Visiting my sister in North Las Vegas…A meaningful and yet sorrowful experience…

The extreme heat creates a cloudy appearance in the desert, fog, blowing sand,  clouds, and/or smog in the valley.

Visiting my sister Susan (four years my senior) was one of our two reasons for coming to Las Vegas during this time in the US, spending time with my son Richard as the other. We have a few friends and a nephew of Tom’s we’ll also see while here.

My dear sister has been lying in bed, unable to walk for the past 12 years, suffering from the same spinal condition I have for which I have no pain after changing my diet in August 2011, almost six years ago.

Once I became pain-free (after three months on the “diet”), and Tom faced retirement, we decided to travel the world “while we can.” At any given time, I could awaken one morning and be faced with the return of the excruciating pain affecting what felt like every nerve in my body. 

We hope to dine at this restaurant when they have several options that work well for my way of eating, based on their menu found online.

That is the reason I so diligently follow this low inflammation diet excluding all sugar, fruit, grains, and starches, limiting my daily carb allotment to 15 grams, fat to 100 grams, and protein to around 65 grams. 

These restrictions leave me eating only grass-fed meat (when available), organic free-range chicken and eggs, organic non-starchy vegetables, and a small amount of full-fat dairy. 

Tom follows suit with me in this manner of eating when I’m cooking most of our meals, as we’re doing now during this three-week stay in Nevada. When we dine out, he prefers to indulge in some starches to supplement his meals, such as a bun on a burger, fries, and rice included with some dishes. 

In years past, when we visited Henderson, we dined at this popular restaurant and meeting spot, Elephant Bar.

I don’t have the liberty even to take a bite of such “luxuries,” and because I’m pain-free, I have no desire to taste any items not included in my plan. I haven’t had so much as a tiny bite of a cookie, cake, or fruit in these past six years. Why take the risk? 

Unfortunately, my sister has chosen to continue to find pleasure in food and, in reality, cannot prepare the sometimes more elaborate dishes that may require time standing in the kitchen chopping and dicing to put together an occasional interesting dish. She has health care helpers preparing her meals, not professional cooks, and they prepare only basic meals.
I understand how food can be such an important aspect of one’s life. As a long-time “foodie,” I may appreciate that fact all the more. As a former avid and enthusiastic cook with an attitude (at the time), “healthy whole grains,” fruits, and starches were good to incorporate into one’s meals.

Years ago, we frequented this popular chain restaurant.  But, with many choices of local establishments, we doubt we’ll return during this visit.

These days, I cringe over how I continued to literally “poison” myself with foods that ultimately caused a rise in blood sugar resulting in an inflammatory response.

This may not be true for everyone. Our bodies are unique in our response to a variety of foods. We see healthy individuals able to eat whatever they want, or a diet comparable to that in my “old life” who continue to thrive on a lower fat, high carb, and high sugar diet. 

There’s no benefit in my “preaching” to my sister on how she may be able to find substantial pain relief over the long haul in following this way of eating. She already knows, having tried it for a year to find her pain too, dissipated considerably, if not entirely. 

A stone marker designating the entrance to the Green Valley Ranch area in Henderson, where we’re located at this time.

Yet, with severe damage to her legs and feet from diabetic neuropathy, she was still unable to walk. This fact would hardly motivate a person to restrict their diet to such a huge extent. A short time later, she returned to the typical American diet (SAD, standard American diet) of high carbs and many sugary foods, starches, and grains. In no time at all, the pain returned. 

Of course, it’s difficult for me to see this lovely woman, a former highly successful businesswoman of the world, who traveled extensively and played a hand in many exciting business transactions, now lying in bed, basically helpless and in pain.

Her beautiful spirit and upbeat demeanor make being with her purely delightful. Few individuals could maintain such a positive attitude with her current situation. Somehow, she revels in the experiences of her long-ago past and seems to live vicariously through the joy and excitement of our world travels. 

One of the roads in The District in Green Valley Ranch where there are unique shops and restaurants.

There’s not one iota of sadness or jealousy in her demeanor when she asks many questions about our world travels. Having owned a major travel agency in her past, she too had an opportunity to travel the world and loves sharing stories of places we’ve mutually visited, only at different times.

On Monday, I visited her for three hours and will head out soon to see her again. The drive to her home is over 30 miles away and takes approximately 45 minutes, considering some traffic on the freeway. 

Driving all the way on Highway 215 seems to be the best route but is a boring drive through the barren desert with not much in the way of interesting scenery. But, once I walk in the door to her apartment and see her smiling face, the boring drive is long forgotten, and all is right with the world.

May your day be filled with events that make your day feel “right” for YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2016:

It was scorching and uncomfortable on the long walk to and around this site, The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. For more photos, please click here.