Frankly, back in the early months of 2006 I was half near dead. I'd gotten fat - went from weighing 137 1/4 from age 19 to 58 to more than 200 - and I was unbelievably fatigued every day - all of which I attributed to "growing old."
I in fact had smoked cigarettes off and on all my life and failed to connect that fact with my gain in weight or what I diagnosed to be "my arthritis." I was growing old and didn't care. So what if I got fat and so what if I was eternally tired?
Other than being consumed with cooking the best of foods (my ONE saving grace!), I didn't care if I died. I was very very discouraged. I couldn't knit or crochet any more due to my left arm being useless from the elbow down. I could read 3 books a week and cook delicious foods and wash dishes one-handed so I accepted that as being my lot in life... until I went for my annual eye examination and my opthalomologist asked me if I knew I had BLOOD in my right eyeball! She hopped around her office, repeating the question and then suddenly left the room. She returned a couple minutes later to tell me she was trying to contact a nearby doctor to get a second opinion because I was in ACUTE DANGER of stroking or having a massive heart attack.
I have no words to tell you how I felt when I heard the words "ACUTE DANGER." Those two words did something to me the first time I heard them and then the second doctor verified my original diagnosis with the exact same words and on my first visit with my surgeon, once I acknowledged that I was currently smoking he said, "Well, you HAVE to STOP!" The second doctor said she would "suggest" I "try" to stop smoking and "try" to lose 30 pounds and keep it off over the coming year.
One thing I'm certain of is that people who say they're "trying" to do something - anything - in fact are trying NOT to do it. I think you either do something or you don't, so when another doctor told me he's known hundreds of people who went "cold turkey" and advised me NOT to "because it never works," I ignored his advice to join a program for "emotional support" and "medical help, if you need it" and I went cold turkey simply because my surgeon told me I HAD to STOP. How do you stop? You STOP doing what you're doing! I stopped BUYING cigarettes and didn't have any to smoke! I STOPPED eating fatty foods and paid close attention to my nutrition and I DID lose the suggested 30 pounds and a few more and have kept them all off!
Over the summer of 2006 I had the many tests needed before my surgeon could reroute my blood with what is called a "double bypass." He implanted a teflon vein from collarbone to collarbone and changed my life. Do you know smoking tobacco causes the bad cholesterol to collect in your arteries and veins? I didn't, but I do now. My surgeon educated me on my poor habits and I stopped slowing dying and started slowing regaining the use of my feft arm and hand. In addition to occasionally exercising during the day, I attend a Silver Sneakers class twice a week and two Osteo Exercise classes a week and I've made a lot of friends, a really big deal when you're 75 and live alone.
Of my friends, I count Sandi as the most fascinating. I love her chatty newsletters as much as I love downloading patterns. Oh, yes, I've done more than my share of downloading during the past months. My fingers are flexible enough that I can type like crazy, knit again and also crochet.
I admit I haven't done much actual knitting but there are reasons - like my midwife daughter journeying to a conference to help present a midwifery conference and then entering partnership with her mentor to open a wonderful birth center in NH and not one, but TWO great-grandsons showing up within four months of each other.
Okay, what knitting I did was I made a pumpkin hat for one great grandson; then I made him a pair of blue mittens - automatically, because he's a boy - but the instant I realized they'd look out of place with his pumpkin hat, I knitted him a pair of orange ones. Next, on my list of "to do's" is a crocheted crib blanket, then a mobius for my RN daughter, to be followed by learning Cat Bordhi's method of knitting two socks at the same time for the midwife, who has a rep for wearing some pretty wild socks at her birthings. As though that's not enough, I've stated that the next project will be a pair of socks for the RN's step-daughter, who deduced that if an old woman could quit "cold turkey," she could also - and she DID! I have a neighbor who did the same thing and the latest study showed that those who quit "cold turkey" are the ones who don't go back. It'll be 3 years for me in June!
Incidentally, I used to teach Girl Scouts how to crochet, I taught a knitting class back in the early 80s and taught my own mother how to knit!
Want to talk stash? I've got so much yarn I have to store it in plastic tubs in my daughter's cellar. I haven't done much actual knitting this year but hope to report a different story for 2009. I can't wait to knit some of those beautiful gloves I downloaded. Thanks Sandi and thanks to knitting daily.
Now, to discover when my PBS station is going to bring me the knittingdailyTV show and when - oh, when? - is Cat going to publish her book on sockatecture? ta ta, ladies!
Last but not least, my birthday is September 2, 1933, not January 2, 2008!