Staying Alive



john travolta staying alive

It’s been many, many moons since I wrote a post. But when I had someone reach out with a personal e-mail asking for advice and hoping I was still doing well, I knew I had to get back to writing regularly. It’s nice to have folks care about how I’m doing after all this time.

Last weekend marked 3 years since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The day came and went without much fanfare, until I sat down that night and realized what a huge milestone that actually is. I know that 5 years is the magical number for survival odds to greatly increase, but hey, I’m on the downward slope now and I can see the prize.

I guess you could say I’m doing fantastically well, which is part of the reason for my long blogging hiatus. There hasn’t been much to report other than the mundane day to day details that create a life. I’m still working from home, driving kids all over town, and taking care of a menagerie of animals. All the things most people complain about that survivors relish.

This year has been surprising. I left my job working in a hospital lab 18 months ago to finally use my chiropractic degree and build my practice. I’ve since come to realize what I probably knew on some level all along, that chiropractic in and of itself isn’t my calling. It’s not enough to feed my soul and satisfy my creativity. So life has taken me in some pretty unexpected directions.

I’ve started making and selling jewelry. I even opened up an Etsy shop and started doing craft shows. That’s craziness, considering I had never done this before last summer. Creativity…yes, it’s good. And it’s a sweet validation to have someone like your work enough to buy it.

I’ve also been taking intensive courses to learn how to create a business helping others online. My first project will be to create an online community of breast cancer survivors who are open to holistic health. There are groups who are completely anti-medical, and there are others that want nothing to do with anything outside the mainstream. But there’s very little in the middle. I hope to create courses and programs that will teach survivors how to use nutrition, supplements, and other alternative therapies to support their recovery and stay well. And there will be no shaming those who choose traditional treatment as well.

Along those lines, probably the most unexpected thing that has happened over the past year has been my foray into essential oils and the amazing way they have boosted my  health. I run, I have energy, I sleep well, I can put myself in a better mood, I have no aches and pains, and my hair is fuller and thicker. (Is it wrong that the last one makes me smile the most?) It took me a long time to be able to share all these things with people without feeling awkward or sheepish. But people noticed, and at some point I decided that it was really more of a disservice to keep it to myself when it had the potential to help so many who are not faring as well or just want to feel better.

So, I have decided to do a Facebook class on this topic. Monday, March 28th at 8pm, I will  be hosting a class called “Essential Oils That Have Let Me Thrive In Recovery”. I’ll tell you exactly what I’m using, why it’s important for survivors and how it can help you. I’ll post the link below. If you’d like to attend, all you do is follow the link and click “going”.

At the class time, posts will appear 3-4 minutes apart, and you can refresh the page to see each new post. You can ask questions in the post’s comments section. I’ll leave all the posts up for  day or so to let you review or catch up if you can’t be there live. I’m very passionate about essential oils, and I love to teach. Hope to see you there!


Hair…Part Two (get it?!?) Or How My Gray Hair Went Away

I'm gray


So it began. The tender sprouts of gray began to emerge in September of 2013, barely a shimmer of sparkling light as the sun passed over my bare scalp. I was on a trip with my son, just the two of us, when I shouted out in the hotel room one morning. “Come look. I think my hair is growing back!!” Sure enough, he confirmed that he too could see the tiniest spikes of hair emerging from the barren desert under my bandanna.

Now at first I was thrilled. I swore that those new locks were coming in a lovely silvery blonde. And I managed to keep deluding myself in this way for a few more weeks. But the reality dawned on me fast and furious. I was not going to be a Marilyn Monroe bombshell blonde, but a Meryl Streep “The Devil Wears Prada” grey. Yes, all those lovely blonde strands were silver!


At first, I toyed with the idea of keeping my new hair. I got a lot of compliments. But, as you know if you’ve ever endured cancer, you just want things to go back to how they were before you were a patient. Back to ignorant bliss, and some sense of normalcy. So…I mentioned to my mom that I had decided to color my hair. She found me a great stylist on a visit to Florida, and I was tickled pink with the result. There I was! Blonde and looking like my former self at last.

Now, I’m not known for being the most practical person in the world. It dawned on me after the glow wore off that it is next to impossible to find someone who does good color, especially over all grey. So, what did I do? You got it. I trekked back and forth to Florida from Asheville about every three months to maintain my new look. I joked with Mr. Gary that he was the most expensive stylist in the country!

Fast forward to September of 2014, which was the last time I was able to get to Sarasota to the salon. I’ve been meaning to do it, but my practice has picked up and there just hasn’t been time. I kept checking my hairline, just knowing that I would inevitably start to see the solid wall of grey appear.


Meanwhile, I started using Young Living essential oils at the beginning of this year, both personally and in my practice, with phenomenal results. One of my absolute favorite products is the Ningxia Red super-antioxidant, essential oil infused drink that Young Living makes. Two samples came in my Premium Starter Kit, so I drank them and didn’t really give it much thought.


If you’ve been following my essential oil series here on the blog, you know that my hair began to come in fuller and grow faster, especially around that front part area where so many “mature” women become follicularly challenged. In the past few weeks, it has occurred to me that it has been 7 months since I last colored my hair, and that wall of grey…well, it has yet to show up.

Growing in light auburn

Now I can still see some silvery strands woven throughout, but the most lovely shade of light auburn has started to appear at the roots. And that shade, my friends, has not been seen on this head since high school! What?

The longer I use these oils, the more I am blown away. The effects with me are more subtle than for some because I am in pretty good health to begin with. Oh yeah, except the whole cancer thing. But when I do get a sign, it shows up in a powerful way.

food equiv ningxia

What’s the mystery behind erasing the grey? I don’t believe it’s anything mystical or other worldly. It’s a matter of nutrition. Ningxia Red is made from wolfberry puree with berries sourced from the Ningxia province in China, which boasts the largest per capita population of 100 year-olds anywhere on the planet. It has the highest antioxidant score of any food or supplement you can buy.

compare antioxidants ningxia

Ningxia Red also boasts a combination of Grape Seed Extract, blueberry, plum, cherry, aronia and pomegranate juices, along with orange, yuzu, tangerine, and lemon essential oils. These ingredients work synergistically to support:

  • normal digestive health
  • healthy immune function
  • normal brain function
  • healthy cardiovascular function
  • healthy joint support
  • sleep enhancement
  • improved insulin function


In addition, this powerful combination of ingredients works together to quench free radicals and prevent the cell damage that leads to mutations. And, it boasts a full and natural complement of key enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed.

ningxia study

The best part? Well, other than the giant dose of nutrition and the great hair. This is better than juicing! You heard me. I have a brand new juicer that has sat untouched since I started drinking this stuff. Why? Because I don’t like juice unless it has some fruit, and even though it’s healthy, it delivers a whopping dose of sugar straight to the bloodstream. This is exactly what I’m trying to avoid as a cancer survivor, feeding the cancer cells their favorite food, sugar. Ningxia Red is sweetened with stevia and has only 2 grams of sugar per serving!

If you’re ready to feel stronger, sleep better, and give yourself a brand new lease on life without eating 12 heads of broccoli (don’t yell, vegans, I love broccoli), click here to get started on your own journey. Warning, feeling good is addictive!

What’s Tough Enough To Kill The Plague but Gentle Enough For a Baby to Touch?

black death


Our story today is set in France, during the dark mysterious times of the Middle Ages. Disease and famine were rampant, and a new killer emerged, “Black Death”, or bubonic plague. Within 5 years of its spread to Europe, over 25 million people had died, or roughly one-third of Europe’s population! Legend has it that a band of four thieves roved the countryside, stealing the victims’ possessions once they had succumbed to the illness.

plague doctorMiraculously, the thieves never contracted the highly infectious plague and this led to deep inquiry in court after they were caught and charged. The magistrate offered them a deal, their secret for a reduced sentence. Taking the deal, they told stories of herbal remedies with powerful medicinal properties when combined in certain ways. This specific herbal blend that they had created, concocted from aromatic herbs, was HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in killing all of the airborne bacteria. Some of the stories told speak of it in a vinegar form, while others talk about a blend that was in a mask over their faces.



While we may never know if the story is true, we do know that the product born of the legend, Young Living Thieves Essential Oil (a blend of Clove, Lemon, Rosemary, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus therapeutic grade essential oils) is indeed a force to be reckoned with. In 1997, Weber State University did a study that found the Thieves essential oil blend to have a 99.96% success rate at killing airborne bacteria.

I don’t know about you, but my house is like a giant petri dish waiting to attack me. With 3 kids in three different school environments and a husband whose office holds the flu record, I am constantly bombarded with the latest, greatest “plague” of my own.

I have been using Thieves faithfully since I started my oil journey in January, both in my aromatic diffuser, and on my feet at night. During that time, I have survived 2 cases of flu in my house, one case of pink eye, a stomach virus, and an unknown tonsil blowout that was possibly Strep. Needless to say, my family hasn’t been on my oily bandwagon to this point.

Now remember, I have a lower white blood cell count (those cells you need to fight germs) than most people due to lingering effects of chemotherapy and radiation. How many times have I been sick in that 4-month window? Zero. Nada. Zip. That’s right, this girl’s immune system comes out swinging! I now call my Thieves oil my “immune system bouncer”.


Another fantastic thing about Thieves is its incredible versatility. Young Living has dedicated entire product lines to this little germ-fighter. You’ll find it in everything from their toothpaste to their concentrated Thieves Household cleaner. This super economical cleaner lasts forever and will replace the bulk of your toxic products with something you can feel good about exposing your family to.

Want some more practical uses for Thieves?:

  • Natural Pesticide: Add a few drops of Thieves to a small spray bottle and spray on plants and flowers. The scent helps to repel bugs.
  • Acne Spot Treatment: Apply neat (undiluted) to a treat acne and promote healing. The clove and lemon oils in the Thieves blend is particularly helpful in reducing acne.
  • Treat Fungus: Apply neat (undiluted) to feet to kill fungus and promote healing.
  • Soothe a Bee Sting: Apply neat (undiluted) to a bee sting to relieve pain and neutralize the toxin. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil for children.
  • Disinfect the Dishwasher: Add a few drops of Thieves to the detergent container in your dishwasher and run a normal cycle (either with or without a full load of dishes).

And the list goes on and on…


I recently started making my own safe Hand Sanitizer. Kids are obsessed with those little cutesy bottles, but they have harmful chemicals in them. Try this instead:


  • 2 Tbsp aloe vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp filtered (or distilled) water
  • 1/8 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 5 drops Young Living Thieves Oil


You will need a small 2 oz. squeeze bottle – perfect for keeping in your purse or diaper bag (Amazon has them. Be sure to get #1 or #2 plastic.)


Combine aloe, Vit. E oil, and Thieves in bottle. Thin with water until it is desired consistency (should be thin enough to coat hands but not drippy).

You’re welcome. Now get your own bottle of Thieves, germ warriors, but please don’t start robbing graves!

If you’ve missed any of the Essential Oils 101 series, please visit the “Essential Oils” category on the right side of the blog to catch up.

Natural Xanax: No Prescription Needed!


Stress…you don’t ever experience that, do you? I’m so glad. Me neither. Phew!! That was a short post. Y’all have a good day, now! Oh, wait, is that you furiously waving your arms in the distance? What? You feel like you’re stuck inside a pressure cooker sipping a cocktail of obligation, guilt and exhaustion?


I never really used to understand people who complained all the time, “I’m just so stressed out!”. Having a very laid back personality, I used to take things in stride. Go with the flow, if you will. That was back when I had hormones and life was good.

Now that I’ve quit my day job to pursue my own business(es), I should be on cloud nine, following the American dream, no boss but me. Well, let me tell you…I work harder now than I ever did playing office politics three days per week. I never stop working, or at least thinking about work. It’s all up to me now whether I earn a paycheck. On top of that, I still have 3 kids and a home to manage. And that is stressful!

Even though it’s my stress now and no one can tell me what to do, I still find myself needing a little help to unwind and be “still” so I don’t get snappy or overwhelmed. Since I’ve started on this Young Living Essential Oil journey, I’ve learned a thing or two about taming the inner tension and letting go.


What can you do when the world is on your shoulders and you feel like one more task will cause you to explode? I find relief naturally with STRESS AWAY. This is a little bit of Heaven in a bottle and one of my personal favorite scents that Young Living carries.

stress away benefits

Stress Away is an essential oil blend of: Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, and Lavender.

Copaiba is an interesting oil from South America. It contains the highest know amounts of a compound called beta-caryophyllene of any essential oil. Guess what else has high amounts of this oil? Cannabis! Why do you think so many people reach for marijuana to self-medicate? Only, the great thing is that Copaiba doesn’t produce a high like marijuana. It has been shown in studies to act via a different pathway that helps relieve anxiety and depression. Win win!

Lime is not only invigorating and uplifting, but it is also well known for its ability to stimulate the immune system, aid in weight management and provide antioxidant support.

Cedarwood has a warm, woodsy aroma that is comforting and relaxing. I use this oil with Lavender in my diffuser at night to help with sleep.

Vanilla…well, vanilla just makes everything smell yummy!

Ocotea helps aid the body’s natural response to irritation and injury. Ocotea also has natural cleansing and purifying properties.

And then there’s Lavender. What’s not to love about Lavender? We’ll be doing a whole separate post about this one!

How do you apply Stress Away? My favorite method is to rub a few drops on my temples, behind my ears, and to my wrists any time I feel anxiety or tension creeping in. I then cup my hands over my nose and inhale deeply. Bonus: It smells so good, people will ask you what wonderful scent you’re wearing at the grocery checkout!

Stress Away is one of the 11 oils that comes with the PREMIUM STARTER KITNot only that, you get a free diffuser with your purchase, which makes the kit a steal! Diffusing is the #1 way to get essential oils into your system quickly. I run my diffuser 24/7 in my house, and I never leave for a vacation without it.

So how can you get some stress reduction in your life on the go without having to make time for meditaiton, yoga, and a nap? Check out this page to get started on your journey to a healthier, happier, and more relaxed life!

P.S.- If you’ve missed any of this series, start here and catch up! We’ll wait for you.

*If you are outside the U.S., please contact me, as your starter kit may vary.

Joy To The World…Or I May Keep It All For Myself and Give You the Recipe!


Joy. Such a simple word. Yet it instantly paints a complex mental picture of all that is good in life. The first kiss; a bride’s smile on her wedding day; a baby’s laughter. What power is found in those three little letters! So how do you take all of those intricate nuances and weave them together in a scent?

So far in our essential oil education series, we have focused on science and physical health. Don’t get me wrong, those are vitally important in any discussion of alternative medicine. But what is often overlooked is the emotional component of health.

As someone who has suffered off and on for…well, pretty much most of my life…with intermittent depression, the mental aspect of health is HUGE. It doesn’t matter if my lab numbers are perfect or I look great in my size 4 bikini if I can’t figure out what my mood will be from one week to the next.

I’ve looked high and low for the “thing”. That thing that will finally make my moods even and reliable. Ok, so that thing is called Estrogen! But, that one is out after having breast cancer. So, what’s left?

I’ve struggled a lot with the loss of my hormones due to chemotherapy. A lot. Not with the hot flashes that so many women experience, or the joint pain. No, my struggle has all been in my head.

For a week or so I feel absolutely fantastic, on top of the world, able to leap tall mountains. I finally think to myself “This is it. I’ve beaten it. I can pursue all my plans.” And then, just as quickly as it came, it’s gone. I don’t fall into a dark hole very often, thankfully. I just get a bad case of the “blahs”. I lose my ambition, I no longer want to socialize or make plans for my business. It still catches me by surprise, every month. It’s as if my mind has forgotten that my body is no longer capable of having a monthly cycle.

When I took my first class about Young Living Essential Oils and signed up for my Premium Starter Kit, one of my biggest hopes was to find an oil or oils to alleviate some of these monthly ups and downs. I was impressed with how inhaling the oils sends them straight to the brain within a matter of seconds.

After a little bit of experimentation with my free diffuser, I finally hit on a combination that does wonders for my mood. I told you about my love affair with Peppermint oil in the last post. But…when you add the oil blend Joy to the Peppermint, then you’ve really got something!

What’s in that little bottle of Joy? Are you ready? Joy contains:

  • bergamot
  • ylang ylang
  • geranium
  • lemon
  • coriander
  • tangerine
  • Roman chamomile
  • jasmine
  • palmarosa
  • rose 

Remember when I told you in a previous post that Rose was one of the absolute most expensive essential oils because it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil? That’s right, it’s in Joy. And this comes as part of your Premium Starter Kit with 10 other oils to try.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big floral girl. Never have been. So, I wasn’t crazy about the smell of Joy at first. That’s right, I kind of poo poo’d the Joy. But let me tell you…it grew on me like ivy on Harvard! When that combo of Peppermint and Joy hits my brain, it doesn’t know what hit it! It is the best feeling I’ve had in a long time. It just plain makes me happier.


So what is Joy good for?

  • sadness
  • sleep issues
  • emotional imbalance
  • hyperactivity
  • emotional pain/grief
  • defiance or occasional moodiness in children
  • bump up the romance (and I know a few ladies struggling with that one)

This smells so good to many people that they wear it for perfume on the wrists and over the heart. It is also great in homemade lotions and bath salts. Check out this recipe for an uplifting body cream:


body butter plain

1 cup extra virgin unrefined coconut oil

1 tsp vit E oil (make sure it is not synthetic vit E)

5 drops Young Living Joy Essential Oil

10 drops Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil

Whip coconut oil with a mixer for about 3-5 mins until the consistency resembles icing.

Add in other ingredients and mix well.

Will fit in a half pint jar. Should last until it’s gone. Young Living oils never expire.

This smells Heavenly!!

To get started on changing your family’s health naturally and get some Joy of your own, check out this page.

I Can’t Get This Peppermint Monkey Off My Back!


Ahhh, the smell of it! As I lean over the thick plume of fragrant water particles streaming from my diffuser, I feel a little silly. I draw it in slowly, deliberately, and I feel the familiar rush of exhilaration and endorphins hitting my brain, waking me up and energizing me. I can’t deny it any longer. I’m a Peppermint junkie!

In my last post, I talked about the powerful healing potential of Frankincense. Peppermint is another oil that comes as part of the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living. From everyone I’ve talked to on this journey, it seems to be the favorite. One whiff and you’re hooked!


Some peppermint oils have an artificially sweet, or “candy cane” scent. While this may appeal to kids, if you’ve ever had an herb garden you know that peppermint shouldn’t smell like candy. If you pull a sprig off the plant and rub it between your fingers, it has a fresh, woodsy herbal smell with the hint of menthol. If you purchase essential oil with the “candy cane” aroma, you can be sure that it has been adulterated with synthetic fragrance.

So why does peppermint have this hypnotic pull? It turns out that there really is science behind it. Any time you inhale a volatile substance (pretty much anything that has a smell), it enters your body via the blood vessels in your lungs. At the same time, it affects the olfactory receptors in your nose, sending immediate messages to the brain about what you’re smelling. It has recently been discovered that humans can process one trillion scents. In the case of peppermint, it travels to the areas of the brain responsible for mood, cognitive function, and alertness. Voila! You just feel good when it hits you.


I use peppermint in a couple of different ways. I diffuse it each morning with other “uplifting” oils when I need a boost to get going. I immediately feel brighter and more focused. I also rub a drop or two on my temples, forehead and the back of my neck for the invigorating skin sensation and for better absorption. Then I cup my hands over my noise and inhale deeply for a powerful “brain hit”. BONUS: It has a great cooling effect for the “hot” ladies out there!

What are some other uses for Peppermint?

  • Research has shown promise in using peppermint oil for IBS.
  • It can be used to relieve nausea and stomach discomfort. Are you going through something that causes a lot of nausea? Thus could be a great ally.
  • It helps to relieve muscular tension and discomfort.
  • Some studies have shown it to be excellent for hair regrowth.
  • It may repel ants and other pests, as they detest the scent of peppermint.
  • It can be used in recipes and teas.

See 21 Benefits of Peppermint Oil with links to scientific research.

When I had an Essential Oils 101 class in my home recently, I made several items to raffle off so people could experience how to use their oils. One of the favorite items is Bath Salts, for everything from relaxation to detoxification during illness. Peppermint is an invigorating addition to the bath which will stimulate the senses, clear your sinuses, and get you moving. Want to TRY SOME? Here’s the RECIPE:



1/2 cup Epsom salts

1/4 cup baking soda

3 drops Young Living Peppermint essential oil

3 drops Young Living Lemon essential oil

This makes enough for a half pint jar or one bath. Shake well to distribute oils, dump in bath, ENJOY!

Go ahead, you know you want some! Besides, it’ll make me look better if you’re huffing Peppermint beside me.

Next Up: get ready for Thieves

Why The Three Wise Men Were on The Frontier of Medicine

three wise men

You know the story. It was a star-lit night in Bethlehem, no room at the inn. The Christ child was born in a manger, and the three wise men came to honor Him bearing gold, myrrh and frankincense. What you don’t know is that they may well have been the forefathers of alternative medicine!

In ancient times, Frankincense was considered more valuable than gold, with Egyptians reportedly saying that it was good for everything from gout to a “broken head”.


Frankincense is more commonly known as Boswellia, which is highly prized as a supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties. There are 3 kinds of Frankincense, and Young Living carries all of them:

1) Frankincense (Boswellia carteri): otherwise known as “Frank”, this variety is grown and harvested in Somali land, and 2,000 kilos per day are distilled in Dubai.

2) Frereana Frankincense (Boswelli frereana): This was the variety given to the baby Jesus and still serves as a symbol of Christ and is burned during prayers by Egyptian Coptic Christians. The resin is also made into the most expensive chewing gum in the world, which is offered to guests in the Arab world after meals. This variety of Frankincense is harvested over a 9 month period.


3) Sacred Frankincense (Boswellia sacra): A close relative of #1, this is considered the rarest and most valuable type of Frankincense. It can only be found in Oman, where it grows wild in limestone near the ocean and in the mountains. Frankincense collectors in the region have been harvesting the resin the same way for over 5,000 years in a painstaking process.

Once harvested, the resin can’t be exported by anyone but an Arabian prince. To date, Young Living is the only company that has been given permission by the Omani government to harvest and distill Sacred Frankincense. The company now distills 36 kilos in 2 days without harming the original trees, which are allowed to “heal”.

While all that is certainly fascinating, why do you need to care about a tree that grows in the Middle East? As a breast cancer survivor (or just as someone who is looking to prevent a cancer diagnosis), I am always looking to the research for how I can improve my odds of staying healthy. This one definitely needs to be part of your immune and cellular health arsenal! I use 2 drops on each breast area daily with coconut oil. I also take this one internally, 2 drops in an empty vegetable capsule daily. The scientific evidence is exciting, and I’ll link to it at the end of the post if you’re interested.

Another unexpected benefit of Frankincense? It is incredibly good for your skin! It has anti-aging properties and improves the appearance of scars. I’m going to share my own picture with you now because I feel like it has made a drastic improvement in my mastectomy scar.

typical mastectomy scar 6 monthsmastectomy scar

When I noticed the results above, I replaced my moisturizer with a blend of whipped virgin coconut oil, lavender, and frankincense. My facial skin is smoother and softer these days!

What are some other uses for Frankincense?

  • ease back discomfort by applying directly on the spine
  • diffuse to uplift mood an help combat sadness and anxiety
  • apply on temples and wrists to relieve stress
  • apply on neck and throat to soothe irritation and coughing
  • apply on dry, itchy skin to soothe irritation

It’s very exciting that this oil is included in the Premium Starter Kit as one of the 11 oils. I have personally gone through 3 of the 5ml bottles. I think it’s time to upgrade to the big bottle!

Here are some scientific articles to peruse:

Boswellia sacra essential oil induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis and suppresses tumor aggressiveness in cultured human breast cancer cells

Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity

Frankincense essential oil prepared from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacragum resins induces human pancreatic cancer cell death in cultures and in a xenograft murine model

To find out more about ordering your own kit, check out my Essential Oils page.

Next Up…Why You’ll Huff Peppermint Oil in Dark Alleys!