Choice and Resiliance: It’s What Lives In Your Head That Counts

As most of you already know, I love stories of survival in the face of insurmountable mountain-sized odds or at least those uphill battles when you have to shift into low gear to scale. One man’s mountain is another’s slow upgrade in an old Ford pick-up truck. The height of the mountains we each may be called to climb can be relative. Sometimes it actually has to do with our relatives, as in DNA and health issues and at other times it is simply life throwing a big sticky, chocolate cream pie into our faces. I don’t claim to have any answers about who decides how big the hill, how painful the conditions or the timing of these events, happenings and cataclysms in our lives. I have been through too much in my life to ask “Why?” any longer. No one ever called, texted or screamed the answer to me, therefore I moved onto areas of life that might actually have some answers for me and for others who suffer chronic pain, disease or grave misfortune.

One fact I do know and believe with every force within me is there’s always the possibility to overcome, persevere and survive in one form or another. How we survive these experiences and times is a matter men and women have been pondering since Adam invented the word “nag” and Eve learned how to bake apple pie. Recently I have read about three remarkable individuals through books and articles which all tie together to tell tales of those who overcome, persevere and show remarkable tenacity, courage and grace under fire. Sometimes we are faced with such overwhelming obstacles our very lives and survival are threated; at other junctions we know we need a change or to overcome something in our current circumstances and need extra courage for that change to occur.

One delightful older man I read about is Gary Marquardt who lives in Excelsior, Minnesota. Each morning for the last three years he has risen, gone to his local cemetery, Oak Hill cemetery and searched out the graves of fallen soldiers and plays taps for each, on his trumpet. He was struck a few years ago by the mediocre effort displayed by the recorded, taped playing of taps, at the conclusion of a friend’s soldier father’s funeral. Playing a recording just didn’t seem like enough; enough caring, enough effort or enough respect. It also didn’t sound very good echoing across the graves of the fallen.

During the Vietnam era, as a young man Gary was unable to serve due to a 4-F classification because of a bleeding ulcer. He watched many of his friends go off to serve in Vietnam and around the world; many never returned home. For years he felt a sense of guilt for being relieved he didn’t have to serve when others had to go in the service of their country. While attending that funeral, he felt all the deceased, who had died in the service of their country deserved a live performance of taps played over their graves. He called a national organization that provides bugle players for funerals and asked them where to begin to get certified. They informed him he would have to audition for them. There was a glitch in his plan: Gary didn’t know how to play the trumpet. He had to start by buying a trumpet and began to take lessons and practice, at the age of 68. His wife laughs about how awful the sounds coming his trumpet were at the beginning of his learning and even the neighbors look back in good-natured humor, agree it was pretty ear splitting. He eventually took the audition and passed on the third try.

Gary now plays the taps each morning over the graves of the fallen and also plays at approximately 100 funerals a year, now that he is certified to do so. He is giving back, overcoming his own 40-year-old feelings of guilt and performing a heartwarming service to the fallen. He admits he isn’t always a perfect player but always and most sincerely tries to give his best. In the evening he plays taps from the deck of his lakeside home and is often accompanied by a neighbor who plays the flute. Gary describes his playing as a prayer at the end of the day.

He overcame his remorse, his guilt for not serving and is now serving in another way. He is giving to others, both those alive and those who sacrificed their lives for our country. You can read more about this gentleman by finding information about him online. There are many Gary Marquarts’, and I found him under his name followed by “bugle player.” His is a wonderful story of fulfillment and forgiveness of self for him, blessings for others.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book called THE CHOICE: EMBRACE THE POSSIBLE, by an amazing woman. It is a memoir by Dr. Edith Eva Eger who is one of the few living survivors of Auschwitz. I was introduced to her in a recent article in GUIDEPOSTS magazine, one of my favorite publications of many years. I knew from the excerpt and intro she wrote in that article, I had to read her story.

I’ve had a hard time dragging myself away from her story on my Kindle in order to write this blog but I wanted to share with all of you a small part of her remarkable story of survival and choice. I have planned to share with you my own feelings and beliefs that we each have a choice. We may not be able to choose good health, but we can choose to do all we can to have better health. We may not be freed of our health and disease burdens in this life but we can smile as we carry them. I have found it especially intrigues and confuses physicians when I arrive at an appointment happy instead of gloomy. Each day as we face the reality of our lives we have the choice to accept joy even if it means searching for it or the other door, the one of disillusionment and fear. Perhaps, many of us also suffer the guilt of our diseases based on what we believe our predicament has done to others or ask that “no answer” question, “What did I do to deserve this?” We must remember evil, disease and hardship fall on us all like the rain from the skies. Our families, particularly our spouses face change because of our health. We often cannot do anything about their reaction to these changes but we can do something about our own. Remember what I have chanted for many years, “It’s what lives in your head that counts.”

Edith Eger was taken to Auschwitz, along with her parents and her older sister, when she was sixteen years old. She was in many ways a typical teenager with her first boyfriend. She was trained in ballet and gymnastics. As Jews living in Hungary, they lived with the fear and near certainty of being taken away but the reality of it was something quite different. Yanked awake at gunpoint in the middle of the night by soldiers who gave them little time to pack anything they wished to take. Full of fear of unimaginable quantity and drowsy with sleep, her mother pulled a small, wrapped object from a closet. It was the caul which her younger sister had been born with. A caul is a separate sac which is occasionally around the head of a newborn at birth. Such children are believed to be special in some way. It is an old belief, still practiced and believed today. When I was born with one many years ago it was still believed or at least spoken of in a special telling. I remember my mother saying, the doctor just reached over with a pencil and popped it open over my head at birth. A pencil? How sterile could that be? Well, I digress…Even he believed in their fabled magical powers and told her, “This child will see and do wonders in this world.” I’m still waiting for more wonders for me, but for Edith, her youngest sister was away from home when they were taken away that dark night. For Edith’s mother it was a talisman of luck and belief to protect her and her family therefore it could not be left behind. Edith put on her loveliest dress, although it wouldn’t protect her from the cold. It was one she had worn for her boyfriend and had sweet memories for her.

Herded into a large wagon, her family began their journey which took them to Auschwitz via a large, filthy cattle car. The prisoners, which they had suddenly become, were packed in the train car so tightly they had to sleep sitting up with only one bucket of water for all to drink and one to use as a toilet. Arriving at Auschwitz, exhausted and soiled the daughters were separated from their parents by the vicious, sadistic devil Dr. Mengele. It was his habit to stroll through the female barracks and look for young women to entertain him. The other prisoners told him Edith could dance and he demanded that she do it to the strains of the camp orchestra playing The Blue Danube waltz. It is difficult to imagine a more incongruous setting. It was then she discovered she could escape all the horror around her for that few minutes while she danced. She also chose to look at the beauty when she could find it and not the horror, death, odors and suffering all around her.

Edith and her sister were sent to many death camps, work camps and survived. In 1945 when American soldiers liberated the camps, she was found alive in a pile of corpses. She eventually moved to America, married and had a family. She became a trained psycho-therapist and has treated multitudes of cases of battle or life induced post-traumatic stress disorders. She often speaks to large gatherings of soldiers who are at risk for it. She is in much demand for her courage and her approach to what life throws us into. She had to struggle with survivor’s guilt for many years and only overcame it after a return trip to Auschwitz 35 years after she left there. Now at the age of 89, she is a remarkable example of an individual who overcame, forgave her captors, forgave herself for surviving and went on to influence many other lives. She made choices for survival, recovery and then shared her answers with others. At the conclusion of her speeches she does a skillful high kick with joyful laughter. I urge you to order this book or start reading it today on your devices. It is inspiring, uplifting and life-giving.

The third individual I would like to talk about today is one many of you have heard about, read or seen. Joni Eareckson Tada became a quadriplegic from a diving accident over forty years ago, when a teenager. Her remarkable faith in God and in life itself has been told and retold many times. She even celebrates the anniversary of her accident because of His intervention in her life which allowed her to live. She explains it in one of her many books, A PLACE OF HEALING. The day of her accident she was swimming in the Chesapeake Bay with her sister. As Joni describes that fateful event, she dove in, hit her head on the bottom. In that instant her sister was bitten on the foot by a Chesapeake Bay blue crab. Without her sister yelping about that nip from that crab, Joni would have stayed at the bottom of the water, unable to move. Her sister yelled at her to watch out for the little nippers in the water and noticed Joni was not coming up after her dive. Beneath the water, Joni knew something was terribly wrong when she could not lift her arms or move her legs. Her sister, Kathy swam over to her just in time to pull her to the surface where she gasped for air. Joni describes lying there, seeing her own arm inert, she became nauseous and knew something terrible had occurred. That is why she commemorates the anniversary of her accident by serving and eating Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Remarkable, isn’t it?
Joni (pronounced Johnny) is a resiliently inspiring example of one who has turned tragedy and chaos into wisdom, a deeper faith and giving to others. She has written several books. If I had to choose I think I would recommend her book JONI AND KEN: AN UNTOLD LOVE STORY. It’s a remarkable book about the love relationship in the face of illness and being handicapped. She and her loving husband have wheeled her all over the world as she has given speech after speech to show her support and understanding for those who are leading lives touched by change, handicaps and yes, pain of every dimension.

For those of you, my friends and readers, who face a crisis in health right now, have had to endure one in the past and continue to adapt to change in your bodies and minds, I hope these stories I found so inspiring will also inspire you. In her remarkable book, Dr. Eger speaks about treating individuals who remain “frozen” in their traumatizing experiences. While in a frozen state of shock, bitterness or disbelief we cannot move on and life stops for us while, in fact, life is going on all around us. Fall leaves are doing their colorful dance of orange and yellow, the ground is soaking up early rain to be fed into rivers and seas and those around us are also changing constantly. Life, however it is for you and for me, is a matter of choice and resilience if we choose to let it be.

57 thoughts on “Choice and Resiliance: It’s What Lives In Your Head That Counts

  1. That was absolutely fantastic great and so well timed for me..and fitted this time for me like a glove
    Hope all is ok with you sue
    Chris

    • Chris dear, Glad this blog “fit” your need. Still recovering here from a trip to Portland in the rain Thursday. On the new cardiac drug and no ill effects so feeling hopeful we can defeat the A fib. Left knee still quite bad. Shots in knee helped the right one. Decided to go into Portland to see knee specialist who did Jim’s knees. So much always going on with this body I do get tired of it all. Eyes so bad it interferes with my writing and responding to folks.
      How is life going for DD and GS? Hope DH’s symptoms are not severe with his heart and B/P. SO much going on over here. Been doing some online shopping and looking forward to Thanksgiving. My DD has had a a very tenacious virus.Time changing back one hour this weekend so hope that extrra hour of sleep helps all here. Love, Sue

  2. Thank you for sharing, Sue! I have heard of Joni, of course, and I think I have heard as well of Gary, but not of Edith. What an amazing woman. Amazing humans, all.

    • Lyn, Yes, they are each very different both all winners over diversity. The human spirit never fails to warm my heart and inspire me as I’m sure it does you , as well. Hope you, DH and kids all doing well as we head into winter. Cold out here with pouring rains off and on. Cold tonight and supposedly dry. We’re in the forties during the days now. We need an update on you all…Love, Sue

  3. Beautifully written Sue. This leaves us with more resolve to accept our circumstances with grace and to look for the positives in every situation. Thank You!

    • Brenda, Hope you are doing okay at this time…or as well you can be. I think for all of us it is far too easy to slip into the hole of chronic pain and illness. I like to think of life as panning for gold and just when our backs are tired and we are worn and about to give up…we find a nugget to keep us going. I know it works out that way for me. Be good to yourself, Fondly, Sue

  4. Sue dear, You have done it again by penning another inspiration-filled winner. The anecdotes you have included in this week’s “Dose” are nothing less than amazing. But, your own story far exceeds the sum total of “Choice and Resilience,” and I am certain that God brought you here to continue to ease other people’s emotional and physical pain, as you did when you were actively working as a nurse. You are a blessing, my friend, and I am certain that you will be repaid for your kindness and sharing. I pray for your well- being every day. Love, Phyl

    • Phyl, You are always so generous with your remarks. I miss nursing everyday. I’d like to think I am still doing it but in a different mode. This has also given me so many wonderful friendships.In hospital nursing I always got attached and then had to send the patient/friends home. Writing helps me in the sharing and in the telling and it is my best therapy. Thank you for the prayers, more than you know.Love, Sue

    • Pommum, Thank you dear girl. Are you all settled in bac home now? Think of you and your brave spirit so often. Love you, Sue

  5. Hi all
    Got my scan results from the virtual ct scan for bowel .they found some thickening he wants to look at,which may be from taking polyps out but he wants to see it..so that a sygmoidoscopy in two weeks ..umph
    To top of it I’ve diver right now and on a 3day clear liquid diet on second day.on spasmodics but still all same pain
    DH on new beta blockers but bp still high…he had a nose bleed so we had to have his inr checked as well with the change of meds…and our car was in for servicing when it happened so had to organise everybody so we could have it back to get to drs…
    Has been cold here and gives it forecast for a cold spell for two months lovely!
    Ok folks in bed a bit wishy from no food and Heat on side
    Hope all as well as can be with all
    Chris

    • Chris, so much going on. I hope the area they saw is just a spot of scar tissue from removal of former polyps. SO sorry you are miserable right now with diverticulitis. Look at it this way…you’ve been wanting to lose another couple of pounds. I know how drying the med for the gut are for you and I and some others. Hang in there and be sure to drink, drink, drink….no alcohol unfortunately. Are you staying off of caffeine, too?
      As far as DH, poor guy, so much always I know it gets tiring for both of you.Those nosebleeds can make one anxious. Did they have any trouble stopping it and did they get it stopped right away. Did they have to adjust his INR? Hope he improves soon.
      As I’m writing this, Georgie has been trying to get a drink of my seltzer I was drinking. He loves it. SUgar free but he often jumps a bit from the bubbles. I told him, after one capful of my drink to go drink water like all the other dogs do.
      Dr. appt. for me for INR and new heart drug. Feeling okay with it so far. Very cold here, also. Not ready yet. Will have to get Jim to move a couple of plants up onto the porch after this rainstorm that’s coming in tonight. Tiny blueberry bush I bought this year…a miniature and a new geranium. Trying to keep those through the winter. Time to pick the last of the basil and clip a bit of the thyme from this year to dry.
      You both have my prayers and hopes to feel better soon. Tell DH he has been much too interesting lately. You two arre do for some boring times. Love, Sue

  6. Sue
    Sorry so late with remarks. Read it yesterday but in a rush. This morning up @ 5 am to take sister for colonoscopy. So in bed already.
    Wonderfully written, and I love the stories. I had heard of the two, but not Edith. I find those stories so inspiring. I share these blogs with Bernard. I had sent him one when he was in France still. He said you were such a talented writer, so much from the heart and your use of words was wonderful. He hasn’t read this one yet, this was from the last one. Long day , sorry if I am not making sense.
    CHris, hang in there. My sister had a polyp removed today. Said it was precancerous. He looked at me and told me I needed to have one since hers was bad. Told him I already had it. But, we will see.
    Cooling down here , I think. Flowers are growing, reblooming. it has been such a strange fall. But, I will take it. My strawberry vines are full of green strawberries. At least the trees know what time it is.
    Hope you are all well.
    Love
    Tonie

    • Tonie, Hope Judy is doing well after that. SO glad it was pre…cancerous. Got it in time. Indeed, you have had the weirdest weather this year. Sure hope those strawberries have a chance to ripen. We still have flowers blooming out here with very cold nights in the thirties and a hot day it gets up to 50.
      I was wondering where you were and always worried that you are sick. How very busy it has been for you lately. Have to get into the shower for doc appt. today. I’ll be back later…Love to all, S.

  7. Well in bed ..spoke to dr he gave me some antibiotics …augmentum…. Do you have them there ?
    Said still liquids till pain goes ..so at day three of just liquids …
    On spasmonal for cramps and omeprazole as my tum burning a bit
    Feel like sh,t
    Oh and my wheat bag burst over the kitchen this morning !
    Yep sue off caffeine ..just water
    And I’ve lost four pounds
    DH had another nose bleed dr said if it kept on for more than 10 mins got to go to hosp straight away to have it cauterised….that’ll be good with me as I am sitting for hours..id have to go with him as he’s deaf!
    Also he had to increase his beta blockers..bp too high.
    Still spraying nose …..
    So that’s good meds ok for you so far Sue as they do regulate the heartbeat well
    Hope you got those pots in sue
    Chris

    • Poor Chris
      So sorry you are going through this. Please take care. Sue’s hot hello is really a good thing, that and herbal teas. Be good to you. Prayers friend

  8. Chris, How awful for you. Hold that thought about losing four pounds with the holidays coming you will be able to eat more sweets…now you just have to get well. As far as the liquids…have you tried hot jello? It is one of my mainstays when I am having gut trouble. Can you handle potato soup and cream soups? Yes, we use Augmentin over here. It’s a good drug.
    I pray your DH does not have another nose bleed..especially one that lasts more than 10 mins. I am so sorry so many problems have rained down on you two in the last month or two. Hope your nose is better or getting there.
    Yes, so far so good on the new heart med for me. I have had more energy now with my heart being controlled in a more consistent matter, it has, the new meds, made my INR go all over the place so Coumadin adjusted again today. Weekly INR’s for now. So tired of doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. No I didn’t get my pots in…well, actually up onto the porch just to keep them from sitting ice fall or snow. It is not going to freeze yet, rain for a few days. I asked Jim to move them but not happened yet and it’s okay. I have to make some room for them by dumping out one that has a few dwindling annual flowers and another full of thyme I need to cut and dry.The problem right now is the cold and wind…which makes it seem colder. We did some s hopping today as I go through seltzer water all the time, by the case. It helps my gut so much. YOu are both in my prayers and thoughts. Love ya, Sue

  9. Tonie, here is that fabulous Chicken Liver Pate I told you about. I thought I would post it on here so more could see it with the holidays coming. It’s so good but for your Frenchman, who is used to goose liver pate, may be too much of a difference. It’s from an old, old cookbook of mine, It’s one of my favorite books and the cover is coming off. It is called THE UNCOMMON COOKBOOK. Here it is:

    BRANDIED AND HERBED VERY SPECIAL CHICKEN LIVER PATE

    1 lb. fresh chicken livers
    2 med. sized onions, chopped
    1/2 c. butter
    1 mashed clove of garlic
    1/4 c. butter
    1 tbsp. flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1 bay leaf
    1/8 tsp thyme
    1/8 tsp oregano
    1/8 tsp tarragon
    3 tbsp Cognac or brandy

    Saute the onion in the 1/2 c. butter with garlic, remove from skillet when tender.
    Saute livers in the 1/4 c. butter until almost tender, then add flour (sprinkling it) salt, pepper and herbs and cook until chicken tender.
    Remove the bay leaf. Then stir in the onions and garlic. Add brandy then blend all, 1/4 mix at a time in blender or in food processor all at once.
    Can be made a day or two before needed but be sure to pack it into crocks, small bowls, etc but must be tightly covered. Plastic wrap then foil. This recipe freezes beautifully as long as it is wrapped well. You can easily double the recipe since it is a bit time consuming to make but it is delicious.
    Great for sandwiches on rye or with interesting crackers, etc. Wish Jim liked it but he only eats fried chicken and NEVER livers so I rarely make it. My son used to love it. I should make it for myself and freeze it. I’m certain it is easier on the fat content than the goose type.
    Hope a few of you venture out and try this…so delicious. Sue

  10. So glad the meds’ are working good sue. I do know they make the inr go crazy dh used to go a lot at the time,but it did regulate ok soon
    Well the pain seems easier on those meds..but still have the trots…maybe I’ll reduce it to twice a day not three times . It does say on google 500 twice a day for adults and I am three times…what you think ?
    Never heard of hot jello,,but I’m gonna get some to try..that’s if I can get one with no sweetners in it.as those give me the runs too
    But my mouth is watering thinking about it,..
    Yep I’m on herbal teas tonie ..oh and lost more weight ….one pleasing aspect!
    Chris

    • Chris dear, I would take a probiotic or eat yogurt and not change your antibiotics to go against what your doctor ordered. Call him if you can’t get over the trots. Sounds like he sees the importance of getting your gut cleared up very soon. Look for a probiotic with the regular ones plus bifidus.You do have Jello brand jel dessert in England, right? The only one I know with artificial sweetener is the diet version. Most of it just has plain old sugar. Just mix it with boiling water to taste. I usually use half a small pack with a cup of boiling water. It will give you much needed protein and curb some of the hunger caused by a bad gut. Do take care and I pray you get well very soon. Hope the nose is better. Love, Sue

  11. Well dr told me to stop meds and see how it goes..it’s still at it today.she put me back on a fluid only again…I managed to find some probiotics I had and I’ve started them today.they got 5 types in it as well as the one you said
    I’ve got some ..jelly.. We call it ..I found it in cupboard from when I had the scan done….I don’t know if that would be OK on fluid only..can I have sugar as well with the runs l love eating it in the jelly form straight from the pack! She also said no dairy and if I have any milk in drink it has to be boiled……ugh! Strange
    Nose still misbehaving
    So I’m laying in bed here fed up ,but as you say think of the fun I can have putting the weight back on!
    Chris

    • You always can have jello here Chris, when you are on clear liquids. Restricted diets, etc. in the hospitals anyway. Give it a try, the sugar will help your energy levels make you feel better. Hope you are better soon
      Love
      Tonie

    • Chris, Yes, you can have jello. That’s kind of like asking if ice is a solid or a liquid. It will melt, like ice, when it goes into your system. Liquids allow the digestive system to rest/ You can have anything you can theoretically see through. It will be good when she moves you up to regular liquids then you can have that boiled milk with a nice potato chopped up in it and have some soothing soup. There are so many good ones on the market now but even then we have to read labels. Some of them are so full of additives and spices, I usually end up cooking my own if I’m up to it; like chicken soup because I know what is in it. My most favorite is homemade chicken soup with white meat and homemade noodles or dumplings.Now I’m probably just making you hungry. Rest and remember we love you and look forward to you getting better. Hang in there sweetheart. Count your blessings as best you can. I wish you were on FB so you could share in all the people I hear from and chat with who have a life riddled with problems. It helps us to keep our perspective when we get locked down into our own dungeons of despair. Love, Sue

      • Yea I know sue and also with reading those experiences on this blog
        Do you just put that boiled potato in the milk and swish it?
        I think what might have started this is I had that iodine goup to drink which makes you go…then I made some soup a few days after with chick peas and butter beans ..I’ve been ok with a little of each of those but on top of that goup it mite have irritated all.
        So yea Facebook ….dunno..not sure
        Ok back to my rest…..at least that’s a bonus
        Hope meds’ ok still with you
        Chris

  12. Oh dear I don’t know what happened but this is the same email and name I used and I’ve just wrote above and it’s gone to moderation !
    Oh I see there was a full stop after my name that may be it..any way I’ve replied to you sue
    I’m not with it at moment
    Chris

  13. Oh that’s good it came thru,Thank you for doing so quick
    Right I shall have some now
    Hope all well with you and hows Judy after her polyp out
    Chris

  14. Well I had a temp of 100 so I didn’t know to take the antibiotic again as still have the runs..so I have an app at the walkin centre at 19.10 tonight..but I did take one anyway and after one tablet it all came on worse…..so don’t know what to do….see any joy tonite
    Chris

  15. Have a severe case of diver with temp of 101.5…umph
    Back on these meds and to watch it if pain get worse and to hosp
    Stop spasmonal and probiotics he’s said for now ……all odd
    Hope to get another antibiotic dose in tonite
    Bit sore now after the pressing about
    Going to take some cocodamol it will put me to sleep,too
    Chris

    • Chris, this popped up after I wrote to you a minute ago. I’m sorry to hear the fever is back. Do hope the diarrhea stops. I guess it is now a wait and see time for you. Prayers and hugs and a lot of hope this gets better. Love, Sue

  16. Chris, I lost a post to you last night and was too tired and eyes not up to reposting. Now, I hope I don’t screw up. It is possible you are allergic to the iodine OR are developing a sensitivity to it. Obviously something got you stirred up during the cleaning out or the procedure itself. How’s the gut today? I do hope you have been able to progress to full liquids from the clear. Also am praying your nose is less painful. Any more bleeding episodes with your DH’s nose?
    Winter is here in Astoria and the NW. Cold, rainy and a bit gloomy. No freeze yet so Jim hasn’t moved the plants yet. They are going to be heavy after all this rain. Of course, I have to water the ones on the porch because it is covered but if it can save a few from the spring and summer, it’s okay. Many still blooming like mad. DD coming back today from a conference in LA. The kids, SIL and DD were all in Seattle this week for a day and night to be there for SIL and his brother whose lumber yard/hardware store was voted the most distinguished lumber yard in the entire NW. That includes Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho. It’s quite an honor so all wanted to be there then DD had to fly to LA. GD over yesterday for the say since school was out due to Veteran’s Day. House to clean here today. My gut not good sure hope it’s not the new heart med because I have more energy on it. Seems we all are just living from day to day but when you think about it, that’s all we have anyway. Hope your weekend is not too cold and you are both better. Love, Sue

  17. Hello all
    Chris, so sorry you are having such a time of it. Hope you are feeling better today and back on solid food. That liquid diet will zap your strength even if it gives you weight loss rapidly ! How is dh doing ?
    Sue, congrats to your sil I know you are proud. I saw the pics on FB. It is cold here as well. Lost quite a few plants on the porch in my little garden. Need to bring in my flowers now. Tomatoes and peppers went quickly. We had a freeze yesterday morning. Ice on the trough, had to be broken up. I got down in the twenties, ugh ! Warmer today. We drove out to Bristol, Tn yesterday so he could go to Bass Pro Shops. I wasn’t impressed with the prices, but the decorations are wonderful, beautiful store. Then I went on a five store hunt for a nice red blouse for Christmas. Finally found one I liked at Layne Bryant. And had to get the smallest one in the store sizes ! Layne Bryant caters to larger women Chris. Had I been after a black dress top all would have been red ! It amazes me not many stores carry really dressy clothes anymore, especially for Christmas. Even the high end stores I reluctantly went to. Casual, tacky sweaters, nice sweaters, but no blouses. Am I that old ? And in looking at name tag keychains, I find my name is no longer popular. I am a has-been haha ! We ate at Outback last night before driving back. Had a wonderful waitress and good food. I got crab cakes and a salad and they were just that, lots of crab very little else. Good dinner. Good day. Now I must get ready for church. I pray you are all well and happy. Lyn, are you still cold up there as well ?
    Love to all
    Tonie

  18. Hi
    That sounds a good day you had tonie ..I googled the outback looks good food
    Still on clear liquids as still have the runs.just having water and jelly,don’t feel Like anything else
    Nice to have lost all that weight and look for clothes now
    I can never seem to get what i really want either
    Sue
    Not sure about the allergy as it all happened about three weeks after it
    They say now that I might have to put off the sigmoidoscopy till better
    But my temp has been normal now today
    DH broke a front tooth on some cereal..big gap..so have to sort that out tommorow .his nose bleeds have calmed down
    That’s wonderful to have such a terrific store it must be a magical place I remember you sent me a pick once.infact I love looking around hardware stores.theres always something you want there.i bet they really enjoyed that day
    How’s your gut?
    How is your SIL brother now?
    Well I’ve got a cold and cough and it’s a bit sore with all the coughing don’t think it’s helping the diver
    Cold here
    Chris

  19. Dear Friends, Quick note. not feeling well but will post update later. Had a GI bleed this weekend and on the way to the doc now. I stopped the coumadin and it stopped the bleed. Didn’t want to go to ER. Why do these things always happen on a weekend? Stomach hurts and was shocked to see bright blood in the toilet. Usually a GI bleed is dark. Back later. Sue

  20. Chris, No, not really okay. Started to have blood in stools Friday night. Had Ct scan yesterday with labs. Stopped Coumadin on my own Sun. Stopped amiodarone yesterday. Talked to cardio guy today and he said he didn’t think it was likely it was that BUT to stop it for 2 weeks and see. Now off of both of them until all lab back. Hope to go back on coumadin soon. No protection right now from complications of A Fib.. Scary stuff and horrible cramping for five days now. Sick of doctors. No, it’s never something they did to you. Prayers please…Love, Sue

      • Thanks Lyn, One just does what one must and I do try to do with my usual stubborn, stand up for me self. Love ya, Sue

    • Dear Sue, One thing I have learned over the years is that a lot of our problems are caused by the meds we take. I sometimes feel like a tight rope walker trying to balance the good the med does vs the harm it causes.
      You are so much in my thoughts and prayers right now. I wish I could give you a real hug. But I guess a cyber one will have to do. Much love to you dear lady. Janet

      • Janet, thanks so much for the wonderful cyber hug. Needed it. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of folks who responded to my post requesting prayers. I know they have been responsible for my finding enough answers for now, to feel much better. I believe it is the new cardiac drug. Unfortunately it has a long half life and will stay in my system for two weeks. Then he wants me to go back on it at half the dose. I don’t think so. What misery it has cause me thus far. Thanks for caring, Love, Sue

  21. Sue
    I just wrote a long post to you but deleted it and I’ve started again
    Nothing can be put here that fits what I want to say
    So I’ll just pray and you stick with it there girl…..
    Hospitals and drs…you get fed up of opening and closing those doors there
    Rest as much as you can……
    Thinking of you and that you get more comfy with that gut
    Love Chris

    • Chris, I just want some of these symptoms to go away. Hands so shaky can’t put in eye drops without missing. So much twitching around last night awake half the night. Hate this. Gut slightly better tonight. I told Jim it feels like I’ve been poisoned. Not sure after two weeks I will go back on half the dose like cardiologist wants. Have to think about that. Let’s see? Half the poison, half the symptoms? Then I have to remind myself coumadin is rat poison so that is also a sobering thought.
      High winds here for two days, shaking the trees, throwing pods all over our yard from our monkey puzzle tree, moving plants on rolling stands. Had to be it yesterday but Jim had to today to take in a stool sample. Such an icky business, that. Hope it is finally negative for bleeding. Really think it’s the amiodarone. How did your DH react with it. I know you said it didn’t work for him. I hope your nose is better and that , and the gut. Divert is such a painful cramping. Did DH get his tooth fixed?
      Yes, it was a wonderful experience for SIL and his brother, being voted the most distinguished lumber yard/hardware store in the entire Northwest region. So many of the folks there and in these four states knew his Dad and Mom who used to run the store. Glad the children went. You asked about his brother and he is holding his own with weekly chemo in Portland. Too bad he doesn’t want to switch to my cancer group and the beautiful new center., but I understand why You’ll have to Google it. It’s the OHSU/Knight cancer center. Not sure how much is online yet. It’s all windows and cheer.
      Eyes giving out so will close. Talked to Tonie today so she is up to date. Love ya gal, Sue

      • Dh struggled on and off for mths on amioderone he said just that ,as if he was being poisoned..I remember that now.they insisted he took it ,he ended up in hospital they start it again he comes out then back in again ill ,on off like that for months. So they put in the pacemaker with an ablation of the ventricular junction . That ablation was done a month after the pace.but when he came back from having it done he felt better than for some time ..the a fib was still there but the pace took over it
        He still had to take warfarin as the af still going on but as I say his pulse was now regular
        That drug is the sh.ts I so now remember him saying he felt poisoned and it doesn’t seem to match the warfarin well at all
        I suppose your hands shaking with all of it happening and weak
        I didn’t like to say all this incase you were fine on it as you seemed to be at first ..but the pace was the thing that altered it all for him and it takes no time at all to do it and neither that ablation .his was done at papworth hospital which in Europe is well known for transplants and heart problems .in one day out the nxt
        John felt the same about warfarin when started and he had to decide to go on it or aspirin but advised this was best.
        The tooth well..his dentist is on holiday not back till Thursday and have to ring then for a cancellation ,but did book appt for the following Tuesday … Typical
        My nose..well I stopped the steroid spray as I had an inkling that I had absorbed some Steroid over the three weeks and that had made the diver worse more infected never had it so bad..I also started a bad cold and swollen glands
        Had to call out dr yesterday with the diver…he said to start sloppy food.but pain still there all the time
        I’ll google that hosp with you
        So good for his children to get to see what working hard and good work can come to you and see the rewards and results handed down as well such a good experience
        Well hope you are having a restful sleep
        Chris

  22. Looked at it as you say it’s all windows and light and bright .such a marvellous place to have on your doorstep . It’s a shame sil brother doesn’t go there . Chris

    • Chris, Yes it is a lovely place.It’s so cheerful and full of a beautiful scene anyway you look; the old Victorians, the river, the forests. Do pray you are a bit better now with the gut. What did the doc mean by sloppy food? What a time of it and I know how hungry yet miserable that can be. Been getting by on potato soup here but tried plain pasta and fresh ravioli last night and cramped all night. I hope, for me it it that horrid cardiac drug and not the NSAID’s but know they can be a problem but if I stop the NSAID, then the cardiac guy will say, “See it was your NSAID.. Have a call into the rheumy right now for her opinion. I will never take that cardiac drug again even if he gets uppity about it. I may have to travel to Portland to see old cardio guy but oh this weather. Raining like mad right now hitting all the windows on each side of the house.
      Yes, my SIL was thrilled with their reward.
      Are you still on antibiotics for the diverticulitis? I agree with you about the steroid spray. It had long enough to work if it was going to. Want to do some Christmas ordering online today before the Thanksgiving rush. Love you much, Sue

      • Sue
        Over here they will not let you take an nsaid with warfarin .they say that will def cause a bleed
        Gut a bit less painful.go to see gp tomorrow..dr called out to see me the other day I was losing mucous. .dont think they will let me have the sygmoidoscopy .its in 7 days time.,its the enema they give you ..i finished the antibiotics .the diarrhoea has abated a bit. He said I will still have pain for a while On tinned rice pudding .spaghetti and cheese on top,porridge ,yogs. I’ve got the prebiotic ones.white toast still feel very weak
        I don’t know how you eat plain pasta it’s so dry
        Do hope your starts to get easier..how do you do your potato soup?
        Yes certainly get to see a cardio you trust the most..I don’t know why they keep trying that med…it affects the thyroid too
        Christmas. …….o dear!
        Chris

  23. Hello all
    Sue, hope you are still improving. Here it has been crazy ! Trying to get my sister moved, working, getting ready for winter. Her chimney was clogged up so no heat for two days. She stayed here with us overnight Tuesday. Yesterday I had to go with her to the bank to set things up for me on her account. Then run errands. Today I take Bernard to the airport to catch his flight to visit his daughter in Fla for four days. So a weekend alone. Maybe some rest, haha ! Always busy with him. I have to take my downtime because he never does. I would have hated to see him when he was young, hyperactive.
    It will be cold here tonight, below freezing with winds. Sue, I appreciate the coldness. Of course it gets cold when I have to go and feed all. I am supposed to ride bikes with Leslie on Saturday, take Judy swimming tomorrow. She is going to try the water aerobics class. She really enjoyed the swim on Monday.
    Chris, so in hopes you are feeling better and able to eat something. For some reason I have been running to the toilet for two days. Different for me. Good, but not right, not sure what is going on.
    Janet, so right with the meds. I told Sue, I am blessed to have no trouble with them, only one or two, but nothing major. Glad to see you here. Hope all is well with you. My mare is nearing her time. Her udder is getting larger and sore. We always rub her and touch her because this is her first foal and she is not so young. THis time she kicked ! So we worked with her until she accepted the touch. I am so excited. Just hope she doesn’t have it while I am gone to visit the kids in Dec. Judy and I are going to my daughters (who got married). Meeting my son and kids there for early Christmas together. It wil be a madhouse !!
    Okay, now I must start getting ready to go. Love to all.
    Tonie

    • Dear Tonie, I hope you will be there for the birth. One of my most vivid memories is the birth of a foal. I have seen many kittens and puppies born, but the birth of a foal is magical. I love the way you and Bernard have so many things you love in common. You were so lucky to find each other. Take care. Janet

  24. Hello, all. Tonie, sorry I missed your question earlier, I was on and off quickly. Yes, it is cold up here, too, still. I spent several days trying desperately to keep warm. My body just is not acclimated thanks to the quick snap. No fun. Feeling a bit frustrated right now. I’ve been trying to look for a cookie recipe that is my favorite for chocolate chip cookies, made with browned butter. At least that’s how I remembered it… I tried making a recipe today and that wasn’t it. I’m still feeling a bit icky from trying too many of them while adjusting the batter. I just looked online and can’t find what I think it was, either. I thought I had it on my Pinterest, but I can’t find it. I guess I should check my recipe folder on my laptop, but I could swear I was reading from a website when I made them last. Most recipes I found have as much butter as the one I made today and I found these too buttery. This past weekend and early week was a bit stressful. Our tiniest, and oldest, cat was not well. Doc felt one kidney was a bit enlarged, but blood work for kidney function came back within normal range as did her thyroid. Her white cell count was up and something else was a bit, too, I think, though I cannot recall what. We thought probably an infection, but she couldn’t rule out cancer with that kidney and her age – 8 1/2 years. She is on antibiotic and finally eating! So I think it was infection. She scared us a bit, though. She didn’t eat from after breakfast Friday until Monday or Tuesday afternoon!
    Chris, I hope you and your DH are better now.
    Tonie, a little rest and alone time, huh? Well, enjoy it. I’m glad FM is able to visit his daughter a bit. I do hope your mare takes to her babe and mothering and that you are able to be there for the birth!
    Sue, hang in there! I hope that med speeds out of you, but know it will more likely take its time.
    Janet, good to see you on here more lately!

    • Lyn dear, surely hope your kitty is better from the antibiotics and eating well. I know the sorrow one can feel when one of our little ones, human or animal are ill. Did you find that cookie recipes? I’m afraid my favorite chocolate chip recipe is loaded with everything…pecans, raisins or currants, choc.chips, oats and of course, always real butter. Unfortunately my local grandkids don’t eat nuts and I like them in everything so have been known to make a batch of brownies with nuts in only half. The grands here like my mint brownies with green mint frosting. Well, Thanksgiving is on the way and Beth has had a bug for several weeks which has hung on and of course, me with the med problem but we’re having it anyway. Jim and I voted to go out but were outvoted. I will be glad when it’s later that night and the weekend because I love leftovers at that time of year more than any other. We always have Jim peel a big pot of potatoes. As I’m sure I’ve shared previously, he says, “When I peel taters, I peel taters.” He learned how in the army and you have to watch him and make him stop or he’ll peel enough for an army. Pray my gut can eat most of the food by then.
      I know you and your family will all gather together. Hope you are adjusting to the cold that is surely,is falling on you in PA.
      Yes, it is taking awhile for me to recover but better each day. I miss my NSAID’s and have more pain as I expected so long rests between chores here. Love you much and do take care, Sue

  25. Tonie, so much going on for you. Hope you get some rest while your “love machine” is out of town. I think it’s so wonderful how your whole family has embraced him which tells me he is truly a wonderful guy. Hope he enjoys his visit with his FLA family. Wow, girl, Christmas is coming early with your trip down for an early Christmas with Nikki and her family. Just starting to shop online here for the big day, although I have bought a couple of things earlier. I always say I will cut back on spending for the holidays but seldom do.
    It’s been quite a week here. Things are looking up healthwise but we are being plagued by internet trouble and an old water heater that keeps going out. We’ve ordered a new one but not here yet. My old guy has a bit of trouble getting down low to light the friggin’ thing. we’re so grateful to have hot water. Funny, the simple things you can miss when they aren’t there. I’ve been looking for chores I can do while resting so Jim and I did some of the boring duty type chores like fileing all the receipts in the drawer from the whole of 2017. Hate that but must be done.
    I’m so pleased to hear Judy is getting out and think it’s great she enjoyed the pool with you. I know her life at home must have piled up on her while she has spent a couple of years with dear Mary. Staying busy is so good for grief and she is, I’m certain. Where do you bike now that winter is upon you?
    Sure hope that pregnant mare of yours has a wonderful surprise for you and is safe when she delivers. Nice to have a horse specialist with you now, although I know you’re quite an expert yourself.

    • Hey
      Good to see you back on. Hope you are feeling much much better. My sweet man has been embraced by my family. Yes, he is a wonderful man. He just called me. He had a bad episode with his colon yesterday. So bad he called his Dr in France today. He is probably going to go back and get things taken care of after the first of the year. So it is not good. But it will be after his surgery. It will just not be possible for me to go, so….
      I spent the day wrapping presents. Only have a couple left I need big bags for. And a few I am still making. It is turning cold here again tonight after a couple nice days. Ugh !
      Judy really likes the pool. She did a class of sorts on Friday. We will go back on Monday. Then to shop for the rest of what I need for Thanksgiving. Tuesday I am taking Judy shopping , then pick up Bernard, then shop ( ugh) some more. Wednesday I will rest between cooking.
      Please take care of you, and remember my sweetie in your prayers.
      Love
      Tonie

      • Tonie, Sorry I was just too tired last night to answer this. I am so sorry your FM is having that old trouble again. I so wish there was a way for him to get taken care of here in the states so you could be together. Also, so much traveling when he hates to travel so badly and doesn’t fare well with it. I was wondering if you called the university medical centers if there could be some arrangements made. It took him awhile to get over that last flight to France. Poor guy. Of course, he’s one of ours now and has our prayers. What exactly is going on with his gut? Would he mind your sharing?
        My goodness gal, you sound like Santa’s workshop all by yourself’.I know the kids all look forward to your visits, especially when you arrive with gifts. I hope you are doing well. Haven’t heard a recent report from you much about your own health.
        My own health is improving much slower than I would prefer. Cramping less, shaking still but less and still eating boring food. I am trying to learn all I must from this experience and see how it applies to my next move. I made an appt. to see Jim’s knee doctor in Portland. All he does is knees so I will appreciate anything he can do for me. That’s in mid December.
        I know you’ll be happy to have him home tomorrow and hope he’s feeling better and can enjoy the holiday. Love, Sue

  26. Chris dear, I sure hope you are feeling better by now and are able to eat something more interesting than you have been eating.First of all when I say plain spaghetti I should be more clear. To me that means without meat sauce or marinade sauce. That’s what I call spaghetti with just butter and olive oil mixed together as a sauce. I usually slice a few fresh mushrooms and cook them with the butter and olive oil with a dash of garlic salt and a dash of basil. It’s so good with some grated Parmesan or Romano on the top. I always rinse my spaghetti to rid it of some of the starch and to keep it from clumping so badly. Years ago I would put a tbsp. of oil in the cooking water. I sure thought we chatted about my favorite potato soup but guess that was on FB. I peel and chop potatoes bite size chunks and cook in a bit of water. While that’s cooking I make a roux with butter and a bit of flour and salt. When the potatoes are cooked just until tender, I then add a bit of the water from the cooked potatoes with an equal amount of milk and stir with a whisk until it is thick, add grated sharp cheddar, a dash of powdered onion and a dash of dried Basil. It’s a bit thick like Vichyssoise, except I like it hot with crackers or fresh French bread. It never fails to agree with the gut and is a bit more interesting than most potato soup. I avoid the fancy canned soups due to all the additives and if I eat canned, it is usually the good ol’ Campbell’s brand.
    I have the go to food for a bad gut in the refrigerator right now: rice pudding homemade, potato soup from last night and plain jello, chilled. I keep the squirt type of whipped cream in the fridge because it dresses up jello, etc. but is only 15 calories per squirt due to all the air in it.
    Have you found out anymore about what is going on for your gut? I am so totally sympathetic. As far as me, better each day but now off of heart drug, coumadin and NSAID’s so gut can heal. I pray DH is doing well. What a trial this whole staying alive can be. It is always worth it although I confess to occasionally having doubts when suffering too much of some misery. Half the problem these days is the medical community and the insurance companies. Of course, there are still many caring folks in both fields, thank God. Love you much, Sue

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