I’ve been in a battle for quite some time now. Actually multiple battles. I’ve written and rewritten this post in my mind countless times. What do I say? How do I say it? How in the world do I title this kind of blog post? Quite frankly, I’d rather stay in a realm of posting recipes for the Paleo and autoimmune community along with funny videos and my humorous take on life, autoimmunity, food, and survival without gluten, dairy or grains (that’s the short list).
Having a daughter with inflammatory bowel disease, and my own autoimmune diagnoses, I realize autoimmunity is serious and can be frightening at times too. That said, I’ve never wanted this blog to be taken too seriously. I wanted it to be an encouragement to others but also make people laugh – because if you can’t eat really good (bad) food, laughter is essential to survival.
But frankly, the last year of my life hasn’t been very funny. I haven’t wanted to blog about it, or even talk about it much for that matter. In December 2014, the week before Christmas to be exact, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found a large round tumor in my right breast about the size of a bouncy ball (three-and-a-half centimeters) and the months that followed were nothing that I wanted to share with my readers. To be perfectly honest, I wanted it to all go away.
I’ve loved the autoimmune community. It’s a close-knit group of people wanting to overcome varying degrees of health issues who encourage each other to keep pressing on, share recipes that are actually delicious (Without gluten? Who knew!), and are generally very supportive as a whole. AI peeps – you got my back and vice versa.
Now enter the cancer community. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m going to be painfully honest here. It’s not a community with whom I’ve ever wanted to identify. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Dearly loved family members or friends have gotten the dreaded diagnosis and we watched. We watched it all unfold. As difficult as all of that is, it’s another realm entirely when the person in the white coat looks YOU dead in the face and says “It’s cancer.” I wanted to be the person on the outside helping or ministering in some way to the person with cancer, but to be the “cancer patient” was horrifying to me to say the least. Even now, one year later, I cringe when I tell someone I had breast cancer or when I’m filling out a medical history form at a doctor’s office and have to check the box next to “cancer”.
I remember thinking I just wanted to be past it – a year down the road and doing well, if, in fact, I could get past it.
So here I am – one year later. This is the week that I was diagnosed last year. Perhaps in future posts I will recount the tales of the journey. But for now, I just want to say that I’m here and I’m thankful. Dear Heavenly Father who heard many cries for help as I huddled on the floor of my bedroom crying and paralyzed by fear – I am thankful. For the many friends across the country who prayed to God on my behalf and walked through this trial with me – I am thankful.
Christmas isn’t the same and I don’t believe will ever be the same for me. The lens of a cancer diagnosis has changed the way I see life. Little things have greater meaning. I notice how stark white fluffy clouds look against a brilliant blue Florida sky. I laugh harder at the funny things my toddler says and thank God I am here to enjoy her. I marvel that in less than a year so many prayers have been answered and I can sleep again.
I couldn’t bear my soul and not, at the very least, post a recipe for you to enjoy. So here’s my gingerbread recipe. I included the frosting that is in the picture, but personally, I think the cake is great on it’s own or maybe with a dusting of a homemade powdered sugar (just pulverize organic cane sugar or coconut sugar in a coffee grinder or mini food processor until powdered).
Enjoy your Christmas and New Year’s with your families and friends.
- For Gingerbread
- 1½ cups cooked navy beans
- 5 eggs
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup organic pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup organic unsulphured molasses
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ ground cloves
- ¾ cup palm shortening
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup organic pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" round or square pan.
- Place all wet ingredients for gingerbread into a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth.
- In separate small bowl, combine all dry gingerbread ingredients with a fork.
- Add dry ingredients to wet in the blender and blend until smooth and well combined.
- Pour ingredients into greased pan and bake 25-30 minutes.
- For frosting, combine all ingredients in small bowl and mix with an electric blender until fluffy and well combined.