About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Veggie Burgers Anyone?

Who would have thought veggie burgers could cause so much stress? I am not a meat eater and only eat fish, seafood and chicken on rare occasions. Other than that, I don’t even like to look at meat or be around when it’s being cooked. Therefore, I am always trying to find ways to get more protein in my diet. One day last June I was in a wholesale warehouse and they were passing out samples of veggie burgers. I tried one and really liked it, checked the label and was thrilled to see they are loaded with PROTEIN. Sign me up people, I have found something that I like, that is quick and easy to cook and has PROTEIN! I walked out of the store with two bags in hand.

When I like something I can eat it over and over and never get tired of it. I started eating the veggie burgers every day, sometimes twice a day for about five weeks. I even packed them in an ice chest and took them on a trip to the Keys. That’s the extent I liked them. After we came back from the Keys, Jami was at my house getting ready to fly back to Dallas. I fixed a veggie burger and let Eisley taste it. She liked them and Jami asked what was in them. All I knew is they had to be healthy since they were made from vegetables and started reading off the list of ingredients. I was horrified when I read the word “soy” in the list. What have I done?

Twelve years prior to this I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer that was hormone positive. The doctors told me to stay away from any form of soy, because it could adversely affect my hormone levels and increase my chances of reoccurrence. Ever since my initial diagnosis I have been extremely careful to avoid all soy products in any form. You can imagine my thoughts when I realized that I had been loading my body with soy for five straight weeks.

I called the doctor Monday morning and explained my situation to the nurse. She spoke with the doctor and said he wanted to see me the next day for a consultation and lab work. That’s the point when I realized the seriousness of the situation and became unbelievably upset. I cannot recall a time when I’ve ever been so mad at me. To say I was infuriated, would be an understatement. I simply could not get pass the fact that I made such a huge mistake, one that could potentially cause me some serious problems. I ranted and raved and threw a tantrum. I am the type of person who likes to be prepared, who is constantly making lists to be sure everything is taken care of, who likes to cover the bases in their life. Realizing something of this magnitude had slipped by me, was sending me over the edge. I ended up calling a wonderful Christian counselor who helped me see the situation from a different perspective. As much as anything else, the perfectionist in me was not coping with the fact I made a big mistake. Knowing the reason behind my anger helped. Then she pointed out how God takes such good care of us. Had I not given Eisley the veggie burger and Jami asked what was in them, I would have continued eating them and who knows what the final outcome would have been. Yes, I made a mistake, but God protected me from continuing in that mistake.

The next day Dr. Marks went over everything with me and told me his strategy. He was going to monitor my estrogen levels closely. I would have to come back in a month, then every six months for a year. Depending on the lab results at that point would determine the next course of action. The once a year check ups that I dreaded would now become way too frequent.

Which brings me back to today. Today was my six months follow up appointment from the last appointment. I never go to the oncologist that I don’t cry at some point. It’s either before I leave, on the way, in the parking lot, in the waiting room, in the exam room or when I leave. At some point it a given, I’m going to cry. My doctor has assured me I’m not the only patient who cries and it’s completely normal, which helps me feel a little less stressed about my crying

Today the crying started a few miles from the Cancer Center. I was thinking about how much I hate going to the oncologist. I hate every aspect of the appointment. I hate driving to downtown Jacksonville, the traffic, the drive and merging in the different lanes on the interstate to get to the Cancer Center. I hate waiting in the lab waiting area for my turn. I absolutely hate the needle stick. This is something that started with chemo and has never stopped. I hate going into the waiting room and seeing the people with drawn faces who are desperately fighting for their lives. I hate waiting for the doctor to come in and watching him as he reads through my chart. I hate when he walks out to get the lab results, while I sit and wonder what he’s going to say when he comes back into the room.

While driving and crying and thinking how much I hate every aspect of my oncology appointment, I wondered how I could find peace for the moment. The answer came way too quickly - an attitude of gratitude. I thought how God must sit and wonder what was going on with all the complaining and no thankfulness. I started thanking him for every thing I could think of about my appointment. Thank you God that I’m going for a cancer check up and not a cancer treatment. Thank you God for a sunny pretty day, so I don’t have to do all this driving and merging in the rain.

The list continued as I walked into the Cancer Center. As I got off the elevator two elderly ladies were coming from the lab. One of them gave me the biggest smile. Thank you God for the beautiful lady that smiled at me putting a smile on my face. Thank you God that I’m not sitting in the “Wolfson Children’s Hospital Surgery Family Waiting Room” that’s right down the hall from the waiting area for the lab. Thank you God they were able to get my lab work with one needle stick. Thank you God that it’s me having a check up and not one of my kids, grandkids, or anybody that I love so much in my life. Thank you God that I am alive and can go for a check up 13 years and 8 months after my diagnosis. When I started thinking of all my blessings, my heart became lighter and I started to feel better right away. It's amazing what a difference it makes when you focus on your blessings and not the situation. Being thankful truly is food for the soul.

The nurse came in to check my vitals and said she remembers me as the lady who ate the veggie burgers. Dr. Marks came in and asked how I was doing. When I told him wonderful, he smiled and said that was the first time he had heard that all day. Hmm, that attitude of gratitude was paying off, both the doctor and I were smiling. When he looked over my chart he made a comment about me and the veggie burgers. Guess I’ll always be known as the veggie burger patient. Dr. Marks said that the results of my lab work should be back next week. If the estrogen level is low enough, I can start back with once a year visits. Regardless, I think I’ll do much better on my next visit and maybe even bypass the crying.


  1. I'm an "expert" on making veggie burgers. They don't have to include soy; there are all kinds of possibilities, using vegetables and other ingredients that are really healthy, and very tasty. I bet you'll find some you like, and they can help you live a long, long time... :)

  2. very sweet post. No one could ever tell you were feeling all that inside by looking at or talking to you...I certainly didn't. You are such a strong woman and an inspiration. I love you!!!! Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts and experiences. <3

  3. To my beautiful friend....you are such an encouragement, you are an inspiration. I love the fact that through the midst of the storm as you recounted the number of things you are thankful for God showed himself faithful. Love you my friend.