Wellbeing

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Creating a Harmonious Family Life

Local experts offer tips for keeping your family happy.

As Elizabeth Rees drove her daughter and two of her daughter’s friends to a library reading group recently, the Alexandria mother of three admits that she felt like a chauffeur at first. But she had a change of heart after hearing sounds of laughter.

Not Yet, Really

While we’re exchanging pleasantries here, in semi real time – although this column will not be most read until March 6th (I need to submit it on Monday, March 3rd as we go to press on Tuesday, March 5th), I feel the obligation, given how last week’s column ended, to update you on the results from my February 26th CT Scan. Presumably, by the title you all have determined that as of this writing, Saturday, March 1st, I have not heard back from my oncologist. Typically, I would have already heard from him, electronically. But so far, not a peep, electronic or otherwise and believe me, I’ve been checking, as you might imagine.

High Five

I made it. It’s five years after receiving a terminal diagnosis on February 27, 2009 from my oncologist: stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, accompanied by a "13-month to two-year" prognosis. Let’s be honest, medical professionals don’t toss around the word "terminal" because you’re going to be treated at an airport. Presumably, they know their facts and figures as well as the patient’s present condition, confirmed by a variety of diagnostic results from X-Rays, CT Scans, P.E.T. Scans, lab work and of course the ever-popular biopsy, so their diagnosis/prognosis is a bit more than an educated guess. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and until proven otherwise, I was not about to succumb to their statistics. Still, based on the best medical knowledge available at the time, this patient (yours truly) was given a limited life expectancy and encouraged to take the vacation I had always dreamed of – for obvious you’re-life-is-now-shorter-than-you-ever-imagined-type reasons, and yet, five years hence, here I am.

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Alexandria Food Truck Task Force Prepares to Issue Recommendations

A movable feast through Old Town, Del Ray and Carlyle?

This spring, advocates for food trucks will engage in a battle with brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Rolling with It

A new vision for the Potomac Community Center’s rink of dreams has been adopted, while plans to use the former roller hockey rink at Potomac Community Center for athletes with disabilities are being finalized. Programs could start by the summer camp season, according to council documents. Montgomery County Council held a public hearing Feb. 11 on a proposal to use $250,000 of General Obligation Bonds and community contributions to convert the dormant roller hockey rink at the Potomac Community Center into an adaptive sports court for athletes with disabilities. “The increase is needed to meet the increased demands for therapeutic recreation services for persons with disabilities,” according to County Executive Isiah Leggett. “I appreciate your prompt consideration of this action.”

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Treasuring Alexandrians’ Health at the YMCA

Offering an array of activities for every age group, YMCA Alexandria continued in 2013 to serve as a center for wellness in our community and plans another rich program of services for 2014. Activities available to members — from infants to nonagenarians — include personal and group cardiovascular training and weightlifting; aquatics and a youth swim team (the Sea Dragons); aerobics, pilates, zumba, yoga, ballet, and cycling; as well as day care, after-school care, and teen leadership opportunities.

Letter: ‘Open’ in a Snowy Night

"Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Gloom of Night…" Have you ever heard that motto before? You have if you’ve been to the New York City General Post Office. It’s not actually the official motto of the post office, but it’s engraved on the front of their building since 1896. Therefore, for the sake of this story, let’s pretend it is.

Until Further Notice

Not to state the obvious (which I readily admit I do), but to be given a terminal diagnosis: stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer, along with a rather disappointing prognosis: "13 months to two years" is a challenging set of extremely unexpected (given my immediate family’s medical history) circumstances. I don’t want to say that I live under a dark cloud – because I don’t like the negative implication or reaction it conjures, but I definitely feel as if I have a metaphorical sword of Damocles hanging over my head; which I only refer to as an-out-of-context Three Stooges reference wherein a non-Stooge was innocently standing under a pie which Moe had thrown to the ceiling and there it stuck, hanging precariously over the character’s head. Now I still don’t know the proper historical context of the sword of Damocles, I only know the Three Stooges version, but there was some imminent danger involved (not death, mind you), but rather a falling pie which ultimately landed flush on the character’s face as she looked up to make further inquiries. Nevertheless, pie issues/references notwithstanding, having seen my oncologist today while being infused and receiving a big smile/ "you’re going great"/thumbs-up set of gestures/reactions while reclining in my Barcalounger with a chemotherapy I.V. dripping medicine into my right arm, is the kind of super-positive feedback with which I can live. Along with my every-three-week pre-chemotherapy lab work and my every-three-month CT Scan followed by my every-three-month face-to-face appointment with my oncologist, this is how I roll. Worrying about upcoming tests, waiting anxiously for results, trying not to anticipate good, bad or indifferent; living day to day and trying to appreciate my good fortune and the unexpected above-average quality of life with which I’ve been blessed – for a terminal cancer patient, that is.

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New Grocery Store Opens in Fair Lakes

Features organic and all-natural products.

A new grocery store, aimed at customers interested in buying natural and organic foods, has opened for business in Fair Lakes.

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Thirty Travel to Richmond

VIC Raises Issues of the Poor

Calling for expanded mental health services and greater access to Medicaid for the most vulnerable in the Mount Vernon community, a 30-member delegation from VIC traveled to Richmond, Feb. 6, to speak with area legislators.

An Unexpected Present

Not that I minded it in the least (in fact, I appreciated it in the most), but I received my first senior discount the other day. I was fast-fooding at my local Roy Rogers restaurant when the unexpected kindness occurred. Considering that I’m not at the age yet when such discounts are typically available, I certainly did not (do not) presume that my appearance somehow reflects an age which I am not. In truth, I don’t believe it does. So even though I didn’t ask for the age-related discount, I was offered/given it nonetheless. As the cashier tallied my bill, she then spoke the price and adjusted it downward 10 percent for my surprise "senior" discount. On hearing the lower price and the reason for it, I immediately responded: "Oh, you’re giving senior discounts to people over 40?" To which she replied, while looking me directly in the eye: "No. Over 30." Laughing at her quick-thinking quip, I thanked her again for the discount and commended her on her excellent answer/customer service.

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Tennis Comes Alive with ‘T&T’ and ‘Live Ball’ Clinics

Tennis Comes Alive with ‘T&T’ and ‘Live Ball’ Clinics

“Smash that ball! Put it away! Finish the point! Move your feet! Get your racquet back up and ready for the next shot!” Participants pant, sweat drips — the game is on and players are striving to improve. Balls fly across the net as players hit ground strokes, volleys and overheads. Pros holler tips, instructions and commands — encouraging players to move more quickly and hit more solidly.

Healthful Meal Ideas for Seniors

Dietician/chef creates meals that are nutrient-dense and easy to prepare.

Shirley Martin of Vienna has a pacemaker and is on warfarin, a blood thinner, and Vitamin K, found in dark leafy greens, can lessen the effectiveness of warfarin. Martin also has high cholesterol. "I have to be concerned about eating too many greens while I’m on warfarin or too many fats," said Martin. "I also try to keep from gaining weight."

Virginia Health Department Forecasts Seasonal ‘Stomach Bug’

Statewide data monitored by the Virginia Department of Health indicate that norovirus was arriving in Virginia just in time for the cold weather.

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Consistent Bedtimes Linked to Improved Wellbeing in Children

Local experts offer suggestions for helping youngsters get a good night’s sleep.

When the clock strikes 9 on any given evening, 13-year-old twins Timothy and Danny Gulyn and their 11-year-old twin brothers, Christopher and Jonathan, know that it’s time for bed. Whether they are on vacation during the summer or at their Arlington home on a school night, the siblings follow a consistent routine that has them tucked-in at the same time every day.