Showing posts with label colonoscopy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label colonoscopy. Show all posts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Clear to go but now waiting out the weather

Notice the truck tracks on our frozen Mississippi backwaters
transporting those who drove to their ice fishing huts

So here we are centuries after William Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It about winter, "Thy breath be rude" we agree.  Inhuman, I say.  Winter has arrived with an icy grip but we are warm and comfy inside our home. Here along the mighty Mississippi, the river has frozen and the river barge traffic has long ago ceased, the waters are still and white all along.  Winter's metaphors often reference the stillness, sense of silence and darkness, a season of hibernation, a season where everything dies a little. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, "The falling snow is a poem of the air,..where the "troubled sky reveals the grief it feels." That is a fitting sentiment as we marked three more  deaths in December, one anticipated a blessing after her long suffering, one sudden and most unexpected and the third a surprise perhaps not so unexpected with the person's illnesses the past years.  All were too young, or "not that old" as my Mom would say when she reached her 70's; one my contemporary from high school in Pennsylvania another only 74.  Winter with its cold and darkness aptly describes death and yet it is a respite for the year. In "January" John Updike wrote about the lack of sunlight in winter: "The days are short,   The sun a spark,  Hung thin between The dark and dark." Long freezing winter nights and crisp winter days can evoke harsh feelings among the people who endure them, but not all poets consider winter a bleak and lifeless season. My favorite poet, Robert Frost's "Dust of Snow," a crow’s movements cause snow to dust the speaker passing under a tree, and this dust "Has given my heart / A change of mood / And saved some part / Of a day I had rued." 
For my fellow bloggers not on Facebook, I passed my colonoscopy with an all good to go, clear, victoriously, flying colors and hope I get another 10 year pass until the next exam.  I will say the prep was easier than what I had 10 years ago and I was able to get a good night's sleep until I had to arise at 5:00AM to drink the remaining clearing solution.  At the hospital wing waiting area, holding my "traveling bag"so named by the nurse who processed me aboard, in it my clothing as I had stripped into the ugly hospital gown and robe the common dress of the women in the room.   I read and talked with another patient through her sign language interpreter, that woman was also named Patricia; soon another patient arrived to wait and she too was Patricia.  I have not been with so many like named women before.  Whenever a nurse came for Patricia we made sure by last name which of us was next.  Finally it was my turn to walk down to what would be my procedure room and climb into the bed which the thoughtful nurses had heated with a warm blanket and  then quickly piled some toasty blankets atop me, hospitals are always cold.  They hooking me up to all sorts of medical measurement equipment.  My doctor was a pleasant young woman, at least she looked young to me, an  Italian immigrant who apologized for being late to  proceed with me but explained that there had been issues with the  previous patient that took some time to resolve.  I assured her I expected to make it easy for her, in and out and done in no time so she would not miss lunch; by this time it was 11:30 and I had been admitted at 10:00AM. Moreover, I was hungry for lunch now.   She laughed and the next thing I knew it was time to awaken.  She said she easily removed 3 tiny sessile polyps, minute in size only 1 and 2 mm, or Millimeter which measures length; she sent the tissue for a pathology examination but she did not anticipate any problems and I would receive a follow up recommending my next exam and my primary care doctor would already have the electronic access o the results.  Technology abounds.  She provided a written report to the nurse who passed it along to me after I dressed for my exit. I have since learned that my tiny polyps were something that might not be spotted (ahem) but for the state of the art equipment of Mayo and the specialists.  

Back deck thermometer through kitchen window
8:15 this morning, sub zero has arrived
Now we are keeping a careful watch on the weather as our temperatures fell  well below zero overnight and the south eastern parts of the country all are experiencing very low temperatures. I have never before experienced these sub zero temperatures, all the more reason to stay comfy inside, marking another first for me.  We had been planning a departure about January 16 right  after my last meeting of the Diabetes Prevention Program at the YMCA.  But now we are watching for better weather. 

2013 at Easthaven.  Icicles hanging from the
wheels covers on our coach. Here in MN it
has its own house and is not exposed to harsh elements.
Last year we spent a week at Easthaven, just outside Memphis, TN waiting out the ice storm that was devastating the area and making for treacherous driving conditions in an area not equipped to handle it.  Then when we did get going we drove through snow in northern Mississippi.  It was not an experience we want to repeat.  Jerry said, why try to drive the rig and toad (tow vehicle for those unfamiliar with RV style lingo)  for two days to sit in ice, we are better off right here at home, cozy and warm and not having to go out in the frigidity arctic temps.    
2013 last  year through the windshield of our motor coach on
I55, northern Mississippi.   
So we wait patiently and keep warm and I keep busy with many projects including writing on my blog. I see I  need to remove the Christmas and Santa from the right side here, tomorrow perhaps. A lesson I have learned  to perfect in retirement, I don't have to complete all tasks in one day, tomorrow's another day. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 ends and a New Year begins

New Year  Edgar Guest
2013 has been an overall good year to us, and yet we look back and wonder, where did that year go.  Our health is good, we are aging well and are comfortable financially.  Jerry was dismissed by the pulmonary specialist who had been monitoring a now three year mysterious spot on his lung detected by a doc-in-the-box in North Carolina on our travels when Jerry  got a severe cold bordering on pneumonia.  Despite the tests, scans and careful watching, it remains a mystery to Mayo but has not changed and definitely not cancer, always the fear; the MD speculates it may have been a life scar after Jerry's childhood pneumonia but we wonder why the Air Force never detected it his years on flying status.  Nevertheless, he was pleased to not have any further follow ups.  

I have triumphed over a potential health challenge by getting onto the right track and restoring my heretofore good health.  As I wrote on this blog, in July at my annual, the doc cautioned me that my fasting blood glucose levels were rising and  I was carrying around some extra weight from travels over winter and that spring.  I enrolled in the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program and began to monitor and limit  my daily fat gram intake to 33 grams, while writing down everything I eat and drink in a daily journal, and added more physical activity every single day so have achieved success.  I've shed 28 pounds just since September and learned that the healthy way I thought I was eating was not so healthy for me. The calculations were that I lose 15 pounds but I have been known as an over achiever often and did so on the weight.   I have maintained the loss so far and not gained  over this feasting season of holidays, a first in years.  I am committed to maintenance. 

My doctor's follow up and retest in December left me a good to go from a very pleased MD who called me skinny and wished he could bottle my dedication for his patients who live in denial about their health conditions. I have met some new friends at the Y and learned a lot about nutrition, but the biggest revelation was that my daily consumption of  nuts and  cheese (which I love) was too much for me.  I still mourn my inability to consume all the cheese I'd like at one setting along with those delicious Wisconsin deep fried (melted) cheese curds, or my own gooey mac and cheese, any melted cheese is my weakness, but it's a small price to pay for good health.  I am better off than many who crave and eat sweets all the time or just over eat as a way of life.  I could continue with my daily wine or vodka consumption, no fat grams there, only calories which we really do not count daily, just consider. 

 I have actually enjoyed the weekly program meetings and although the scale will never be my "friend" at least I have accepted daily weigh ins, so much that we are purchasing another scale to take along in the motor coach on our travels. This from a woman who would avoid the scale every and anyway possible and monitor how her clothes felt.  Oh, more good news, Jerry suggested I do some shopping for  new clothes especially shorts for the skinnier me as we prepare to head south.  I have already purchased some skinny jeans and courds.  If I have any advice, it is accept and take action--lose the weight, live healthier, shed the tobacco....get out of the land of denial. Otherwise you pay the consequences  in the long run and are fooling only yourself.   Denial or the land of DABDA (denial, acceptance, bargaining, depression and acceptance)  is all consuming  and becomes familiarly comfortable for many. 

We had some travel adventures in 2013 and I learned that tours are not for me after our Alaskan adventure.  I have written about that on this blog all year and not much more to be said.

We will be home this New Years Eve and Day  as the doctor had one last assignment for me before we flee for the south and warmer climates, time for my 10 year follow up colonoscopy. Yuk, it is scheduled for 10:00 AM January 2 and the preparation remains worse than the procedure. So New Years Day while I take down the tree and pack away decorations, I will be fasting--clear liquids only all day preceding the early evening consumption of that dreaded, "Go Lightly" a misnomer if ever there was one. Why in this age of scans, lasers and high tech medicine must we endure this process?  Still, I anticipate  no issues and then will have another 10 years to go until the next one.  

We gained a great grandson this year in July but have only seen him through photos and Facebook, no idea when we will ever see him.  
Maxwell John Morrison 5 months
Maxwell John Morrison born to grandson Brian and wife Jackie appears to be happy and healthy and looks like his mom, especially in the face and chin.  They live in and are committed Californians, just like Brian's parents and tribe, they know no better having lived nowhere else just like that old saying, "mediocrity knows nothing above itself." We have no travel planned that direction. In fact for me, the longer I am away from California the happier I am. That part of my life was fun while it lasted but it is the past.  We thought we would always stay there but CA changed, became too crowded, hours long commutes, hours to wait in lines to eat out, hectic,crowds and crime, even in the northern part, just not how we want to live, so here in the Midwest, despite frigid arctic winter this year, we enjoy a high quality of life.  We can afford to keep our home warm and our house is built well for four seasons.  Where else do folks leave their cars running outside when they run into the grocery stores and the cars are still then when they come back out?  Where else can UPS deliveries sit on a doorstep for weeks and not be stolen when the folks are gone for  months?  That really happened here with our next door neighbors who were in Arizona, we thought their son would set them into the house but he never did the few times he came by their home to check on things. We had no way to contact him and considered picking up the package but watched instead.  


Some souls departed this earth this year beginning in April with Jerry's 96 year old mother who died a rough death as I blogged here.  December was a triple hit with a long time 98 year old father of a California friend, Carol--another friend suddenly without warning in California, and a contemporary a Pennsylvania classmate, Bev, who suffered ill health ravages for years.  May they all rest in peace.  

We are planning our January departure south, Florida and the Alabama gulf coast call; perhaps a reunion in Mississippi at the Bay St. Louis RV park where we spent last year.  Jerry is watching the roads and weather conditions because the mid part of the country seems to be experiencing far worse weather than here where we have only frigid cold, colder than any winter so far.  Sub zero temperatures a few times like last night.  Snow has been minimal and we are shielded from ice by the river bluffs.   

A Happy New Year ahead to one and all.  If I have any resolution it is to decrease my Facebook time and blog more.   Lord Alfred Tennyson sums it in his well known poem,  "In Memoriam"                                Ring out the old, ring in the new,
                         Ring happy bells across the snow:
                         The year is going, let him go;
                          Ring out the false, ring in the true.