Category Archives: Food and Health

Pink’s Not Just for Breast Cancer Anymore, Folks!

Well, folks, it’s June 1st.  I can’t believe that yet another year is almost half over….AGAIN!  Time keeps marching on, no matter how much I just wish it would go as slow as it did when I was a kid waiting for Christmas.  Do you ever sit around and think to yourself, “What am I doing to take care of this body that I was given, so that it lasts well into my twilight years?”  Yeah, me neither.  Usually it takes something drastic for us to start paying better attention to our bodies and health – unless of course you’re one of those skinny, gym-loving, non-food addict, can-eat-anything-you-want kind of people.  But the rest of us hate those kind of people.  Not really.  We are mostly just jealous of those that it seemingly comes to so easily.  But in life, most of us learn that nothing comes easy – especially a tone, fit, healthy body.

So if you’ve followed along on my trip down cancer’s path (yeah, I used “path” because those who use “Cancer Journey” just irritate the crap out of me – not that “path” is much better), then you know that my body has been through the ringer.  Between surgeries, very little exercise, bad eating, and weight yo-yo’ing, I have been the epitome of UN-healthy.  I started looking back at the past couple of years, and WOW.   Take a look:

March 2013 – Diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer (166 lbs.)

April  2013 – Bilateral Radical Mastectomy  (166 lbs.)  

Surgery day - April 10, 2013
Surgery day – April 10, 2013


May 2013 – Began chemotherapy  (163 lbs.)

After 1st Chemo - May 2013
After 1st Chemo – May 2013
Fight Like a Girl photo shoot - July 2013
Fight Like a Girl photo shoot – July 2013

October 2013 – Chemotherapy ends (180 lbs.) 

Last day of Chemo - October 14, 2013
Last day of Chemo – October 14, 2013

January 2014 – Radiation begins (177 lbs.)

February 2014 – Radiation ends (186 lbs.)

Last day of Radiation - February 19, 2013
Last day of Radiation – February 19, 2013

July 2014 – First reconstruction surgery; Thyroidectomy due to Hashimoto’s AND cancerous nodule (169 lbs.)

Anniversary trip - July 2014
Anniversary trip – July 2014
Reconstruction & Thyroid surgery - July 25, 2014
Reconstruction & Thyroid surgery – July 25, 2014

September 2014 – Surgery to reverse reconstruction due to staph infection (169 lbs.)

Race For the Cure North Texas - September 2014
Race For the Cure North Texas – September 2014

**Sometime in November, the doc added a second prescription for replacement thyroid function – weight started coming off**

January 2015 – Reconstruction do-over surgery (152 lbs.)

1st Reconstruction Do-Over surgery - January 29, 2015
1st Reconstruction Do-Over surgery – January 29, 2015

April 2015 – Second Reconstruction do-over surgery (152 lbs.)

To the outside eye, after looking at all of this, one might think that I’m doing alright after losing the weight, plus some, that I gained during treatment.  But what most don’t know if that I have no upper body strength – can’t even do one pushup.  I have no stamina when exercising, which is not very often these days.  I had very little energy, despite the weight loss, and was needing to nap almost every day.  I was relying on coffee and several sodas per day to keep me awake, and it wasn’t helping.  Meanwhile, at night, I couldn’t fall asleep on my own, and was often up until 1, 2, 3 AM; sometimes I would literally stay awake the entire night – unless I took some kind of pharmaceutical to help me sleep (sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, pain pill, sedative…or a combo of these).  After surgery at the end of January I had developed some pretty bad issues with regularity, due to anesthesia along with prescription pain medications being used day after day after day.  Then after surgery at the end of April, my “issues” got SO much worse, and constipation turned into a 7-day painfest.  Nothing worked, and by then I was TRIPLING my prescription doses of drugs that were supposed to help with it.  I stopped taking pain meds and just had to deal with it.

During that time, while I was recouperating and in bed after surgery, one of my fellow breast cancer survivor warrior friends had posted a testimonial about her use of Plexus products.  While I have had numerous friends whom I have seen using it, most for weight loss, this particular friend was talking about how it had helped her sugar addiction and improved her “gut health.”  THIS was what made me start researching it.  And don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE skeptic when it comes to stuff like this – I’ve tried numerous MLMs myself, so I don’t judge for that.  But with limited success in the past personally, I had a hard time believing that this Plexus stuff would be any different, despite what so many of my friends had been reporting.  What I found was that the Plexus Slim (aka Pink Drink that everyone was talking about) was originally created for type 2 diabetics, to stabilize blood sugar.  I have been on a prescription diabetes medicine since chemo ended, because it threw me into diabetic glucose levels (the combination of steroids during treatment + the bad, carby eating that followed the steroids).  I have been wanting to get off as many of my prescriptions as possible in my quest to get healthier.  I’m not sure if I will be able to get off of thyroid function replacement meds, since mine has been removed; but I have really wanted to get off of blood sugar meds, blood pressure meds (have been on for 20 years now), and ADHD meds.  So after all of my research, I decided to give it a try, and would keep a log of my weight, blood sugar readings, and the products that I am using.  My first focus would be blood sugar, followed by losing that last twenty pounds and getting off of the blood pressure meds.  My friend sent me some samples of the Plexus Slim, and after a few days I could already tell a difference; so I ordered my first set of products and hoped for good results.

May 6, 2015 – Started Plexus Triplex for gut issues and blood sugar (154 lbs.) – waking Blood Sugar: 150



June 1, 2015 – 28 days on Plexus Triplex, 12 days on Accelerator +, 15 days on Block (151 lbs.) – waking Blood Sugar:  117

Lunch w/the girls - May 30, 2015
Lunch w/the girls – May 30, 2015

Do you see that?  My morning blood sugar readings are down over 30 points!  I haven’t taken the prescription meds for it in over four weeks.  My junk food cravings?  Mostly GONE!  My sugar addiction/sugar cravings?  Mostly GONE!  My carb addiction/carb cravings?  Mostly GONE!  My three-a-day Coke Zero addiction/habit?  GONE!  If I try to drink a diet soda now, I can only drink about half of it.  The sleepless nights, insomnia, and inability to fall asleep without drugs?  GONE!  My lack of energy and need to nap every afternoon?  GONE!  My “issues” with regularity/constipation?  GONE!  I’m eating proteins, fruits & veggies, with very little bread, potatoes, or rice.  I make the cupcakes but only rarely EAT one;  I’m pretty much just baking them and sending them out.  My energy is up and my blood sugar is going down!  The three pound loss is just a bonus, since that was not what my beginning focus was anyway.  The way that I’m going, the 15-20 pounds that I still want to lose should be gone in no time, all while continuing to get healthy from the inside out.

The more time that I use it, the better I feel.  The better the results, the more I am glad that I took the leap to try Plexus.  So I guess that yeah, now I am going to be one of those crazy Plexus ladies – you know, we ALL know at least ONE!  But I am trying to not be the annoying crazy Plexus lady…LOL!  So if you want to know more, or try it for yourself, then please feel free to email, message, call, text, or check out the products on my website!



Wow – it’s Been a Minute!

Hey there – long time no see! It’s been a while since I’ve been here apparently! The holidays cruised on by in a whirlwind of merriment and busy-ness, just like usual – I can’t believe that I didn’t sit down and write a post! Needless to say, 2015 was ushered in pretty low-key for us (even our simple plans of dinner and movie out were cut short from a migraine); we ended up back at home, and our fancy Napa bottle of wine that was chilling in the fridge to ring in the New Year is still there, unopened. We’ll get to it eventually, huh?
All this to say, now that school is back in session for the second semester, I’m not subbing hardly at all, so I have more time to focus on my photography, salsa, meal planning, and helping Krystal get Zoe’s Sweet Inspirations off the ground. Heck it’s February and all of our Christmas decorations are piled up on the dining room table and front living room, just waiting to be packed up and taken back out to the storage shed! But whatever….it’ll get done by St. Patrick’s Day I’m sure! LOL

All this to say…a new blog posting is coming soon (in the next few days, I hope) about my most recent chapter in the reconstruction saga. And next week I should have a post highlighting a local chef friend and her spring menu. Am hoping to have another chef spotlight in the next few weeks as well. You never know what you’re gonna find here! So stay tuned….


The Versatile Blogger Awards 2014

February 26, 2014

*I’m not sure why none of my spacing in between paragraphs made it here.  I inserted space in three different times, and every time I save my work, it takes it away.  My apologies for everything being crammed together 😉

So I was looking at my blog tonight, and making sure that all of my “About Me” information was current, when I noticed that like, two years ago, a follower of my blog bestowed upon me a Versatile Blogger Award!  And somehow, somewhere, it completely got past me and I never knew!  Now how dumb do I feel??!!  But I read through the entire post from October 25, 2011 and was so honored to have been mentioned among her choices for versatile bloggers from all walks of life.  Plus I LOVE the idea of an annual list of awardees to come up with and share with readers, so that all of MY favorite blogs can get a public head knod and hopefully increase their traffic each year!  So thank you first and foremost to Kana Tyler of Kana’s Chronicles ( for giving me this awesome honor so long ago – and my apologies for not offering my thanks sooner!

Now, for those of you out there who write – especially if I have missed your blog or didn’t realize that you have one – this is a pay-it-forward award, so you can also participate and have your own award show over there on your page as well.  Also, you can comment on my blog with a link to your site, for my benefit as well as for my readers.  Here are the rules:

  1. Thank your nominator with a link to their blog.

  2. Bestow the award on 10 bloggers (sharing links to their sites, and letting them know) – I, however, am bestowing it on 11 bloggers, because I’m just crazy like that

  3. List seven things about yourself.

Easy peasy.  So here we go.the-versitle-blogger-award

Domestic Dyke’s Versatile Blogger Awards 2014 (in no particular order of importance):

* Gayby Boom Blog ( – dads Michael and Matthew Burrus-Pearce with their humoros quips about life with a toddler daughter and new infant son

* The Robot Mommy ( – follow along with this SAHM, as she shares her “grumps” pics, and TCIF memes (Thank Coffee It’s Friday, right?)

* The Herzy Journey ( – Jenny Herzberger’s wild ride through breast cancer, treatments, and reconstruction

* Happy Herbivore Blog ( – Our favorite resource for all things plant-based (diet, that is)!

* A Journey Through the Carcinoma Wonderland ( – Austinite wife and artist blogging her way through breast cancer… and all that comes with it

* Slap Dash Mom ( – the adventures of Sadie Lankford, her wife Rachel, and their three daughters (the oldest has her own jewelry line! about anything from cooking/baking, to school, to crafting, to movies, to LGBT rights, to whatever they encounter in their new home of Arizona

* Madgew-musings ( – the inner workings of Madge Woods, her friends, her family, and her travels around the U.S. and abroad!

* The Next Family ( – a wonderful compilation of blogs that come from a diverse family of writers on a wide variety of unique topics

* Simple Life Yoga ( – Brandie Sellers’ blog about her journey that led her to yoga, its teachings (and hers in turn as a yoga instructor), life coaching, vegetarian cooking, health & wellness, and her own experience as a breast cancer survivor

* Online with Zoe ( – amazing tales and treasures from the mind of Zoe Nicholson, human rights activist and feminist who has been on the forefront of activism, writing and speaking for many years, her writing is full of rich experiences and historical significance

* The Davey Diaries ( – follow along as David Mailloux rips open his insecurities to share them with others, as a white, male, educated, openly-gay recovering alcoholic…one day at a time, one step at a time

Congratulations to all of you versatile bloggers!  And thanks for sharing yourself with the rest of us!

Now for my obligatory 7 things about me (according to the rules listed above):

1.  I am still mildly addicted to Friends, the television show.  I watch at least one episode pretty much every night of my life.

2.  I once adopted two poodles from a shelter, naming the female Phoebe and the male Chandler (see?  A little addicted).

3.  I could eat tacos, in some form, every day, I think.  Egg, beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, veggie, black bean, crispy, soft….I could go on and on.

4.  I have had 4 models of Jeep in my life:  Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Grand Wagoneer.

5.  I took tap, jazz, and ballet for several years as a kid (yes, with the big tutus and everything), and my mother wouldn’t let me be in any sports because that was for boys.  Yeah.

6.  When I was in 5th grade, my best friend was visiting her grandmother in Wylie, Texas the night that Candace Montgomery murdered Betty Gore with an ax (and was found “not guilty” after using a self-defense argument).  Shortly after that, there were rumors that the murderer and her kids moved onto my street, one block down; never found out if they were true or not.

7.  I do not now, nor have I ever, played Candy Crush Saga.

With THAT, I say, “Keep writing my friends!  Keep reading my friends!  Keep sharing my friends!”

And take care of each other.

The Lessons of Cancer

It’s Monday, and as I type this, I am hooked up to an IV line that goes to my chest, pumping in the chemo drugs that had better be annihilating this stupid cancer.  I am confidant that when I am done, the scans will show no traces of cancer, and then I can get on with radiation and finish out this year cancer-free.  As I sit here, sweatshirt on, blanket on my legs, headphones in my ears and relaxing music piped in… I reflect on this past weekend.


While we were at camp – yeah, it felt kind of like cancer camp for grownups – we had sessions with counselors, art therapy, and some group sessions, to name a few things.  One of the things that we did was make a list of things that cancer has taught us.  We drew a circle in the middle of a page and wrote those words – “What Cancer Has Taught Me” – and branched things off of it.  After we got done, I was pretty amazed at some of the answers – even my own – and thought about what a great blog it would make…so here we are.  I decided that I wanted to write and share about what cancer has taught ME, so here are my top 10, done Jay Leno style.

10.  Life is Precious.  Now we ALL know this, or at least we all SHOULD know this.  Our lives are ours, and we are the ones who have been commissioned to protect our lives, even when we don’t think we should.  Each and every one of us matters, are important, and have value; and each and every one of us should always remember that. 

9.  Laughter is Healing.  Something that I have always tried to do is keep a sense of humor, no matter what the situation.  Yes, some might find it to be inappropriate at times, but sometimes you just have to lighten up a dark or grim situation – like cancer – by inserting some funny into it.  The few times that I have cracked and fallen apart, there is almost always a laugh coming at the end of the tears.  My friends – my good, true friends – are equally important and talented at knowing when to lighten things up, thus redirecting my focus OFF of myself and my situation and back to the business of being ME.  1175669_10151656676857309_2046112741_n

8.  I am STRONG.  This one took me a while to figure out.  Many people say, when facing a difficult situation, that they don’t know how they will ever do it, or that they just know that they cannot do it.  But you know what?  We can do pretty much anything we put our mind to!  I didn’t think that I could endure all of the loss, years ago, of family and friends who did not “approve” of my relationship with Erikka; but I did.  I didn’t think that I could endure anymore hate and ignorance in this world that has been directed at my family, or other families like ours; but together, we have.  I didn’t think that I could endure my oldest son’s teenage years and a custody suit that almost broke me down to my core; but I did and came through to the other side.  I didn’t think that I could ever endure breast cancer and all of the procedures and treatments that I watched my mother go through seven years ago; but I did.  I have.  And I AM.  I have discovered that I am way stronger than I ever gave myself credit for, and it is still amazing to discover it!

7.  Our bodies CAN turn on us.  The year before my surgery, I had started walking, then running, for exercise.  I had lost 32 pounds before my diagnosis, and I was going to the gym at least three days per week for Aqua Cardio, as well as regular cardio and weight work.  I was in better shape than I had been my entire adult life, eating better and taking care of my body, when I found a lump and was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  We have no way of knowing how much of my diagnosis was due to things that I had done in my unhealthy past (smoking, overeating, etc.), how much was environmental, how much was familial, or how much was just sorry luck of the draw.  But it was eye-opening to know that cancer has no agenda, and will pick and choose whomever it wants to be its victim.  1234150_10151643344332309_1470707719_n

6.  Our health is one of the most important things that we can control.  Yes, we have control over our health.  Many of us choose not to, until it’s too late and we are trying to control disease in order to extend our life.  Had we taken control earlier, then we may not need to try to do damage control later on.  But truly, knowing what I know now, if I could go back, I would totally change how I ate and took care of my body in order to not go through this.  I will also say that while having cancer totally sucks and makes me feel miserable, I don’t think that I would give it back because of all that I have seen, done, and learned through this process.  So take back your health, if it has gone askew; be the one to make healthy lifestyle choices and decisions – trust me, it makes a difference!

5.  Love is stronger than fear.  There is a LOT of fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis.  While a doctor typically won’t tell you, “Hey you have cancer.  You’re going to die,” it is still very scary to hear those words and resist the panic that comes with it.  All of the “what ifs” creep in and can become overwhelming.  What if I DO die?  Who will take care of my kids?  Who will close out all of my accounts?  Who will make sure to clean out my nightstands before my mother decides that she wants to pack up my things?  Who will take care of my wife?  Who will take Noah to camp, and make sure that Harrison and Zoe remember me somehow?  But somehow, someway, every time those thoughts sneak in, someone comes along and replaces them with love and assurance, and those fearful thoughts are banished from my mind.  

4.  Support can come from the most unexpected places.  I was really, really worried when I got diagnosed about a multitude of things.  I had no insurance, so how in the world would I get through treatment?  Would the doctors recognize my wife as such and allow her to accompany me, for big things as well as little ones?  What was I going to do about money, without me working and bringing in money for the majority of the year?  What will I do about money now that the money raised for us is running out?  But yet, my worries have all been answered by amazing people who have come out of the woodwork to offer love, support, and financial assistance when needed.  We have gotten money sent to us from the most unsuspecting people, and have been eternally grateful for the kindness of both strangers and friends.  And support hasn’t always been financial stuff at all.  We have a multitude of friends who we consider family that have helped with both of the kids (mostly the baby), and without them, I don’t know how I would have gotten through some of the rough days.


3.  There is a LOT of good in a LOT of people.  I will never have an opportunity to thank and hug all of the people who have helped us get through this ordeal, especially in the beginning when it was all new and very scary.  People that we didn’t know sent meals and filled our freezer.  Other people that we don’t know, as well as those that we do, raised money and had benefits in my honor, and provided us with much needed financial help to get the bills paid during these months that I would not be working.  I have had prayers and well-wishes sent to me via ecards, cards in the mail, and even cookies, by folks that I have never met and might not ever.  Still others have cleaned our house for free, and taken care of our rambunctious toddler on days that I just don’t feel good enough to do so.  Because of social networking, we are constantly bombarded and blasted with ignorance and hatefulness going on in the world around us, and it becomes difficult to see that there is still any good left anywhere other than mankind’s own agendas.  But cancer has shown me that despite all of that ignorance and hate, there is so much good in our fellow mankind – friends, family, strangers alike.  We just have to really, really look for it, listen for it….and it will present itself.  It actually renews my faith in humanity, and because I’ve seen it and know that it’s there, it can’t be taken away from me.

Journey to Healing Retreat – Sept. 2013
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

2.  Body image is a constantly evolving thing.  Boy ain’t THIS the truth!?  Just when I thought that I was actually getting happier with the body I was seeing when I got dressed, I got knocked down a peg or two!  After surgery, it took weeks before I could look in the mirror when undressing and not want to cry.  I still have my moments, too.  But as the swelling has gone down only somewhat, I am learning to accept the new image that I see when I look in the mirror.  And as I continue to take chemo – weekly now – I have noticed that my face has gotten more round and circular looking (like a plate head).  I hate the way that I look!  It has been very distressing to look in a mirror and know that this person looking back is not me – ohmygawd there is a SICK person looking back at me!  I look like a cancer patient!  Well holy hell….that sucks.  So I now have to get used to a new normal, and hopefully when I am done with treatment, I will lose all of the extra weight that has been put on during treatment.  1173783_10151643343162309_400297376_n

And the #1 lesson that cancer has taught me….

1.  Boobs aren’t all THAT important.  Now don’t take this the wrong way, because I know how important it is to many mothers to nurse their babies and give them awesome milk to grow and become strong little people.  But I had already used mine to nurse two babies, and before surgery, all I did was complain about their size and heaviness.  I was constantly trying to find a bra that didn’t roll up underneath, or a sports bra that didn’t create a uniboob.  I complained about their size, and was jealous of trans friends who got “top surgery” to take them off and not worry about them anymore.  In the grand scheme of things?  Mine tried to kill me, so I had them lobbed off, with no reconstruction planned or discusses.  They were just big lumps of fat on my chest, and I do not want to die just to have them.  Now that I am several months out from surgery, I have my moments where I miss them, and wish that my body was whole.  I still struggle with how mangled and deformed I feel, and know that there is nothing that I can do to change it.  I know this though – my breasts did not define me before, so they won’t define me now.  I can exercise and work out again and build up my chest to not look so flat; and eventually have some badass tattoos done to cover my scars.  But most importantly, cancer has taught me that no set of boobs are ever worth dying over….I’m just sayin.’

The Happy Herbivore’s Quick, Vegan Queso

Yes, it’s vegan.  Yes, it’s queso.  And YES, it’s GOOD!  I have tried a few different vegan “cheeses,” and the only one that I liked remotely was the queso at Spiral Diner in Ft. Worth.  Well, tonight that changed!  My wife made the Quick Queso from Happy Herbivore’s new book, and it was amazing – even the 12 year old pickypants liked it!  So here you go!

Ingredients (it says it makes 1 cup, but I think we got slightly more than that):

  • 1 cup Non-dairy milk (we used Almond Milk)
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup salsa (we used Hellasphere Hot)

Very simple, very easy.

Whisk all ingredients, except for the salsa, together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until thick.  Stir in salsa (the queso will turn an orange color) – serve immediately.

We had this with tortilla chips and it was SO good!  Tomorrow for lunch I am planning on using it to make nachos…enjoy!

Per Serving (1/4 cup):  Calories 45, Total fat .8g, Carbohydrates 6.2g, Fiber 1.6g, Sugars 1.8g, Protein 4g

The Happy Herbivore’s Refried White Beans

OK, here is the recipe for the yummy and healthy beans that we had for dinner inside of fresh tortillas.  The calories are in the tortillas, so I would recommend a whole wheat tortillas versus the amazing Rosa’s tortillas that we had tonight.

Ingredients (serves 2 – I doubled it so we would have leftovers):

  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup diced green chiles (I used the whole little can)
  • 1 can (15 oz) white beans of your choice, undrained (I used Northern White beans)
  • Hot sauce (optional – I used 2 tbsp. of Hellasphere Hot Salsa)
  • Cayenne pepper (optional – I didn’t use any)

Slice the green onions, leaving most of the dark part for the end.  Saute’ the green onions and garlic in a pan with just enough of the vegetable broth to cover the bottom, until most of the liquid has cooked off (about 2 minutes).

Add carrots, cumin, tomato paste, and green chiles, plus enough broth to line the pan with a thin layer of liquid.  Saute’ until the carrot pieces are tender and most of the liquid has cooked off (about 2-5 minutes).

Add beans with their liquid, and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and mash beans well with a fork or potato masher.  *You will still want some whole and half beans, not a refried consitency.  It will look very soupy, but don’t worry.

Heat to high and wait for it to boil, stirring often.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir the beans every minute or so, taking care to scrape the bottom and lift the beans.

Slice the remaining dark green part of the green onions and set aside.

After 10 minutes, the beans will have cooked down quite a bit.  It may still be soupy, but it will thicken as it cools.

Add hot sauce (or Hellasphere salsa, if you have some…lol), cayenne (if you’re planning to use it), salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in green onions that you have diced and set aside, and serve.

Makes fantastic homemade burritos!

Per Serving:  199 per cup, Total fat 1.9 g, Carbohydrates 35.9 g, Fiber 9.9 g, Sugars 2.6, Protein 10.7g