IRONBESS's SparkPeople Blog IRONBESS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Left ventricular assist device: A bionic woman Crazy, man! I'm bionic, battery-powered. Three months ago, I'd heard of LVAD, left ventricular assist device, but knew nothing about it. Now I have one. As my son says, "Mom, you're turbo-charged." <BR> <BR> It's been, excuse me, a helluva summer. After worsening in May and June, I unexpectedly ended up in the hospital for a week in severe heart failure for the first time. Doctors recommended and I underwent transplant eval. I met all criteria. However, afterward I wasn't sure if I was depr... Tue, 15 Nov 2016 23:32:54 EST Caring for elderly parents My husband and I recently visited my parents who live in another state. We spent some time making their home a little safer. One of my nephews organized a work party of his friends and a few cousins to build a non-skid ramp at the back door as my dad is unsteady and resists using a walker. Though a short visit, I feel a little better about their safety. We also installed grab bar in the shower and one that fits snugly over the edge of the tub. We threw out the little throw rugs that are so ea... Tue, 10 May 2016 11:37:49 EST Aging parents and worry It's been a crazy week. But then it seems to be either doldrums or insanity :-) <BR> <BR> My parents are both in their 80s. Dad just had his 87th birthday. A few days later, he fell. He couldn't get up, Mom couldn't help and called 911. They both ended up in hospital because Mom had a panic attack with chest pains so "they" wanted to check her over too. They're both home now though Dad will need assistance. All this four months after they returned to Western WA and about 450 miles away and ... Sat, 23 Apr 2016 11:01:37 EST Atrial fibrillation I've never had more than a brief episode until the bad cold and cough last month. Have been in a-fib since. Last week it started getting harder to breathe, I couldn't lie down, couldn't sleep, belly felt like it would pop, heart pounded at times, had to catch my breath every few steps, weight increased daily, and then my ankles and lower legs ballooned to the point of hurting. I called the cardiologist's office and talked with the triage nurse. Got in pretty quick. I was so freaked and exhaus... Mon, 4 Jan 2016 17:01:13 EST Today's thought When other things weigh me down, nature is the one I count on, my constant, my church. It can be found even in crowded cities, in the flight of birds, in the chatter of squirrels, in a weed growing through a crack in a sidewalk. When I really need to refresh my soul, I walk into the forest crossing a border from one reality to another where cares fall away and all that exists is my connection with the universe. Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:31:10 EST “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.” This quotation has been attributed to psychotherapist Rollo May and to columnist/activist Jim Hightower. (HIghtower added, "even a dead fish can go with the flow"). Regardless of who said it first, it's food for thought. Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:26:48 EST Healthy portable high protein snacks When looking for high protein, low sodium snack ideas, I found this link. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>cks-portable </link> <BR> <BR> When I'm out and about running errands I like to take healthy choices along to keep me from temptation (saves money too), usually something with a few of the following: nut butter, celery sticks, whole grain bread or crackers, nuts, fruit. Refillable water bottle goes with me everywhere also. <BR> <BR> If you have a favorite h... Wed, 7 Jan 2015 23:49:36 EST Monday, Monday; Spark Progress & Tips Not feeling so good at the moment but otherwise it's a beautiful Monday. Let's see, if I tell myself I feel great, will I? It's worked before. <BR> <BR> I feel great, I feel great, I feel great! Just reading those words makes me smile, unclench and relax my hands and shoulders, take a deep breath, and feel happier. It really works! <BR> <em>224</em> <BR> <BR> Monday is my weekly weigh-in day. The first two weeks there was no change on the scale. I started using the food tracker the se... Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:59:09 EST Substituting negative thoughts with positive I tried something recently with surprising results. I easily get sick when I'm run down. Twice last month I felt crummy, had sniffles, sore throat, aches. When I'm sick I think things like "I'm exhausted, I feel crappy, my throat hurts," etc. But I wondered what would happen if I substituted those unwell thoughts with opposite positive ones. So instead I told myself "I feel good," "I'm having a great day." Even though I didn't believe the words, I said them over and over and guess what hap... Tue, 4 Nov 2014 02:01:50 EST Spinning my wheels & dreams come true <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Last fall, I took my beautiful turquoise mountain bike out of the cellar where it languished for 15 years. I cleaned and lubed it, pumped up the tires, rode a few short minutes a few times, put it away for winter, and anxiously awaited spring. Then I broke my wrist in January and needed surgical repair with hardware. My first question at followup was, "When can I ride a bike?" "At least three months, then we'll tal... Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:42:27 EST Be kind to yourself & focus on progress You've probably heard this or something like it before: If a friend falls behind or trips, you would help her or him catch up and get up; you wouldn't be mean. Be as kind to yourself on your journey as you would be to a friend. Treat yourself with compassion and respect. Give yourself time to adapt to your healthier new lifestyle. Be a good friend to you. <BR> <BR> It can be challenging in our culture of impatience to not see immediate transformation. In the short time since joining SP, I'm ... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 15:57:24 EST Eating Mindfully Yesterday while reading at the table, I began munching mindlessly on some "healthy" crackers. After a time, I realized I had no idea how many I'd eaten. <BR> <BR> This morning during 5-15 minutes of daily inspirational reading, the next section I'd bookmarked was titled "Cookie of Childhood" from the book Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, a 92-year-old Buddhist monk. When he was a child in Vietnam his mother would bring him a cookie after she'd been to market. How he savored a cookie! ... Mon, 20 May 2013 19:59:26 EST