All posts by donnapatjc

60+ Disney-Phile Working to be in the best shape possible for our next family trip to Walt Disney World. Pushing forward in spite of health issues to be the best me I can be.

So Much Better

Hiya Dear Readers,

Just want to drop a note to let you know that I am feeling so much better. It’s been seven weeks since my stroke. I spent six nights in the hospital in England. Since I’ve been back in the USA I’ve seen my GP, had blood work done, am currently 24 days into wearing a heart monitor for 30 days, have done a sleep study, have had an echocardiogram and have attended two of three scheduled diabetes education classes. (I have one more class in two weeks.) I will see a neurologist in two weeks and a neuro-opthomologist in three weeks. (I have some residual vision issues.) Then I will breathe a sigh of relief and bask in having gotten through all of that. Whew!

Anyway… I can tell I’m feeling quite a bit better, because I’m back to making plans for our next trip to Walt Disney World. We’ve bumped up our dates from October 2018 to the end of September 2018. Jake, Eliza, Mike and I had such a wonderful time when we went in the fall of 2015, so we thought we’d try fall again. Historically the end of September is a bit less busy than October, so we’ll try that. We can still enjoy The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party while we’re there. The temperatures will be nice for some major pool time. I get so excited thinking about it! And then to have Emi, James and baby Ida there with us will be beyond anything that I can even imagine!

Disney World is so different from when we first started going there around 1990-ish. It’s almost too much for me now…almost. There are so many changes. Some favorite attractions have gone away to make room for new ones. There has been major construction of hotels adding many more rooms to the World. They built a whole new park, the Animal Kingdom. They have built another water park, Blizzard Beach. I miss the “intimacy” of the 1990’s World, but it doesn’t diminish my love for the new World.

My absolute favorite thing to do at Walt Disney World is to spend time with the family. I love hanging out at Disney’s Old Key West Resort at night and just chatting about our day. I love sitting at a great Walt Disney World restaurant (especially Olivia’s Cafe!) and sharing a meal with the fam. I love checking out the looks of awe and wonder on their faces while we watch fireworks at Magic Kingdom. I even love looking at their tired faces on the bus back to Old Key West.

I can call and make our reservation for a grand villa at Old Key West on October 23rd of this year. We already have our 5 day Park Hopper passes. I can make our breakfast/lunch/dinner reservations starting March 28, 2018. I can order our tickets for Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in May of 2018. I can make our FastPass choices beginning July 26, 2018. Then it’s nothing but keep power walking to be ready to go.

I take nothing for granted. But Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, it will be a major Jarvi/Carmichael reunion and celebration. Just to be together with these people that I love in this place that I love is bliss!

I’ll write again soon.  Thanks for reading, Dear Friends! Meet you at the Kingdom!

Donna

 

A Stroke of Luck/Love!

Today is Monday, June 5.  I am in England waiting to be cleared to fly home. On May 13th Mike (my lovely hubby) and I flew to London. Our son-in-love James picked us up at Heathrow and whisked us quickly to Bristol where  James, Emi and our baby granddaughter Ida live. We’d been trying to schedule the journey for months, but now seemed like the perfect time. We would be with the kids for Ida’s first birthday. We were so excited and happy to spend some time with the Carmichael’s.

When we left Illinois, my allergies were kicking in. I brought along some Walitin (Walgreen’s version of Claritin), hopped on the plane and 7 1/2 hours later we landed in London. By the time we landed my cough was more marked, and I had a proper cold.

We were all coughing soon. Mike and all kept moving and functioning. I sat and tried to rest. I was ill for our entire 10 days with the kids. I wasn’t sleeping as I continued to cough through the night…through the days…through sweet Ida’s birthday party.

The morning came for us to leave for home. We were being picked up by a taxi at 3:00 am to catch our 6:30 am flight home. I was absolutely miserable: exhausted, so sick.

The alarm went off at 2:30 am. I woke Mike and started to get dressed. I was hot and sticky from the humidity. I managed to get my clothes on, but couldn’t get my socks on over my swollen feet. Mike was trying to put my socks on for me when suddenly my vision and speech started to slur. I found myself absolutely fascinated by the patterns of the living room wallpaper. Chevrons running up, up, up the wall at various speeds. Squares and blocks of shadowed patterns continually moving. It was so interesting to watch and yet so bizarre. (BTW: the living room walls are painted light gray. There is no wallpaper; there are no patterns on the wall.)

Mike had woken Emi. They would talk to me, but my answers were slurred. I was so distracted by the patterns on the wall. And I was so tired, I tried to answer their questions, but it was such hard work. I would begin to answer then stop because I was so distracted by what I was seeing.

The cab came to pick us up and Mike sent it away. Next there was a lovely paramedic in front of me. Asking me questions that I could answer, but it was such hard work.  Kinda like trying to talk and be understood underwater. Soon the ambulance arrived. Two more lovely paramedics, one man and one woman, (equal pay for women! Woo hoo) helped me to walk to the gurney in the hall because they couldn’t get the gurney into the small living room. One on each side, they were literally holding me up as with my strange visions I couldn’t tell up from down. Soon I was strapped to the gurney, in the ambulance and on my way to Southmead hospital. (The same hospital where Emi gave birth to Ida.) Mike came in the ambulance with me, but I couldn’t see him as I only saw black in the upper right quadrant of my vision, and that’s where he was sitting.

Initial diagnosis: pneumonia and a possible stroke.

I’ll continue this narrative soon. I’m tired now.

Just know, dear readers, God was with me every inch of the way. Ever present and allaying any fear. He is so good and so faithful and so completely loving. Thank you all who have been praying for me. I am lifted to heaven’s gate by your support. God bless your day! Meet you at the Kingdom…Magic Kingdom or otherwise.

Donna

Once Upon a Time

Today I sang at a friend’s funeral. This particular friend was a Lutheran pastor and then later he was a bishop. When he retired, he continued to work tirelessly where needed. His was truly a life well lived, and I know when he arrived in heaven, he heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” from the King of kings. This was the most joyous funeral that I’ve ever attended, a real celebration of a beloved man.  It was a privilege and an honor to be part of it.

Once upon a time there was a man named Ken who believed God and loved people…

We prepared 17 separate pieces of music for the service. By the time the service was over nearly two hours later, I was exhausted. So here’s what I decided to do. Mike had to go back to work, which is the nature of of his job quite often. We drove back to the farm so he could get stuck back in, and I went out to a quiet, relaxing lunch at one of our local faves The Full Moon.

Now I am rewatching the first season of Once Upon a Time on Netflix. I’ve seen the first two seasons before, but I’d lost touch with it recently. This show is so fun for me as an avid Disney fan. I am rather crazy for most things Disney. The story is captivating and the characters are so well written. Within the first three episodes, I was completely sucked in again.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Henry who believed a story…

Real life and fantasy. The mundane and the magical. Living in the moment and pure escapism. Life is a wonderful mix, isn’t it?

Meet you at the Kingdom.

Donna

 

Countdown to Ida

In less than two weeks, Mike and I will be in England with Emi and James and, oh be still my heart, little Ida. We have not been in the same room with them for seven months, half of Ida’s lifetime.

I know it’s not unusual to only see one’s grown children once or twice a year when they live a distance away. I have friends here in Chicagoland, who only get to visit with their son and his family living in California once a year. We only saw Jake once or twice a year when he lived in California. I understand that. I don’t feel sorry for myself that the distance is so great; I am just determined to enjoy every minute that we have together when we are together.

When our children were born, Mike and I dedicated them to God and asked that he would lead them and guide their steps. That he would use them to further his kingdom in whatever way he saw fit. It’s been interesting to watch that happen. It was quite amazing to see how independent they became. At one point Jake lived in West Hollywood, CA, and Emi lived in York, England. Both were pursuing dreams and taking on life with both fists. Both have benefited greatly from their experiences. God most certainly was with them each step of the way. When you live out there on the raggedy edge, your faith grows. You learn to rely on God, because sometimes he is literally your only option. Both to this day exhibit great faith.

Anyway…all of this to say, I am looking forward to some quality time with Emi, James and Ida. I pray that God will guide us and bless this journey and visit. There’s so much I want to remember to share with the baby:

  1. Mike’s family’s knee bouncy tune: “Ta tee, ta toolun tilloon, ta toolun tilloon, ta la la lay…”
  2. The song that my Finnish grandfather taught me when I was just a young girl: “I know three little sisters. I think you know them, too, for one is red, one is white and the other one is blue…”
  3. The magic trick my English mother taught me, “Two little dickey birds sitting on a hill, one named Jack and one named Jill…”
  4. One of my favorite children’s books, “There’s a Nightmare in My Cupboard.”

So much fun, so little time. 🙂 So, Dear Lord, please bless this journey, and help us to live each day to its fullest. Let us all cherish our time together, and when it comes time to return, let us all look forward to the next time we can visit. Thank you, Lord, because we know you go before us. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Peace out, Dear Readers, God bless your day.

Donna

Half/Quarter/Quarter

Quoting from verywell.com:

“Portion Control Using the Plate Method

Keeping Your Food Portions in Line with Your Diabetes Management

Managing portion size is one of the best ways to control your eating habits and lose weight. That may require breaking some stubborn habits, though. Most people are accustomed to filling up their plates based how hungry they feel. However, if you have diabetes, you must think about the quantity of food you eat at each meal. Many people with diabetes find the plate method to managing portion sizes a helpful gauge when eating at a restaurant or other outing.

Though the plate method won’t be as accurate as counting carbohydrates, it will help you keep your food intake in general line with your overall diabetes management plan. Here’s how it works in three easy steps:

Step 1:

Take an average sized dinner plate and divide it in half. In one-half place non-starchy vegetables such as: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, beets and peppers. You can make a salad from a combination of these vegetables or just serve any one by itself. About one cup of raw vegetables is considered an appropriate serving size. One cup would be about the size of your fist.

Step 2:

Divide the other half of your plate in half again. In one quarter place your protein source, such as: 3 oz. of lean beef or pork, 3 oz. of skinless turkey, chicken or fish, tofu, eggs or cottage cheese. A 3 oz. serving is about the size of a deck of cards.

Step 3:

In the last quarter of your plate place your starchy foods such as: bread, potatoes, corn, beans, rice, tortilla, cereals or oatmeal. Serving sizes range from ½ cup of rice to a baked potato about the size of your fist.

The plate methods works best when you use a 9-inch plate versus the standard 12-inch dinner plate. While this method helps keeps portion control in check it is best used when you are away from home and can’t measure your food carefully.”

Sources: Create Your Plate. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/

I tend to use this method currently. I realize it’s not as effective as actually measuring carbs, proteins and fats, however, I find it an easy way to keep track of portions. I will continue to use this method at least until I meet with a dietician for diabetes education.
I still need to call and make that appointment. Perhaps tomorrow.
Blessings to you!
Donna

Waiting for Weight

I heard on one of the doctor TV shows last week that a study shows that it is a good idea to weigh yourself every day. Apparently this way you keep honest with yourself about your eating habits and your exercise regime. I think this is a great idea for those who are at or near their healthy weight.

However, for those of us who are big girls (boys), it may not be the very best idea. Case in point, I have been scared straight (no disrespect to the Scared Straight program) by my last visit to my family physician and by my recent diagnosis of diabetes. So a week ago today, I began paying very close attention to the variety of healthy foods that I am eating and especially to the portions of said food. I bought a Fitbit Alta HR which let’s me know by vibrating on my wrist, when I’ve been sitting too long. So to make a long story short (I know, too late. 😉 My habits have changed drastically for the better.

Because I heard that it would be good to weigh myself every day, I did so.  First five day? Down, down, down more than ten pounds, which may give you an idea of how very much I have to lose. News flash: well over 100 pounds to get to a healthy weight.

Yesterday, my weight stayed the same. Today I am up six tenths of a pound. Now my usual reaction to a gain has been to say, “Well, crap, what use is it to even try!” Then I would go to the nearest sweets outlet and gorge on cakes and candies. Since I have been scared straight, that is no longer an option. Now I am faced with a conundrum. Do I keep weighing myself every day, and find a new coping mechanism for dealing with temporary weight gains? Or do I weigh myself less often, weekly or monthly, so I’m not faced with that possible problem daily? I’d really like to check in with friend Wayno. He is a family physician/general practitioner (I don’t know the difference.) I might just have to give him a jingle this week. If I do, I’ll let you know what he thinks. In the meantime, please weigh in (excuse the pun, with a nod to Linda Vallier who tickles us everyday on Facebook with a new pun) with your weighing habits. Every day? Or somewhat less often?

Thank you faithful Readers! It means a lot that you read these.

Donna     PS: Thank you to my son Jake and daughter-in-love Eliza for the iPhone accessories for early Mother’s Day. How fun! A personal fan that connects to my phone, which is gonna be so great in church this summer and a karaoke mic that works with my phone. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I already sent my daughter Emi and grandbaby Ida a video of me singing Happy Little Working Song from the movie Everlasting. This thing is a blast!

Metformin & a Memorial

April 25, 2017: Today is my first day on a drug called MetFormin. I am taking it in an attempt to get my blood sugar regulated. I have taken one of the two daily prescribed pills for today. *sigh*

When I was pregnant at the age of 24 for Jake (my firstborn), I had gestational diabetes. My OB/GYN told me that if I didn’t change my habits, then I would be a full blown diabetic by the time I was 30. As it turns out, he was wrong. It took until I was 60.

Now, I have not been an out-of-control eater, who didn’t exercise, every day of every year since then. At times I have attempted to lose weight (and have lost 100’s of pounds in my life) by taking better control of my food choices and by exercising more. But inevitably I would fall off the wagon, slip into my old ways and gain the weight back. That is where I find myself once again.

I am not beating myself up with this. I am living in the moment and taking whatever the next step is. Today that next step is beginning to take MetFormin.

For more activity today, 1) I bagged up more clothes to give away, 2) I am doing another load or two of laundry, which means trekking up and down the basement stairs, 3) I went up to the farm and took a sauna, which for this Finnish girl is cathartic and Zen-like, but for this big girl is a lot of work, 4) I washed dishes, 5) I left the house to go to the bank for Mike and 6) I started wearing a new Alta HR Fitbit which will vibrate when I’ve been sitting too long.

April 26, 2017: For my new Fitbit, I’ve set as an initial goal of 2000 steps a day. I will build on that, but in my current undernourished state I really must take it slow. I surpassed 2000 steps yesterday, and so far today I have 2,350 steps.

I left the house this morning to meet with a dear friend to help plan her husband’s funeral service. Susan is a woman of tremendous faith, and it is encouraging to see the God of that faith providing her with the strength to move forward. We cried. We laughed. We sat together for an hour and shared as we put the service together.

When we finished, she went off to meet with others who will help her in this transition. I went into the church office and worked on the bulletin for the memorial service. Two hours later I left with things in pretty good shape. After discussions with our pastor, and a few tweaks of added info, the bulletin will be ready.

By the time I left the church, I was famished, and because of my diabetes was feeling a bit shaky. Starbuck’s to the rescue! I purchased a Protein Bistro Pack and noshed my way home. A Protein Bistro Pack includes: a hard boiled egg, 2 small bits of cheese, 3 apple slices, a few grapes, a biscuit and a packet of peanut butter with honey. It’s a handy, nutritious filler-upper, and to me it tasted like nectar of the gods! 😉 Try it sometimes for a quick fix for lunch. Be careful with the peanut butter/honey though if you are diabetic. I just use a tiny squeeze for the flavor.

Well, I seem to be starting to ramble. So that’s it for today. May God bless you and keep you until we are together again.

Donna