Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Catch-Up Time

Yikes! It has been five weeks since my last posting. I am so, so sorry for the delay.

Many of you wrote to me, personally, to make sure nothing was seriously wrong. Thank you so much for checking up on me.

So much has happened over the last month that this post promises to be chock full of stuff! Where to begin?

My health has been...well...hmmm?! Overall, the docs say I am back in remission. That is the good news.

The bad news is that my cholesterol level is 227, LDL 137 (the one responsible for clogging up and blocking arteries, resulting in hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which is an accumulation of fat buildup inside the walls of our arteries), and triglycerides 195 (chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body). I just happened to have an appointment for a stress test and brought my blood test results along. Needless to say, the cardiologist was not at all pleased.

The numbers, based on my age, are considered "borderline high risk." It was suggested by my primary doc to go on a strict cholesterol free diet for three months and then he will retest.

But my cardiologist said there is only a 20 percent chance that the diet will make a difference. Considering my family history, the odds are against me.

Mom had five bypasses a few years ago, Dad had cardiac issues and a heart attack prior to his cancer diagnosis, and my grandfather died of a massive heart attack. So, that gives you a pretty clear picture of what the future holds for me. Ugh.

Most people with high cholesterol are put on statin drugs (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). These drugs lower the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Statins block the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol.

Of course being put on a statin would pose a risk for someone like me. You see, rhabdomyolysis is a serious side effect of taking a in which there is damage to muscles. Rhabdomyolysis often begins as muscle pain and can progress to loss of muscle cells. Figures, right? Me...the one with the muscle disease...?! I guess this would be my last resort.

Other than that, ha ha...I have intense pain in both hips since the temperature dropped. I had been going to yoga once a week, but that is on hold for now. I will take it a day at a time. At least I am able to go for walks now, but I was actually in bed for a few days unable to move around.

Enough of that! Let's see...what have I been up to?

Back on September 20th, my band traveled across the GW Bridge to perform at Montclair State University's Centennial Celebration! Why New Jersey, you ask? Because that is my alma mater! Ah...ha!!!

Way back in the day...1980 to be exact, I graduated with a bachelor of science in physical education and health! I have only been back once since then, and let me tell you...I didn't recognize the campus!

My band was asked to perform from noon to 2:40 in the middle of campus, right outside of Memorial Auditorium. The weather that day was glorious. And I must tell you, it was one of the happiest days of my life! I didn't stop smiling for a second!

Thousands of people passed by during our performance...and we received many thumbs up, nods and overall positive responses! But the most amazing part of the experience was when several people, from my past, showed up to see the show! Friends who I haven't seen since 1976! That blew my mind! Thanks Rich, Nora, Sharon and Benay for stopping down!!!

The following weekend we performed at one of my favorite places on earth...Robert Moses State Park. Despite the damp weather in the morning, we took to the stage right near the ocean at field 4, with my beloved Fire Island Lighthouse to our right!

The crowd truly enjoyed our music, so much so that they hired us again...on the spot...for next year! How much better does it get than performing at the beach? Not much!!!

In between that time, my friend Dawn unexpectedly lost her dad. Time truly slips away from us, and we just never know what tomorrow will bring. My heart and love goes out to her.

And my thoughts and prayers go out to Helene, a very close family friend, for a speedy recovery. Sending lots of love down to Florida!

My family celebrated the Rosh Hashanah holiday at a relative's in Muttontown. There were over 30 people seated at the table for dinner...and we had a great time! I found out that evening that Alicia Keys lives around the corner from where we were having dinner. Sure wish I knew the house number!!!

I attended yitzkor services at the Bay Shore Jewish Center on Yom Kippur morning. A friend of ours is the Cantor at that synagogue, so it was quite a treat to listen to her chant the hebrew blessings. It was an emotional day, as it always is...remembering my beloved Dad.

I also had the honor and priviledge of participating in the Pride Alliance of Long Island's Third Annual National Coming Out Day Interfaith Service. The evening of prayer was held at St. Bede's Church in Syosset, where we honored the memory of Matthew Shepard on the 10th anniversary of his death. I was one of three religious leaders who gave sermons during the service. I will include my sermon, in its entirety, it at the end of today's blog!

Sally, Jarrett and I took a day trip out east to Seven Ponds Orchards on Columbus Day to pick macoun apples...our favorite! The air was brisk and the sky overcast, but we had a blast! We even had the opportunity to pick peach-colored blackberries! They were delicious!It is just about the end of October. Our pool is closed, the leaves are lit in brilliant colors and the temperature is dropping rapidly. Goldie and I took a walk to Southard's Pond, and I want to share the photo I took with all of you. Mother Nature in all her glory! God bless!

Rev. Beverly's sermon given on October 11, 2008 for National Coming Out Day:

"National Coming Out Day is being celebrated today to promote government and public awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, and to celebrate who we are as human beings.

It also marks the tenth anniversary of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, who was viciously beaten and left to die on a split-rail fence in Wyoming, because he was gay.

As our community continues to mourn this senseless death, Matthew Shepard is remembered today as a young man who had the courage to be true to himself. And for that, he paid the ultimate sacrifice.

This evening, we celebrate the unity we create in the midst of our diversity, affirming the inherent beauty, worth, and dignity of every glbt and straight person.

No one is free when others are oppressed. And as a spiritual leader, I promise to take responsibility to lead, protect, and affirm GLBT people: children, adults, and their families.

Coming out to oneself means to acknowledge, to oneself, that one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This is the very first step in the coming-out process; and it often involves soul-searching or a personal epiphany of sorts.

When a person makes that choice to finally "come out,” they must continue to out themselves daily, upon making every new acquaintance and in most new situations.

As members of the GLBT community, we have a long way to go for total acceptance. But we are making great strides.

Yesterday, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, joining California and Massachusetts.

It is my hope that after next month’s election, New York State will also recognize that marriage is a sacred union for all people who are committed to each other without regard to gender. Love makes a family.

The choice is not whether to be GLBT or straight, but whether or not to live an authentic life.

In conclusion, I would like to offer this affirmation for hope for our community and the world:

Hope enters the world, riding on the wings of peace.

All hope is born of love and peace.

When I hope for peace, I hold great possibilities within me.

Like a seed hungering for water, hope waits eternally for the flame of god to ignite its power.

I hope for all things, for all things are possible.

I hope for peace, faith, love, acceptance and tranquility for all.

Hope is all.