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MADAMES's Recent Blog Entries

A Mini Vacation

Friday, August 22, 2014

My husband and I were able to get away for a few days for a little respite. We chose to go to Callaway Gardens, a lovely vacation spot south of Atlanta. When I was 10 years old my parents began taking the family to Callaway for a week long vacation every summer, and so I have a special fondness for this place. There are seven lakes located on the 35,000 acres.







There are many beautiful hiking trails; the wildflower trail passes by this reflecting pool.



There is a fascinating horticultural center with plantings both indoors and out.



There is a lovely butterfly house where you can enjoy hundreds of butterflies in a natural setting.

We attended a birds of prey show where we saw owls and hawks close up and personal.





The chapel is nestled into a very natural setting. The stained glass windows and the Moeller organ help make it a very special place. There is a live organ concert twice weekly, and we enjoyed that while resting on a bench in the forest.







We feel quite blessed that we were able to take a few days for ourselves during this otherwise stressful time.








  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLYM48 9/27/2014 8:57AM

    loved the rest of the pics, especially the church and the stained glass window. Marvelous. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely pics with us!

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RITZIBROWN 9/16/2014 2:01PM

    What a wonderful place Callaway Gardens is. I understand why you both would take some time to go there.

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HICKOK-HALEY 9/6/2014 12:12AM

    What a beautiful area. I can see why you wanted to go there. I have never been to the south, so I really enjoyed your pictures. Beautiful Church, and I love the tree shot!

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CLAIREINPARIS 8/27/2014 4:27AM

    I am so glad you were able to get away and take time for yourselves! I know how you feel: I have been on vacation for 10 days now and spent the afternoon with my mother almost every single day (she has been very sick, and also I think I am feeling guilty as I'll be away for work for most of September and won't see her for more than a couple of visits).
The area you went to and all its lakes and gardens is gorgeous! And how special that it has personal memories for you also. I especially loved the reflecting pool and the chapel. Thank you so much for sharing your mini-vacation with us!
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SWEETNEEY 8/26/2014 8:35AM

    The pictures are lovely. The mini vacation seems exceptional. Would love to visit Callaway Gardens will put on my bucket list.

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CAPECODLIGHT 8/25/2014 10:01AM

    I remember seeing Calloway Gardens on the PBS show, Victory Garden, many years ago. It looks absolutely wonderful. Glad you were able to spend a good amount of time in nature. It never fails to inspire and soothe.

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1BEACHWALKER 8/24/2014 9:49PM

    That's a beautiful place! Glad you were able to get away and enjoy yourselves!

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2HAMSDIET 8/23/2014 11:01AM

    How beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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SHARJOPAUL 8/23/2014 9:50AM

    WOW Beautiful area!

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 8/23/2014 1:02AM

    What a beautiful place. I am so glad that you and dh were able to get away for a few days, relaxing a bit. I bet, at this point, you both needed it badly. I know how much you appreciate nature and flowers. This must have been the perfect place for you.
I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Hugs. Marlis

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SHARON10002 8/22/2014 10:56PM

    I have heard about this place, and have always wanted to go there. I hear it is specifically beautiful during the Christmas season. Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures! Looks like a wonderful place to commune with nature, and to soothe the soul and rejuvenate the spirit.

How wonderful you were able to go for a very relaxing vacation.

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MARITIMER3 8/22/2014 10:38PM

    What a beautiful, peaceful spot, Evelyn. Thank you for sharing the pictures.
Gail emoticon

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KATELJM 8/22/2014 9:33PM

    Looks like a soul-refreshing place to visit!

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1CRAZYDOG 8/22/2014 9:29PM

    Beautiful!!!

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FOCUSD 8/22/2014 9:16PM

  Love the pictures. Wish I were there.

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HOLLYM48 8/22/2014 9:11PM

    Oh, I will be back tomorrow, can't wait to see more. New computers are very frustrating until you get the hang of it and find all the special things they can do. I am always glad to have my daughters home during that time because it is 2cd nature to them and me not so much!
Loved the pics so far and I am glad you were able to get away and relax. I am sure you need it and I hope it was peaceful and that you and hubby had a good time!
Take care and see you tomorrow!

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Hospice: An Update

Friday, July 11, 2014

Those of you who shared with me the positive side of hospice were all correct. Although there are difficult moments, there are also many sweet moments to savor. Sunday was my father's 90th birthday, and a joyous day it was. Thankfully, he was lucid and in a good mood most of the day. He ate well of the foods that we kids, grandkids and great grandkids had prepared. He tearfully remarked that "This was my best July 6th ever". He sang "It Had to be You" to my mom, his bride of 67 years. Believe me, there wasn't a dry eye in the house! Sweet moments to be sure.

As for us, we are trying to sleep, to exercise and to eat healthy foods. We are trying to make whatever preparations we can. We are trying to console ourselves in knowing that we are doing the very best that we know how to do. We are reminding each other that he will soon be in a better place.

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, your notes and your prayers.
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Here is a link to "their song".

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ipJ2P8duaY

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

~KINDREDSPIRIT~ 8/17/2014 5:42PM

    Hi there,

It had to be You...love, love, love that song. How so v. sweet he sang that to your mom...

You conveyed such a tender and heart-rendering moment.

Wishing you and yours the best,

barbara

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SWEETNEEY 8/3/2014 12:43PM

    It's not an easy decision but sometime it is a necessary one.

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BEATLETOT 8/3/2014 7:11AM

    emoticon What a sweet story.

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 8/2/2014 10:16PM

    I understand you can't get my responses to your "Feed", because it is set to private. Just wanted you to know that I think of you daily, while you and your family are going through this most difficult time. I am glad you had a weekend for yourself while your siblings are taking care of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Remember that caretakers need to take care of themselves in order to continue taking care of those in need. (((Hugs))) You are a Gem.
Marlis

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MPETERSON23111 7/21/2014 3:12PM

    emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 7/20/2014 5:20AM

    What a blessed day. Your Dad sounds so sweet. emoticon

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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 7/19/2014 7:44PM

    What a great day, so glad he was able to enjoy it. The memories will comfort you and your family later. I know your momma loved it. Hugs Pat

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CLAIREINPARIS 7/15/2014 1:16AM

    Such a beautiful day despite all the pain, stress and sadness you are experiencing... I am glad your father still has times when he is lucid and that he was able to enjoy this very special birthday prepared by his loving family. It will be a precious memory for you.
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ALIHIKES 7/14/2014 9:54PM

    So sorry you and your family are going through this difficult time. I hope and pray that he will be peaceful, content, and pain free. It sounds as though his 90th birthday was great, and that he enjoyed the day
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2WHEELER 7/12/2014 11:34AM

    My thoughts are with you and your family. Those sweet moments are so precious. I'm glad that you and your family are together to share them. Those are the memories that you will visit over and over.

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RAINBOWCHOC 7/12/2014 3:04AM

    sounds like it was great day. sending a big hug to have when you need it (the mail can take a while!)

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MARITIMER3 7/12/2014 1:13AM

    Sounds like a day you will never forget. Your father certainly knew he was surrounded by people who love him.

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2HAMSDIET 7/11/2014 11:51PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LYNNIERN 7/11/2014 11:18PM

    Such a great story. I'm so glad your dad had a wonderful day!

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MARCIAC10 7/11/2014 10:10PM

    How awesome that he had a great 90th birthday. Not many of us will get to experience that!

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KAYTIE22 7/11/2014 8:05PM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment with us. Bless him and bless your family.

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1CRAZYDOG 7/11/2014 7:54PM

    My dear, know there are many prayers for comfort being said for you parents, your family and you are definitely doing the best you can.

How awesome that you got to celebrate your Dad's 90th birthday with him together.

Many hugs and prayers.

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1BEACHWALKER 7/11/2014 7:49PM

    I am glad your Dad had a good time for his 90th and you were all there to share it with him! Sounds like such a sweet guy! Take care and thanks for keeping us updated. emoticon

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HOLLYM48 7/11/2014 7:46PM

    emoticon emoticon It sounds like it was a true celebration of a wonderful life and day for him. I am so happy that you have all been blessed with such a wonderful man for so many years. Hospice is a better alternative than being in a hospital where there is not a homey feel. I pray for all of you for peace and healing and doing the best that you can do at this time. My thoughts are with you. Big hugs to you.

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CAPECODLIGHT 7/11/2014 7:38PM

    Sounds like a day that will be a treasured for years to come!

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KATELJM 7/11/2014 7:32PM

    How wonderful that you all could enjoy his birthday!

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June in a Nutshell

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The month of June has surely been a tough one for me. My dad was in the hospital for 2 weeks, and he has been home with 24 hour caregivers these past 2 weeks. Tomorrow the hospice nurse will meet with the family.

Understandably, I have not been on SparkPeople much at all. I try to track my food, but some days that just can't happen. I log my fitness minutes thanks in large part to my Fitbit.

Socially, I have not been on the boards or the friend feeds. To all my Sparkfriends, I apologize for my absence. I miss you, and I will be back when I can.

Weight wise, I crave more comfort foods due to stress. Meal wise, we have eaten out more times in the past 30 days than I care to count. To combat these habits, I have upped my walking (pacing at times) and my water exercise. So far I am continuing to maintain my weight.

Sleep wise, I am not very successful. It is hard to shut the mind off when worries and cares are present. I cope by taking naps whenever I can.

In summary, although times are tough I am trying to take care of myself so that I will be there for my mom and for the rest of my family. I have learned so much about healthy habits from this website, my Spark teams and my Spark friends! Thank you.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIHIKES 7/14/2014 9:56PM

    Please try to take care of yourself also. It is so difficult to care for an aging parent. Don't worry about spark, just try to stay healthy through this very stressful time. emoticon

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CAPECODLIGHT 7/9/2014 8:07AM

    My thoughts are with you at this very difficult time. It is beyond hard to deal with the grave illness of a parent. May your love carry you and your father through his remaining days. As far as sleeping, if you haven't tried it yet, play soft classical music when you go to bed. There is something about the almost mathematical precision of the music that gets into your brain and calms it. I find even when my mind is racing and stressed, it works 95% of the time to get me to a peaceful sleep.

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CLAIREINPARIS 7/4/2014 4:55AM

    You have been doing great given the circumstances. I am glad you can up your walking and take naps, it is so important to have this balance. I hope the caregivers and the nurse are good and giving your mother some relief. I can imagine how difficult it must be though, for her and for you.
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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 7/2/2014 6:55PM

    having gone through the stress of a father's decline with the added stress on family and self I completely understand. Take care of yourself so you can care for your dad. Know that we are here and love you. Hugs and prayers. emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 7/2/2014 3:13PM

    Sweetie, I completely get it. That's all I can say. Glad you're taking care of yourself the best you can. Hugs and prayers.



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ONTHEPATH2 7/2/2014 3:09PM

    emoticon

Hugs and prayers! You are doing awesome given the situation!

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NEWCHINELO 7/2/2014 1:07PM

    My prayers are with you!

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HOLLYM48 7/2/2014 11:20AM

    Sending prayers and hugs. Do the best that you can for this stressful time and know that you will get through this. I am so glad that you are continuing to take care of yourself during this stressful time. I know what you mean about turning off your brain at night to sleep, that is always that worst part for me too!
Big hugs to you. Hang in there.

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MARCIAC10 7/2/2014 10:05AM

    You do what you have to do to get through the tough times and then you put your life back together when you have time to focus on yourself. Best wishes for all!

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2HAMSDIET 7/2/2014 10:03AM

    emoticon

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SARAHL817 7/2/2014 9:57AM

    I'm glad that you're able to maintain your weight despite the difficulties you're having.
I also have trouble sleeping when I have a lot on my mind. One thing I like to do is make up stories in my head - about people I know, or I create fictional characters (I used to be a writer, so that's easy for me). Sometimes my real life worries will drown out the stories, but a lot of the time the stories push my worries to the background and it allows me to sleep a little better. I hope you can find something that works for you.

I hope things get a little better soon.
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KATELJM 7/2/2014 8:19AM

    Sorry for the stress you are experiencing, it is challenging when parents decline. You might find that long slow stretches soothe you and prepare you for sleep. I used to imagine the stress falling off me.

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MARITIMER3 7/2/2014 1:16AM

    With everything that has been going on, Evelyn, i think you are doing really well. Please don't worry is you can't be on line very much, we understand and are here for you.
Hugs and prayers for you and your family.
Gail

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 7/2/2014 1:08AM

    I can only imagine how difficult this time is for you and your family. I am surprised that you can still function, and include in your daily routine, many of the lessons learned, here at SparksPeople. I think of you daily, while you are trying to meet all the challenges that come with a family situation like yours. I am also thinking of your poor mother, who is probably facing the most difficult challenge of her lifetime. May God look over you and bless you all.
Marlis

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ZRIE014 7/2/2014 12:42AM

  wish you the best

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ALICIA214 7/2/2014 12:31AM

 

We look forward to your return soon...


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Hospice

Friday, June 27, 2014

My dad will be 90 years old on July 6th. He is now home from the hospital, but his doctor has recommended that we call in hospice care. He suffers from severe dementia, and we hope to be able to keep him at home and keep him comfortable for his remaining days, weeks or months. This is both a sad time and an exhausting time for the family.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 7/4/2014 4:53AM

    I am very sorry to read this, Evelyn... Remember to take care of yourself in this time that is so stressful.
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FIT4MEIN2013 6/30/2014 10:33AM

    May God five you the peace that only He can give.... emoticon

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LYNNIERN 6/29/2014 8:03PM

    emoticon

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UPPITYANN 6/29/2014 3:56PM

  I took care of my Mom with dementia.

Hospice was such a blessing!

It will be tough, but when it is over you will be so glad that you were able to do this for your parent. There are special joys that nobody can understand except those who go through this.

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KATELJM 6/29/2014 2:28AM

    I am sorry for your sadness. For my mother, the visiting hospice nurse was a blessing. Hospice nurses are like angels, I think. If your dad qualifies for hospice care, please take advantage of it.

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SARAHL817 6/28/2014 10:32PM

    I hope you get to keep him at home, but remember not to exhaust yourself caring for him, and accept whatever help you can get. emoticon

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KAYTIE22 6/28/2014 10:20PM

    Thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I know this is a difficult time but you have done and continue to do all you can to provide love and support. Take care of yourself too.

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MARCIAC10 6/28/2014 3:45PM

    emoticon

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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 6/28/2014 12:50PM

    I send prayers and hugs to you and your family. I made the decision last year to bring in hospice with my dad who was failing rapidly. He had fought cancer and won but the ravages of the treatment and his age brought on dementia. He had always wanted to stay home where he was most comfortable. My sister and I took care of him up to the end. It gave us time to adjust to the fact of his impending death and make lasting memories that will always be with us. Sitting outside in the sunshine watching the dogs play. Holding his hand watching TV. Telling him and showing him our love and getting it in return. Spend the time with him. Make the memories because when he is gone home the memories will remain in your heart. Hugs Pat

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CAPECODLIGHT 6/28/2014 9:21AM

    Like others here, I am sorry that you will have difficult days ahead, as you grapple with the issues of helping your dad die with dignity and in as much comfort and love as possible. Hospice will be a wonderful asset to you. We used hospice with my MIL, in a dementia facility where she spent her final few days. They were a blessing to us as we mentally prepared for her death and helped us take comfort in the decisions we made. I would also share that despite all the sadness that you might experience, please treasure those special moments you will have with your dad - and they will occur - they are moments that will not come again; so revel in them when they happen. Be strong, be confident in your choices, and know there are many thoughts and prayers helping you from afar.

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RAINBOWCHOC 6/28/2014 2:52AM

    only you know what is right, even if the decision is hard. Take care of yourselves or you will burn out

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 6/28/2014 1:19AM

    I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this. When we received word, last year, that my dh has kidney cancer, but refuses to have the kidney removed, because of his age (85), I, probably, had similar thoughts as you do now. He is mentally still very sharp, and I know what you must go through with your father's dementia. I experienced the same with my mother. What a sad time for all of you.
Stay strong and support each other. I hope that Hospice can give you the physical relief, and mental support you will need at a time like this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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Comment edited on: 6/28/2014 1:20:50 AM

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MARITIMER3 6/28/2014 1:10AM

    Hospice sounds like a wonderful option for your father. There are no perfect solutions at a time like this. I hope this works out well, so that you, your DH and your mother don't get too exhausted.

Hugs and prayers,
gail

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KATELJM 6/27/2014 11:51PM

    emoticon

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2HAMSDIET 6/27/2014 10:49PM

    emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 6/27/2014 10:35PM

    emoticon Prayers for your dad, your family and his caregivers.

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1CRAZYDOG 6/27/2014 10:33PM

    HUGS and prayers. So sorry to hear of this. Hospice will be a tremendous support, though.

HUGS

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OHIO_BIKEGIRL13 6/27/2014 10:24PM

  It is so hard when our loved ones get older and need more help than we can give them. My grandfather lived to be 96 and we were lucky to be able to keep him at home. We were also lucky to have some amazing neighbors who would look in on him while we were working.

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HOLLYM48 6/27/2014 10:17PM

    I am so sorry for all of this sadness in your life right now. I know this must be so hard on you. Stay strong and I hope hospice works out for all of your family. It is a tough decision to make. Sending hugs and prayers to you and your family! emoticon emoticon

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Two Happy Doctors

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This morning I had my yearly physical, and my doctor was happy with what he saw. The nurse commented on my weight loss and congratulated me. Weight was good, blood pressure was good, and we expect that the lab work will yield good results. Thank you, Spark People!

This afternoon my eye surgeon was happy with my 90 days of progress since my cataract surgery. My vision in that eye has gone from 20/80 to 20/30 since the cataract was removed. How nice to receive two glowing reports from two doctors in just one day. I am very grateful.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVINGLOVINLIFE 6/28/2014 12:52PM

    Great report. Keep up the good job.

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CLAIREINPARIS 6/4/2014 11:54AM

    I am so glad to read this, Evelyn! Bravo! emoticon

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CAPECODLIGHT 6/1/2014 9:40AM

    And, a happy you, too! Good news all around.

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SWEETNEEY 5/29/2014 8:18AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAYTIE22 5/28/2014 8:37PM

    Excellent reports! Glad to hear that things are going well.

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56ROSE 5/28/2014 4:29PM

    Wonderful, rewarding news! emoticon emoticon

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LAURELSPARK 5/28/2014 11:14AM

    Congrats on your good news.


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2HAMSDIET 5/27/2014 11:01PM

    emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 5/27/2014 10:49PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THESUBY 5/27/2014 10:41PM

    Great job! Keep it up!

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STONE815 5/27/2014 10:00PM

    emoticon on your check ups! Your work is really paying off and encouraging others.

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MARITIMER3 5/27/2014 9:53PM

    Really happy for you, Evelyn. You've worked hard and now you are reaping the results.

Gail emoticon

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