Journey to Wellness

Journey to Wellness 

Betty and I just had our annual physical check with our primary doctor.

We were pleased that our blood work showed all items in or close to the normal ranges, and nothing of concern.   

Our doctor went through the required protocol questions, even though he knew the answers.

Did we get a flu shot?  Did we want any vaccInes?  Did we want a bone density test?  There were other questions, but, our answer was “No”.

Our doctor told us we were doing great, and he would see us next year.

As he prepared to leave, he said, “I’m not paternal.  You have the right to manage your own health, and you are doing better than most people.”

We were affirmed to know we are doing great, and, we’d like to share what we do to manage our health.  

The following is a summary of what we’ve learned over the years that has kept us well and medication-free.

Wakeup Call

Our quest for good health began about 1972.  Betty and I had been married for seven years, and we had moved from Hilo on the big island of Hawaii, to Honolulu, where I taught at the university.

I was struggling with multiple allergies, and saw the allergist often for testing and treatment.  Dr. Neilson knew about the residuals from the encephalitis which had paralyzed me when I was a teenager.  On one visit, Dr. Neilson took Betty aside, and said, “Mrs. Hicks, your husband is like an automobile with eight cylinders, with only four working.  You need to keep those four working as best as you can.”

What a wakeup call!  We were motivated!  But motivation requires action and an openness to learn and try new things. 

Coincidentally, or providentially in God’s timing, we learned the components of a healthy lifestyle.

The Change

A friend referred us to Dr. John McDougall, MD, an internist who had become disillusioned with pharmaceuticals and was using diet to help his patients. 

Betty went to one of Dr. McDougall’s meetings, and came home to tell me she had signed up for a cooking class with the doctor and his wife Mary.

They were testing recipes to go in their first book, The McDougall Plan. 

Each week, a group of McDougall patients would meet in the kitchen of a Home Economics Department of a local school, and cook food provided by Mary – all vegetarian.   I could attend as a guest, and eat the food.  It turned out to be great!

However, there was a “catch”!  Betty had signed an agreement to eat vegetarian according to the McDougall Plan for sixty days. I exclaimed: “What! No hamburgers for breakfast; no hot dogs; no ham and cheese sandwiches at bedtime”!  I finally conceded that I could probably survive sixty days without meat.

After eating the delicious food at the cooking class for six weeks, and two months vegetarian, we could tell the difference, and Dr. McDougall’s complex carbohydrate based diet became our nutritional foundation. 

Like I mentioned before, first, motivation, then a willingness to try new things to make a change.

Dr. McDougall mentioned at one of his meetings, that his patients who followed the vegetarian diet lost their allergies to food. I forget how long it took, but my allergies gradually disappeared. Hurrah!   No more antihistamines.  No more allergy tests!

Not By Choice    a tough decision we had to make.  

During the 1980’s we had the opportunity to take a week’s training for certification to teach weight loss workshops.  We were already eating vegetarian, a low cholesterol diet, so we jumped in.  

It was a lot of fun teaching the workshops!  Each week we had a potluck supper with participants bringing a low fat, low cholesterol dish. 

Unfortunately the products that went along with the program were “chemical cuisine.”  We had yet to learn there is a better way to get good nutritious food.

On the supposition that if a little was good, more was better, we kept adding supplements.  Multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, etc. etc.  Every January or February, like clockwork, I got an upper respiratory infection and laryngitis.  In spite of all we were doing, I was slipping downhill.  

Because of the repeated laryngitis, the college kept reducing my teaching load.  My voice wouldn’t hold up for the 75 minute classes.  Finally, in 1989, one year away from reaching the requirement for retirement, the administration offered me a year’s leave of absence, without pay, so I wouldn’t lose retirement benefits.  I took it!  

Then we realized, one can’t live long in Hawaii without income.  Moving from Hawaii was not by choice.  We loved Hawaii having lived there 24 years.  Leaving our friends was hard.  We have many fond memories of all the fun things we did.  

Our journey to wellness now took us to Florida, to consolidate with Betty’s mother, who coincidentally was needing help also. 

For us it was a difficult change, but God had a good serendipity planned for us.  

The Serendipity

It was difficult!  But, we made it to Florida.  Our first priority was to find help for Betty’s mother.  Eating vegetarian with us was making a big difference, and Mother was already reducing medications and looking and feeling better.  

The serendipity was meeting Dale, a nutritionist who had a big impact on our lives!  

Dale’s session with Mother was eye-opening, so we made an appointment for us.  Betty emptied a shopping bag of vitamins and supplements on his desk.  The pile was the culmination of our using the assumption “if a little is good – more is better.”  But – not so! 

 Dale said, “Betty, I can tell you first, that you have very expensive urine.”  

We learned that isolated supplements were only a part of a food, and not utilized very well by the body but just passed on in the urine.  Dale pointed out that processed food had much of the nutritional value removed, and we were consuming chemicals; preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, bulking additives, etc!

We had to make a paradigm shift in our thinking!

Dale introduced us to real food, and whole food concentrates.  It was not long before Mother and I were both much better.  I was physically and mentally improved!

We attended Dale’s seminars, and ended up working with him teaching Healthy Living classes.  Betty would take groups on a “field trip” to a local grocery store for a “treasure hunt” of finding food items that were low in fat, cholesterol, and salt.  The idea was that by taking the time to read labels, it was possible to find healthier alternatives for the foods they were choosing.

That lasted twenty years, with us learning a lot about health, and earning income to supplement my retirement and social security income.

We were now eating fresh and frozen vegetables, and avoiding processed packaged “food” with chemicals.  Our complex carb based meals were now supplemented by whole-food concentrates, not supplements that were parts of food or isolated chemicals.  

Perhaps the most important thing we learned was that our bodies are best when chemically alkaline.  Cancer, and other diseases thrive in an acid environment, so our diet should be 80% alkaline residue food, and 2% acid residue.  

Everything seemed to be in place; we were healthy and medication free.  What more could we need? 

Anti-Aging    Discovering how to slow down the aging process!I  

The latest new-to-us big thing we learned was how important it is for the body to have hormone systems in balance.  Hormones are messengers made by endocrine glands such as the pituitary, that send a cascade of messages to all parts of the body to do their work.  

Endocrine glands such as the thyroid, pituitary, pancreas, and adrenal, send hormones to control use of food (metabolism), body growth, reproduction, healing, blood sugar levels, mood, body temperature, and blood pressure.

After 30 years of age, hormone production declines, and people began to see symptoms of aging.  And, toxins change normal body functions, which can lead to disease conditions. 

We found an anti-aging Gel that boosts hormone production and helps to balance the hormone systems.  One ingredient in the Gel is bio-identical to those from the pituitary gland to slow the aging process!  Other ingredients address the adrenal and thyroid glands to balance the hormone systems.

We both have been using the Gel now for 11 months and we know the Gel works!  One of the first benefits was better and deeper sleep.

In my next blog, I will share in more detail about the benefits we have experienced so far.

What we have learned has given us a lot of hope for making our journey longer and healthier!!

We love to share what we’ve learned over the years, and love to hear people report improvements in their health as a result of implementing our information.  

If you would like information about the Gel, for you or someone you care about, please email or call us.    727-842-8314.

We hope sharing our story has inspired you to make positive changes for your journey to wellness. 

Good News! A Milestone Marker

Good News! A Milestone Marker

Monday – March 20th, will be a date I will remember!  A milestone marking the progress in my recovery from a heart attack!

July 8, 2016, — 8 months and 12 days ago, I was admitted to the hospital for irregular heart beat, and had a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and blocked coronary arteries — and fluid collecting in my lungs and chest cavity.

Three ladies at the hospital summarized my options.  I could transfer to a “rehab” hospital for long term care and therapy, or, I could go home with Hospice and die.  That was exactly what they said.

After talking with the Gulfside Hospice doctor, who explained that Hospice here was two organizations – one for terminal patients, and one for sustaining care.  We chose to go home under Hospice care.  The Hospice doctor played a big part in convincing the hospital doctors to release me to go home.

One of the ladies asked me, “Why do you want to go home?”  My reply was “to work on my children’s books and to finish Danny the Dragon.”  That satisfied her; she had previously bought my book, “Tommie Turtle’s Secret.”

God answers prayers!  A big thank you to the many people who were praying for me.

We went to our cardiologist several weeks ago.  EKG was excellent, heart strong and regular, and he cut my one medication to one half.  At the end of the visit, he said, “You know Bob, you are my miracle patient for 2016, we thought you weren’t going to make it.”

My recovery has been remarkable!  I also give credit to the almost daily visits of the nurses and aids from Hospice, and to Joe, Ron and Josh  – angels from The Crossroads Church, who came to help me learn to walk again with the waker, and perhaps the most, to Betty, who served nutritious meals, and kept me consuming our eXfuze superfoods.

When I first arrived home, I was still under the mandate of “nothing by mouth,” which meant all food had to be applesauce consistency, and no solids or liquids.  I had failed the “swallow test” at the hospital.  Betty gave me baby food, pureed veggies, and smashed ice and frozen eXfuze beverage to suck on.

Today, Monday March 20th, I will be officially discharged from Hospice home care!  At my recent 6 month evaluation by the Hospice team, it was concluded that I was continuing to progress toward recovery, and no longer met Medicare requirements for Hospice care.

I still have a way to go, so please keep praying.  I am proof that God answers prayer – I am still alive and progressing!  To God be the glory!

Blogger Back Again

 Climbing the MountainBlogger Back Again

Where did I go this time?  Betty went in the hospital with pneumonia, so Hospice whisked me off to their inland palace for a 5 day “respite.”  Beautiful place with huge rooms with big windows looking out in the woods, and excellent custom meals brought to my bed.

Then on to another place, an assisted living facility for another 18 days in a small “cozy” room with caring people forcing me to get up in a wheelchair to go to the dining room to eat good repetitive meals for my vegetarian diet.

Pushing the chair around helped me gain strength, so now home again, I can get up unassisted – hurrah, we are both home, and enjoying Betty’s great cooking — better than the “palace!”

We are climbing the mountain again with expectation of a wonderful view from the top.

Next, news of “Danny the Dragon,” my next rhyming story picture book for children, and then we’ll get back to our adventures in Hawaii, so stand by.

Where did the Blogger Go?

Climbing the MountainWhere did the Blogger Go?

Blogger Bob got swept from the playing field by a heart attack!
I’ve been in a hospital bed for too long, and have to start climbing the mountain again.

The people at the hospital wanted me to stay in the system, telling me that with inoperable blocked coronary arteries and a heart pumping at 15%,  I was too weak to go home.  I failed the swallow test, so nothing by mouth unless a puree at applesauce consistency.

We elected to come home with Hospice, with the help of an incredible Hospice doctor who helped us.  I used to think Hospice was only for terminal patients, but this is a help-you-keep-going team that has provided bed, equipment, oxygen, and almost daily nurses and aides coming to help.

Friends from church come daily to help me get out of bed and begin exercising, and at last get back to the computer.  Good nutrition, and being home, has helped me start climbing the mountain again!

I broke the stalemate at the hospital by telling them I wanted to go home to finish my books.  We are starting a major book marketing campaign to help fund the illustration and publishing of my next book, Danny the Dragon.

Our friend Gaby has volunteered to be campaign manager, and has created a new website to start the ball rolling through friend networks and social media. Take a look:

Up the mountain again …. inch by inch!

Refer back to blog 5 & 6 for my first time recovering from a life threatening illness.