Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thankful- Thanksgiving 2014

2014- Wow what a year and how very thankful I am this Thanksgiving season!!
I might get deep and emotional in this post, so stop ready here if that offends you.

Today I saw my third grandchild being born. This one was extra special because from the time my first born little girl Kristi, was in this world- all I could imagine, was her one day becoming a mother. When I went through the cancer, all I could think of was not being here to live out that dream. Today that milestone was met with open arms. To be there for Peyton's birth and to be standing alongside her sister as she helped to deliver this baby, was incredible. That room was so filled with love- We were all present, Krisit"s sister and best friend Brittany, Me, her dad, her mother-in-love and Bradley, the love of her life. To see this miracle and to experience this love is the most humbling experience.
If anyone says they don't believe in God, they have never been brought to their knees asked and begged for a positive outcome or a miracle, and been given that, AND more! There is no way someone can watch the miracle of childbirth (that is truly the only way to describe it) and not believe it is not guided by God's hand. This morning we saw the presence of God, love, and miracles. For that my life is blessed and my request fulfilled to be here for that birth. How could I be thankful for more?
Not only was I able to be around for Peyton's birth, but God blessed me with Brittany's surprise, Baby Kinsley. I have to say....probably because I am her grandmom, but there is not a better, more precious baby girl, than that one born 4 months (to the day) before Peyton! That little girl holds my heart and
 I am so thankful for her. 16 is now my lucky number!!
7/16/2014 "Baby Girl" Kinsley Carter Howell and 11/16/2014 "P Daddy" Peyton West Horne
Brittany came up with both of the nicknames. The stress of Kinsley's birth and the prayers that were answered on that one- is just another slap in the face that God is real and I have so much to be thankful for!
The third little guy in my Grand Mom trilogy is Homer. What a little man!! He lights up my world- and because God put Lloyd in my life and he is an amazing man, I got my bonus son- Jim who in turn gave me our first grandson Homer- born on our Anniversary. And of course behind any awesome man, is an awesome mother- so there is Janet, my daughter-in-love. I am so thankful to have a son, finally and for that son to be such an awesome, different, child of mine!! I am so thankful for having that little family in our life.
Then other thing that is truly a blessing and I am SO thankful for, is my health. There was a time that I thought this stupid shoulder would never be healed. Or that Stupid Cancer would beat me. This year has proved it different! I healed from my second shoulder surgery and I went back to work!!! YES, I was able to return to a job I love and I am now turning a page and moving on to Southwest and starting a whole new chapter in that novel. (Stay tuned folks!!)
Lastly, all of this would not be possible without the amazing man I have standing by my side. Lloyd was truly a gift from God. He appeared at a low point in my life, he showed me unconditional love, he nursed me back to health through shoulder surgeries and cancer, he cooked for me and encouraged me, and he always supported my crazy dream of being a flight attendant. I know I could never be thankful for all the above things without him standing by my side!!
I am blessed and I am thankful! Thankful to God for all he has given me. There is so much more to mention, but right now: after being up all night birthing a baby, I am too tired to go into detail= I will list just a few.
I am Thankful for:
My Mom- and the time I am still able to spend with her.
My Sister- who I couldn't do without
My Amazing Friends- you all know who you are!!

Thanksgiving 2014 has given me all the blessings I could ask for!! It goes down in the history books for me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 11, never forget

I can't help but think about the events of 9/11, not just because I am now a flight attendant; but because at this moment I am staring at Boston's Logan Airport,  from my hotel. This is where some of the monsters boarded planes with the sole purpose of killing Americans.

I know tomorrow my heart will hurt for the 25 flight attendants killed and their families. I will remember how they were the front line of this attack and how brave and calm they were in the face of this evil. I know I joke about my job and passing the pretzels, but I also take it seriously. I take security and safety seriously.  My heart will hurt for ALL the victims of this attack.

I also know that the threat of another attack is high right now. We, as flight attendants need to be alert and aware of our surroundings. We also need to stand up for our safety and make sure that TSA and DHS are requiring the proper identification for passengers boarding planes. We need to continue the fight to keep knives off the plane. Most of all we need to be alert to odd behavior and security breaches of any kind.

Every year at this time we remember the brutal attacks made on this day in 2001, but we need to remember EVERY day! We need to remember how easily, how calculated and how ruthless these attacks were! Take time to watch some of the broadcast again, or listen to Bety Ong make her phone call. Take a moment to reflect, again. Please never forget. There were so many heroes that day, starting with the flight attendants, and ending with the fire fighters, God bless them all! ..............

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24th- Cancerversary

Today even though I surrounded myself with my love ones and woke up with two of my kids here with their babies, I still woke and had this panicky feeling. Something was off and just not right. I had no clue what it was until I looked at my phone to check my flight schedule. Today was Doom Day, Today was the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. Lloyd prefers me not to even bring up that day or that anniversary, but it sneaks up on me and takes my breathe, without even knowing. I have spent the past couple of months focusing on work and the girls and their pregnancies, but today the C word came back to haunt me and grab my breathe and sit on my chest. I can't escape the date, I can't not think about it and yes, I think about the fact that I am cancer-free, but it also panics me to remember August 24, 2012.
That day I found out that within a minute, life changes. Life can turn black in an instant. So, it can't be ignored, so let's toast the day my life changed. Cancer, you suck, I beat your ass and I became a new person because of you- now get the hell out of my thoughts I have living to do, here's to all the August 25th's!! Tomorrow is another day and I have too much to be thankful for-

 My mom and my grand baby, Kinsley

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Lucky One at 49

After dodging a cancer bullet, EVERY birthday is special and you appreciate each one that passes. This year is a real special one for me. The one thing that I was worried about missing when I heard I had cancer, was not being able to see Kristi and Brittany have children. Well this birthday I am anxiously awaiting Brittany's first child and then low and behold, Kristi got pregnant too! I was with them both this week and my heart fills with more joy than I could EVER imagine, when I see them and their big ole bellies!!
I normally celebrate my birthday the whole month of June, but between worrying about Kinsley and working, I haven't had time to reflect too much on it until today. That's not to say that when life settles down a bit, that I won't pull out that Birthday "card" and use it somewhere down the road.
Last week seemed like the gopher game at the fair, every time I seem to have one thing figured out, up jumps another gopher. I have to remember that I just have to trust in God and let him hold the hammer and take care of everything....and he did!
My life is so blessed right now! I am back at work doing what I love, I am getting ready to meet my two precious babies, I am married to the most supportive husband, I have the BEST friends and family a girl could ask for, I still have my mama with me, and I am healthy!
There is not another single thing I could ask for on this 49th Birthday!!! This year is going to be the best!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back...Up up in the air

This weekend, I did something that, for the past two years I didn't think I would be able to do.....I returned to the air! My shoulder had been injured so bad, I didn't think it would ever not hurt. Then, came the breast cancer! The dream I had in 2010, when I put on those wings, felt like it was going to be short lived.

I had dreamed of flying since I was a little girl. I thought it was so cool that my dad built planes. My other friends had more money and their dads were Dr's or lawyers, but that didn't hold a candle to the fact he worked at Lockheed. I was more impressed with his job. Every time I heard the C5-A come screeching across the sky and rattling the windows, I would run outside to look. I still to this day, lift my head every time a plane from Dobbins is flying over my house. The highlight of my childhood was when the Blue Angles were in town and Missy and I would climb on top of my roof to watch them. They felt so close we would duck down when they got near. One year my brother took us to the base to watch them and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven!

 I didn't know anything about commercial flying, so I can't say the dream was to be a flight attendant...just to fly. I struggled to find out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought briefly about the armed services, but I was scrawny and didn't think I could make it through one day of boot camp, since I loathed to run!! I thought about teaching, but since I hate math, as much as running, I didn't think I was qualified to teach a 1st grader anything!! As I got in high school and the thought of traveling to far away places, intrigued me, I thought being a flight attendant would be cool. I would wear a uniform, like the military, tell people what to do, like a teacher and get to fly- like I wanted to do.

Several times during my life, the opportunity came up to apply with the airlines, but it was never the right time. Until 2010- April 28th, I graduated from 4 weeks of training with the greatest group of people!

After two shoulder surgeries, countless hours of physical therapy, two breast cancer surgeries, 8 chemo treatments, and a week of re-training- I pinned my wings back on Friday and took to the skies!
My first trip was with one of my favorite classmates, Hillary and Ashlee (some random crazy girl we had never met, who is now our bff).  We had awesome layovers in Washington DC and Raleigh, my stomach hurts from all the laughing!

Being a flight attendant is something that is not for everyone. You have to be able to adapt and be flexible. Tuesday was my day off, but we had a mechanical problem and couldn't get home Monday night. Most people would not be able to handle that uncertainty. You also have to have a personality to change someones attitude around, even when they are totally pissed off at you or a situation. I have to say, I love what I do. It is not something that takes alot of brain power- (getting the head count is by far the hardest thing for me. Ha ha) but it takes alot of personality, adaptability and mental fortitude. Plus, we are able to rescue and save your butts in a moments notice.

We are trained as, teachers, nurses, paramedics, boat captains (I hope to never have to use that skill), police officers, waitresses, counselors, hotel connoisseurs, etc. I am so happy to be back up in the air and I thank my husband for being supportive of this career and my family for being understanding when I miss Easter, or Christmas or other important events. I am truely blessed with my life and I thank God for it everyday!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week 1 of my 3 week plan

Well I have to say, it's been pretty easy. I have not had any white flour or sugar (unless it was hidden in something I ate). I am down 3 pounds, although losing weight is not the main goal, I'm still encouraged to be getting closer to the number I have in mind for my ultimate weight. I have cheated a little with my wine, (which I admitted would be hard), but when I am sitting in our place in TN and the sun is setting on a gorgous day- I just gotta!!
The biggest positive from this plan has been my energy level- after the past two years of sitting around and then the chemo, I haven't had much energy. This past week, about 4pm and the time I usually wanted a nap- I am ready to go out on my 30 minute walk. One day it was even after 2 hours of physical therapy!! I just FEEL healthy.
If any of you joined me in this plan, share with us any changes you have noticed!

To the park for my walk!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 3- Let's get started

So today is the day that I will put all the research into action. We talked yesterday about what fueled cancer cells. Today I will share what I will be doing religiously, for the next three weeks to fight that fire!! I made several of these changes the moment I found out about the cancer, but it is time to turn into a Warrior and fight to keep Cancer out of my life! I have given myself 3 weeks to focus on all these changes, but I will hopefully make these "life changes".
Another reason for writing these three blogs, was to educate my kids and loved ones. Hopefully, they will make some little changes, to keep Cancer out of their lives! This idea came to me when I opened both of their refrigerators and found huge tubs of Country Crock. Along with sugar, margarine is the devil. Not only is it full of  Omega 6, which we want to avoid because of the inflammation that it causes, but one of the ingredients is Calcium Disodium EDTA. This ingredient is made from a concoction of poisons and chelation chemicals. So, I am hoping to teach my loves ones what they can do to avoid the cancer that lives in them.
So let's get started!! Here are the changes that I have made or will be making for the next 3 weeks.

1. Exercise- I will exercise at least 30 minutes 6 times a week. (It really needs to warm up!!) I am also now wearing a FitBit to remind me how much I am moving!
2. Sugar- will be eliminated from my diet.
3. Trans Fat- Eliminated as well. This is found in processed foods- key words are Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
4. Omega 6 is bad and Omega 3 is good- I am not a friend of Salmon so I add the Omega 3 to my diet via Chia Seeds. I sprinkle them into my yogurt each morning.
5. Wine and Alcohol- I know what your thinking! (Traci's going to stop drinking??) Well, I really have slowed down already. I usually don't drink during the week and have only a couple of glasses during the weekend. I can kick the habit for 3 weeks, then we will go from there. I do know that when I don't drink, I feel A LOT better and sleep better! And as previously stated, one glass of red wine with dinner is beneficial.
6. White Flour- This will be eliminated. If I eat bread, it will be multi grain or sourdough. Rice will be whole grain or basmati.
7. Stress- No body stress me out, ok??
8. Vegetables- I will be eating a lot more of these guys! Greens are good!!
9. Eliminate Chemicals- This is really hard!! I started with my deodorant- Thanks to Jennifer (aka Jenny from the Block), I have been able to try out most of the natural ones and the one below is my favorite. It really works, which is necessary since chemo pushed me into menopause and those hot flashes are hell!

Some of my weapons in this fight:
In the picture above is, my shampoo It is Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle, my deodorant Crystal Essence, and My Fit Bit
In addition, to those products:
1. My yogurt maker- I make my own yogurt from Organic milk and eat it in the mornings, and also make homemade Ranch or Bleu Cheese dressing with it. Way before cancer we stopped buying bottled Salad Dressings and have always made our own.
2. Nutra-Bullet- I use this to make healthy drinks and my salad dressings.
 My Magic Bullet drink

Garden is planted- takes the guess work out of ingredients when I KNOW it is fresh and organic!!
****UPDATED for Yogurt instructions***
many have asked how you make your own yogurt- Well you start with a yogurt maker, mine is a Cuisine brand (pictured below) It's really easy, 1. you boil milk (i use fat free organic), to 180 degrees 2. let it cool 3. mix with a yogurt culture (you can purchase this in powder form or use one you previously made or use store bought 6oz container) 4. place in jars that come with your yogurt machine 5. place in yogurt machine for recommended time (9 hours for fat free milk) 6. Then take it out and place in the refridgerator, you will have 7 6oz containers of yogurt.
I add agave necter, berries and chia seeds to mine to flavor, when I eat it.
So here is a list of the VIP Foods for Fighting Cancer, lets add them to our diet and see how we feel:
1.Green Tea- 3 cups a day
2. Olive Oil
3. Tummeric-
4. Mushrooms
5. Berries
6. Ginger
7. Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts 3 times a week
8. Veggies and Fruits high in Caroteoids (Red, yellow orange colored)
9. Tomatoes
10. Dark Chocolate
11. Yogurt
12. Drink lots of water to help flush toxins
This is not some hard diet to follow, it is more just a conscious way of thinking that will help ANYONE keep the cancer cells extinguished. Please let me know if you are going to join me on this road and keep me posted on how you are feeling and any changes you may experience.