Niece Noelle ran into the Beatles while she was visiting us in PV! As they so famously said, we're getting by with a little help from our friends and family. LOVE you ALL!!
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A BIG THANKS to all of our friends and family who've come to visit, bringing laughter and joy, and to everyone who has donated towards Kirk's medical costs. We are half-way to our goal!! And we are forever grateful for all your love and support. Here's the link if you'd like to donate
Kirk continues to make great strides in his stroke recovery. The biggest lasting effects from his stroke seem to be balance, light-headedness/dizziness and fine motor skills in his right arm and hand. He is gradually regaining feeling in some of his right finger-tips, which had been lost with the stroke. Hi right arm still "feels" weak, even through Physical Therapy tests and exercises show it's actually quite strong.
Cardiologist Dr. Valadez giving Kirk a clean bill of heart-health with his new pacemaker.
He finally had his 1-month follow up Cardiology appointment to check his pacemaker which records every heart beat. If you recall from our last post, the pacemaker is there to keep his heart from dropping below 60BPM (prior to the pacemaker, it was dropping down to 25BPM at night when he was sleeping!) So we were thinking it would maybe only be kicking on about 25-30% of the time. Turns out it's working 75% of the time!? Now we are wondering if his "normal" heart rate was always in the mid-to high-50's? Maybe around 55-58BPM because he's been a regular meditator for over 40-years, and a regular meditation practice lowers your heart rate. At any rate (pun intended ;-) it's set to not go lower than 60BPM now, and he's noticed a definite increase of energy. Neither of us had realized how much he was really slowing down as it happened gradually. But now he has more energy than he's had in years which is fantastic.
We were apprehensive to get the pacemaker at first, cuz really who wants surgery, and a robotic device driving their heart? But all the family and friends who have pacemakers assured us it was "the greatest thing that ever happened to them." Now Kirk's in the same camp, recommending others to get one if needed, it's really amazing how it's made him feel like his old self again! :-)
We've started taking Tai Chi classes which Kirk's PT recommended to help him with his balance/dizziness. In yesterday's class they had us going around in circles, which was No Bueno for Kirk's head! But he did it anyway to test his balance, and he soon recovered from his dizziness. Besides Tai Chi and Yoga, we're both doing strength building exercises with hand-weights, to help improve our postures. One thing we learned since Kirk's stroke is that poor posture with rounded shoulders and head/neck sticking out can lead to stroke as it impinges on the heart and lungs! Check your postures everyone, and work with a PT, massage therapist and/or chiropractor to straighten back up if you're getting slouchy! We've been seeing a fantastic Holistic Chiropractor, Rachel in PV who's made a world of difference to both of us.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta overlooking the Iglesia Guadalupe wearing her crown.
Even though Kirk is making great progress, he still has a ways to go to regain his balance and move back aboard Due West
. So with hurricane season approaching (June through November), we've decided to stay in Puerto Vallarta through December. We'll be in this awesome guest house we're currently staying in through May, (HUGE THANKS to Leslie & Dean! We are really going to miss this place, you guys, and your menagerie when we move on!) Then we plan to condo-sit for our friends Judy & Paul through the HOT-muggy summer while they head back up to their boat in Seattle. With any luck by fall Kirk's balance will be back and we'll move back aboard Due West
! Otherwise, we'll look for another house to stay in until he's ready to do so.
Meanwhile the fur-kids are going crazy with SO much space to run around in. They've only ever lived aboard our 300 square-foot boat...and this house is 3x that at about 1,000 square-feet! Tosh & Tikka's favorite morning routine is licking almond-butter off the spoon when Heidi's done making our morning smoothies. So cute how they share one spoon... They also do this with avocado (Tosh's FAV food) and coconut oil. Tosh is a total tropical guy, he loves bananas, mangos, coconut, and guava too! Tikka prefers chips or crackers which we don't eat a lot of so she's usually out of luck, LOL!
Staying in one place for a while is giving us the opportunity to take Spanish immersion classes soon. We've both taken years of Spanish in school, and have used it periodically on vacations and for the past year... we're 100x better now than we were when we arrived in Mexico in Dec. 2015... but we also know we can be SO much better with some lessons and more practice. We always try our best to speak Spanish anywhere we go, and use our Google Translate App on the phones if we don't know how to say something. Often times the Mexicans want to practice their English, so we'll speak to them in Spanish and they'll speak back in English!
Kirk's brother Galen and wife Ann visiting us at our friends Judy & Paul's condo.
Lots of family and a few friends have come to visit during their spring breaks which has been super-fun! This is the most visitors we've had since leaving Seattle! PV is a favorite destination spot for many Seattlites, and there are non-stop flights making it easy. Kirk's brother Galen and his wife Ann visited in March, followed by our sister-in-law Teresa and niece Annika on Anni's college spring break, then niece Noelle on her college spring break. We also had visits from Seattle friends John & Sara, and Peggy & Bruce, but sadly didn't get any photos of them?!
Teresa & Annika at Margarita Grill where Anni gave the Margarita a Thumbs UP! In Mexico the drinking age is 16, which all the visiting teenagers happily took advantage of! :-)
BFFs Heidi & Laren in paradise.
Heidi's BFF Laren and her family also visited Puerto Vallarta for their spring break. Heidi had fun hanging out with them and playing "tour-guide" to all, sadly without Kirk most of the time as he was usually home napping or doing PT. In the book "Stronger After Stroke
", they recommend doing your PT exercises 5-8 hours a day "this is your full-time job to recover from a stroke." And Kirk is taking that to heart and is being VERY diligent.
Puerto Vallarta is loaded with art and art walks...complete descriptions of these images in our photo gallery.
Niece Annika aboard Due West keeping an eye out for whales and dolphins in Banderas Bay.
When Teresa and Anni were here they helped Heidi (along with friends Fred and Mike) to move Due West
from La Cruz, about 45-minutes away, to Marina Vallarta which is only about 2 miles away from where we're currently staying. We kept an eye out for whales but they've mostly migrated on by now and we didn't see any. Kirk has yet to go out on Due West
, but has been down to check on her a few times. Now that she's close by we'll be stoping by 2-3 times per week to keep a close eye on her.
Heidi & sobrina (niece) Noelle visiting Due West in her new home for Hurricane Season (hopefully PV won't get one this year, it's been 22 years, let's keep that streak going!)
Kirk has found that as his strength improves, he's able to walk a lot more (a mile or two over the course of a day), and physical exercise doesn't tire him out nearly as much as mental stimulation: lots of people, conversations, loud noises, etc. This has been super-tough for a social guy like Kirk! We've been out to a few restaurants for lunch with visiting family or friends, but then he needs to retire for a 2 hour nap in the afternoons (even during guests visits!) or his head starts to swim.
Kimi & Trevor's Puddle Jump Party: (back row) Heidi & Kirk s/v Due West; Viviane & Scott s/v Juniper; John-Boni s/v Ingenium; Ginny & Stephen s/v Jabaroo II. (front row) Alf the dog (who lives in the Hacienda attached to the guest house we're renting), and Kimi & Trevor s/v Slow Flight. Fair Winds and Following Seas... we miss you guys!
Our dear cruising friends Kimi & Trevor on s/v Slow Flight from Seattle just left La Cruz on the "Puddle Jump" to the Marquesas in the South Pacific. Since we currently have a huge kitchen with six burner stove, oven, and large freezer, we invited them over to prep/cook a bunch of meals ahead of time, then freeze them to have ready-made meals for their passage. We did this when we raced Due West
to Hawaii 21 years ago (has it really been THAT long ago?!) and it was great that no one had to cook for the first few days while we were all getting our sea-legs. So we turned the cooking event into a Bon Voyage party and our cruising Tribe all gathered to wish Kimi & Trevor fair winds and following seas...we MISS you kids already...can't wait to hear about your arrival!
Due West's Vic-Maui Yacht Race Crew 1996: (back row left to right) Dick, Jim, Captain Kirk, Heidi, Marty, Pat, (front row left to right) Karyn and Mark. Hard to believe it's been almost 21 years since that fun adventure!?
Captain America, er-uh, Captain Kirk took a nap while Scott made fancy cocktails and Trevor cooked meals. The gals formed an assembly line to help Heidi put together her Neal's Yard Remedies
catalogs with samples, which Laren took home with her to mail out to customers and prospective customers. Heidi has been rocking her NYR Organic (toxin-free, GMO-free, cruelty-free products) business and was super-excited to have the 3rd highest personal sales in the US for March, in spite of living out of the country!?! Send her a message if you'd like to receive a free catalog and samples too (US only.) And BIG thanks to those of you who are already NYR Organic customers!
Lest you think Neal's Yard Remedies is all about skin care, they also have lots of herbal remedies (like arnica salve and herbal first aid cream), vitamins, supplements, organic super-food complexes like greens and cocoa with adaptogens to add to your morning smoothies, plus lots of herbal teas and natural health and remedy books too...a little something for everyone!
Speaking of organic, toxin-free, and GMO-free, we just finished watching the 9-part documentary series "The Truth About Cancer
", which covers a lot of information on cancer prevention and alternative therapies being used successfully all over the world, in Europe, Middle East, and even Mexico...but not in the US because Big Pharma doesn't make any money on them! If you are diagnosed with cancer, there are many options available. We highly recommend everyone watch it, we learned so much.
Now that spring break is over for most in the US we have a lull in visitors. But the Mexican's Semana Santa (Easter "Week" which is really a two-week vacation for most Mexicans!) is upon us and the beaches and malecón will soon be crowded with the festive sounds of vacationing Mexicans.
Happy Spring to all of you, and many, many THANK YOUS again for all of the love and support!
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