Author: CourtneyO

Julie & Katie

Hi Katie!!

Read your column from Sunday with great interest because I’ve been seriously thinking that I need to finally win my battle with sugar!!! I’m turning 53 soon and feel much older at times especially in the morning trying to get out of bed :/.

I’m probably not the first to write you for support but would love any advice and support you can offer?!?!?! Fortunately I can say I don’t eat a great deal of sugar but enough that I know giving it up and bread (that’ll be more difficult for me) would produce great benefits.

Thanks so much

Julie. 🙂


Bread is definitely a hard one but since it is loaded with sugar, the best thing I did was identify it as “poison”. I know that sounds extreme but the way I was feeling each day felt like someone was slowly poisoning my body. I knew I would never actually eat poison so I looked at the foods I would miss the most as poison and that made me not want them. I haven’t had bread all year and I really doubt I will again. I feel so much better physically and have energy like I did 20 years ago. If you can set a goal for one month and get through that hard part, I know you can make it. The withdrawals and irritability get replaced by energy and feeling strong. You have to totally cut it to get there though. Maybe shoot me an e-mail every time you get tempted and I will see if I can help?

I have had lots of people e-mail me for support. More than I was expecting actually. There are lots of people like you that want to do this so take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone!

A mother’s love can last for generations

This past November, my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. As cancer treatment does to people, it has consumed her daily life and each day has involved preparing for surgery, or chemo, or shots, or tests, or waiting on results. She has been amazing and is reaching her last part of her journey and then the day when she feels normal once again.

Walking beside her this entire way has been my mom. She has been there for every appointment and chemotherapy session, and held her hand as she came out of every procedure and ultimately surgery to remove the tumor. She has brought her meals and been a loving nurse to her as she suffered the effects of chemo on her entire body. She has cared for her at my sister’s house at her own house. She was there standing next to her when she rang the bell indicating the end of chemo treatments. She has provided a comfort and peace that comes from a caring mother and I am lucky that she is my mom as well.

I’ve learned everything I need to know from my mom. There are times to be strong but there are also times when you are going to fall. When you fall, it is perfectly acceptable to cry and hurt and be angry as you slowly make your way to your feet again. You do have to make your way to your feet again; sometimes you will take strength from those who need you to stand firmly once again. Life will make you laugh and smile, but it will also hurt you and take away things you hold so dear. Some days you will have confidence in every decision you make. Other days you will look yourself in the mirror and question every detail of your existence.

A loving mom will help you realize that all of these things are normal and will be there to support you through every crazy phase of your life. She will even be there if you get sick like my sister did, and hold you through it just like she held you through every ear infection, new tooth, first love, and first heartbreak. Most importantly, she will teach you how to be a mom yourself one day just like her own Mom taught her.

In my own life, I just celebrated my son’s 20th birthday. It’s hard not to think back to when he was born and all of the hopes and dreams I had for him. Would I have what it takes to be a strong mother who could raise a respectful and caring man? Would I be able to show him my strengths and weaknesses so he could learn to be human and accept that none of us are perfect?

I recently was invited by my son to speak to his fraternity about ethics in business and I received a text from him after. He wrote “Thanks again for coming tonight and for everything you do. I would obviously not be anywhere near the position I’m in today if I didn’t have your love and support. A lot of my fraternity brothers came up to me and told me how amazing you are. I felt like the luckiest son alive. Love you Mom.” I credit my mom for that text. It is everything she taught me that leads me to receiving a message like that from my own son.

I have six other kids that I love and adore as well. Three of them are my biological children and three of them are stepchildren. When you learn to love and give everything you have, you don’t care how a child has come into your life. It doesn’t matter if you gave birth to them, adopted them, or became a part of their life through marriage. You love them all with passion and grace and hope that someday they will do the same for their own children.

My youngest son, who is now 10 months old, is crawling everywhere and beginning to want to take his first assisted steps. He cautiously finds my hand or leg with each step and always looks back with a little bit of fear and a little bit of satisfaction. He knows I won’t let go right now but he should also know that someday I will have to let go in small ways and then in really big ways. He will learn that I will let him grow his wings and not stop him when he is ready to take off and fly.

This is the hard and heartbreaking work of a mom. It takes one generation after another of loving mothers to build a large family full of love, trust, loyalty, reliability, and laughter. Mother’s Day is a special day to recognize all of these women that have brought children into the world, adopted children, or helped raise children that aren’t their own. Some of you have already lost your own moms and know the pain of losing your mentor and best friend. I think that pain can only be comforted by looking at your own children and grandchildren and knowing that your mom played a role in their successes.

I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day today. Regardless of how you became a mom, the world is a better place because of you and the support you provide all of the children that call you Mom. If you are like me, your Mother’s Day will probably involve watching children or grandchildren play some type of sport and then hopefully you can get together as a family and celebrate the greatness of all of the moms that make up your incredible family.

Katie Coombs is the host of the radio show “Uncommon Sense with Katie Coombs.” You can reach her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UncommonSenseKC/.

My Sister Has Cancer

I have known people who have successfully fought the battle against breast cancer. I have lost a very dear friend who left behind 3 boys. I have even had guests on my radio show fighting the disease and was so impressed with their strength and resilience.

You always remember where you are when you get the phone calls that alter your life. When my father called to tell me had had terminal cancer, I was driving down the Mount Rose Highway to get to an appointment with a client. It was surreal walking into the Starbucks and meeting with the client. Life just suddenly had to move on right then no matter what call I had just received. I felt that way as he died when I looked out the window and a golfer was looking in for a brief second as he retrieved his bad shot that almost hit my dad’s window. He just picked up his ball and walked off to go hit his next bad shot. We made brief eye contact and I am sure he knew he was looking at a man who had just died.

When my sister called to tell me that she found a lump in her breast and was getting an ultrasound I just knew. I knew it was going to be cancer. My sister Kristy is not an alarmist and she wouldn’t call with that type of news unless she was very concerned. I never once believed it was anything but cancer as much as I wanted it to just be a cyst. She was diagnosed with cancer in December 2015 and had surgery the Monday before Christmas. We were so hopeful that she would only need radiation but the tests revealed that chemotherapy was also going to be on her menu of cancer treatments.

That scared her the most I believe. The diagnosis shocked us all. The surgery was somewhat of a relief to get the cancer out of there but the need for chemo just scared everyone. She will no longer be able to finish her school year as a first grade teacher. She will lose her hair. She will have side effects that make it hard to be a single mom as if that wasn’t hard enough. Ironically, I was scheduled for my own mammogram during her surgery and checking the box that we had a family history of breast cancer was upsetting and all too real.

They say the whole family gets cancer when someone is diagnosed and now I think I know what they mean. We all just feel sick and sitting in an oncologist’s office is depressing as you look around at all of the people fighting this cruel disease. My sister wasn’t supposed to be here. She is too well – she is just too everything. She is too nice, too loyal, too sweet, too innocent. Her kids need her healthy. Her students need her healthy. I need her healthy. I’m sure everyone feels this way when they have a family member get diagnosed.

I have watched her go through an emotional roller coaster and it breaks my heart. She has been brave and then terrified. She has cried, yelled, laughed, and just stared off into the distance at times. We feel that it was caught early enough that she will be ok in the long run but not before a very difficult journey. She starts chemo tomorrow and I just don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want something that will feel like poison running through her veins but that is the reality and I have to accept it. She won’t be able to return to her job as a 1st grade teacher until next school year and this breaks her heart and mine too. She is more worried about her students than herself it seems.

We have a big supportive family and we will all be there for her night and day. We have had some pretty interesting conversations including her telling me that cancer is fu&%#ing boring. I agree Kristy. It is! There are better things to do with life than have to fight this disease that nobody deserves. I’m biased to say that you deserved it the least. I would take your place if I could just to make your life feel easier right now. I’m so sorry. I love you and we have you from start to finish.   I still am willing to shave my head with you but so far she doesn’t agree with that! We shall see. Nobody should feel alone when they are going through cancer treatments. Especially my big sis.

FOX 11: Katie Coombs talks “Uncommon Sense”

RENO, Nev. – Katie Coombs, host of “Uncommon Sense,” announced today that she and co-host Debbie McCarthy have joined the America Matters Radio team, broadcasting live on KCKQ-AM 1180. The show will air on Fridays from 2-4 p.m. Listeners are encouraged to call in and participate during the show.

“I’m excited to start this new journey with America Matters Media,” said Coombs. “The live format is a great way to start a conversation with our listeners and I look forward to creating a kind of “Uncommon Sense” community with all of the great people in Reno and beyond.”

“Uncommon Sense” addresses anything and everything related to families, parenting and children. Coombs and her guests discuss current events and trends and their effects on our society as a whole and our individual families. Through her show, Coombs shares her knowledge and advice with respect to today’s issues, focusing on family values and parental leadership, through the use of common sense.

“With our world moving 100 miles a minute, it’s great to have the opportunity to sit down for two hours and hash out the issues, talk about what’s really happening and how all of it effects us day-to-day,” said Coombs.
In addition to her radio show, Coombs also writes a weekly column in the Reno-Gazette Journal, is a contributing author to “Reno Moms Blog” and Reno Magazine, manages an ongoing blog, and actively engages her listeners in conversation forums through various mediums. Coombs has earned a reputation in the community for her humor on parenting, family-oriented philosophies and current events. With “Uncommon Sense,” Coombs engages her community with interesting guests that offer listeners advice and tips to help with raising a family in today’s diverse world.


I just read your article about how you cut sugar out of your life.  I have tried many times to stop eating sugar myself but by the third day I’m craving it so badly that I give into it.  Do you have any advice you can give me to help me get through the first month?  I really want to change my eating habits and start to feel better…. I can relate to those aches and pains you describe having had before you cut out sugar and carbs!! [at wits’ end]

Thank you so much!!a

That was my approach and it was hard but then it got easy.  I started feeling better and of course that motivated me to stick with it.   You get to a point where if you eat it you know it is making you sick.
I mostly follow Paleo recipes but not 100% as I still eat cheese sometimes.  There are great recipes in their cookbooks that help with variety.
Good luck on your journey.  Reach out anytime.  It’s well worth the withdrawals of the first few weeks!
Katie Coombs


Good Morning,
I read your article about breaking the sugar addiction and I just wanted to know how did you detox. I try so hard and also tried so many times I just can’t get past the 2 week mark and the sugar grip gets me reeled back in…
Suffering and declining at 53 🙁
There is no easy way unfortunately because you are getting rid of a drug from your body. I had a cranky 3-4 weeks. I used one Granny Smith apple in the morning and one in the afternoon my first month. I cut fruit completely for the second month so I knew the addiction was gone. I added back in modest amounts after that in my diet for vitamins but my main source is always vegetables. I have cut up veggies around all of the time.  They are essential to your success.
Good luck with your journey. Check in any time. You will feel like a different person if you can get through the first month. It is smooth sailing from there.
Katie Coombs


Ms. Coombs –

I read your story in the RGJ regarding your search for glue.  It was humorous and familiar at the same time. It is refreshing to read that a parent is actually interested in helping a son in a constructive project.
Regarding glue – Since you say that it is a plastic model, I would guess that you were trying to find a cyanoacrylate glue. You do not say how old your son is but I will tell you that this type of glue can be a problem.  There are two main types. One sets instantly and the other is slightly slower.  The major problem occurs in the user has skin contact as it can cause fingers to stick together and cannot be separated quickly.  Skin oil will eventually break the contact. You might check Home Depot in the paint department. 

I have been in the modeling hobby since 1967.  I have six model airplanes hanging in my garage.  Five I built and have flown. One is from my oldest sons set that his wife let me have when we lost him. The field of building from kits is disappearing. Most buy ready made items that require no building. When our oldest son was 12 we attended a fly in of model airplanes sponsored by the American Cancer Research institute. He was instantly hooked.  A man with whom I worked with at Douglas Aircraft, gave us an engine and a suggested model for beginners. We worked together and when it was finished a pilot tested it for us.  I located an individual who would teach our son how to fly. Long story short, he later finished in 13th place in a national competition.  In his late 40’s he built two full size home build kits. I got to ride in his first one but he died before I could ride in the second one.

Keep working with your son.   The rewards will be astounding.



Thanks for sharing your story with me.  We were actually looking for both types of glue.  We have 7 kids – this model was for my 11 year old step-son.

It’s amazing how much quality time comes from these activities.  I wish more parents would turn back the clock and go towards these activities.

You live pretty close so will be easy to reach out if necessary!

Take care.

Katie Coombs

To read Katie’s article, “Plastic Models Another Casualty of Xbox Culture,” click, here.


This article is me as well I believe thought i haven’t started the process. I know I have too much sugar and for my kids too. Do you have recipes to share that help ? And I would love to see the snacks yo give your kids. I am ready to get rolling on this asap and get my energy back!

Thank you for sharing your story!

Hi Christy,

The best recipes come from Paleo cookbooks even though I don’t follow Paleo exactly.  The kids snack on lots of chopped vegetable and fruits or nuts and seeds.  They do not eat as clean as I do but we are slowly getting them transitioned.  They always eat a clean dinner.

I have also had lots of success on Google.  You can just google clean chicken recipes or sugar free/carb free meal ideas and there is so much that comes up.   You will eventually stop living to eat and completely shift to eating to live.  Food isn’t about variety or even taste anymore but about health.  With that said, some of the recipes out there are delicious.   I own about three Paleo cookbooks and we use those lots.

Good luck in your journey.  Check back in and let me know how it goes!

Katie Coombs


Hi Katie,
I decided to write and pay some honor to someone else in the awakening of no sugar, no carbs (for me, that’s currently limited to no gluten, but I hope to have the finances to eliminate that eventually). I don’t feel it’s worth regaling you with my story, which includes private sugar binges and eating only ‘white foods’ or bread/pasta throughout my childhood, but I use AA to keep myself from sugar consumption and to identify my dependence on it as addiction.
It’s a great thing to know it and have known it – and now actually be living it. And I agree our culture is just degraded in physicality and spirituality by what is consumed. I’m focusing on myself for now.
Thank you for the article, the willingness to reach out. I am mostly just writing to thank you for that much. If I ever need further support – I will write again.
I’m glad the article has helped you. It’s an ongoing struggle and we all need to support each other.
Take care,
Katie Coombs

Letter from G.B.

I read your editorial today and believe it works. What is a typical breakfast, lunch, and supper? What would you substitute for bread when making a sandwich? What do you substitute for snacks between meals?


A typical day for me looks like this:

Breakfast -Protein shake if I work out or a banana and a hard boiled egg if I don’t Lunch – Usually chicken with raw cut up vegetables or steamed vegetables Dinner – Protein with vegetables.

I would substitute lettuce for bread if I was going to have a sandwich.  I haven’t  eaten any bread since January 2014 and feel so much better.

I don’t usually feel a need to snack, but if I do it is on sugar snap peas, celery, or fruit in moderation.

I do have an occasional cheat and that is usually a decaf mocha from Starbucks or popcorn.  Sometimes, one of my younger kids will make chocolate chip cookies so I might have one but I usually do not feel good after so the cheats become not worth it and easy to avoid.

Good luck in your journey.  Feel free to reach out anytime.
Katie Coombs

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