Staying healthy physically (and mentally) post heart attack

Posted by thankful @thankful, Apr 27, 2016

Hi there, I just now joined your group and after reading a few of the posts, I am glad to be here with so many informed folks. I’m not sure how to start other than to give a brief story of my heart. Back in 5/14 after finishing my workout I went home for a late lunch which I’ve done for years. After getting cleaned up I sat down to lunch and conversation with my wife of 38 years. I began noticing a faintness and then a pain that began in my left arm and then moved into my chest. Immediately sat down and told my wife what was going on and as much as we were surprised especially because I had not had any symptoms till then. We jumped in the car & headed for the ER a 20 min. ride from our home. There was no question in my mind that I was experiencing a HA, but I was in a lot of pain. Although it took more than 2 hrs. for the ER to determine I was having a HA, fortunately after several tests they brought in a Echo cardiogram tech and halfway through the procedure he left and returned with the Cardiologist. From that point things ramped up big time and after 4 hrs. of coming in I was rolled into Cath lab and received a stent. I survived a “Widow Maker” that was caused by my LAD being 100% blocked. I was released within a day and began there Cardio Rehab program which although I felt out of place with many that had never used a treadmill or elliptical, this was really a great time not only meeting others that had recently gone through HA, but it helped me tremendously regain confidence working out and being monitored. It’s been nearly 2 yrs. ago now and I have gone back to the gym after graduating from cardio rehab and I am doing well. My biggest let down was after a year of working hard with exercise, weight control and diet my next echo showed no signs of improvement. I am on 2.5 mg of lisinopril, 50 mg of metoprolol, 80 mg of atorvastatin & a 81 mg of aspirin. I never realized how mental this whole thing could be? Even with the efforts of all that I mentioned it seems like I am “damaged goods”. I’m working hard to get past this and live my life with thankfulness every day.

Liked by Joe M.

I also went through this mental stage, which I am sure is fairly common. At age 52 I had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. I never smoked; ran half marathons; biked 30 miles regularly; not overweight, etc. Went through cardiac rehab and at age 53 I had another heart attack. Talk about thinking I was damaged goods. In my depressed mood my brother gave me some good advice. I could live the rest of what might be a short life feeling sorry for myself or I could play the cards that were dealt to me. Once I accepted that attitude, I am now 76 years old and, for the most part, do anything I want to. I exercise on an elliptical machine 30 minutes daily and then walk for another 15 minutes at our recreation center when the weather keeps me inside. On days I can get outside, I bike from six to ten miles on bike trails. I also play golf two to three times a week.
The point is, I went from thinking I wouldn’t see my son graduate from high school to seeing him graduate from college with advanced degrees, marry, and now seeing my grandchildren in high school and younger. Could I die any day? Yes, but that has been true since age 52. I could have wasted a lot of years feeling sorry for myself, but I refused to do that. Life is what you make of it. Good luck.

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@hals Now that’s advice to live by! To have one heart attack is tough, but get another a year later must’ve been a heavy mental blow. Really glad you’re here to tell us this story.

@joem – I like your thinking around the team approach. How are you managing stress these days?

Liked by Joe M.

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I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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@sharlane

I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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Hi @sharlane, I’m glad you found us. I moved your message to this thread called “Staying healthy physically (and mentally) post heart attack” so you could meet fellow members. Welcome to the Healthy Heart support group.

Like @joem, it’s a team “sport” and we’re here to support you in your lifestyle changes. There many suggestions made on this discussion thread started by @gramps64 “How do I begin living a healthy lifestyle to benefit my heart?” https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/this-is-now-the-second-time-in-the-past-3-12-years/

I’m sure @hals @thankful @cynaburst and @HeartPatches will join me in welcoming you.

Sharlene: What’s the 1 thing you’re going to do today to improve your lifestyle? For me – I had a salad for lunch and now I’m going for a walk with a friend before the sun hides behind the clouds.

Liked by Joe M.

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@sharlane

I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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Site doesn’t like my log in info. I had trouble yesterday. I’m sick of
trying. Thanks for message, Colleen.

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@sharlane

I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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@sharlene, We are so glad you found us and hopefully we can be part of your support team!
A few things I would share is to focus on the positives! In your situation it sounds like the Dr. diagnosed your coronary issue before it resulted in a heart attack. Be thankful for that! For me that was different but sometimes we find out news that we didn’t want to get and we then have a choice to decide how we want to deal with it. We can chose to feel sad as I did for awhile “damaged goods” or we can chose to begin reaching out to others like on this site and allow yourself to be somewhat vulnerable and ask for advise. I was especially encouraged by @hals recent post of his decision to take his brothers advise. Go @hals!
I also highly recommend that you make some decisions to consider that possibly the choices of food you are eating need to change and that an exercise regimen is something that needs to be considered.
This does not have to mean drastic changes in lifestyle immediately, but you need a starting place.
I would keep a journal of what you eat every day and what if any exercise you do.
This was eye opening for me and simple changes done on a gradual basis in both meals and exercise will go a long way in creating more healthy habits. We are in this together so please reach out to this wonderful group of folks who care about you.
Choose this day to begin the process of getting back your health.

Best regards @thankfull

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@sharlane

I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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@sharlane please send me a message using this form https://connect.mayoclinic.org/contact-a-community-moderator/ and I’ll help fix the problem you’re having with the login.

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I went to the 36 X cardo program that the gov pays for then went to the YMCA and got a program started by the wellness director. I am now positively addicted to working out 3X a week…1/2 hour intense interval training on a treadmill and one hour strength training. I add more exercise every several weeks. Underline positive addiction. There are many other heart patients like me at the Y. Four others have pacemakers as I do.

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@ronbee, Way to go man!! It sounds like those endorphin’s have grabbed you! I love to hear stories as yours because so much is in our hands and we need to just make the decision to act. Start slow and create one of the best habits you ever had! You will never regret it! Sending you my positive thoughts & praises!

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@ronbee

I went to the 36 X cardo program that the gov pays for then went to the YMCA and got a program started by the wellness director. I am now positively addicted to working out 3X a week…1/2 hour intense interval training on a treadmill and one hour strength training. I add more exercise every several weeks. Underline positive addiction. There are many other heart patients like me at the Y. Four others have pacemakers as I do.

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Thank you so much for info. Good luck!!

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@sharlane

I have just been diagnosed with coronary disease. What should I do to improve lifestyle?

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Thanks so much for support and advice. I am making changes in diet
following Dr. Fuhrman’s new guidelines in his book End Heart Disease. I’m
also impressed by Dr. Esselstynn’s protocol. His wife has a wonderful new
cookbook, on plant-based nutrition. And you’re right about exercise. I’m
afraid of exercise because of angina, but I should be seeing my doctor this
week for advice. So happy to be in this community.

Liked by thankful

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I have a recommendation for a great book on both Cardiology as well as a treasure trove of recipes put out by Dr. Miles Hassell and his sister Mea Hassell. My nutritionist at Cardio Rehab highly recommended it to us and I have been using it since. It’s called Good Food, Great Medicine and is available on Amazon.
Today is my 2 year anniversary from having my Heart Attack and I want to say that I am extremely “Thankful” for these past 2 years. My thanks to my new friends here. You have already encouraged me!

Liked by heartpatches, Joe M.

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Will look it up! Thank you.
I have cut down on fried foods, I am eating more smaller portions of food and I am taking more time to enjoy each bite vs gobbling down the whole plate fast like I did in the past.

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@colleenyoung

@hals Now that’s advice to live by! To have one heart attack is tough, but get another a year later must’ve been a heavy mental blow. Really glad you’re here to tell us this story.

@joem – I like your thinking around the team approach. How are you managing stress these days?

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Hi troops! Ok lets talk about stress. I call it the invisible killer.The more technology embraces our lives, the more stressful you become. I”ll give you my experience , we have everything now, news,weather,situations, requests, email, notifications, etc.,tens of them a minute! We eat more, we want to do more, like watching TV and eating at the same time,but time has not changed, its still 60 seconds to the minute, 60 minutes to the hour, its the same time , the thing is we want to squeeze more and more into it.
It starts to take a toll on our bodies. This is where “sickness” starts to pop up, combine this with “not enought time” (physical inactivity)and ( bad food habits) …and we end up talking here! I imagine the brain getting ready before you wake up, when you wake up, you are already “stressed”.
I do recommend a book called Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living or similar that you can use as a guide to organize, minimize, contain,handle your stress. Yes, my friends, I do feel stress, I talk to friends and family, l listen to music, I read , all this helps!

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@thankful

I have a recommendation for a great book on both Cardiology as well as a treasure trove of recipes put out by Dr. Miles Hassell and his sister Mea Hassell. My nutritionist at Cardio Rehab highly recommended it to us and I have been using it since. It’s called Good Food, Great Medicine and is available on Amazon.
Today is my 2 year anniversary from having my Heart Attack and I want to say that I am extremely “Thankful” for these past 2 years. My thanks to my new friends here. You have already encouraged me!

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Happy 2nd birthday @thankful as I call it; as for me I consider it a day of new beginnings and new life!! 🙂

Liked by thankful

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