Metamorphosis


A few years ago my children and I studied various bugs that we could find in our yard. I hoped this would help them get over their fears of bugs. I’m not sure it helped all that much, but for the past couple of summers, my kids and I have been capturing caterpillars and “raising” them to butterfly stage. It is a fun activity that gets us outdoors and exploring the nature around us.

Last year I had planted some herbs that I had read were host plants to swallowtail butterflies. By the end of the summer we raised a generation of black swallowtail butterflies. I am hoping we can do that again in a few weeks. (I spotted a swallowtail in the garden a few days ago.)

So far this year we have been raising and releasing cabbage white butterflies. With social distancing and events being cancelled this summer, I tried planting a little container garden in my backyard, but I have not been very successful at growing food. The broccoli bolted and the cauliflower did not produce, so I decided we should see what kind of caterpillars we had by raising them to butterfly or moth stage.

I started by transplanting a broccoli plant to a smaller pot that would fit in our netted butterfly habitat. Having a living host plant in the habitat works better and is easier to maintain than constantly clipping and providing plant leaves. All the caterpillars on the broccoli plant were green, so I wasn’t sure what they were. We had a few moths and one butterfly from the first grouping.

Now that I know which ones turn into the cabbage butterfly, I add them to the butterfly habitat. I throw the moth caterpillars out for the birds. Every few days I go out and pick the caterpillars off of the rest of the garden plants. We raised a handful of cabbage butterflies on the single broccoli plant until there was nothing left.

After we let the last one go, I asked my daughter if we were done with the cabbage white or if she wanted to raise a few more. She said she wanted to raise a few more. Now we have one of the cauliflower plants in our butterfly habitat. We are waiting for their transformation to be complete, so we can release them.

 I think the change a caterpillar undergoes during metamorphosis is truly fascinating and awesome. This is just one of the ways I see God’s intricate design in nature and a parallel to our faith.

We are like the caterpillar and the butterfly when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:4

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:2

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 3:27

 

Alfredo Sauce


Last night I made roasted chicken over egg noodles with Alfredo sauce. I flavored the chicken with a generous amount of salt and some Italian seasonings. The egg noodle recipe came from www.meatrx.com under the recipes tab. The Alfredo sauce was something I threw together, and it turned out well. The recipe is below.

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

4 oz cream cheese

4 oz parmesan cheese (I shredded the cheese to help it melt faster.)

1 cup cream

½ cup chicken broth/chicken drippings

½ tsp garlic

¼ tsp parsley

¼ tsp thyme

 

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.

Cook on low to medium heat until the butter and cheeses are melted and all ingredients are well combined.

Stir sauce while cooking to keep from scorching/burning the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

 

Liver Tumor Progress Note

Please know that the following is not medical advice. I am just explaining my experience on the keto/carnivore diet. I want to share my cancer and keto journey with others, so that people can start asking their doctors questions and really think about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in a “new” way.

In January 2019 I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to the liver. I did conventional chemotherapy and had an ablation of the tumor in the spring of 2019. Following the ablation I changed doctors and started on Ibrance and Femara. I am giving all these details because I want to be transparent about the treatments I have done. I don’t want anyone to assume I did this through diet alone. However, I do think it has been the biggest help.

All through last year I explored low carb/keto diets and cancer. I learned about the Otto Warburg effect. I learned about ketosis. I learned about inflammation and insulin resistance. I learned about metabolic health. I learned about mitochondrial health. This whole path I have been on for the past year and a half has really changed how I think about health and wellness.

I had a baseline CT in October 2019 with my newer (to me) oncologist. It showed the liver tumor measured at 1.6 x 1.0 cm. It’s not a huge tumor, but any cancer tumor is scary to have because you never know if/when it will spiral out of control. At this point in time I continued to take the medications as prescribed. There was a lot of dosage adjustments and time off of the medication here and there because it tanked my blood counts too low. Finally the doctor got me down to the lowest dose possible of the Ibrance.

My next CT scan was in January 2020. This time the liver tumor measured 0.9 x 1.3 cm. It was a slight decrease but an improvement none the less. The doctor was pleased with the results.

A couple of months after the January scan COVID hit the globe. The recommended guidelines for the Ibrance changed and now even the lowest dose was causing my blood counts to be too low. During the early spring I was told to hold the Ibrance longer than the scheduled week off. I ended up holding the Ibrance for about a month the first time and then for about three weeks the second time. My routine scan for the end of April also got pushed back to the beginning/middle of June.

Last week I finally had my routine CT scan. This scan showed that my liver tumor was now measuring at 1 x 0.7 cm. My oncologist was, again, happy with the results but also a little more cautious about indicating it was a true positive improvement. My husband and I were so happy and relieved by the results.

With the ongoing pandemic and the fact that I had improvement, even though I didn’t take the Ibrance as often as recommended, we have decided that I am going to hold off on taking that medication for now. The doctor is ok with this for now, but I have to be followed more closely than every three months. I decided this was a good compromise because I would no longer be on a medication that I had serious questions and concerns about.

I continue to read and listen to new information and testimonials about the keto/carnivore diet. I have also expanded my health practices and learning to sunlight exposure, grounding, prayer, exercise, and eliminating as many toxins from my environment as I can. One of the toxins I have learned about recently is estrogen (or estrogen-like substance) exposure. This is another area of importance to me because my cancer is hormonal driven.

So now, I pose to you, why wait? Why wait until you are sick to change bad nutrition and bad habits?

Don’t be like me. Don’t wait until your life is on the line to really think about what you expose your body to and how you treat it.

 

Here is a list of books I have read so far that is specific to the ketogenic lifestyle and cancer:


19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

God Provides the Healing

Last week I chose health and healing as the words of the week on my Facebook page. I always thought I was fairly healthy. I followed a typical western diet and tried to exercise when I could fit it into my schedule. I have never smoked and never really drank much alcohol. I am also still fairly young.

I didn’t buy into the organic foods for quite a while. I couldn’t see that it made any difference in my friends’ lives, and organic produce can be pretty expensive. (I would later change my mind on the organic front after doing more nutritional research.)

My world was rocked in 2016 with my first breast cancer diagnosis. Serious health diagnoses can be scary, especially for a young mother. I got through the treatment stages and still didn’t change my eating habits. I had no idea. Nutrition was never really brought up during treatment. The medical staff were only concerned that I kept my appetite and didn’t lose weight.

One thing I did change nutritionally during this time was that I stopped drinking as much soda. Some brands would make my stomach hurt, so I just couldn’t drink them anymore due to the pain and discomfort; not so much from any nutritional viewpoint. (Yes, I knew soda was not good for me, but I hadn’t really thought about how toxic it really was for my body.)

My world was turned upside down when I received the metastatic diagnosis in 2019. Around this time, one of my brothers and his wife introduced me to the ketogenic diet. They had been low carb, ketogenic, for a couple of months and we had some conversations about it over the holidays. My husband and I started counting our carbohydrates and limiting them a few weeks before I heard the words metastatic cancer.

It didn’t take me very long to start researching and going down the “rabbit hole” to find the proper human diet. The more I looked, the more lies and misinformation I found. This can be very upsetting for people who, like me, have a chronic (or multiple) illness. I don’t know the number of times I cried when I learned the truth.

I am only a little over a year out from my metastatic diagnosis and conventional treatment. It’s still too early to tell if I have helped improve my prognosis. However, I don’t dwell on thoughts like this very often nor for very long.

I look back and see God’s providence intertwined in my life. I believe the low carb, ketogenic diets were introduced to me as tools for me to use to aid in the healing of my body.

Back in February I explained it to a friend by comparing it to 1 Corinthians 3:6-9:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

My brother and sister-in-law were like Paul because they introduced, or “planted,” the idea of the ketogenic diet and nutrition in my mind.

I am like Apollos as I “water” my health, my life, by following a meat heavy ketogenic lifestyle and continue to research ways to optimize my health.

Only God can provide the healing.

I feel well, I am hopeful, and I know it is all in God’s hands. He is in control and can see all things and how it will work out in the end. He is mighty, faithful, just, merciful and gracious.

I will continue to share my testimony and go where He sends me.

Right after first cancer diagnosis but before treatment.

Last fall, after following a ketogenic lifestyle for several months.