About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lighbulb moment

It wasn't actually "a" moment, but rather one that has been slowly burning brighter and brighter. I'm going to climb onto my soap box for this one.

It all started about a year ago when I wanted to lose weight. I read Jillian Michael's book, "Master Your Metabolism" cover to cover. In it, she talks about how the processed, non-organic food we eat, as well as environmental toxins in our homes has disrupted our endocrine system and messed up our metabolisms. I started following Jillian's recipes and along with her killer workouts, lost most of the weight I wanted to. (Technically, I could lose another 10-15, but I'll put that on the back burner for now).

I've learned a lot in the past year about clean eating. Organic produce. Avoiding processed foods. If it is processed, I try to get it organic and with as few ingredients as possible. (Think cereal here). Whole grains, limiting sugar, etc. But it all was to lose weight. I knew to keep it off, it wasn't going to be a "diet" but a new way of eating for me.

I'm starting to see how it is SO MUCH BIGGER than simple weight control. In fact, keeping weight down is simply a by-product. Here's the thing. GOD KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING! When He created the plants (fruits & veggies) for us to eat as food, He gave us much of what we need to be healthy and prevent, and maybe even treat, disease.

Check out this video. It's 20 minutes long, but worth it:

Okay. So I'm not a doctor, and won't pretend to understand all of the niceties of the medical research. But food is medicine. Foods have chemicals in them that effect the body-natural chemotherapy that I can do at each meal. For instance, I've learned through Jennifer Griffin's blog that "cancer hates cabbage." I've ordered a book called "The Cancer Fighting Kitchen" by Rebecca Katz and can't wait to learn more.

This is going to be a lifestyle change for my family. They don't know it yet. They saw a glimpse of it over the past year with my Jillian menus. I prepared good organic meals. But I tolerated the refined grains and sugars. Now how much bigger it is. I want to feed my kids food that will not only fill their bellies, but help prevent cancers in their bodies. Not being hungry is almost a side effect. Its not going to be easy, especially for the older two. They are hooked on their white bread and pasta. I can only imagine how they will receive a heaping platter of kale! But as Grandma Osgood used to say, "If you're hungry, you'll eat it." Wish me luck!

I'm very convinced that the rise in disease in this country has a lot to do with our food supply. The hormone laced meats, the chemicals sprayed on the produce. The chemicals put into processed foods. The refined grains and sugars. Our fast food mentality. I knew it was bad from a diet/weight control point of view. But its bigger than that. Little girls are starting their periods in elementary school. Why is that? That exposes them to more estrogen and increases their chances of breast cancer. If they are obese (which many kids are), then their risk increases even more. I'm also starting to learn about the toxins that are in our shampoos, soaps and cosmetics. Oy! That is a whole other subject to wrap one's head around.

True confession time now. There is another aspect to this that I need to change, and that is wine. Being married to a French person, wine is a natural part of a meal. But wine and breast cancer don't mix well. Alcohol increases estrogen in the body, which feeds the cancer. There may be some health benefits to a little red wine on occasion. But not a glass with every meal. It's a bummer, because it can taste good. In our house, its almost a ritual. However, it is a ritual that I need to eliminate for my own health. Make no provision for the flesh, Tonya! (Romans 13:14)

I spent nearly 40 years not really paying attention to what went into my body. I allowed myself to spend my adult life overweight. (Fat cells also release estrogen into the system). I enjoyed alcohol. Did I contribute to my cancer unknowingly? I'm not going to dwell on that question. But I am going to change it for my kids, as well as to treat my own cancer with this weapon that was right in front of me the whole time. Duh!

As this lighbulb grows brighter, I'm seeing how this all comes together. I don't know everything there is to know, but I am learning. I'm hungry to learn all I can about this subject. I marvel at how simple it can be, though. I also marvel at how God gave us what we need to be healthy. Good, wholesome food. I'm not saying that is all there is to it. There is disease and definitely a place for doctors and medicine. God gave us those too.

If you are interested in learning more about the food supply in this country, I'd highly recommend the movie, "Food, Inc." If you have Netflix, it is one of the instant watch movies available.

My prayer requests:
  • That my kids accept the changes that are coming their way on the dinner table. That they be open to try new things.
  • That I be able to give up wine. I've done it before when I was pregnant. I know I can do it, and its not really that big of a deal. It's just a habit for me that I need to break.
  • That I continue to feel good as my body processes the first round of chemo. That the chemo drugs do their job and kill any marauding cancer cells that escaped through my lymphatic system.


  1. Wow! Thats a lot of amazing info about food, I had no idea. I wish you luck on your new food endevours with your family. I'm so happy your learning so much and truly hope it helps in your continuing battle against cancer. I think you are doing a wonderful job:) God Bless

  2. Hi, I was diagnosed on May 20th 2010. I had a mastectomy and and will have cycle 4 chemo on the 8th. I've had 2 hospitilizations in between. I need Herceptin for another 8 months afterward. You can do this Trish, just as I do. I have a 10 year old boy who thinks junk food is part of the pyramid. It's ironic, I told him recently that we are not only going to save a ton of money (which I don't have right now) on junk, but get healthy in the process. He put on nearly 10 lbs. this summer alone which is alot. All belly fat. You and I have our hands full! I think the battle with my son will be more difficult than the "C" one. Love and Light to you my dear :)

  3. correction" I meant Tonya, not Trish. sorry

  4. Hi Tonya, I adopted all of the changes that you mentioned a few years ago after reading Dr. Andrew Weil's book "8 Weeks to Optimal Health." I threw everything out of our refrigerator and cupboard and started from scratch stocking it with clean, whole, organic vegan food. My kids absolutely gave me heck about it for a few months, but now, a couple of years later, I am so so proud of them when they actually take the time to read the label on a product before they ask me to buy it. We check food, beauty/ health and household products for anything that contains artificial, modified and animal products. We eat delicious food every day! It was hard at first, but now it's just our way of life. I see everyday that people spend so much time and effort on their careers, hobbies, etc., but don't want to take a few seconds to see what is in the food (energy/ nourishment) that is put in their bodies. Actually, many just don't know to look. It's not that they don't want to. Thanks for bringing "Food Inc." to the attention of your friends and family. It's an eye opener, but definitely worth the hour it takes to watch it. I am so encouraged by your journey and your attitude and wish you continued enlightenment, joy and peace!