Friday, October 21, 2011


I really consider myself an extremely lucky man. I have been blessed in many areas. I have a wonderful family, I am able to work at something I truly love by being a photographer and I am married to my best friend. But there have been times when I did not feel so lucky.  In July of 1993 and then again twice in September of that year, I had a heart attack. Not an unusual event for a man in his forties but still not one of those moments you look forward to or enjoy when it happens. 

One of the reasons I say I'm a lucky guy is that after those three attacks, I have been able to live a normal life. I have climbed mesas in Arizona, hiked three or four miles in the Alaska tundra and swam in the beaches of Hawaii. I have not had angina ever unless you count those three pesky attacks. 

One night a few weeks after my third and last attack, I was sitting in our home after dinner and felt something in my chest. I had no idea what it was and it only happened once but it felt like a small blip of pressure. Once I realized it was not happening again, I went on with the night and forgot about it. 

Then early one morning Phyllis and I were driving to an area of Massachusetts for a photo shoot and I started feeling funny, not ha ha funny but unusual funny. I was out of breath and I was feeling that same blip in my chest but this time it was happening over and over again at a very fast rate. When I felt for my pulse, I found that it was racing at a extremely fast rate, about 200 beats a minute 

I told Phyllis to drive back home, about an hour's drive. When we arrived at our neighborhood, Phyllis drove straight to our hospital's emergency room. I didn't think I was having another attack but I knew something was wrong. The doctor in the emergency room, after checking my pulse and doing a EKG, informed me that I was in Afib or Atrial Fibrillation. He also told me I was not having a heart attack. 

Later I found out that Afib was the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and involves the two upper chambers of  the heart. The name comes from the fibrillating (quivering) of the heart muscle in the atria, instead of a coordinated contraction. While Afib is not in itself generally considered immediately life threatening, it may result in palpitations, fainting, chest pain or congestive heart failure. People with Afib have an increased risk of stroke (up to seven times that of the general public).  

The doctor decided, because of my history, to put me in a room to stay. On the way to the room, I realized the racing had stopped and I was back in normal rhythm. The doctors sent me home and told me to see my cardiologist. When I did, I was told there were different paths we could follow. 

One, I dismissed out of hand, was being put on a pacemaker. It just seemed like another step towards being a victim and I could not handle that so soon after my heart attacks. My cardiologist put me on a few new medicines. One was to help my heart from going into afib (not entirely accurate as I would later find out) and the other would be coumadin. That drug is used to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger in your blood and blood vessels. While very helpful, it carries some risk if the directions are not followed correctly and even if they are. They include going to a lab two to four times a month to have your blood checked and then readjusting the amount of coumadin you take. 

In order to keep your blood levels right you really should keep your diet consistent. You can eat whatever you want but it is better if you do not change the amount of greens you eat. They have vitamin K and K helps with blood coagulation. Normally this is great but not if you have Afib. With Afib, you need to thin out your blood to reduce the risk of stroke. Coumadin pretty much takes all the vitamin K out of your system.  

Another drawback is that people tend to bruise easily and if you cut yourself, you may not easily stop bleeding and may need to go to the hospital. This includes bleeding inside your head. You obviously need to worry about any major accidents. Coumadin and myself had an ongoing battle for about ten years. I was working a eight to ten hour day which made getting my blood tested difficult. I like to be out in nature and sometimes in nature cuts happen. 

I also like to travel. On two trips, I started bleeding, once through my nose and once through, well I'll let you guess the other area. Both times I ended up in the hospital. The first was in Tennessee which involved a few hours in emergency. The other incident took place in old Quebec and landed me in the hospital for two nights.

About eight years ago, when we moved to New Hampshire, I needed a new cardiologist. After reading my history, that doctor took me off of coumadin. He felt that an aspirin a day would be okay and my risk of bleeding outweighed my risk for a stroke. 

Throughout all those eighteen years, I would continue to have episodes of Afib. Phyllis could tell because she would see me taking my pulse or I would tell her in case the worse possible outcome happened. The episodes would last as little as a minute or as long as eight hours. That was until a little over a year ago when I had one that lasted around seventeen hours. 

After that time, I started noticing more frequent episodes and realized I needed to do something. It was beginning to intrude on my life. I started seeing a cardiologist in Florida and after some tests to check out the health of my heart (which was in excellent shape), a visit to a specialist was suggested. After speaking with this doctor, we decided to schedule a catheter ablation. This is a procedure that has really evolved over the last half dozen years and has a 90% success rate of stopping Afib. 

The procedure involves a surgeon cutting two small holes in your groin and inserting a camera in one and a catheter in the other, both traveling up to your heart. After mapping your heart, the surgeon burns cells in your heart and ultimately creates scar tissue. This scar tissue blocks the abnormal heart electrical impulses from being conducted through your heart and after one procedure, 60 % of patients are cured. In others, a second ablation is performed and then a 90% success rate is reached. At the same time, a probe is put down your throat. 

I was really excited about this and not that worried. Well, I wasn't until we scheduled the procedure for seven days later. As the day got closer, I did notice a certain feeling coming over me. I won't say I was scared but the more I thought about what was actually going to be performed on me, I did become a wee bit apprehensive!!! 

The day came, the procedure went fine and I was able to go home after one night which I was very happy about. My biggest problem during the next week or so was really, really bad acid reflux which is a fancy word for heartburn!!!  I did see the humor that after burning parts of my heart suffering from heartburn seemed perfectly obvious!!! I also had trouble breathing and some leg pain. This was all normal for people going through this procedure.

I stopped writing my blog the day before I went in and took a few weeks after to rest. The first week I was just too tired. The acid reflux prevented me from sleeping more than an hour or two each night and I was frequently waking up to cough. After about ten days the medicines seemed to have helped the reflux and I'm feeling back to normal. 

My camera has been close by but I didn't pick it up much. That will be stopping today!!! The day before I was going in, I was having my morning coffee on my patio and saw a rather large bird in a nearby tree. I grabbed my camera and walked onto the golf course to see how the bird looked. This is what I saw!

For those of you who do not know, these birds are vultures!!!  Vultures feast on dead animals including humans. lol This is not a bird you need to see hanging around your house when you're heading out for a heart procedure lol. 

I am feeling much better now and in the next few weeks, I will find out whether I need to have the procedure a second time. It really makes you appreciate living in a world where the medical procedures have come so far. It is truly amazing to think of what doctors can do with the new technology.

I've just read that Barry Manilow lives with AFIB and is trying to educate people about it on a new website. Check it out at    He also has a video where he talks about AFIB and about a test you can take to see if you might have it. 

Afib is not a death sentence, you can live a fairly normal life with it. Phyllis and I have traveled all over the US, Canada and Italy photographing some beautiful sites during which time I had AFIB. Now with new medication, including a coumadin substitute  'Pradaxa' which performs the same task without all the drawbacks of coumadin, it is even easier to deal with AFIB. Plus with strides made in the ablation procedures, it is a whole new world for people with it. If you think you have it, see your doctor. It could save your life!!

After seeing vultures, I needed to photograph something a little nicer so I stopped by my garden and took these images. I hope you enjoy them! I'm sorry I was gone for so long but I'm back now and will be photographing a lot, including an upcoming trip to Miami!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I am so happy to have the pleasure of adding Sulekha Rawat to the list of writers we collaborate with each month! Sulekha's blog is simply named Memoirs. Please check it out at; when you are finished here. 

Sulekha writes, "My blog is about relationships, love, life, grief and hope" and in her words; "My life is my muse and my muse is my life. I love reading and writing and greatly enjoy movies and music."  Sulekha's poems were some of the first I read when I joined the blogsphere. I really found myself connecting with her thoughts and words. She is really a wonderful writer and always  seems to be able to wring all the emotions out of her words! I know you will enjoy reading this work of hers as I did!!

Oh Angels

I saw you in my dream last night,
You were smiling at something I said.
Heard your beloved voice, singing to me,
felt your unconditional love wash over me.

Oh why did I wake up from 
my beautiful fantasy?
I don't want to be awake,
let me go back to being with you,
lying satiated in your loving arms.

It's been awhile since I saw you,
haven't heard from you in so long.
Sometimes it feels like an eternity,
that I've breathed on my own.

Memories are not enough to live on,
they don't kiss your tears away.
Can't feel their touch on a fevered brow.
Memories just lay there, cold and distant,
a stark reminder of a lost yesterday.

Your love is all I’ve ever wanted, 

You’re the only one I need.
Have waited eons to catch a glimpse,
of your sweet countenance.
Without you, I am a fallen tear drop,
my life has been a penance.

So let me dream, and live,
be it for only a while.
At least in here, we are together,
 And finally, I can smile.

Together we walk into the sunset,
holding on to each other.
With you by my side,
I need none other.

So memories go away,

I want to live with him,

who fills my soul with delight.
If I can’t have him with me,
don’t want to see another daylight.

Oh Angels, up there, hear my pleas,
I beg and beseech you.
Either let us be together on Earth,
Or let me come live with you.

Sulekha aka Lucks

We are looking for writers or artist to collaborate with next month. If interested please email us.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today is Monday which means it's Magnificent Monday. It's hosted by Jim McIntosh over at his blog. Please visit it and read all the great blogs that are participating and feel free to add your posting to the list.

Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, "In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." 

Robin Williams once said, "Spring is nature's way of saying 'let's party'."

Albert Camus wrote, "Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower."

Takayuki Ikkaku wrote, "Fiery colors begin their yearly conquest of the hills propelled by the autumn wind. Fall is the artist."

As a photographer I really enjoy the different seasons. As a photographer who loves photographing people especially people in love, I really love spring and fall.

If asked which month is the most popular for weddings, most people might answer June or July and they would be right. The summer months are still the most popular. In a poll taken in 2011, the top 4 months were; June, August, May and July. What might surprise some people is that September and October are the next two most popular months.  

We have found that in the last few years, October and September were two of our busiest months. We were usually booked every weekend. That might be because we lived and photographed most of our weddings in New England. We heard from brides that they didn't want to get married in the heat and humidity of the summer so they picked the autumn for their wedding day! An added bonus was the leaves turning colors. Many of our weddings were held outside and the weather was a major factor for when a couple wanted to get married.

We found ourselves photographing engagement days in the spring and weddings in the fall quite a bit the last few years. I thought that instead of showing images of flowers blooming that I would show love blooming during these two seasons. I hope you enjoy seeing love in spring and fall!!!

To help you get in the mood here is Dino singing about Amore!!!

Springtime Love

                                An Autumn Wedding

This bride had a really great sense of humor and kept us laughing during the whole wedding!!!

 So there is our seasons of love and why we love these seasons!!!!