“Shape Up!” Jan Tells Herself

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Whew! I’m breathing so much easier! Which, in turn, gives me a bit more energy than I’ve had in ages. It’s kind of like before and after beginning to use insulin.

As I told you in my blog entry last week (“What’s Up, Doc…Doc…Doc…Doc…?”), my family practice doctor sent me to a cardiologist, who found reduced blood flow in a small portion of my heart. He prescribed a drug that dilates blood vessels, which I began taking toward the end of last week. (Just as good, it’s available as a generic.)

Wow! What a difference! I could now walk around with no problems if it weren’t for the snow.

To clarify: I don’t mean walking through the snow. The snow is outside and I am not. I do like snow, but prefer to enjoy it by looking out the window. (On the other hand, I do live in an older house and the windows definitely need to be reglazed — or replaced. I’m surprised I don’t find a little snowdrift in the corner of this room that’s between two windows.)

As I’ve aged, however, my body seems to have morphed into a barometer. It does not like changes in the weather and it most emphatically does not like snow. I knew a couple of nights ago — when I got up to go to the bathroom and had to hold on to everything I could find to creak my way through the bedroom — that something was coming. And I hadn’t even seen or heard a weather forecast.

So the breathing was better, but the arthritic knees were worse. At least the breathing and the knees weren’t both rotten. I’ll take any little advance I can get.

I’ve been thinking lately that we need to get back to doing things to the house. We did when we first moved in, but eventually reached a point where we needed to take a break. Now that we’re nearing retirement age, it seems prudent to start back in, doing a little bit here and a little bit there, from new flooring for the bathrooms and some repainting to a new roof.

But it’s probably even more important to do more to fix up the structure that houses my soul: my body.

It used to be a good body. It was a body that turned cartwheels, ran up and down steps, was in a marching band (flute) for eight years, and danced into the early hours of morning. Not so many years ago, it could even climb the hills of San Francisco and accompany children around Disney World and Disneyland for hours on end.

Where did the time go? How could I have let myself get into a situation where I need pills to breathe and can barely get through my own house?

Losing weight would be a good start. Not so long ago, I vowed not to book another cruise until I’d lost at least 50 pounds. I lost 17. I got myself a bracelet as a reward for losing 10 pounds. I bought a book to reward myself at the 20-pound mark. The book is still unopened. And I’ve kept my promise and not booked a cruise.

Now, however, I’ve gained back some (OK, most) of what I lost and I really need to get back on track. I need to clear my husband’s stuff off the stationary bike. I need to actually unwrap the armchair exercise DVD I bought, put it in the player and follow along. I need to convince my husband he absolutely cannot bring any of my “trigger” foods into the house (chips, potatoes, etc.). I need to tell my grandchildren I cannot have pizza in my house!

And when I get down to 20 pounds lighter than where I started back whenever it was, I’ll have a good book to read. (Now, where did I put that sucker…?)

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