Making Apple Juice from Sour Apples

Make alternate plans and still live well!

As I have noted before, I am a very fortunate pancreatic cancer survivor. With such self-mottoes as: Live Life Every Day. And Live as Long Well as You Can as Long as You can. To me, that means striving to have a positive and upbeat attitude. We can only control our own actions.

Sometimes, life can be more challenging than others. But we still need to fight our way through those challenges. And assume the best about tomorrow and the days thereafter. Read about my difficult adventures last summer. Sometimes the Road Is More Bumpy.

Now that I recognize more fully what my travel limitations are, my wife Linda and I plan for quieter time. But we have managed to do THREE great trips this year: Costa Rica, Bermuda, and Antigua. We had a blast on each of these trips. Here is a fun picture from Antigua.

 

And a couple of weeks ago, we got to see the Rolling Stones in concert. This was a makeup date due to 76-year-old lead singer Mick Jagger having a heart procedure just a few months ago. He and the rest of the band were GREAT. And Mick was energetic and fully engaged in the show.

Life is fantastic!

 

Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer

Re: An article I wrote on my pancreatic cancer journey.

As noted several times on this blog, it has been quite a personal journey for me since learning in January 2015 that I had pancreatic cancer. And undergoing Whipple surgery in February 2015. I count my blessings every single day!! 🙂

Yesterday, it was my honor to be featured on the Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer page, an affiliate of the Lustgarten Foundation. Click on the photo of my terrific family to read the article.

And, if you are able, please donate to Team Joel. We are raising money for the October 2019 Lustgarten Foundation Walk. You can donate as little as a few dollars by filling in the amount on the team page. Thanks.

From the left: son-in-law Adam, daughter Stacey, wife Linda, me, daughter Jennifer, and son-in-law Phil.

Volunteering and LOVING It

Be inspired by giving back. 🙂

If you aren’t already doing so, consider volunteering. It’s a true win-win, for those you are helping as well as for YOU. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 It is so rewarding!!


As I mentioned at the beginning of this year, I am now retired and interested in giving back. And I really want to volunteer as part of my giving back approach. But, it has been an unexpectedly difficult journey to volunteering. For different reasons, I was not able to hook up with various cancer organizations and other social services groups.

Rather than give up, I broadened my volunteering search. And it must have been my destiny all along to be a volunteer with United Cerebral Palsy of Long IslandSince last month, I have been a volunteer with the day programs at the Hauppauge, NY facility. I am working with disabled individuals who are the sweetest people. They have treated me like a long-lost friend. In addition, the staff is phenomenal and really caring.

I am involved with self-advocacy, socialization, human rights, job skills, and more. They keep thanking me. Yet, it is really I who am thankful because I get to give back in such a meaningful way. I am fulfilling my mission related my to fortunate survival from pancreatic cancer. To me, this is so inspirational and motivational.

As its Web site notes:

“UCP of Long Island is committed to advancing the independence, productivity, and full citizenship of people with disabilities. Our mission is to provide life skills training, education, advocacy, meaningful employment, and a place to call home for Long Islanders with a wide range of disabilities. UCP of Long Island proudly upholds the values of excellence, integrity, dignity, empowerment, responsibility, accountability, vision and innovation.”

“Over 65 percent of the individuals we serve today have disabilities other than cerebral palsy. These include acquired disabilities, epilepsy, sensory impairments, autism, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury, chronic physical/medical conditions, Prader-Willi syndrome, Tourette syndrome, Down syndrome, mental health disorders, and Spina bifida.”

Giving Back Quotes

Consider the following.

Volunteering and LOVING It

Volunteering and LOVING ItVolunteering and LOVING ItVolunteering and LOVING It
 

How Old Do YOU feel?

To answer, think about the new age 65.

For me, this is really a two-part question. At age 70, I feel great both psychologically and mentally. I perceive myself as much younger than I am. On the other, how I feel physically is another story. The key for me is not to let my physical ailments overpower my psychological wellbeing. So, how old do YOU feel?

With the above in mind, consider the highlights of a very interesting article by Robert Roy Britt for Medium:

“By 2050, the percentage of the elderly is expected to double globally compared to today. As people live longer and an ever-higher percentage of the population is beyond their retirement years. This according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, conventional measures of longevity don’t reflect the quality of extended time on this Earth.”

“A new study looked at aging, health, and mortality by analyzing at what age people in a country actually feel like 65-year-olds, as defined by experiencing the health problems of the average 65-year old globally. The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories. The results are a window into both longevity and health status, revealing how well people age, or how poorly, the researchers report  in the journal Lancet Public Health.”

“The findings ‘show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the aging-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.’ said Dr. Angela Y. Chang, lead author of the study from the Center for Health Trends and Forecasts at the University of Washington.”

In this study, the United States did not fare so well. For the top 10 countries cited in the chart below, people were all in their mid-70s before feeling 65. The U.S. ranked 54 at 68.5. Certainly, that is food for thought.

How Old Do YOU feel?
 

Happy Father’s Day — Be Well!

We love you dads!

Father’s Day is a special time for many of us. I lost my father Joseph and father-in-law Murray quite a while ago. But this is when I think of them the most. It is also special for me because I always get to celebrate with my wife Linda and daughters Jennifer and Stacey, and their spouses Phil and Adam. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

My wish on this day is for all of us, including you dear readers, to be as well as you can for as long you can.

And remember …..

Happy Father's Day -- Be Well!
from https://i1.wp.com/momydady.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/love-u-dad-quotes.png

 

Happy Father’s Day — Be Well!

Did you know that this past week was National Men’s Health Week? As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes:

“National Men’s Health Week is observed each year leading up to Father’s Day. This week is a reminder for men to take steps to be healthier. But they don’t have to do it alone! Whether it’s your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life.”

Here’s how:

“You can support the men in your life by having healthy habits yourself and by making healthy choices. Eat healthy and include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and can improve your mental health and mood. Find fun ways to be active together. Set an example by choosing not to smoke and encourage the men in your life to quit smoking.  Help the men in your life recognize and reduce stress. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.”

“Encourage men to see a doctor or health professional for regular checkups and to learn about their family health history. Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. Know the signs of a heart attack and if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack call 911 immediately.”

Depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. Learn to recognize the signs and how to help the men in your life. Signs of depression include persistent sadness, grumpiness, feelings of hopelessness, tiredness and decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.”

Happy Father's Day -- Be Well!

 

Preparing for the First Day of Chemotherapy

Advice for getting ready for chemo.

From personal experience, I know how scary the anticipation of the first day of chemo can be. In my case, there was a month interval between my Whipple surgery and chemotherapy. That was to let me be strong enough to endure the rigors of chemo. And rigorous it was. With numerous side effects. BUT, I’d do it all over again because it has improved the overall quality of my life. Thank you Team Vacirca and all the folks at New York Cancer and Blood Specialists.

So, when I came across an infographic on preparing for the first day of chemotherapy, I knew it had to be shared.

As reported by Healthline:

The best advice comes from the person who’s been there herself. We polled our community of women living with breast cancer for their tips on what to bring, and what to wear, on your first day of chemotherapy. Read on for their advice.”

Preparing for the First Day of Chemotherapy
 

Stevie Wisz — Role Model as a Courageous Young Athlete

Read about this amazing 21-year-old. In a word, WOW!

Yesterday and today, we highlight two truly inspirational role models. One is 55 years old and battling lung cancer. The other is 21 years old with long-term heart issues. Neither has let their health problems slow them down. Bravo!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stevie Wisz — Role Model as a Courageous Young Athlete

Stevie Wisz is a 21-year-old who plays on the UCLA women’s softball team. And she has had to battle heart issues virtually her entire life. Nonetheless, this is one highly motivated young woman. Quit or give up is not in her vocabulary.

Stevie’s story is an uplifting one that will also draw a tear from readers. Anyone who does a blanket job criticizing today’s young adults through stereotypes such as lazy and unmotivated, needs to rethink their view.

Here are the highlights of Stevie Wisz’s story, as reported by Wayne Drehs for ESPN:

Early Diagnosis and Surgery

At one year old, “In San Luis Obispo, doctors diagnosed Stevie Wisz with aortic stenosis, the severe narrowing of the aorta as it branches out from the heart. Stevie’s aortic valve was one-sixteenth the size it should have been. With such a narrow passageway, much of the blood her heart was pumping was leaking back into the heart chamber, meaning her heart had to work that much harder to pump blood throughout her body.”

“Wisz would eventually need open-heart surgery to save her life. But the doctors suggested postponing the surgery as long as possible to allow the heart to grow closer to its full size. They would keep an eye on Wisz through regular checkups. Over the next several years, she lived like many other little girls, competing in soccer, basketball and track. In a fourth-grade track meet, she remembers running as hard as she could but finishing a distant last. ‘That was the first time I remember thinking I was different,’ she said.”

“Over time, the blood leaking back into her heart went from a mild problem to moderate to severe. By the summer of 2006, after fourth grade, doctors said it was time for surgery.”

Stevie in 2019

“Now 21, Stevie Wisz has reached a point where her heart is 100 percent reliant on her pacemaker. If the pacemaker stops, she collapses. The leakage in her aorta is again severe. And yet she’s a Division I athlete who every day tries to push her body to its own unique limits. In last year’s Women’s College World Series, she leapt at the fence to rob Florida’s Janell Wheaton of a go-ahead home run. In April, she made a face-first, diving catch on a sinking liner against Cal, preserving a 1-0 UCLA victory. ‘You have to understand,’ Kylee Perez said. ‘Stevie isn’t someone who is just going to give up.’

“Each day that passes this spring, each victory that draws the Bruins one step closer to the Women’s College World Series, brings Wisz’s college playing career closer to an end — and closer to yet another open-heart surgery. She had circled the dates for months now. June 3-5 is the championship series, a destination UCLA has not reached since winning its most recent national championship, in 2010. June 13 is the day Wisz will walk across the Pauley Pavilion stage and receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from UCLA. And then June 21, one week later, she will head into another operating room for another attempt to solve the problem she has fought since that first checkup when she was 1.”

 

STEVIE, WE’RE ROOTING HARD FOR YOU THROUGH YOUR SURGERY AND LONG-TERM HEALTH.

 
Click the image to read more about this INCREDIBLE young woman. She is the epitome of the human spirit — and what we can accomplish if we push ourselves.

Stevie Wisz -- Role Model as a Courageous YoungAthlete
Stevie Wisz’s parents have supported their daughter after her risky decision to play this season. COURTESY WISZ FAMILY. [Stevie’s on the left.]