During a conversation with a friend, she told me about someone she knew who had a heart attack in January. Unfortunately for this person, he was not making any changes to his eating habits. His wife said she was too tired when she came home from work to cook and he said he didn’t know how. He continued to eat the same convenience foods and eat the same restaurant foods – the same ones that contributed to his condition in the first place.
This saddens me, because it doesn’t have to be this way. This person should keep in mind that the foods he ate and the habits he had are what brought him to his heart attack, and medicines alone will not prevent another. Changes must be made.
My husband was committed to avoid repeating his experience and so he took his recovery very seriously. And so did I. We cleaned out the cupboards and removed the foods that contributed to the heart attack and I started cooking better meals. We stopped going to restaurants and he started going to the gym. Over a year later and 50 pounds less (for each of us) – he’s doing very well and has reduced his risk for future heart events significantly.
I understand it may be hard for some of you; some of you may not have a spouse/partner who is willing or able to help. But there is so much information out there, so many resources, you must make this your priority. If you don’t have anyone to cook for you perhaps this is the time you can learn. You must take your doctor’s recommendations seriously and you must make changes. As the saying goes “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. Please, make the changes now.
Reach out to friends and family, reach out to me – let’s work on making the changes so you can continue to live and become healthier day by day.
Sometimes hearing about other people experiences related to heart health issues and how they recovered and how they deal with ‘life after’ can be helpful. We (the medical teams, the patient, the family) spend a lot of time concentrating on how the physical body recovers and what has happened (i.e. surgically) and what needs to happen (i.e. medications, changes in movement and food, etc) but we often forget that there are mental and emotional changes too.
Some people go through guilt (I should have taken better care of myself), anger (why did this happen to me?) and shock (how could this happen to me?) and fear (when is the next one? will I survive another one?), sadness (I will never be like I was before) These are all common and valid emotions. If you feel any of these emotions, please please reach out to your doctor or other other health professionals for advise, counselling and maybe even medication, such as anti-depressants, if your doctor approves.
Some change their perspective on life – for example J definitely ‘does not sweat the small stuff”. He no longer worries about certain things, often not even letting some things “in”.
Not to capitalize on celebrity, but below is a video from the director Kevin Smith, who at 47 years old had a heart attack and had a stent put in his LAD artery. I like his recount of the situation as I think it might help some of you to hear another survivor’s story. I also like his outlook at the end surrounding some controversy concerning comments made by Chris Pratt – Kevin’s response was “don’t fight about that”.
Here’s the video I’m referring to (sorry I can’t seem to find a better copy without making you log into Facebook):
Warning – adult language is used. //cdnapisec.kaltura.com/p/591531/sp/59153100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/6740162/partner_id/591531?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura_player_1413478522&entry_id=0_eiwz2lp4Also, here’s a link explaining the Widow Maker Heart attack
The second half of the first day, and the beginning of his new life :
After he arrived at the second hospital around 1:30 and was taken by the paramedics directly to the operating room, the family and I had a brief moment with him in the hallway as he was wheeled past us. Once in the operating room, an angioplasty was performed to clear 100% blockage of his front artery and 4 stents were installed. A balloon was inserted through his femoral artery to help his weak heart to keep pumping. He was strapped down to the bed, intubated and was sedated until around 6:30pm.
Just before he arrived at the hospital, the cardiologist met with me and told me what procedures they were going to do. I was also advised to prepare for other possibilities since he had technically died and they weren’t sure if there had been damage to his organs or heart. I was warned that he could come out of the surgery with liver damage or even brain damage. Twenty minutes of CPR was a long time to have your oxygen flow interrupted.
Continue reading “Life 2.0 – beginning again”