Thursday, November 30, 2017

Adaptive Cyclists

So many places to ride!

One of the reasons we enjoy spending the winter in the desert is cycling. McDowell Regional park is a favorite for mountain biking. Just a 25 minute drive puts us on some sweet single track.
Beer bones Jones on the newly rebuilt shelter along the Pemberton Trail.
The Valley of the Sun has done a great job of adding multi use paths across the valley. We took this path from the Cubs Stadium in Mesa by Tempe Town Lake into Scottsdale.
There are different bike routes we like to take while here in Mesa. One we like goes to Usery
Regional Park which is a moderate 30 mile ride with climbing to the park. Many cyclists use the park as a rest stop for the restrooms, refilling the waterbottles or having a snack. We have met people from around the US and world when we would stop here. Last year, we met a couple from Minnnesota that invited us to ride with their snowbird group which we enjoyed very much.

This week, my right knee was hurting. I told Mike to go ahead and ride faster and further if he would like and meet me at the park. There were three cyclists on recumbent bikes at the stop. One lady asked Mike to help her get her foot unclipped from the pedal. Then Dan
walked over and handed us a postcard with his information. His speech was slow and his right arm and leg weak. I mentioned that there was an adaptive cycling program in Colorado Springs and he happens to be involved with (Hi to our friend Alan Severn who has been involved with
the adaptive program in Colorado Springs for quite sometime).
Dan and the other riders had strokes or other neurologic conditions that had been a huge insult in their lives. When I told them I was a nurse, they were happy to sit and share their stories and tribulations. Cycling has brought back so much to their lives. They emphasize abilities not disabilities and boy do they do that with their rides around town and across the US. I could go on and on explaining how they had to relearn so much including speaking and overcoming their isolation
but you can look at his website at He does a much better job of telling their stories.
As we were leaving, we all celebrated the downhill ahead of us and the fact that we made it to the top of the hill. Riding down hill with the wind in my face, I thinking about how my knee wasn't aching quite so much after our visit. We appreciate
our health and try to do something to keep these bodies strong everyday. We never know when it will be our turn to get wacked upside the head by something out there lurking in the unknown.
Boy I ended that on a downer.... ;)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Getting our "ugly on"

People of the Night

Spending so much time outdoors skiing, hiking and cycling has side effects both good and bad. It helps keep down the waistline, sleep well at night and an improved sense of well being. The downside is all that sunshine is hard on the skin. We have both had a few Mohs surgeries for skin cancer. Now we see the dermatologist on a regular basis and get PDT (photodyanamic therapy).
PDT is a preventative skin treatment. A medication is applied and sits for an hour or two before putting us under an ultraviolet light for 16 minutes and 40 seconds. The sensation of needles poking our faces is minimized with a little fan while a technician  talks to distract us and is over fairly quickly. Then we become people of the night for 48 hours,no sunshine or bright lights. When the sun goes down, we head outside. The rest of the week we just look like we got a bad sunburn (getting our ugly on).

Once we heal, our faces look refreshed as the collagen rejuvenates. Yeah right. Maybe we just don't look so scary and think we look better.
The two surgeries on my face left ugly scars on my face. Mike's healed nicely and are hardly noticeable. I tried silicone patches at night but would wake with them stuck to Mike's face or my leg. The gel did make some difference. My plastic surgeon (got one of those too) had several recommendations. I opted to try microneedling, yep more needles in the face.
The first of four treatments (maybe four) made a big difference in the scars. I am going back again and will take it a treatment at a time. I won't go into the details but I was squirming in the chair.
Maybe we are crazy being outside people. After only 24 hours of our 48 inside, I can see the looney bin would not be far away if we couldn't get out.

We met a nice lady from Ohio who thought it was strange that she kept overhearing people talking about hiking when she arrived in Arizona and decided it must be a thing around here. Why would we want to go through the effort of climbing a mountain or hill, get sweaty and just walk outside? We often forget that everyone doesn't like the same things we do such as being outside and enjoying nature. I guess it would get too crowded outside if everyone did it.

Cuenca, Ecuador

An Expat Destination The morning after returning to Quito we boarded an hour-long flight to Cuenca. Driving up the winding roads would have ...