Category Archives: medical

Goldilocks and her three essential pairs of shoes

Shoe No. 1- the Combat Boot – Sage green ABU boots & other military shoes

On October 11, 2017, while doing a unit group run, I started having massive heel pain on the left side, and then later that night, could not even walk barefoot in my own home.  I was hobbling to help the kids get dinner, etc.  It was horrible.  Of course, true to military healthcare and TRICARE, I could not get in to see anyone until the next week, so I used essential oils and heat/cold to try to reduce pain, and Advil.  The following week, I was finally seen, and it was Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs – we would not find that out til a month later, after I saw a better provider and they requested an X-ray, and finally referred me to a podiatrist and physical therapy.  Seriously, military healthcare sucks!  In any case, I soldier on (pun intended).  My podiatrist and therapist took one look at my ABU boots and said, “woh, this is what you have been wearing for a year of your active duty?”   Yep!  Commence the medical profile while I searched for the best boot I could find to help me. Clearly, the two pairs I owned had no support.  So, I was put on a profile while my quest for the perfect, or at least somewhat comfortable boot, began.  I posted in a USAF Women Officer’s forum, and managed to get a pair of boots that fit, and were somewhat supportive of my arch and heel.  The ladies there offered many suggestions and brands of boot and I was able to try on most of them, in my quest for the perfect boot.

Tip: It’s not just footwear, make sure you do the stretches, and physical therapy recommended by your podiatrist or physical therapist.  There are a lot of stretches, rollers, iced water bottles, tennis/golf ball methods to employ, and they must be done daily to heal, in addition to wearing proper footwear.

Nike SFB Sage Green

You can only get such boots, mind you, via mail order.  I kid you not.  ABU boots are available from the following vendors online:  Nike, Tactical Gear, and US Patriot.  After 5-6 boots (back and forth via mail order), I tried Nike size 5.0 Next Gen 2, Size 5.0 Tactical Research MiniMil (not good for me), and a Belleville model, finally I found one that works, the original Nike SFB Sage Green, Size 5.5 for me, as it is all men’s sizing.  Yes, in 2018, all the boots are in men’s sizing, and you have to kinda figure it out.   I was so disappointed that the military clothing and sales at my base or at two other bases did not carry the size or the types of boots recommended by many of the women – lightweight boots like Tactical Research MiniMil, Nike Special Field Boots (SFB), or the Next Gen 2 Nikes, Bellevilles, etc.  Even if the brand was available (only Belleville was) at the store, because you have to get men’s sizing, they rarely had smaller sizes like 5.5 or 6.0 in Men’s sizing.  But, I have been happy, with the Nike SFB in a size 5.5 Men’s.  They run small, so the best tip I have is try on Nike supportive (high heel) running shoes.  Then, subtract 2 from that- that is your men’s size.  So I felt the best in a 7.5, and in the Nike SFBs, the best fit was 5.5. You want room, and these shoes are a bit wider, so they worked for me, but they won’t for everyone.

Dansko Ellie

Regarding low quarters (shoes with the service dress pants and such), and flats, the orthotic inserts can go in them if thin enough or low profile/dress orthotic, but I tried on a few loafers from Dansko that I liked, and were compliant with the dress and appearance regulations.  Dansko Ellie is nice and does not slip in the back.  They are not glossy but who cares? For me, it’s comfort and health over looks these days.  I used to wear Franco Sarto but the insole won’t work in those, and I’d rather be comfortable.  Pumps/flats or heels are tougher as all the ones from Vionic have ornamentation on them or an open toe.  Abeo is the same.  You have to search for options here and Skechers has a comfort brand (take your custom inserts with you when you try it on), but again, most places offer free shipping/free returns and exchanges, so take advantage.  It is time consuming and annoying, but it’s your feet.  You carry the weight of the world on them!

TIP:  Before shopping for any shoes, get an Orthotic- Custom for the boot/running shoe and a dress shoe insert.  

Before I shopped for the new boot, I wanted to make sure I had my custom orthotic.  I got that one within 2-3 weeks of the incident, which was great!  But they are thick and Tricare (as usual) only authorizes one, so I got a few more on my own.  You can get heat molded ones (custom made) for you at Road Runner Sports.  Another one is Aetrek, which is made by Red Wing Shoes, and you can go and get a custom fit there.  Abeo (sold at Walking Company) also makes an orthotic for the dress shoe, and they are so great at measuring you, checking your arches, etc, and making a custom recommendation.  I got everything I could, and if you are lucky to have, or a spouse who has a flex spending account, custom orthotics are covered for your pre-tax dollars.  So take advantage of all you can!

Shoe No. 2- Running/Walking shoes which could double as everyday shoes (PS- I also bought the same brand slippers for the home)

Hoka Clifton

While I was on a profile, I was also on a boot profile, so I could wear my walking shoes with the ABUs (the AF uniform).  I was wearing Hoka Clifton (also recommended by my podiatrist) What a nightmare, which took over 6 weeks to get into a proper combat boot for me.   I changed out my Hoka Clifton after about 40 days for the Hoka Bondi because I wanted an all black shoe.

Hoka One One Bondi 5 Women’s Black

Hoka Bondi is a substantial shoe, but the heel and arch support are unsurpassed!  I cannot say enough great things about the Hoka shoe brand along with Road Runner Sports – the customer service is amazing!  They test your feet, and help you understand what type of shoe you need, and if you tell them of your condition, they will help you get the right shoe.

Hoka One One Ora Recovery Slide

I also got the Hoka recovery slippers (women’s size 7) for around the house.  They are waterproof, and so great with support for walking around the house.  I am still shopping for a house slipper but Abeo has a great sale right now on these, so worth checking out too.  I get Abeo shoes at the Walking Company.  Their return policy is great, unless it is final clearance sale.

Shoe No. 3- dress shoes, boots, shoes to wear off duty hours (i.e. my Cinderella shoes)

Once the boots were set, and my running/walking shoes were all set, I ventured out and did a lot of research to get proper dress shoes.  You see, I plan to return to my old job and I like to dress nice in my civilian job, so it’s time to start getting some nice shoes.  If you think your payless shoes are great, think again – get better arch and heel support if you can.  Your later years feet will thank you.  I now know what to look for in a shoe, and how to buy good, supportive shoes that also look great thanks to my PT and podiatrist. There are a lot of options out there, but I did a lot of research into good sandals (for summer/casual wear), boots, loafters, dress shoes (I generally like one brown, one black which I can wear with the uniform), and ankle boots versus longer boots to wear with leggings.

First, we have all heard of vionic.  Frankly, I never heard of them before this whole ordeal but it’s a thing.  They make some great shoes which have heel/arch support and are recommended by doctors, made by a doctor.  Some of their styles are, well, let’s say, for older folks, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you like fashion.  Enter Dansko.  Good shoes and carried by many places- Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Walking Company, Dardano’s, etc.  Great shoe, but you have to try them on as some of the loafers slip in the back and I dislike that a lot.   Finally, I learned of a new company and their shoes are AMMMMMAYZING!  Abeo shoes are sold at the Walking Company, or on line and they are even more comfortable than Vionic or Dansko.  I highly recommend them.  Now, all of these are not cheap. They are high-end, definitely not your BOGO Payless type of shoe, so look for sales.  We all know the best time for sales – Black Friday, Cyber Monday, New Year (Jan 1, Dillard’s go nuts with sales- get on line and get your shoes then), and be ready to send them back and do the returns/exchanges, because what you get online won’t always work in real life. 🙂  Also, take your orthotics along whenever you hit the stores so you can try those shoes out with the orthotics.

Most companies like Road Runner Sports and Vionic let you wear the shoes out for 30 days (Vionic) or Road Runner Sports (90 days!!!) Yes, 90 days… so use all that time and wear them and see what you think.  So many great options for us with foot issues caused by horrible combat boots or other things, so get out there and research away, and get to know your UPS drop off location folks, as you will become fast friends.  Will you feel like a giant #firstworld goldilocks?  Yes, but who cares?  It’s better and cheaper than surgery or a permanent disability, right?   Here are some of the shoes I did keep, and hope to wear now that I have decided on them.  I am still waiting for another shipment, but we will see how that one goes.

Here is a picture of what the house looks like frequently as I get the shoes that fit just right… what an adventure, an expensive one at that, but I do feel like Cinderella when the shoes fit great, look great, and make me feel good too!

If you have questions, you can write me, but I am not a doctor, I only wear scrubs at night in place of PJs, but happy to give you advice.  In the end, you have to find the right fit for you and your foot.  Good luck and feel better soon!

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My break up with the Mirena IUD one year ago- must read

Required disclaimer: I may wear scrubs each day but I am not a medical doctor, and this is my personal experience and opinion. Every one of us is created different and your body may react differently, but this is my story….

My experience with the Mirena IUD didn’t start off bad, nor go poorly, but I always felt more bloated and like I just couldn’t lose the weight despite working out, eating right and staying healthy.  Since we were not sure whether our family was complete yet, neither my husband nor I considered more permanent options and since I heard people used the Mirena for a long time, I assumed it was safe.   But last year, we changed all that.

After about 5 years of having it, I started experiencing vertigo and other symptoms and tests ruled out tumors or other causes so I wasn’t sure what was causing them. Last year, around Halloween, I was experiencing these symptoms again and was the heaviest I had been since having the kids or getting married.   Despite a solid work out routine, I felt unhealthy and had a huge gut. At a mere 61 inches tall, 133 lbs. is a lot to carry around and a very unhealthy BMI.  I had tried giving up soda and alcohol and didn’t shred a pound. By January of 2015 I had already replaced the Mirena once, so last year, I went in and had it removed and completely changed my diet at the same time. I reduced sodium and sugar from my diet and eliminated all microwave meals which are super high in sodium. I was told by the doctor to give it one year to see if the Mirena was the culprit for my weight and symptoms.

It’s now a year later and for the past 3 months I have reintroduced Chinese food (without MSG), normal salted foods, and maintained a healthy diet and the weight is not back.  But I remain true to my habits- more fruits and vegetables, smoothies, protein, and replacing soy sauce and canned foods with healthier alternatives or home-made options.  My gut that was pretty prominent is gone and I feel better.  Once 132-133 last year at this time, I am now 115-116.  I was wearing size 10 shirts and large size t-shirts but now am back to small shirts and size 4 pants. I was wearing size 8 pants at this time last year.  I even squeezed into size 2 earlier this year and was so excited- I have never worn size 2!   I still don’t drink soda but I drink wine and beer in moderation and eat a balanced diet and I haven’t felt period pain and experienced spasms and cramping like I did on the Mirena.

Think about it – something that stops your periods completely over time just isn’t natural and naturally your body responds by retaining water and fluids, or other things.  For me that fluid retention was very harmful and resulted in unhealthy conditions.  Again, will you lose the weight and the gut I did if you break up with our IUD?  I am not sure, but I do know that the Mirena IUD was simply not right for me, and now that I am hormone-free, I feel much better and more energetic.  I have not done anything with my eating habits to lose weight, nor diet, and I am still keeping the weight off.   There are other life stressors for me now, but going natural without hormones or any artificial things inside my body has been the smartest decision I made.   I have a friend who tried Essure (two of them) and it didn’t go well either.  Some others swear by it.  For me, I prefer nothing inside me that is unnatural or unhealthy and do not want any more surgeries or artificial options.  If you are lucky to have a husband who can shoulder the permanent birth control option, I urge you to do research, consult your doctor, and make informed choices. 
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Are You feeling the squeeze?

You don’t have to look far to find middle aged Americans or even those in their 60s caring for parents and their kids at the same time. It is estimated that many baby boomers are supporting their adult children, or children in college while at the same time flying all over the country or driving across the State they live in to care for their parents. And, in some instances, baby boomers are caring for aging parents, kids, grand kids, each other, and all while trying to support everyone financially. It was bound to happen. For better or worse, technology is better, modern medicine is better and people are living longer but living longer means they may need assisted or skilled care, or worse, around the clock care. Meanwhile, our generation (Generation X) generally waited to marry and may still have very young kids at home, and we are facing the same situations with our parents in their 60s or 70s. Baby boomers refer to us as the selfish generation – generation “me”. Sure, we are notorious for trying to find balance whereas our parents’ generation the lines were a little more clear- mom stayed home most likely, cooked, cleaned, and took care of the home. Mom may have even sacrificed a lot to raise us and save money. Dad went out and earned the dough and saved it all for our college. And good or bad, the lines are blurred for Generation X or Generation “Me” – mom and dad are both taking care of the kids, sometimes dad is doing it more and better than mom. Dads are cooking, cleaning, working, changing diapers, and so are moms. We save a bit here and there, we do our best but we also don’t sacrifice ourselves or deprive ourselves of things we need so our kids can go to college. If we are a selfish generation then good for us I say because we as women and moms are in better shape, eating healthier or trying to, and we have our work and careers, social lives plus our families and I think we are lucky because we get our cake and get to eat it too! We may be spread a little thin, but we do the best we can do with all facets of our lives and that is okay. And, we do not hoard our money for things to come or things that may never be- we have not lived through the depression so we try to live within our means, save, set up accounts for our kids and our retirement, we try to look for good deals but we spend when it is needed and do so willingly and generously.

So, who says our generation is selfish? Who says we don’t care about others? We may not be taking care of multiple generations of family but we could be on our way! Recently, I felt the squeeze and in a big way and I am sure my brother (my only sibling) felt it too. In effect, when something happens to our parents or our children, there is a ripple effect and it is felt by us all – it can even have an effect our extended family too- aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws especially if they are trying to help. With smaller families these days, you almost need a village to raise not just your children but also help with care of our elders. Certainly, our generation may not be as sandwiched as the Baby Boomers have been in this decade but we are well on our way and with medicare dwindling and social programs in general, who will take care of us?

Since April, my brother and I have responded in some way to help our folks. Sure, they didn’t ask – they didn’t have to. My brother is a newlywed and his honeymoon was cut short by the first incident 2 months ago. I have young kids at home, ages 5 and 3, and that is also rather tough to balance. I wrote about it here and you can read more about what happened. But, I write this post now because just when we thought my dad was on the mend and recovering and we all settled back into our routine, just like that! Mom was in the hospital with a fractured femur. And, almost three weeks after that incident (exactly 2 months after dad’s incident), they are still not out of the woods yet. Broken bones take time to heal – surgeries of that magnitude take time to heal and even then, there is about a year or more that you have to watch that injury and take care of it. All in all, just like I want to do with my kids on most days, I felt like I wanted to wrap my parents up in this protective bubble and move them closer to me for my own selfish reasons, so I can see them daily, take over their lives, and help them and of course, my ulterior motive: make it easier on me too! Because remember, we are also the generation who thinks anything is possible and so what if we have to spend money on it – we can do it! We are also the generation who thinks money is not important but life is. So, why can’t I just wrap my parents up, bring them closer to me, and then I can have my cake and eat it too? Because, simply put, it’s just not that easy. Like our kids who will need to make their own decisions one day despite how much we want them to just stay in the little protective bubble-wrapped world we have created for them, our parents have been independent since we all left for college and they want to do their own thing too. After all, they have made the decisions for all these years and we have to be respectful and mindful of that, all the while feeling frustrated that we have NO CONTROL – absolutely NONE over them and the situations that will fold no matter what we do or say.

Anyway, after all the work missed and money spent on travel – flying 1800+ miles away to help my folks is not an easy task. It is also hard to leave the little ones because they miss momma. But, we in Generation X (the Me generation), well, we are used to being spread thin so what is taking on another set of issues or problems? It’s cake walk, right? Ummm… nah, it is hard and takes it toll on your health, on your family, and it effects relationships too. I am sure other Americans are feeling this squeeze and struggle too especially if their parents, like mine, did not really take care of themselves or seek medical care all these years. After all, they were taking care of all of us at the sacrifice of their own health and single family income only went so far as well just decided to sacrifice it all for the sake of the family. My advice for you if you are feeling the squeeze as well is to (1) first, take care of yourself and if that means scheduling a massage or some time out for yourself, do it; (2) help your folks as much as you can but remember to honor boundaries because in the end, especially if you live geographically separated, you have to honor that they are independent people who taught you the value of being independent as well and you have to (even if you cuss with frustration on the inside) honor their wishes and choices however poor you believe those choices to be; (3) be supportive but try not to appear to be taking over their affairs and unless they are medically incapable of making their own health and financial decisions, do not jump the gun because if they come around, recover, and find out you took over, that can be really bad for your relationship. I say all of this now, but I was a wreck two months ago when my dad was in the hospital and I failed to obey all of the above so I am writing this as a lesson to myself I guess as well.

The only other advice I can give you from my own experience is to make sure that you encourage them to get their financial and other affairs in order – a must do kit for all adults with or without children in our country includes: (1) Durable Power of Attorney (POA) for Healthcare that names someone or alternate agents you trust to make health care decisions in case of incapacitation. (2) Living Will that sets out the desires of life-saving and life-extending measures, and other special instructions in case of coma or other conditions. (3) Estate planning including a Will that disposes of your estate (the items that will not pass by contract or agreement) and sets out wishes to the appointed executor(s) on how to distribute funds and property. Also, a will is a must have for those who have children under 18 because in it, guardians you trust are appointed. As far as bank accounts, accounts with companies including 401K, IRAs, etc. should all have a designated Payable on Death (POD) beneficiary. That POD beneficiary should have alternates so the money does not go into your probate which gets taxed heavily. If you have a safe deposit box, make sure it is joint with someone else and have even a third person on it to prevent the contents of that going into probate. (4) Finally, as I recently learned, another important document to have is a Special Durable POA that names individuals (primary and/or alternate) to take care of financial affairs, obtain medical records and medical information on their behalf, and for any other purposes you want to set forth. This “Special or limited” durable power of attorney should list all the special powers that your agent has and for what period of time (it must have a start and stop date to be valid). Another item I recently learned is that this durable POA should also contain a HIPAA release in it so that you are in the clear with the medical community releasing items to your agent(s). This last item I discussed is very important in case you are NOT incapacitated but need your help in assembling documents or getting the financial house or property matters in order. If you have to renew it every 2 years or yearly, do it- it is worth it because it is so important to have, and for kids who live far away, this last Special Power of Attorney is a must because they will be making phone calls on your behalf and most hospitals, doctor’s offices, or banks will not honor a general POA.

I have learned a lot from this recent squeeze. A lot! I have shared some of my thoughts before in a a few posts I wrote: Because of the Sacrifices They Made and In an Instant and I have to say I am trying my best to not live in daily fear of what may happen next but it is so hard not to. It is so hard to not freak out every time the phone rings, or just at the thought of what is coming next. I try to not let it consume me but in the back of my mind, I am trying to prepare myself as well. These last two months have set the foundation but does anything really prepare you for the inevitable? ‘Til then, I suppose I welcome whatever “squeeze” God throws at me because I’d rather be squeezed in the middle and I’d rather juggle a lot than take on losing a very important ball or two in this juggling act I call life.

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Because of the sacrifices they made…

Recently, both of my parents under went major health issues and crisis of sorts.  Each of them had their own separate issues- all scary, all sudden.  All of what transpired opened our eyes to what is to come- age of our folks, health issues for all of us, fragility of life and the ultimate reality that we are all mortal.

Each time I have traveled out to be with them mainly because I cannot sleep, eat or think straight when I am so far away.  Here’s a laughing matter: I am only 1780 miles away but imagine this and I know some of you don’t have to imagine because you live it day in and day out but imagine being 10,100 miles away from your parents or more.  Imagine now that you get a call in the middle of the night, “come now if you can – he or she is very sick, these are his/her final days.”  Well for my parents, it was a reality.  They received calls like that or calls informing them that their parents were no longer on this earth.  I cannot imagine because I do not have to – I do not have to because my parents moved here and made some amazing sacrifices so I could have a better life; so that my brother and I could have a good education, a good life, and a great future- so that they could be part of this American dream as well.  But in all honesty, leaving everything they knew behind – their comfort zone, their families, their aging parents to build a new life, 10,000+ miles away in the 1960s is no small sacrifice. My in-laws did this as well.  I can’t imagine- I guess I do not have to.

I remember 1987 well because that was when my dad received the call that his father was ill and possibly could die.  My father, with us as little kids, had to keep his wits about him, and in the 80s when technology was not all that, had to make international travel reservations for all of us.  First, he would go because we were all in school and in the middle of a semester in school.  Then, we’d all meet him there and we all prayed my grandfather would hold on that long.  Sadly, he did not.  My father made it in time but can you imagine, pulling it together to make reservations, then pack a bag, then get your passport and visa and head out the door for a 30+ hour journey internationally when you had no idea what was waiting for on the other end?  No Internet, the phones sucked too, not to mention cost an arm and leg to dial internationally, and of course, there was no text messaging.  Wow!  I can’t imagine because recently I made journeys of only 6-8 hours including airport time and I didn’t think I’d make it.

On the other hand, my mom didn’t even get to see her folks before they passed away.  It was sudden, and in their sleep.  She couldn’t even fly out for the funeral because in India, bodies are not preserved more than 24 hours.  I can’t imagine. I do not have to because my parents sacrificed it all for me.  Because of them, and because they stayed here to make a new life for us, I don’t have to know what all of this is like.  Because they sacrificed so much for me, I will keep doing what I can to help them.  The reality is they are aging, they are stubborn and set in their ways, and they want to be independent.  I don’t blame them.  After all, I am like them.  I inherited their perseverance, their strong will, and their ability to adapt and overcome.  I wish I had inherited their strength… their enormous strength to bear so much.  I don’t have to because of them.  In these trying times, I see them, I hear them, I listen… I shut up because I know how much they have given up for a better life for us.  I only pray I can be even half the child to them that they were to their parents.  I pray for the strength that they taught me to have.  I am not there yet and these times have been tough for us but I know their strength lives within me — and I may not have to sacrifice what they did nor do I wish to but I know if I had to for my kids, I suppose I could.

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In an Instant…

My dad had a massive heart attack two weeks ago today. In a minute, everything I knew, everything I believed was out the window and all our lives were changed forever. No matter how his recovery may go, my father of 67-years of age died two weeks ago and was re-born the same weekend. That is how I viewed it anyway. Some may view it differently but, I feel so blessed that he survived. He had less than a 10% chance of surviving the sudden cardiac arrest and then, the other worry was brain damage.

When my mom first called me, her voice told me something was wrong- terribly wrong. When the doctor at the first hospital they took him to talked with me on the phone, asking me more questions than providing me questions, I think at first I did not believe it, so I just said- okay whatever! He is probably just tired or exhausted from the heat, it’s not serious and everything will be just fine. I was wrong. I did not want to believe that in an instant, everything had changed.

I flew out the next day and the plane ride was the longest one I have ever taken – ever! It rivaled the international trips I took even though it was a mere 1200 miles away. The thoughts going through my head were not good. The prognosis was not certain, it was not positive and uncertainty loomed. The doctors were surprised he was still alive and now it was up to him to fight and if you are a believer in a higher power, of course, it rested in his hands more than anything. In an instant, everything had changed. I saw him in a medically-induced coma for two days before he started opening his eyes on Saturday. Even then, he would open eyes, knew we were there but could do nothing because at the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) and the potential trauma to his brain, they had to keep him in a medical coma. It was so hard to see him like this especially when I last saw him, he was up, running around, chattering away, and even dancing at my brother’s wedding. In an instant, everything I knew had changed.

Miraculously, he recovered. By Sunday (day 4 after his sudden cardiac arrest), he was moving his lips and trying to talk, following commands, and while still sedated, trying to tell us things with his fingers and hands. He was squeezing hands, moving his fingers and toes and by Monday, he was trying to sit up, and once ex-tubated, was talking, and trying to communicate albeit he had no memory of the trauma. In an instant, everything had changed. Life as we knew it was different – would my dad’s brain recover? Sure, maybe? I have no idea. Would he be the same? NEVER! Would we be the same? Nope… not a chance.

My father died on Thursday, April 19, 2012, and returned to us on Monday, April 23, 2012 but with memories from sometime ago, with memories that were spotty and speech that was not all there. He could not feed himself initially or stand up on his own, or walk, but when he was released out of CCU on late Wednesday night, he was trying to escape, and pulling his wires out. Disoriented and weak, he was released from the hospital on Saturday, April 28, 2012, and was cleared to fly back home on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. For all of us though, we live in a different world, where we appreciate every minute, every second, and we do not take even an hour for granted. In an instant, everything had changed and we would all never be the same. I will be heading out next week to help with some of the upcoming therapies, the cardiologist appointment, and if needed, further intervention for his heart. But mainly, my mom needs us in this time and the support we provide will be indispensable. My dad may go through recovery for a few weeks, few months to a year or more but he will be a heart patient forever. He will need to watch his diet, exercise, get cardiac care, and may need more intervention if his other artery gets blocked. No matter what, we are so blessed he is with us today and while I wish we all lived closer, I am grateful. I am grateful for all the time we had, and all the time we will have in the future with every one of my family members….because in an instant, everything can still change for any one of us.

What I learned from this is not to keep second guessing what was or why this happened… why did this happen? What are we supposed to learn from this? What I learned honestly is what to do from here on out— what I want my life to be, how I also need to slow down, how I want to treat others daily in my life and what my priorities are:

  1. When parents or your kids or close siblings or even friends call, don’t be busy- listen, talk, entertain – life is too precious and these moments will never come back. It may be annoying what they are saying or that you are trying to work but work will be there but in an instant, everything could change… and you may never get to hear them talk to you again! So, listen, make time, and forget about what is going on around you. Take the call if it is safe for you to do so.
  2. Don’t worry about what people think… just live! Because in an instant, everything could change and then no one will really care what the guy on the bus thought about you or the situation. It’s not important! It’s all small stuff compared to losing someone you love.
  3. When you love, love unconditionally, love completely and do not worry what tomorrow brings because as you know, in an instant, everything could change.
  4. Travel that extra mile, walk that extra step, and do everything you can in your power to help others especially those that you love or care about because today they are here, and tomorrow, in an instant, everything could change.
  5. When you can, use up that leave (don’t hoard it), and travel with loved ones – go far, go away, go and have those memories because in an instant, everything could change and then you will never be able to take that trip again or not in the same way.
  6. Life is to precious to waste on petty issues, quorums or fighting for things that do not matter because when you really need to fight then fight for LIFE—remember to live and love because in an instant, everything could change.
  7. When your kid wants to hug you, and your mom is embarrassing you by kissing you in public, stop and don’t worry – hug away, kiss away, touch the life you love because in an instant everything can change and you may never get the chance to touch, to kiss, to hug, to be with them again. I know, sounds depressing but celebrate the love you have on earth now – don’t wait.
  8. Say what you need and want to say – say it loud, say it proud, and say it often – the word, ‘I love you’ can be said when someone is gone but may not be heard, and because tomorrow may not come. In an instant, everything we know could change.
  9. Save the memories, encapsulate them – the photos, the videos, the written blog posts, the amazing diaries and do not lose sight of how important these moments are with your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your partners—grab a camera and if you forgot yours, buy one because you’ll regret if in an instant, everything changes and you did not capture those amazing memories.
  10. Don’t have regrets or guilt- if you did something wrong, rectify it immediately. Never worry about the “what ifs.” Just do it! Life in the moment and while you should plan for the future, and put money away, don’t be afraid to spend it reasonably and wisely because in an instant, EVERYTHING CAN CHANGE
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