Drawing The Line On COPD
By Jan Frankie 

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I started smoking when I was 15 years old by stealing cigarettes out of my fathers dresser drawer.
In 1969, I developed  a fungus in the lungs, pneumonia in 1978,  and Valley Fever in 1982.  By then you would think I would have been smart enough to give up smoking. Wrong!   My pulmonary doctor told me that because of the damage done to my lungs by the Valley fever, I would be pulling an Oxygen tank around within ten years.   I survived for 15 years and 11 months before that happened but now I am on oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  I finally decided to do something about this nonsense and quit smoking last year.  I often wonder what would be different if I had quit smoking 15 years earlier. 
I would hope to say that smoking has been my only vice.  I was always busy in the work place, having been employed as a waitress, clerk, cab driver, and store manager.  In addition, I  even owned a small restaurant and worked for a HMO for over a year.  I had six children before I attended college for two years but did not finish college because I returned to being a working mother.

I was widowed in 1989 and am now a Grandma to 9 grand children who are the joy of my life.  In 1993 I became officially disabled because of my COPD and other related and unrelated physical problems.  Physically, I am now more like what Phyllis Diller liked to describe as not the Marilyn Monroe type.  Mentally I feel that I now have much better control over my life and my physical problems.  I am not a quitter!

I did not know I could draw, much less have any artistic talent until after I became disabled in 1993. My father (who by the way is 81 going on 39)  told me about a person that did Oil Paintings and was giving lessons.   He paid for our three lessons.... 1st one was how to mix colors and work with different mediums.   2nd lesson was to  paint something from a picture. I painted a waterfall.   3rd lesson was a critique of the painting that we did in the 2nd lesson. Painting lessons over,  I was on my own, and paint I did! What great therapy!  I painted everything I could think of.  Later on our community center offered an “Oil Painting” class (total of 8 lessons) so my father and I decided to go.  The teacher taught us to sketch with pencil, the object on the canvass, that we were going to paint.  That is when I found that I could draw and drawing has now become my favorite form of art.  After the class was over, the top two of the class were to have their work shown at the annual art show.  I was lucky and was in the top two.  My father and I continued our painting and formed another medium on wood in 3D.  My Oil Paintings were shown at Scottsdale Insurance art show.  My oil paintings were shown again at the folk festival in Mesa along with the Wood art My father and I did together. We also did several small arts and crafts show for a couple of years.  My father gave up art as he felt that he had no talent. I thought he was a pretty good artist and excellent at abstract art.
In  Feb., 1995 I bought my computer.  One of the first things I learned on my computer was how to get around in Microsoft Paintbrush.  I loved it -- a new medium.  “Roses” was published 12/18/95 in the Arizona Republic Computer section as Computer Art.  Later “Roses”, “Daisies” and “Cattails” (which all three were done on win 3.1), were shown on my daughter’s home page.  (If you would like to see the other two selections, send us an email and we will be glad to send a copy to you.  Obviously, they can not be used in any medium without the permission of Jan Frankie).  If it had not been for my art work I would have gone crazy.  I was slowly changing my life style and the transition would have been more noticeable if I had not had my art.   I am still doing my art work. My youngest son has my talent for art (we always wondered where he got it from).  I also have a grandson at the age of 7 who also shows a lot of talent.
COPD has many stages and it effects each one differently.  I went on Oxygen full time in January 1998. At that time I felt that I needed to know more about my disease, so I joined a support group on the Web. There was so much I need to know and how to cope with my disease. That is when I met Bill Powell and Brenda Hoilman.

Most of my family live into their 80’s or 90’s.  I am 59 years old and may not live long enough to break a longevity record, but I am sure going to try. Besides, I still have four more pieces of Paintbrush Computer Art to do as well as completing some canvas and drawings that are now only visions in my head. I’m not quitting until I have achieved this.  When that is accomplished, who knows what else I may need to do?

Jan Frankie
June 1998
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