You might wonder why a degreed teacher and stay at home mom would spend countless hours scouring books, websites and other resources, researching what various authorities, groups and individuals have to say about health.  Behind every passion is a story… and this is my story. 

MICHELL9

 

I grew up in Ontario, Canada with an Italian father and Irish mother. My mom learned to cook Italian. She had to… he was Italian. This meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  Meals were made from scratch and everyone pitched in. Hours were spent rolling out homemade pasta, stirring tomato sauce with love and taste-testing my grandmother’s famous chocolate éclair recipe.  We often had to guess the missing mystery ingredient from grandma’s recipes. If you are Italian, you know what I mean. 

My affection for cooking was instilled at a very young age and continued into adulthood. After a bachelor’s degree in Psychology I went on to complete a degree in Education.  Along the way I met a man who shared the same appetite for food and learning, and followed him and a trail of hot sauce to Texas after getting married.  He set up practice as a Chiropractor while I taught and coached running.  A couple years later I embarked on a new and challenging job… parenting!  First Carson, then Isabella.  As with all young families, life was busy. I decided to put teaching on hold and stay home with my children.  I prepared homemade meals amidst changing diapers and entertaining toddlers. We ate a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy.  We only went out to eat on occasion. I thought our family was living healthy.

At the age of three, Carson began to suffer with chronic sinus congestion. At first it was dismissed as “usual toddler sniffles”. After exhausting homeopathic remedies, then drugstore decongestants, we had to consult an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist.  Carson’s condition worsened and it was recommended to have his adenoids removed and tubes placed in his ears.  We were at a loss and just wanted to see him healthy.  Below is a journal entry from the day of his surgery.

Thursday April 19, 2007 – Carson was scheduled for adenoid surgery at Seven O’Clock AM.  He has been having trouble smelling, hearing and breathing lately.  He used to have a very keen sense of smell and always ask… “What do I smell cooking, Mommy?”. I have not heard these words in what seems like forever. Instead they have been replaced with “Pardon me?”.  Carson has been very clingy, especially at bedtime.  He wants me to sleep with him, and I have been simply because he often gasps for air during the night.  Kevin and I discussed what we thought was foolish worry as Carson was wheeled away to the operating room. After anxious waiting, Dr. Stark came into the consult room and proceeded to tell us that Carson came through the procedure fine.  He went on to say it was not the adenoids that were causing the problem.  His next words echoed for what seemed like an eternity …“It’s a tumor.”  Kevin was hopeful.  There are benign tumors… couldn’t this be something benign?  Dr. Stark slowly shook his head and responded, “Not this one, not one that looks like this”.  Within twenty minutes we had a preliminary diagnosis – Burkitt’s Lymphoma.

 

DSC_1720editCarson, through much prayer and medical assistance, survived both cancer and chemotherapy.  Upon leaving the children’s cancer ward with my weak, bald, immunosuppressed child, I prayed that we would never do this again.  After months of intense hospital care, there were follow-up scans. First every month, then every three months and so on. At first, the night before the scans was sleepless. Here we were, “cancer free” and ironically, I felt no freedom. 

The tipping point came after a “routine” check and a set of scans that showed the cancer may have come back.  I can’t even begin to describe all the emotions I felt at that point. I just knew it was wrong and would not accept we were going to live the rest of our lives wondering if this vile cancer might come back. I wanted to truly be free and desperately needed to know how. 

 

This ignited a deep yearning to discover the truth about health.  I have spent countless waking and non-waking hours researching books, articles, authors, and resources. I discovered a wide range of opinions, and in the end found vital common threads. No one in our home ever loses sleep anymore worrying about cancer or chronic disease.

MKeyes22I don’t concern myself with the “what-ifs” in life, however there is one. What if you and your family could share in the truths my family has learned?  I could have written a book about making chemotherapy fun for a three year old. 

I also could have written about the hardship cancer treatment places on the family unit. Instead I have chose to develop The Keyes Ingredients. It is my sincere hope that The Keyes Ingredients will educate, motivate and provide practical insights that will not only keep families from experiencing the challenges we walked through, but bring them vitality and life.

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That my friends, is La Bella Verita!

Michelle

 

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