Year ago photo...Adults only please... More favorite photos...8 days and counting...


Breathtaking view over the bay.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"Wet summers are no myth. They say "it’s always raining in Ireland", and the sad reality is that they’re not wrong. While we Irish love to think that we bask in the sun for hours on end during the summer, but the reality is pretty grim. We have one of the wettest climates in Europe: in the summer of 2007, for example, it rained in Ireland for 40 days straight!"
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Today was one of those rare days when I didn't feel I had it in me to do a post.
As I begin here now, it's 1400 hours, 2:00 pm, leaving me little time to prepare a comprehensive post with stories and links.
John, our friend and the fish guy with Tom in the driveway.
So please bear with me as I race through it, feeling compelled and yet pleased to finally be typing on the keyboard of my laptop.  A nap is beaconing me and although I usually only doze for 15 minutes, its everything I need to spur me on for the rest of the day.  We'll see how likely that will be.

This morning, knowing Ann was coming at 9:00 am to clean the house, we both bolted out of bed in a hurry knowing we'd like to get breakfast out of the way, tidy some of our "stuff" throughout the house, and be ready for her to take over for several hours.
Mom and Baby.
As always, Tom made bacon and the most perfect fried eggs on the planet.  This morning there was a special treat for me to savor with my two eggs:  fresh crabmeat John had dropped off last night. Adding chopped celery and a bit of mayonnaise, I made a quick crab salad, along with a few ounces of smoked salmon and a tiny avocado on the side.

Tom enjoyed the bacon and eggs as usual while I savored my low carb, moderate fat, high protein breakfast.  Portions were small but together it was a perfect combo of flavors.
Rescued donkeys are commonly found in Ireland where love and respect for these animals are evident.
Once we cleaned the kitchen and hung a load of laundry on the rack in the entry room, we planned the menu for our remaining seven breakfasts and seven dinners in Ireland.  It was effortless planning this together as we always do.

After chatting with Ann before we left knowing we had many stops ahead of us, we took off ready to tackle the day.  Tom needed a haircut and I needed to visit the pharmacy for a few toiletries and to speak to the pharmacist about some of the meds I am trying to wean off in the next few months.
Messy, dirty sheep with red identifying paint.
I've discovered that one of the drugs is making me feel exhausted and results in too low of a pulse, often as low as the high 40's when at rest.  The surgeon suggested I get off several of the drugs at this point in time, that hopefully won't cause any issues eliminating.  I'm down two drugs with two more to go.

But, the process is slow since this particular heart medication requires a very slow weaning process to avoid a sudden increase in heart rate.  Tomorrow, I'll begin the slow weaning process he suggested which may take a month.  I can't wait until the toxic substances are out of my system.
Ruins in the neighborhood.
So many of these medications have brutal life-threatening and debilitating side effects.  Since I tend to be sensitive to drugs anyway, this surely is the right path for me at this point.  I am looking forward to feeling like my "old self" once again if that's at all possible.

Tom had accidentally broken the glass French Press coffee "plunger" and we hoped to find a replacement in Clifden.  Ann and Eileen suggest we try Sullivan's hardware store.  Luckily, he found a replacement and we were on our way to the supermarket.
Belted Galloway cow all possess this unique pattern of a white belt around their midsection.
He'd stopped at the barbershop while I started the grocery shopping at SuperValu to discover so many customers waiting, he joined me with a plan to return to the after the grocery shopping.  He had no choice.  He needed a haircut, plain and simple.

Once we loaded the car with the groceries, we drove the few blocks to the tiny barbershop, put money in the parking meter, preparing ourselves for a long wait.  Although three other men were waiting, within 25 minutes Tom was in the barber chair.  
Piles of cut peat are often found at the side of the road.
After a good haircut, priced at Euro 12, US $13.37 plus a generous tip of Euro 5, US $5.57 we were on our way back to our holiday home.  Ann was still here finishing the cleaning but we worked our way around her as we put everything away.  It was sweet saying goodbye to Ann once again.  Such a lovely woman with whom we became very attached over the past three months.

Tonight, we'll lay low enjoying a roasted chicken dinner with rice for Tom, cooked cabbage, a side of spinach and broccoli for me. Later, we'll hunker down to watch a few favorite shows.
Scenic lake.
As we wind down our time in Ireland, we can hardly believe three months have passed.  We're ready to move along hoping a change of scenery and activities will be good for both of us.

Have a pleasant evening!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2018:
Little attempting to mate with this young female.  For more photos, please click here.

A heartbreaking story...15 years ago...Favorite photos have begun...Eight days and counting...


Fishing is big business in this village.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"Argentina’s Navy was founded by an Irishman. The Irish have made their way to the far corners of the world in the past, and Admiral William Brown is a great example of Irish accomplishments abroad. Brown was the creator and first admiral of the Argentine Navy and is today hailed as a hero in Argentina for his attempts to successfully protect Argentina from the Spanish invaders."
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In some parts of the world, equipment such as this couldn't be left in plain view.  But, here in Glinsk, crime rates are very low.
Shortly after we arrived in Glinsk (also spelled "Glinsce" in the Irish language), we had an opportunity to chat with our property owner, Eileen, a lovely woman who's lived in this area all of her life.

Eileen is a wonderful artist and numerous sea paintings line the walls in this special property.  She's spent the past 15 years without her beloved husband Josie who perished at sea in 2004.  

She shared the heartbreaking story of Josie and three of his buddies who drowned in a storm when they were attempting to relocate a 20 meter, 65-foot boat to another area.
Fishing gear on the dock.
Numerous articles were written about the tragedy including the following story we chose to share from the Irish Times.  (See the story here).  Although the article is dated December 2004, the tragedy occurred on September 17, 2004.  Please see below:
"Drowning inquest told vessel struck rocks in gale


One of four men who lost their lives when a fishing vessel sank off Connemara three months ago only joined the boat at the last minute, an inquest heard yesterday.
The channel at the boat launch in Glinsk.
Boatyard owner Mr. Josie Connolly, of Leitir Ard, had told his wife, Ms. Eileen Noonan Connolly, that he would not have fancied going out in the St. Oliver on the night in question as the weather was bad.

However, Ms. Noonan Connolly saw her husband boarding the 65-ft vessel later that evening, September 17th, and when she ran outside to ask him what he was doing, she was told by a local man that he was assisting the delivery of the vessel back to Rossaveal.

She said she spoke to her husband by phone and he asked her to pray that he did not get seasick.
Fishing, using this equipment is hard work, hardly compares to the ease of using a fishing pole with bait.
Mr. Connolly, who was in his 60s and from Glinsk, Connemara, lost his life along with fellow crew Mr. John Dirrane, the vessel's skipper, Mr Michael Faherty and Mr Michael Mullin, when St. Oliver hit rocks off Duck Island (Inishlacken) south of Mweenish island off Carna, in a gale on September 17th.

Mr. Dirrane and Mr. Faherty, who were in their early 40s, were lifelong friends from the Aran islands and both had moved into Inverin. Mr. Dirrane's wife, Una, had recently given birth to their fourth child. Mr. Faherty's wife, Carmel, was expecting their first child when the accident occurred.

The inquest in Galway yesterday heard how the youngest of the four, Mr. Mullin (18), of Moyard, had sent a mobile phone text message to a friend, Ms. Regina King, before the sinking.
At the Glinsk pier...
The message said: "Was in Carna all week. Just finished today. Steaming towards Rossaveal. Rough as f***. Our two computers f***ed. Hardly know where the f*** we're going. Will give you a buzz later."

The text message was sent at 8.23 p.m., but Ms. King did not receive it until 9.30 p.m.

Mr. Eamon Torpay, search and rescue operations manager with the Irish Coast Guard, said the emergency radio beacon (EPIRB) on the St. Oliver was activated at 9.03 p.m, and the satellite signal was relayed from Scotland to the Irish emergency services.
Some of the old boats could have been on the Glinsk dock for decades.
The Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Shannon, the Naval Service patrol ship LE Ciara and lifeboats were dispatched to the scene in very bad weather conditions.

The bodies of three of the men were recovered off the Carna coast within 24 hours of the sinking. Mr. Dirrane's body was found near the wreckage a week later.

The skipper's widow, Ms. Una Dirrane, told the inquest that her husband had been working on St Oliver, which was in dry dock at Mr. Connolly's yard at Leitir Ard, at the time.
The beaches in this area are rocky and not suitable for swimming.  Also, the windy and cool summer weather may keep beach-lovers away.
On September 17th, he phoned her to say he was taking the vessel back to Rossaveal. She had phoned him at 8.30 p.m. that night, and he said the weather was "messy."

Mr. Faherty's widow, Ms. Carmel Faherty, said her husband had been in good form when she drove him to Carna. The weather appeared to be fine. She phoned him on the vessel at 8.10 p.m. that night, and he told her that Mr. Josie Connolly was on board.

She asked him to call her when they reached Rossaveal, but at 10.30 p.m. Ms. Dirrane had phoned her to say that the vessel was in trouble.
Expansive view of Bertraghboy Bay as seen from Glinsk.
Medical evidence showed that three of the men died from asphyxia due to sea-water drowning, while Mr. Dirrane died from fractures and other severe internal injuries which were consistent with having been in a boating accident.

The coroner for West Galway, Dr. CiarĂ¡n McLoughlin, expressed his sympathy to all those who had been touched by the loss of the four men."
Ruins by the sea in Glinsk.
In the years after the loss of Josie, Eileen set about to finish this house that she and Josie had started together.  She worked hard to get it completed in a manner that would appeal to holidaymakers who visit from all corners of the world.

Her handling of our rental has been impeccable and we truly appreciate her kindness and efforts to create a peaceful environment for us during our three-month stay.  
Fluffy white calf over overlooking the sea in Glinsk.
Eileen has bravely made a life for herself and we commend her on her determination and courage after losing the man she so dearly loved for decades.  It gives us pause to think about how fortunate we are to have one another and to be able to experience this period of time in this house in which we can feel the love.

At times, when life is hard, it often takes hearing the stories of others to fully embrace what we have, not what we have lost.

Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2018:
This morning we opened the door to find 19 kudus in the garden, breaking our prior record of 17 at once.  The one closest to the veranda is the girl that always licks my toes.  She is identifiable by an oval notch in her right ear.  For more photos, please click here.

The Wild Atlantic Way...Nearing the end of five year ago Madeira, Portugal photos...

Five years ago on a walk, in Madeira, Portugal, we spotted this waterfall.  For more details on the 2014 post, please click here.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"Wild Atlantic Way is the longest coastal driving route in the world.
The Wild Atlantic Way, a stunning drive that stretches all the way from the cliffs around County Donegal in the far north of Ireland all the way down to the beaches of County Cork, is the ‘longest defined coastal driving route in the world’. The 2,500 km, 1553 mile, the route passes through nine counties and three provinces, can you name them all? If you’re planning on driving this famous route then make sure you build in some time at Ireland's best surf spots along the way."
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In the above "Fascinating Fact of the Day" the Wild Atlantic Way, is a 2500 km coastal drive which passes through nine counties (not countries) which includes the following route:

The Wild Atlantic Way in 14 Steps

Here is the map from this site indicating the counties in which the Wild Atlantic Way passes through:


This could be an exciting way for ambitious tourists to see a huge portion of Ireland in only a few weeks.  As mentioned in the above site there are numerous bed & breakfasts, hotels, restaurants and local points of interest along the route.

The 2500 km, 1553 miles, journey could take weeks, especially when stopping for overnight stays and sightseeing.  However, with fuel costs, hotels, and dining, the cost for such an adventure may well be less than a two or three-week stay in more expensive hotels in the large cities.
We walked through this short tunnel to reach the ocean at the other end as shown in these other photos.
We'll be spending one night in a hotel in Dublin before we fly to Amsterdam in a mere 10 days.  We used priority points from Hotels.com on our site but without our credits, the cost of the four-star hotel is Euro 121.35, US $135.

We're anticipating dinner to be approximately Euro 72, US $80, in a nearby restaurant plus we'll need to add another Euro 37, US $40, to our expenses for taxi fare and tip.  Once we arrive on Thursday (next week) we'll drop off the rental car and use the hotel's free shuttle to the airport.
Nothing is as mesmerizing as the sea.
The total cost of the one night stay at the hotel near the airport is expected to be Euro 230.35. US $255.  Sure, we could have chosen to drive to Dublin on the day of our 1320 hrs, 1:20 pm flight.  It's a 3½ hour drive from here.  
But, in an effort to keep stress to a minimum, we felt this short hotel stay was worth it.  We'll have an unrushed breakfast (included) at the hotel and then plan for a relaxed pace to arrive at the airport a few hours before the flight.
Two small waterfalls flow from the rocks in a natural rock wall.
If a tourist chose to drive the 2500 km Wild Atlantic Way route as their holiday in Ireland most likely they could do it for the above mentioned Euro 230.35. US $255 plus costs for car rental, extra meals, and tours.  

Multiplied accordingly, the anticipated two-week journey may incur a cost of (excluding rental cars, tours, and entrance fees to various venues, and additional meals and snacks), the total cost could be Euro 3209, US $3570.  
Clouds rolling in.
Add approximately another 30% for car rental, and above mentioned extras, this could prove to be quite a holiday especially for families, if the kids and adults typically enjoy rode trips.

Oddly, for world travelers, one would assume we look forward to long road trips but as we've mentioned here in the past, neither of enjoys long periods in the car.  Tom is a relatively aggressive driver, with little patience for traffic.
The preformed cement blocks aren't attractive but serve a useful purpose.
Riding in the car can be stressful for both of us.  The intent of our lives is to keep stress to a minimum, especially with my recent heart surgery.  We've found we've been able to thoroughly revel in our travels without embarking on long road trips.

The 3½ hour drive to Dublin on August 8th will be a long enough drive for us.  When we arrive in England after the Baltic cruise ends, we'll fly to Exeter, England and over two months we'll be driving to our four chosen holidays rentals every two weeks or so as our address changes.  These shorter trips will be perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the English countryside.

Have a great Monday!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2018:
Male kudus have horns, females do not.  At about 15 months the horns begin to take on the shape of the first spiral. For more photos, please click here.

Breakfast?...Necessary or not so much?...Five year ago photos...

The was my measly pile of clothing to pack as we prepared to leave Madeira, Portugal, keeping in mind this includes not only all my everyday wear but, also two Scottevest jackets, three remaining bathing suits, two sets of Bugsaway clothing including three hats and three small handbags which I no longer have.  For the post from July 28, 2014, please click here.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
" Halloween is derived from the Irish festival of Samhain. At the end of summer, the Celts believed the gulf between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits thinned, allowing malevolent beings to wander the Earth. Irish immigrants in the US raised the popularity of Halloween in the 19th century."
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In an effort to do intermittent fasting for health reasons, for years we didn't eat breakfast except on cruises.  On a low carb diet (over 8 years since I started) eggs and bacon may be staples.
However, recently in an effort to increase my protein consumption and in consideration of the healing process, we've been eating breakfast most days.  Tom has taken over the cooking.  He makes neater and more perfectly fried eggs than I have ever done.  
These were all of my shoes in 2014, six pairs.  I don't recall ever having so few shoes since I was a kid when I got one new pair of Buster Browns once a year.  Since this photo, I've replaced the water shoes which hurt my feet and the black sandals which bit the dust.
He makes three eggs and bacon for himself while I have two eggs, some type of fish and possibly one piece of bacon.  Occasionally I'll add some veggies if I'm feeling extra hungry.  But usually, the eggs and fish is adequate, keeping me full until dinner.

We're still doing intermittent fasting from 9:00 am until 1800 hours, 6:00 pm when we usually have dinner.  After dinner, another round of intermittent fasting begins from 1900 hours, 7:00 pm, until breakfast the next morning.  We're avoiding any snacks during the day and in the evening.  

This plan works well for us in keeping our weight under control which seems harder and harder to do as we've aged and allows us the benefit of not digesting food for several hours each day.  
Late-blooming Bird of Paradise, aptly named.
I often wonder if all these health rules I've followed over the years were beneficial.  It didn't prevent me from having open-heart surgery.  But my three doctors assured me if I hadn't been so conscientious with my diet and exercise most of my life, I probably wouldn't be alive today.  They advised me to continue my low carb way of eating.

As for Tom and his passion for sweets, bread, and starches, his weight would be out of control and he may not be free of taking any medications as is the case now.  When he was 18 kg, 40 lbs heavier, he was huffing and puffing handling our luggage and other tasks.  Now he has no health problems and takes no medication.

Apparently, his genetic component is less diseased than mine where many conditions ran rampant on both sides of my family.  There's nothing one can do about their heredity.  
We never got enough of the clouds rolling in over the hills.  Each time it occurred we watched from the veranda in awe of the beauty.
Often, we hear stories of athletes and fitness aficionados developing numerous health conditions or dying as a result of heredity, regardless of any efforts they may have made to avert the possibility.

The magic of eating a low carb, high fat, moderate protein breakfast is its ability to keep us filling full all day and not thinking of food until dinnertime.  In our old lives when eating a high carb breakfast, we noticed how hungry we were in as little as an hour later.  I suppose that's why "they" say that eating Asian food causes hunger an hour later...which most often is high carb due to sugary sauces, rice and fried doughy dishes. 

Of course, we only purchase organic free-range eggs and nitrate-free bacon (when available).  The quality of our food is more important to me than the quantity.
Our neighbors in Campanerio, Madeira were harvesting some of the treasures from their garden.
Today, we'll lay low, catch up on a few financial projects and prepare a "Sunday roast," a popular tradition in the UK and Ireland.  This will include three types of roasted meats, including lamb shanks for me, carrots, mushrooms, onions, cooked spinach, and cooked cabbage.  

The vegetables will fill 80% of my plate, less so for Tom.  But he loves the higher carb roasted carrots, of which I'll only have a small portion.  Carrots, especially cooked and caramelized are high in carbs.

We'll eat the roast for a few nights and then save some of the meat to shred for beef taco salads to which I'll add a small amount of meat along with avocado and numerous diced vegetables.  Tom will add cheese, onions, olives, and tomatoes.  

We hope you'll have a delectable breakfast today and a divine Sunday dinner.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2018:
We had a full moon party in Marloth Park and got this shot of the "blood moon" from the veranda.  What a sight!  For more, please click here.

Associations can tarnish a otherwise good memory...


Busy preparations surrounded the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday's religious festivities.  For the post from this date, five years ago, please click here.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"The ashes of St. Valentine, believe it or not, have found their final resting place in a shrine inside Whitefriar Street Church, in Dublin city center. Brought here from Rome by an Irish Carmelite is known for his work with the poor, the ashes were a token gift from Pope Gregory XVI. Many couples visit the shrine inside this small Irish church, to ask St. Valentine to watch over them and pray for a long life together."
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Unfortunately, at times experiences during world travel may not be ideal, emblazoning the hoped stunning memories in our hearts and minds with painful and sorrowful recollections.  

Overall, I'd say we have nothing but fantastic memories of which we're easily reminded when we see photos and read past posts.  For example, today's five year ago photos and stories remind us of days long past where pain, discomfort, and fear were definitely not in the picture.

Now five years later and after almost seven years of traveling, it has become necessary to emotionally and financially regroup after the shocking state of affairs over my recent open-heart surgery.  
These roads leading to the site were decorated with lights and garland.
Also, a cardiac bypass is a temporary treatment, not a cure.  The genetic fact of arteriosclerosis continues regardless of diet, exercise, medication, and lifestyle. In other words, there's nothing one can do to prevent a recurrence.

Many patients discover that the new grafts have occluded as soon as one year later requiring more surgery.  What does one do then?  Go through the same thing all over again?  I don't think if I'd be willing to do that all over again.

It was disheartening to spend those last three months in Marloth Park recovering from the outrageously invasive surgery.  Prior to those three months, we had nothing but happy memories of our year in South Africa.

Only a few months prior to the surgery, I recall telling Tom and our friends that the year in Marloth was the happiest year of my life.  And then, everything changed.

And for almost three full months, I was unable to walk out onto the veranda to see any of the main reasons for my prior exquisite joy and happiness...the constant visits by a wide array of wildlife and time spent with our fantastic friends, all of which came to a sudden halt.
Local citizens mulling around the area chatting and smoking amid the workers preparing for the big event.
Oh, our loving friends came to visit over and over again.  Toward the end of the extra three months, they even hosted a dinner party at our house bringing all the food, cooking, serving and cleaning it all up.  I didn't have to do a thing.

The fact that they've all stayed in close touch since we left in May, only reminds us of the strength and commitment of their loving friendship.  We miss them all. 

We don't know when we'll be able to return. We were banned from South Africa for five years due to overstaying our visas by the three months due to my necessary recovery period.  

As mentioned in prior posts, we applied for a waiver but now, almost three months later, we haven't had any news although we've called and sent messages many times.

Here while in Ireland the recovery barely progressed, based on side effects of the statins and other drugs and I am associating our time here with similar trepidation.  How disappointing it has been not to be able to get out for more sightseeing to fully enjoy this lovely country.
As we drove away from the church we spotted these flowers.
The future?  It will continue to be a "work in progress" especially now that the debilitating side effects of the statins have lifted, although not entirely quite yet. There are several other heart-related drugs I am taking, that according to the doctors,  I can stop by the six-month mark, coming up mid-August.

Many of these drugs cause exhaustion on one hand and insomnia on the other.  I can't wait to feel energetic again. I remind myself every day, regardless of how hard or disappointing the slow recovery has been, I am grateful to be alive and having survived these first difficult months. I am grateful to Tom for his loving and diligent caregiving, for making me laugh and for family and friends who've stayed in touch.

And, of course, I am grateful for all of you, our readers, who frequently write kind and thoughtful messages, all generous of spirit and heart.  How can I ever thank you?  Perhaps by getting well and writing about new adventures shared here with many photos.  

Your continued support is an association I'll always fondly remember.  You inspired me to keep pushing, keep a clear mind and maintain a routine we've treasured for years.

Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2018:

This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He's so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.  Eventually, we didn't see him anymore when "Basket, an enormous warthog scared him off and claimed the territory.  We missed him.  For more details, please click here.

A stunning discovery...Everything has changed...

In Madeira, Portugal, five years ago today, we wrote: "Nothing like a view from the veranda at dusk."  For more details from that post, please click here.
Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland 
"The Royal Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1720, is widely recognized as the world’s oldest yacht club. The club plays host to Cork Week, Ireland’s largest and most prestigious sailing event, held every two years and attracting boats and sailors from around the world. There is still a very strong tradition of sailing in many of our coastal towns, and you can either hire small sailing boats for your own use or sign up to sailing courses in towns such as Schull and Baltimore."
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In an effort to avoid complaining and becoming known as a "whinger" or "whiner,"  I haven't disclosed here quite how bad my recent situation has been.  My painful legs and arms made walking or performing the simplest of tasks unbearable.

Yes, I walked everyday recording steps on my fitness tracker but each step took everything I could muster.  Also, I wasn't noticing any improvement after all the walking up the hill, up and down the stairs, and throughout the house.

I'd mentioned this to Tom but didn't emphasize how severe the pain was.  I didn't want him to worry any more than he'd worried already.  As of several days ago, I was imagining life in a wheelchair along with an end to our travels.  Desperately, I tried not to keep mentioning it.
A summer rose in Madeira.
The only relief I had was when sitting or lying down.  When I was cooking or hanging laundry I could barely stand in one place.  I was trying hard not to let this get me down but I was teetering on the edge.

Each time we've grocery shopped or took off sightseeing, I could barely get my legs to move.  My arms and shoulders ached.  I did arm and shoulder exercises to no avail. Getting dressed took everything I had.

Each day I contemplated what we were having for dinner and how long I'd have to stand in the kitchen to prep the items.  I let carrots spoil when I couldn't imagine peeling them while standing at the counter.  I know I could have asked Tom for help but good grief, it's been over five months and I've needed to be more independent.  How would this ever improve?

I wrote to the cardiologist and he assumed something was wrong with my heart and I needed to make an appointment with a cardiologist.  But, my heart is fine.  When I've walked up the hill in front of the house my legs burned beyond description.  My pulse was exactly where it should have been.  I wasn't out of breath any more than Tom would have been.  He's very healthy!
Lush greenery, blue skies, and the sea create a colorful scene in Madeira.
At a loss, I didn't know what to do.  Subsequently, I started reading the medical literature, kindle books, and reputable information by world-famous and highly regarded cardiologists and physicians...not public opinion, not forums, and not heart-related blogs.

After weeks of research, I discovered what I'd expected, that as much as 30% of patients stopped taking their prescribed statins due to side effects.  In the US, over 28% of people over 40 years old are on statins.  How much money Big Pharma has made!

Prior to the discovery of my cardiac issues, I was a stench naysayer about statins, having read volumes about them.  I'd pull out my statin "soapbox" from time to time (when appropriate) and express my views.

But, when suddenly I was a cardiac patient after triple bypass surgery, the first drug they gave me was a statin, comparable to a drug called Crestor in the US but known as Zuvamor 40 mg in South Africa.  
Rooftops, power lines and terraced hills are a common sight.
When I questioned the doctors expressing my aversion to statins during my followup appointments, who are often funded by "Big Pharma" they insisted the drug would save my life.  Frightened, while not feeling well, I acquiesced and took the daily dose.

Every day that passed, the pain escalated and I came to the conclusion it was the statins, for the very reason I was vehemently opposed to this class of drugs.  Conducting more research I discovered it takes 77 hours or more for the drugs to leave one's system.

On Tuesday night, I took the last pill deciding I was done with statins.  If, and I mean, if, I believed that they'd protect my health, I might be worried about stopping.  But, after considerable research, I feel at ease knowing I am doing the right thing.

Please keep in mind my decision to stop statins in no way is a suggestion you do the same, nor am I soliciting any medical advice. Each of us must become well educated as to what works for us with the support of medical professionals you trust.
Banana leaves along the road.
That's the keyword..."trust."  I noticed in the medical report I received from the surgeon (upon request) that he stated I'd had a heart attack.  I did not have a heart attack and asked him to amend the report accordingly.

This morning, less than 77 hours since I stopped the drug, I got out of bed, hopeful.  Alas, after moving around I noticed an 80% improvement in the pain in my arms and legs.  I'm anticipating that as more and more of the drug leaves my system, I'll continue to feel more relief.

This morning we grocery shopped and for the first time shopping since the surgery on February 12th, never once did I think about pain in my arms and legs.  Once back at the house I easily put away the groceries while Tom helped as usual.  

Previously, I had to pull up a chair to the open refrigerator to put things away.  Today, I easily bent over the under-counter fridge to load the vegetables in the drawer.
With few homes having clothes dryers, railings on verandas become clotheslines.
Am I taking a risk?  With no conclusive evidence that taking statins prevents heart disease, I don't think so.  But, if I am taking a huge risk, quality of life is most important to me.  Living in a wheelchair due to side effects from a drug is no quality of life for me, especially for our lifestyle.

You may say, try another statin.  I appreciate the concern.  But side effects are many regardless of the brand name and even lower doses.  I'm done.  Done and happy to be so.

My legs are weak but now instead of walking gingerly and favoring the pain, I can begin to walk with confidence and finally build some strength.  No, I'm not totally 100%.  That will take time, especially at my age.  But, I will continue on this path with optimism and hope for the future. 

Thank you for listening...

Be well.  Very well.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2018:
This giraffe was having a "bad hair day!"  The hair on the female giraffe's ossicones is usually short and straight up.  For more photos, please click here.