Pressing Forward Toward Better Health
"Treasure every moment."
This is John. Tall, articulate, and always the optimist, he just seems like a nice, normal guy. In a nutshell, he is kind, selfless, and always ready to comfort others with a few words of encouragement. Strong in his faith, what he says seems to carry a certain sagacity, and one cannot help but feel a tinge of inspiration after a conversation with him. Upon meeting John for the first time, one would never expect that for the past decade, he has been suffering from major health problems and struggling to live a normal life.
This is his story.
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I remember the first time I was told that I had a heart attack. I remember like it was yesterday. Prior to that, I had never even seen a doctor. I didn't need to. I thought I was the picture of health. In high school and in college I played every sport imaginable. I went to the gym several days a week--did cardio and lifted weights. My life--at least health-wise--was perfect. But then one day ten years ago everything just changed.
I was at work that day, moving some loads as usual. Nothing too bad. Then all of a sudden I started having this terrible chest pain. It literally felt like my heart was in a choke-hold. I took several deep breaths--hoping that it would go away. But deep down I knew something was wrong.
At the hospital, I was told that I had a heart attack. Heart attack? How? There was no way! The doctors said maybe it was too much stress. I was given some meds and sent home. And for the next few years, my life went back to normal. Of course I watched my stress level, but I felt no need to go back to the doctor. And that heart attack became almost a distant memory. And life went on.
"At the hospital, I was told that I had a heart attack. Heart attack? How? There was no way!"
Then I met a girl--the one that would end up being my future wife. She made me go to the doctor--and I mean made me--just for a check-up. And it was there that I found out that I not only had diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol--but I also had a blood disorder called beta thalassemia. And it seemed like everything just went downhill from there. Sort of like my body just decided that there was no more need for pretense...so it just let it all out.
I started to have frequent, regular chest pain. I no longer had any energy. I was exhausted...all the time. Whereas before I would work all day, then go to the gym, come home and still have energy to spare--now I could barely get myself through the workday. Then I would come home and sleep for several hours. I was constantly in pain, constantly fatigued.
"I started to have frequent, regular chest pain. I no longer had any energy. I was exhausted all the time. Whereas before I would work all day, then go to the gym, come home and still have energy to spare--now I could barely get myself through the day."
As if that weren't enough, it was also around that time that I started to have episodes of passing out. Just simply pass out. The first time I was actually driving on the highway; thankfully nothing serious happened. Then it occurred several more times. After that, I started seeing a cardiologist. He ran tests, put me on meds, but nothing really helped. It was then he suggested that I try something called EECP. Before that, I had never heard of EECP. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know what to expect....but what I did know was that I had nothing at all to lose. So I said yes.
That was over a month ago. And all I have to say is that since that day I walked into Legacy Heart Care and met the people who worked there, I knew that I would be alright. And now that I have had the treatments, things are not just alright--it has been a night and day difference. I don't know what it was, but since I started EECP, I have not had any chest pain or anymore episodes of passing out. My energy has gone way up. Before EECP, I would come home from work and feel so tired that I wouldn’t be able to do anything else for the rest of the evening. Now, I can have a full day at work and still feel great. I even started going to the gym again!
"Since that day I walked into Legacy Heart Care and met the people who worked there, I knew that I would be alright."
Every time I stepped into the clinic, I was greeted so warmly that I felt like I was coming home to a family. Every week, [the health care provider] would sit down with me, and we would talk about my health concerns, and what I can do to take control of my health. Then we would make a healthy living goal for the following week. And these talks really helped me, as it gave me some guidance and a focus for my health.
For example. I used to try to go back to my daily workout regime and then feel discouraged when I couldn't keep it up. Other times, there would just be so much inertia that I wouldn't even be able to get myself off the couch at all. But [the health care provider] helped me make regular, do-able goals. And I realized: yes I can do it. I can get back to doing what I want to do. Maybe not all at once, but step by step. I could do it. For example, after 2 years of not going to the gym, I now am going again! Firstly, because I feel better, and secondly, because I now have the motivation to.
"And I realized: yes I can do it. I can get back to doing what I want to do. Maybe not all at once, but step by step. I could do it."
Of course, it wasn't like a miracle happened, and suddenly now I'm back to the way I was before my health problems started. But it is no lie that there has been a big improvement--both physically and in my quality of life. I now am able to spend more time with my family and do a lot more of the things that I want to do. So you can say that before EECP, my quality of life on a scale of one to ten...was a 2. Now it’s a 7--I still have some ways to go, but I’m much farther than where I started. And I have Legacy to thank for it.
So for anyone out there who may be struggling with their own health problems, I just have one thing to say: Never give up. Don’t let your health problems stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. Don’t listen to that voice that tells you you can’t do it...because you can. Treasure each moment. Enjoy each minute you spend with your family, with your kids, and with your loved ones. Don’t let a disease rob you of what deserve to enjoy. Remember, you deserve it.
"Never give up. Don’t let your health problems stop you from enjoying life to the fullest. Don’t listen to that voice that tells you you can’t do it...because you can."
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