What a year it has been. A lot has happened! There were many positive changes in our lives this year. I (Barbara) had been having a lot trouble with my back for the last couple of years. It was hard for me to do much of anything last year, mainly and especially walking, due to lower back and neck pain. I was diagnosed with Spinal Arthritis. I felt like I would end up in a wheel chair if something didn’t change. In September 2008, I began the process to have laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery. I was still jumping through the insurance “hoops” in January, seeing my doctor and a nutritionist and being on a “doctor supervised” diet. (The insurance companies don’t care that you have “battled the bulge” most of your life; you still have to see a doctor six months in a row and get it all documented.)
This latest “battle” started in 1995 when I could no longer control my Type 2 Diabetes. Until then I had been controlling it with diet and weight loss since 1986, when I was first diagnosed. In 1995 I started taking several diabetes medications, and my weight started going up. Every new medication made my blood sugar better, but my weight would continue to go up. Then my blood pressure went up, my cholesterol went up, etc.... It was never-ending; fix one problem and develop another.... In 2005 I had to have stents put in my heart. I also found out I had severe Sleep Apnea. Despite changes in our diet, the weight still kept on coming. I weighed myself one day in February 2009 and I saw the highest weight ever in my life. This has all been frustrating, I might add!
In April 2009 I was finally approved for surgery. In May I had a surgery date of August 4th with Dr. Julie Ellner at the Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California. She is an Obesity specialist as well as a surgeon. I started on a Pre-op “Liver Shrinking” diet. Basically it was no refined carbohydrates AT ALL. I could eat lean meat and vegetables only. No fruit, milk, flour products, potatoes, rice, pasta - you get the idea! I did that for 6 weeks and then 2 weeks before surgery it was liquids only and liquid protein. By my surgery date I had already lost 57 pounds! (SMILE)
We flew to California the end of July and visited some of the family before and after my surgery. It had been 32 years since I last saw central California in July! It is way too hot.... (SMILE) But it was nice to get to spend Mama’s 86th birthday with her!
We drove to San Diego, and the Pre-op tests showed everything looked good. I was ready for surgery. I have to say that it was the best surgical experience I have ever had. The surgeon and hospital staff were excellent and took great care of me. In fact, I came out of the recovery room smiling! Surgery was August 4th and I was released August 6th. On August 8th Don and I were hiking through San Diego Wild Animal Park! It was a little tiring, but it felt great! We also visited with family in the area, went to Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, visited the San Diego Museum of Natural History where we saw the interesting “Body Worlds” exhibit and also walked all over Old Town San Diego. I was released from Dr. Ellner’s care on August 12th. We drove back to central California, then flew home a short time later. Since surgery I have lost another 55 pounds. I feel great! I go to the gym almost every day and can walk 2 miles on the treadmill now! I am so happy to not have pain anymore! (SMILE) The weight will keep slowly coming off for several more months. This has also let me get off of a dozen medications! I only take 2 blood pressure meds now and need a tiny bit of insulin. I was taking HUNDREDS of units of insulin a day prior to surgery, in order to control my blood sugars. I am so thankful to God for this surgery that is giving me my life back! There will be more news on this continuing story next year.... (SMILE)
Don has lost some weight, also, due to the fact that I don’t cook much anymore! (SMILE) He has been so good through everything, especially helping me out a lot during the last couple of years when I was in so much pain. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary! Yes, we have now shared 14 wonderful years together! (SMILE)
Don is still working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough and I am still working part-time at the smallest but best Credit Union in Alaska. (SMILE)
In August my cousins David and Bob Parham and their wives Nancy and Carol visited our great state! We had a wonderful time getting re-acquainted! The last time I had seen David was in the early 1960’s in Arkansas at our grandparent’s home. Bob had visited my family in California while he was a Marine stationed there in 1967. It was so nice to visit and finally meet their wives. I have tried to stay in touch with our family members throughout the years and it was nice to get to visit in person! I wish more of our family would come to visit us! (HINT HINT) Hahahaha
Grace and Chirag celebrated their 1st anniversary on September 26th. They are enjoying married life! (SMILE) Also, probably within the next year, or so, Grace and Chirag will make a trip to Mumbai, India, for an “Indian” wedding celebration with Chirag’s family. I will let you know more about that in the future.... (SMILE) You can read Grace's Christmas letter HERE. (Page will open in a new tab or window)
Last December Chirag completed his Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Alaska here in Fairbanks. His Graduation was on Mother’s Day. He had several job interviews this year and was flown to Texas a few times by several oil companies. He also interviewed in New Orleans, LA. and in Anchorage, AK. He recently got an offer “he couldn’t refuse!” Hahahaha He will travel to Arkansas in February to start training with Schlumberger, the leading oilfield services provider. After the training he hopes he can get transferred back to Alaska. Otherwise he and Grace may have to relocate to Arkansas, at least for a while. They would like to stay in Alaska, but they may not have a lot of choices until he has some work experience to bargain with.... I will certainly miss them if they move to Arkansas! The new year looks like it will have more changes in store for all of us, so do stay in touch! (SMILE)
Merry Christmas to you all, and a very Happy New Year!
P. S. Stay in touch by email. We’d love to hear from you! [email protected]
|P.S. Recent news!!
Dwight’s oldest daughter Amanda (Smith) Moorhead contacted Dwight just before Thanksgiving. We have not had any contact with her since she was about 9 years old, about 13 years ago. She is planning to visit the family in California for Christmas! I wish I could be there to see her as well! We are SO HAPPY that she has found us! We love you, Amanda!! (SMILE)
The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Agave attenuata succulent and Miniature Guitars at a tourist shop in Old Town San Diego
Tile Roof in Old Town San Diego and Sunflowers near Coalinga
Painted Pottery at a shop in Old Town San Diego and blooming Yucca blossoms in Old Town San Diego
Lion licking a ham bone at San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park and Grapes on the vine near Fresno
Jimson Weed blossom near Fresno and a juvenile Hooded Oriole in San Diego, a bird I had never seen before!
Mexican restaurant, Old Town San Diego and female Great-tailed Grackle, San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park, second bird I had never seen!
Oil Derrick in Coalinga and Sacramento Water Tower
“Congress Created Dust Bowl” ...water has been diverted from some farms to protect the Sacramento Delta Smelt,
a small fish used as bait on the East Coast.... and another interesting water tower in central California....
You are welcome to have a copy of my 2010 "Migratory Birds at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge" Calendar. It will fit on an 8.5 X 11 inch page.
Click the link below which should open a new tab or window, then after it loads, you can "Right Click" on it and choose "Save Picture/Image As" or "Print Picture."
You can also "Right Click" on the link itself and choose to either "Save Link/Target As." In some browsers you can also "Print Target."
Have a Happy New Year! (SMILE)
BACK to the Album Index page OR BACK to our Home Page (SMILE)
This page was created 26 December 2009 © Barbara Logan
URL is http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~soakbear/christmas2009.html
Photos © 2009 Barbara Logan