Being Bold

I’m helping my hair get to his natural (greying) color, getting back to karate, finally teaching Qi Gong, like I’ve always wanted to, being more outspoken about things I care about, and worrying less about money. Why did it take me so long to get to this point? In some ways, it’s a total gift to find out that I have a heart and lung defect. I can’t wait to be home with my dogs, off grid and in peace, moving forward with my life…but for today, it’s still NJ, geocaching in the Meadowlands, gathering up nerve to tell my parents as I face their aging, their increasing physical weakness, head on.

Getting started with the Strong Open Heart Project

Hi, my name is Jenni, I just turned 50 and this is my first ever blog entry. After being almost completely healthy, adventurous, active, fearless, and all over the place all my life, I found out last Tuesday that there’s a hole in my heart. It’s supposedly fairly common and treatable, but still it is truly amazing how news like that can change your reality in a millisecond. All my cocky beliefs in natural remedies, nonintervention, healthy lifestyle, “be here now”, the golden rule…took off and ran for cover for a few days. Now I’m back in the game in a new way, and suddenly my long buried goals and dreams are flooding my life 24/7. Every day I’m going to do at least one thing in my life that stretches me in some way,
and sometimes I’ll write about it.

I’ve accompanied two close friends on their cancer battles (which they eventually succumbed to), and thought I was good with my feelings about mortality. But maybe not. It’s different when it is me. My heart. My life.

Anyway, today I am with my elderly parents in NJ,  having a regular summer visit. I had planned on telling then about the heart issue, but now I can’t. Why worry them? They have enough problems of their own. I also find myself unable to tell my old friends. I was able to tell my man, my kids, and my friends who live near me in rural Nebraska, but for some reason I just don’t want to tell anyone else…would it ruin their day?…disappoint them?…worry them?

I already don’t care for the solicitous way that people in the know are treating me. Things have changed. I’ve always been the strong, active, funny, capable, self-abnegating, healthy, independent one.

That’s how I will continue. I’d rather die than be a sleepy invalid.

(To be honest, though, I really don’t mind having to stop jogging for a while. It’s funny. I’ve been running for 26 years, but perhaps I’ve never actually really enjoyed it! I thought I did, but holy cow, am I ever delighted to switch to walking!)