I should forewarn you that this is a very long post, but if you have a minute, I’d like to share with you our story and the battle we are facing with my mom’s health.
Let me start by saying that I’ve come to believe we were all created with this deep desire to know people and be known. I believe there is an innate longing in all of us to feel really known by other human beings, and more importantly, to feel loved and accepted for who we are.
I say all of this because while I don’t intend on sharing every detail of my personal life on this blog, it’s important to me to feel like I’m being authentic with you. I don’t want to only share the fun and exciting things, leading you to believe I live some perfect life. I don’t. Much like you, I have my own insecurities, fears, frustrations and trials to face.
This past weekend, my sister shared on Facebook about something very difficult that my family is going through. Close family and friends are away of our situation, but we’ve kept it sorta quiet and close to our hearts.
In short my mom has become very sick over the past year. She is 63 years old and up until recently has always been healthy and energetic. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but she is the very reason that I am so passionate about eating clean, whole foods. All my life she’s focused on trying to create a healthy home for all of us. Last summer we noticed she was unable to handle simple tasks that would have been no problem before. She became easily frustrated and quick to say “I just can’t do it”. She began to lose her short-term memory and had trouble concentrating. Things she’d done for years such as making a menu and grocery list for the week suddenly seemed overwhelming and difficult.
In October it got to the point that we felt it necessary to start seeing doctors. Unfortunately my parents did not have insurance as they had both been in good health and instead went an alternate route and chose to be apart of Samaritan’s Ministry, where they share bills with other Christians. Because they didn’t have insurance, we were careful what tests we requested and how we went about checking the things that seemed the most vital.
She had a check-up done that included blood work and tested her for some vitamin deficiencies, everything came back okay. She had an MRI done to see if there were neurological concerns, thankfully there weren’t. She then had a neuro-psych study done where she sat with someone for several hours as they asked her questions and analyzed her responses. This study focused on things such as memory, problem solving, systematic responses, among others. Eventually they diagnosed her with early onset Alzheimer’s and put her on a medicine to help her brain function as well as an antidepressant.
Clearly, we were heartbroken, but had hopes that the medicine would help. After a couple of months with no improvements, and feeling like maybe we didn’t have the right diagnosis, we took her to see a clinical herbalist, who specializes in using homeopathic and herbal remedies. The truth is, we all felt confident that if mom were herself, this is the route she would have wanted to go. She has always been in favor of treating things naturally if possible.
At this time, her short-term memory is severely impaired, her sense of coordination is very poor, her walk is slow, unsteady, and she is easily off-balance. She can no longer drive and has lost her job and her ability to work and care for her patients (she was an LPN who did Home Health care), her speech has changed and she has a hard time getting her words out. Truly, she is unrecognizable from the vibrant woman she was a year ago.
The clinical herbalist works by using a machine to read various pressure points on the body for different frequencies. He found that my mom has Lyme’s disease along with West Nile virus. There were a few other things to be concerned with, but he believe these were the two that were causing the problems. It’s likely she has had Lyme’s disease, which is contracted through a tick bite, for a while, and may have contracted the West Nile virus last summer or more recently, which is what began to break down her immune system allowing the Lyme’s disease to worsen. She is in, what they call in Medical terms, the late stages of Lyme’s disease as the infection is within the blood brain barrier, which is causing the cognitive problems.
He encouraged us to have a medical doctor do blood work to verify this if it would make us feel more comfortable, but we didn’t feel like that was necessary. He believes his remedy of homeopathics and herbal drops will help her significantly, if not clear it up altogether. She has to take these homeopathics and drops three times a day, every eight hours. The process to do this is more than she is able to do on her own, so Dad helps her morning and night, while neighbors and friends from their church come during the day while he is at work. At this point, mom is three weeks in, and outside of one day of what seemed liked more clarity than she’s had in months, we have not seen a lot of improvements.
My sister and I (along with our families) are clearly worried and stressed over my mom, but we are equally worried about my dad. He is taking care of the bills, household chores, cooking, groceries, caring for my mom, etc., in addition to working a full-time, physically taxing, job. We swap up being there on the weekends to help as much as possible, but I’m afraid we are not able to get there during the week and his burden is great.
I share all of this with you because I’ve found myself pleading and bartering with God that if He will only heal her, I will shout it from the roof-tops, sing His praise and giving Him all the honor and glory. I do believe He can heal her, with one simple touch. We all believe that, yet up to this point He has not.
It hit me last week, after my sister had the courage to step out and share our story and ask for your prayers, that if I don’t share my mom’s story with those around me, and her need to be healed, how can I then boast of our God when He heals her, should he choose to do so. Isn’t our platform to bring Him glory all the greater if we share our desperate need for His rescue? And why am I not already praising Him for the things He has and continues to do?
The truth is, while I question why this is happening and where God is in all of this, simultaneously I see His hand at work. For instance, our family communicates and sees each other more than we have in years. Close friends of my parents have helped financially. Doctors have volunteered their services and rearranged schedules, willing to meet on a weekend. Friends have committed to helping my mom on a daily basis with the homeopathics while Dad is at work. And so many people have and are continuing to pray for her.
One of the biggest things God has revealed to me, is that people are good and kind. People care more than you think they do, more than you believe you deserve for them to. And I can honestly say that in the last six months I’ve seen the body of Christ operate, the way He designed for it to, more beautifully than ever before. He is at work and He is so good.
I share this with you because I’d love to ask for your prayers for my parents. I’d also love to feel free to share from time to time if I just feel sad, and not always taking on the role of “excited foodie”.
If you are still reading at this point, thank you. Thank you so much for listening to my story and for allowing me to be authentic with you.
Now, I must say, at the very least, you deserve a tasty recipe for reading through all that, and these Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Tacos are exactly that!
I made these a couple of Sundays ago for Josh and myself after flipping through my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook on our way home from church. I came across their Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos recipe, thought about my spaghetti squash sitting at home, and knew I had to give it a try.
The seasoned cooked squash somewhat mimics the texture of pulled pork, and is absolutely delightful paired with the black beans, Greek yogurt, tomatoes, and avocados.
I was thrilled with the outcome of these vegetarian tacos, and I’m happy to say Josh was a fan, too.
In an effort to not take up any more of your time, I’ll leave you with these pictures and hope they entice you enough to give them a try.
Thank you again for allowing me to be so honest and long-winded!
I hope you get the chance to enjoy these yummy spaghetti squash tacos, spring is coming and they’d be perfect for entertaining.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tbsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Sixteen 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 avocado, chopped
- chopped cilantro
- favorite salsa
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray pan with coconut oil cooking spray. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast the halves facedown on baking pan for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is soft.
- Once the squash is cooked, remove and allow to cool 5 minutes, then scrap the flesh with a fork to loosen and separate the strands. Add strands of flesh to bowl and discard skins.
- In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt, whisk in lemon juice and pour over squash strands. Gently toss to mix seasonings throughout, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Heat a dry skillet over medium heat and warm tortillas one at a time until slightly blistered on each side, about 30-45 seconds per side.
- To assemble the tacos, transfer warmed tortillas to platter and add spoonful of black beans, scoop of seasoned squash, dollop of Greek yogurt, finely chopped tomatoes and avocados, then sprinkling with chopped cilantro.
- Add salsa, hot sauce or any other desired garnishes and serve. Or more importantly, EAT!
Use nutrition facts as a guide, info will vary based on your choice toppings and quantity used.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.