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The Journey to Health and Wellness

We’ve most likely all taken a health class at some point in our lives. The food pyramid, exercise, wellness, and cooking healthy meals are among some of the topics you discuss in these classes.

But what is health and wellness? Some say being healthy is exercising and eating right. Others will argue that it means taking vitamins and getting enough sleep. There are so many different opinions out there on what being healthy truly means and the correct way to achieve it.

See that woman in the picture on the right? That’s my mom. My beautiful, smart, selfless, healthy mother. She is no longer here in this world because of one of the most evil villains that exists today. Yep – you guessed it. CANCER. (You can read about the very beginning of her journey before her diagnoses on my last blog from November 11th.) That word is everywhere – on the radio, TV shows, movies, magazines, even stores try to sell you their propaganda! Doctors say it’s not even the leading cause of death in the United States – but it sure does get a lot of publicity.

WHY? Well, my opinion is because of the brutality of not only the disease, but the awful treatment that it entails. I watched as my mom went from being diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative inflammatory breast cancer in 2011 to putting herself through chemo, surgery, radiation, more chemo, more surgery, and eventually more radiation up until 2015. This just doesn’t make sense – pharmaceutical companies are pushing doctors to use their chemo meds. What do they do? They poison you! Yep – I heard it straight from a doctor’s mouth. It’s literally poison. The idea is that the chemo will kill all of the bad cancer cells – but it’s also killing all of the good cells in the process. So what’s left? A deflated, tired, sick version of your mom. A woman who once worked part time, owned her own business for 20+ years, took care of the family’s every need, loved going on walks and being active. Now she can barely get off the couch or swallow more than an Ensure. Not to mention, if you are one of the lucky people that survive chemo and go into remission, you will most likely have other issues the rest of your life such as severe constipation, dry skin, oh and did I mention you may not have your breasts anymore? Or lymph nodes, so you have severe swelling in your arms and have to wear a compression sleeve? How’s that for a ‘cure for cancer?’

I won’t even get started on how angry I am with our Food and Drug Administration because it’s complete and total bullshit. The worst part about it is that the majority of Americans just buy into it because it’s what they’re told. Ever hear the saying, ‘don’t believe everything you hear?’ WELL????

Sometime in 2013 or 2014 my mom began taking CBD oil – if you don’t know what that is, it’s derived from the marijuana plant. It is made my extracting the oil from the plant and compressing it into this thick, black agent. I like to call it the CURE for cancer, seizures, anxiety, and other neurological disorders. I’m not here to sell you anything but knowledge, so if you think I am trying to make a dollar – you’re wrong. I am here to tell the world that I have seen first hand what this miracle, YES ,MIRACLE oil can do for people. Now, my mom has always been a very smart and open minded person, cutting edge if I dare say. She was one step ahead of everyone else when it came to certain things. Maybe it was  the artist in her – she was a very talented and creative person, after all. I do feel like I need to add that my mother never drank or did any drugs.

I’m going to back up a little bit and let you know that my mom suffered from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome for several years in her 40’s & 50’s. She saw a chiropractor who was also an expert in wellness, and he started her on a strict vitamin regimen and had her come to his office at least once a week for a vitamin IV. Some time passed and my mom got better! She did not suffer from those conditions anymore. She did continue to do the IV’s, except now she was alternating a vitamin cocktail and vitamin C. I went with her sometimes and sat with her just to talk. She convinced me to get a vitamin IV with her one day. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but man did I feel AMAZING after that! I had a burst of energy for a week, slept like a baby, was clear minded, and just overall felt awesome. It was then I understood that she really needed those IV’s. I went back for more – except I was having health issues of my own so I began doing peroxide IV’s. Yes- it’s safe. Peroxide is full of oxygen, so you’re basically flooding you body with oxygen to kill fungus and bacteria. 🙂

Now back to the CBD oil. I don’t know how much time passed, not too long, before my mom announced that she had rubbed the oil on a tumor that had developed on her leg, and it was gone. GONE! I mean there was no trace of it what so ever. Her skin felt smooth, no lump, nothing! Our family was thrilled and we hoped this type of improvement would continue because it was already doing more than the chemo ever did. Fast forward about 6 months. I was living in Florida and my parents were in Alabama, so I only heard what had happened; I didn’t live it. My mom was hard to get in touch for a couple of days, but when I finally reached her, she had this horrible story about the police knocking on the door and coming in to question her about where she was getting the oil she was taking. She is a tight lipped and loyal person and wasn’t about to give up any information. They searched the whole house for hours and found nothing. They only knew she was receiving oil because of a package that was being delivered to her house. Evidently, it got held up during the delivery process and it was separated and sniffed out. Hence, it lead the police to my parent’s house. There she was, a 62 year old woman with cancer, in her bath robe, being interrogated like she was a criminal. She did tell me that one of the officers sympathized with her and said someone in his own family had cancer so he could understand that she was willing to try anything to live. However, they still needed to investigate further and even threatened to arrest her if she did not give up any names! WHAT THE WHAT?!

Obviously my mother could not get the oil anymore without some serious implications, so she decided to move to California were it was legal. My brother and his family live in Tijuana, so she found an apartment in southern San Diego right near the border. My sweet, selfless aunt, who lives in Utah, went to live with my mom because she knew she needed help. I couldn’t do it because I had to work, and my dad had to work as well to pay all of the medical bills and living expenses of this new home in California, as well as his own home in Alabama. Thank God for my aunt.

She found a doctor immediately who could do the Vitamin C IV’s that have, by the way, been PROVEN to melt tumors and rid the body of cancer. Next, she saw a specialist at a nearby hospital who recommended more radiation for a tumor on her spine and gave her a license for medical marijuana. She searched for the exact same type of CBD oil she had been taking, but no one had it in stock at the moment. She settled for something similar and she quickly found out that it did NOT do the same thing. So, lesson learned, not all CBD oils are equal. This one made her sick and she wasn’t seeing the results she had with the other. Finally about a month or so later, she found the correct oil and got back on her regimen. She was in California for around 6 months, from March-August. In that time I visited her during my summer break in June & July. I was with her for only two weeks – and I wish it were longer – but I saw how skinny she was and frail. My heart broke into pieces as I began to think she was no longer able to fight the cancer the way she needed to. Neither of us said it out loud, but I am sure we were both thinking it.

In August, 2015 she moved back to Alabama. She began to have one complication after another and was in and out of the hospital. Living in Florida, I felt so helpless that I couldn’t be there for her all the time. My now husband and I decided we would go ahead and get married because her health was declining. He knew how important it was to have her at our wedding. We had right under 3 months to plan it all! I told my mom the news and right away she started looking at venues. There she was, so tired and sick, and she took every single ounce of energy she had left and put it into planning my wedding. That’s just the kind of person she was. She met with vendor after vendor because I couldn’t be there every weekend. I was here planning the details while she took care of the big stuff – wedding cake, venue, DJ, flowers, decor, etc. I went home in September and took my new finance with me. My brother brought my niece and we all had a great weekend together. I was able to go dress shopping with my mom, niece and maid of honor and for that, I’m forever grateful. I knew how tired she was, but she hid it. In October I went home again for a bridal shower and she was as radiant as ever! The week of the wedding finally arrived in late November so I packed up and headed north to Birmingham. I had a million and one errands to run to settle payments and make final decisions about things with vendors, so I didn’t get to spend time with her much. I know she wanted to be with me .. but again, she felt horrible. I believe it was the first night I was in town and I had driven from Florida to Alabama, ran errands for hours on end, went by the store to get something to cook for dinner, and when I got home my mom said she was so hungry she felt like passing out. I cooked something healthy for us because we both like to eat healthy, and she ate like she hadn’t had food all day! She told me it was the first good home cooked meal she had eaten in weeks. That broke my heart ya’ll! Fast forward to wedding rehearsal day. Mom wasn’t feeling well at all and she was having a lot of trouble breathing and her lungs were clogged with phlegm. Her sweet neighbors and best friends, two of whom were nurses, came over and they took care of her and beat on her back/chest all night to get her ready for the festivities. She couldn’t make it to the rehearsal dinner she felt so bad. I could see the sadness in her eyes as she watched her little girl all dressed up ready to go celebrate with family and friends. She told me how beautiful I looked and I hear later that after I left, she cried to her friends that she couldn’t go. I didn’t come home that night because I stayed at the hotel where we were getting married. The good Lord performed a miracle overnight because the next day she arrived at the hotel bright eyed and ready to go. The day before she wasn’t sure if she would be able to walk down the aisle or even attend – but there she was in her Saks 5th Avenue gown, walking down the aisle by herself and looking like she had been given a shot of strength and vitality. I couldn’t believe, and still can’t, how she stood up so much of the evening without tiring. She even stayed after the wedding to get some flowers and take home the top of the cake, and texted me at 1:00 in the morning! Those are memories I will cherish forever.

I wanted to tell you all of that because 2 1/2 weeks later, she was gone. I got a call from my dad about a week after I left Alabama and he said she was in poor condition and rapidly going down hill. I went home that weekend to be with her and help my dad. She couldn’t do anything herself – I had to help her get up to use the bathroom, brush her teeth, she hadn’t showered in days, wouldn’t eat much. I made her homemade chicken soup and she took a few sips of the broth. I cut her a banana and she ate maybe 4 bites. I didn’t know it then, but now I know that was the beginning of the end. I had to go back to Florida Sunday so I could work the following day. I wish I had known what would happen next or I never would have left. Monday morning my dad called and said she was being moved to hospice. I just thought that meant she needed extra care because he was having a hard time doing it all alone. It was really hard work! I had no idea that’s where people go when they pass away .. neither did my dad or we would have kept her at the house. I was torn on whether I should stay in Florida and see what happens, go back to Birmingham Monday night after work, or wait until Tuesday and go up there. One of my mom’s friends texted me to fill me in on what was going on, and she told me my mom was experiencing terminal restlessness. A dear friend of mine who is a nurse explained to me that when patients experience terminal restlessness, they don’t have long to live – maybe a day. My husband convinced me that we should drive up that night so we got in the car at 9:00 and arrived around 1:30. She was sleeping soundly finally, after a long day of fighting and trying to get out of the bed. I didn’t want to wake her, so I said goodbye to my dad and my husband and I checked into a hotel down the road. I couldn’t sleep that night of course, so I got up at 6:00 am, showered, and was ready to go see if my mom was awake. She was up when I got there and seemed alert! She said, ‘Well heyyyy sweetie!’ as I walked to her bedside to give her a hug and kiss. She had the biggest smile on her face and I know it was simply because her daughter was there with her. She asked, ‘How’s married life?’ I told her it was good, even though I had really only been married for 16 days and most of those days we were worried about her. She had this child like innocence about her and that is what I’ve always loved about her. Even on her death bed, she was smiling and happy. I spoke with my sister in-law the day before about my mom’s condition to let her know that she and my brother should probably come visit very soon. She was worried and luckily convinced him to take a redeye flight from California Monday night. They got to hospice around 10:30 am Tuesday. Watching my brother break down into tears as he walked in and hugged her tight made me hurt. He was broken hearted, yet she remained strong and happy because now her first born and only son was there. She had her whole family surrounding her with love and support. He asked her questions like, ‘Does it get better? How did you deal with losing your mom?’ She stroked his face so delicately with her hands as she looked at him peacefully with a slight smile on her face. She just nodded and that’s all she could do as the sedation drugs were setting in. She fell asleep. We all sat around crying over her, holding her hand, trying to break the silence, but failing miserably. The air was stale, the mood was out of this universe melancholy, and my world felt like it was flipped upside down. In the previous years of her fighting this battle, I knew it was a possibility that she wouldn’t beat cancer, but I never thought about it too much. She would win some battles and have victories, so it seemed like she was doing okay. I mean, she fought for almost 4 years, which is a long time for someone in stage 3/4. Later, she woke up a little bit, but she wasn’t as coherent as she was earlier. We tried to gently talk to her and just tell her that we loved her and hold her hand to make her feel as comfortable as possible, but the drugs had her drowsy and she was in and out of consciousness. After a few hours, my family decided to go take a quick walk to get some fresh air. During that time, the nurses were trying to catheterize my mom. I told them she couldn’t lay flat because she couldn’t breathe, but they laid the bed back flat and immediately I noticed a change in her. Her eyes got wide and she looked scared, then she made an awful grunting noise because she couldn’t talk and say what she needed to, so I tried to be her voice and tell the nurses she can’t breathe. Then I looked at my mom’s face again and her eyes were rolling back into her head. I knew this was the last moment I would be with her. I begged and pleaded with the nurses to get my family back in the room. I was holding her hand and telling her I love her, and that it was okay to let go. I encouraged her to go to Jesus because he was waiting on her, and now she didn’t have to be in pain anymore. My father followed suit and said something similar. It didn’t take but a few moments before she was gone.

3:02 pm December 8th, 2015 was the end of her life. The end of her journey to health and wellness.

My original intention of this post was not to tell the whole story of her death, but that’s what it turned into. I want to get my point across about a few things.

  1. Cancer runs on her side of the family. If it’s in yours, especially if you’re female, start getting breast exams at a young age. I have been having ultrasounds since I was in my 20’s. They show a lot more than mammograms. In fact – mammograms don’t detect inflammatory  breast cancer because it’s inflammation, not lumps.
  2. Diet plays a HUGE role in the development of disease. Not just cancer, but all types of autoimmune diseases from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic skin conditions, digestive disorders, lupus, and more. It’s important to research information about how to keep your body neutral and alkaline. Cancer and disease cannot grow in an alkaline environment.
  3. Much of what you see in the grocery store is garbage. Products hide behind different names to make you think you have plenty of options, but many of them are the same company. Stay away from processed foods and eat REAL foods that have only ONE ingredient. Organic and Non-GMO are important. It’s not a scam. Also look for antibiotic and steroid free meats. Eating conventional non-organic foods is encouraging your body to develop a disorder or disease because you are flooding it with pesticides and chemicals that are not meant for human consumption.
  4. If, heaven forbid, you are diagnosed with cancer, weigh your options HEAVILY. There are alternative methods out there that WORK. You don’t hear about them because the government doesn’t want you to. They want you to do chemo and radiation so they can make massive amounts of money. I promise you that CBD oil is a cure and scientists have been researching it for several years and are finding the evidence. Rick Simpson was onto this a long time ago and got arrested time after time for naturally healing his neighbors and friends of skin cancer and other ailments. Oil isn’t the only thing out there – try visiting a naturopath and they can fill you in on the various treatments and diet plans. I feel pretty confident when I say that the CBD oil and IV’s extended my mom’s life and played a big part in her quality of life.

Now to get to the answer to the question .. what is health and wellness? It’s a very personal journey in which everyone will have a different answer. For me, it’s eating organic and gluten free, consuming low amounts of sugar and starch, staying hydrated, exercising 3-4 times a week, meditating, detoxing, massages, taking supplements, seeing a chiropractor, and just paying attention to my body and what it needs. For my mom, it was similar to what I do. She completely got rid of sugar, excess carbs, processed foods, and foods that aren’t organic. She began to juice fruits and vegetables, do detoxes, drink pH balanced water, and all sorts of things that have been known to help kill cancer cells. She rested and paid attention to what her body was saying to her each day. If she was tired, she would rest. If she had some energy, she would use it. She started her total health journey right before she was diagnosed. If she hadn’t followed is strictly, she would have allowed the cancer cells to multiply rapidly. As a society we are so busy that we often forget to slow down and listen to what our bodies are asking from us. Too many times I would go through the day at work without drinking a full bottle of water. That’s 9 hours with less than 16 oz of water! Simple things like that can add up and cause bigger problems. Since I know cancer runs in my family I am trying to do everything I can to be healthy and aware of my body because it really does tell you what it needs. Tired? Skip a workout and take a nap. Thirsty? Drink water, not gatorade or tea. Water is life! Back problems? Do some stretching and see a chiropractor or a muscle activation specialist to get back into balance. Doing simple things each day can drastically improve your overall quality of life. Try to find time everyday to do something you enjoy, even if it’s just 15-20 minutes to take your mind off the daily hustle and bustle.

I have my own problems and no doubt you do too, but we are all in this together as human beings. I am a constant work in progress and am by no means the healthiest person I know, but everyone is unique. The experience with my mom led us both down a path to awareness of what we were putting in our bodies. Aristotle once said, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’ Unfortunately, our Food and Drug Administration has chosen money over the health of people, so they have tricked everyone into thinking whatever you buy at the store is safe to eat. That is far from the truth. Food is what is grown in the ground from the dirt. The way natives used to eat is what we need to get back to. Now, I don’t deprive myself of a good chocolate torte every so often, but I do eat healthy 95% of the time, and feel like garbage when I don’t. That’s my body telling me it doesn’t like what I just put into it. I will also say that since I made the switch to gluten free and take care of every system in my body, digestive, immune, etc., I rarely get sick. If you know me, you know that hasn’t always been the case. I used to catch every germ floating around (I was an elementary school teacher), was constantly on antibiotics, and I believe that is what caused my current health issues. But with time, patience and dedication to a whole foods diet with supplementation, I have seen huge improvements and you can too.

May each and every person have a wonderful journey to their own version of health and wellness. Namaste!

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This is Real Life!

Hi!

I’m Tracy. I’m 32. married to my husband Jared, have 2 Havanese dogs, and live at one of the world’s most beautiful beaches – Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. I decided to title this blog ‘This is Real Life’ because my life is pretty crazy from time to time. Sometimes I have to step back and just think, ‘Does this crap happen to anyone else?’ The answer is mostly NO, it doesn’t! You see, my entire life, well, as far back as I can remember in middle school, I have always had strange things happen. No, I don’t see dead people or anything. It’s like this – if there is a rare virus out there that has a 1:4,359 percent rate of contraction, I will get it. If there is a rare side effect to a medication, I will have it. My whole life is like this! So, I have had to learn to just accept that I am unique and have to deal with all of life’s curveballs that are thrown my way, while trying to remain positive at the same time. I am religious and I understand that God knows everything and his plan is divine and perfect. But man, some days it’s really hard to pull myself together and put on my big girl panties. I guess this blog is really about my journey to health and well being – or TRYING to be healthy at least. I’m going to back up and start telling some things about my life that will all come together to make sense in the present. Most people probably won’t care about this blog at all – they don’t know me or it’s too long or whiney. But, I do have a message I want to get out there to everyone. I just need to take the long, scenic route to get to that message for it to be clear. Bare with me!

I want to go back in time to the year 2010. My life was amazing! I was 25, graduated college, looked great, felt great, and just knew that amazing things were going to happen in my life. I had a hard time finding a teaching position, so I settled for a job at a neighborhood daycare facility. I had babysat, but not for 8 hours at a time everyday. It was a lot of physical labor (and germs!) – picking kids up, changing diapers, getting up and down from the floor for circle time, etc. My knees began to really ache after about a month or two, and I attributed it to the getting up and down so much and not being used to that. My teaching partner said she did not have the same issue, so I started to wonder. One day my joints hurt so bad that when I got home from work I told my parents and they said I needed to go to the doctor the next day. That night sometime around 4 a.m., I woke up in excruciating pain all over my body. Just being alive hurt. It took everything I had to get out of my bed, bend my fingers to get some clean clothes out of my dresser, and shuffle down the stairs to my where my mom was sleeping in her bedroom. She was sound asleep, so I decided I would sit on the couch and watch TV until around 7 – then I woke her. I told her how much I was hurting and literally couldn’t get in any position that was comfortable, so she suggested I take a hot bath. She helped me in her giant soaking tub and there I sat for 30 minutes. I needed her assistance getting back out because it hurt so much. She helped me get dressed like a child, and we drove to UAB to visit my doctor. My dad met us there.

After much conversation and multiple blood tests, my doctor ruled out any disease, including rheumatic fever, which would have made the most sense considering I had been battling strep throat around 4-5 times a year for the last 5-6 years of my life. (I should have had my tonsils out years ago.) He sent me home with antibiotics and steroids for 3 weeks just in case there was an infection and to get the inflammation down. I noticed a drastic difference in a couple days, but after the course of treatment I still had pain in certain joints. So, I was sent to a rheumatologist. He found nothing either and was totally stumped. He put me on medication for rheumatoid arthritis anyways, so I got started with that right away. I did feel better when I took it, but I didn’t want to be on it forever because of the possible side effects, so I eventually weened myself off and start taking natural supplements like glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, etc. to control my pain and prevent further damage. After about 6 months, not much arthritis pain remained! This is the best way I know to describe this entire situation: The hand of God was placed onto my body for healing. God intervened. HE did. I feel that way because doctors had no explanation. All signs pointed to rheumatic fever which can be deadly and leave a person with debilitating pain and joint problems .. yet I was freed from that. This is really where my journey began with natural health supplementation and becoming aware of what foods are really healthy versus what isn’t. I am fortunate that my mom was a very open minded person and she was right there with me the whole time eating healthy and always talking to her holistic doctors and other patients looking for alternative ways to help her sweet daughter. By the way, I did have my tonsils taken out while I was still on the antibiotics my doctor gave me. I had those suckers yanked out and haven’t missed them since.

I’d like to back up even more to the year 2009. Just trust me – this story is an important puzzle piece in the larger story of my life.

My mom was always a very creative person. She could take the most boring room and turn it into your favorite place in the world. She could paint, (REALLY well), make bows, sew, and do so many more crafty things it’s ridiculous. She owned a business since before I was born and did various craft shows around town. We were both working one year at the Easter show she always had a booth at and she told me that one of her breasts was burning and itching. She finally had the chance to go to the bathroom and check it out and she came back telling me it was black and blue like something hit her extremely hard and her nipple was turned upward. She showed it to me and I was appalled! She told me she didn’t run into anything and that it was fine that morning. She didn’t say it then, but she feared the worst. Later that night at home she researched her symptoms online and the only thing that kept popping up was inflammatory breast cancer. It was a Saturday and there was nothing she could do about it until the next week, so she tried to relax and not worry. That night, my niece was born.

Monday my mom went to her doctor and he was puzzled, asking her if she was in a wreck, hit herself on something, etc. He said it would go away on its own. She got a second opinion from someone else who was equally as stumped, and they told her it might be a burst blood vessel. Coming home with what seemed like no answers, her breast did eventually stop looking like it was hit with a baseball moving at a speed of 50 mph. Just remember this story for later.

That’s all for now!

Thanks for taking the time to read. More to come later .. promise I’ll make a point eventually and not ramble every time!

-TP