An Angel Here on Earth

By Tina Cameron

I have a friend that is truly an angel among us. Tisha is kind, sweet, caring, funny, and 20200201_081241has a big heart for people and dogs. Recently, God has had her in the right place at the right time on two separate occasions. The first occasion was as Tisha was out driving, she came across two dogs that were in the roadway in danger of being hit by passing cars. She stopped her car and rescued the dogs just as the owner was pulling up. The second incident was the next day as Tisha was driving to the hospital where we work as oncology nurses. As she was driving in the dark hours of the morning, she noticed a man riding his bicycle near her. In an instant, another driver hit this gentleman and took off without stopping to render air or return to the scene. Thank goodness Tisha was paying close attention and able to call 911 before stopping to help the injured man. He sustained a shoulder injury but will be okay.

IMG_0430Let me tell you a little about Tisha. She is 48 years old. She has been married for 27 years to Jamie, and they are blessed with two sons, Gavin and Grayson, and their two “children-in-love,” Matthew and Sarah-Grace. Tisha is also Mom to three fur babies-Bella, Brody, and Bailey.

Tisha has been a nurse for 9 years. She became a nurse because she has always enjoyed helping people and wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. When I asked Tisha what nursing meant to her she said, “For me, nursing has been interesting, challenging, and rewarding. Becoming an RN was a dream come true for me. I really believe that nursing is more than a career; it’s a calling and truly a way of life.” During her free time, Tisha’s favorite things to do are spending time with her family and her dogs, decorating her home, and taking naps and beach trips.

I have worked with Tisha for the past 5 ½ years. I am so happy to call her a friend and feel blessed that she is in my life. Tisha is an asset to our oncology unit, as well as our patients. She truly is an angel here on earth, and the world is a better place because she is in it.IMG_3308 (002)

“Just Say Know” to heart disease

By LexMed staff

Don’t let heart disease put you on the sidelines of life. “Just Say Know” to heart disease by understanding your risk factors and knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Put your heart in good hands with Lexington Medical Heart and Vascular Center. Learn more at LexMed.com/HVC.

Exercise and RA: Part Two

By Marianna Boyce

Exercise and RA part IIIf you read my last post, you’ll recall my sister and I claimed her swimming pool as our gym last summer. Cindy and I both suffer from chronic illnesses that affect mobility; she suffers from fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, while I endure dreadful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

What started as “Saturday only” water workouts quickly evolved into something much bigger. We upped our game as we squeezed in two additional workouts during the week. Being in the water made it easier for us to move.

 

The weekday shakeup in my rigid routine was inconvenient but well worth it. The hardest part about changing the workout schedule was getting there after a long day at work, but once we were in the pool, we were unstoppable. Swimming made an empowering difference in the way we felt.

 

Cindy and I were definitely on to something—that is until the leaves started changing their colors.

 

When she covered the pool for the fall and winter months, I had the mully-grubs. My body needed the pool, so I began searching for venues that offered aquatic fitness classes in a temperature-controlled setting. We needed a heated pool in a clean, safe environment.

 

Of all the options available, a local gym in the heart of town caught my eye.

 

Now, the question was, “Do I actually want to join a gym?” 

 

Having a membership definitely has its perks, but it costs money, time, and commitment—things I wasn’t sure I had. Certainly, no one dealing with a beast like RA joins a fitness center. The idea seemed counterintuitive, so I immediately started talking myself out of it.

 

First and foremost, what does a fifty-one-year-old, pain-filled, peri-menopausal woman do at a sports club?

 

Secondly, I couldn’t afford to join, but then figured I couldn’t afford not to. 

 

Thirdly, I thought the gym was for “perfect” people. I’m certainly far from that, but it was high time my health and wellness finally took precedence.

 

To satisfy my curiosity, I needed to visit the gym. Since I had no earthly idea what to expect, slipping in under the radar was my goal. I finally mustered up the courage to go to the gym, and I actually fell in love! The whole “slipping in under the radar” idea was not an option, which was a good thing.

 

I was initially impressed with the security from the get-go. Once I entered the building, I had to abide by the safety rules in place. It turns out, I couldn’t aimlessly wander much further than the front desk check-in. I’m not sure why I thought I could.

 

Members must show their barcoded pass scanned whenever they enter the building. Since I wasn’t a paying member, I was promptly met with a friendly face as soon as I stepped inside the front door. I probably looked like a deer in headlights, but she immediately made me feel comfortable.

 

Before taking a tour, I had to sign in as a guest. The process was computerized and entailed more than just signing my name on a sheet of paper. Still, this minor inconvenience made me feel secure knowing they had a detailed listing of everyone in the building at any given time. 

 

After signing in, a gym representative gave me a tour. I revealed my medical setbacks, and the representative assured me that many people join the gym for similar reasons. Not everyone who goes to the gym is young, fit, and fabulous.

 

As I looked around, there were people of all ages and sizes scattered throughout various areas of the gym. Some people were in great shape, and others were working on their goals, like me. The reality of large fitness gyms differed completely from my preconceptions.

 

I was quite comfortable with the representation of everyday people. Although we were extremely different from one another, we were also very much the same. We all just wanted to feel better. Exercise does that for everyone—healthy and unhealthy alike.

 

I left the gym with a fourteen-day free pass to use in whatever way I chose, but my interest was with their indoor pool only. Water exercise was the only thing I was confident I could do, but with fourteen free consecutive days, it would certainly help in my decision-making process.

 

Whether at home or a gym, movement makes a world of difference. I wasn’t ready to forfeit my mobility over to RA. As stated in my last post, I have RA—RA doesn’t have me.

 

I could hardly wait to tell Cindy about my visit. She had a fourteen-day free pass waiting for her as well. I hoped she’d love it because I’d already made up my mind—I was not doing this gym thing alone!

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Amazing Grace: Finding Hope in Coping with Dementia

By: Lisa Weatherford

Wedding Dad

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my family’s life and the impact of dementia. My Mom, Louise, passed away ten months after getting her diagnosis.  My dad, George, got his diagnosis very shortly after mom. From the very start of this roller coaster ride of dementia nothing went smoothly.  It seemed at every turn there was something else to deal with.

Between hospital stays and facilities, we moved Mom ten times at the very least. Mom’s health status was constantly changing.  She went from a nursing home on hospice, to a hospice house, to not needing hospice at all.  We then tried letting her live in the same facility with Dad, but ultimately had to move her to another assisted living community. Then it was back to the hospital, rehabilitation, and yet another facility on hospice.  She wasn’t in the new facility more than three weeks when she passed away.

 

With Dad we some of the same issues.  He moved a little less; however, he had more than one long stay in the hospital due to behavioral issues. Fortunately, we found a facility that was perfect for him.  Even then, he gave the staff a run for their money.  He was out the door every chance he got. The facility put alarms on all the doors, so he never made it more than one step out the door.  For our family, this was comforting. We knew the staff at his facility was extremely well trained and very caring.

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With all that said, Dad steadily went downhill.  He was on hospice for several months.  He lost so much weight because his brain no longer told him he needs to eat.  He also could not remember what eating utensils were or how to use them.  Here again, the staff helped to encourage him to eat as much as possible.

But dementia always wins.

I wrote a long time ago that dementia never gets better or goes away.  The only guarantee is it will get worse and your loved one will die. Sadly, Dad passed away on January 24, 2020, exactly ten months to the day after Mom.  We miss them both so very much, but we also miss the way they were before dementia.

MomAndDad2 MomAndDad

Dementia is a hard disease. I think mostly because it feels like you lose your loved one twice. The first time is when they no longer remember who you are.  Then, as painful as that is, you lose them physically in the end. Both ways are equally as painful.

Amazing Grace

We take comfort in knowing that Louise and George – our beloved parents – are back together again and free of dementia.  We believe that by God’s amazing grace they are having quite the reunion.

For more information on care for a loved one diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, please visit https://www.carrollcampbellplace.com/.

Exercise and RA: Part One

By Marianna Boyce

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissue surrounding the joints. It sees these healthy cells as foreign invaders, ultimately causing painful immobility and deformity if left untreated.

Symptoms of RA darkened my doorstep the summer of 2016, and honestly speaking, it’s been one of the best excuses I’ve had to avoid physical activity for the past few years. Don’t get me wrong. RA is a great excuse, but my itty-bitty pity-party was getting a little ridiculous.

I have RA—RA doesn’t have me.

Still trying to regain what’s considered normal for me (pre-RA,) I wondered if reviving my exercise routine was even possible without creating more problems for myself. I was scared of raw, unbridled RA pain, so I was skeptical. If you’re struggling with any type of arthritis or mobility issue, I’m with you. The thought of physical activity is daunting, but new light has recently started to change my mind on the subject.

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According to Google, “motion is lotion” is a phrase coined by an orthopedic surgeon. He stated that movement would increase the lubricating fluid (synovial fluid) transporting nutrients to the joints. This fluid is vital in keeping them healthy. I’ve never been to an orthopedist before, but my rheumatologist would agree that movement is essential to maintaining independence and mobility for those suffering from chronic pain.

I know—it’s much easier said than done. My sister Cindy suffers from fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, so together, we’re either a force to be reckoned with or a hot mess.

Cindy and I are extremely close. I’m usually at her house every Saturday afternoon for much-needed sister time— especially in the summertime.

After lounging around her pool on a hot South Carolina day this past summer, we laughed and joked with each other about how out of shape we were. Sisters can do this—and we did so as we mindlessly consumed unhealthy poolside snacks and sugary drinks. We had an epiphany that very day. Our itty-bitty pity-party had to officially end—no more excuses.

It was time to get moving, but not for the reasons many people may think. Our reasons go much deeper than physical appeal. We just want to feel better.

We started researching the benefits of Water Exercise and Aqua Aerobics. What we found was quite encouraging, and at first glance, exactly what we needed.

  • Water supports the body, reducing stress on joints and muscles.
  • It helps build strength and endurance.
  • Water pressure helps lessen the strain on the heart as it assists in moving blood around the body.
  • It provides for a low impact, high-energy workout.
  • Water allows for a greater range of motion with the freedom to move with little to no pain.
  • It helps prevent overheating allowing for a longer workout.
  • It’s fun! (How many people can say that about their exercise routine?)

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The more Cindy and I read about it, the more our interest was piqued, so the following Saturday, we found some YouTube videos and had a different kind of pool party.

The following day, we felt the workout “burn,” but it also felt fantastic. If water makes it easier to exercise, count us in, but what would we do when she closed her pool for the fall and winter months? This is where the courage to try something new came into play. For two moody women in their fifties, change isn’t always easy, but we made the collaborative decision to end our itty-bitty pity-party once and for all. It’s that decision that will potentially change our lives.

We’re a work in progress, but the struggle makes us stronger. The struggle, my friend, is part of everyone’s story. No one is exempt. We’re all in this together. What’s your story? Would this type of workout suit you?

Be on the lookout for Part Two of my “Exercise and RA” post coming soon.

**Please consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.**

Meet Stella-Bella

By Tina Cameron

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A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a cute little white dog named Stella on a rescue site. I have been wanting another dog. I thought having another little dog would help my Yorkie (Peyton) with her grieving over the loss of my sweet Haley who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge last June. I had previously seen this dog, but never inquired about her. When I stumbled across her again, I felt like it was a sign. Stella is a Maltese-Yorkie mix, is 8 ½ years old, timid, and so wants to trust people. She is just the sweetest dog ever.

I sent in an application and days later had a phone interview. A few days after my phone interview, the foster mom called me and we spoke about 90 minutes on the phone about Stella, my home life, my pets, etc. It was so sad to hear that she had been neglected, abused, adopted and returned. I agreed to foster her as a trial basis for 10 days and would pick her up on January 7th. She immediately jumped in my SUV, laid down on the blanket I had put in the backseat and went to sleep. After meeting my two other dogs, they all went out in the backyard to potty. She seemed comfortable right away in my backyard and so far, was getting along with my other two dogs.

20200107_133255Once Stella came in, I went to eat lunch in the den. She came right in the den and got up in the same spot where Peyton sleeps. She proceeded to take a nap and I snapped a picture. Due to the neglect and abuse Stella endured, as well as some health problems, she is hesitant to trust a human. It is still a work in progress; however, she is making great strides in doing new things each day. I ended up adopting Stella on day five of fostering her, because I was already in love. Later that night, I snapped a few pictures of her “gotcha day” sign to post on Facebook and she leaned over and licked my cheek! Oh, those sweet puppy kisses. She is slowly coming to me when I call her and did well at her first follow up vet appointment. I am so happy that I chose to adopt her. Let the spoiling begin.

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Finding Our Footing Through Grief

By Lisa Weatherford

Hi everyone!  I know, I just kind of vanished for a while, but as I sit here writing this, I am reflecting on a very busy year!

Let me take a moment to update everyone. Dad

Dad is still on hospice.  He has lost so much weight.  He is down to 130 pounds.  He is now having his meals in the back dining room.  I know how that sounds, but in this dining room it is quiet, and he gets the extra help he needs at meal time.  He also gets more finger food items because he no longer understands what utensils are or how to use them.  It is hard to get him to eat a full meal most of the time now. Dad is falling a lot and he often just mumbles or doesn’t know who we are.  His doctor tells us that he feels dad has weeks left at this point. So, with all of this information, every time the phone rings we can’t help but think is this THE call.

 

We have had lots of firsts without Mom. Celebrations like her first birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas have been difficult. I didn’t even put up any Christmas decorations this year.

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If we are being honest, our family is still in the grieving process. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a good place in life and moving along without any hiccups. Suddenly, something will come along and bring Mom’s memory back into focus.  The only thing you can do is just go with it.  Let the tears flow and just remember.

I decided to end my career as a Surgical Technologist during the summer.  I scrubbed for 17 years.  Lately, I have been working at Starbucks, which is very different. Sadly, I’ve been out of work since November 11th due to a fracture of my fibula in the ankle area.  That has been painful, but it didn’t require surgery nor a cast. I’m just in an ankle brace and I go back for a follow up this month.

The New Year will be full of its own share of excitement and disappointments.  Yet, we will do what we always do; rally together and get through the hard times and celebrate the good times.

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So much has changed that I’m not sure if I’ll blog again soon or not.  I’m at a point that I feel my blog is about grief and sadness.  I feel like I’m blogging the same topics over and over.  If you wish for me to continue or have an idea for a new topic, let me know in the comments.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

-Lisa