muscles, achy joints and I read some folks  find relief with gout.   A massage with dandelion oil is said to help release stored emotions and ease the body when stressed.

Ready to make your own oil?  What kind are you making?

 

Until next time!

Shelly

Health care & Spaghetti Squash for supper

Some people say Labor day weekend is the end of summer. Others think when the massive amounts of pumpkin flavored products start hitting the shelves it’s officially fall.  For me it’s when it’s whenever it feels cool enough to cook with the oven again and I am baking up squash.

This week I’ve cooked my fair share of spaghetti squash at work. it was fun to get folks to try it and share how it’s a great alternative to pasta.  One gentleman told me he was tired of the gluten free craze. After talking to him a few mins I found out that like me, he is prediabetic. His doctor , much like mine , gave him no support at all on what to eat. Just said watch your sugar and see you at your next appointment.  We talked a bit and I explained what I was doing and how I am a health coach and I have some blood test coming up and I will see how much I have reversed this by doing some lifestyle changes.  After a brief talk about carbs , my friend walked away with spaghetti squash and hand written instructions from me on how to cook it. He said he let me know how he did. I am looking forward to it.

It drives me crazy that when you  look at the health care system they are happy to shell out several thousands for someone to have say gastro-bypass then allow them to work with a health coach or a nutritionist to loose weight and prevent disease.  I am finding I am not alone in the fact I was just told I am prediabetic, they are not sure why and well good luck and watch your sugar.  A friend recently told me she got this same treatment.

I’ve cut my carb intake. I wont say I’ve gone no carb as that is not going to happen in my life and I am not so sure it’s a good idea to be honest. For me.  It might be for others.  Have I eaten foods that are not so great?  YES! I am not ashamed it. However one night I ran out and got some ice cream I normally would not  a long with some cookies and boy did I pay for it the next day. But the key is I didn’t get all angry at myself and say oh well and fall out of my wagon and burn it and dance around it with the tub of ice cream (sound like a fun plan though).  I just took the following day to eat extra clean and clear the junk out. Then got back to my way of eating.

So before I share my spaghetti squash supper with you, know this, if you fell of your diet, are feeling horrible about it and are beating yourself up while you woof down some chips , know your not alone and you can do this.  It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to fail. If we never did we would never learn. That’s the key, learn from it. If you’re having troubles ask for help. Keep asking till someone helps you.  It might take a few people but support is out there. I promise you it is.

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Spaghetti Squash with Sausage & Peppers.

1 large spaghetti squash ( see tips on cutting below)


olive oil

2 bell peppers, diced

onion, diced

2 bulbs of garlic, minced

1 lb of Italian chicken sausage

your favorite tomato sauce (no sugar in it)

basil

oregano

pepper to taste

 

Cut your spaghetti squash in half and take the seeds out. Place in a baking dish with water and cover with foil. Bake at 425 for 30 mins. check to see if you can start to get the meat to pull away from the shell with a fork. If you can’t, leave it in there for a bit longer. If it’s ready place ont he counter for a few mins to cool.

Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the olive oil, add the onion and cook for two mins, then add the peppers and cook untill every thing is almost soft. Add your sausage and cook untill the sausage is browned. Poor in your sauce, stir and taste. Then season to your liking with spices, salt and pepper.

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Using a fork, scrap the meat out of the shell of the squash. It should come out like strands. Add the squash to your sauce and mix. Serve with fresh parm and enjoy!

 

Cutting spaghetti squash can be scary if you’re not use to doing it. First always use a sharp knife.  It sounds wrong but you can do more damage to yourself from a cut with a dull knife than a sharp one.  Then, what I do is cut the top off the squash. This gives me a flat surface to make the length wise cut.

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Next , run your blade down the center of the squash.  Use a spoon to scrape out seeds.

 

Well that it’s for this time. I’ve got kombucha to check on need to make a little self care list as I fell off the wagon of doing that. I can feel the difference. I’ll let you know how my  follow up visit with my doctor went in my next post. I am hopeful I am turning this prediabets things around. Oh and I need to share what happened when I went to the cancer center.  That can wait, right now, I need a cup of tea.

Warmly,

Shelly

My Grandson’s Courage

My daughter and Colton

My daughter and Colton

Today I am reaching out to you my readers, friends and family. I mentioned in my last post that my grandson had been in the hospital and had received a diagnosis that was not good. He had been in the hospital for nearly the whole month of August fighting off pneumonia which is hard for a baby usually but when that baby has SMA1 it is harder.

SMA1,( spinal muscular atrophy stage 1) is the most severe. It is a genetic disorder that slowly robs a child of their muscle strength until they are unable to do even things like eat or breathe on their own. There is more information the link I am going to share below.

 

My grandson, Colton , is an amazing little guy. He is smart, loves to be in the kitchen watching the busy work or out on walks looking at trees. We were so blessed that Yale Hospital has a healing garden in the cancer center we could take Colton for walks out on. He loved it. Now that he is home he loves his walks around the neighborhood. He smile, laughs and just brings joy to his mom and everyone around him.

My daughter is a single mom and due to the extensive stay in the hospital as well as his condition and the level of care he needs, she  had to take leave of her job. She’s a strong young woman who’s only concern is finding the best treatment and care for her son and making his life as joyful and loving as she can.

 

I knows times are hard right now. Believe me I know first hand. But if you could share the link, this page or even just pray , sending healing energy and love and light their way it would be most appreciated.

You can find all the information you need here: Colton’s Courage

Thank you.

Namaste,