I haven’t written about this in a long time. Along with diabetes, I smoked most of my life — I started too young, and didn’t quit until way past time. Before my bypass surgery, my legs hurt so much when I walked that I became sedentary. Stern but loving suggestions from my family, friends, and doctors: You know, Judith, if you just sit like that, you’re not going to be able to walk. I paid no attention at all.
My only real solution was to walk, but walking hurt so badly that I couldn’t stay enthusiastic. So, narrowing of my arteries was the condition, and walking was the main treatment. It hurt a lot. And yes, I was still smoking, (I didn’t quit until 2005, and smoking is another major cause of this vascular condition.) But. finally, I quit.
In 2008, I looked for another all-inclusive vacation in the Yucatan. My entire family doubted me, but Sister S. agreed to the trip. (She is very brave! Thank you, S.) I walked seriously, but still only around the building. I achieved an amazing 3 laps without stopping. I lost weight, felt stronger, stood taller. I got ready for Mexico. Only, not really ready.
In the airport where I laid over, I fell, and managed to break my leg. I had a hairline fracture in the femoral neck of my left thigh. (I didn’t get a diagnosis until after the trip.) We went to Mexico anyway, but after the fall, and packing so poorly at home, and then my depression rising up, I was nearly catatonic the entire trip. Sister S., gods love her, was patient far beyond what should be expected in one trip. Still, the cenote picture on my home page was during this time — one of the few times I was awake, aware, and cheerful.
(Sadly, our hotel was too far away to visit what I think of as my cenotes — the ones I saw on the first trip, in 1997. Fortunately, our hotel this time was going to be part of a big complex, and several cenotes dotted the landscape.)
After our return from Mexico, I contacted an old friend via Facebook. He read my sad emails, for a while, and worked for a couple of years to convince me that to be an optimist, (Glass Half Full,) was so much easier than a pessimist, (Glass Half Empty.) During this time, I spoke nearly daily with Sister S.; though I wasn’t tuned in enough to get what she said, my mind stored everything.
With a women’s walking group, I walked until I could walk through to a half-mile. (In the interest of honesty, I stopped and rested a few times.) That half-mile was so fulfilling; again I lost weight, and walked more easily the rest of the summer and fall. But I stopped walking over this winter, and I walked yesterday for the first time in months. Today, my legs hurt. But I walked again this morning, and I’ll walk again tomorrow. I haven’t felt unhappy, or frustrated or angry, and besides the peripheral artery pain, and the sore everything, all is well. My day seems longer. In fact, I’m having trouble believing it’s lunchtime. My mood is good. Once again, I learn that this walking thing is a benefit for my whole body. I am sticking with it, this time.