The American Heart Association reminds us that February is heart health month. As one who had a heart attack 15 years ago when I was 57, and a stroke five years later at age 62, I say Amen.
It could happen to you.
Most of my adult life, I have taken exercise and eaten a good diet. The only thing I did wrong was let my weight creep up. Year after year, my doctor warned me about my weight, and once at an annual physical, he yelled at me. Finally, a few years ago, I took weight gain seriously, and have been on the Weight Watchers diet ever since. Most of you know, I lost 40 pounds, reaching my first goal weight which was to return to 200 pounds. There I have said it. Now I am working on my second goal which is to lose 20 more pounds. Even then, I will be at my weight at the time of my heart attack.
High blood pressure runs in my Mom’s family. Her dad died at age 50 and she died at age 56. My younger brother had a massive heart attack around age 50, and a cousin, Sandy, died when her heart exploded…she was 45. Her mother reached her 60 birthday and died from a heart attack. And so on.
Prescription drugs probably keep me alive. However, I continue to work on diet and eating right. For one thing, David is tired of taking me to the emergency room.
John our handyman came by yesterday and fixed the kitchen drawer threatening to fall on the floor. Later Kathy brought the gingerbread and fruit compote over as she told David she would. John says he has another job for Troy when he is finished with our brickwork. I suggested to Troy he wait until the weather improved to finish the brickwork out front. How wonderful to have all these helping friends in our lives.
My goal before I died was to get to the end of my family tree, which is a joke, because like the Internet, there is no end. However, this past week, I have been extending a couple of lines in my father’s mother’s tree.
Herbert, my English great-grandfather (I have four great-grandfathers, two for each parent), appears to have been a huge man with a great handlebar mustache. My cousin has a photo of Herbert standing in front of his diesel locomotive, and the engine looks small. Well, I suppose it’s Herbert. I have a copy of a studio portrait photo taken six months before Herbert died and he seems a dignified fellow. Herbert’s uncle was a Civil War hero, and his son a Green Bay Packer in the early 1920s.
This week, I did some more work on Herbert’s tree and discovered that through his father’s line (he also had four great-grandfathers) he is descended from Governor Thomas Dudley.
The name might mean little to you if you are unaware of American history, but Dudley was the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony after John Winthrop. Dudley was a Puritan, not a Pilgrim. (The Pilgrims, left England owing to religious reasons, landed near Plymouth Rock in 1620 and came on the Mayflower.) Winthrop and Dudley left England with their followers for business reasons, landing in Massachusetts in 1630. They founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony and Salem Massachusetts. Later, Thomas Dudley built the first house in what became Cambridge Massachusetts.
You can read more about Thomas Dudley and the Massachusetts Bay Colony here…