Sunday, December 10, 2017

A New Year 2017 and a New Lifestyle

Over a year has gone by since I put up my last blog post here. The title is still pertinent even though in about a month, we will be welcoming in 2018. My kids and grandkids have been arguing with me most of the year, probably correctly, that I should concentrate on my recipe blog, which also includes musings from my life, and now, our new lifestyle, which will be much more useful to them in the future, and much more poignant to my granddaughters. One of the largest changes to our lifestyle, is that we can no longer just pop out to a favorite restaurant whenever the mood strikes. Being the foodies that we are, we now spend a lot more time preparing the healthy food that we love and need to continue to feel and look as wonderful as we do today. We were very lucky to receive the wake-up call in time to do something about the downward spiral we were entering, health-wise. I began writing the entry below at the beginning of this past year. It contains the kind of daily detail that gets lost after a few months go by, so I have chosen to leave it as I wrote it almost a year ago. It explains the beginning impetus of the journey on which we now find ourselves. We had a wonderful summer of Camp Bubbie and Saba last year, despite its rocky beginning. At its end, our lives became even rockier as Saul required a second stent in a tricky spot. He did not bounce back from the second one and began to experience almost daily severe angina that would often awaken us in the middle of the night, wondering after each dose of nitroglycerin if we would need to call 911. In desperation, we decided to try a no-fat, plant-based diet for two weeks based on our research into the diet of former President Bill Clinton. We ordered and read a book by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyne on which we based our new eating habits. After two weeks on the diet, Saul’s angina faded away and I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. We knew we must continue. Within six months time, with no additional exercise, and no hunger pangs, we were both 45 lbs. lighter and able to eliminate all our diabetic medication. The highlights of this year included Izzy’s bat mitzvah in February, a fantastic Camp Bubbie and Saba 2017, new wardrobes for both of us (Saul went from a 42 to a 36, and I went from a 14 to an 8) and a family trip that included the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and South Korea. The garden and pool renovations that I describe below have matured and brought us countless hours of pleasure. We had a bit of a scare in June when Saul began to have chest pain again and we feared the diet wasn’t working, but it turned out to be scar tissue that had grown inside the first stent. The problem was solved by placing another stent inside the first one to move the scar tissue out of the way. In the process of angioplasty, we discovered that he had reversed the blockages in his arteries and that his blood flow was much better. We had visual proof in the medical images that the diet works! The images above are my favorites from the year 2017. Despite all the hours spent cooking now, I hope to write new posts here occasionally, hopefully not a year and a half apart. And I will take my children’s advice and spend the bulk of my time on the recipe blog because I have discovered and developed so many new and intriguing recipes. Here’s to 2018 and the hope that we will have time and continued good health to enjoy and create!

. . . . . . . . 

Half a year has gone by without a single post from me on either blog. Ordinarily, I would feel very bad about letting all these months get away from me because as time goes by, I lose some of the wonderful details of my daily life. Obviously, being the wordy person that I am, I cannot hope to recapture half a year of my life in one blog post, so I am hoping to break it down this time into some manageable chunks. Saul and I have a calendar that places our photos taken with the iPhone into chronological order so that hopefully, viewing the photos will trigger the memories. This time, some of the memories are not so pleasant, and that is the reason for the hiatus I have taken. I am thrilled to report, however, that so far, there appears to be a happy ending to 2016 and a new hopeful beginning to 2017.

When I left off writing my previous blog post, we had initiated our new pool, deck and spa with some pretty serious partying. The landscapers had just begun installing our new flora and we have been thrilled with the outcome. In this first installment, I will try to cover the period from June 15, 2016, to the end of “Camp Bubbie and Saba” in August 2016.

Randi’s 60th birthday fell on June 17, and Ken had told her that he would be taking her to a secret location to celebrate, all the while working with us to bring an elaborate multi-day plan for partying together with family and friends here to fruition. The beginning of the surprise was us retrieving Jamie and Andy from Orlando airport in time to meet them at The California Grill atop the Contemporary Hotel before they finished dinner. We all arrived just in time to surprise her, thanks to the cooperation of the restaurant staff who delayed their service on Ken’s request until we all could march in with a birthday dessert and candle. Jamie had Haley on FaceTime while this was taking place. Haley had made the excuse that she could not get away from work. We squeezed into their table, enabled by the helpful staff, and ordered a few things to eat. Together we watched the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle from the restaurant’s special observation deck. Now Randi knew that plans were changing for her birthday celebration. The next morning, we went to the airport to pick up Haley and surprise Randi at the next leg of the celebration, which was a sumptuous buffet brunch at Disney’s Yacht Club restaurant, The Captain’s Grill. Again, the timing worked out perfectly as we came into the parking lot right behind them and surprised Randi in the lobby. Waiting in the nearby bar to join us as part of the surprise were her sisters, Sherrie and Lori and Lori’s husband, Jules. The plan was to walk over to Epcot after breakfast to take advantage of the Fast Passes obtained by Peter and Carly’s family as their gift to Randi for the newly-opened Soarin’ Over the World ride. As we all made our way on the short walk to Epcot’s International Gate, it began to drizzle lightly. Saul began to experience chest pain and shortness of breath after we had walked about a city block. This had been happening on damp days and evenings for about a month, but after a heavy buffet breakfast, it was particularly intense and we let the others know, after we lagged behind, that we were going home. On the way, I persuaded Saul that we should stop in to the emergency room at Celebration Hospital, which we were passing anyway, to make sure that the problems were not heart-related. Unfortunately, while he was not having an actual heart attack, the tests showed some severe blockage in one of his arteries and a lesser amount in some others. The result was that within a few days spent hospitalized, we found ourselves in the cardiac wing of Florida Hospital South so that Saul could have a stent inserted to open the badly blocked artery. He felt great after a week of taking things easy, and we returned to our regular lifestyle. Ari flew in from London and surprised us with a visit. I was so surprised, as a matter of fact, that I almost fainted when I saw him. He actually had to catch and support me when my knees went weak. He arrived from the airport with Jess and Alex and the girls who were due to start Camp Bubbie and Saba anyway a few days later. His sister came along, too.

Meanwhile, back to Randi’s birthday celebration, we missed the opening of Soarin’. I had spent several days preparing a breakfast feast following a special Zumba session that Jamie was leading at Champion’s Gate. This included a gluten-free carrot cake birthday cake designed especially for Randi. Luckily, everything was ready to go and just needed to be put out on the tables. Her friends and family all took care of everything and I was sad that I missed it. We also missed a special dinner in a private room at Johnnie’s Hideaway. Saul recovered so well from his procedure that we could only count our blessings. While he convalesced at home, friends a family supported us for a week and also had a bit of a vacation visiting the parks, hanging out at the pool, and preparing and ordering wonderful meals. After a few glorious days, everyone returned home, leaving us with the girls and the official beginning of Camp Bubbie and Saba. Within a week of returning from the hospital, we were spending whole days in the Disney Parks and walking miles every day. Saul no longer was suffering from pain and shortness of breath. The girl’s other grandmother, Elaine, flew in on July 7, and spent a few days with us before an ill-fated Alaska trip in August that she had planned before deciding to buy a home in Florida. At the beginning of her cruise, shortly after reaching Alaska, she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and had to make the arduous journey back home on her own. By then, her house in Cranberry had been sold, so she convalesced with Jess and Alex.

No comments: