Road To Recovery: Beating Heart Failure And Coming Out On Top
We’re back with Part 2 of Suzanne’s truly inspiring story, focusing on her recovery after her heart episode. For those readers just joining us, learn more about Suzanne’s story here.
MOCACARE: What have you had to change about your lifestyle after your open-heart surgery?
Suzanne: Around June of last year, I finally reached total clarity and that was also when I decided to take my physical and mental health into my own hands. Traditional medical intervention had not worked for me for 4 years, and stats showed that I was on my way to another crippling cardiac event within the first 5 years of recovery.
I researched proper supplementation and heart disease in women. I became a voracious reader and slowly implemented holistic measures in healing myself. I changed my diet completely to a Paleo/Ketogenic diet coupled with intermittent fasting. My aim was just to give it a try for a few months.
Within 4 months, I had dropped over 20 lbs, and completely weaned myself off of grains, dairy, and sugar. By November, my heart tests showed marked improvement and I was taken off all my heart medication, with the exception of a minimal dose of statins, which I need to keep my genetic hypercholesterolemia in check. Congenital Heart Failure was taken off my chart. By March 2016, I had dropped another 10 lbs, was off all pain and sleep meds, and I was hiking for up to 3 hours at a time over rough terrain, with no distress at all. Just this last week as I celebrated my 60th birthday in Kauai, I took on several 4 to 6 hour strenuous hikes with surprising ease and a great sense of accomplishment.
MOCACARE: That’s incredible! We are so glad to hear that you’re doing well, and were able to proactively turn your health around. What is your daily routine now, as it relates to your recovery
Suzanne: I get a full 7-8 hours of quality sleep, do daily physical exercise (either a high intensity workout for 15 minutes, a 45-minute routine on a recumbent bike, or 30-minute walk, all weather depending), and eat a high-fat, mid-protein diet with a few good carbs or some fruits and nuts.
My routine centers on my diet, supplementation, and exercise. Everything else that I do–whether it’s writing, painting, maintaining the household, or traveling–is fit between this regiment. I am now hooked on hiking, which I never did even when I was young. It has taken a year to work all of this into my lifestyle without being overwhelmed.
I also monitor my heart vitals on a daily basis.
MOCACARE: What are the most important heart vitals you have to monitor?
Suzanne: As always, it has been my blood pressure and my blood oxygen levels. I used to carry around both my bulky blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter everywhere I went. And because of the inconvenience, I’d take a measurement only once every couple of days.
However, now that I am using the MOCAheart device, which I’ve calibrated to my blood pressure reading, it has become extremely convenient to monitor my heart vitals. I carry around the small device and monitor 3 times a day, everyday. Thirty seconds is all I need to ensure my results are within ideal ranges, and then I’m off to my next activity!
MOCACARE: How do heart health devices like MOCAheart help you on a daily basis?
Suzanne: I take a MOCAheart reading three times a day. Once, when I wake up, for my resting heart rate, another after exercise to determine whether I am working hard enough, or too hard, and lastly as I am lying in bed before I go to sleep.
I am assured with the MOCAheart device, that I am healthy enough to take on a 3 to 6 hour hour hike in high heat and humidity, or know when I need to take it easy on those rare occasions that I’m not feeling well. Surprisingly, when my reading is low, I have discovered that often times I am dehydrated. Within minutes of drinking a bottle of water, the reading goes to “ideal” and I feel so much better.
Through the app, I am able to send my stats to family and friends to reassure them that I am not taking on more than I can handle. After what I put them through with my heart failure and recovery, this is a welcome assurance that they haven’t had for the last 5 years.”
MOCACARE: What do you like about MOCAheart?
Suzanne: As I mentioned earlier, everything in my diet, supplementation, and exercise is a routine. I like that the MOCAheart monitor is very simple and convenient to integrate into my lifestyle. Because it is so easy to use and understand, I am consistent with it.
It is also very small and easy to carry. When I pull it out in public to take a reading, it becomes a conversation piece and then my whole story comes out, kind of like it has now! I have met people who are intrigued by the changes I have made in such a short time. The MOCAheart device gives me the opportunity to help yet another woman take control of her heart health.
Most importantly, I can share the data with my loved ones and answer any of their questions through the app’s chat feature ASAP.
MOCACARE: What advice would you share with others who are in recovery from a heart procedure, or have been diagnosed with a heart condition?
I cannot stress the importance of educating yourself. You are ultimately responsible for your own health and wellbeing.
Once you understand the direction you’re heading in, it is very difficult NOT to make changes. Don’t rely solely on the medical profession to stop the inevitable, whether you are currently diagnosed with heart disease or have risk factors.
It’s much cheaper to eat right, take the proper supplementation, and work yourself up to a healthy lifestyle, than all the co-pays, medications, and huge hospital bills for you and your family when the real problems start.
Being overweight, in pain, depressed, etc. are reversible if you take that leap of faith. Take baby steps and give yourself a break when you falter or do not see results fast enough. It took a lifetime to get into ill health, so it just may take a little while to get back on that wellness horse again.
Once you start feeling even a little better, once again, it’s difficult to go backwards. It took me a year to fine-tune my needs in a new dietary lifestyle on a very tight budget, but it has become doable. My old lifestyle cost me more money, and I am now healthier and happier than I was in my 30s.
MOCACARE: Lastly, do you have any closing thoughts or comments?
Suzanne: Thank you for coming up with this product. I wish it was available to me months before the heart episode that almost took my life. When medical professionals told me that I wasn’t in any danger, this device would have given me the courage to question and insist on more decisive tests and action.
It’s truly been a pleasure getting to know Suzanne, and we are so glad to see that MOCAheart has been able to positively impact her health. Suzanne hopes to be able to educate women, young and old alike, about their health, and is currently in the midst of launching her new women’s health blog, with the goal of helping them get a handle on their heart health.
Have a story to share? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be more than happy to feature you on the blog 🙂
Curious to learn more about how MOCAheart can help keep your heart health in check? Click here to learn more.