Tuesday, May 1, 2018

To Begin The Ketogenic Journey

To Prepare for our 2 week Challenge:

1. Get in the right mindset, do your homework and make sure this is the plan for you. Then, follow our Facebook Page to stay motivated, get new recipes and ideas, and share your accomplishments! 
Read these books! The Complete Ketogenic Diet For Beginners
Keto Clarity and the Keto Diet. Also, on Netflix or on Amazon Prime, watch The Magic Pill. Great movie about the benefits of eating keto.
Once you have the mindset- (we are going to take a baby step for this challenge) You are going to begin with a date in mind {May 7th-21st}, we want to make an attainable goal to cut out all carbs (including alcohol and WINE...it's two weeks people!!!),  keep track of what you are eating, and to lose 5 pounds in those two weeks.

2. Calculate your body fat- (you will need this number in step number 3  http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp…

3. Calculate how many maconutrients you need to be eating daily Keto Calculator. Typically it is around 5% Carb, 25% protein and 75% Fat! 

4. Download an app to help you track carbmaster  (free) or  MyFitnessPal(1.99 a month to track macros), and track everything you eat. It will keep track of your macros for you! Once you have been keto for a while, you won't have to do this, you will be able to gauge your food without all the tracking. Edited- I am starting to track again. I hit a plateau and I think it is because things go in my mouth that I am not being mindful of- a handful of nuts here or there adds up! 

5. Journal, this is the best way to keep track of how you are feeling, what you are eating and how they are tied together. Please, the most important thing about this journal is your measurements!! Make sure you take the time Sunday to record your weight and your measurements. Also, write down your "why". Even if you don't want to share your story on our Facebook page, have your story written down for yourself. You will want to go back and read it when you are having a bad day or you need encouragement. 

6. Try to meal plan- I am not good at this, but there are tons of Pinterest sites and books with meal plans for the keto lifestyle. Make a list of foods you need when you go to the grocery store and get your house prepped for the challenge. Bacon and Butter the Ultimate Ketogenic Cookbook is a great cookbook to help with some easy meals.

7 Buy Keto Strips to track your ketosis- My favorite part, because it is like a competition for me!! Or a Ketone Blood Meter if you really want to get precise- It will show you when you are in ketosis and what you eat that knocks you out of ketosis. Blood ketone meter

8. Throw your thoughts about FAT out the window and start eating the right portion of it by adding it to your food and your coffee!! This XCT oil is what I use to add to my coffee! 

9. NOW- let's get ready, now that you are prepared. Make your plans to go to the grocery store, because you need to go ahead and throw your carbs in the trash and eliminate the ability to cheat. Mark your calendar and buy your journal!! 

Video for Day 1 Motivation

My Keto Journey and How it Began

December 2016, I decided something had to be done. I was not comfortable with my weight or how I looked. My daughter had posted this picture of me, from June, and I could not get it out of my head.
Did I REALLY look like that?? I had been saying forever that I needed/wanted to lose weight. I had tried EVERYTHING- weight watchers, shakeology, advocare, plexus, low fat, you name it, I had tried it! So as I sat in the bathtub, looking at that “monster belly” I told myself to make a plan!
My plan was, FIRST, to get my husband involved. See he does a lot of our cooking and without him in on this plan, it wasn’t going to work. I asked him to look at me and really  hear what I was saying. I was crying and telling him that he had to help me. Second, I made a date. That date was March 1st. I wanted to get myself through the holidays and our anniversary trip. Not only was I going to change my eating habits, I was going to give up wine, for as long as it took to meet my goal. My goal was 10 pounds. I was starting with baby steps. I knew I had more to lose, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to lose the weight, but I had my “WHY”, now I needed my “HOW”. That was when a friend of mine posted a video about her new diet. She shared her health issues and what the diet was doing for her. The I saw a post- a really long one, from another friend. She was doing this same diet- I started doing the research, along with reading the book “Wahl Protocol Diet” and I formulated my HOW! I found that t this diet plan was a little restricting, but the Keto diet followed the same concept. That is when I read Keto Clarity, and switched to the keto lifestyle.
I met my first goal pretty quickly, then I moved the carrot- 30 pounds is my goal- right now I am maintaining right at 27, but that is well enough. This year my goal is to get into shape. I never really exercised this past year, as I was losing the weight, so this year I will tone up this new body.
When I lost 24 pounds and finally posted the beginning pictures and the results, everyone thought I was selling a product. I wasn’t- I was just so happy with what I found and thought so many people could benefit from this lifestyle. See I don’t think of it as a diet anymore, it is a way of life. People ask me if I am going to quit now that I have lost the weight, or they say, “when you can eat normal again”. .... The answer is, no I will always chose this way of life over rice, or bread, or candy. Sure, I have some cheat meal- like when we decide to go to eat Mexican, but I limit it and is rare.
This journey is not for everyone and I will not push it on anyone, but if you are going to give it a try, please share with us. Join our Facebook group and share your recipes, share your struggles, share your thoughts, share your pictures and your accomplishments! I would have never found this way of living, had it not been for my friends who shared their story and put themselves out there for all of facebook to see!! Thank you Amanda and Diana, because of them, my life was changed!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

5 Years, Really?

It's been 5 years,
5 years since I went to my last chemo infusion,
5 years since I felt the relief that I could possibly be cancer-free,
5 years since I had the uncertainty of what my life might look like from now on.

5 Years, really? Let the celebration begin! 2-14-18

Soldiers in my Army, on my last day of chemo
Sweet Maria my chemo nurse

Only Kimmie can make chemo fun!

And Nurse Becca Coppola, the best!!
This 5 year mark is supposed to be a big deal. I have been told that with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, your odds of re-occurrence is stronger before the 5 year mark.
So, I should celebrate this anniversary! I do breathe a sigh of relief, but this life of mine has forever been changed! How, you ask?

 RELATIONSHIPS- I love more deeply....everyone! I remember all of those people that offered the support and the friendship to me during this time and I appreciate it so much. I have also forgiven all of those that have hurt me in the past. Letting go of that was important in my healing, even if they never know they hurt me or that I had something to let go. My friendships are so important to me. It is so important to express your gratitude for those that you are close to, those that mean something to you.  Tell them today!!
Family is my life!  I know that there is no guarantee of time and we must value every minute together. Make moments count and don't put off the experiences that you can take NOW!
People on the most part are good. We need more love in this world and less hate!

WORRY- I use to worry about little things, but now I measure everything to the "cancer scale". I used to get upset easily and hold grudges. But now I ask, how important is it really? Does it compare to cancer? Nothing really does- so I really don't get rattled by much. Plus, I know I can't worry about other people. They and only them, are responsible for themselves- their happiness, their unhappiness, their stress, their attitudes. I can only focus on my being, not worry about others, not worry about what happens or what is to come.

The most significant change that came with cancer, and has a lot to do with the release of my worries-
MY FAITH! I believe that God played a huge role in my cancer story, and it is a story he wanted me to share. He didn't give me cancer, but he did give me the strength to deal with the illness. He was there for me, I re-dedicated my life to him, and I give the glory to Him!

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known by God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

MYSELF- I changed and I really hope that it shows!  I hope that everyone can see I love more deeply, that I care more about others, and that my light shines brighter because of what I have been through. I hope that when I am around people that they feel that heat from my light and they in turn can love deeper, feel God in their life and worry less.

There was a reason for that chapter of my life, I am not sure what it was yet. (Or if I will ever figure it out) But I know that THIS, this anniversary- is the beginning of a whole new book! THIS is where I shut the door on this evil cancer saga and throw open the window to a whole new beginning. Will I forget that saga? NO- It is forever etched into my being. It carved out the "new person" that I am. It bred in me the knowledge that things can change in life, with one phone call, one Dr. visit, and one minute life can be altered. So THIS NEW BOOK, will be lived out in full color, in audio with the volume turned WAY UP!! My life will shine with the knowledge of having lived and learned the cancer story. I am blessed to have a husband that is right there by my side, with all the changes, (most of the time) he can handle living in the intensity of this light of my life!

 My prayer for everyone that knows me is that you learned through MY story and you don't have to live it to learn it! My prayer for those of you that have already been through it, or are going through it, I pray that you embrace the changes that you are going through, that you have faith and find your warrior spirit to get through it;  with the help of your friends and family.

So I throw a BIG HEART into the air this Valentines Day and wish everyone a great year ahead! Today the new door on my life is opening up with a burst of light! I am ready to step through- I love you all!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Pink 'Out"

As October comes and goes, we see the "pink" everywhere- Up to our eyeballs in PINK!
We all know what the pink stands for and some of us get mad and in a rage about seeing it, some of us think we are contributing when we purchase the pink items, and some of us make money off of said items, while I think of it this way:

Awareness is important! There are a lot of people that when October comes around and they are surrounded by pink ribbons and every store is selling every imaginable item in pink, those people remember to check their breast or schedule their mammogram.
For that reason, this survivor doesn't mind the on-sought of pink products! 
I welcome ANY awareness that is out there! 
There are only a few organizations that I support, though. One- It is on a local level and I believe in the organization, I love the founders of the organization (two of my chemo nurses). I know they work tirelessly to provide whatever is needed for cancer patients!   Loving Arms Cancer Outreach
The second is The American Cancer Society- I know you say the CEO gets the money, blah blah blah- but when I had cancer, that is where I turned. They answered questions for me, their website was educational, and their programs were awesome- for me personally. So I utilized their resources and sponsored them through Making Strides and the Pink Ribbon Tournament. Lastly, is a new one that every breast cancer survivor needs to support- because if it comes back, this is where we will get help!! Metavivor

Today I have a different feeling towards Breast Cancer, than I did back then. I was in Survivor mode in 2012, I was doing every thing I could to get through it- I used humor, humility and relied on my God, family and friends. Today, 5 years later I am in living mode! I want to live every day as if it were my last- I want to "be right" with God, my Family and every one around me. I want to be a light that shines on someones darkness. I want to treat my body with the respect it deserves and fight cancer coming back into my body, with a vengeance the likes of cancer has never seen before! 
What Pink-tober doesn't show you is what cancer is all about, and looking back I didn't show you either. Every picture I took- even on my diagnosis day I had a smile on, to be strong and show my strength. 
I didn't show my break-downs(and to be honest not many close to me knew about them either), I didn't show my scars, I didn't show all the medication I had to take, or the ugliness of my drains hanging from where my boobs were amputated. I didn't show the worry of going to my oldest daughters wedding 10 days, after the amputation.

I couldn't make you feel all the pain I was enduring or the anxiety that comes with the diagnosis. I couldn't make you feel what I felt, when I had to shave my head and KNOW that everyone would be able to see that I was sick and battling cancer! I couldn't explain that I just didn't feel like getting up, that I was exhausted from just being awake. I couldn't let you know that that face, that smile, it was all for you- so you didn't have to endure the heartache I was feeling inside! If I put on that face and you thought I was strong, it would take some of the pressure off you.

So when you see the Pink, remember the persons behind the pink. Remember what they are really going through. Even if they don't show you! Remember that even 5-10-15 years later, those battle scars are still there!  Remember those precious ones that didn't make it out of the battle alive! Remember Pink is not all that bad! Everyone needs Pink and Glitter sprinkled in their lives!! Dance like there is no tomorrow!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Goodbye Lookout Mountain (written around 1993 or so) Addendum written today

Yesterday Lloyd and I went retirement- house hunting on top of Lookout Mountain, it reminded me of this story I wrote after my uncles funeral. I wrote it sometime around 1993 or so, I can't remember when he died exactly and I didn't date the story. With it being the month of love, and I loved Lookout Mountain,I thought I would share the story here:

Growing up, Lookout Mountain was my second home and my second place of being. Second only to Marietta. It was definitely a place where I belonged, if only from time to time. It was a  place where the land was unspoiled and where the houses were cozy and where it seemed time had stood still.
My grandparents lived there most of their lives. My grandfather and his family left the Pumpkinvine Creek by wagon and moved to Dekalb Co, Alabama. My grandparents lived in a three bedroom house with a pond, a creek (Bear Creek), and woods. I cherish the memories I have of that little house and the warmth it had. ( I mean that quite literally, my grandmother would keep the heat on about 90 degrees!) The rocks behind her house seemed to be as big as houses; the woods seem endless, but I felt like I knew every acre and could name every rock back there, behind her house. I would climb to the top of the rocks and have picnics, or play Indian princess.
Even though I was not raised on Lookout Mt, my dad was, and his stories were my connection to the Mountain and his adventures brought it to life for me. This was the mountain my grandmother was afraid to leave, looking back she was a little neurotic about leaving. I never could figure out why you would live on a mountain, if you were scared to drive off of it?? Well, she really didn't need to leave. She never got sick, thanks to her endless supply of Lysol she kept sprayed and wiped all around her house. She never ran out because next door was the little country store, that kept her supplied with all the necessities, such as Lysol. She always worried about everyone, but I think her greatest worry was that someday she would be left on the mountain without Papa Wills. She ended up leaving the mountain first, by ambulance. She later died of the stroke she had on Lookout Mountain. That was in 1989, and that was the first time a bit of that mountain was taken away from me.
Mama Wills with Kristi  1986
My dad stayed there the next year taking care of his dad, Papa Wills, until we had to move him to the nursing home. He later died in 1990, just after celebrating his 99th birthday. We tried so hard to keep him on the mountain and in his own home, as long as we could.
Papa Wills and the pond
Funerals are usually held at Wilson Funeral Home in downtown Ft Payne, Alabama. Even though this is not my hometown and the funeral director is not an acquaintance of mine, those front doors seem too familiar to me. The quality and the longevity of my grandparents lives made it easier to mourn. Their funerals almost seemed a celebration of their long lives.
Soon more pieces of the mountain seemed to be fading. My father's aunt and uncle passed away soon after Mama and Papa Wills. We were all close to them. They didn't have any children and so they treated us as their own. I had a cement foundation about the size of 7' x 7',  where I played store and restaurant, in my grandparents backyard. Anytime that uncle pulled up in the yard next to my "restaurant" I made him order something. He always would purchase my make-believe food, with a nice crisp one dollar bill, that he let me keep! He even continued that tradition when my kids were born, even though they were too young to make him my famous Lookout Mt Mudpie, they still got a dollar from him.
My parents moved back to Lookout Mountain to take care of my grandparents. They bought 20 acres down the road from them and started remodeling an old farmhouse. It was where my dad wanted to be the whole forty years he lived in Marietta.
Mom and Dad right before they moved back to Alabama
I guess that is why is was appropriate that he was there, when he passed away. But for me it is not appropriate, it is not fair that he is gone! He needs to be here. He needs to be teaching my daughters how to fish, he needs to be here to get irritated with them when they don't set the hook and the "big one" gets away. He needs to be here to see the humor that my kids have. But no, that was not the plan. We have to keep those stories and the ones of Lookout Mountain alive with "Porky Stories". (My dads nickname) My dad died looking at the stars that seemed to shine brightest on Lookout Mountain, and breathing the air so clean and digging the dirt that was as fine as powder. He died just before he got his trout pond filled. That was when the biggest chunk of my mountain started fading away. Standing on my parents deck, after his funeral I felt as if I could see all the way to heaven or maybe this was heaven. The ponds, the creeks, the woods, the huge rock formation, and all the family. This was my father's heaven! That is why in God's scheme of thing my parents picked up and moved back to Alabama. Since that time, my mom has moved back to Marietta and we haven't been back to Ft Payne, much. I didn't feel I had enough mountain to go back and these memories were almost too heavy to carry up the mountain.
Yesterday, I passed through the double doors of Wilson Funeral Home, once more. I sat in the same family pew, again. I said good-bye to my daddy's younger brother. I stood at the cemetery and looked at the majestic Lookout Mountain. I saw the beauty that filled my grandparents and my father everyday. I went to the top of the mountain and stood in my uncle's driveway; looking down at my grandmother's house, and the old pond. I took a mental picture. It hit me, that my mountain was gone.
As I drove down the mountain the sun was setting in my rear-view mirror, the most gorgeous sunset with the colors vibrant oranges and reds. The new moon was starting to rise in front of me, so bright, with a wonderful glow.My tears are flowing like the waterfall at the Little River Canyon, as I say good-bye to my mountain, to my father and to the rest of the family and pieces of this beautiful Lookout Mountain.

Addendum to this story:
I have since gone back for more funerals- 
One was for my partner in crime and mudpie making cousin; Pam died in 2009. Much too early, at 57. She instigated taking turnips from Papa Wills' garden for our "store and restaurant" and to mix in our mudpies. She also showed me how to go buy bootleg beer, because Ft Payne was a dry county at the time. She showed me how to have a cattail fight. Our best adventure (although scary at the time) was getting stuck in the mud, in the middle of no where off a dirt road, somewhere near the brow, in her Camero. No lie, someone in a horse and buggy saved us. There is a lot more to this story, and it will be saved for the grandchildren, like a Porky Story, that is hard to believe.
Also to be added to my mudpie story, just last year my mom brought me a rolling pin. She said, "Your dad picked this up in Mama Wills' yard, and wanted you to have it. He said it is the one you played with in her back yard." I could have cried at that piece of my mountain coming back to me, and that rolling pin is now displayed in my kitchen. Maybe one day, Kinsley or one of the other granddaughters can make mudpies for me and I can buy them for a dollar. 
Yesterday I visited this mountain again- this time with new life. We saw an old farmstead that is in need of TLC and we looked at the river flowing past the place. I guess after all this time has passed, you can go home again and see the mountain with happiness and not the sorrow I had when I wrote the first story above. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

God Winks

This story was too amazing for me not to share-
Lately, I have had a Bone Scan and Cat Scans, tomorrow is the PET Scan. It is going to be nothing, but for the past few weeks I have been worried.
I had a trip Thursday and really wanted to fly with my friend Nessa, so she could distract me. That is where this story starts!  I told Nessa to send the two flight attendants on my trip, a message, to see if one of them would let her take their place. She did and got no response. So Thursday when I checked in, I asked the girl on my trip if she had received the message from Nessa. She said, "No, that is weird I didn't get it, there must be a reason I am on this trip with you. I can't wait to see what it is!!"  Her name was Tiffany.
So later, Tiffany and I went down for dinner. She started telling me about an injury she had a couple of years ago. I told her my story, my shoulder injury, my cancer, ya da ya da ya da..... She looked at me and said, "Are you ok right now?" I was kind of taken back by the way she said it, and I looked at her and said, "yeah, um no, um well....I am having scans right now and that is why I wanted to fly with my friend." She said, "Oh my gosh, that is why I was supposed to fly with you!!! I have a book for you to read" I looked at her very curiously. I told her that not only did Nessa send you a message, that you did not get, but I did as well! She started crying and said that there was no way she would not have received those messages and that I really needed to read this book she had to share.
I know there are some of you out there that don't believe in God and you don't believe in His hand in any of this, but I do. I know that God puts people in your life at the right time for the right reason.
I had been worried, I had been scared- I was a little more than a little nervous that cancer was coming back into my life. I read the book Tiffany gave me, so tonight, the night before my PET scan, I am not scared or worried. The book was Healed of Cancer, by Dodie Osteen. I found by reading her book, that I believed in my heart I had been healed, but my head was wavering. I was allowing the Devil to make me scared and get in my head. I needed to check my spirit and faith.

There was a passage in the book that spoke to me, Nathum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knows those who trust and take refuge in Him. 

So, because of this fabulous woman, because of the God Winks of this week and His intervention in my life, I am calm tonight and can share this story with you. I trust that no matter what He has in store for the rest of my life- HE is the one in control and HE will heal me. "By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed!"

Thanks Tiffany for your awesomeness, your spirit and your testimony. I am so glad God put you in my life this weekend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Changes will occur!

I started flying for Airtran on a whim, back in April 2010, but that is not when my love of Airtran began, nor my love for travel and planes.

I know here in Atlanta we are supposed to love Delta Airlines, but being a travel agent and seeing their customer service from my desk, I was never impressed, if I could even get through to them at all. If I called Airtran, I usually spoke to someone very personable that was sitting in Carrollton, Savannah or Atlanta- it was always the same, they helped me out with any need I had for my client and we carried on a very pleasant conversation while we worked. When I traveled, it was the same- Delta yes, they had meals, but they were usually served by some grumpy old flight attendant that acted like she hated her job. (I do have to say over the years Delta has got better, may it is because they have recently hired a lot of my friends!) Airtran would pass my pretzels out AND carry on a conversation with me. ValuJet was the first airline my kids flew on and we continued flying Airtran throughout their teenage years. Primarily because I would "earn" so many free tickets from work.
Throw back to commercial for valujet changing to Airtran

So you get the picture- I loved Airtran before I started working for them. Soon after I started, we got the news unexpectedly that we were going to merge with Southwest. I have always loved change, so I wasn't too scared, until I realized I was going to have to start commuting. Then I realized we were so small, I knew the people I was flying with, Southwest is huge- I will never see or fly with my friends! Will I ever be able to make friends?
Airtran Graduation 2010

 Some of my Airtan Memories!

 And the benefits of flying- taking my girls to Chicago for a little getaway!

New Friend

Well that change came December 19th- I went from Airtran over to Southwest and I have to say, I LUV it!!! Yes, commuting is hard AND EXPENSIVE, but I still love what I do. I am based in Houston, TX and now I am in love with Texas- my second home! The people I have met and flown with are awesome, and yes I am making friends! AND I am seeing my old friends too! 
Old Friends!
Don't be afraid of change, it will happen! Embrace it and hold on for the ride!!