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Low protein lunch

I found some gluten free soft tacos at the Super market recently, only 1.1g protein per taco. Makes for a very easy and delicious lunch 😁
#Phenylketonuria #lowprotein


Wasn’t I always ‘The Queen’?


and titles are a thing we never really give much thought to, or, at least, I

never did.  The title ‘Queen’ never

really even fell onto my radar until a few short years ago.  I mean really think about it; you’re born and

you are someone’s daughter or son, if you have a sibling you’re automatically a

brother or sister, you grow up you are a mister or miss, then as a girl

you  marry and become a Mrs.  You have children you’re a mom or dad, then

as I recently became grandma or grandpa. Then you have professional titles

& labels: doctor, judge, pastor, and so on. I never thought of Queen as one

of those professional titles I’d ever achieve or hold because my generation and

the ones before me knew that as a title bestowed upon a monarch and, yes,

earned through glitzy and glamorous televised competition. Of course nowadays

the term queen is used commonly as a term of endearment when a husband refers

to his wife or kids about their mother, even when we refer to a strong woman. Again,

the term and title ‘Queen’ wasn’t anything I really ever thought about until

almost three years ago now. Frankly, at the time, I wasn’t aware of how much

the journey I was embarking on would change my life, nor how embracing a title

would affect my life and those around me.


I originally stumbled across the pageant brainstorm I had it in mind for a

friend or someone else; anyone else other than me. The obvious flaw in my plan

was that adult PKU patients, especially, those who’ve been “off-diet” tend to

be riddled with anxiety, #Agoraphobia, and so many other social issues that make

it hard for us to function in the “normal realm” I knew this; I have all these

issues myself. How could I expect them to put themselves out there on display

for the world if I weren’t willing to myself?


2017 I started down a path to create awareness for my condition, #Phenylketonuria

(PKU), mainly to shed light onto the ever growing adult PKU patient population.

PKU has long been thought of as primarily a childhood condition, but as we know

children grow up. As far as I had known PKU had never been used as a pageant

platform and I saw a growing trend in PKU women and girls being ashamed of

their overall size. Our diets tend to be mainly carb, processed food and high

calorie based especially if we can’t afford to purchase low protein foods, even

those foods fit into these categories. Then I found Miss Plus America, not only

was MPA about celebrating the beauty of all women, but it was very important to

the system that their queens focus on and work for their platform and their

platform is very personally important to them. I next worried about what others

might think or say about me (being over 200 pounds) parading around in a crown

and calling myself a queen. Now, I have been overly blessed to have a husband

that tells me every day that I am beautiful, but I still have my days when I

feel like, I know I could stand to lose weight. I am also blessed with friends

that remind me almost daily; “you need to

focus on being healthy and functioning, not your waist size, you know that.

Happy weight, not what society says is acceptable. You need keep your eye on

the prize, creating awareness and this is a great creative way.” I bit the

bullet and contacted Mama Marcella, then spoke with Nanette for my initial interview,

who at the time was executive director of MPA, and that’s when I heard the

theme that would resonate in my head from that day forward. I had a mission, I

had a reason (a good one) and that I’ve always been a queen.


not going to lie. I was not in any way prepared for MPA 2017, I was a hot mess.

Kansas didn’t have a preliminary pageant established; I would be going in as an

at-large delegate. Between my medical expenses and life I certainly didn’t have

the funds to be a real contender, but I put it in my head; I just needed to

make it there, I just needed to set my feet on the stage. I arrived into a whirlwind

of makeup, dancing and women from all walks of life. I laughed, I cried, I made

friends and I told my story over and over. In the end I didn’t place, I had set

out to do what I wanted to; I brought PKU awareness into the lives of people

that otherwise never would’ve heard about it. I was very set that I wouldn’t be

returning in 2018, but throughout the week I got friend request upon friend

request from my sister queens. The remaining theme I heard from them is

something I never really heard much in my life, well I guess I did, but I never

really paid attention, “You are strong,

you have a purpose and haven’t you always been a queen.”  But I explained time and time again I was not

doing it again…then I got home. I never realized how many actually watched my

journey which I shared via FB; former classmates, friends, family, my extended

global PKU family and now my sister queens. Support poured in from all over. “Are you going to compete again? But you are

a Queen, you can do this.” I hadn’t realized how much my little experiment affected

not only the ladies in the PKU community but ladies all around me. I continued

communicating with my fellow sister queens, they offered not only friendship,

but spiritual and moral support. They never failed to remind me, “it’s not that crown that makes you a queen,

it’s what you do and who you are and you are a Queen.” The problem is I was

pretty sure that I still didn’t believe this myself, but I had learned from my “off-diet”

years to “fake it until you make it.” For years I had the person I showed the

world and the person I was at home and with my new PKU treatment working better

and better I had no use for this “skill” the two had melded into one. I decided

to use this to develop a new personality; Queen Ozma.


Ozma, who was she? If you’ve followed the Oz series of books you may know her.

She is the true ruler of Oz, her father was the king was dethroned by the

wizard. Being Mrs. Kansas the title seemed to fit. Queen Ozma is pure of heart.

Her movements are dignified, smooth and graceful, her manners imply proper

etiquette. She is also portrayed as an extremely compassionate and benevolent

little ruler. Her story was the Cinderella story of Oz and her most famous

quote was “But in Oz we are loved for

ourselves alone, and for our kindness to one another, and for our good deeds.”

I went into MPA 2018 as “Queen Ozma” and introduced my new platform; I was not

only focusing on PKU awareness, but #RareDisease awareness as a whole. Apparently

took everyone by storm, but again, I didn’t walk away with a national title,

but again, this didn’t matter to me. I did what I set out to do. I paced myself

more, I got out there more for my platform and I owned my crown.


returned home with a new sense of myself. I was soon contacted by the 2017 Miss

Plus America Elite Ivonne and her stylist. She asked if she could coach me for

the 2019 MPA Nationals. While I had aced the interview I hadn’t fared as well

in stage presence, but off stage I shined. I told her I needed to talk to my

family first. Which was a short conversation; I spoke to my mom and she asked

me explain “Queen Ozma”; I did  and I

told her that I didn’t know if I could do it again, this whole journey was

about shedding light on my true self, my PKU and my journey and developing “The

Queen” wasn’t doing that. She responded in way I didn’t expect, she was

confused because “The Queen” was more like me growing up than I had been in

decades. My husband responded in a similar way, while he hadn’t know me as a

child he had heard stories and that he agreed with my mom and what was one more

round going to hurt.


it sunk in when I donned my crown to become Queen Ozma for cosplay at a

Supernatural convention of all things (They has done a storyline that involved

Dorothy and Oz, so it seemed like a fun fit). I was asked over and over again

why I was not on stage for the cosplay contest and could people pose for

pictures with me for a game they had going on, my initial response was always

gracious, “Yes, of course, we can take a

photo.  Do you want to wear the crown for

one?  My friend and I came for the

experience. We’ve never cosplayed or been to a convention like this. We collected

things to donate for the collection drive. I’m in pageants and this was part of

my stage wear this year, we thought it might be fun for me to try out cosplay.”

Then I would explain PKU and rare disease awareness. Their response was

usually about the same and always unexpected, “So, this isn’t cosplay. This is who you are. You’re really a Queen? That is so cool. You should own that, this family is about

acceptance in who you are. You’re the Rare Queen.” My response soon transitioned

to; “This isn’t cosplay for me, I’m a

Queen. I’m Mrs. Kansas Plus America,

I’m the Rare Queen. This is my first convention and I’m so blessed to be here.”


writing prompt that inspired this story was “What’s

a label you identify with – for better or for worse – you never thought you’d

have before your journey with a health challenge or #Disability?” But the

thing is I’ve always had my PKU, its part of what make me who I am. It is part

of my genetics, my DNA and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s funny that it

took a long winding journey and two separate groups of what were, at the time,

strangers for me to realize, wasn’t I always The Queen.


#PKUStrong #RareDisease #SPNFamily #MPA