I’m having a love affair with essential oils and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

standard January 15, 2018 Leave a response

My love affair with essential oils all started with a book club meeting.

Wait, that’s not entirely true. It all started with the lice situation years ago.

That’s when I first bought an essential oil. Considering the fact that the lice thing happened 5 years ago, I think I should get some serious kudos for resisting the lure until now.

Because, yes, I’m done resisting. As I said earlier, it all started with a book club meeting that was held at a friend’s house. When I walked in, book in hand, a full day’s stress and worries resting on my shoulders, a delightful smell greeted me. Five minutes later I realized that I was completely relaxed. I turned to my friend and raised a questioning eyebrow. She gestured to the diffuser quietly working on the kitchen counter.

It wasn’t until the next time we met at her house for another book club event that I finally started asking questions about what she was diffusing. With a bit of a glimmer in her eye, she told me and invited me to take a couple samples home. The samples wooed me. I spent much of my winter break researching essential oils, Young Living, and everything related to it.

You see, I’ve spent years thinking that essential oils are all about the smells and the act of believing in them. Basically, thinking that if you believe something enough, it’ll work to a certain extent. I’m not too proud to admit that I affectionately, possibly a little condescendingly, rolled my eyes at the friends who were all in.

But one of the samples that my friend sent me home with was Thieves, the Young Living blend designed to help keep the user healthy. C, my oldest, lives in fear of getting sick and was starting to ask for hand sanitizer to take to school with her. That’s a road I really didn’t want to go down, but I figured it couldn’t hurt for her to take a little Thieves to school.

Long story short, her sister and I caught a nasty bug flying to Chicago for Christmas. She, didn’t even get a sniffle. So I dove in.

And now I’m all in.

I’m loving learning about the different oils and their various properties. It’s fun to research healthy alternatives to things we currently use. I’m using Frankincense to try to reduce some nasty scars that are the result of a surgery I had a couple years ago. I’m diffusing some Stress Away at night to help M and I sleep better. I’m using Lemon to make the house smell fresh and clean and to boost my motivation in the morning. And, of course, I’m diffusing Thieves to keep this house as germ free as possible.

Oh, and clearly, I’m all over the business aspect of this. Because, have you met me? I love starting new businesses, especially when it’s about something I find fascinating and it gives me the opportunity to learn. And I’m SO getting a kick out all of the people who are reaching out to me via messenger or text to ask if I can recommend an oil or a blend for this or that.

So, of course, I now have a new website and a Facebook page.

But, don’t worry. I’m not turning this blog into an essential oil blog. I’ll be posting oil related things on the new website and doing my usual sporadic posting around here.

That said, if you’re interested in joining me on my exploration journey, you can

  • Like the Facebook page. I do some Facebook lives, share information as I discover it,
  • Sign up for my essential oils newsletter.
  • Check out my website. It’s chock full of helpful info and is where the oils blog will live!
  • Email me with any essential oils questions you might have! Whatever is ailing you or worrying you, there’s probably an essential oil that can help. It would be my joy to research it for you!

Young Living Essential Oils

Long awaited exhale

standard May 12, 2014 15 responses

That day, that evening really, when our lives were irrevocably altered, I was hyper aware that everything was changing.

Sometimes change takes you by surprise, sometimes you have to look back to try to pinpoint the exact moment. You sift through the memories, the events until you can say “There, right there, that’s when it all changed.”

That night though, I watched it change. I knew nothing would ever be the same, and I was desperately focused on making sure that the children would never, ever be able to pinpoint that day as the day their lives were altered. A part of me hoped that they’d never even notice the change, that the transition from normal to not might be subtle enough from their point of views that there never would be a “before” and “after” in their minds. But, having lived through major medical upheavals pretty much my entire life, I wasn’t delusional enough to truly believe it.

That night though, that one night, I could control.

We got the call from M’s doctor while we were out to dinner with the kids, getting ready to take them to a pajama event at the local church. They were eating at one of those pretend “healthy” buffet restaurants and we were just watching them, assuming we’d be headed to dinner with our friends as soon as we’d dropped them off.

Then I looked at my phone. I had three missed calls. (Those places are noisy.) M had two. All the same number.

Our eyes met over the children’s oblivious heads. Fear shone back at me.

“He has a brain tumor.” I thought, as his phone rang again and he stumbled away from the table to take the call in the relative silence of the parking lot. “They only call like that, frantically, after hours on a Friday evening, if it’s something really, really bad.”

In my mind brain tumor was as bad as it got.

Cancer was as bad as it got.

That almost makes me laugh today.

I wiped the fear from my face. Stopped my hand from straying to my own phone. Forced myself to focus on the kids and their cheery chatter. M didn’t come back into the restaurant, so I put a last spoonful of peas into Little L’s mouth, helped C wipe Mac&Cheese sauce from her face, and gathered their things.

We found him, pale faced and wild eyed, standing by our car. Even without knowing what was wrong, I knew our evening was toast.

“How about, instead of the pajama party, we go home, watch a movie and paint our nails!” I said to the two little faces starting to dart back and forth between his deathly pale face and mine. The girls focused on me, skeptical. It sounded like a trick. It felt like a trick. But it was clearly too good not to believe.

“In front of da TV?” C asked tentatively.

“Yup!”

They agreed with glee, instantly forgetting their planned evening of fun with their friends, and clambered into their seats. I buckled them both in and closed the door. Only then did I let myself make eye contact with M.

He murmured the doctors’ hypothesized diagnosis and the world as I knew it shifted on its axis.

I could have guessed a million things, this wouldn’t have been on the list. At the time I lived blissfully unawares of the sheer number of people affected by auto-immune disorders, of the sheer number of auto-immune disorders in existence. Neither of us had any clue.

A storm of questions and fears exploded in my head, but I held on to the only thing that felt solid and real. I held on to the fact that I had to make everything normal for the kids. Make this seem like a fun, special evening, not a disastrously life altering one.

We went home. Decided to watch Ponyo for the first time. I painted their tiny nails. I held them both tight. M took a long walk so he could call the many medical professionals in his family. And I surreptitiously tried to Google what the doctor had said.

I grew to loathe that movie. It became their all time favorite. They watched it over, and over, and over again that summer, and every time I was thrown back into that surreal evening where I tried to maintain normalcy for my girls for as long as I possibly could.

In the movie, there’s a huge flood, the waters overtake the town while terrifying prehistoric animals swim up from the depths of the ocean to swim among the people. That’s what that year felt like. Overwhelming fear sweeping over us while new and increasingly terrifying things lunged at us as we tried to tread water and stay alive.

We survived that flood. The girls thrived despite all the upheavals, all the changes. In the end it molded them as much as it did us, but it didn’t break any of us. In fact, I thought we’d managed to incorporate all the changes, that we’d been able to rebuild and move on, our lives different, but still good.

And then, last Tuesday, the doctor declared M to be almost fully healed, to be in maintenance mode rather than repair mode. And I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I’ve been holding since that night way back in March of 2011.

As that pent up breath escaped from me, I saw M’s shoulders relax fully for the first time since that night. Saw fear that I no longer even noticed lurking in his face fade away. And I felt my lungs fill fully with air for the first time in years.

It’s still an auto-immune disorder. It’ll never fully go away. But it released some of its grip on our lives. Lives that might not be as irrevocably altered as I once feared.

M and Little L at the beach

****** A few back-story posts for those who haven’t had the good fortune to be following this blog for the last 3 years: His Strength Lies in His Vulnerability

Fast Paced Movie Sequence

Hearkening Back

Driving All Day Long 

Musings on a Challenging Year

I’ll do my part to help end cancer. Will you?

standard July 17, 2013 Leave a response

My grandmother. My aunts. My mom. Without looking too far that’s at least 4 people, possibly 5, directly connected to me, who have faced a cancer diagnosis and lived to tell the tale. They’re not the only ones in my entourage. And not everyone has been so lucky.

Ever since the day our mother was diagnosed back in 2007, my sisters and I have debated whether to get tested for the BRCA gene. At the time my doctor was adamant that I not be tested, that it would put me at risk, from an insurance perspective, of being labeled as having an “existing condition” and refused coverage should I ever unfortunately need it.

I didn’t really mind. With my family’s health history, I never really felt the need to be tested. I operate on the assumption that I will, at some point or another, get breast cancer. I operate on the assumption that my two daughters are also in the high risk category.

For my sister, that wasn’t good enough.

But really, whether she ended up getting tested or not isn’t the issue. The simple fact that we can have this discussion is.

For my grandmother’s generation there was no test for ‘at risk’ genes, there was no screening for breast cancer, there wasn’t even much choice for treatment. For my mother’s generation things were better, and for ours, well, it’s a whole other landscape.

Whenever I think of breast cancer, or any other type of cancer, I think of all the doctors and scientists working hard in their labs doing their best to eradicate cancer in their lifetime. I think of people like my little sister who dedicate their days to finding a cure.

And I want to do my part.

But I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor. So I can’t help in that way.

I do, however, have something that I can bring to the table, something we all have.

I have blood and I have my story.

Those scientists and doctors need something to study and you and I can give it to them.

In our generation 1 in 3 women will have cancer in her lifetime. 1 in 2 men will have cancer in his. If those numbers horrify you the way they horrify me, read on. 

ACS Cancer Prevention Study-3 ~ CPS-3 – AKA, How you can get involved.

The American Cancer Society is running Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), a huge nationwide long-term study that seeks to better understand the factors (lifestyle, environmental, genetic) that cause or prevent cancer and ultimately will help eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations.

They’re looking for 300 000 people between 30 and 65 years old who have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer)and are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which involves completing periodic follow-up surveys at home.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area now’s the time to get involved. Recruitment is taking place in the following places:

• Alameda (July 20-August 3)
• Marin County (July 24-August 7)
• San Francisco (July 17-August 10)
• San Mateo (July 24-August 10)
• Santa Clara (July 13-August 10)

Registration details here.

If you live elsewhere in the US, check the ACS CPS-3 page to see when and where recruitment is taking place in your area. 

Participation in the study is a long term kind of thing. The study is slated to run for 20
years. OK, fine, that might be a tad daunting. But remember, CPS-3 offers us an historic opportunity — a once in a generation opportunity — to be personally involved in research that will advance ACS’ understanding of the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause cancer.

That means that with a blood and by answering a few questions every couple of years we can help create a world with less cancer for our children. A world with more birthdays.

I’m lucky, my mom and my aunts are still around to celebrate their birthdays. I know way too many people who aren’t. I want to do my part to change that for my kids and their kids.

Will you?


(Please note: While I was compensated for my participation in learning and sharing about CPS-3 through Women Online/The Mission List, all opinions and stories stated here are mine and mine alone.)

The something that turned out to be two nothings

standard March 27, 2013 4 responses

Last week M and I finally met with the Oculoplastics specialist who, after turning my eyelid inside out and poking my eye a whole bunch, decided that the “lesion” seen above my left eye was nothing more than a thickening of the muscle, or maybe some fat, and nothing to worry about. It’s definitely not causing me any pain of any sort.

I have to go back in 6 months to double check that it hasn’t grown, but she’s really not concerned. Hurray for an end to the eye poking.

It’s also safe to say that, after 3 full ophthalmological work-ups in the last 2 months, I have some really healthy eyes and great vision. Also, I would rather have a root canal than have my eyelids turned inside out again. ugh. (It took three people to make it happen, M to hold my hand, a fellow to hold my head still, and the doctor to flip the lid. I made horrible sounds the entire time. I think we were all traumatized by the event.)

Today we met with the neurosurgeon who said, as we had predicted, that the other “lesion found” was an arachnoid cyst which was a total non-event. Some people are just born with them and live without ever knowing they have them. The scans show that it has clearly been there for a long, long, long time as the skull bone formed around it. My brain looks healthy and fine. He is not concerned in the least.

I have to go back in 6 months to have it rescanned just to make sure it looks the same and a year again after that. If neither of the next two scans show any difference then the whole matter will be dropped.

In short? Neither lesion is causing my migraines. Hurray for that!

The even better news is that I just discovered that I can exercise on the elliptical without pain. It’s not quite the same as running, but it’s better than nothing!

The Neurosurgeon suggested following up with a neurologist about the headaches, but now that we know there’s no life threatening issue, it seems a whole lot less dire. And, after a month of stressful doctor’s visits, I’m excited to just get back into a regular exercise routine.

Maybe when Spring really springs I’ll crave running so much that I’ll change my mind, but for now, I’m just glad that the something turned out to be two nothings and I’m ready to get back to just living my life.