Meningioma Tumor/Healing

Rest: A Conundrum

There is a conundrum in this struggle for rest and healing with young children. How do I balance my need to heal, with the emotional needs of my little people. Our youngest two just want to stay home, too much out and about etc. and they are tired and the behavior is beginning to tell the tale. I need them to leave the house for a bit for some quiet time for me everyday so I can rest and not have any background noise, and they just want to be home, but are having trouble being quiet enough when they are home, even for a short time – coupled with them being sick before I went in the hospital, so a lack of outdoor time, (the freezing cold and ice is not a fun place to play with out snow) and being stuck in our small house is causing a bit of a wild rumpus at times!

I am having an overwhelming response to background noise etc. It is like sounds have gotten louder in my head since the operation. This is both good and bad. I thought I had some hearing loss in my right ear, but it appears it may have been partly a symptom of the tumor, I am hearing much better now. Good for me, bad for my little people.

My mother is here helping with the children so I can rest, the children are becoming a bit surely and a little rude to both of us as they struggle with the want to stay home with Mama and not understanding my need to rest so I can heal and be an even better version of myself when the healing is done. I feel badly that I can’t give them what they need so badly right now, a mama on call helping them navigate this time. We are having lots of good snuggles and reading time, but they are calling for a little bit more which seems to be beyond me at the moment.

There have been several positive sensory side effects to the tumors removal:

  1. I can see soooooo much better. I can stand at the bottom of the stairs and read the clock on the stove in the kitchen. This is huge, I was having to walk right up to it in order to see it without my glasses on. I can read small print and my phone without glasses too – so amazing!
  2. I can smell better – again both good and bath – perhaps when I am back to cooking this will be awesome. My cooking had really gone downhill, whether it was the lack of smell, or the muddled-ness of my brain I don’t know, but my cooking skills had taken a serious dive recently!
  3. I can hear better! This is good – but also a little hard to handle in my head. There is still extra fluid floating around in my head right now which I’m sure makes the background noises harder to deal with.

It has been a week since the tumor was removed and I am feeling good and pain free, but I tire very easily and any disagreements with the children are exhausting. I am trying to figure out a plan in my head for dealing with this in a better manner.

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Life

A Blip in the Picture

Hello lovely members of the community, I thought I would give you a little more information on what has been happening here. We are so grateful for all the community support, kind words and prayers as we navigate this life changing event.

By definition I had a Meningioma, also known as meningeal tumor, is typically a slow-growing tumor that forms from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms depend on the location and occur as a result of the tumor pressing on nearby tissue.

Here is how it all played out:

I have been having painful headaches off and on for about 2 years, they were diagnosed as tension headaches which seemed reasonable given some of the stresses we were going through at the time. As time went on I had more frequent headaches and neck stiffness and I just carried on because a Mama makes the household function (you all know how that works!). During this time I turned 40 and my eyes changed, I could no longer read small print or my phone without glasses, I thought this was a normal life progression and did not think to question it. I also had the occasional blurry vision when standing etc which I was attributing to low iron and not taking my supplements (silly me). In the last 6 months to a year my brain became cloudy, I had trouble making decisions and felt very overwhelmed, I knew what needed to be done, but could not follow through in a tangible way. For instance since we have had up the green house I have had rotating crops in there and had quite a good success rate with it, last fall I couldn’t even make a plan and the greenhouse stood fallow for much of the fall, winter, spring and summer with only a few heat loving plants in it this summer. It was so disappointing to know what I should be doing and be unable to follow through. If I had taken all these factors and presented them to a doctor perhaps we would not have had an emergency situation.

By Sunday evening, the 6th of January, 2019, I had had a headache for 36 hours that was causing me to throw up every half hour or so. I compared it to one very long, unending contraction because there was no relief at all. I was drinking as much water as I could to try to stay hydrated, but it wasn’t working. I began to worry about meningitis as my neck was so painful. River and I decided to head to the ER. As we were getting ready to leave, I became unable to stand up and he had to carry/dance me out to the car. It was icy so this was tricky. We brought our youngest with us as he was awake and left our older two home, my brother lives right down the road and he was aware we would be gone and could come if he was needed, we were trying to keep him from getting sick as 3 out of 4 of the boys had had fevers for a few days.

At the ER they started an IV and gave me some drugs for pain – which did NOT work. When the drugs didn’t work they gave me a CT scan which showed a large mass on my brain that they believed to be a meningioma tumor, a benign growth that is on top of the brains membrane and under the skull. I was told they could remove it the next day. I was ELATED by this news as there was a cause for the pain and I was also on morphine at this point. River on the other hand looked terrified. He called my brother and took our youngest home so he could come to Maine Medical Center with me.

They were able to remove a mass that was 6 x 4.7 x 4.5cm from my skull, what they believe to be at least 99% of the tumor with no more noticeable cells, this was excellent news. I awoke from the surgery feeling no pain in my head for possibly the first time in 2 years (the pain had become so constant, it barely registered at this point). I was very happy with the outcome and looking forward to a fuller, pain free life in the future.

I am sure everyone’s reaction would be different in this situation, but looking back, I am glad I didn’t have a long time to prepare, because I didn’t have time to be scared about the possible outcomes and be sad about possibly missing my children’s futures. As I mentioned above I was elated that something could be done and I immediately felt that the outcome would be good and life would move forward in a joyous way. Yeah for being positive! This my be a factor in my healing process, which so far, has been remarkably pain free with just aspirin. I am also on a steroid taper to help with swelling and of my own accord started taking Arnica homeopathic in the hospital, I carry it in my purse for when the children get head bumps or possible bruising and as soon as I started taking it the swelling started to go down. The doctor had mentioned that I could end up with a swollen eye, but that did not happen.

Arnica Montana Homeopathic pellets – I get them in the Natural Food Stores in the area

  • Homeopathic Medicine
  • Muscle Pain and Stiffness, Swelling from Injuries, Discoloration from Bruising

I think everyone should carry these in there purse for emergency situations!

Celebrate LIFE people and hug the ones you love!

Farming, Life

Busy Season?

Oh, this is supposed to be the slow season? I feel this every year, we should be relaxing into winter, cozying up and spending time together. Instead, we are busy, busy, busy. For us this year it means, still cutting firewood and building a WWOOFER cabin. WWOOFER’s are people that work on your farm in exchange for food and shelter. This was our first year having wwoofers and one thing that was lacking was somewhere warm for people to stay during our winter season, otherwise known as preparing for sap season.

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River has been working on the cabin and it is coming along just fine. a composting toilet, bunk beds, desk area, wood stove, and an area for a comfy love seat is coming together very nicely. The electrical is complete and the insulation is in. The wood stove is in and the doors and windows are ready to go up. Once the door is on, the mudding and taping can commence. I am going for white as the paint color in here, it is a small space.

The boys are excited that they will have a tiny home to stay in if they want when workers aren’t there.

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Where the bunks will be
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The bathroom area

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This is all very exciting and time consuming, I can’t wait for it to be done!

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We used siding off a building we took down that was shorter but then this cabin so we had to piece it together. Use what you have, make do or do without is the old saying I believe…

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Food storage, Meat Animals, Recipes, Vegetables

Duck Broth

A few weeks ago, River helped some friends slaughter meat ducks. We got a duck, yummy, the necks for broth, and the livers, hearts, etc.

River loves liver, usually we invite my grandmother over who also loves liver when we make something like this. The boys and I don’t care for it.

Using my insta-pot, I put leek greens from our garden, parsley from a friend and duck necks in the pot and added water. I don’t usually add salt or pepper until i am using the both in a recipe. I covered my pot, made sure the vent was closed and set it for an hour.

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This will be broth soon!

When it is done, I will strain the broth and store it in 1/2 gallon jars in the fridge. This time of year, I make one or two soups a week. It always tastes good on a chilly day and I heat some up for River and #1’s lunches and put it in a thermos for them, so nice to have a hot lunch when it is cold outside.

Duck necks have a lot more meat on them then chicken necks! I think there were 6 necks in the bag and I got almost a quart of meat from them.

Yummy, nutrient dense, broth in an hour. I had already cooked some pumpkins that were not going to store in the pot this morning and roasted some of them in the oven. On the docket for dinner tonight, Roasted pumpkin and black bean soup. I will be putting the steamed pumpkin in 2 cup jars in the freezer for future pies and puddings, muffins or anything pumpkin!

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Roasted Pumpkin
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Steamed Pumpkin
Food storage, Fruit

Apples!

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My mother should be proud of this photo. We used a prop, we took several shots and everyone is looking at the camera with eyes wide open!

We went apple picking at a local preserve a few weeks ago. Green Point Farm is an old apple orchard that I remember picking at when I was in grade school. It has been closed for several years now and the apple trees were not doing well untended. Over the past few years there has been a push to tend the trees, pruning them and keeping the paths mowed to prevent invasive vines from taking over.

We had not picked apples here before, but it was lovely, ladders needed for sure. We had a great time trying apples on all the trees, deciding which ones would be good for applesauce and eating.

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Everyone is in the tree except me! 
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This fella hung out with #3 for quite some time while we were picking.

We had our big applesauce making this weekend as well. We made about 60 quarts to go with the 25 I had made earlier in the fall.

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                                                        Notice all the different shades of sauce?                                                                   This is from all the kinds of apples we used, each apple has a unique color and flavor. 

 

 

Food storage, Vegetables

Green Tomatoes

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The inside of these tomatoes were so beautiful, I couldn’t help but snap a few photos. 

We had about 40 pounds of green tomatoes from the garden at the end of the season. In the past I have often let them ripen (slowly) on counters, etc. Taking over the house and being in the way. This year I decided not to do that, I couldn’t handle the coverage of every horizontal surface in the house with tomatoes.

What to do with all the tomatoes, we couldn’t let them go to waste, enter Green Tomato Relish and Green Tomato Salsa. I wasn’t sure about using green tomatoes, they aren’t sweet like a red tomato. I have to say the Green Tomato Relish is delish. The salsa is okay. Not as good as the salsa I made earlier this summer.

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Green Tomato Relish, ready to be stirred up in our gigantic pot. 

The spices and add ons in this recipe were very fall looking. And now the relish is ready to be served up with our pork and chicken. Last night we had one of our ham steaks, so delicious!

Come to the farm for your Chicken and Pork needs! We have you covered!

Food storage, Recipes, Vegetables

Filling up the pantry and a Salsa Recipe

This year it is taking me awhile to fill the pantry. I have had an over abundance of summer squash so I have made about 21 jars of summer squash relish. In the past I made zucchini relish, but alas, only one zucchini this year (for real, only one and on a volunteer plant)

I made Mustard Pickles with an old family recipe, it calls for little onions and cauliflour. I did not have either of those so I just made it with cukes, I am sure my grandmother would be horrified by this, sometimes you just have to use what you have and go for it…

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I have celiac disease so I just omit the flour in the above recipe. This recipe is from a booklet of recipes that were given to me when I married Trace’s dad from the Lynch side of the family. Many great family treats are in here, some of the recipes actually say call your Nanny Lynch for additional instructions. All well and good, except that my grandmother has passed on.

I also have our five quarts of peaches, I am still annoyed by the lack of peaches on the shelf, they have already been earmarked for birthdays, I actually wrote names on them so there would not be any confusion.

I have also canned 25 quarts of applesauce. We have already eaten some of this so clearly we will need more. Saturday is supposed to be apple picking day for us. Hopefully we will get all the apples we need for another 75 quarts of sauce. 100 quarts is our goal this year as we didn’t have a lot of peaches or blueberries.

I got a fantastic recipe for salsa from Eli at Mahalo Farm, it is the best salsa I have ever canned, yummy! I canned 21 pints of salsa, we also ate quite a bit of salsa that I didn’t can.

The original recipe was from a cookbook, I just have a photo copy which Eli and I have both modified to make a super tasty snack.

Basic Tomato Salsa

Makes about 4-1 pint jars (obviously I made about 6 times this recipe)

6 cups tomatos (about 3 pounds)

2 cups yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 large pepper)

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/8 cup sugar

3 jalapeno peppers

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 cup fresh cilantro

I put everything that needed to be chopped into the food processor and pulsed it. The kids love that part. The original recipe is to just chop it all. In a small batch that is okay, when you are making a big batch it.takes.forever. save yourself some time and agrivation and use the food processor,using it on pulse makes it a little more chunky.

Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in a large pot and bring to a boil. The original recipe says to simmer for 10 minutes. Both Eli and I found that we needed to simmer it for much longer to get all the flavors to combine nicely. I would say simmer and taste until the texture and taste seem to be what you are looking for.

I am not going to give all the canning directions here, just the time in the canner, the recipe calls for a 15 minute water bath for a pint jar.

I forgot to add sugar to my second batch, the salsa is still good, but it is lacking a tiny bit of the pizzaz the first batch had.

Enjoy the last bits of summer and the cooler nights! Can on friends!

What is your favorite thing to can?