Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows the mountain ranges and a little left-over Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, 11/1/19.

Monday, February 18, 2019

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

One of the many roads I traveled in 2018;  This was at Mammoth Cave National Park,  Kentucky in July.
Dear Friends,   Two weeks ago,  I published  Part I of my Journey with A Fib.... IF you missed that post,  please  click HERE to read it first...

Today I'll share more of our 2018 adventures  despite my health problems.  In Part I--I featured   January-June,  so today I'll share a bit from July -December...




The family of Ken Adams at his funeral, July 16, 2018.
In July,  we took two short trips.  The sad one was when we drove to Indiana for the funeral of George's brother, Ken.  Ken had suffered with Cancer for a few years ---and no matter how hard he tried to beat that disease,  he lost his battle on July 9.



The happy July trip was to Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky,   where we spent a couple of awesome days with our good friends,  Neal and Patti.





In August,   George took me on my 76th Birthday Trip to Mount Pisgah along the Blue Ridge Parkway, west of Asheville,  North Carolina.   We stayed at the Pisgah Inn and enjoyed this view from our room.  It was such a wonderful and relaxing  trip!




Our 'big' trip for 2018 was a wonderful journey out west from September 6-17.  We visited  South Dakota,  Montana  and Wyoming.  There are so many highlights that it is hard to narrow it down to one or two... The picture above was taken on our amazing journey across  the Beartooth Mountain between  Red Lodge,  Montana,  and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.





Another highlight for me was seeing the Grand Teton National Park.   This picture was taken at the Schwabacher Landing ---as we looked at the mighty TETONS...  I always tell George that THIS is my favorite place in the world  (after our Great Smoky Mountains here in Tennessee)... ha




The only long hike we took on our West Trip was our hike around String Lake in the Grand Tetons.   What started out to be a 'short' hike (so our hiking book said)  turned out to be a LONG hike ---since when we thought we were lost, we back-tracked a couple of times... My A Fib really caused me to struggle on that hike --but with George's wonderful help,  I/we made it back to the car!!!!!  We can laugh about it NOW --but at the time,  I was SCARED that I couldn't make it out of that area!  But ---isn't it gorgeous (when looking at the picture)?????







Soon after getting home from our Western Trip, we made a trip to BILTMORE to see the CHIHULY Exhibit there at NIGHT.... Wow---what a highlight for us!   (We had seen the exhibit during the day when we were there in August --but just HAD to see it at night.  it was SO awesome!)




Here's one more picture showing some of the awesome glass displays at Biltmore.



October  brought our annual Autumn Trip with our friends,  Neal and Patti.  This year,  we spent several days in Maggie Valley,  North Carolina  checking out the Fall colors,  the views,  the food (ha), the Blue Ridge Parkway,  and, best of all---- just having fun together.  One of the highlights of that week was seeing the ELK at Cataloochee.



On October 28,  with my son's encouragement,  George and I went with Mark and Diana to Elkmont in the Smokies and hiked to the AVENT CABIN.   I wasn't sure I could make that hike since it was 4 miles round-trip plus some elevation changes.  BUT--I was willing to try it  and I DID....  I made it and was so proud of myself....

Although I did many short hikes and walks this past year (and did fine),   this  one  and the long hike in the Tetons were the only two that I would even consider hikes more than 2-3 miles...   Since  I did TWO of these hikes in 2018 ---my goal is to do at least FOUR in 2019....  Can I do it????  I hope so.



November was family month ---and I was thrilled to have all 3 sons  together here for Thanksgiving.  It is so seldom when I can manage to get them all together ---so you can imagine how happy I was!!!!




December was our annual trip to OCEAN ISLE BEACH.  Like Pisgah Inn (in August),  this is another trip which we can truly relax and enjoy every minute.   It was wonderful to see the Sunrise from our balcony...



Another big highlight of the year for me was our special trip to Asheville,  North Carolina,  to attend CHRISTMAS at BILTMORE.   What an awesome evening.   This was taken inside the Biltmore Mansion.



Before we toured the big home at BILTMORE,  we walked around the front and captured this photo.



After our tour of the BILTMORE House,  we drove to the Antler Village area which was also all decorated with many lights.   This was the first time we have seen that area at Christmas.   Since there was a little snow on the ground,  it truly felt like Christmas.  What an awesome evening we had...

But---December wasn't over!!!!   On Christmas Day,  we drove to Georgia and had a fantastic dinner with son Jeff and daughter-in-law Dawn,  along with Dawn's parents.   Thanks be to God also for all of our family which we saw off and on ALL year,  not just during the Holidays.

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WELL ---that's my/our year in a nutshell...   As I look back on everything we did ---I am amazed at how little the A Fib affected me most of the time.  BUT---I also know that I still do NOT have the energy or stamina that I used to have.  I have really slowed down --and it has been frustrating not being able to do what I want to do.  As I have mentioned before,  my medications keep me alive but they all do have side effects...

Knowing that I cannot walk these big hills in our area anymore,  we knew that we still needed to find ways of getting  'real' exercise while here at home.   SO ----we bought a fantastic STATIONARY BICYCLE  in December.  We both use the bike  ---and most days we both do 2 --30 minute rides per day... This new purchase is sitting right in our Living Room ---and is very convenient (especially after/during all of the RAIN we have had this winter--which keeps us inside)...

Working on our health is the most important goal for 2019 for both George and me.  Right now,  besides putting a priority on our Biking,  we have changed our eating habits so that hopefully,  we both can lose some of this weight we have gained this past year.  As I talk to others with A Fib,  I know that one of my medications  (a Beta Blocker) does cause weight gain in many...   Getting the 15 pounds off that I've gained since getting A Fib in Feb., 2018 would surely make me feel better.   I'm TRYING!!!! At least,  I do NOT want to continue gaining!!!!  Grrrrrr.....

WELL my Friends,  as I write this,   things may change quickly this week.   I have an appointment with my Cardiologist on Thursday,  and both of us see our regular family doctor on Friday!!!!!  These are our 6-month check-ups.    We'll go to the Lab tomorrow morning for our fasting blood work.   I would appreciate prayers as we go through this week.

I don't know if any of you have A Fib  --or know someone who has it,  but just remember that A Fib is DIFFERENT in each of us.  My A Fib is called  Persistent A Fib ---and I am 'in' A Fib constantly (rather than others who may have occasional episodes)...  Each type is treated differently.  So far,  mine is being treated by 4 different medications...   Be patient with us ---since even though we all may look the same as we did,  most of us have had a HUGE lifestyle change.

Hugs,