cancer smarts meeting in the meadow

Weekly Meadow Meeting: March 31, 2019

Encouragement, Weekly Roundup

The Cancer Smarts Weekly Meadow Meeting is all about the places I’ve found encouragement to live abundantly. Let’s get to this week’s agenda.

Quick Quotes

  1. “If anything becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, identity, then it is an idol.” —Tim Keller
  2. “If we have everything else in the world without Christ, we’re impoverished. If we have nothing else in the world but Christ, we’re rich. In the end, Christ is all that matters.” – Randy Alcorn www.epm.org/facetoface

Surprise of a Lifetime

Army SSG Rob Cesternino pulls off the surprise of a lifetime when he reunites with his son Luca at Taekwondo practice after a 10-month deployment. I kinda think this is how my response will be someday when I see my heavenly father. Sheer love+relief+joy+tears+thanksgiving+gratitude.

BibleGateway Verse for Today:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6

Wellness Wisdom and Nutrition News:

VIDEO: Should Colon Cancer Survivors Change their Diets?

Only a minority of colon cancer victims change their diet after diagnosis (http://1.usa.gov/1o0QuNS). Of the millions diagnosed with cancer every year, as many as 90 to 95% of cancers may be caused by lifestyle factors. Check out this video article from Nutrition Facts on How to Win the War on Cancer: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-win-the-war-on-cancer/?fbclid=IwAR0dcMuluuNjjKZphZoG4UeSOqAFbnTz_HvGOVqTUFaBZ6j1cHfupYGK-Iw

VIDEO: New interview with 40-year vegan MD Joel Kahn by Chris Wark

Dr. Kahn is a cardiologist in Detroit, Michigan. He has treated thousands of acute heart attacks during his career and he is confident that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. In this interview they discuss low-carb keto diets, legumes and lectins, optimal cholesterol levels, blood markers and tests you can take to detect heart disease, and so much more. If you care about preventing or reversing our #1 killer disease, definitely watch this interview with Dr. Joel Kahn and Chris Wark!

SHOW NOTES FROM THIS VIDEO INTERVIEW
-Hospital food promotes disease [01:53]
-Dr. Kahn’s plant-based physician origin story [04:04]
-Nutritional medicine pioneers that influenced Dr. Kahn [07:00]
-What you need to know about cholesterol [17:17]
-How the dairy industry confused the science on saturated fat and cholesterol [19:45]
-Lower than average LDL cholesterol drops heart disease risk by 90% [22:00]
-What is Lifestyle Medicine? [30:00]
-Avoiding fad diets (like the keto diet) [33:03]
-Low carb diets increase death [37:00]
-Plant-based vs low carb for diabetes [40:20]
-Should we avoid legumes and lectins? [42:32]
-The relationship between cancer and heart disease [50:00]
-Early warning signs of heart disease [54:11]
-The earlobe crease connection to heart disease [54:50]
-Optimal total cholesterol is under 150 [57:15]
-Three blood markers that indicate heart disease [59:42]
-The coronary artery calcium scan [01:02:00]
-Ideal blood levels of c-reactive protein, homocysteine, and lipoprotein(a) [01:05:00]

Weekly Photo Journal:

oswald chambers quotes about faith faith is not intellectual understanding faith is a deliberate commitment to the person of Jesus Christ
Daily Devotionals by Oswald Chambers are available at www.utmost.org

This week I spent time with my mom and sister sharing personal testimonies and encouragement from Psalm 23 at a retirees’ luncheon in Western New York. I took a drive in the hills the day before and captured this image of a lonely country road lined with trees that look dull and grey. In reality they are getting ready to burst with life! The winding road reminds me of faith, perhaps. Who are you choosing to trust in today for the unknown future?


cancer survivor essential oils cbd oil happy hormones after chemo and radiationI’m a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. I’m happy when I’m enjoying coffee, reading, writing, and spending time with my family. I’m really grateful for wellness support strategies that work to support living abundantly in the “new normal”.

Weekly Meadow Meeting: March 22, 2019

Encouragement, Weekly Roundup

Quick takes this week from culture:

  1. The world needs Jesus.
  2. The world needs Jesus.
  3. The world needs Jesus.

I intended to collect news articles that have caught my attention this week. Between world concerns, health concerns, spiritual concerns, family concerns, and the fires of conflict that rage in the pursuit of personal freedom in this digital age, real and fulfilling life kinda evades capture.

Until we are captured by Christ and learn to live day by day in his generous and abundant freedom.

I’ve decided the Cancer Smarts Weekly Meadow Meeting will be all about the places I’ve found encouragement to live abundantly during the week. Let’s get to the agenda.

Local Light: Gigi’s Playhouse

Gigi’s Playhouse will open a Southern Tier chapter in May 2019. Binghamton’s Restaurant Week has partnered with Gigi’s Playhouse this week and proceeds are doing to support this wonderful project. Gigi’s Playhouse is an incredible community resource with programming to serve individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Learn more at https://gigisplayhouse.org/southern-tier-ny/

PS: Our daughter Karyn is in this video from Newschannel34 about Binghamton Restaurant Week and Gigi’s Playhouse. Heart happy!

Spotify Music List: Meet Me in the Meadow Listen in to songs from our last retreat weekend. Come on in from the battle. Put on the garment of praise and rest awhile in the meadow.

BibleGateway Verse for Today: [ The Armor of God ] Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

My Utmost for His Highest Devotional for March 22, 2019: The Burning Heart

“We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, the fires are kindled, we have wonderful visions; then we have to learn to keep the secret of the burning heart that will go through anything. It is the dull, bald, dreary, commonplace day, with commonplace duties and people, that kills the burning heart unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.” [ Read the Complete Text ]

Wellness Wisdom: Do you think gut bacteria can prevent or promote colorectal cancer? [ Check out this interview from Chris Beat Cancer ]

Here’s one last song included from “Meet Me in the Meadow”, Psalm 23 by Shane and Shane. It’s beautiful! As we head out of the meadow back to our path, I’d like to know, what has encouraged your journey this week?


cancer survivor essential oils cbd oil happy hormones after chemo and radiationI’m a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. I’m happy when I’m enjoying coffee, reading, writing, and spending time with my family. I’m really grateful for wellness support strategies that work to support living abundantly in the “new normal”. By the way, if you are a praying person, would you keep me in prayer this coming week? I have the joy of preparing and sharing about my journey and the hope I have in Christ with some dear folks on Thursday. Bonus: My mom and sister will be sharing with me, again, and sis and I will be doing some music together. Fun!

So When You Think You’re Lost

Encouragement

This past weekend I did two things for the first time, ever.

I was invited to share my testimony along with my mom and sister at a lovely women’s retreat. The theme was “Meet Me in the Meadow” and Psalm 23. My mom has shared many times at retreats and this was the first time my sister and I had the privilege of sharing with mom in the same ministry weekend. God kindly wove our thoughts together as we prayed about what He wanted each of us to share with the women.

 

I also watched my sister get knocked over by a flock of sheep. Verna showed an awesome home video from over 35 years ago showing her in the middle of a flock and they were all eager for their share of food. She kinda got carried away by a tide of sheep fighting for the food bucket and it was hilarious. Her topic was on the importance of memorizing scripture and the armor that God has provided for us sheep to wear in battle so we don’t lose our footing on the daily path of life.

Do you ever think you’re lost?

November 14, 2010 was the day I tumbled down into a long deep dark valley. It was also the day I began to relearn how to live.

Which is not what I expected since that day almost ended me. I walked in the hospital at 6 AM for surgery to remove a “benign appearing cyst or mass” and woke up with tubes and a colostomy bag and a stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis confirmed in the days following.

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

In the weeks before that surgery a woman in our circle of acquaintances came up to me, put her hand on my shoulder, looked in my eyes compassionately and said, “You are about to embark on an incredible journey with God.”

Lady, you and I had no idea. Who ever has any idea?

Today a squirrel frantically runs underneath branches on the hill outside our home gathering food. The wind calms and snowflakes are settling and falling gently. I sit peacefully and my body is, for the most part, whole. The heavy suffering of cancer is past at present.

Cancer dis-ease and the pursuit of healing started out, for me, as a frantic search for help. Today the healing journey continues clear and quiet and soft. Sometimes my eyes leak now and then remembering. They leaked a lot this past weekend sharing about how I felt lost for the life of me and how God shepherded me and our family through hard days and months and a few years. Those thoughts boil hard and then simmer down into gratitude and relief and whispered words of thanks to God.

Certain songs grab my heart for periods of time. Lately the song is “Fight My Battles” by Michael W. Smith. The words of the song resonate in my heart and mind.

The Word says “For the spirit of heaviness put on the garment of praise”; that’s how we fight our battles.

Cancer or dis-ease in the body forces us to stop everything frantic and become purposeful. We are dared to discover who God really is in our suffering. I must rely on him to show me who he is Every. Single. Day.

Cancer (or any dis-ease) in the body forces us to rebuild our way of living and navigate the “new normal” going forward. We get an invitation to build life on the firm foundation of God’s love for us at a time we may question everything we know about God’s wisdom and love and care.

Have you ever been literally “cast down” like a sheep? It’s a deadly place to stay. The healing-from-cancer journey teaches me over and over every day that I must put my trust in God alone.

This is how I fight my battles…

Cancer is usually viewed as a challenge to be battled. Something that was on my heart to share this past weekend is that when we’re fighting battles we need to learn to do the opposite. I shared some “Lamb’s Lessons from the Battle”. Trust. Rest. Listen. Learn. Cling to God. Praise God. Stay in scripture. Deal with negative emotions. Pursue personal well-being according to God’s will for my life.

So when you’re lost….

It may look like you’re surrounded. If you know Christ, you are in fact surrounded by Him. He’s teaching you how to fight your battles for his glory and your good. I promise.

If you don’t know Christ, he is everything. EVERYTHING. You simply can NOT fight your battles without him as your savior. In the end, the only battle you must win is the one against sin. You will lose that battle on your own, or, you can choose to surround yourself with the One who defeated sin and won that battle for you. Jesus.

Isaiah 61:2-4 New International Version (NIV)

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

Do you know the Good Shepherd? Think about the “garment of praise” while you watch this video and listen to the lyrics. What’s one thing you can praise God for no matter what battle you’re facing?

“Fight My Battles” by Michael W. Smith:


battlesheep

My sister, Verna, used this photo in her presentation this weekend. Isn’t it great??

Sharon O’Connor is a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. She loves coffee, writing, and taking walks with her husband, Tom, and their adopted Pug-Maltese mix, Ace. Sharon is grateful for wellness support strategies that work and also for the Savior who rescues sheep and teaches them how to “battle”.

lilacs in bloom may blooms lavendar natural plants essential oils

May’s Little Black Bag

Cancer, Encouragement

“You know those are kinda strong, right?” said Tom. He looked straight ahead at the road. I grinned and watched him drive. I continued layering on essential oils from a little black bag I carry in my purse.

“Yep. I know. They’ll wear off a bit before we walk into the building.” Maybe.

I do a 30-second nutritional scan every 4-5 days. It’s sort of like a fitness tracker – it uses scientific technology to match up frequencies in my body with frequencies in essential oils. Once the personalized scan report shows me the top essential oils and supplements my body is responding to at that moment, I load up my little black bag for the week and then I layer those liquid gems on my skin each day for wellness support. It takes just three seconds for essential oils to get into my body and they reach every cell in the body within 20 minutes. They release emotional trauma. They are capable of passing the blood-brain barrier. They are a key part of my journey at this time to remain above the wellness line. Most empowering scan for this cancer survivor, ever.

We parked and walked a short distance into the building where my annual CT scan results lay waiting. Ready to pounce? Or ready to send us happily on our way?

“You smell really good, what is that??” asked the receptionist when I checked in at her desk.

Today, friend, my little black bag holds Coriander, Dill, Cardamom, Copaiba, Black Pepper, Frankincense, and Tangerine essential oils that are all rubbed on my wrists. Joy and Aroma Life go over my heart. That doesn’t include what I researched and chose to use at home most of this month such as Sacred Frankincense morning and night on the soles of my feet, over my lungs, cupped in my hands and breathed gratefully into my lungs; alternated nightly with Exodus II on my feet; Thyme and Oregano alternated daily in the morning on my feet; JuvaCleanse in my water and over my liver; Forgiveness over my abdomen; Hope on my ears; Release in the diffuser at night with Lavender; immune support blend rolled on my spine before morning mineral makeup… and Progessence Plus, Lady Sclareol and Sclaressence for support for menopause courtesy of chemo and radiation seven years ago…

“Oh, thanks!” Those were the words I said out loud. Tom had mysteriously moved to the far side of the waiting room. “The scent is from a few (cough) essential oils I wear for wellness support.”

The lab tech took my blood pressure. The reading was higher than usual. That’s how I roll in the oncologist office.

We were led into an exam room. Silence sat with us for a few moments. 50/50 chance of sun or shade. 100 percent chance of God’s love and care.

The oncologist entered with a slight smile on her face.

“I’m happy to tell you that your scans remain stable.” We exhaled. She went over a few more details.

“You mentioned the benign lung nodule when I saw you before the scan a couple weeks ago; has that changed at all from last year?” I asked.

Over the past two weeks, between the pre-scan consultation and the actual CT scan, I did all I knew how to do for a “spring detox”. I went back to the basics of moderate juicing and mostly plant based foods. This is good to do periodically throughout the year anyway, and to be truthful, I feel best when eating this way. I had also been consumed with researching ways to support healthy respiratory and lung function using specific essential oils. A fearsome thought had taken up residence in my head after the consultation. What if, after being clear five years from cancer affecting my colon, the little sleeping lung nodule she keeps talking about could become a new problem?

“Oh, yes, the lung nodule. Let’s see.” The oncologist studied the report on the screen. “No, there is no change. Wait. Actually… it did change.” (Angst.)

“It went from 2 cm down to 1 cm.” (Joy. Whoa.)

We discussed a couple more regular tests she wants me to have. I won’t need annual scans going forward. We’ll just do annual monitoring.

At the checkout desk the staff members were still commenting on how nice whatever I was wearing smelled. I know, right? It’s the best. Simply, the best.

“Thank you! I’m glad you like the scent.”

Tom and I walked out of the building. We looked at each other.

“It could have gone either way. 50/50. People hear a different outcome than we just did, every single day.” He said exactly what I was thinking.

We know and love some of those people.

We’ve been those people.

We could be those people again someday.

Green trees, bright May sunshine, and fresh air.

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.Psalm 57:1


A week after my fifth annual “all clear” visit with the oncologist in May 2018, I was using my oils and thinking about something my dad used to mention. He said there was a lady in his family that used to carry around a little black bag. He thought perhaps she used herbs. This intrigued me because I was trying to support my body in a similar natural fashion through the good gift of essential oils. I asked different family members if they knew whom my father had meant and each person said I needed to call my Aunt Maybelle. She is my dad’s older sister, and she patiently listened to my questions on the phone.

“Of course! That would have been your great grandmother, May Emily Morgan Burd. We called her ‘Ma Burd’. She was a midwife, and she carried a little black bag with herbs in it to help people.” I was grateful to my aunt for sharing her knowledge about my great grandmother.

I have a whole new fondness for my little black bag. I don’t have Ma Burd’s knowledge of nursing people and helping them with herbs; but you’d better believe I will keep right on filling my own little black bag with the herbal goodness from essential oils. They are one key blessing among many things I do to try and stay above the wellness line.

may emily morgan burd daniel ferris burd

May Emily Morgan Burd, seated with my grandmother, baby Verna Burd, on her lap; daughter Vera, Daniel Ferris Burd, and their son, Robert. Thanks to Aunt Maybelle for her help with my questions. Thanks to my mom for forwarding me this photo.

 


stage four colon cancer survivor

Sharon O’Connor is a wife, mom, and stage 4 colon cancer survivor who has been NED (“no evidence of disease”) since 2013. She loves coffee, writing, and taking walks with her husband, Tom, and their adopted Pug-Maltese mix, Ace. Sharon is grateful for wellness support strategies that work and that have helped support her personal journey with cancer.

[ More about Sharon ]

Sharon’s Note: As always, information I share about my personal journey with cancer is never intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Only your awesome doctor can do that kind of stuff. I DO intend to share strategies that have given me hope in a hugely hopeless situation. I started using essential oils in Spring 2017. God puts the things we need in our paths at the time we need them and oils have been a game changer for my life as a cancer survivor. You can see different resources I’ve used along the way since 2010 on the What I Did That Helped page.