When I was twelve, I went to a church festival and spent a quarter to have a gypsy read my palm. She wasn’t really a gypsy, but she had beads, bangles, and a pretty swell accent. She peered at my hand and said that my lifeline was broken midway. “Ven you are thirty-five, maybe forty,” she intoned, “you vill haff troubles, but tink you vill be fine.” I felt like I had blown my two bits, but, boy howdy, was I ever wrong.
When I was 36, a virus caused me to have myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. I was slowly improving when, five years later, another virus pushed me into cardiomyopathy.
As my heart muscle weakened, a hereditary arrhythmia worsened, and I had an “inboard defibrillator” installed. I spent six years with congestive heart failure, got put on the transplant list, and nine months later, I suppose you might say I finally cleared that gap in my life line. There have been a few “speed bumps” along the way, but also many blessings—a wonderful husband, good friends, the support of a superb medical team, and the fact that a total stranger was willing to give me a desperately needed second chance.