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Hey there! Welcome to Mayo connect. I was a consistent exerciser and dieter (as a good consistent diet, never to lose weight) for many years until I could not breath one day in March of 2019. Against my will my wife took me to an emergency room where I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Congestive Heart Failure. Essentially all my good efforts masked a growing heart failure problem. The subsequent emergency valve surgery did not work and I was sent to Mayo in October of 2019 for heart transplant evaluation. I did not look ill as I had a lot of "residual health" due to my exercise and diet. From the first day of the evaluation, the team at Mayo encouraged me to do whatever i could to keep as much health as possible. The more health I had coming into the hopeful surgery the quicker I would recover. It was the hardest thing I ever did. A small incline would make me stop and catch my breath. No hiking, no biking, no weights, definitely no yoga (constriction poses made breathing impossible). I was drained emotionally. I love to move and here I could only shuffle a few thousand steps a day. I had started to lose muscle mass due to cachexia which made moving even harder.

I made the list and resigned myself to a long hopeful wait. But then my personal miracle happened. The perfect heart became available only three days after officially making the list. I remember having walked 14,000 steps on that day on 9% ejection fraction.

When I woke from surgery I wanted to slay dragons. With the new heart I quickly got back into shape and now three years out I am averaging 38,000 steps a day from crunches, yoga, elliptical trainer, walking, hiking, biking, and a few weights. ( I hate lifting weights). Oh and I started an Over 60 and Under 6 basketball league. We play on Fridays. Vitals this morning had me at 137 lbs, Body Fat at 12.5%, BP 105/70, Pulse 105 (no vegus nerve so a transplanted heart runs fast), Temperature of 97.3 (I run cool now). And I assume I am 5' 10" but the two new hips last year (consequence of one of my immune suppressant drugs and activity) might have made me a bit shorter. The pants seem to be a bit long anymore.

I do not classes or follow a program. Exercise for me is a solitary activity -- sort of my personal mediation time. I also don't like coaches or instructors yelling at me to "do one more". Not for me at all

However each time I stop -- morning crunches, a hike in The Tortolitas, a bike ride, a walk with my wife, 45 minutes on the elliptical, I always pat my side and say "Thanks, Jxxxxxx" Because without his donated heart I would not be around to do any of this.

So do what you can with what you have. As my team at Mayo reminds me, "what is the point of being alive if you are not living."
Best always,
Scott Jensen

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Replies to "@annyfreeze Hey there! Welcome to Mayo connect. I was a consistent exerciser and dieter (as a..."

Thank you for writing. I am sorry I am 2 months late in letting you know I appreciated it very much!
I am actually reading it to a friend who is just about to be on the transplant list - he too is trying to walk small inclines with great effort. I don't like having someone tell me "one more" either! And I love that you thank Jxxxxx - he/she was a pretty great person.
Thank you for your encouragement and the time you took.
You have a great story to tell~ Ann