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No Plain Jane………

Adventures With Attitude!, Family Time, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Close up of mom at her Open House Reception. I still keep this picture up to this day- almost 40 years later. Who would think it would be the last time she would sit on that chaise lounge?

Close up of mom at her Open House Reception. I still keep this picture in my home to this day- almost 40 years later. Who would think it would be the last time she would sit on that chaise lounge? My mom really understood that life is short, and made each day count!

Life…Is…Short!

I had intended to write this article and publish it for Mother’s Day this year…….. But alas, we were wrapped up in travel plans, then travel for most of April, and the thought, the time, and the writing never took place…….

I could wait until next Mother’s Day, and release it then… but if you know me, you know my saying… “You never know when they are going to call in your chips.”  Hell, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, so you’ve got to do things today. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

You may think that is a morbid way to live, but it’s just the opposite.  I do more, accomplish more, enjoy more and live more than many people combined. Why?  Perhaps it’s because I know how short life can be.  I have now outlived my own mother by 3 years. LIFE…IS…SHORT!  I never want to look back and say “I should have.” “I could have.” Or “I wish I had.”

I believe FULLY in taking life by the tail and getting the most out of it EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I often have people look at my schedule and ask me if I ever sleep.  Often, when I have exciting things to do, a lot on my plate and a busy schedule, honestly—— I don’t sleep much.  I can go weeks on end with 3 or 4 hours sleep.  I figure that at some point I’m going to have an extremely long time to sleep… as in eternity…. so I’ll catch up on it then!  For me, typically, every day is a busy day.  That’s how I love to live my life. After all—-as I said previously—- you never know when they are going to call in your chips!

A few months ago, in sorting through some things after our move, I came across a photo album I keep with mementos about my mom. Jane Clark. Her birth name had actually been Jane Hatheway, until she married my father at the ripe old age of 18. To say my parents had a tumultuous relationship would be putting it kindly! YIKES- those two fought like I’ve never seen anyone fight……. (But that’s another story for another day.  Getting married at 18 probably isn’t the #1 best idea in life either….)

My mom died when I was 22, after fighting cancer for about 8 1/2 years.  I remember when she came home one afternoon, while I was in Jr. High and told me the doctors had told her she had cancer, and only had a few months to live.  Of course, my first thought was “what happens to me?”  (Thank you teen age years for putting myself before everyone else!)

A Long and Difficult Battle….

That is when the fight began. Mom began a long, difficult and painful fight with cancer. The cancer she started out with wasn’t the cancer that ultimately killed her.  She was originally diagnosed with Lymphoma, but she picked up a second cancer, Leukemia, along the way, and that was the eventual ending battle of  her life.

Throughout those last years though, my mom helped SO many others in their last stages of life.  38 years ago, hospice wasn’t allowed into hospitals. Dying was treated differently.  We had to “buck up” and take care of one another.  No matter how sick she was herself, my mom was right there, making certain that WHATEVER her friends needed in their last days, they got it!

For one friend, it was important that she had some nice lingerie and a sexy nightie.  Jane provided those things. Some may have thought that at that stage of the game lingerie and nighties weren’t important.  She didn’t question it.  It was her friends’ desire, and that was all Jane needed to know. For another friend, it might be a specific dish they wanted to eat before they died. She made sure they got it, even if she had to sneak it into the hospital.  There comes a time when needs are far more than “medical.” Those needs are often more important than the medicines, the treatments or the “rules.”

The “Dress Rehearsal”

This was my mom at her Open House Reception. She went into the hospital the next day for the last time.

This was my mom at her Open House Reception. She went into the hospital the next day for the last time.

My mom had been in and out of the hospital so many times in the 8 plus years that I couldn’t even begin to count them.  In October 1979 I went on a last minute 1 week trip to Hawaii. While I was gone my sisters told me that they were giving an open house for my mom the day after I returned from the trip.  I wondered why they couldn’t just wait a week, so that I could help more with it. My mom insisted that it happen THAT Sunday. She went in the hospital the day after the party and never came back out.  SHE KNEW it had to happen then, or it never would.

When the end was near for our mom, we wanted to make sure someone was with her all the time so she didn’t die alone.  One of us always spent the night at the hospital for the last few months she was there.

My mom longed to see a local hospice in the area – which could help people like her in their last days.  I remember attending talks by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross with my mom, learning about the 5 stages of death, and what other countries were doing for their dying. Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in the hospice movement in the United States back in the ’70’s.  Our country was, and still is so far behind how other countries deal with death and dying.

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. “ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Because of my mom’s frustration with the lack of hospice care, she started the ball rolling to get a local hospice formed.  After my mom’s death, my two sisters and I helped to bring to fruition a hospice to the Fox Valley. That hospice served my dad a number of years later when he died.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree…

 It’s often said by people that knew my mom that I’m a lot like her. Jane was a talker………. (sound familiar?)  Oh, she could talk!  And you always knew where you stood with my mom. She didn’t beat around the bush………… and this app;e didn’t fall far from THAT tree!  My mom would do anything for anyone, but cross her, and watch out! She would do WHATEVER it took to make things right!  If there was YELP in her day, Jane would have had 2,000 reviews on it, I’m sure! I’m my mom’s daughter there!  I’ll help the underdog any way I can, and when things aren’t right, I’ll let WHOEVER needs to know, until things are made right.

In the album of mementos I have poems and stories written about her.  Reading them, I thought how great it would be to write an article about her. And of course, Mother’s Day would have been a fabulous time to publish it.  Or perhaps her birthday, which is September 16th…. or perhaps, just whenever I get around to getting the damn thing done… Yes. That’s probably EXACTLY when I’ll get it out.  Whenever it is finished. Because THAT is the kind of organized I am.

No Plain Jane

In the memento book is a poem. I have no idea who wrote it, or if it was, indeed, written expressly about my mom. In trying to find it on Google, I can’t, so I assume someone wrote it about my mom. Sorry I can’t attribute it to the right person! Here goes:

No Plain Jane

I know a Jane,

Who isn’t plain

As any heart should see…

She’s more fair than a rose

That in Springtime grows

Yes, she’s beautiful to me.

For Beauty is in the face of love

And lovely is beauty’s name….

And ti’s love that lights the smile

That shines in the face of Jane.

Call other Jane’s plain— if you insist

But please don’t include our Jane.

For many a lovely thing is she

And one thing she isn’t is “plain.”

 

During the years my mom was ill, we were very involved in an organization called Make Today Count.  It had been started by a man named Orville Kelly, who had Lymphoma. He formed a support group so that people could find support among others who had long-term or life threatening illnesses.  Family members were also encouraged to attend.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through my mother’s illness and subsequent death, if we hadn’t had this resource at the time.  (At the time of my mother’s illness there were at least 140 chapters across the United States.  I believe that a handful are still active, one of them being here in San Diego.)

In our Make Today Count chapter, there was a woman I befriended named Kay Catlin. Kay’s journey was just a few months ahead of mine.  Her mother, also a cancer victim, died about 6 months before my mother did. I would often talk to Kay to see if my feelings, my emotions and my journey were unusual—- typically to be told that she had experienced exactly the same reactions to her mother’s illness.

Kay became a writer, and wrote a story about my mother, which was published in the Chicago Tribune on May 7, 1980. Kay wrote the story and gave it to our family at my mother’s memorial service, just a week after my mother’s death, which was December 21, 1979.  We felt so honored to have this wonderful story about my mother published in a major newspaper.

Having lost contact with Kay many years ago, when I found the article I contacted Kay and asked if I could publish it here in this blog, and she graciously gave me permission. Ties that are made in a situation like we were in many, many years ago still hold, as was demonstrated when I contacted Kay.

This is the front cover of the scrapbook I keep that has articles about my mom, marriage cert, birth cert, death cert, etc.

This is the front cover of the scrapbook I keep that has photos, articles about my mom, marriage cert, birth cert, death cert, etc. There was a store that made these scrapbooks many years ago, with your details on the front cover. I really liked them!

Following is the story as Kay originally wrote it and gave it to us.  It was edited some, and the tenses changed for the Chicago Tribune final article.

The Dying of Jane by Kay Catlin

The screen door ricocheted shut one final time. The party was over: the last guest had left. But before the weary hostess could call it a night, there was one more thing to do.

Jane draped her tiny frame across the painted rattan chaise and slipped her hand int the “everything” basket lying next to her on the floor. As she pulled out the tattered list of name and numbers, the freshly signed guest register was brought to her.

Methodically, Jane compared the “invited” names to the “attended” ones. By the time she was finished, it was clear triumph was in her corner.

“Look at that, would ya’, just look at that,” she said turning to her youngest daughter. (That would be me, by the way, just sayin’!) Look, only eight didn’t show. That’s pretty good…. real good.”  Jane was satisfied.

But in spite of her social coup, Jane’s, thought turned quickly back to the eight no-shows. One by one she recited their reasons for being elsewhere. The first had to work.  The next two had previously scheduled meetings, and besides the family of four who lived too far away, the only other people who couldn’t make it had car trouble. That settled it then. Everyone was accounted for.

Things like that matter to Jane. She is the original party person. Even mere acquaintances know she’ll be at any function someone bothers to call a party.  It doesn’t matter what the reason or where it’s held. If there’s a party, Jane will be there even if she’s dying.

And this time she was.  Dying, that is.

Dying is nothing new to Jane. Her doctors say she has been doing that ever since she was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer seven years ago at age fifty.  As a matter of fact, Jane was handed a less-than-a-month-to-go death sentence in 1973 only moments before she was advised not to take a scheduled Florida vacation to visit her parents. The doctor said she’d come back in a box.  Jane went anyway, and looking back, glad she’s glad she did. It was the last time  she saw her mother, who, at the same time was dying from cancer.

Jane didn’t come back in a box, and the doctor who told her not to go has since died himself from cancer.  Instead, Jane enjoyed her trip and, upon returning, decided the one thing she had to do was learn how to live with her disease so if one of her five children ever got cancer, “they’d know how to handle it.”

That was a mighty big order for someone recently divorced who had to keep on working in spite of pain, exhaustion, radiation treatments and chemotherapy. But she says she was too busy living to be bothered with dying. Besides, she had some pretty fail-safe logic going for her.  she figured it was a lot harder to die standing up.  As long as she could stay off the couch and on her feet, she had the odds beat. No one was going to catch her lying down long enough to die.

And they didn’t.

Between her once a month trips to Mayo’s from her suburban West Chicago home and her accounting job, Jane was terribly busy. She’d fly up to Rochester, Minnesota, on a Thursday night and check into the clinic Friday morning.  Saturday afternoons she’d fly back, and by Monday morning it was business as usual. Jane would make up time lost at her job by working Saturdays and week nights. Then, when she got caught up, the whole cycle would begin again. But she never missed a day’s work, and that’s something she’s still quite proud of.

The way Jane tells it, the whole first year was more like a piece of cake than the parcel of hell it really was. Pressed, she will relate stories of the many nights she and her only still-home child would stay up trying to temper the excruciating pan of muscle spasms. She will talk about the days she would pray for the phone not to ring, so she wouldn’t have to reach for it. But those aren’t the things she likes to concentrate on now. Jane would much rather tell someone about all the things she did do, the good times, than dwell on the horror of  it all. Even under pressure, she is an artful dodger of gloom. Any further questions about the endless nights and uncertain, painful days, she brushes off with, “I didn’t worry about any of it.  I’d just call my sister-in-law and tell her to start praying. Then I’d turn the rest over to the doctors and let them do their thing.  It worked every time.” And somehow, it did work…….. every time.

No, it hasn’t ever been Jane’s style to worry about herself. In the face of hardship, she is more likely to light up one in an endless chain of Newports, lean back, and give vent to another positive thought. She even has a pat answer for all those cigarettes.  “Well, they can’t tell me I’m going to get cancer anymore, can they?” So, I figure if I’m going to die, I might as well not be nervous about it.”  Good ol’ Jane!

In-spite of her logic, Jane was doing well until 1975 when her boss quit. A new comptroller took over who was bent on getting rid of everyone.  Not a person to be trifled with, Jane saw what was coming and got rid of herself.  “I couldn’t take that ass one more day, so I blew” is how she puts it.  (BTW- side-note, I can STILL remember my mother venting about the new boss and what an unreasonable and horrible jerk he was! That was my senior year of high-school!)

As she told of quitting her job, Jane suddenly looked down and then slowly turned her gaze upwards again. Pointing her finger to punctuate yet another point, she said, “THAT hurt me more than anything.”

She couldn’t get another job.  It didn’t matter that she was well qualified or willing to work, or desperately needed insurance. What mattered was that Jane had cancer. As far as the job market was concerned, Jane was already dead.

In spite of the fact that she faced rejection almost constantly, Jane continued to look for a job, any job.  She needed reason to stay standing up. Once, she even came close to getting employed. The owner of a marketing firm didn’t so much as blink an eye when she told him, as she told everyone, that she had cancer. She  would be employed and insured anyway.  No questions asked.  But the man died  before the deal went through. It was cancer that got him.

Jane didn’t work again until March of 1977. She had heard about a CETA job and, when she found two bosses who were willing to look away from her illness and toward her qualifications, she was hired. The job instantly became like new life blood to her.  She still feels if she hadn’t landed that job, any job, she would have lain down right then and died.

She worked well and steadily until July. Then she became inexplicably weak, unable to wash or dress herself. She went back to Mayo’s for a check-up and two days of transfusions, but came home having received even more.  A new diagnosis: Chronic Leukemia.

That’s not to say Jane had been undergoing treatments for the wrong disease all along. She just had them both lymphoma and leukemia. Snake eyes.

Jane went back to work almost immediately and tried to keep up. She had to. The doctors’ bills alone were breaking her financially even when the paychecks were steady. But there were intermittent hospitalizations, days off here and there. By March of 1978 the word had filtered down.  Any more days off and she would be out.

A few weeks later, Jane was in too much pain to report for work. She had reached too suddenly for something; that’s all. Two ribs, brittle from years of cancer therapy, snapped, and with them went everything. (I can’t tell you how many times my mom broke a bone by simply riding in the car and hitting a bump, standing up from a chair, or other simple things we do on a daily basis.  It was awful!)

Or so she thought.

With her body literally hunched in pain, Jane had someone drive her to and from job interviews when she wasn’t in the hospital. She knew she needed to get out of bed or she would die.  All she wanted was “to push a pencil somewhere.”  Her mind didn’t have cancer, after all.

On February 15, 1979 she landed her last job.  Each day, one of her children would take her to work and pick her up again in the evening.  It was tough going, but she was needed again. There was a reason to get off that couch.

That lasted until April 6th.  Jane went back into the hospital then and wasn’t released until July 6th.  Two days later, she was back at work.  For a few weeks, she pushed her pencil until on Friday afternoon when she found herself breathless from pain.  It was all over.

During the past months, Jane has only been out of the hospital for a few days at a time.  Each reprieve from doctors’ whites and intravenous drip coincided with one thing and one thing only—- a party.  She made them all. (Again, I told you this apple didn’t fall from the “Jane tree!” My mom never missed a party and neither do I!)

But her party days are dwindling and she knows it. When her leukemia turned from chronic to acute over Labor Day and her disability and Medicare benefits were cut off in October because she had worked three days too many the year before, she was beaten. Forced to apply for Public Aid, this fiercely independent woman was given two choices one afternoon by her doctors. She could either die outright or go through a painful bone marrow transplant, isolation and Chemotherapy program and probably die anyway.  What to do….

Jane decided she was going to go out trying and endorsed the treatments  Then she went home to make her funeral plans.

Already having donated her body to science when she was first diagnosed, Jane worked calmly and methodically on all the other arrangements. She secured the church, talked to the ministers, and had someone come over with sheet music.  Together they looked for “A King is Coming” and “He Touched Me.”  Because she wants those two songs sung by everyone at her memorial service, copies had to be made ahead of time.  Jane knew where she could get it done cheap.

She then named a charity for donations and instructed everyone she met not to send flowers.  “That’s like getting buried,” she said.  “Never could see throwing money away on being put in the ground and having a bunch of flowers around.”  I want the kids to take what I give them and blow it.  I want people to have a good time with what they got.”  And no one argued.

Jane then called her family together and worked out the nitty-gritty plans for the party afterwards,  They were to feed everyone and then go back to the house and have a family party like they always did.  “I want them to play poker, do some charades, and laugh a lot. If they have to sit around reminiscing, I want them to remember the crazy things, the fun things.” Then a devilish grin spread over her emaciated face as she added, “And they all know—- I’ve told them ever since I knew I was dying— that I’ll come back and haunt them if they don’t do what I say.”

With the family still around, Jane parceled out her promised possessions. She took pictures off the wall, rings off her fingers, and held a drawing for her remaining treasures. She sorted out photos and mementos, and gave each adult child his own picture laden history book. She signed over her stocks, gave away her car, and then took out the insurance policies. Each had been carefully studied, filled out, and stamped.

Then Jane sat back in relief ready to reminisce. Since she had sold her home to one of the children a while back, all she had to do was die.  Everything else was done.

That’s when the idea set in.

Jane’s eldest daughter thought as long as everything was taken care of ahead of time, they might as well have a party now, the kind of party people usually have after the funeral, but this one would be before while her mother could enjoy it.  After all, Jane wouldn’t want to miss a good party for anything. Why should she have to die for one last reason to celebrate?

So, while she was home for a brief, uncertain stay waiting for her body to become strong enough to give her at least a fighting chance to survive the treatments, her children called together 80 or 90 of Jane’s closest friends.  People came steadily from late afternoon on to pay their respects, say their goodbyes and share a laugh with the still living.  Jane was clearly on a mental high through the tiring, day-long affair.  She was having the time of her life playing the queen once more.  (Interesting, isn’t it that this was nearly 40 years ago, and my mother was referred to as “the queen.”  Now, here I am- The Queen of Damn Near Everything!”)

A week later, she herself would call the party a dress rehearsal for the memorial service and casually remark that only eight people didn’t show.

Now Jane waits to return to the hospital, knowing she probably won’t come out alive. She exhibits fear only when she refers to the painful, “worst ever” treatments she has to face.  It is not difficult to believe her when she says, “Some things are worse than dying, you know.”

(Jane Clark of West Chicago, Illinois, died December 21 1979, without having undergone the bone marrow transplant. The rest of the details are unimportant. She just died with the same dignity she had known in life.  That’s all.  End

There were a few things very interesting about my mother’s last weeks (about 9 of them), while she was in the hospital.  My mother was a feisty little ball of fire, and you ALWAYS knew where things stood with her. She wasn’t technically “in a coma”- but there were weeks where she basically laid and slept, not really talking to anyone.

We told her sister, my Aunt Pat, that if she wanted to see mom again, she’d better get here for a visit.  I never thought of my Aunt Pat as weak, but my mom must have understood her in a way we couldn’t. When my Aunt Pat came into the hospital room for her visit, upon arrival, my mom sat up, had a conversation with her, then laid back down.  The next morning Aunt Pat came back in, mom had another lovely conversation with her, and my Aunt left for home, saying “She doesn’t look too bad to me.”

We were all mystified at how amazing my mom looked and sounded while Aunt Pat was there.  Later we understood that mom knew that my Aunt couldn’t have taken seeing her sister in an almost “vegetative” state, and did what was needed to help Aunt Pat get through it.

From L-R: My niece Kelly, Sister Sharon, Mom, My niece Michelle and my Sister Dianne. Not long before my moms death. Who knows where the hell I was for this? It looks like Kelly was dressed up for a school dance, corsage and all!

From L-R: My niece Kelly, Sister Sharon, Mom, My niece Michelle and my Sister Dianne. Not long before my moms death. Who knows where the hell I was for this? It looks like Kelly was dressed up for a school dance, corsage and all!

There were also a few times that my mom sat up, called out “Mom” and reached for someone unseen, with such a peaceful look on her face

Then the story that some people think is “just horrible”- but was my mom’s and my personality to a T…… Mom hadn’t spoken for weeks—- probably since Aunt Pat’s visit, and I went to the hosipital after work, just days before her death.  I was wearing Tabu perfume, a heavy scent popular in the 80’s.  As I leaned down to kiss her, out of the blue mom mumbled, “What’s that perfume?”  I told her and she responded, “Don’t ever wear that again, you smell like a French whore.” That’s the last thing my mom ever said to me!  I laugh about it, and let me tell you…… when I get into an elevator with someone wearing that perfume….. to this day, do you know how hard it is not to repeat that line to them????? Often, when I share that story, people are absolutely AGHAST that this would be our last conversation. Not me though!

The other great story about “The Dying of Jane” was that it was UBER IMPORTANT to my mom that she not be buried. She wanted to donate any organ possible, then donate her body to science so that others might learn from her body and prevent others in the future from enduring cancer such as hers. (Once you’ve gone through all the cancer treatments my mom went through, not too many organs are viable, unfortunately. We had learned that the only organ which could be donated at that point were mom’s eyes.) My mom had always been ADAMENT that not one cent should go toward a burial. Back then, not too many people got cremated.

Well, the end was obviously VERY close, and we happened to call the family friend who owned the funeral home, and was going to help us with my mom’s details.  When we spoke to him, he told us that if my mom didn’t die that afternoon by about 4:30, she’d either have to hold out until the next Wednesday, or her body and organs wouldn’t be able to be donated, due to the weekend and holiday.  (Can you believe it?  Back then, organ donation was more of a 9-5 Monday through Friday kind of business.)  I think it was about 3:15 when we got this news, so we leaned over my mom and said, “Hey mom, we’ve got some bad news we just found out. Bruce told us that if you don’t die today by about 4:30, you have to hold out through Christmas, and wait until the day after, or they won’t take your body and eyes. You will need to be buried.” My mom died at 4:30 PM that day.

When Jane had a plan NO ONE was going to screw it up if she had anything to do with it!

Again, when I’ve told that story to some people, they can’t believe we would tell our mom she needed to either die or hold out.  Let me tell you, you didn’t want to cross Jane Clark, and had she not been told once we knew the details, she probably WOULD have come back to haunt us for not getting the body donated!

My mom lived a certain way, and she died the same way—- parties planned and attended and details acted on, down to the last detail!

When we had my mom’s memorial service my oldest sister Sharon read a beautiful poem that pretty well summed up my mom, and the way she chose to die. I’ll share it:

“To Remember Me…”

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed.  Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman. Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain. Give my blood to the teenager  who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.  give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.  Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary and let them grow so that, someday,a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil.  Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked I will live forever.

—- Robert N. Test in Cincinnati Post

 

Would you like to leave a legacy after you are gone?  You need to plan ahead.  Here are a few interesting articles that might help you figure out what would work best for your desires.

For info on donating your organs, go to: https://www.organdonor.gov/about/process/deceased-donation.html

For info on donating your body to science check out this article:https://www.wikihow.com/Donate-Your-Body-to-Science

 

 

 

 

 

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Dancing— My Drug of Choice

Cocktail Time, Events, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Health = Happiness!, My Humble Opinion, Sexy After 60!, Uncategorized
My friend Richard & me dancing at my 60th birthday party last November

My friend Richard & me dancing at my 60th birthday party last November

Dancing— The New Meditation

I have heard for decades that the best way to relax and achieve inner harmony is to meditate. You can’t live in Southern California without having a hundred people tell you “it’s the way to go.” I call BS on that! Don’t get me wrong. If you meditate, and it works for you, more power to you! I”ll even give you an “Om” to go.

Meditation Stresses Me Out!

It’s just that meditation, to me is the greatest and easiest way to stress out I have ever tried. I’ve tried it more than a handful of times and here is exactly what happens. I sit in this place I’ve decided to be quiet in and cleanse my mind. In approximately 30 seconds a committee shows up in my head. The committee is loud. It’s raucous. They all begin to talk, taunt and tease. I suddenly am filled with thoughts of all of the “productive” things I could be doing.…. Should be doing…..Need to get done. I think of things with work that I have been putting off. I think of things I could be writing for my blog rather than just sitting here wasting time. I think of things that need to be done in my house and how many things I need to organize. The closets that could use cleaning and the drawers that need sorting. I think of things that WILL need to be done for work, my house, my blog in the near future. I think about places I could go for travel and enjoyment and want to look those things up on the internet RIGHT THEN.

Meditation- I give it about 3 seconds til I hit the “crazy” button!

I begin to think about things that really bug me, things that have bothered me for a while and things I didn’t even KNOW bothered me. Now I start to get REALLY irritated at the things that I didn’t even know were bothering me.

Any small problem in my life can take on gargantuan proportions when I sit down to meditate. They suddenly become overwhelming.

Meditation Fills My Mind…

While attempting to meditate I start to think about things I have recently seen on Facebook that I thought were really profound or really cute or really irritating. You know the things I’m referring to such as the political posts that differ from your opinion or the people who voice their totally inane and negative opinions on someone’s post, which were TOTALLY unnecessary. The more I am supposed to “empty my mind” the more that comes in to crowd it and my blood pressure goes up. Which is, I think, the direct opposite of the point of meditating.

All of this brain hyperactivity can be accomplished in record time. I’m sure I’ve just spent at LEAST three hours in the process, and when I look at the clock, I’ll be damned, five minutes haven’t even passed! God bless you if this meditation thing calms you down. It just stresses the hell out of me!

The same people who like to meditate, enjoy Yoga. Don’t even get me going on that one! If I’m going to spend an hour in an exercise class, I want to feel like it’s doing something for my body. I can’t get through half a yoga class without wanting to laugh at the absurd positions (which don’t seem to be building any sort of muscle that I can tell). I want to giggle at the silly names they call them. And for some reason, the people in Yoga class are just too damned serious about the whole thing. It becomes a religious activity for them, it seems. Forget Yoga…..I much prefer to do a few crunches, hold a plank, lift a few weights, or Zumba my way to cardio health. In Zumba you can’t help but have a happy attitude! Why…. because DANCE MOVES are happening there!

Dancing is my “Drug of Choice!”

Don & Patti dancing when Don's foot was broken!

It’s a little blurry- but I love that even when Don had a broken foot- we found a way to dance!

I guess the cat is out of the bag. I’m not a Zen girl. My idea of relaxing is planning a party, figuring out my next event, or dancing. Dancing is my “drug of choice.”

When I went through a divorce about 10 years ago, I decided to take up dancing. It was something I’d always wanted to learn, and it was the first thing I set my mind to when I knew the marriage was over. Now THERE is a stress reliever! There is a blood pressure reducer! And, like meditation and yoga combined, it’s GREAT for your body! Within a few months, although I was out every evening and enjoying a few drinks, I looked better than I had in years! I lost weight and toned up, without dieting or even TRYING! (Looking at my body right now, I think I need to get back on the dancing-every-night-wagon!)

I would look forward to my next night out dancing like a drug addict looks forward to meeting up with his “supplier!”  No matter WHAT was going on, no matter how stressful things were, in my mind I’d be thinking….”Just 2 more nights until I get to dance!”  I’d be in the car, and as I listened to music I could picture what dance would go to the beat, what moves you could do to a certain song….. and there was no thought of the stresses that life was giving me at that time!

Ladies dancing together!

We dance with our girlfriends in grade school, middle school and high school. Even into our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s we still have “girl dances! Girls just wanna’ have fun!

When you dance, the committees can’t be in your head, because you are too busy following the lead of your partner. You can’t think about the problems you’ve got going on, what needs to be done at home or what is going on with work. There is only one focus….. Dancing….. what the next move is and where your partner and your body are going to lead you.

For me, dancing gives me all the benefits of meditation and then some.

If sitting in a quiet room, making your mind blank works for you, then go for it!   Just PLEASE don’t try telling me that it’s a stress reliever! Not for my A type of personality! Thirty minutes of meditation a day would probably put me in the grave within the first month!

My grand daughter Nell, and Jodi "cutting a rug." EVERY age can enjoy dancing!

My grand-daughter Nell, and Jodi “cutting a rug.” EVERY age can enjoy dancing!

No matter what problems I have in life, after a few hours of dancing I feel refreshed, at peace and in tune with my body and soul.

Dancing video, Kingston Mines

This video is a bit dark, and for that I apologize!  My daughter shot it of my love and I dancing in the summer of 2016 when we were back “home” in Chicago visiting family.  The place was dark, it was her cell phone, and we didn’t even know she was shooting it. What a fabulous night we all had though! 🙂

 

 

The Sound of Silence

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If you know me, you know that I love being pampered as much as the next girl!  In fact, earlier this evening Don and I went for a 90 minute massage.  We go pretty often.  Many would call me spoiled, and I don’t feel bad about it for a minute.

Nails, pedicures, facials…… I’m a regular at pretty much all of them.

So, of course, when I saw an article about the most “out there” spa treatments, I was sucked into reading it stat!

The idea of most of them left me cold (or hot- but not in a good way!) Treatments where they switch from freezing you to heating your body parts with hot volcanic rocks, within moments of one another.  People ringing little bells and making noises while you are having a massage. Metal bowls laid on your body, and sound vibrations being used to “calm you.”

Shammans, High Priestess’, detoxifications, Nature bathing, Chakra Clearing, Chants, Bell ringing……… the thrills go on and on.

The one that sounds like pure torture to me are the “silent spas.”  Holy shit- people go for 2 to 5 DAYS without anyone talking? I would be out of my fucking MIND with days of total silence.  Please, let me give birth to 12 elephants without an epidural before I have to sit around in complete silence!  Are these people training to be some sort of monks?  And for this people are paying good money?  Something is wrong with this scene! THE SOUND OF SILENCE…. A little bit goes a LONG way in my book!

Call me old fashioned, but my idea of pampering is to take my clothes off and have someone massage me. I don’t want Chatty Cathy working on me, but should I want to let her know I’d like a little more pressure, I want to be able to speak up and get it done the way I like it!

Bells ringing, vibrations vibrating, chakras being cleared, water being poured on my head, rattles, wind chimes and other assorted “hocus-pocus” are just not my cup of tea.

Boring.  Old fashioned. Dull. Call me what you want, but when I’m being pampered, I prefer things a little more subdued.  I don’t feel the need for the Shaman and his dancing band of thieves to show up and set up a show. I think my Chakras are doing, fine, thanks for asking.  I’ll keep the bells on the windchimes outdoors.

Give me a quiet room, a little bit of “Origami music” (check out my Origami music side story, which is at the end of this blog)  and if we are really going all out- a heated bed, and I’m a pretty darned happy camper.  I prefer  the “cozy” of a warm massage bed to the extremes of being frozen and heated to excess……

So, as I previously said-  Keep the bells, the Shamans, the dings and the dongs, the good vibrations (I’ll keep the vibrating to the privacy of my own bedroom, thank you very much).  Just get out the massage oil, a semi dark room, my man on the adjoining massage table, and let’s stick to the basics.

Keep it simple stupid!

If you’d like to read the article and see what you can have done, and where to find it- here goes: Most Out There Spa Treatment

SIDE STORY- As promised………

Now that I mentioned “Origami music” I feel the need to explain.  A number of years ago, I owned a gift ware company.  When we worked the gift shows, it was damned hard work- on your feet for 8+ hours straight, trying to write as many orders as possible to keep the company profitable.  I always took 2 other girlfriends with me to work the markets.

At the LA gift show they had chair massage set up.  I told the girls that if we made a certain goal that day, I’d spring for chair massage on our way out.  Sure enough, goal achieved we went to get the massage.  My friend Kim was one of the hardest working people EVER.  Always doing for others, but seldom doing anything for herself…….. So, as we all settle in our chair massage contraptions, and just start to relax, Kim says, in all seriousness…. “This is great, but we need a little of that Origami music.”

HUH?  Origami music? What is that, music to fold paper by?

To this day, I can’t hear “massage music” without thinking about it being “Origami music.” Thanks for about 20 years of laughs over that one Kim Hartley!

 

 

 

Queen for a Day Retreat is Coming!

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The first “Queen for a Day” retreat is coming soon, and you won’t want to miss this!

The theme is “Learn to Live Like Royalty.” February 24th 9:30-4:00 with an optional “Happy Hour” afterwards! All of the needed details are on the flyer above.

Speakers, Delicious food catered by Etoufee’ Cafe on Wheels, Spa Treatments, Vision Boarding and more- all geared toward YOU and you creating a life you love! There will be raffles, give-aways and swag bags worth over $50.00 for each woman attending!

This day is going to be more fun than you can shake a stick at! Girlfriends galore, and more information, fun and fabulous-ness than you will EVER be able to stand!

Space will be limited, so sign up now!

If 2018 is the year that you are determined to get your life on track, be more successful and enjoy your life SO much more- then you need to attend this fun filled event!

More details about our fabulous speakers and sponsors will follow soon!  Don’t miss out- get your reservation in soon!

I have places for only 2 sponsors left, so if you’d like to sponsor, contact me NOW! Only $300.00 and you get to bring a friend/colleague, whatever!

Go to eventbrite or contact Patti Phillips to sign up: https://queenforadayretreat.eventbrite.com

800-680-9133

I’m Not A Zen Girl!

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Meditation- I give it about 3 seconds til I hit the “crazy” button!

Dancing is the New Meditation

I have heard for decades that the best way to relax and achieve inner harmony is to meditate.  You can’t live in Southern California without have a hundred people tell you “it’s the way to go.” I call BS on that!  Don’t get me wrong.  If you meditate, and it works for you, more power to you!  I”ll even give you an “Om” to go.

It’s just that meditation, to me is the greatest and easiest way to stress out I have ever tried.  I’ve tried it more than a handful of times.  And here is exactly what happens.  I sit in this place I’ve decided to be quiet in and cleanse my mind.  In approximately 30 seconds a committee shows up in my head. The committee is loud.  It’s raucous.  They all begin to talk, taunt and tease.  I suddenly am filled with thoughts of all of the “productive” things I could be doing.  Should be doing.  Need to get done.  I think of things with work that I have been putting off.  I think of things I could be writing for my blog, rather than just sitting here, wasting time.  I think of things that need to be done in my house. How many things I need to organize. The closets that could use cleaning, the drawers that need sorting.  I think of things that WILL need to be done for work, my house, my blog in the near future.  I think about places I could go for travel and enjoyment, and want to look those things up on the internet RIGHT THEN.

I begin to think about things that really bug me.  Things that have bothered me for awhile. Things I didn’t even  KNOW bothered me.  Now I start to get REALLY irritated at the things that I didn’t even know were bothering me.

Any small problem in my life can take on gargantuan proportions when I sit down to meditate. They suddenly become overwhelming.

Meditation = STRESS For My Brain!

While attempting to meditate I start to think about things I have recently seen on Facebook that I thought were really profound.  Or really cute. Or really irritating.   You know the things I’m referring to- the political posts that differ from your opinion.  The people that voice their totally inane and negative opinions on someone’s post, which were TOTALLY unnecessary.  The more I am supposed to “empty my mind” the more that comes in to crowd it, and  my blood pressure goes up.  Which is, I think the direct opposite of the point of meditating.

All of this brain hyperactivity  can be accomplished in record time.  I’m sure I’ve just spent at LEAST three hours in the process, and when I look at the clock, I’ll be damned, five minutes haven’t even passed! God bless you if this meditation thing calms you down. It just stresses the hell out of me!

The same people who like to meditate, enjoy Yoga. Don’t even get me going on that one!  If I’m going to spend an hour in an exercise class, I want to feel like it’s doing something for my body. I can’t get through half a yoga class without wanting to laugh at the absurd positions (which don’t seem to be building any sort of muscle that I can tell). I want to giggle at the silly names they call them. And for some reason, the people in Yoga class are just too damned serious about the whole thing.  It becomes a religious activity for them, it seems.  Forget Yoga…..I much prefer to do a few crunches, hold a plank, lift a few weights, or Zumba my way to cardio health.  In Zumba you can’t help but have a happy attitude! Why- because DANCE MOVES are happening there!

Screw meditating! I’m just NOT a Zen girl!

I’m Not a Zen Girl!

I guess the cat is out of the bag.  I’m not a Zen girl.  My idea of relaxing is planning a party, figuring out my next event, or dancing.  Dancing is my “drug of choice.”

When I went through a divorce about 8 years ago, I decided to take up dancing.  It was something I’d always wanted to learn, and it was the first thing I set my mind to when I knew the marriage was over.  Now THERE is a stress reliever! There is a blood pressure reducer!  And, like meditation and yoga combined- it’s GREAT for your body!  Within a few months, although I was out every evening and enjoying a few drinks, I looked better than I had in years!  I lost weight and toned up, without dieting or even TRYING!

Dancing- My “Drug of Choice!”

When you dance, the committees can’t be in your head, because you are too busy following the lead of your partner.  You can’t think about the problems you’ve got going on, what needs to be done at home, what is going on with work.  There is only one focus.  Dancing.  What the next move is, where your partner and your body are going to lead you.

For me, dancing gives me all the benefits of meditation, and then some.

If sitting in a quiet room, making your mind blank works for you, then go for it!

Just PLEASE don’t try telling me that it’s a stress reliever!  Not for my A type of personality!  Thirty minutes of meditation a day would probably put me in the grave within the first month!

No matter what problems I have in life, after a few hours dancing I feel refreshed, at peace and in tune with my body and soul.

Dancing video, Kingston Mines (This is a little video my daughter shot of Don & I when we were all in Chicago this summer.  I realize the video is dark, and I apologize!  If you get to Chicago, this place is worth visiting!)

 

The “Bees Knees”- Restoring my Knees!

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That! Aching Knees Are NO Fun!

You’ve GOT to Take Care of Yourself!  No One Else Will!

I’m about the most active person I know.  I dance a few times a week, exercise fairly regularly, and go, go, go!  I fit more life in a week than many people do in a month.  Maybe two months.  So…….. imagine my surprise when, without notice, my knees went from fine to completely fucked within a matter of about 2 months.  Seriously, I’m not exaggerating about this. Everything was A-OK, when I went on a cruise last Oct 1.  I tend to take the stairs between everywhere I go on a cruise, just to avoid the elevator crowds AND to try to burn a few of the excessive calories I am consuming while cruising.  About 4 days into the cruise my knees were stiff and hurting worse and worse every time I took the stairs.  I finally had to give up doing the stairs before the end of the cruise.  From there they just got increasingly worse through the holiday season.  I couldn’t even THINK of going to the gym- it was not only painful, but it was impossible to do any sort of class.  This may be TMI- but by Christmas I couldn’t hardly get on or off the damned toilet!  The pain was about 25 on a scale of 1-10, and the “hinge” movement that lifts you out of a chair wouldn’t even work.  If there wasn’t a handicapped stall in a bathroom I was a gonner!  At least with the handicapped bathroom I could pull myself up on the metal handrails!

Not only was I in pain, and nearly immobile, but then I started feeling like I was getting whacked in the knee with a metal club when I walked.  That was excruciating!  And it was causing me to stumble and fall. Very attractive I must say.

Dancing is my “Drug of Choice

(When you click on the link above, you’ll see a video of Don & I dancing at Kingston Mines in Chicago this past June.  My daughter shot this unknown to me at the time.  Not the best lit video, but just a typical night dancing for my man and I!)

Anyone who knows me, knows that my “drug of choice” is dancing.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you are barely ambulatory, you aren’t doing too damned much dancing!  So, I was quickly becoming an unhappy girl!

Do you know that when your knees don’t work, you’re almost unable to get up from any restaurant table?  Few restaurant chairs have arms, and most tables only have a center support pedestal, which makes leaning on the table for leverage impossible.  The whole situation is far less than sexy and attractive, I have to say! It was a struggle every time I went anywhere. I quickly developed a keen sense of empathy for anyone going through physical challenges!

Let me tell you, I definitely have new found respect for people with knee issues.

I went to the Dr., got a check up and x-rays, only to be told I had arthritis, and would probably be needing a knee replacement STAT!  GREAT NEWS!  Just what I wanted to hear! Part of me felt like- do it now and let me get it over with, and the bigger part of me said “HELL NO!”

I refused to just take the word of a western medicine Dr, and decided to do all a could to get my knees back to as normal as possible, before resorting to letting someone take a saw and cut out the supporting members of my legs!

Another deciding factor on dealing with our “western medicine” practitioners came after I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.  Let’s just leave it at this— after waiting a combined time in both the waiting and exam room of about an hour and a half, I left, never seeing the Dr.  I could hear him visiting with the patient in the next room for 45 minutes, discussing the holidays, family vacations, work, their favorite ski resorts, blah, blah, blah.  I called to the assistant, and explained that I worked, and this was the middle of my work day, but no one seemed to care about me as a person, or as a patient……… I decided I deserved better treatment than this Dr. could provide, and left.

That is when I started doing a little research. I looked into stem cell therapies a bit.  Hard to decipher what is legit there, and what was “snake oil” in the stem cell field. I couldn’t get enough “real data” to figure out what was what with the stem-cell choices.

Tart Cherry Juice Was My Lifesaver!

I started looking into supplements, and started taking a few things.  The one that sounded the least like it would help came from a helpful neighbor.  He suggested I drink Tart Cherry Juice.  It had helped him considerably a few years ago, when he thought he was in line for a knee replacement.  I’ll be damned!  Of all the things I tried (and I’ll share what they were), this is the one that I felt had the greatest impact.  Within about 4 days I saw CONSIDERABLE improvement!  The Cherry Juice helps with inflammation.  It tastes great, and it’s fairly inexpensive, so there is no down side that I can see! (An interesting side effect, is that I was experiencing TMJ symptoms, and realized a week or so after starting on the Cherry Juice, that my TMJ had also diminished to almost nothing.

I also started taking Hyaluronic Acid in a gummy form.  I don’t know if that has had any impact, but for about $30.00 per month, I’m not taking the chance of stopping it!  Besides that, the brand I take tastes really good, and looks pretty cute, so it’s like a free “treat” every day, that I can totally justify!

Pain Free Knees are Happy Knees!

Look Into “Alternative” Solutions! They Just Might Work!

I have two other, slightly pricier things which I tried, and, and believe helped to get me beyond my pain.  I was recommended  a “sports medicine” guy, Ryu Kawajiri at Body Craft in San Diego, and he gave me a combination of exercises, manipulation and a machine he used on me.  The machine is an acuscope. The theory behind the acuscope is that it applies low voltage micro-currents to reduce pain by stimulating the nervous system of the body. It detects the abnormal electrical tissue responses and adjust its own response to produce a balancing effect.  You don’t feel anything  when you are hooked up to the machine, you just lay on the massage type table, and relax.  Some of the manipulation of the muscles that he did was a little uncomfortable, but not too much.

The most interesting thing about this treatment, is that Ryu had informed me my biggest issue, and why my knees were hurting is that I breathe wrong, have too tight of muscles in part of my legs, and not enough in others (hello high heels) and my core was too weak. The exercises he has me do build up my weak areas, and the core, so that I am walking correctly.  Who knew you could breath wrong?  You are supposed to breath in through and out with your stomach, and your shoulders shouldn’t move at all…….. go figure!  So, I am now lying around in strange positions, breathing in and out through a balloon……. And feeling SO much better!  My treatments started out as once a week, but very quickly were spread out to a few weeks apart.  After only a handful of treatments, Ryu informed me that I didn’t need to come back, unless I started experiencing some discomfort again. Was it  worth it?  Damn right it was!  I can see the difference! I am still doing my breathing and stretching exercises, because I never want to go back to the pain I had.

The last major part of my therapy has been Bowen work with another amazing healer, Sharon Edmiston. How or why this therapy works is beyond me, but, once again, it DOES work and that is all I care about.  After discussing what is going on with your body and your life, fully clothed you get on a massage table.  My practitioner comes in and touches you very lightly in a few places, walks out for a few minutes, and then repeats the same process on a different part of your body.  I can’t figure it out, but then, do I really need to?  All I know is that it is helping, and for the little it costs it is well worth the expense.

I’ve done a few other minimal things, such as making bone broth and drinking it occasionally.  But just occasionally, like when I have a chicken in the house to do so!

Real Time Pain Relief has been the best product I could imagine finding for my knee pain!

Pain Relief in A Cream!

I went to a health fair and went by a booth with some “pain creme.” I stopped to talk to the woman at the booth, she asked if I had any pain, and I mentioned my knee problem.  She sat me right down, began to rub the pain creme in, and I walked away a few minutes later.  Believe me, I returned about 10 minutes later and bought the largest bottle of it she had!  I couldn’t believe how much better my knees felt, almost immediately.  I am still using Real Time Pain Relief daily!  It relieves pain, not only in my knees, but in my feet and legs when I need to stand for long periods of time.  I like it SO much, and turned so many of my friends on to it, that I actually became a vendor for it. I’ve tried other topical cremes, but none can TOUCH this stuff!  It’s effective, it’s made from natural ingredients, and you don’t smell like your grandmother when you use it!

My Arthritic Knees Are Restored!

I don’t believe it’s been any one thing that has turned my knees around, but in about 3 months I was back to about 90% normal in one knee, 95% normal In the other.  I have actually, almost completely, had my Arthritic Knees Restored! It certainly beats the alternative, I have to say that!  I know that if my knees had continued along the path they were taking, I’d probably already have had at least one knee replacement by now..  No doubt in my mind!  I’d have had months more of pain, and then the surgery and recovery period.

My dancing would have stopped completely months ago, and it would be many more months before I could have looked forward to dancing again.  I’m not so sure my personal psyche could have dealt with that outcome!

Instead, by taking my own destiny in my hands, exploring alternative procedures, and being willing to put a little of my own money on the line, I am almost completely “back to normal.”  OK, that’s a lie.  I’ll never be normal, but the use of my knees is back to where almost where they were last fall when this started!  I have a bit of stiffness in my left knee some days, but that is it!

You CAN Take Control of Your Health!

You CAN take control of your health, I have no doubt about it.  I’m not some sort of crazy over-the-top health fiend.  My diet is fair to good, on a good day.  I enjoy my foo-foo martinis whenever I entertain, I have my fair share of desserts.  BUT, by doing a few special exercises and drinking my Tart Cherry Juice, my life has been given back to me.

Research  your alternatives before simply taking the word of Western medicine doctors!  Take a few minutes on Google to see if there is an alternative to the medications, surgeries and  the extremes  the Western doctors want to give you!  You may find a natural way around your problem.

If your insurance doesn’t pay for a procedure, consider what the “cost” really is to you.  One of my procedures is about $100.00 each time I go.  Another $50.00.  However, I can cut back on a few frivolities to make it affordable. AND, I had to look at what the cost was if I went the other way?  Unproductivity due to pain.  The inability to do what I love in life.  The time that I would have been out of work if I had a surgery and needed to recover…………..  A bit of money out of my pocket FAR outweighed the alternative.

Put Yourself First!

Put yourself first when t comes to your health.  DON’T just take the word of the first professional who tells you what is going to happen with your health. Talk to people who might know alternative methods, and be open and willing to try something new.  After all, do you really want to be put on medications, and have your body cut open?  Do you really want fake body parts, which are going to eventually wear out again, put inside of you?  Aren’t you worth taking the time to find the very BEST FOR YOU?  I am, and I did!

A great example of WHY taking the time, putting out the money and making the effort to get my knees better happened about a week ago.  My grand daughter Nell was in town, and we did a “girls day” at the water park.  I wasn’t sure how many of the big water slides I’d be able to do.  If you’ve ever been to one of those water parks, you know, the water slides entail, literally, hundreds of stairs to get up to them.  Stairs seem to aggravate my knees more than ANYTHING!  If I’m going to feel pain, it’s on stairs.  Guess what?  We were there from 10 AM until they closed at 6, and I conquered every slide in the place, WITHOUT A TWITCH OF PAIN!  I couldn’t stand the 3 stairs into my house over Christmas, without almost crying, or literally having to have help into and out of the house!

This is where you play the old Frank Sinatra song…….. “I Did It My Way!”

3/19/2018- BREAKING NEWS!  KNEE UPDATE!

I just wanted to give an update on the success of my knees 6 months after originally publishing this blog.  My knees are doing EVEN  BETTER than they were at the time of the blog!  I am still drinking the tart cherry juice and still taking some of the supplements.

I make a point of staying with the cherry juice when I travel, even if it means shipping it through Amazon to where we will be staying.  I can feel the difference in my knees  when I miss drinking it for more than a few days.

Since that time I started going to a gentleman who bills himself as a “massage therapist” near where I live.  However, I’d call Robert Sherman a miracle worker!  He works on my knees if I feel they are a bit “creaky”- but he also works on anything else that may be giving me a little ache or pain!

My right knee is “as right as rain!”  I’d call it 99% PERFECT.  The left knee very occasionally gives me a teeny-tiny ache. I’ll give it a 97% score- still not bad for a 60 year old who is uber active!

Since the time I wrote the article, we have moved into a 2 story home, (with the steepest damned staircase you have EVER seen!) I traverse the stairs with no trouble, I am back to doing Zumba without any problems, and I regularly walk and take Body Pump.  I DO listen to my body, and in Body Pump I still avoid doing lunges, because I can feel that it isn’t a good move for my knees.  We dance at least once a week, and I have no limitations there.

I wanted to give an update to show that this wasn’t just a “temporary” little fix.  Taking my health and my care into my own hands has made all of the difference in the world!