Monday, March 9, 2015

A Few Thoughts

September. The last time I posted anything on my sweet little blog. I think about her every day. It's so strange, this emptiness I feel when I think about how long it's been since I've written anything. I miss it so much.

I had someone tell me not too long ago that if I really wanted to do something I'd find a way to do it, but with writing/blogging, I'm not sure that's necessarily true. It takes so much time and effort to create a post, and most days I just don't have the energy. I've gone back to work part time three days a week, so now my time is stretched even more.

There are so many things I want to write about. I've just come back from a mission trip to Thailand. What??? THAILAND! It was the first time I'd been out of the country since Australia. And was just as amazing.

Sound man is still healing from cancer. Still. Pain is a way of life for him now, but he does his best to hide it from everyone, including me, but I'm on to him. I see the secret grimaces, the nonchalant way he holds his arm, the quiet shake of the meds bottle. It's a journey the doctor has told him he might be on from here on out. It's so very hard to watch, knowing I can't fix it. We pray daily to the One who can, and if He so chooses, He will either heal or allow the pain to be glory for Himself. Either way, my precious husband is willing to go down the path.

Even in the midst of the pain, he still does amazing things for me. I have a beautiful new kitchen because he wanted to surprise me when I came home from Thailand. Y'all. It is beautiful. Oh, it's not huge now with all the bells and whistles, but it's beautiful. I look in there and almost come to tears knowing how much love was poured into it, not only by my husband but by my amazing, now-15-year-old (FIFTEEN!) son. AND wonderful friends who love me very much. I can't thank them enough.

I know, I know, pictures, you want pictures!

It'll come. For now, I just wanted to write.

Okay, I lied. Here's one pic, just to tease you.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not Finished Yet!

It's been a while, and I hate that. But life takes precedence over blogging, and that's okay. I do have a lot more to tell about our cancer journey and what God has done through it, but it will be a little bit before I can get to it.

I miss blogging so much. I miss my online friends! It's amazing the road I've been on for the past six years (SIX!!!) since I started Butterfly Genes. A road I wouldn't have chosen for myself, but one that I know the Lord has carried me on.

I will be back soon to finish our story about Michael's thyroid cancer, and tell about what's been going on with me personally. Until then, I'll leave you with this.

It's very thought provoking. Actually it's just Jonathan and Beanie playing. But you know, whatever. :)

video






Friday, February 28, 2014

Low-Iodine Doesn't Have to Mean Low-Taste

Okay, that was a really cheesy title to this post, but it gets my point across. To catch up on our cancer journey, here are past posts:

My Husband's Cancer
"Trust"
The Diagnosis
The Surgery
A Little Help From Our Friends
The Waiting Game. Which Is Not a Game.

Y'all. Shopping for meals that contain no or very low amounts of iodine is NOT FUN. I had to buy non-iodized salt, but that wasn't a big deal. However, the rest WAS. No dairy. No egg yolks. No processed food. No pasta. No seafood. No soy. No restaurants. I remember standing in the grocery store in tears because I couldn't find natural, no salt peanut butter (I did find some at another store, thankfully). One of the most expensive changes was the chicken we had to buy. Any recipes we have that call for beef we just substitute venison in them, so it was okay to have. We know where that meat comes from and Michael processes it himself, not adding anything to the meat, so it was safe. The chicken we had to buy, however, made up for us having our ownpaprika" It was over double what we normally pay!

Suppers weren't bad at all, once I could find the things at the store I needed to buy. In fact, we really enjoyed the recipes. I made a Pinterest board called LID where I would pin recipes I knew fell into the "acceptable" category. I found several that we've incorporated into our normal menu rotation, particularly the roasted corn (if you click that link and scroll down to the picture of the corn, you'll see how to do it...so easy!).

Michael could have any fresh vegetables, but had to limit his consumption of spinach and beans. We were graciously given home-canned tomatoes by my sweet friend Becky as well as my second mom, Margie (I hate using the term "step-mom" when it comes to her). Those tomatoes made the difference. I made chili and sloppy joes with them and almost prefer those recipes over my tried-and-true ones.

I tried new things with fresh and frozen veggies and discovered that fresh vegetables weren't much more work than canned, and they t
asted sooooo much better! My favorite way to prepare green beans now is to pan-fry fresh beans. You should try it!

I also had to make up my own seasoning mixes such as taco seasoning, chili powder, and Greek seasoning. We now use the taco seasoning exclusively...it's SO much better (and better for you!) than the store bought kind.

Speaking of homemade seasonings, here is the LID recipe for chili with homemade chili powder...we love it!

Chili

1 lb ground beef (we used ground venison)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon chili powder (homemade - recipe follows this one)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
2 cups black beans
1 large jar of homemade canned togmatoes, no salt added

Brown hamburger and onion. Drain. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour.

Recipe adapted from the Low-Iodine Cookbook from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association.

Homemade Chili Powder

1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder (check garlic powder and make sure it doesn't have salt)

Combine all ingredients. Use with any recipe calling for Chili Powder. (In the chili recipe above, use this in addition to the paprika and cayenne listed in the recipe. )

Recipe from the Low-Iodine Cookbook from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association.

Next time, I'll share what it was like being in the same house but feeling miles away from each other.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Waiting Game. Which is not a game.

First of all, I have to stop for just a minute and let y'all in on a secret. I've called my husband Sound Man since the start of my blog in 2008 to have some sort of anonymity. He has since started his own blog, and uses his own name in his profile. So, I'd like to start using it, too.

Everybody, meet my husband, Michael.

Okay, back to the story.

To read our cancer story so far, start with these posts: 

My Husband's Cancer
"Trust"
The Diagnosis
The Surgery
A Little Help From Our Friends

After Michael was released from the hospital, we began the long wait before he could take his radioactive iodine treatment. RAI is given to thyroid cancer patients to kill any remaining thyroid tissue that's left after surgery. At a follow up appointment, the doctors explained what would happen in the days leading up to the treatment, and why.

Michael would be on a low-iodine diet for two weeks, then he would take the RAI. The reason for the LID was to starve his body of iodine, the mineral that keeps your thyroid healthy. They wanted any thyroid cells that might remain in his body to be so hungry for the iodine that when he took the "poisoned" iodine, they would just soak it up like a sponge. This, of course, would kill any remaining cells.

Armed with knowledge and a starting date for our diet and treatment, we left the doctors' office confident that we could handle this. Michael was to have a couple of shots of medicine that would allow him to stay on his Synthroid, the medicine that replaces your thyroid hormone so your body still functions as though it has a healthy thyroid. By staying on Synthroid, he wouldn't feel as bad as he would if he had to come off of it. The shots he would be taking would force his TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level to go up to the proper level before he took the RAI. His TSH level was supposed to be over 35 (normal is around 4.5. Yes. I said 4 point 5. His was supposed to get up to 35. That's THIRTY-FIVE. Anything over about 7 makes you start feeling yucky. I know this from my own personal experience). Without the shots, he would have had to come off of his Synthroid in order for his TSH to get to that level. Confused yet? Welcome to the club.

The day before his first shot was scheduled, just a few days before he was to take his radio-active iodine treatment, we found out that there was a mix-up with the company that makes the shots and our insurance company. We, along with the sweet, precious girls at Dr. Amanda's office, scrambled to try to find a solution to the problem so that Michael could get the shots and have the RAI as scheduled. To make a very long, very frustrating story short, it didn't happen. We were so disappointed. Michael would have to come off his Synthroid in order for his TSH level to get to the point it was supposed to in order for the RAI to work.

We had been on the low-iodine diet for two weeks before hearing he would have to come off the Synthroid, and were already really ready to get back to a normal diet. The recipes were really delicious, but I wasn't limited like Michael was. I could have dairy, and eggs, and processed food, etc. during the day, but he couldn't. Supper was great, but he really struggled with finding food that was worth eating for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I was making homemade bread (allowed...I made a TON of it!), so that was enjoyable for him, but other than that, he was really ready to get back to normal food.

When the news came that he'd have to wait for another three weeks for his TSH level to get over 35 to take the RAI treatment, the realization hit us that we'd have to continue the LID diet. Talk about depressing. The day after Michael stopped taking his Synthroid, he started feeling so bad he would have to stop working (he was able to work from home for a while) for a little bit and get back to it later. He felt awful. AW. FUL. It was hard for him to get out of bed in the mornings. By the end of the three weeks, it was all he could do just to get up and get ready to go to the doctor to have his blood tested. Feeling this bad, along with continuing pain from the surgery, was wearing him down.

During all this time, we asked everyone we could to pray for his level to be over 35 after the three additional weeks. Dr. Amanda didn't have much confidence that his level would be over 35 after just three weeks. She said it normally takes five weeks for it to get so high. So when the results came back, even though we had prayed so much for it to be the right level, we were nervous. Well, as He had ever since Michael first found out he need to have his thyroid seen about back in January, the Lord did His work. Michael's level was 85. Yes. EIGHTY. FIVE. Need I remind you normal is 4.5? No wonder he felt horrible! As bad as he felt, we were ecstatic that we were finally given the go-ahead for the RAI treatment. We were praising God for days!

Next post, I'll share one of our favorite LID recipes!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Little Help From Our Friends

Our cancer journey started in February of 2013. Read about the beginning with these posts: 

My Husband's Cancer
"Trust"
The Diagnosis
The Surgery

Before I go into the waiting game we played before Sound Man's radioactive iodine treatment, I have to write a post dedicated to the ones who helped us through those first hard days in February and March 2013.

First of all, I have to say that I realize that I am truly, truly blessed to have my Daddy and second-mom, Margie, living 15 minutes from me. I also have a sister who lives just a little over an hour away. I am also blessed to have a church family that loves my family and me so very much.

They are the ones that prayed (and still are!) for us when they heard the diagnosis. They are the ones that kept me company during his surgery. They are the ones who came while he was in the hospital, some even bringing meals for me. They are the ones who kept my son, keeping him distracted during a very scary week for him. They are the ones who fed us for days after we came home. They are the ones that supported us financially.

They are the ones who loved us.

We kind of love them back.