living her best life…#32: second cycle of treatment

More from Pat as we continue to follow her journey through the everyday challenges of living with…multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.

Received the following last thursday.

Hi [hugmamma]…

It’s now after 1 a.m.. The steroids make it hard to sleep. It’s not like I’m bouncing off the walls. I feel tired, but I just can’t fall asleep. Brad’s snoring doesn’t help. Since Aiden left for college, I can use his bed if I get desperate.

Yesterday was the first day of my second 4-week treatment cycle. Fortunately, it went just fine…like the previous cycle of treatments.

There were a lot of patients again today. I’m getting use to it.

I took the last available seat when my name was called. Sitting next to me was the woman I saw during a previous appointment who was just beginning her treatment. Her daughter was with her again. They both smiled at me. I didn’t recognize them at the time, but now that I think about it…that’s who they were.

Unlike previously, I did not feel guilty about doing better than others. I realized we all cope in our own way.

Those with seemingly lengthy treatments have family popping in now and then to ensure all is well. Some are talking on their cell phones. Some are preoccupied with their IPads or laptops. And some are enjoying their snacks…as if they were at home in their favorite recliner. I had to smile at one guy who was out like a light…”sawing some serious wood.” As for me, I was able to write some overdue thank you notes. Now I just have to remember to mail them tomorrow. [hugmamma here: Pat remembered. Her thank-you note to my husband and me read…

Thank you for the Valentine’s Day gifts.

I really enjoyed the movie MALEFICENT! And Ethan hasn’t found the chocolates yet.

Thank you also for your continued love and support. Those quick text messages are a great comfort. And the emails and blog keep me in the right frame of mine.

I miss you guys and can’t wait until we can visit in person.

Love always…Pat.

[hugmamma here:These words brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Lucky for me, I married her brother…and gained…a loving…lovely…younger sister.]

I was with three other patients towards a back corner of the room. We were all facing one another and it seemed as though we were in our own separate sitting area. I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun if we were all chatting gaily while having mani-pedis???” Hmmm…I wonder if the Oncology Department has a suggestion box?

Before going in for my treatment, Brad and I went to visit his parents. I think it helped for them to see me looking like my old self. When they offered lunch, I was so hungry I said “YES, PLEASE!!!”

Evidently I’d not had enough, because after my treatment I went to Costco’s food court while Brad was in Home Depot. I felt no guilt as I enjoyed a mocha freeze. I need the calories!

Took my home meds. Much easier with regular pills that dissolve more readily than the gel-coated capsules. Still tastes yucky though!

Over the weekend I had started a food journal as the dietitian I’m seeing had suggested. It made me aware of what I was eating which is something I want to continue. Journaling also ensured I ate…AND made smarter choices. At least I think I did. What I’m not certain about is if I ate enough. I emailed the information to the dietitian, so I’ll see what she says.

Browsed through my cancer-fighting cookbook and made a shopping list. Looking forward to trying the recipes.They sound pretty good and I think my family would enjoy them as well. Most of them contain ingredients which I already have or which I readily recognize. I’m sure I can find what I need at Whole Foods or in the organics/health foods sections of our local grocery stores. I must confess to only recently discovering these aisles. Imagine how shocked my shopping cart was…as it rolled warily through uncharted territory!

Looking forward to the weekend. Have a Reiki session with Mica on Sunday morning. And the State Soccer Tournament is also this weekend. Aiden’s high school team, MPI, is the number one seed for Division II.

That’s it for another “new normal” day. I’m going to try and get some sleep so I’m not dragging tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of healthy shopping to do!

Love you always…[and your family].

…and hugs to all who continue to offer…love and support.

…pat………and hugmamma.

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journeying towards her best life…#19: hello…goodbye…and stuff in-between

Had a nice, long chat with Pat this evening.

Nice and long for me.

Probably tolerable for Pat. 

I’m guessing she was fine with it.

She laughed the entire time.

Never disagreeable.

Pat finds everything I say funny.

Actually, so do I.

Hilarious, really.

Like a screwball…bouncing from topic to topic.

It’s the new diet book I just bought.

To wishing I were there…eating Hawaiian plate lunches. 

It’s about available housing near The Mayo Clinic for her recovery stay.

To my scouring the internet for light fixtures for our upcoming remodel.

It’s asking if her son has a new girlfriend.

To how long before homeopathic supplements kick in.

It’s agreeing that Brad is one savvy guy.

To Pat’s knowing one of her good friends since 6th grade.

It’s her having lost about 30 pounds.

To Filipinos thinking I’m Filipino.

It’s learning that Julie was celebrating her birthday with family on The Big Island.

To Pat’s son texting and calling her regularly.

It’s her wishing she could just yank out her shaky back teeth.

To Jennifer’s Super Bowl Party…minus kids.

It’s Pat’s great conversations with her sons, as she drove them hither and yon.

To my daughter laughing at how I jump from topic to topic…making it difficult for her to keep up.

It’s recipes high in calories to help Pat build up her immune system.

To my husband’s being a little “under the weather.”

It’s how dad…my father-in-law…probably only spoke when he had something to say.

To me me saying I chatter…to fill the silence.

It’s how helpful sister-in-law Bev’s therapeutic massage is for Pat.

To how my legs ached the day after carrying…my darling, almost 1-month-old, great-nephew…up and down his parents’ steps so he’d fall back to sleep.

It’s how much Mel, a co-worker and great friend, misses Pat.

To not being able to postpone her colonoscopy…and tolerating the stuff she has to drink the day before.

It’s Pat’s continuing to feel good.

And to her living in the moment.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat.

Then talking her ears off for another half-hour.

It’s saying goodbye to Pat again.

Then talking her ears off…again…for another half-hour.

It’s Pat saying…”Okay. Goodbye, Millie.”

Then hanging up the phone.

My hubby, Pat’s brother, did get a word in…

…edgewise…and sideways…in under 8 minutes.

………hugmamma.

we manage…mocha and me

These last few months have been touch and go for my pal Mocha. Old age has been complicated by the debilitating effects of sciatica. Hobbling around, her right paw can bend backwards and send her tumbling forward onto bended knees. Not one to be dissuaded from what she is about, Mocha picks herself up, dusts herself off, and goes about her business.

Observing Mocha makes me sympathetic to the plight of older folks. It’s no fun when body parts don’t work anymore. Life seems consumed with just the basics…eating, peeing and pooping.

“Wwwhhhaaa happened? Where’d all the fun go?” That’s what Mocha’s eyes seem to say as she watches me move about the room. On medication for a heart murmur, sciatica, and now a urinary tract infection, what’s a dog to do? Not much, except lie around.

These last few days I’ve been outdoors prepping the garden for the hibernating months ahead. While back-breaking for me and my arthritic lumbar, Mocha’s been lazing about on the freshly mowed grass, drinking in the sunshine. I’m certain we’ve both felt like switching places.

Being half-beagle, Mocha would love to make like a mole and dig tunnels in the dirt. Me? I’d be content with stretching out on the warm, green lawn, staring up at the billowy, white clouds floating serenely across the baby blue sky.

And yet we make the best of it, Mocha and me. On good days, she’s a little sprightlier. We both are. On days when it takes a little more effort to get going, we take our time.

We don’t wallow in “what ifs,” we just tweak our plans a little. If I’m not up to weeding and pruning, then I’ll do some laundry and vacuum. As for Mocha, if she can’t wander about in search of a new place to lie, then she’ll stay put in her comfy bed all day.

Older age. It’s about doing what we can do, and not fretting about what we can’t do. Of course, doing what we can to keep our bodies humming along is imperative…stretching, exercising, and minimizing our intake of unhealthy carbs.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgo potato chips, candy, and soda. Although I have managed to limit them to…once-in-awhile.

Because of global warming we’re suppose to get a break from the cold, dank, dark weather that normally smothers the Pacific Northwest like an unwanted blanket. According to local forecasters, the lows should hover around the 50s. So far the prediction seems to be panning out. The sun is still with us.

Hallelujah!!!

…mocha and I don’t feel so old…when our bones are warm! Xmas 2010 2 00000

………hugmamma.

 

dr. oz…channeling oprah?

Like his mentor, TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz is loved by millions of women. Granted, there are men in the audience…if only a few handfuls.

I too was bitten by the Oz bug, never having caught the Oprah bug. Probably because he’s a NYC cardiologist and he’s undeniably cute. That he’s “hot” in a passive-aggressive way helps.

When Dr. Oz began his show, I’d hang on his every word. I’d write down his health tips and bombard my husband with them as soon as he came through the front door. Not the jealous type, my husband merely chuckled at my exuberance over the man whose company I kept every day at 3 p.m.

As my initial adulation began wearing off, or maybe because I wasn’t one of the lucky ladies sitting in front of him, Dr. Oz reverted back to being mortal again. At least to me… sitting alone in front of the TV without other giddy women egging me on. 

Eventually I stopped watching Dr. Oz. In part, his shows were becoming repetitious. His favorite topic was weight loss, and probably still is. I guess I’d done enough research on my own to know what I had to do to keep my weight in check. Not that it made me an expert. It’s just that I’d…been there, done that.

Another reason I parted company with the Dr. Oz show was his obvious appeal to the women in the audience. They seemed to swoon when asked to join him on stage as volunteers for his experiments. I love hugging, don’t get me wrong. After all…I am hugmamma. It’s just that I got a little uncomfortable with the bountiful hugs being exchanged between the doctor and his female fans. They came to expect his hugs and he seemed only too glad to oblige. Granted, I’m sure he’s a genuinely caring person with a natural penchant for physical closeness. It might even be a cultural thing, like it is for me as a native of Hawaii where the Aloha Spirit abounds.

For me, it just got to be a little too much. 

Finally, there was one piece of advice he would voice time and again. I’d chuckle about it at first, especially while telling my husband that Dr. Oz said we should have sex several times a week. According to him, it was important to the male’s health. No pressure there.

As time passed, I simply stopped tuning into Dr. Oz. Pretty much like I stopped tuning into the Catholic Church every Sunday, because the priest seemed so far removed from the realities of today’s world.

You can imagine my surprise when I heard that Dr. Oz was called before Congress to answer to charges that he’s abusing his power over consumers. They feel he is energetically supporting products that have no proof in fact of working as he claims on his program. One example cited was the doctor’s claim that the geen coffee bean would increase weight loss. Evidently, there’s not substantive research to back up those claims. Can you imagine the FDA approving a drug because Dr. Oz says it works brilliantly, without scientific data to back him up?

Dr. Oz tried to do on his show what Oprah successfully did on hers…brought the audience along on her beautifully woven message of words. She inspired change, giving hope to millions who wanted to live their best life.

There’s a fine line between the psychological and the physical. And when health information is being doled out like a mixed bag of magic pills, then I agree with those who say…buyer beware!  Fortunately, Dr. Oz is now aware of his power over consumers and wants to help protect them against businesses only too happy to take their money.

As for me, if Dr. Oz could attend to me as a heart patient I’d be totally happy. I’m positive his bedside manner includes hugging. And in a crisis, who doesn’t want to have a compassionate soul holding you? However that doesn’t mean…

i’ll be watching him on tv…anytime soon…

………hugmamma.

Following is an excerpt from an article in the February 4, 2014 issue of THE NEW YORKER, written by Michael Specter…Is Dr. Oz Doing More Harm Than Good?

Oz has become used to crowds, to adulation, and to fame. That morning, when he arrived in darkness, hundreds of people, mostly women, already stood in line at the entrance to the hospital; many lacked insurance, a doctor, or medical support of any kind. There were screams of delight when he hopped out of the car. People had come for the free exam and for helpful advice, but also to see him. Oz is fifty-two and jauntily fit, with a perfectly tamed helmet of brown hair and lengthy sideburns. His scrubs, powder blue and cinched at the waist, fit so well they looked as if they had been run up for him onSavile Row. In promotional pictures, Oz, with a stethoscope draped like a scarf around his neck, looks eerily like Doug Ross, the character that George Clooney made famous on “E.R.” He worked the line like a gifted politician, hugging people as they flipped open their phones and tried to get a picture with him. Many had brought old copies of magazines to be signed: TimeGood HousekeepingPrevention—all with Oz on the cover. “I worship you, Dr. Oz,” one woman told him. Another threw her arms around his neck. “I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” she said. “I’m scared. You are the only one I trust.”

Oz squeezed her shoulder and stared into her eyes. “I’ll see you inside,” he said. “We are going to get through this, and we will do it together.”

 

 

nurturing thursdays: kick back…you’re allowed!

I had someone ask me once why it was I couldn’t rebound as quickly as my husband from a trip abroad, especially since he reported back to work the day after we returned. The implication was that somehow I was a slacker. I who was a housewife with time on my hands. By that person’s standards, I’m sure I was. That she knew little about my daily routine seemed of little consequence. 

IMG_5044Criss-crossing the country these last 11 years to visit with my daughter has made traveling less than pleasurable. Bunking down on air mattresses for days or weeks at a time takes its toll on my arthritic back. Keeping up with a 27-year-old dancer’s hectic performance schedule is enervating, but it’s also a killer. The inability to maintain a healthy diet eventually takes its toll, as does losing track of my exercise regimen. My brain goes on vacation when I need it the most, and my body and I are left to fend for ourselves. The result is that I’m a total mess when I return home to my sanctuary for old-timers.

Since our daughter’s dance career changed directions a few months ago, our lives have been a mad dash to get her settled in, and moving on. Since September I’ve been to Houston and back 3 times. Each trip lasted only several days. In between trips, I’ve moved stuff around in my house, our storage unit, and elsewhere more times than I care to count…when our daughter moved home…when we helped settle her into her Houston rental…when her bedroom here was remodeled…when I sold antiques and collectibles at a local vintage fair…and when we helped our daughter pack up when she left Houston and headed for her two week gig in Pittsburgh.

My body finally came to a screeching halt when I returned home this week. Rebelling, it seemed to say “take care of me…or I’m outta here!”

Trying to re-acclimate to my diet this week while ramping up my exercises, sent my arthritis and fibromyalgia into overdrive. It didn’t help that I had scheduled back-to-back appointments every day, save Friday. On that day I could not drag myself out of bed.

I decided to take the advice of my physical therapist whom I saw on Wednesday. Darci, a compassionate young woman in her 30s, told me to listen to my body. She warned that I had  gone beyond my limits, and now I needed to stop…and take care of myself. Sad that I needed someone’s permission to put myself first.

My body needed to rest and recuperate. And it was up to me to see that it got it.

So I lay in bed, in pain, but at peace with the fact that I deserved to heal. I knew I would be no good to my husband or my daughter unless I was good to myself.

Nurturing ourselves is not a bad thing. 

…and don’t let anyone tell you differently.IMG_1415

 

………hugmamma.

man-made food…and i don’t mean home cooking

Corn

Wonder why sweet corn no longer tastes…sweet, or for that matter…like corn? I could say the same thing about…farmed shrimp. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish…farmed vs. wild.

Only recently have my taste buds been questioning the corn I’ve been buying, specifically canned and frozen. Fresh ears of corn have not yet given me pause to wonder. Emphasis on…YET. 

There’s a Washington State vote on the horizon, I-522, to do with genetically engineered foods. I’ve read enough to know that messing with food made by Mother Nature is not good for my health. In fact, eating stuff created in corporate laboratories probably contributed to my digestive system being out of whack for some time. Thankfully I’m back on track with the help of a naturopath, and literature I’ve read on the subject.

According to local nutrition educator Nick Rose, genetically engineered foods are not more nutritious as is being touted. Instead they’re ” ‘stacked with foreign DNA so they will either produce pesticides or withstand herbicides or both, such as Monsanto’s new ‘double-stacked’ sweet corn.”

Rose goes on to speak of his concern about salmon…”the very first GE animal for human consumption, genetic engineering has produced a food offering less nutrition than the original food it is replacing.”

Salmon intended for consumption as food

Salmon, easily the most iconic food celebrated here in the Northwest, will very likely soon become the first ever GE animal food for human consumption. And the company that produced it admits their GE salmon is less nutritious.

What’s the unique nutritional benefit from salmon? Omega-3 fatty acids that supports brain health, helps manage inflammation, and is found in very few foods.

So, why would anyone want to put eel-like genes into salmon, knowing the end result would be a less nutritious food? To make the fish grow faster. GE salmon reach their market weight in about half the amount of time it takes today’s salmon to be ready for market. As a result of this super-growth, the GE salmon contain higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, a known carcinogen.

To summarize, the biotech industry has created a new “food” to replace one of the healthiest foods on the planet, except that the new and “enhanced” GE salmon will offer fewer heart-healthy omega 3s, and more cancer-promoting IGF-1 growth hormones. Oh, and did I mention that consumers won’t be able to tell whether the salmon they are buying at the store is genetically engineered? That is, unless…

This November, Washington voters have a chance to tell the food industry that they would like to know whether or not their foods are genetically engineered. Voting “YES” on intiative 522 will require foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled in Washington state, making it much easier for everyone to make an informed choice when shopping at the grocery store.

GMO labeling is important to eaters around the planet for a wide variety of reasons, and 64 countries around the world already label foods produced with genetic engineering.  Do you want to avoid GMOs in your breakfast cereal, lunch box and salmon dinner? Then vote YES on 522!

Needless to say I intend to vote YES to labeling genetically engineered foods.

I understand that the practice of speeding up nature’s growth cycle may have been in response to feeding the planet’s hungry. Unfortunately success seems to have caused the industry to run amok. It’s as though a new magic trick has been discovered and all manner of magicians want in on the act. The fact that there are health risks seems of no consequence. After all, we never think preventative until we’re in the iron grip of some dastardly disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s or diabetes

Having Diabetes

Having Diabetes (Photo credit: MsH_ISB)

Why is it that mankind is always “behind the eight ball?” Is it because we think we can always dig ourselves out of the hole we dive into? Or is it because we’re just…plain stupid???

I don’t know if you live where foods have to be identified as having been genetically engineered. If you do, count yourself lucky; if you don’t…start reading labels…and everything else you can lay your hands on to do with genetically engineered foods. After all it’s your life…and those of your loved ones…that’s at stake! Even a capitalist society should allow for…freedom of choice. 

Yes, we all need to eat. But need it be at the expense of…

…our health?…

………hugmamma.

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (...

ConAgra: Genetically Modified Foods You Love (g1a2d0035c1) (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

 

what’s your “cup of tea?”

My least favorite meal of the day is…breakfast. There’s no adventure to it. Unless you’re a gourmet chef…whether professional or amateur. Or if you are a connoisseur of eggs, bread, and coffee, like my husband.

Perhaps if I lived in Japan where rice is eaten three times a day, I’d like breakfast better. You see growing up in Hawaii, I ate rice every day, sometimes even for breakfast. Probably a tradition heavily influenced by the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who settled in the islands and worked on the plantations.

New Turkey Bacon!

The choices I’m permitted on the 2 or 3 diets I follow at any given time, sometimes simultaneously, are…eggs and turkey bacon…oatmeal and turkey bacon…or freshly-made juice and turkey bacon. Oh, I can definitely change it up if I’d like…veggie omelette, scrambled eggs with veggies, oatmeal with blueberries, oatmeal with diced apples, juices made with any combinations of fruits…apples, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach. Oh yes! And Instead of turkey bacon I can have Canadian bacon.

Yahoo! Aren’t I the lucky one!

What never, ever changes is my cup of green tea. Make mine decaf, please. I’m an insomniac, you see. Thanks to a middle-aged woman’s worst enemy…menopause.

I imagine in other parts of the world…like France and Italy…the first meal of the day offers more delights. Like chocolate croissants or pasta with meat sauce. I’ll bet the French and Italians don’t think twice about what they’ll have for breakfast. Do those folks even diet? Probably not since they have a glass of wine which is heart healthy.  If not at breakfast, then perhaps a couple of hours later. 

So much is made of breakfast being the most important meal of the day. I shouldn’t skip it or I’ll be grazing all day long, or my glucose level will spike. School children need a hearty breakfast so they’ll be primed to do their best work. 

I totally agree with all the research, but breakfast is still not my favorite meal of the day. Lunch is better…dinner better-er. Funny thing is when I’ve made breakfast for dinner…it’s been wonderful. Maybe it’s the novelty…or maybe it’s because…

…i’m not a morning person!…what’s your breakfast specialty?…

………hugmamma.

Breakfast of rasperries, blueberries and oatmeal.

at long last…

WOW! Have I been on hiatus or what?

With the advent of 2013 I’ve been out foraging through the forests of life, overturning any rock or fallen limb searching for…change.

Rather than stagnate doing the same old, same old, I’ve been giving my cozy, little world the once over. Until I ventured forth outside the boundaries of my old skin…I didn’t realize how glazed over my eyes had become.

It happens…over time.

I liken it to putting on my new eye glasses from Costco last week.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifting the jazzy, hip eggplant-colored frames to my eyes for the first time I nearly toppled over.

It’d been a few years since I’d updated my prescription. Everything in the retail warehouse seemed to fly at me. The friendly sales clerk advised me to walk around…get comfy with my new look.

Happily, I’m finally settling in with the new and improved me.

My vision is crisper, and my life is catching up slowly, but surely.

I’m getting the hang of French…”Je m’appelle…hugmamma. …Comment t’appelles – tu?” Just when classes are winding down.

Aaahhh…but there’s always French 2.

Juice

Juice (Photo credit: hepp)

Hubby and I are juice fanatics now. Best way to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Besides chewing them, we’re now swallowing them as well.

I recommend Bed, Bath and Beyond‘s NUTRI-BULLET. Lots less fuss and muss than those mega-juicers.

Pilates almost did me in. Two privates with a lovely instructor nearly had me in traction.

Five visits to the chiropractor reintroduced me to my old body. Aches and pains that were like old friends…minor by comparison to what I’d endured after a couple of sessions on the reformer.

One 9:30 morning yoga class…an hour’s drive away…was enough to convince me that I couldn’t make it last long term.

So I’m stretching and walking…stretching and walking…stretching and walking.

I made it to 8 out of 10 Creative Writing classes. The folks were lovely, their stories compelling, but I didn’t derive much personally. So I’ll not be returning.

88/365 New Smart Phone

88/365 New Smart Phone (Photo credit: Theophilus Photography)

Instead, I might try a class to learn how to do more with my Smart Phone.

I can dial up friends and loved ones. I can text them. I can check voice mail and emails. I can take photos and view them. I can barely use Tango which allows me to see the person with whom I’m talking.

But it’s the APPS! I’d like to tap into those little gems. Wonders of this advanced social network world in which we live.

We all know…YOU SNOOZE…YOU LOSE!!!

…embrace change!…if i can do it…so can you…

tango dansen op het Spuiplein

tango dansen op het Spuiplein (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (marche vers Pâques ))

………hugmamma. 

lose 45 pounds!!!

Last night I went to a company function with my husband. Among the usual attendees was Paul, someone I consider a good friend even though we seldom see one another. It’s just that the sight of him and his wife puts me completely at ease.

I think Paul likes when I remark on his weight loss. To date it’s an astonishing 45 pounds! How did he do it?

Juice Machine with Fruit

Juicing!

When I see Paul I’m convinced hubby and I should take to juicing. However when we’re back in the comfort of our home, reality sets in.

A diet consisting mostly of juice? Not my idea of a square meal…long term.

I’ve done Weight Watchers (3 times)…as well as the Perricone Diet…and more recently, the Zone Diet. All make good on their claims. It’s the thought of sticking to them for the rest of my life, where I go my own way.

The upside for me is that I retain a lot of good information from all these diets.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers (Photo credit: petit zozio)

Weight Watchers got me to drink 8 glasses of water…more or less. It also made me realize that exercise alone does not guarantee weight loss. Dieting has to be part of the equation.

The Perricone Diet, conceived by NYC dermatologist Dr. Perricone, confirmed the long-held belief…garbage in…garbage out. What we eat is reflected in how we look. While my appearance benefited from the diet, I really did it to “cure” arthritic inflammation. It worked! But I didn’t much care for eating rabbit food all the time.

My husband and I shed pounds slowly, but steadily, while on the Zone Diet for several weeks. We felt more energized. My health issues faded into the background. I literally jumped…well maybe not jumped, more like leaped…out of bed at a normal hour. I remarked on how my husband seemed longer, as if he’d spent some time on a rack, being stretched to his full 5’11”. We felt younger; we looked younger.

And then Hawaii happened. We flew back for my mother-in-law’s funeral,Hawaii Pictures Kelly's Wedding 011 and to spend time with family.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in ...

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in the upper 40s, 1979. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always thought that were I still living in the land of my birth, I’d have ballooned to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. That’s how much I love the island food.

Loco moco, Hawaii's well-known food, at Nico's...

Loco moco, Hawaii’s well-known food, at Nico’s Restuarant at Pier 38 in Honolulu: two fried eggs over two exquisite hamburger patties, two scoops rice, gravy, macaroni salad and boiled soba noodles (with cinnamon and nutmeg). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plate lunches are commonplace in the islands. And they’re not just for lunch. They can be had any time of day…24 hours a day…7 days a week. They consist of meat…1 type or several…2 scoops of white rice…and a scoop or two of macaroni salad.

I’m salivating as I write this.

I would find it difficult to refrain from eating a plate lunch at least once a day. The scale would more than likely reflect the number of days I’d eaten plate lunches…365. I kid you not!

Perhaps over time I’d realize that my beloved island food wasn’t going to go anywhere. That I’d be able to have more of the same the next day…and the next…and the next. By then, the damage might be done. I’d become a blimp. And letting the air out would be way more difficult than…letting it in.

At the moment I’m on a hodge podge diet of sorts. The driving force behind it is the recent discovery of my sensitivity to certain foods.

If you ever tried eliminating gluten and eggs from your diet, you know the quandry I’m in.

My solution? Sometimes I pay heed; sometimes I throw caution to the wind. I’m sure the Naturopath won’t want to hear this.

I try to follow the basics of the diets I’ve attempted.

Drink plenty of water…I try.

Drink green tea daily…no problem.

Refrain from sugar in all its forms…I try.

Eat more fruits and veggies…especially the orange and green kinds…I try.

Take the supplements prescribed by my Naturopath…I try.

Keep my body moving…no problem except when it comes to a regimen of exercising…I try.

weight watchers

weight watchers (Photo credit: antjeverena)

Thankfully I’ve been able to keep off the last 10 pounds I’ve lost, despite having “fallen off the wagon”…multiple times.

I’m now doing battle with the next 10 pounds…and they’re not going down without a fight.

Fortunately, or not so fortunately, old age is on my side. My metabolism ain’t what it use to be, and things just don’t work the way they used to. So it’s adjust, or be prepared for a good pummeling.

My advice? Subscribe to whatever works for you. If juicing jingles your bells…go for it.

English: Tanioka's Seafoods and Catering Image...

English: Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering Image was taken by webmaster of Taniokas.com http://taniokas.com/lightplate.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…as for me…give me food i can chew…

………hugmamma.

wellness…

It might seem to some of you that I’m forever making reference to certain failings of mine.

Why is that you ask?

Some time ago I read a small, thin paperback on how to write well. One piece of advice stood out from the rest.

Write what you know. That’s just what I’ve tried to do.

For some time now I’ve had health concerns…from chronic inflammation…to digestive issues.

A firm believer in alternative medicine, I see a massage therapist monthly and a chiropractor as needed.

Within the last year or so, things have gone haywire.

naturopath

naturopath (Photo credit: mugley)

I chalked it up to old age and moved forward as best I could.

I sought help from everyone in my bag of medical practitioners….family doctor…hand orthopedist…gastroenterologist…chiropractor…massage therapist…physical therapist…and most recently, a naturopath.

I credit all of them for bringing me along physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

What I’ve learned from all of them…and from my daughter, a professional dancer…is that life makes perfect health...impossible!

The experts do their best to get my body functioning again. However a resumption of my normal activities eventually erodes the progress made.

That’s life…in a nutshell!

Every now and then, however, there are “aha” moments.

Today I had a followup appointment with my naturopath. I left her office with a lot of good, useful information.

I discovered I’m sensitive to certain foods…almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sesame, wheat, eggs and egg yolks (from chickens…I can eat the ones ducks lay), pineapple, green beans and lima beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, both baker’s and brewer’s yeast, cheddar cheese, and yogurt.

How will I ever forgo…peanut butter slathered on a slice of bread? Asian food cooked in sesame oil? The occasional glass of wine or fruity martini?

Only time will tell, I guess.

Then there’s the fact that the level of the good bacteria in my stomach is too low to offset the effects of my bad bacteria. As a result, sugar intake increases the growth of the bad bacteria.

Oy vay!

These lips will never taste sugar again. It’s a good thing I got my fill of holiday candies and cookies when I did.

My thyroid is slightly elevated. “Why the concern?” I asked. “It affects your metabolism.” I was told. No doctor had ever…in my 63 years…mentioned my thyroid. Let alone test it.

Now for a little good news. The ratio of my good cholesterol to my bad cholesterol…HDL to LDL…is 1.8. Well within the acceptable range of 0.0-3.2.

As a result of what we learned from my blood tests, we discussed the diet I should follow over the next several weeks. After that I’ll check back to discuss how it affected my overall health.

If the news is positive, I’ll  reintroduce some of the questionable foods to see how well I tolerate them. Eggs being the first challenge, according to my naturopath.

Following that eye-opening appointment, I had another one with the chiropractor.

Since my favorite practitioner had the day off, I was treated by a doctor who had recently joined the staff.

After an adjustment that took roughly 20 minutes, I left the office talking to myself.

“WOW!!! Oh, my God! I feel great! My back feels great! My hand feels great! My hips don’t ache! I feel taller! I can stand up straight! I don’t feel so fatigued! My head isn’t fuzzy!”

On and on I mumbled, unable to fathom that all my symptoms could be completely cured in such a short time.

Upon “returning to earth,” I knew it’d take a day or two for my body to settle into the adjustment. Another visit with the chiropractor on Monday will ascertain whether or not he needs to do any tweaking.

Chiropractor

My faith in alternative health practitioners has grown steadily over the years. They have helped me understand my body. From them I have learned to take precautionary measures to ensure…quality of life…as I continue to age.

…i write about…what i know…

………hugmamma.

guilty…as charged

We all tend to put our best foot forward…especially when describing ourselves to those who aren’t privvy to what goes on behind closed doors.

My fellow bloggers will concur, I’m sure, that somewhere along the line we throw caution to the wind and unveil our foibles to the masses. Whether to garner a chuckle, align ourselves with the majority, or demonstrate to others that, in fact, we aren’t as perfect as we wish we were, or others think we are.

Regular readers of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul know that I’m not without my devilish moments. Take for instance my irreverent invitation to leave a comment.

Laughter is life’s best medicine. Poking fun at oneself keeps us in check. In the grand scheme of things, God’s or Mother Nature’s, we humans are but one species striving to survive. We have a hand in our own self-destruction, but we don’t control the what, when, why or how.

So let loose…once-in-awhile. Admit to the unthinkable, within reason of course. Remember, a balanced life is a much happier, more satisfying environment than tipping the scales too far in either direction.

My latest sin, for which I’m now paying dearly? Downing an entire box of See’s candies in the space of 1 week. Swearing never to repeat such a transgression, then doing it again when my biological clock struck 63!Nuts and Chews

(Photo credit:  http://www.sees.com/Cat.cfm/Nuts_And_Chews )

And what reward have I reaped as a result of what I’ve sown? Heightened inflammation run amok!!! My arthritic joints remind me of the dietetic sin I have committed. Sugar equals pain…pain…and more pain.

So until I see the orthopedic specialist to determine whether or not the pain in my wrist is temporary or permanent, I will refrain from popping sugary delicacies as though they were placebos.

Just because life ends with the Grim Reaper ferrying us to the other side, doesn’t mean we have to take the “express.”

…sugar…in any form…hastens the end…

………hugmamma.  😦

round and round we go…

Linguine dish

Linguine dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since my physician diagnosed me as being pre-diabetic, hubby and I have been exorcising “white” carbs from our diet…pastas, rice, breads. For the most part, that is. We did have linguine when we dined out the other night. I had asked if the restaurant served whole grain. As expected, the answer was a resounding…no. Well, I tried.

We are making progress at home, however. Neither white rice nor white bread passes our lips.

Tonight begins the third week we’ve been walking laps at the local community center. Within 30-40 minutes we’ve been able to walk 2 miles. Although I attend morning exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I still accompany my husband in the evenings so that he gets a workout as well.

If we maintain our diet and exercise regimen for a month, according to experts, we’ll be on our way to changing our lifestyle permanently. I guess that’s the minimum amount of time needed to rewire our brains.

We’re determined to stick with the program in order to combat genetics and aging. It’s now or never…sooner rather than later…and doing nothing is not an option. 

Tonight there was a sweet moment in our sugar-free, kick-butt program…

…we held hands…as we walked 23 laps around the track…

………hugmamma.   😉

wake up!…the clock’s ticking…

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (Photo credit: anaxolotl)

That’s the news I received from my family doctor. I’m pre-diabetic.

According to the news, I’ve something in common with millions of Americans. Small comfort since statistics don’t help in battling the disease. We’ve each got to help ourselves regain and maintain good health. It’s not impossible…just lots of hard work. And the older I get, I’ve less energy and will power for using more elbow grease. Especially when my elbow’s arthritic.

Learning that I’m pre-diabetic wasn’t a surprise. My mom had it, a brother has it, and I’m sure most of my other siblings do as well. It’s in our genes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We have a say in the path our health takes. And it always comes back to…exercise and diet.

Rather than assign me to some implausible regimen, my doctor agrees that my best resolve is to ramp up my exercise and stay clear of anything white…foods, that is. No white breads. No white rice.

I’ve done it before; I can do it again. The difference being…time’s running out on my ability to hit the reset button. Older age has a way of dealing with procrastination…it doesn’t. At a certain point the door closes on our options.

Only one option remains for me now…a lifestyle change with no going back. I’ve gotta do…what I’ve gotta do…

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

…the alternative…is not an option…

………hugmamma.     😦

say what?…eat…what???

Offal Tacos

From time to time I’ll post an article of interest from The Wall Street Journal. Well, this is one of those times. I couldn’t regurgitate it if I tried. And believe me…I don’t want to try.

You might be more the gourmand than moi. Read on…

Smalahove

Smalahove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Offal Tale: For This Club, Everything Is on the Menu
In New York City, ‘Innard Circle’ Samples Wide Range of Fare; ‘Always Terrific
by Spencer Jakab

     You’ll never be a member of the Innard Circle if the likes of brains in black butter, Uzbek boiled spleen or Fujianese pig heart make you squirm.
     Since 1999, an intrepid band of New York City foodies has been meeting about once a month to indulge their penchant for “nose to tail eating” in a city that provides great opportunity to do so. The city’s thousands of ethnic restaurants are constantly refreshed by new waves of immigrants, many of whose cultures serve animal parts that most Americans wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot fork.
     For the organ-lovers though, what really gets their goat–or pig or sheep or rabbit–is when a restaurant is out of a delicacy they traveled across town to sample.
     “I mean really, who eats bull’s penis before 7:00 p.m.? complained Bobby Ghosh at a May meeting, recounting a recent trip to a northern Chinese restaurant in Queens.
     They had to settle for the animal’s somewhat chewy testicles and a dish on the menu called “Big Buckstraps Paddywack.” The waitress, who only spoke Mandarin, pointed energetically to her diaphragm when asked what they were eating. Mr. Ghosh said. That was as close as the group got to discerning what part of the animal it was.
     It was tough but tasty, they say.
     Mr. Ghosh, originally from Bengal in northeastern India, was Time Magazine‘s Baghdad bureau chief for five years and worked in Hong Kong–both places where he sampled a wide range of food. Always seeking variety, different types of meat began to taste more or less the same to him.
     “But a camel’s eyeball is way different from a goat’s eyeball,” he said.
     Digging in to a five-course meal of organ meats specially prepared for the group by Umbrian chef Sandro Fioriti at his Upper East Side eatery Sandro’s, journalist Daniel Okrent, one of the group’s founders, tries to explain what attracts him to innards.
     “Growing up, I was a very picky eater,” he said. But his wife Becky, a food critic and a member, introduced him to what’s known as the “fifth quarter” of the animal and he’s never looked back.
     “There’s no question there’s an element of showing off, but it’s great food,” he said, between bites of brain, kidney, intestines and sweetbreads with polenta.
     Though he has had many memorable meals with the group in New York–and who wouldn’t remember the likes of “crispy colorectal,” North Korean jellied tripe or a central Asian organ melange called “geez-beez”–he says the pinnacle of his offal-eating days came in the 1990’s during a trip to Italy. An old restaurant near Rome’s stockyards served him rigatoni alla pajata–the intestines of a freshly-slaughtered nursing calf still containing the curdled milk of its mother.
     “Does that gross you out?” asked Melissa Easton, an industrial designer and the group’s unofficial “organ”-izer.
     A shrug brings a nod of approval, as if having passed a squeamishness test. Many haven’t.
     “We’ve had people join us for a single meal and never come back, without explanation,” Ms. Easton said. “There’s a certain kind of discomfort that registers on their face when they realize what they’ve gotten into.”
     No wonder the late Calvin Schwabe’s 1979 book on Americans’ disdain for foods that he called “cheap, nutritious and good to eat” is titled

Cover of

Cover of Unmentionable Cuisine

Unmentionable Cuisine.” He chalked it up to “prejudice or ignorance.”
     It is no accident that the Innard Circle, which has about a dozen steady members, isn’t only a well-traveled group but, with journalists, authors and a book publisher, a well-read one too. After all, the most famous organ-eater of all time is the character Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s  novel Ulysses. Bloom “ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes.”
     Ms. Easton, like most members, struggles to come up with the oddest thing she has eatern because it all seems normal to her and usually delicious. The best thing she has had is seared calf liver sashimi at a Japanese place in the West Village.
     Jeannette Seaver, a publisher and author of four cookbooks, joined the group a decade ago because of her love for her native French food.
     “Our cuisine offers many succulent dishes made of innards, so it seemed right for me to be part of the group,” she says. “The food is daring, challenging at times, but always terrific.”
     The group, which is also known as Organ Grinders, finds plenty of humor in the foods. Fond of puns, the word “offal” is particularly ripe for abuse. The word’s English etymology speaks volumes about Anglo-Saxon disdain for organs. With origins in the 14th century, it is thought to refer to the “off-fall” from the butcher’s block, meaning the less desirable parts.
     Some members’ attraction to offal stems from their disdain for Western squeamishness and wastefulness.
     “This isn’t weird–it’s perfectly normal for lots of people around the world,” said criminologist Leonid Lantsman between mouthfuls of spicy duck tongue and braised goose intestine at a June meeting of the club at Chinatown eatery Rong Hang. “If more people ate entrails and offal then we wouldn’t waste so much food.”
     The seven-course meal began with duck kidney, before moving on to more hard-core offerings: beef large intestine in Fujianese red wine paste and pig stomach. The somewhat lighter frog’s legs and pig skin hot and sour soup followed and then gave way to a couple of exotic but non-organ offerings.
     “Watch out everyone–there’s no offal in this one!” joked Robert Sietsema, a food critic at the Village Voice, as a seafood dish was placed on the table.
     The one organ the group has yet to sample, despite it being a delicacy for some ethnic groups, is uterus.
     “I guess it’s more of a home-cooked thing,” said Ms. Easton.
     But she would eat it in a heartbeat.
     “Am I missing some part of my brain–the part that screams revulsion? Perhaps. In fact, very likely.”

 

Roast Pork and offal on rice AUD11.50 - City B...

Roast Pork and offal on rice AUD11.50 – City BBQ 鸿运 (Photo credit: avlxyz)

Now I ask you…aren’t you just going to rush right out and get yourself…some innards?

Growing up on the island of Maui, and being of Hawaiian descent, I did partake of ancestral foods at festive celebrations known as…luaus. At the time I was so caught up in the deliciousness of things our family did not regularly eat, largely owing to our near-impoverished status.  A greenish, pea soup looking dish was pretty tasty, until I learned it was made from pig’s intestines. Blood sausage…was just that. I never cottoned to it.

My mom, a native Hawaiian, drooled  over tripe stew, pig’s feet, turtle soup, taro patch snails, sea urchin…and who knows what else. I’m certain my father, of Chinese ancestry, had his peculiar tastes as well. Somehow their taste buds never made it down to me…their 9th child together.

…can’t say i’m sorry…that i feel i missed out or something…   😦

………hugmamma.

quality of life…whatever it takes…

Being an arthritis sufferer, I’m always on the lookout for “weapons” to combat the debilitating effects of the disease. I plan to continue doing what I love to do for as long as I’m able. But I know I can’t continue to act as though my body is that of a 20-something-year-old…not even a woman in my 40s. I can no longer procrastinate. Tomorrow is now…my aches and pains decidedly tell me so…every chance they get.

Doctors (2000 TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

The following tips from TV’s The Doctors, reiterates what I’ve already heard. Hearing them again can never be enough. We all need reminders…seniors even more as our brains begin slowing down, and disconnecting from the multitude of facts and figures absorbed over the years.

English: A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis
Image via Wikipedia

3 tips to reduce your risk of arthritis
     IT HURTS when you walk or climb the stairs, slice meat or brush your teeth–that’s the reality of arthritis. Family history plays a role in your risk, and so does age: The chance of developing many types of arthritis, including the most common, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, increases the older you get.
     Those factors you can’t control. But you can take steps to protect your joints and reduce your risk of arthritis.
     EXERCISE. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles around joints, which helps keep them from rubbing against one another and wearing down cartilage; it also helps increase bone density, improve flexibility and ease pain.
     DON’T PUSH YOUR BODY PAST ITS LIMITS. Putting too much stress on your joints can accelerate the wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis, and injured joints, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis.
     WATCH YOUR WEIGHT. Extra pounds put extra stress on your joints, especially your knees, hips and back.

My mom had severe arthritis ever since I can remember. She’d awake from her sleep in the early morning hours, pacing the floor, unable to do much for the excruciating pain that coursed through her knees. There was no let-up through the years. My last image of her was of a fall she’d taken after showering. Her legs were like crooked toothpicks.

That visual alone drives me to minimize the effects of arthritis, by faithfully exercising and watching my sugar intake. Both can reduce inflammation which is the hallmark of the disease. So the more often I affirm what I need to do…

the better i am…at seeing it get’s done…

………hugmamma.  😉