September

https://www.npr.org/2014/09/19/349621429/the-song-that-never-ends-why-earth-wind-fires-september-sustains

For most of my life, the month of September has been my favorite time of year. I loved school and I always loved starting a new year in the fall. Different teachers and classmates plus new things to learn. I love the weather in September – warm days and cool nights. The AC can usually be turned off and the windows opened. Also, I can start thinking of the upcoming ski season in September and planning trips and buying new gear and dreaming of long snowy runs in the sunshine.

Mr. Phat’s and my song was September by Earth, Wind & Fire. We sang the Baa Dee ahhhs together so many times. We met on Labor Day, 2006 so our code was always 9406. We celebrated 9/4/06 for 10 years until we got married on 9/15/16 and then we celebrated both days. Our wedding bands were engraved with one word – September. Chris’s band broke and he always would laugh after it was repaired saying it now said Sep-ember.

If you recall in the song, “Do you remember, the 21st night of September?” That date was significant to EWF because it was Maurice White’s son’s birthday and that’s why the date was picked for the song. In 2020, the 21st day of September was the date that Mr. Phat and I had to put our beloved Jack Russell down, so the date took on a whole new meaning. It also started a very fast, long slide down a dark hole for Mr. and I.

So I am not so eager to embrace September this year. I only hope that I can remember a conversation with a dear friend this summer who has had a lot of grief in her life – where she said that sometimes the anticipations of the “firsts” following death is worse than the date itself. To that end, I have arranged a nice dinner part for some friends on our 5th anniversary in 2 weeks to hopefully embrace the essence of what Chris and I were to each other. I will remember Abbie on the 21st with a smile and a long walk with her “sister” pup Stella. And I will continue to play September and thank Maurice, Phil, Ralph, Al and the rest of the band for creating so much music that was the soundtrack of Chris’s and my life together. And I will try not to let the Lyrics get in the way of the groove.

https://www.npr.org/2014/09/19/349621429/the-song-that-never-ends-why-earth-wind-fires-september-sustains

Saying Goodbye

I’ve often heard the words that saying good bye is never easy. I’ve said a few good byes: some that were very meaningful, but none that will ever impact me as the one I said yesterday when we finally put Mr. Phat to rest in his cemetery plot where his first wife and mother are buried. It was a very hot day but we stood nearby under a tree in the breeze while the priest said all the appropriate words about Chris’s life and how he meant so much to so many people.

Later we gathered with a larger group looking over Narragansett Bay/Greenwich Cove and shared fabulous food, drinks and some stories about Chris. I have been with him only for his last 15 year chapter, so many of the people in attendance have known him far longer than I have. I had a memorabilia table and placed items and photos that went back to his youth – from being an accomplished athlete, to a musician, husband, father, grandfather and realtor. Not to mention life long friend and mentor to many people along the way. The spirit of One Love was definitely in the building and you could sense the heartwarming emotions that everyone felt. We laughed at some of the stories and there were tears at others.

Today, my company has left, it has started to rain and the only word I can think of to describe how I feel is empty. EMPTY. I went back to the cemetery this morning to make sure that it was put back as it should be and I cried the hardest I’ve cried since he died. It took 45 years to find a soul mate. That person who knows what you’re thinking and feeling without you having to express it. I wasn’t sure that such a concept existed and many people don’t get that in a lifetime so I should feel grateful that I did. Perhaps some day I will.

For now, I’m going to grieve and feel the emptiness and hope that I also feel his arms around me, pushing me forward. Love hard Friends.

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice was always a favorite time of mine. Heralding summer with the longest days of the year, lightening bugs sparkle at the edge of the yard and the promise of what was to come.

This year not so much. The longer day means more time to grieve and cry and miss Mr. Phat. Tomorrow will be eleven weeks and it seems like yesterday and yet it seems like an eternity. My grieve strengthens as the shock wears off. The reality of forever seeps in and midsummer is that much longer this year.

Today as I work in my gardens, which has always been a therapy for me, I think of my Memere. It’s her birthday today and I’m remembering her grief after my Pepere died. There’s was a true love that I always admired. Being a chef, she would have loved my husband. They would have talked food and flavor and laughed together. Like I wish I was doing with him today.

Hearts

Friends, if you only follow my blog and don’t follow any of my social media posts, I’d like to share that my husband, Christopher N. Fascione passed away last week. He has struggled for the past several years with his chronic heart failure. He had some serious arrhythmias including ventricular fibrillation which is deadly and was at Tufts Medical Center where he was hoping to get a heart and kidney transplant but his body started to shut down over Easter Weekend and he passed on Easter Monday. I was fortunate to be with him, holding his hand when he passed. I am profoundly sad, but forever grateful that I had him for the time I did. He restored my faith in Love, and soul mates and for the first 10 years we were together we didn’t stop. Skiing in Europe, attending sporting events, and our favorite thing was concerts. We also cherished nights alone at home, being together and laughing out loud. He had stories and he told them so well.

He definitely began slowing down over the past 18 months and the pandemic was a true blessing to me as I look back because we stayed home together for an entire year, loving each other, holding hands and agonizing over the world. We buried our beloved Jack Russell and adopted a rescue dog from Texas in December. Chris taught me to love dogs. A chance meeting in 2006 on Match.com changed our worlds and it was evident to everyone we touched

I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of sentiments from family, friends and colleagues. Chris was a family man, a successful realtor, a musician, a Renaissance man and a true friend to many. And he was mine. Forever. I will live the rest of my days with him in my heart, trying to capture his essence.

July 2020

No need for apologies for not keeping in touch this year. I guess I’ve been ‘social distancing’ with my blog as well. Truthfully, I felt that anything I would have to say would seem trite based on what others are experiencing. However, I am reminded that tomorrow this blog turns 9 and I thought that it was worth posting about.

Hoping my fellow immunocompromised bloggers and friends have managed to stay healthy. My husband and I have stayed very close to home because we are both #highriskcovid19. He is a chronic heart failure patient and of course I take immunosuppressants. We’ve been able to work in the yard a lot and that has been therapeutic. We bought and assembled a bitch of an outdoor patio set and we have commented daily about how lucky we are to live in the peace of the woods with a bike path next door. The dog and I have been doing a lot of stepping thankfully since my initial pandemic diet consisted mostly of homemade breads, pizza and wine!!!

We have managed some pool time locally as well as some beach time. But not at the crowded beaches that you may have seen footage of on TV. We are keeping it safe and staying at home. I am traveling to see my parents this week after having a negative Covid 19 test. Living in RI is comforting because our governor has been militant almost since the pandemic began. I haven’t always agreed with her politics, but regarding the pandemic, she has been a strong leader.

So 9 years I’ve been hacking around at this blog. Very very soon I will be staring Phat60chick in the nose. UGH.

Wishing you all health and wellness. Keep looking at the blessings.

One month ago today

I drove to the pharmacy to pick up scripts today for Mr. Phat and me.  I hadn’t driven in over a month and I realized that life was very different a month ago today when I embarked on a ski trip to Switzerland with 20 friends.  We left on Leap Year Day amid knowledge of a novel Coronavirus that still hadn’t had much of an impact in the US.  There was no reason not to go so we went.

E5E68E46-28CD-41C4-A610-081350CF29C6This is the view from our hotel in Wengen Switzerland.  Such a gorgeous spot – my group has been coming here since 2012, although I hadn’t been in 5 years.  We had all conditions that we skied in, sunshine, snow, fog, rain.  I also took a couple days in the middle of the trip to meet up with my high school BFF who has lived in Switzerland for 40 years.

9439288C-6F0E-4220-95E4-4DD6CAFF83CFThat was the gift I brought to her which has the longitudinal points of her hometown.  We had some fabulous meals, walks and talks.  I went back to Wengen for some. More fun times.

D345EE81-7F39-4615-9428-14D8EC8B7072the Eiger, Monch and Jungrau

9CE6EA94-2EEA-4E2F-B6DA-76221FDCEDF4Lunch on the patio with some of our group.

Day 9 was definitely the very best lunch!!!  Up on the Eigergletcher restaurant.  Lambs ear salad with lamb filets and some endive.  So delicious.

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That was the highlight of the food experience.  And the ski experience because after lunch I fell and broke my ankle.  A non structural break, but I was unable to ski the last 3 days.  It didn’t ruin my trip at all – I relaxed and read a book.  I’ve not done that in a long time.

But everything changed the second week we were there.  We saw the number of COVID19 patients ticking up in Italy, the neighboring country to Switzerland.  Watching the news got painful  and overnight on Wednesday night our President instituted the travel ban which was to begin Friday night at Midnight.  We had fate on our side because our flight was scheduled to land at 9 pm on Friday.  Our group had the last flight Swiss International Airlines took from Zurich to Boston.  We landed and I was in the car, with my luggage’s and broken ankle in 30 minutes.

Our group has self quarantined for 14 days.  Nobody has gotten sick so far, and I was the youngest traveler – we had 6 under the age of 66 and the rest were in their 70s’ and several 80 year olds.  Knock on wood.

Being home, we’ve watched live change drastically each day.  I am fortunate to be able to work from home.  Mr. Phat is semi retired and won’t be showing houses in the near future, but that is OK.  I waffle between emotions of anxiety and impending doom, then remind myself that we are truly blessed.  If I have to be quarantined, I’m happy to have it be here in my little house tucked in the woods with my favorite man in the world.  We are blessed because we have enough.  Enough food, Toilet paper, water, heat, and love.  Mr. Phat and I are both high risk – he’s a heart patient and I’m immunosuppressed.  So we have been ordering delivery of groceries (and a case of wine) and feel fortunate.  The only trip out I’ve taken was this morning’s ride to the pharmacy when I recognized how much has changed.

Please stay healthy and cautious.  This too shall pass.  I’m going to share some food pictures from Switzerland.  My jean still fit!!!

 

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I’m doing OK

this post was written 2 weeks ago. 

Happy Sunday.  It’s been a beautiful end of summer weekend in New England.  Truly bonus weather for being outside.  We were fortunate enough to sail with friends who have a beautiful sailboat.IMG_20190921_184144_268

That’s me behind the wheel on our return.  There was no wind on the way out so we motored out and rafted with friends for lunch and chat.

I’m feeling good. That is probably the reason that I’ve not written.  A fellow blogger wrote recently in her blog that it seems like we should only be writing when we have struggles.  Writing when we are doing well seems counter to what blogging is for.

But the reality is that I’m thriving lately.  Even my visit 2 weeks ago with the Rheumy was so positive.  He was incredibly surprised with my blood tests and my description of how well I was feeling.   After a really rough spring, I’m off prednisone and going to back down on the amount of methotrexate that I inject.  As a matter of fact, I am 2 days past my injection date – I totally forgot on Friday because I felt so good!

I have been walking everyday and am increasing it now that the weather is cooler.  I’m trying to figure out what else I’m going to add for exercise this fall for ski prep.  My work schedule is very busy so I’m not sure that I would be loyal to classes, not sure I want to do the gym or do something online from home.  I’m still figuring it out and accepting suggestions because the place where I’m not doing well is weight.  I’m up.  6 months of prednisone took its toll and I need to do better.

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Mr. Phat is feeling ok.  Trying to figure out life as a heart patient with neuropathy.  His heart specialist keeps tweaking his medication to find the best balance.  They’ve dried out the fluid from his body almost too much, so he’s dizzy and the kidneys aren’t functioning as they should.   He’s also more aware of being chronic illness challenged and that’s the best victory to have.  He’s learned to balance his schedule so he can still work some, rest some, have fun and enjoy his life.

Summer

Good morning from beautiful New England.  I am happy to say that after a tough RA spring, my body has responded to a steady dose of meds and I’m feeling better.  Been off the prednisone for 10 days or so which I am always grateful for.  I’ve been doing house projects again and will be stepping outside to stain some steps this morning.  I think I’ve lost a little of the bloat and weight from the steroids because the clothes feel better.

RA be damned!!!

Must be spring

It must be spring if my RA goes out of control.  It must be spring if I get a respiratory infection and have to stop my RA meds.  It must be spring when the pollen is strong, causing sneezing and runny noses.

This was an incredibly wet spring which resulted in lush gardens and lawns and LOTS of pollen.  I imagine between the allergens in the air and the several weeks I was off my meds fighting upper and lower respiratory infections, my RA didn’t stand a chance. It’s been incredibly painful and my joints are swollen, necessitating me to take that nasty drug Prednisone more frequently than I like to.

I have even had to forage into my stash of pain meds several mornings.  This is something I’ve not done for 2 years, since my knees were replaced.  Just when I think that my RA is becoming a non issue in my life, it takes over my life.

I’ve stopped eating the inflammatory foods such as wheats and dairy, but I’m not sure that has had an impact yet.  My blood work this week showed that the inflammatory markers were through the roof.  I see the rheumy on Monday so we have much to discuss.  Meantime, I’m hoping to get my butt outside and do some gardening this morning.  While it may not be good for the joints, it’s good for the soul

Spring

bloom blooming blossom blur

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Two weeks ago I was in the desert of California, soaking up the dry, sunny climate and I felt wonderful.  Flew home late on Sunday night and it was raining.  Monday was grueling – I went into full RA flare.  My wrists hurt, my fingers wouldn’t move. It was a cruel reminder that climate can make a big difference and perhaps I’d feel much better living in a desert environment.  But I do love New England and it would be hard to leave.  I also have a really great job that I cannot leave or retire from.  Yet.

It’s rainy here today.  My body has adjusted and I merely ache; it’s not painful like it was when I first flew home.  Mr. Phat is doing better.  His heart failure is behind him and he seems to be managing it better than he has in the past.  I’ve taught him The Spoon Theory and encouraged him to recognize signs after he eats certain foods.  Being mindful is helpful.  We are waiting on some additional test results before taking the next step, but he did have a couple of good days in a row this week and that hasn’t happened in a couple years.  Hopefully we are figuring it out.

Happy Easter.  Happy Passover. Happy Spring!

 

 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com