Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Colonoscopy - Early Detection


The time has come for me to check on my colon. Although I am not 50 years old, I have to be cautious and diligent as my father had colon cancer.
Colon cancer is cancer that is found in the large intestine which is in the lower section of the digestive system. When you hear the term colorectal cancer, it refers to the last few inches of the colon known as the rectal area. Colon cancer on it's own is mainly found in the upper area of the large intestine.

I was prompted to have a colonoscopy after moving my bowels and seeing some blood in the toilet. It was a shocking and scary moment. I had never seen anything like that in my bowel life. Needless to say, I had to make some calls. Thank God for cell phones, I took pictures and shared them with my Internist and of course my King. The concern here was that by the time one experiences symptoms of colon cancer, it may present a huge problem.

In preparing for the procedure, I took my prescription of Golytely to the pharmacy. In addition, I purchased a 10 oz. bottle of Magnesium Citrate (Lemon Flavor) and a box of Dulcolax. The instructions to prepare for the procedure begins as early as seven days in advance. No arthritic pain medications, Advil, Motrin and Coumadin, Plavix and other blood thinners should be discussed with your personal doctor to see if you can stop
taking them in preparing for the colonoscopy. The food you should avoid five days prior to the procedure are celery, corn, peas and tomatoes. The day before, you should not eat milk, ice cream, nuts, seeds or raw vegetables.



The Day Before

I enjoyed a light breakfast and a light lunch. I filled the powder mix of the Golytely bottle with water to the 4 liter mark and shook it like a martini mix. At 4:00PM, I took 4 Dulcolax tablets with water and then at 6:00PM it was time to drink up. This was the point of no return, you could only drink clear liquids and nothing at all after midnight except for the Golytely mix as directed. The rest of the evening was not for the faint at heart, it was a thorough cleansing of the digestive system.


The Day is Here


Up early, raring and ready to get it done. I arrived ahead of time and before you know it, I was in and out. My King and I went out for lunch and then home. At times all was normal, we laughed and talked but my mind would wander off into the questions of the results. After a colonoscopy, it is advised that one should take it easy in resuming their meals.

The Results

Off to the doctors two days later for my physical. I was anxious to hear the results of my colonoscopy. Needless to say, I was bracing myself - whatever the results, I will accept it and then I will move accordingly. Here it goes: "The good news is that you were a great read (referring to the colonoscopy), we were able to see everything clearly which is very important. At this statement, I felt myself shifting in the chair, crossing my legs and holding on firmly to the arms of the chair and for some reason, a smile was on my face. I knew there was more to come, seeing that the good news had already been shared. He continued: "We found a polyp, we took it out and sent it to the lab for testing. The results shows that it tested positive for cancer, it was very small and we caught it early." As it would just happen, I remained calm, my smile still placed on my face as though I felt that all was well. I was alone hearing that I had tested positive for cancer. The smile was my way of soothing myself. My King, my children were all at work. After a thorough review of my results and my health regimen, the physical began. I could not wait to call my King. Should I wait until he gets home? I just couldn't keep it to myself, I called. I shared the news as calmly and as positive as possible. After all, it was caught early. The King was just as calm and encouraging as expected. Shortly after our conversation, I received an email, it was my King expressing how the news of my results was like a punch. I knew that my children would not be able to handle the news very well but it was important for them to know - family health history is extremely important. This was a NEED to KNOW. My children cried, it's just unnerving hearing the results. They understood and were relieved to know that it was caught early and now they too have to be on the alert for their own health. Next up calling my siblings.

Background

In many cases there are small polyps that are often benign/noncancerous. In some cases, the polyps develop into colon cancer. There is little to no symptoms. Fortunately for me, the source of the bleeding was from an internal hemorrhoid. If I could give it a hug and a kiss I would, that hemorrhoid was responsible for the early catch of cancer. On the other hand, I am still processing the fact that it was positively identified as cancer. Now when I speak on the importance of early detection, I speak from experience.

If you notice any of the following, you may need to call your doctor:
When you notice a change in your bowel habits such as an incomplete bowel movement, constipation, diarrhea or a change in the consistency of your stool
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
Tired or weak
Weight loss without trying


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Family Fitness Challenge

Spring is almost over and summer is just a few weeks away. The goal to improve on our health and wellness continues as it has moved on to another level in the form a family fitness challenge. The Beast (my husband) has placed a call out to the family to join us as we work to shed the excess weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It all began the day after Memorial Day we submitted our weight and the goal weight. The challenge is to get in a workout everyday, make healthy choices when we eat and we get one day to relax. On our relax day, we can indulge a bit in the thing/s that we love. On my relax day, I enjoyed a slice of apple pie and a bowl of ice cream after dinner on Sunday.

We check in daily, sharing our workouts of the day and cheer each other on. It's actually a fun way to hold each other accountable to stick to the challenge.


While we're all in this together, there's a bit of a competitive spirit that lies within us. Almost everyone has claimed to be the winner at the end of the challenge.

Here's an example of one of my workout sessions with The Beast
3 miles of running
3/4 miles walking
50 mountain climbers
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Jump Squats
20 Squats
30 Burpees

Needless to say, I think I know who will be the winner in the end ;-) How about you? Wouldn't it be great to encourage your family to join you in a fitness challenge?


Friday, April 3, 2015

What's On The Easter Menu?


Easter is upon us and the Christian and Catholic community are gearing up to have a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The greatest sacrifice has been made and the end of Lent and it's reverence continues. Making sacrifices are symbolic in terms of giving up bad habits, things you love or things you need to improve on - all of these can be worked on during lent.

After service is over on Easter Sunday, the family and friends gather to have a feast and now that Lent has ended, it's on and happening. The traditions differ all over the world and the menus vary. What's on your menu? Here are some suggestions just in case you're wondering.





From Parker Rolls to Brussels Sprouts and a Peanut butter Pound Cake, Al Roker shares some of his family Easter recipes.

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All the recipes
Cake:

1/2 pound + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups whole milk, warmed
Frosting:

1 ½ cups smooth peanut butter (same type as used in cake)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
4 ½ cups 10X confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch salt
4-5 tablespoons whole milk, as needed
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped coarse, to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350`F. Butter the insides of two 9” round cake pans, & line the bottoms with parchment. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light. On medium-low speed, beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each egg.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well blended. Add to creamed mixture alternately with warm milk, scraping the bottom of the mixer bowl frequently. Beat until thoroughly blended.

Pour into prepared pans and smooth the top if necessary. Bake 25-30 minutes, until top of cake springs back lightly when gently pressed. Cool in pans 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Once cool, make the frosting: In a large bowl or in an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Stir in the sugar one cup at a time, adding the vanilla and salt as you go. Add milk as needed to make a spreadable consistency.

Place 1 cake layer onto a serving plate and spread with some of the frosting. Place the other layer on top and spread the top and sides with remaining frosting to cover the cake completely. Garnish top of cake with chopped peanuts if desired.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Coffee, Tea and More



It was a surprise trip. My King told me to save the date and that was all he had to say for me to get all excited and wonder where were we off to. It was early in the morning so I knew it wasn't to see Prince in concert or then again Prince would be able to pull off something like that - a sold out early morning concert. Well, that wasn't the case, it was another cool surprise.


We were at a Coffee and Tea Festival. How cool is that???!!! Although I would call it more of a Tea and perhaps some Coffee Festival; for every five tea vendors you may see a coffee vendor. Clearly, the teas outnumbered the coffee. I was in tea heaven. The vendors were there with the some of the most exquisite teas and encouraged us to take a try. It was like being at the buffet for teas.


It was a fun environment as the vendors had pulled all the stops with their branding. The Tea Pigs gives the impression of a farm grown type of tea - sipping and saying 'top of the morning to ya.' There were samples of bread, cakes, dips and we even purchased empanadas. The bread and cake samples of tastefully simple was absolutely delicious. You should check it out.
As we were leaving, I took a snap shot of the crowd that was waiting on line to enter the festival. It was incredible.


I could not wait to get home. The goodie bag we received had quite a number of items that I had to explore. As soon as I took off my coat, I emptied the bag and then I took a snap shot to share with you. Teas, sugars, coffee, magazines, coupons and even a Colgate tooth brush was included. However, I only took a picture of the coffee/tea related items.


The folks at Fully Spirited were a fun bunch who beckoned us to come on over and try their full spirited liqueur cakes and the sample was soooooo delicious and moist we couldn't resist. My King pulled out the cash and our first purchased was made. The next purchase was NEKTAR honey crystals which was reviewed by my King--> The honey crystals are good. Not quite spoonful for spoonful with the natural state but it is quite a bit less messy which makes it nice at work or if you are on the run.

Here's our at home sample share. We split the chocolate raspberry and limoncello while I kicked it up a notch, sipping on wine - proved to be too much liquor swirling around in my mouth.

There are still some treats left to try:
Bauli Mini Croissants
Mrs. Thinster's Cookie Thins
Nature's Bakery Fig Bar (Raspberry)

What's your idea of a fun festival? Coffee. Tea. Food. Music. Books. I love them all!!!