Family Genes Caught Up with Me

by Wanda
(Panama City, FL, USA)

At 57, I thought I was in pretty decent shape, in spite of gaining 30 extra pounds over the last few years and losing my mother and son a year apart, both to heart disease.

My only symptom of a heart problem was the sudden onset of breathlessness and dizziness when I climbed the stairs at work quickly. Because of the family history, I had a stress test which showed a minimal problem. Still my cardiologist recommended a cath to see exactly what was going on. He found 4 blockages - 1 100% and 3 between 70 and 95% on another artery. He said I needed bypass, and was lucky that my heart was not already damaged.

I had the surgery on a Tuesday - not a pleasant day, of course, but was released from ICU the next morning and began walking the halls on the day I was put in the regular room. I got to go home on Saturday morning, so spent 4 days in the hospital. It was rough, holding my pillow to cough and when I walked at first, just in case I needed it, and sleeping was difficult since I had to lie on my back for awhile and I'm a side-sleeper.

Luckily, my husband was able to take off work to take care of the housework, cook heart-healthy meals and to be there to encourage me to take walks with him. At first we took short walks, 5 min and working up, twice a day, then in about 3 weeks I was able to walk a mile once a day. I returned to work 5 weeks after surgery.

It has been almost 4 months since my surgery and I now am walking 2-3 miles most days after work. I've begun jogging again, 1/4 mile intervals followed by walking that add up to a mile total of my distance. I do weights again now that my sternum has healed - very light so far, just bench pressing 35 - 40 pounds and working my arms and shoulders with dumbbells to get my strength back.

With the exercise and heart-healthy diet, I've lost 20 pounds without dieting. My cholesterol dropped over 50 points and LDL is below 70 without increasing my zocor. I have energy again - those stairs at work are not a problem, nor is standing and walking around my classroom all day, or playing with my grandchildren.

Before the surgery, I had slowly adjusted to a slower pace and less activity, without really realizing it. I thought I was just overweight and getting old. Now I know that I don't have to settle for that lifestyle - I can be active and feel great again. And I know now that women don't necessarily have the angina pains and other classic symptoms of a male heart problem. My symptoms were so slight that I could ignore them -- don't wait if you suffer from breathlessness or any sudden change in the ability to be active -- check it out.

Heart surgery is not fun -- having the scar and going through the recovery is something we'd all like to avoid. It can give you a new lease on life, though -- and it's definitely better than the alternative.

Comments for Family Genes Caught Up with Me

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Family genes caught up with me
by: GlennisAnonymous

Hi Kim,

Thank you very much, I will indeed buy the book.
My partner is the'hide your head in the sand and it will go away' type.


Read this book
by: Kim

Hi Glennis,
I strongly urge you and your partner to get and read The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Berstein

Sugar is the last thing he should be eating. This book will give you a clear path to follow for long term health.

Good luck

My partners triple bypass
by: GlennisAnonymous

My 59 year old partner has had a triple bypass and has diabetes. He walks and has lost 10 kilos. His op was in January this year. My problem is he is eating a lot of sugar and thinks that because he is still getting a good reading that it is ok. Any suggestions as to how I can make him understand that he is doing damage?

Great News!
by: Sandra

Hi Wanda,
It's so nice to hear from you again, and to hear how well you are doing.

I'm thrilled to hear about your activities, your running and walking, AND bench pressing 115 pounds - wow! I'm impressed.

Our stories are so similar in terms of how genetics was the main culprit and how we've seized the second chance to be healthy and fit.

Keep it up, and keep in touch! You are an inspiration!


by: Wanda

Hi, Sandra and everyone who visits this page. It's been 8 months now since my surgery and things are going great. In fact, I think that the surgery was one of the best things that could have happened to me, though that sounds weird. It shocked me into getting back into healthy habits and probably saved my life.

My husband and I go to the gym 4-5 days per week to run or walk on the treadmill and lift weights. I'm able to run 4 miles in 45 minutes on my running days and walk 3 miles on days I don't run. I can bench press 115 pounds now.

More importantly, we lead active, joyful lives and have the energy to do whatever we feel like doing. My priorities have definitely changed for the better - work is still important, but not nearly as important as spending time with my husband and family.

Life is good. I wish everyone here the best of luck and good health.

Way to go, Wanda
by: Sandra

Wanda, your story is inspirational. I could really relate to your experience. Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like you are doing well - keep it up and keep in touch!

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