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December, 2014




Dear Friends,


We didn’t know it would turn out this way, but 2014 turned out to be year 2 of the Zabel orthopedic tag team.  Remember that in 2013, Alan had a total replacement of his left hip on June 24, and then, once he was recovered, Cheryl had a total replacement of her right knee on September 3.  We thought that might be it, but as 2014 wore on, each of us had problems with the other side.  So, in 2014, Alan had a total replacement of his right hip on September 23.  When he was sufficiently recovered to be a caregiver, Cheryl had an arthroscopic surgery (two meniscus repairs and bone scraping) on her left knee on October 24.  Alan is now completely recovered.  But as of early December, Cheryl is still struggling to completely recover.  Perhaps she tried to resume her walking too soon.  Nevertheless, while the arthroscopic surgery worked well, the arthritis in the left knee is becoming more of a problem.  No total knee replacement is needed yet.  She has, however, worked with physical therapy and continues to work on managing her condition effectively.  The photos below show Alan in the hospital, the passing of the cane, and Cheryl with the cane after her surgery.

Cheryl also had two more eye surgeries for her glaucoma in March (one for each eye, on March 3 and 31).  Sometimes these trebeculectomies have to be repeated after a few years to keep the eye pressures down (she had the surgeries also in 2004).  All was successful. 


Before our joints demanded encore surgeries, we did manage a couple of trips this year.  

In July, we visited Glacier National Park celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary (photos at, choose album “2014 Montana - Glacier National Park”).  July 3, our final day in the park, was the first day that the “Going to the Sun” road was open to automobile traffic so we got to do that iconic drive (still with plenty of snow) to complete our wonderful experience in the park.


In August, we did a road trip from Los Angeles to Oregon.  We visited Crater Lake, Eugene, Hood River, Portland, Hillsboro (and Alan’s 45th year High School reunion), and Lincoln City (on the coast and where Alan spent his early childhood) (photos at, choose album “2014 Oregon Best”.).   Just across the Columbia River from Hood River Oregon, we saw Alan’s grandparent’s house in Bingen, WA (first time in over 50 years).  In Hillsboro, we saw Alan’s family home where he lived from ages 10 to 18 (now a lawyer’s office).  In Lincoln City, we saw for the first time in over 50 years, Alan’s childhood home.  It was for sale at $224,500 - Alan’s dad bought it for $7000 in 1953.  It had a view of Nelscott Beach (we walked on that beach), where Alan and his brother went as young children.   We also saw the ball field where Alan made his unassisted triple play as a 9 year old in 1960.  And the Dairy Queen (still standing) where the team went to celebrate after.  We also bought salt water taffy at the shop in Depoe Bay where Alan’s parents bought the same in the 1950s.

The photos below show us at Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park, and at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.


At the end of our Oregon trip, we started experiencing joint pains and called our surgeon.  We were able to see him at the end of August.  Since Alan’s recovery was more predictable, he got to go first with his surgery.  So Cheryl was his caregiver, then he was her caregiver, similar to last year.   

Our future travel plans are temporarily on hold until Cheryl’s situation stabilizes.  Then we will plan some more trips.  We, of course, still view the surgeries as miracles.  We are grateful to have been given another lease on life via what are really miraculous healings.

Alan is already at full strength.  In fact, better than ever since he now has two brand new hips (making it unlikely that he will have hip surgery in 2015!).  Having moved on from running to bicycling, he is now riding better than ever and enjoying it immensely. 

All our best to you and yours this holiday season.  Merry Christmas!








Cheryl and Alan