Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

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!!!!