Friday, January 4, 2013

New Beginnings

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

-Lamentations 3:22-24, NKJV

Every day I thank God for new beginnings. Scripture says that God's mercies and compassions are "new every morning." How encouraging it is to know that the mistakes, shortcomings and disappointments of yesterday do not rule my today, nor do they necessarily predict my tomorrow! New beginnings are possible each day, and they are possible spiritually and physically. Today marks a wonderful new beginning for me!

Several years ago I had an encounter with God concerning my health. I was absolutely miserable... fibromyalgia and many other ailments had debilitated me. I was on so many medications... at one point the count was 14 concurrent meds! That was ridiculous, and needed to change. I went to God about it and He directed me to write down the events of the past year. I started writing, and as I went on it became clear that He had never left my side. He had carried me through the hardest times, led me around some traps, held my hand and fed me through His Word. He had been there, and was not the cause of my pain. He pointed out to me that He could continue to heal me over and over, but I was bringing myself back into sickness by the way I was eating. So after research and prayer, I decided to cut animal products completely out of my diet. 

How wonderful that change was! It was not as hard to do as I had imagine, and the results were amazing. My pain was completely gone after a very short time. I had more energy, my skin and hair were better, I lost some weight (not a whole lot, but any was a great help...) and I learned so much about how much priority I had given my appetite in my life. That was changing, and it was a good change. I lived the mostly-raw vegan lifestyle for three years, and for the most part it has served me very well.

This past year had a few challenges of its own... I discovered I had thyroid cancer, so I had it all removed. My mother's family has an unbelievable rate of thyroid disease and cancers... After the surgery I had the radioactive iodine treatment and have been taking thyroid replacement medication ever since. I know the cancer is dealt with. Right about the same time that I was going through that, though, it was determined that my son had a recurrence of cancer in his spinal cord. It was quite a whirlwind, so much happening at once. (Spoiler: the tumor has grown very slowly, and at this time Stephen has still not had to undergo new treatment for it. He will have his next MRI on Monday and if there is any new growth, they'll decide treatment at that time. They are talking surgery and radiation. I'll post the results when I know them. Our Faithful God has taken care of him this far, I trust Him completely with my son!) 

We have had to make so many trips into Washington, DC for Stevie's tests and to meet with radiation oncologists. Unfortunately, those trips in addition to the cost of my surgery and radiation treatment have made it nearly impossible for me to continue to eat a strictly vegan diet when no-one else in my family has any part of it. Since I could not afford to buy the quantity of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts that I needed, I discovered I was starving myself in order to feed the rest of the family. I didn't even realize I was doing it... I didn't have enough for myself and was not going to eat what the rest of them were eating, so I just didn't eat much. My health began to suffer again. So, with a cautious heart I have put the veganness on hold for now. I am focusing on providing a single, "healthy" menu that will serve the whole family. 

The downside of this dietary change and thyroid changes are that I now weigh more than I ever have. So in an effort to make good changes and form great culinary and lifestyle habits, I have decided to go through Weight Watchers to help me relearn it all. My daughter, Rachel, is doing it with me, so I have an accountability partner in the process. My husband, son-in-law and children are all going to be making these changes and I have HOPE that good changes are coming.

The most difficult person to feed in this family is my son, Stephen, The chemotherapy he went through when he was 3 caused changes in his tastes, and the boy just refuses to eat anything that is good for him. I am praying that this will work for him. His diet will not be restricted, like mine will, but will present him with many more healthy options to the few things he likes to eat. (Read that as Oodles of Noodles, Oodles of Noodles, and, oh yeah! OODLES OF NOODLES.)

So here we are, starting on a journey together. When Stephen was rediagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I felt very impressed to journal this trip. I totally forgot about my blog (I guess that is obvious...) but I think this will be a great way to document both his healing and our family's dietary changes and improved health. I purpose to write, even if no one will ever read it. I purpose to change my eating and activity levels, even how food is brought into the house and stored! I purpose to give food, eating, and appetite in its proper place and teach good habits to my kids. I purpose to encourage my husband in his own effort to lose weight and regain his own health. So, here's to New Beginnings! I greet you with hope and love and great expectation!

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