Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month is of a beautiful sunset from our cabin in Mt. Nebo, Arkansas.

Monday, February 4, 2019

2018---- A Year I will NEVER Forget --Part I

Two People in Love enjoying the fireplace  (March 2018)
Holy Cow,   Has it been a year??????   YES --it has!   At this time  in 2018,  I was not in a good place!!!! First, I was in the hospital with a very serious stomach infection (Jan. 30- Feb 1st).    I went home for a few days and then from  Feb. 5-8,  I was back in the hospital where they diagnosed me with Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib).

I had had stomach problems off and on for years --but never any indication of heart problems.  I was shocked to say the least.  There are no heart problems in my family.   You might ask what could have caused this to happen to me,  a relatively healthy and active woman who has never been in the hospital other than surgeries  (Knee, etc.)...

WELL---in a few words,  the experts do NOT know what causes A Fib...  But--there are several possibilities...  For me,   it could have been the stress I was under due to family deaths and illnesses at that time..  Another possibility could be the wicked stomach infection I had right before A Fib.. And  a third possibility could have been my anemia..... The list goes on!!!!  I don't really know what caused my A Fib.

Most everyone these days knows what A Fib is  --but in case you don't,  it is a VERY Rapid Heart Beat. There are four kinds of A Fib.  Some people are out of normal heart rhythm just on occasion --but when they have an 'episode',  their heart rate could be dangerously high.    My A Fib is called  PERSISTENT.   That means that I am NEVER in normal rhythm.  My heart rate is high ALL of the time--even when I'm sleeping.

I spent over six months dealing with different medications,  many of which had terrible side effects.  Losing my ability to be active like I used to be,  plus the side effects from the heart medications  (weight gain,  elevated blood sugar,  weakness,  fatigue,  depression,  etc.)  made for a hard year for me.   I was afraid to do anything really active.   I was allowing the A Fib to totally control me.

But ---as the year progressed,  I continued to press onward....  With George's help and love,  and the love from each of you,  I knew I was going to get better and be able to do some of the things I wanted to do..



Nothing Better than a little Cabin in the Smoky Mountains 
My first little adventure after getting  A Fib was in March.   We spent a couple of nights in this awesome cabin at the Black Bear Resort in Townsend,  TN  to celebrate George's Birthday.  The picture at the top  of the post was taken inside of that cabin where we were enjoying a roaring fire in the fireplace.



Look at that Happy Tree-hugger!!!
Also in March on that same little trip,  I  took my first TINY hike.... It was only about 1/2 a mile  on fairly level ground---but I needed to do it!!!!  I did!! Yeah!





Whitewater Falls,  NC (March, 2018)
After George's Birthday trip,  we took another short trip the end of March.   We went to Cashiers,  NC and stayed at one of our favorite places,  Laurelwood.  While on that little trip we hiked down a bunch of steps to see Whitewater Falls.   What a marvelous waterfall!  I was proud of myself for being able to make it down (and back up) all of those steps....





Biltmore is gorgeous in APRIL.
After I did so well with the little trips in March,  we decided to do another one in April.  We went to Asheville and spent the night.  While there,  we visited Cataloochee --but didn't see any elk like we did in October of 2018.  We also enjoyed seeing all of the flowers in bloom at Biltmore....





Lazy Girl resting in the Smokies!!!
A couple of happenings in May are highlights to me.   Son Mark gave me one of the best  Mother's Days I have had in a long time.   He took George and me to the Smokies in his shiny red jeep.    We rode all over the place  --stopping to take pictures on a beautiful spring day.   THEN ---Mark fixed lunch for us at the Metcalf Bottoms  Picnic area....  YUM...... After eating,  you can see what I did!!!!    Then --on the way home,  Mark stopped again at a neat Ice Cream place.... Another YUM.....  What an awesome day for me...


George, me,  Diana,  Mark --May, 2018
The 2nd event in May was when Mark brought Diana to our home.  This was Diana's first trip to Tennessee  --so we were excited to show her our little corner of the world.  We took them to lunch and then the four of us went hiking at Burgess Falls near Cookeville,  TN.

I scared Mark when my heart rate shot up to 180 on that hike... Actually it scared me too ---but the heart rate came back down QUICKLY.   I was more careful for the remainder of that hike.  That was my first hike where there was an elevation change...    Oh the joys of having A Fib!!!!



A gorgeous day along the Blue Ridge Parkway  (June 2018)
We took another short trip in June to celebrate our Anniversary...   Anytime George asks me where I want to go in June,  my answer always is  "the Blue Ridge Parkway"...  It's cooler up there ---and this year, the weather was perfect since it truly was  'clear as a bell'!!!!!!!   This picture was taken at the Craggy Pinnacle.    We thought about hiking to the top of the mountain at the Pinnacle (which we have done many times) ---but I decided that I wasn't ready to do that yet!



On a Clear Day,  You can See Forever!!!
I'm not sure we have been along the Blue Ridge Parkway when it was this clear, until this trip.    This is a Panorama I took.   Isn't it gorgeous?

***********
AND ---what I have showed you today wasn't everything...  A couple of special Day Trips we took were to see my Great Granddaughter,  Vivian Lee,  in May,   AND we took our annual trip to Fall  Creek Falls in April....  Then there were several visits from and with FAMILY and FRIENDS.  When I write all of this down,   I'm impressed as to how busy we stayed!!!!!  That is a good thing!

YES ---A Fib is a 'bitch' for sure.... But--as you can tell,  I didn't allow it to stop me...  There were days that I couldn't walk from one room to another because of being out-of-breath....  I had to learn how to go to sleep without allowing a pounding heart to keep me awake...  I can't tell you how many different medications  I tried before finding some I could live with.... ALL medications have side effects --and these heart meds are powerful.  BUT--they are keeping me alive and helping me get through another year.

I'll share Part II next week  (July- Dec) and talk more about this crazy A Fib!!!!!  I'm sure that many people don't realize what I've been through (or others who have A Fib)  since I try to stay positive and haven't talked much about  A Fib...  I try not to complain  ---and IF I can ever help someone with A Fib,  I would tell them NOT to give up, and to remain positive even when times are rough...  This post is proof that one can keep moving and can learn to live with A Fib!!!!

Hope you have a great week, my Friends,  and thanks again for being here for me during that very hard year!!!!

Hugs,

33 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello Betsy, it is great how you are handling the A fib! I am happy you are not letting the illness stop you. You are like the energizer bunny, just keeping moving.. Beautiful scenes and photos. Take care! Happy Monday, enjoy your day and have a great new week ahead.

Ann said...

You had some year in 2018. You are doing well at handeling the A fib. Your attitude towards it reminds me of a friend who has MS. She always says "I have MS but MS doesn't have me"

Betsy said...

You look fit as a fiddle and happy as a lark as my mom would say and still does. Glad to see and hear that you are doing so well. You are enjoying all the things you love to do with the one you so love doing them with, can't get any better than that. What a great lead into of your post with the picture of you and George at the fireplace, like that a lot.

Marcia said...

It's good to hear your story. It helps me understand what my mother was going through. Take care of yourself.

Delores Parks said...

Betsy, I always love your pictures as I am an outdoor girl too and I love the Smoky Mountains. You have a positive attitude and that is a blessing!!! I think I told you my husband has the AFib too and is no where as active as you. He seems to do better in all seasons but Winter which keeps him inside. Right now he is having problems getting out of breath just walking to the kitchen and back to the living room but he is on a new med and hopefully that will help. Take care of yourself and keep on a going:)

Rita said...

Thank you for your description of Afib and how it affects you. You are a fighter that is for sure! And....a winner too!! It is great to see that wonderful smile on your sons face. How much fun to take a trip in the Smokies in his red Jeep and he also prepared a great meal. What a good day for everyone!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Betsy, I appreciate what you've shared here about how this new health issue has affected your life. It helps me to better understand what you've been going through. It had to have been a huge blow to you to have to curtail so many of the activities that you and George love. But I love how the two of you came up with alternative plans that allowed you to continue enjoying many of those things with reduced levels of physical activity involved. No matter how young we are on the inside, our bodies keep reminding us that they are getting older. It's like God is prying our fingers loose from the grip they have on this life so that He can give us something better.

George said...

This is a great review of the first half of last year. I was surprised at all the things we were able to do in spite of your A-Fib. But I do hope you manage to stay out of the hospital this year!!

Big Dude said...

So sorry you are having to deal with this issue but love your press on attitude.

Big Dude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Hiebert said...

Betsy ,if anyone can learn to live with this problem and even enjoy those things which you once did, it has to be you.You are an inspiration.Keep on doing what you enjoy and make the most of each moment.

linda m said...

Betsy, I am so proud of you for the way you have handled your health problems . You are truly an inspiration to me. Just keep on doing what you are doing and I know God will keep you in His arms. You are in my daily prayers.

David said...

Betsy, You're doing what we all have to try to do when facing physical adversity. Keep on trying to keep on keeping on! My stents last year don't compare to your AFib but it did take me out of action for a bit. Back at it now! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Terra said...

You have the best spirit as you get out and about on little adventures while learning to live with afib. There are a lot of pretty photos in this post, I like the one of you two sitting on a wall with blue sky behind you, and the one of the cute tree hugger.

Chatty Crone said...

Betsy - is there any possibility that the A-Fib might just go away like it came? And is the kind of fibrillation that they can do an ablation on - my son does that.
Well I see you didn't let it stop you - keep on going!
Love, sandie

Ginny Hartzler said...

Gorgeous and joyful pictures, Betsy! They are indeed Joyful Reflections! Phil had several bad episodes of A Fib, but not the persistent kind. Some questions that you can maybe answer in your part 2. How did you finally manage to sleep with your racing heart? You are finally on the right medicine for YOU? How many different ones? And how are you doing now? Are you allowed to do anything you want? Good to read your story, I knew quite a bit of it already. Looking forward to the next part.

Fun60 said...

It is wonderful to look back and see ho much you have achieved this year. Your posts are always so bright and cheery and a delight to read.

Arkansas Patti said...

You have managed to salvage a pretty yucky year health wise.
I too have AFIB--not persistent--and can control it well with meds. Has your doctor mentioned ablation? It is a minimally invasive procedure to stop AFIB. I know a couple of people that it has been successful on.
Keep up the positive attitude.

Connie said...

Your photos from the last year are awesome, Betsy. I'm glad you've been able to keep busy and return to doing some of your favorite things in spite of your struggle with Afib. I hope you can continue to live your life the way you want to and keep such an upbeat outlook.

Betsy said...

My dear friend, you know I can relate to your a fib. 2018 isn’t a year that I care to repeat either but I am determined 2019 will be better. Looking forward to reading about the second half of your year and I want you to remember that you are always in my prayers. You are such an inspiration to me and my friend. Blessings always, Betsy

Judy said...

You had some wonderful trips in spite of the A fib. Keep it up. I enjoy your trips almost as much as you do, especially since I have been to some of the places you enjoy so much.

hugs, Judy

Margaret Adamson said...

yes you have come a long way in 2018 jumping many hurdles but have come out smiling and happy. Glad this is going to be a better year for you and George.

Lady Fi said...

So glad you have persisted and found joy!

Linda said...

Glad you recovered. This is an informative post, but also inspiring. Best wishes.

Jeevan said...

Reading yours and mini adventures you take post A Fib is inspiring. I have a weak heart with irregular heartbeats and was advised to be on medicine forever to prevent its advancement as much possible due to my condition with muscular dystrophy. I could somehow understand your state and heart rate going up to 180 is quite scary as you scared. Hope you continue to heal and come out of this state and go back to your regular hike ways. Glad you enjoyed the travels you had year around.

Small Kucing said...

How time flies . ...am so glad despite everything, you have hung in there. Its lovely to read your blog as its full of positive vibes. Gives out happiness.

May this new year brings you good health and more joy

LV said...

So very sorry you have had so many issues. We never know what is going to happen to us. So far I have been blessed with reasonable good health, but at 89 never know what will happen. My late husband had a bad heart for years. He had a pace maker and was on a lot of medicine. Trust things improve for you soon. You and George get so much exercise, you should be healthy.

Jeanne said...

Yes, I know a lot about AFib tio and it's no fun! Mom has had it for several years and it can really get her down at times. She's 89 now and has bad arthritis to go along with it so not sure which is worse. Anyway sounds like you have the right attitude and that is what counts! I need to step in more often to check in on my dear blogging friends. Take care.

diane b said...

I do so hope 2019 is a better year for you. A-Fib is hard to live with . Bill said it is like having a bag of frogs in your chest trying to get out. He doesn't notice it anymore but he has a pacemaker now.

Shug said...

Good post.... Health issues can be very difficult when they alter our lifestyle. I sure hate that you have this and have experienced some rough times. However....I know just what kind of joy you get out of hiking and tending to all of your flowers. I know that you will work as hard as you can to be able to enjoy these things. You are a true trooper and the best thing is that you have such a wonderful husband to help you. My prayers for you sweet Betsy..

BeachGypsy said...

Thank you for your sweet and kind words, it's been a sad sad time for sure. I love all the pictures on this post especially that big waterfall!!-I've never been to that one. Loved that panorama one of the mountains too.

Lowcarb team member said...

Dear Betsy
What a wonderful informative and inspirational post. I think it is so helpful when we share our experiences.
You have really come through with grit and determination and the love of George and your family.
Your photographs are so lovely to see.
My good wishes to you.

All the best Jan

Sally Wessely said...

Betsy, You might not know it, you may never know it, but I think you needed to write this post for that person, or for many people, who are diagnosed with aFib. You write of the ups and downs (and that isn’t just in your heart rate) of this condition that shows that you have gone through the process of learning to live the life that you most want to live with a life altering condition. While I truly hate that you have to suffer this condition, I am grateful that you have been able to take charge and not let it take charge. I’m grateful you have George there for support and encouragement and that you both have worked so hard to keep this from sidelining you because you just aren’t a sidelined kind of girl. Hugs and love to you.