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.

@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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Thankful, thanks so much for your message. I’m happy to hear you ‘ve had 2
years of improved health. Have your numbers improved? Cholesterol, and HDL?

Liked by thankful

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@joem

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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It’s a journey. Step by step. Good luck!

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@joem

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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@joem. It is a process of small steps. Also, don’t deprive yourself, as it has been said to me. It is okay to have that “treat” occasionally and in moderation and exercising—walking three times a day for 10 minutes each and weightlifting 3 times a week whether you use weights or your own body weight helps.

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@joem

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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I’m trying to get referred to Cardiac Rehab for exercise advice.

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@sharlene, if you cannot get to Cardiac Rehab, there are many gyms including the Y who have personal trainers that will be able to help you. I remember going through Cardiac Rehab, it was the scariest time, as I did not know how much to exert myself, as I was afraid of having another heart attack. But it was the best thing I did. I now workout 5 days a week (30 to 60 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weightlifting). If I get fearful now, I just think positive! I actually don’t feel good if I don’t exercise any more, it is so helpful with stress and just an overall good endorphin feeling.

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@HeartPatches

@sharlene, if you cannot get to Cardiac Rehab, there are many gyms including the Y who have personal trainers that will be able to help you. I remember going through Cardiac Rehab, it was the scariest time, as I did not know how much to exert myself, as I was afraid of having another heart attack. But it was the best thing I did. I now workout 5 days a week (30 to 60 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weightlifting). If I get fearful now, I just think positive! I actually don’t feel good if I don’t exercise any more, it is so helpful with stress and just an overall good endorphin feeling.

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@sharlene, I would think that your Cardiologist would be able to get you into Cardiac Rehab? As I had said in an earlier post, that was the best thing I ever did! The staff was very helpful and I felt very confident that by being monitored through the exercise time for the 1st month gave me that added confidence that they “had my back” and that even if I felt a little pain or something they were right there letting me know that things were going fine. One time the staff person said if anything were to happen where else would you rather be (the Cardiac Rehab was located next door on the same floor as the Heart Center). I could not argue with that!

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@HeartPatches

@sharlene, if you cannot get to Cardiac Rehab, there are many gyms including the Y who have personal trainers that will be able to help you. I remember going through Cardiac Rehab, it was the scariest time, as I did not know how much to exert myself, as I was afraid of having another heart attack. But it was the best thing I did. I now workout 5 days a week (30 to 60 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weightlifting). If I get fearful now, I just think positive! I actually don’t feel good if I don’t exercise any more, it is so helpful with stress and just an overall good endorphin feeling.

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That’s the advice I’m getting. Thanks. My Family Practice Nurse
Practitioner is unfamiliar with cardiac care so the plan since my diagnosis
is developing slowly.

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@HeartPatches

@sharlene, if you cannot get to Cardiac Rehab, there are many gyms including the Y who have personal trainers that will be able to help you. I remember going through Cardiac Rehab, it was the scariest time, as I did not know how much to exert myself, as I was afraid of having another heart attack. But it was the best thing I did. I now workout 5 days a week (30 to 60 minutes cardio and 30 minutes weightlifting). If I get fearful now, I just think positive! I actually don’t feel good if I don’t exercise any more, it is so helpful with stress and just an overall good endorphin feeling.

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Thank you so much for advice. I know exercise is very important. I’ll find
a way to do it safely.

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@hals

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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Good for you! Your story is inspiring.

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@sharlane. My Mayo cardio dr said walking is the best thing for any heart patient. In my case I have to do it in small time frames through out the entire day. I get on my treadmill and do 2-5 minutes then 30 minutes later do it again. I also have to do the same while doing light housework.

Liked by wandikarnadi

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@lisab62

@sharlane. My Mayo cardio dr said walking is the best thing for any heart patient. In my case I have to do it in small time frames through out the entire day. I get on my treadmill and do 2-5 minutes then 30 minutes later do it again. I also have to do the same while doing light housework.

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Thank you!! That’s so helpful!! That makes total sense. Do you have angina?
I’m thinking I can walk around close to home until the symptoms occur and
then rest. Now it’s only a few minutes before that happens.

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Yes I have chronic Prinzmetal angina. I’ve learned to pay attention to my heart/body and know what I can and cannot do. We also have an above ground pool however I must have an adult with me and not over do that as well. It’s great for me bc it helps me relax as well as exercise

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@lisab62

Yes I have chronic Prinzmetal angina. I’ve learned to pay attention to my heart/body and know what I can and cannot do. We also have an above ground pool however I must have an adult with me and not over do that as well. It’s great for me bc it helps me relax as well as exercise

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Thank you so much. You’ve made my next step clear. You’re more helpful than
my Primary and my Cardiologist. They are taking forever to answer my
questions. Sending you best wishes~

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@hals

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. your two times up to bat (52 & 53) with the bases loaded , you hit it out of the park with your attitude! My father died at age 52 after having a series of heart attacks. His first one at age 40. He had a type A personality, was physically fit, not overweight but he smoked and had high blood pressure. You can die of anything! One thing he had , he never felt sorry for himself and he played his cards. I agree 100% with you on your attitude. In my case , yes I have stress, I had high cholesterol and blood pressure, that is controlled by Crestor 20mg and Irbersartan 300mg and a aspirin 325mg. Every time I go see my cardiologist ( every six months) my BP goes up 140/90 otherwise it is generally less than 120/80 I would say 90% of the time . I am 63 right now. I have gotten depressed , I don’t take nothing for that except playing 70’s music and having a glass of red wine (tempranillo) every now and then, but as you say I try to write a new page every day. Right now I am 20 lbs overweight even though I do not look it. I am working on that , but will not let that make me lose my sleep.

Liked by thankful

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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 Coleen, Managing by listening to 70’s music, Having a glass of wine every now and then (tempranillo red spanish wine) and helping other folks with their problems and situations. Its gets the mind thinking about other things and not myself.

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