Saturday, March 6, 2010

Night Away From Mom...

Morning, dear Folks,

It's Sunday morning, early, and I'm back at home in Manayunk, just for the night. We had a birthday party last night much closer to home.

I awoke worried about mom. She had very bad back pains yesterday, and when i spoke with her on the phone last night, she tried not to worry me, but i could tell her pains were severe. I can only hope she slept and didn't have to take too many pills to do it.

One of the HUGE problems with mom is that she is on alot of meds. And she readily turns to meds for ANYTHING. Can't sleep? SLEEPING PILL. Can't poop? LAXATIVE. Neck pain? MUSCLE RELAXER PILL.

When i put her on the raw diet, I didn't know what i was going to do with her meds. I was hoping she would feel BETTER, not WORSE, and that the meds issue would take care of itself. When we spoke with Susan on the phone, Susan said she shouldn't take any meds unless she felt she REALLY needed it. Mom feels she REALLY needs ALL of her meds.

For those of you who don't know, i've put my mom on a living foods diet because she's been diagnosed with a ''possible malignancy" in her Thyroid. In addition to facing a possible thyroidectomy, she is also facing possible surgery for a stomach polyp and to re-section the bowel, as her bowel is severely obstructed from a previous surgery, supposedly. In other words, mom is sick.

Previously, she has chronic back issues that resulted from a bone breaking off in her back due to weakened bones from years of steroid use and chemotherapy from previous cancer. The bone that broke off was taken out by a surgeon, and she's never been the same. She's left with severely impinged nerves, and scar tissue developed, pressing on the nerves. She has tremendous pain in her lower back, and legs, which are often numb, that she manages with 2 Oxycontin a day. Never more, rarely less.

It's very early, so i'll only know how she fared last night when i speak with her and see her this morning when i go back home to nurse her to health.

What do i know about nursing? And drugs? I'll have to consult Susan, an R.N. about all of this again.

I know with raw, we go through detox. It's a natural part of the process. Is this her detox process kicking in? I would suppose things could get WORSE, before they get better. But, God never gives us more than we can handle. Please God that we can get through this.

I bought a new supplement folks at the store are ravings over: Diatomaceous Earth. It removes heavy metals and toxins. I am going to start mom on this. Even if she is taking drugs while doing raw, maybe this will help force everything out.

And i must remember to get her to drink more.

You know what????? If her back pains are bad NOW, imagine what she'll feel like laying flat on her back for 2 weeks in the hospital following major surgery!!!! The last surgery nearly killed her. Not from the surgery. From the RECOVERY. She was in such excrutiating pain in the hospital bed, she wanted to die.

So, Cliff and I have moved in with the parents, temporarily, and I've put my mom on a raw diet and hope to pursuade her against having surgery. Tonight was our first night away since we moved in a few days ago. It's not easy.

Yesterday was day four for mom, raw. She began to complain yesterday of back and leg pains, but some of her behavior was extremely encouraging. You gotta take the good with the bad.

xoxo michelle joy

Here's what i wrote yesterday:
Mommy Ruthie woke up feeling congested and very tired. She hadn't slept well as my father's snoring kept her up much of the night. She awoke earlier than usual. Maybe that's the raw kicking in. We need less sleep on raw.

She wasn't feeling well and was in pain when she awoke. Mom has chronic back problems. [A peice of bone broke off in her back years ago, and when the drs removed it, she was left with impinged nerves, numb legs, and terrible pain in her legs and back. She's had several surgeries and procedures to clear away the "scar tissue," which was supposedly causing her pain, but the surgeries and procedures were to no avail.] I hope she never has to get cut again. I don't think all of these surgeries have done her any good.

After her new raw pre-breakfast ritual of warm water with lemon, we chatted for a while, I try to be as comforting and encouraging as possible, and after an hour or two, she finally got herself ready to go for her bath, before our walk. She apologized for having to stay extra long in the tub with the whirlpool aimed at her back as her back really hurt today. I have no idea if that is a result of the new raw diet. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

After her bath, we had a green smoothie: romaine, spinach, mango, pear, banana, date, water. She is enjoying the smoothies, but still wasn't feeling so hot today, tired most of all, she kept reporting.

I was dissappointed she was still not feeling well on the walk and actually alittle fearful, but it seemed to pass. Her legs were bothering her and she was hot and uncomfortable and she had to sit down for a few minutes. It was very unusual and I was getting really concerned, especially since it was really cold out. I thought we would have to abandon the walk, but she began to feel better the longer we walked. I think she had a panic attack. (I think i have those from time to time when i am 80-10-10ing. No fat to calm you. Hmmm...)

I fear detox is kicking in sooner than i expected. It usually arrives around day 4 from what i've experienced and heard about, but soon she was feeling better and we walked longer.

Plus, overall, it's a challenge to figure out just how my mom is feeling. You have to interpret everything she says and really put 2+2 together to figure things out with her. You have to dig for information. "I didn't bring my cell phone," she says inexplicably. "What do you need your cell phone for, i'm here," I ask as we walk. "In case I have to call Daddy to come pick me up," she answers. "Why would Daddy have to come pick you up?," I asked. "In case i don't feel well and can't finish walking," she informed me. "ohhhhhh, are you in pain and feel like you can't finish walking, Mom?," With a deep sigh, she finally admitted, "yeahhh." It seemed like a little panic attack, actually, that she seemed to get over, that the pain in her legs brought on. Sometimes you just need to talk something OUT and you feel better. She has a lot of fear. And she doesn't generally like to talk about how she feels. Nevertheless, she began to feel better on the walk the longer we went, which i was happy to see.

When we got home, she had to rest a good while afterwards, which concerned me again. I seriously hope this diet is not going to turn out to more than she feels she can handle. Especially not being there with her while she's in pain, I hope she does not abandon ship too soon. I plan on being there daily as best as I can.

In a while, after resting she was feeling better, which was encouraging. So, we went and got our hair done, one of the many perks of living with mommy, i got treated to a haircut and styling.

She seemed quite upbeat at the salon! Her bad feelings of the morning seemed to have passed.

In fact, she really amazed me how open and upbeat she was about her new diet. Beaming, she informed the stylists and clients, "My daughter put me on the raw diet, you know, the smoothies!" When Helen, the hairdresser, asked if she was feeling any better in her stomach which has really been in severe distress for the last 4 months, she retorted, "you know, believe it or not, my stomach actually IS feeling better!"

My mom's stomach gurgles non-stop. It is one of those funny things about my mom. You always HEAR her belly and gastric juices churning, non-stop. She said to me yesterday, "My stomach isn't gurgling as much now." Now it only gurgles when she chews gum. A habit she has been reticent to give up.

But, hearing her say that her stomach is feeling better? Music to my ears. Without the motivation of getting positive results, i don't think ANYONE would do a diet like this!

The hairdresser, Helen, was genuinely interested in hearing about the raw diet, as she has had cancer three times. She's been familiar with the raw diet through what my mom has told her about me, so it wasn't all new, or unfamiliar or intimidating as it can often be upon first hearing about it. She genuinely wanted to know about it, so we had a good long chat about raw as she cut and styled my hair.

I shared with her how to make green smoothies, about strengthening the immune system through eating highly nutritious food complete with enzymes and no nutrients "cooked away," i shared with her about food combining if she still wanted to eat meat, which she said she did. We also talked about the apes and how they get big and strong on bananas and greens. And how cows grow huge on grass. People really never think of that.

We talked about how the raw diet can be such an enormous adjustment. "I think it would be really hard," she exclaimed. I agreed and shared with her that the majority of those that go on a raw diet do so because their health is in peril. I always say, "You have to have a very compelling reason to eat raw food." I shared with her about the green sludge i've been taking daily (E3Live). "I would NEVER believe i'd do something like that, it's so gross tasting. But it's over in a second and i feel benefits from it, so i do it," I explained. No body does anything unless they are motivated to.

With her three cancer scares, raw seems to intrigue her.

"But," she asked, "Where do you get your protein?" Such a common question. I explained that greens have more protein than we realize, and that nuts and seeds have lots and lots of protein. We talked about hemp seeds and how good they can be.

We even talked about drs and how all they want to do is operate, and sometimes it's unwarranted. She had breast cancer, but i suspect she did NOT have a breast removed as she was not overly sensitive of this topic. I think she only had chemo.

We talked about how food in the supermarket is made to last long on the shelves, not necessarily to make us 'healthy,' but to make the food production companies lots and lots of money. She agreed readily to it all.

I invited her to Arnold's Way and told her where she could get fresh organic produce (at Whole Foods or at Giant) and she was very receptive, appreciative of the info and open.

I love my haircut, AND enjoyed sharing with such a nice, receptive person!

What really tickled me, was my mom, how she is on her new raw diet. "Helen, don't ask me if i can have some pretzel. Michelle won't let me cheat!"

Demonstrating her gung ho attitude about the raw diet, when we got in the car to go, Mom said about Helen and her returning cancers, "Boy, she really NEEDS the green smoothies with all of the cancer she's had!" Mom is becoming a convert and seems super positive and motivated by the diet. I'm so pleased!

And when we were paying, mom was going on and on about how you have to chop up the dates and take the pits out and how avocadoes have pits, too! Cute. Cute. Cute.

Cliff and I were invited to a birthday party tonight which i really didn't want to go to, but we kind of have to. I left mom with three green smoothies in the fridge, and before i left, i made her a lovely platter of cut up veggies with a small dolop of sunflower seed/cashew pate. I wasn't sure how she would tolerate it, but she did and really enjoyed it. I think sunflower pate will be better for her than cashews, but it was all i had, it was already made up, my dad's been loving it, and, she tolerated it.

I'm trying to make the diet cleansing with the smoothies, but not overly un-livable. If she enjoys it as well as gets healthy on it, she'll be more likely to stick to it. And I'm seriously concerned about her losing too much weight or feeling too hungry. She's lost weight as it in with her bowel obstruction. I keep having to remind myself that O.H.I. served us sometimes 2x a day or more a scoop of seedcheese.

Cliff and I will sleep at home after the party. I'll have a chance to pick up and bring my raw equipment to mom's house so i can make her some more interesting meals with the cuisinart and the dehydrator, and, perhaps flax crackers and flax cookies. She likes a little sweet treat every once in a while and enjoys a crunch. O.H.I.'s menu had flax crackers on it I believe daily.

My intuition tells me I don't have to be so militantly strict with mom, like put her on a juice fast or something. I think maybe she's not as sick as the drs are making she is, with the thyroid. Anyway, i'm using her body cues as guidance. If something makes her not feel well, we'll certainly eliminate it.

Heck, i'm all new to this. I'm trying my best. There's so much conflicting info out there on how to heal on raw. Fruit or no fruit. Fat or no fat. When it comes down to it, trial and error is probably the best course of action.

She tolerated the salad with avo dressing relatively well that i made for her the other day and even bragged about it's deliciousness to Helen, the hairdresser. Something tasting good with a little salt and garlic i don't think will kill her. She did NOT get hoarse after the pate'.

Overall, her diet is light.

At O.H.I, we had sunflower seed pate several times a day, avo twice a week and flax and pumpkin seed crackers daily, or even twice a day.

Quickly, I'm doing well. Happy i'm staying raw, but it's not like i haven't been tempted. Boy, did i want to eat corn chips last night, but i got something crunchy that was raw instead as a substitute, carrot sticks! I enjoyed them and forgot about wanting the chips. Last night i was feeling terribly in need of some kind of snack. I made a banana whip and crunched on some raw bread, but i would have preferred a huge bag of fried corn chips.

I realized, emotionally, i was suffering. Not just from mom and the stress of it all, but from an upcoming singing gig i have in 13 days! I have to sing at a birthday party in spanish, 2 all new songs in spanish and one in french. I had forgotten with all of this with my mom. And I have an opera to perform in mid-april all in italian. Lots of work to do.

So, this is a day in the life of a raw food chef/opera singer with a sick mom. I so appreciate your support and encouragement and tips and advice and prayers. Please continue to pray for us. And please continue to leave comments or send emails. It's so encouraging! And let me know how you're doing!

xoxo michelle joy

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