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Second Chance

Summer brings many storms, but there is something about watching the lightning spread across the night sky that makes me appreciate how powerful Mother Nature can be. I also appreciate how powerful prayers can be along with second chances. What started out as an ordinary weekend with a trip to Tyler to visit my father turned into a weekend of many prayers, tears and a second chance.

My daughters and I went down Friday afternoon to visit with my dad who was feeling pretty good after experiencing a couple of weeks of complications – from showing signs of a stroke to excessive water retention due to his failing kidneys. He was in great spirits when we left! However, when we returned Saturday morning, things had changed. He was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and nausea.  They moved him to the hospital for monitoring and testing. After a few tests they determined he had a mild heart attack sometime Friday evening and was continuing to aFib (irregular, rapid heart rate). By noon, the doctor came in and told my dad that he will likely go into cardiac arrest sometime within 5 to 48 hours. My dad has a ‘do not resuscitate’ order so if/when that happens the hospital will not do anything to stop it. The doctor did not believe my dad would survive much longer, yet the hospital would continue to give him medicine to slow his heart rate (140 bpm) and lower his blood pressure (170/140) to give him comfort along with morphine to ease his pain.

I made several phone calls to our family. At 4pm, the pastor from his church came to pray and give him his final communion, and talks of funeral arrangements were underway. I sat with my dad that afternoon saying my goodbyes.  I told him I did not want him to suffer, but I needed him here. I did not want to lose my biggest supporter, I did not want our daily check-ins to end, and I did not want to lose my dad. He told me to continue to fight for my health, to do what I can to be and feel healthy but he felt this was the end and told me to live a happy and good life but he needed to go now.

Then at 8pm something, I cannot explain, happened. A switch was flipped. My prayers were answered. A miracle occurred. My dad had been stabilized and the doctor believed he would pull through. By 9pm, my dad was sitting up, talking and eating. By Sunday morning, he was a different person. He said he hasn’t felt this good in months. I watched in disbelief. I sat there in shock at the sudden change of events. It really was like someone flipped a switch and he was fine.

I have not cried as hard as I did this weekend. I have not felt such heart ache as I did seeing my dad so close to death. And I have never witnessed a miracle as I did Saturday night. My dad was given a second chance. The doctor came into his room Sunday morning and said “Tom, it obviously wasn’t your time to go! I didn’t think you would survive beyond 7pm last night.” My mom also told my dad that God gave him a second chance; that his work wasn’t done here. She asked my dad if he knew why. He looked at me and said…. “she’s sitting right across from me!”

I cannot express the emotions I experienced this weekend. Such sadness and heart ache to shock, joy and gratitude for more time with my dad. I thank God for answering my prayers and for giving my dad the gift of more time…for giving him a second chance. I am also so grateful for my mom for coming at a moment’s notice, to Michelle for coming down to help with the girls, to Katie for making a trip down to bring me things from my house, to Diane for opening up your home to my mother and I and finally to all the family and friends who visited, sent messages, called or just said prayers for my dad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As I sit here this morning, I am filled with such great emotions and still remain in awe at the miracle I witnessed this weekend and am so very grateful and humbled at my dad’s second chance!  When I called him this morning the first thing he said was “It’s so great to hear your voice.”  I could not agree more, Dad!

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Tough Lesson

Summer is unofficially here – my girls are almost done with school and road construction has started!  Enjoying the warmer weather makes my commute to and from work so much more satisfying when I can have the windows down and the sunroof open!

Update on my treatment:  I’m one month complete and have to report it’s been going much better than expected!  I definitely have my tough days, but overall, its been manageable.  I still need 1-2 naps a day (yes, sleeping in my car at work is not beneath me) yet feel my energy level is slightly improving.  Hoping round two this month brings even better results!

As some may gather from my book and this blog, I am a fighter.  I want to be healthy. I will do whatever I can to have a good quality of life, and ultimately, whatever I can do to improve my health.  I’ve learned that not everyone has this same attitude. I’ve learned some people, while they value health and life (and may have very different circumstances than I) are not willing to go the extra mile to maintain it, improve it or just keep it.  The hard part for me is I learned this recently from my father.  His health is failing. He has many problems including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as well as not being able to get around without a wheelchair and has constant pain in his legs and feet.  This past week he was admitted to the hospital with kidney failure. He was given the option of dialysis, but he refused.  He has now been admitted to hospice. He has made the tough decision to not fight for his health, for his life.  I do understand his health isn’t good.  What’s so saddening for me is he has been my biggest cheerleader when it comes to my health, yet he feels so differently about his.  This is a tough lesson to learn especially when it comes directly from my father. I will have to accept his decision, because it is his to make, but I will reiterate that I believe yours (and his) health matters, and its worth fighting for!

Finally, please keep my dad, Tom, in your prayers for his continued comfort and peace.

Slowing Down

A warm (almost) spring day has made me appreciate the days I can leisurely go about my day.  Myself, like most people, run from activity to activity without any hesitation….Basketball tournaments, hockey practice, piano, work, appointments, and just everyday must-do life activities.  While all of these activities are probably necessary, I tend to forgot about the days I can sit and read a book for an hour, go for a bike ride with my girls or just take my dog for a short walk.

I found today after spending the afternoon enjoying the sun on my face as I walked through the park and finding a little bit of time to sneak in a 30 minute nap, made me refocus on the advantages of slowing down and taking some time to appreciate the simpler things in life.  The sound of cars driving by, kids playing outside or just listening to the wind blowing in the window.  Its days like these that make the craziness of everyday life more enduring and gratifying.

I am personally very grateful for the quiet, relaxing days – I vote we have more of them.  I challenge you, today, to take a few minutes to slow down. I think you, like myself, will also succumb to the benefits of just slowing down.

New Love

I’ve found a new love!  He’s sweet, loves to cuddle, smiles and only has eyes for me (just ask my sister…she was feeling a little left out!) His name is Luke and he’s all of 8 pounds and 2 1/2 weeks old.  I just returned from a quick visit to Portland where I met my new nephew and honestly fell in love the second I laid eyes on him!  I couldn’t put him down as he melted my heart with every little coo and cry.  I miss him already and its only been 6 hours!  Always difficult to leave family especially when they are so cute and cuddly!

Returning quite emotional from a short trip, I am excited to visit my doctor again tomorrow.  I finished the new meds more than a week ago and have been feeling rough since.  I thought the medicine, while I was taking it, was supposed to make me feel bad. Yet I felt fine until I finished it. Go figure.  I am more than curious to hear what the doctor has to say about that…..I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m unique!

After spending some quality time with my sister and her family, I am feeling refreshed and grateful for an opportunity to see the miracle of life and mostly just some quality time to hug, squeeze and kiss my new love!  May you be blessed with such miracles in your life too!

Counting Sheep

Happy New Year and Brrrr!  It was -7 degrees this morning here in sunny Minnesota! With these kind of temperatures,  I’m pretty sure the snowmen are even eager to come inside!

I was supposed to start some new medication this month for my Lyme’s. The good news is I may be able to avoid them entirely because I’m making such good progress.  YEAH!  The not-so-good news is SIBO has returned so I need to treat that instead.  The medicine could make me feel yucky (Yes, adults can use that word too) again and trigger some Lyme’s symptoms. Well, I’m happy to report, its been so good, so far!  5 days in and only a few heightened symptoms…fatigue, leg cramps and the worst….increased insomnia.

Yes, I’m counting sheep on a nightly basis (sometimes 2-3 times a night). We (the sheep and I) are getting to know each other on a first name basis since the insomnia has gotten so bad! Knowing about my insomnia, my doctor gave me a couple great techniques which I have been utilizing nightly.  One is to visualize a white board and write “SLEEP” then “100”. Erase it. Do it again…Write “SLEEP” then “99” and continue on.  So far I’ve only made it to “90”.  And its been a good distraction from the sheep!

I will continue to work on my sleep patterns and in the meantime, I wish you unlimited good nights of sleep, and of course, great success with your new year’s resolutions!  Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a time when I feel so grateful for the many blessings in my life.

First, I am grateful for two beautiful daughters who’s smiles light up any room they walk into. Second, I am grateful for the ability and time to shop (thank goodness its done) for gifts to give my loved ones. Finally, I am grateful for a wonderful church service we attended last night. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart as it reminded me this holiday season is about giving gifts from the heart, about sharing time with loved ones and about devouring way too much warm, delicious food yet savoring every bite!

Today, please send me a note or just take a few moments to recall what you are thankful for and have been blessed with this holiday season.  And lastly, wishing you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Needed Girl Time

Sun, sand and ocean….Yes that was the theme for 5 days on a quick getaway with two dear friends!  We laughed, talked, cried, relaxed, swam and laughed some more!  Maybe had a fun, fruity drink in there too!  It was an experience the three of us will be talking and laughing about for months!  Already planning our trip for next year!  I did not realize how much a little girl time could change my perspective and make everything seem fun, refreshing and normal for a short period of time!  Oh memories really do last a lifetime!

Overall, December has been a good month for feeling better. Only one nap a day so life is good!  I will start a new treatment in January which I hear can be a bit rough, but I’m grateful for the short glimpse of how I can feel when my health is improving!  Cannot imagine what 100% feels like, but its getting closer!

Finally, don’t forget to make time for yourself today and even sneak away with some friends to experience the pure joy of friendship and learn what sun and laughter can do for one’s outlook!  Amazing!  Thank you girls!

85% Human

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!  Still in surprise the holidays are almost upon us and yet it feels like 2015 just started! Ok, not just started, but its already November 22…Seriously – this year has flown by! So much to be thankful for this time of year…please remember to take a few moments to think about all the wonderful events, memories, people and opportunities that came your way!

I’m thankful for my strong, never failing, body.  I’m 6 weeks into my new treatments and feeling the effects, both good and bad, on a daily basis. When its a bad day, I wish I could just sleep, not move and sometimes not even think. When I do have energy, I’m happy, humble and, most of all, I feel about 85% human!  I’m grateful for the good days and am beginning to tolerate the bad days. Soon there will be more good days…

As I navigate the new waters, I’m humbled by my body’s response. I appreciate and am thankful my body hasn’t given up!   What I’ve found most helpful is to calm my mind, relax my body and just let the storm pass.  There’s a rainbow after every storm!

Be blessed, be safe and be thankful this Thanksgiving!

Don’t miss it!

Must attend seminar this Thursday!

Please join us for a powerful 45 minute seminar by the  “Lost in Health” author, attorney and Institute for integrative Nutrition certified health coach, Lori Paul. She will share her inspiring story of chronic illness as well as encourage and motivate you to take control of your own health and fitness journey.

Joining Lori is her co-presenter, Steve Donofrio – personal trainer, personal security expert and founder of LifeMusclePower™. Steve will inspire and educate you about what it means to be functionally fit through his very own LifeMusclePower™ exercise system.

Please join us for this FREE seminar:

Date: Thursday, November 12, 2015

Time: 10:00am – 10:45am

Place: FARE Hypnosis Center

8353 Crystal View Rd  Suite 201, Eden Prairie (just above Punch Pizza)

Cost: Absolutely FREE

If you cannot attend this Thursday, we have more seminars scheduled.  Contact me at powerup2health@gmail.com for specific dates and times!

Still Waiting…

Happy Monday!

I’m excited to have found an amazing new doctor and have completed a couple rounds of tests already. With high hopes of some answers today, I went back to the doctor and unfortunately, the test results for Lyme’s was not completed yet.  Bummer!  Ok, big bummer!  For a secondary prize, we did review the other test results which leads back to my liver and my gut!

With the new information, he believes my liver is still the culprit and that I have and need to treat small intestinal bacteria overgrowth however he wants to complete a couple more tests to ensure this is actually true as well as determine how my food sensitivities have increased or decreased over the last year.

Definitely was hoping for more finite answers but am getting closer to something new every day!  I have a few more tests to complete and will return in 3 weeks for the next steps and yes, some answers too!

I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to be seen and treated by some great doctors!

Have a terrific week!