Steadfast Assurance

From Psalm 121:1-2:  “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

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Dark perils come knocking

From where will “real” hope come?

Dreaded illness stalking

Hearing death’s haunting drum

 

His steadfast assurance

Calvary’s lasting love

Heavenly insurance

Breathing from God above

 

Forever life’s keeper

Never pausing to rest

Eternity’s doorkeeper

Refilling life with zest

 

Tomorrow’s sunrise beams

Hope reborn and glowing

Healthy spirit fills dreams

Believing and knowing

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This poem touches upon a personal reflection of my own Dad, who contracted Covid several months ago.  Despite being vaccinated, his underlying health conditions put him at great risk from the disease.  I give thanks every day that he has recovered and can look forward to his upcoming 87th birthday.

Jim Rohn Quote

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Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.

From 1 Corinthians 3:16-17:  “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person.  For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Feeling Alone (Elfchen Series #76)

Relentless

Hospitals’

Distress signals

Caseloads now overwhelming

Crushing beleaguered, overworked staff

Burnout

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Overlooked

Crisis

Rural communities

Lacking hospital space

Where will patients go?

Forgotten

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Hope

Nation’s

Stark reality

Tomorrow’s prognosis cloudy

Rolling up sleeves today

Togetherness

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Positive Attitude (Elfchen Series #74)

Optimistic

Pessimism

Gloomy predictions

Tossing them out

Believing in brighter tomorrow

Confidence

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Enticing

Temptation

Refrigerator’s pleasures

Sweet, salty, fat

Waiting to sabotage body

Goodbye

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Undaunted

Life

Daily philosophy

Follow these words

“Just do it”—yes!

Fearless

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Hungry for Hope

From Lamentations 3:22-24:  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,; says my soul,therefore I will hope in Him.'”

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Simple acts of faith

Filled with love for man

God pulls at heart strings

Part of Holy plan

 

Life hungry for hope

Man’s health in decline

Liver in failure

God opens hotline

 

Future growing dim

Darkness can’t escape

Searching for donor

Life’s faithful landscape

 

Seeking live donor

Doctors’ preferred choice

Humble man steps up

Quiets hopeless voice

 

Two lives now at risk

Surgery takes place

Success accomplished

Miracle brings grace

 

One man’s health restored

Donor’s body mends

Hope’s hunger fulfilled

God’s faith never bends

 

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This poem brings a true story, which is close to my family’s heart.  The living donor is my son-in-law, married to my youngest daughter.  The two of them will be back home in a few days (about one month since the surgery).  Many lives have been changed by this simple, humble act.  God’s blessings to all living donors.

Past Favorites: Man-Cave Friends

Exercising tonight on my stationary bike

Making me feel very much like a young tike

 

Listening to a playlist of songs from the past

Hoping that my strength and stamina will last

 

Setting a quick pace as the pedaling begins

Missing a day on the bike would be quite a sin

 

Biking regularly in this Man-Cave each night

Looking around the room, there is quite a sight

 

Sharing space with a sofa full of Teddy Bears

Watching and smiling at me as they all stare

 

Pushing and pulling the handles in front of my face

Pedaling with high energy at a fast and furious pace

 

My biking adventure will continue all of this week

Realizing these “beary” friends will be here to peek

  

The photo at the beginning of this post is taken inside Mrs. Buckeye’s “Bear Room.”  While I use the room to workout on my stationary bicycle from time to time, the real purpose of the room is obvious.  

Healthy Wishes (Elfchen Series #22)

Commitment

Healthy

Changing lifestyle

Plenty of exercise

Eating smart, watching carbs

Life

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Staying With It

Active

Morning walks

Avoiding junk food

Setting more dynamic goals

Life

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Success 

Morning

Mirror check

Losing stubborn pounds

Looking healthy and fit

Smiles

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The German-inspired poetry style of Elfchen (or Elevenie) contains five lines of poetic verse, usually without the use of rhyming verses.  A total of 11 words are used with a sequence of one, two, three, and four words before ending with a single word in the final verse.

Diabetic Shadow Crushed

I have previously discussed the initial part of my Type 2 Diabetic condition as well as the progress during the first couple of years.  Here are links to these past postings:

Diabetic Shadow Arrives

Diabetic Shadow Persists

construction destruction power steel

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Here is the final update about my progress with Type 2 Diabetes.  As discussed earlier, I was diagnosed with this condition in February, 2016.

As of January, 2019, I am no longer considered pre-diabetic (based upon my last three A1C tests).  Here are all of my lab tests from 2014 through 2018, with the final three tests highlighted in bold text.

Date Cholesterol HDL LDL A1C
2014 218 42 154 NA
2015 222 41 162 6.4
Feb, 2016 249 42 179 7.5
Aug, 2016 173 46 112 6.6
Feb, 2017 155 38 105 7.4
Aug, 2017 182 60 111 6.1
Feb, 2018 177 57 111 6.1
Aug, 2018 198 58 129 6.2

I have made substantial progress in improving my critical numbers dealing with A1C, Cholesterol, HDL, and LDL.   I hope to see improved numbers for Cholesterol and LDL at my next set of lab tests (to be taken in early 2020).

What has led to this positive new direction in my health?  These three key points lead the way.

  • New Commitment
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Positive Attitude

I have made a new commitment to improve my health.

  • Make my health a top priority
  • Exercise at least six days per week (walking or indoor biking)
  • Eat healthy (reduce sugar and monitor carbs)

A daily exercise regime is scheduled for at least six days per week.  I take a brisk one-hour walk for about four miles (sometimes longer) in the morning.   When the weather keeps me inside, I crush carbs on my indoor bike as I cover about 6.5 miles in 20 minutes.

An updated and healthy lifestyle now reflects major changes that have significantly improved my health.

  • Make my commitments part of a daily routine
  • Keep a log of my daily carbs consumption (make myself accountable)
  • Understand this lifestyle change is permanent

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Here is a sample of the journal used each day to track my carbs.  Even though my numbers have improved, I still fill this out daily to hold myself accountable.

With greater scrutiny, I pay a great deal of attention to labels on anything that I eat.  Two nutritional facts are always front and center:  sugar content and amount of carbs.  Instead of sugar-based snacks, most of mine are low in sugar and carbs:  cheese and nuts.  Stevia is my coffee sweetener, which is one of the healthiest ones around.

I have a well-documented chocolate addiction, which is under control.  Sometimes certain recipes offer a healthy alternative such as one I use for Carbs Bomb (chocolate and peanut butter cups).  Here is a link to the previously published recipe:  Carbs Bomb.

I try to maintain a positive attitude about my health.

  • Using humor to keep my mind balanced and inspired
  • Be willing to talk and write about my health
  • Share what I have learned with others

I am truly thankful for my improved health.  I am blessed to have received a wake-up call from my doctor, and my family has encouraged me to tackle this challenge.  I intend to be around for many years to come.

Several readers have offered prayers, and I appreciate each of you.  If you are praying, include all people afflicted with any form of Diabetes.  They all need our thoughts and encouragement.

 

 

Diabetic Shadow Persists

Here is the second part of the discussion about my diabetic shadow.  I appreciated the many comments from readers after posting the initial discussion.  In case you missed the first part, here is the link to it: 

Diabetic Shadow Arrives

addiction chemistry close up colors

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In the previous discussion about my struggle with Type 2 Diabetes, I really was not committed to taking charge of my health and making the necessary adjustments in my lifestyle.  Once again, here are my previous lab results:

Date Cholesterol HDL LDL A1C
2014 218 42 154 NA
2015 222 41 162 6.4
Feb, 2016 249 42 179 7.5

After my February, 2016 test results, my doctor began prescribing a cocktail of medications to address my condition.  He was concerned that future complications could carry the risk of a major life-changing event.

My medications included:

  • Metformin (500 mg): Control blood glucose
  • Atorvastatin (20 mg): Control cholesterol
  • Lisinopril (5 mg): Control blood pressure

I was dedicated to taking these medications as prescribed.  However, the rest of my lifestyle wasn’t making other necessary changes.

I was missing two key elements in following a much healthier lifestyle.

  • Proper exercise
  • Healthy eating

I was making adjustments in my eating plan, but I wasn’t “all in” with what I needed to be doing.  I was still consuming too much sugar as well as not significantly cutting down on my level of carbohydrates.  Exercise continued to be pretty much the same as before—little or nothing.

My new lab results over the next 12 months showed some improvement, but not the breakthrough my doctor and I were looking for.  As he told me,  “sugar is poison” in your body.

Date Cholesterol HDL LDL A1C
Aug, 2016 173 46 112 6.6
Feb, 2017 155 38 105 7.4

While my overall cholesterol was improving significantly, the other numbers told a different story.  The most glaring disappointment in these numbers was the drop in my good cholesterol (HDL) and the increase in my A1C.

The coming months were going to require a change in attitude about bringing my diabetic condition under control.  In an upcoming final post, I will address how these numbers would change for the better.

Diabetic Shadow Arrives

person holding black tube

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Being diagnosed (officially) with Type 2 Diabetes back in 2016, I was not really committed to improving my health.

When the outset of diabetes showed up at my doorstep, my weight was not an issue.  Exercise had become a forgotten word in my daily life.  I was teaching and very active in the classroom so I sort of figured that my constant activity should count as some type of exercise.

My eating habits were generally healthy except for a passion to eat certain sweets, breads, and pasta.  Honestly, I can remember buying a whole pumpkin pie or a dozen donuts to scarf down in a couple of days.

Why worry, my health had been generally great (“boring” as my doctor told me).  My cholesterol levels had been borderline for many years, but I was facing few complications from it.

Early in 2016, distressing news finally showed up at my doorstep.  My health numbers were elevating to much higher and detrimental levels.  With cholesterol levels going higher than ever before, my doctor took more tests, and A1C became my new score to worry about.

Here are my lab results from 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016.  Remember now that HDL is the “good” cholesterol component and LDL is the “bad” one.

Date Cholesterol HDL LDL A1C
Feb, 2014 218 42 154 NA
Feb, 2015 222 41 162 6.4
Feb, 2016 249 42 179 7.5

As the above numbers indicate, my numbers were going in the wrong direction as of February, 2016.  In an upcoming post, I will discuss more of this journey with my diabetic shadow.