Thursday, April 15, 2021

Going Pegan

 I was first diagnosed as Type II Diabetic in 2002. In recent months my waistline has baloon and with the lock down my blood gucose levels have made an A1C reading of over 13 "normal". 

That folks is not good.

I am taking over two hundred units of insulin per day and on other meds. Yes folks if you shake me I rattle and slosh with drugs. Add to that I have heart issues and early kidney failure.


A  few days ago I was watching PBS television while I waited for my wife to come back to our hotel, she was taking an extension exam to allow her to teach Home Economics in public school. On TV came a item by Dr. Hyman extolling the virtues of his Pegan diet.

The Pegan diet takes a plant based diet, similar to Vegan or Vegetarian diets and adds some elements of the Paleo diet, which adds some natural meat elements.

In his talk Dr. Hyman said the diet could reduce blood glucose levels and was not as restrictive as many perceived "Healthy" diets,  as you get to eat lots of fresh colorful fruits and vegetables, less wheat and processed foods, and have some meats which again are raised grass fed or organic as opposed to corn and soy fed.

I immediately ordered his book and told my wife about the program when she got back to the hotel.

We both agreed that the diet is worth a try and have set out a plan to try it until Christmas.

Giving the Pegan diet a good seven moths to check for any boredom and health factors.

We arrived home on Monday and began the diet on Tuesday.

One of my first meals, dinner on Tuesday was a salad, lettuce, tomatoes, free range eggs, all of which we already had in the fridge anyway, I do not like the normal salad dressings like Ranch or Italian I grew up in England with Salad Cream but have found it hard to obtain in the U.S. so have often used a handful of grated cheese as a salad topping, much to the amusement of friends and family. But it works. So don't knock it, it also fits with the Pegan diet though this grated cheese was not organic or grass fed, we can get that as we need later. Using what we have in the fridge right now.

Breakfast today was organic plain Greek Yoghurt with fresh strawberries and banana. Delicious low in sugar.

Also as another dinner we have eaten organic English Muffins ( a treat ) with free range scrambled eggs and fresh tomato.

MY first thirty six hours have found my blood glucose levels falling towards normal. From the three hundred level to a high of 172 and a low of 78.  Well within my control limits.

I am happy and hopeful that this program might work. It is early days, but  with more managed glucose levels, perhaps some weight loss I am hoping to bring down my levels of medication by a large amount.

I will keep you posted.

To read about the Pegan Diet check out my Amazon Link.. Purchasing through this link will support my blog.  Thank you.



Thursday, April 1, 2021

Moderna Corona Virus Vaccine: My Personal Experience

 When the Corona Virus first came about, I never imagined it would still be in the news headlines over one year later.

William wears a red Guide dogs for the blind baseball cap and a GDB facemask. He is looking dirctly into the camera

As an investor in the stock market, I weathered the crash of February and March 2020. I even got to make some nice profits, buying in mid March 2020. But that is for another post.

I followed the news of the vaccine development through last year. Back in September 2020 someone asked me if I would take the vaccine. I said that in all probability I would, though I had reservations. Having lung, heart and blood clotting issues catching the virus in an unprotected state would almost certainly be fatal for me. The vaccine might give me a chance of living a little longer.

My friend was an adamant no to the vaccine. Under any circumstances. His choice. But one I thought foolish. In our chat I guessed that I would not get the vaccine until at least May 2021, not even guessing vaccines would be licensed by Christmas.


Mid February came and I received a telephone call from my local blind center. They had Moderna vaccine available at the end of the month, if I wanted to take it.

I needed no second invitation. Better to have taken the chance and possibly die or not take the chance and certainly die horribly.

The day of the first vaccination dose came along. My wife drove me to the location where Leif, my guide dog, and I joined a very long line. We snaked through the building for about one hour. Stopping now and then to have forms filled out, or forms checked. Eventually we reached a nurse.

She had me choose an arm, I picked right arm as I am left handed and having heard the vaccine site can be painful for a while the right sounded best for me.

The injection itself was not painful. The fifteen minute wait for any sign of side effects was tedious. Then some more form filling and making an appointment for my second dose on March 27.

My wife and I then spent the afternoon on a drive around the mountains, just to enjoy the sunny weather.

About 8pm, some eight hours after the injection, I began to feel a tickle in my throat and back of my nose. By 11pm my throat felt on fire and sore. It was so bad I took some ice cubes in my mouth and allowed them to melt over the back of my throat. The burning in my throat and back of my nose continued all night. My sleep was fitful and on Sunday morning I was feeling like I was suffering a severe cold. By 9am however the sore throat began to ease  and my nose cleared. By noon about twenty-four hours after the vaccination all pain had gone and though tired I felt well.

My second dose of vaccine was scheduled for March 27 at 11am. I arrived at the vaccination center in good time expecting a line, but this time things went much more quickly. It took just twenty minutes to have my paperwork checked and to reach a nurse. I was again injected in the right arm. On both occasions the arm was sore for about four days with no real impairment to my ability to use it.

The fifteen minute wait for any side affects was tedious but tolerable. I was out of the center in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Expecting another night with a sore throat I had stocked up on some cold drinks.

After about eight hours I began to feel the tingle in my throat again. By twelve hours after the injection I began to feel hot all over and couldn't stop shivering. This became quite severe at about 3am Sunday morning. By 5am the shivering had subsided and I fell asleep. Waking at about 9am I was stiff and aching all over but without a sore throat or shivers.  It took me most of Sunday to stop aching, and an early bedtime and a long nights sleep on Sunday cured me of all tiredness.

So my experience of the vaccine was a positive one. Just a few hours of feeling ill is acceptable for me. The vaccine will be fully effective for me around April 9th.

I would recommend that everyone who can take the vaccine. It has been given to millions of people already. It works and it saves lives.

Thank you for reading this far.

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Saturday, February 6, 2021

Heart Surgery!

 What an end to 2020.

I had a heart attack in early December. Not a lot of fun to have in the midst of the upsurge in the pandemic.

William in Guide dogs for the blind cap and mask


The main cause of the heart attack was an 80% blockage of the right coronary artery.  For several days I had swelling in my legs, pain in my left side of my neck and jaw before my doctor sent me into hospital.

Of course the hospital was packed with corona virus patients and we heart patients we isolated in small rooms separate from those people. But it was still a cramped situation. 

My treatment involved being prepared for one procedure, only to be cancelled on the operating table when the surgeon heard that I had been given blood thinners only a few hours before the procedure.

Four days after the first procedure, was called off. I was prepared again. This time the procedures went ahead. In the first part the surgeon attempted to implant a STENT by going through my right wrist. This attempt failed. My vein clamped shut of its own accord and would not allow the instruments to pass. So the surgeon was forced to re-attempt the procedure through my groin.

This time it all went ahead and the STENT was placed in the blockage area.

Now almost two months later. I feel much better. It is strange how one gets used to feeling ill. I hardly noticed how sick I really felt until the problem was removed. Now I can walk about again. Leif my guide dog is getting out to work again and I am now feeling well enough to come back to blogging.

If you would like to continue to support my blog, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate Link. If you need any item from click  on my affiliate link and you will be taken to your local Amazon Store. If your order contains items included in the Amazon affiliate programs list of products I will receive a small commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you.

Thank you for supporting my blog. I appreciate your support.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Financial Independence For The Visually Impaired: Part Four

 It is now just over one year since I created a portfolio of stocks to try to generate some income. Allowing me to make a step towards financial independence.

Back in January I had invested just over $200 and was looking at quite a good year ahead. My general income from advertising,

A stack of U.S. Bank notes and coins

amazon affiliate links and my small side hustles like selling "Spider plants"  were ticking over and it looked like I could amass a reasonable amount over this yeTar.

That was of course before the Corona Virus and the lock downs came along. My income disappeared  over night.  I did manage to scrape together about $100 over the Summer and into September. Mostly some cash given to me to buy something for my birthday in September. I used that ti buy some Financial Exchange Traded Fund stock (XLF)  that stock was a good price in September, just $24, it pays a quarterly dividend next in December, then March, June and September.

Banks and other financial services are a little bruised and battered this year but I think this ETF will hold up. Being an ETF too, means that I am in less danger than buying an individual bank like J P Morgan or Bank of America.

XLF also has a nice perk, I get to hold some Berkshire Hathaway stock in there. The company controlled by Warren Buffwtt and Charlie Monger. Each stock of the company is selling at over a quarter of a million dollars at the present time or less powerful non voting shares change hands at around $200 regularly.

The accounts main weakness was that I bought a large initial number of oil pipeline stocks at the end of 2019. Prices and dividends looked good then. Now with the slump in oil prices all year and cuts in dividends income dropped. The portfolio is now worth just over $352, with a unrealized loss of $22.15.

Unrealized loss means that I still own stock that I purchased at a high price. If I sell now the loss would be realized. Unrealized losses vary as the underlying stock price rises and falls.

My projected dividend income for the next year has grown to $15.83. This is mostly just re-invested into the paying stock so my positions have grown slightly over the year already. 

Bar grap of portfolio showing total value between January 1 2020 and October 31 2020  Amazon affiliate link

As you can see there has been a steady increase in the portfolio value following a decline from February to March.

Most years any portfolio will grow in this way.  The upward trend from left to right is commonly called "The Snow Ball Effect". This is because it appears to grow like a rolling snowball, packing on layers of snow as it rolls along the ground. Eventually given time the low slope can rise to become a near vertical climb.

If you have been watching the news lately in the United States and listened to stock market news you might think the near 7% drop in some stock indices in the last week of October was a disaster. But looking at this graph you can see it has had little effect in the long term. The portfolio even with little extra cash inputs outside of dividends grew over the last ten months. Proof that a long term view is much easier on the mind than panicking at every news headline about crashing markets.

I hope that you have found this update useful. I will continue investing my Amazon affiliate income into this account over the next few months. I would be grateful for your support in doing so. Many of you have already supported this effort, thank you.

To See Amazon's Latest Holiday Deals Click here (Affiliate Link)

To support this Blog you may like to take a look at my Amazon Affliate Link.  If you make a qualifying purchase after using this link Amazon will send me a cash commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Dark Days Are Coming

 The dark days are coming. Can you feel them??

William Elliott in Guide Dogs for the Blind face mask and a red  GDB baseball hat.

Every year I find this week very difficult. The days between the last Saturday of October and the first Saturday of November.

Why are they hard?  Because I find myself adrift. The United Kingdom has moved off British Summer Time while here in the United States we are still using Daylight Savings Time.

Being eight hours behind normally is ok for me. I listen to the BBC radio stations a lot and so have a routine that for this one week is way out of sync. It is amazing what a difference that one hour in time difference makes.

It is not just since coming to the United States that I have found the problem.

While my wife and I were in a long distance relationship. Me living in England and her here in California, the problem was the same. All well with an eight hour time difference, chaos when we came to a seven hour time difference.

But then on Saturday night, we lose the hour. We go back to an eight hour time difference with the UK, but it will be dark shortly after 5pm.  When I was little, the closing in of the dark nights was fun. Bonfire night soon followed, then Christmas and New Year. By then in England you could tell the nights were beginning to grow shorter. Here in California the difference doesn't seem to come for a few extra weeks.

Plus with losing so much of my vision, dark means dark earlier and longer.

Yellow high visibility jacket (Amazon affiliate link)Next week comes out my reflective high visibility jacket.

Just like the one to the left.

When out and about in the gloom of a dark morning or growing darkness of evening, I like to feel that I can be seen.

Working with a black labrador as I do, even with his harness which reflects some light, I want to be seen. I am big, and in this bright yellow jacket, well your eyesight must be worse than mine, because even I can see me in this gear.

So I recommend that everyone get some high visibility clothing of some sort. It need not be a full blown jacket, a vest can work too, or even just cuffs and leg bands. Something that catches the eye of the motorist or truck driver.

Be sure to make sure you can be seen. 

You can see a small selection of High Visibility Clothing and safety strips by clicking on my Amazon Affiliate Link here.

I would like to thank everyone of you who have supported my blog by clicking my Amazon Affiliate Link already. You have been very gracious in your support of this blog.