A Day In The Life: Heart Disease

A Day In The Life: Heart Disease

A Day In The Life With Heart Disease - Marlon’s Story

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, and more than 2.4 million Canadians living with heart disease aged 20 years or older. However, if you’re living with heart disease there are many things you can do to each day to improve your health.

Share Lawyers spoke with Marlon, a client and sufferer of heart disease, about what his life was like before and after his diagnosis. We hope his experience can help to showcase the steps anyone can take to live a healthy life after heart disease.

Marlon suffered a heart attack when he was just 39 years old. He worked in middle management of a large distribution company. Before his heart attack, he lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle and was a lifelong smoker. One weekend, he was in the kitchen washing the dishes when he began to feel dizzy, started to sweat, and felt a pressure in his arms and chest. After his wife called 9-1-1, he was rushed to the hospital where the doctors deduced he was having a heart attack. He was quickly taken to the OR and underwent bypass surgery that saved his life.

When Marlon first awoke after the surgery, he couldn’t believe this was happening to him. He was scared about what his future looked like, and realized he would need to make some changes to how he was leading his life.

To quit smoking, Marlon started using an app on his phone to track his progress and liked seeing not only what benefits there were to his health, but also how much money he was saving!

He’s on a course of medications: ACE Inhibitors, diuretics, and potassium. After he takes his pills they make him a little woozy – he takes the time for guided meditation after he takes his pills to help make him feel better.

Marlon used to love a fried egg and bacon breakfast, especially going to the diner down the street, but now he and his wife have integrated more heart healthy foods into their diets and this morning he enjoys grapefruit, and egg white asparagus omelette and baked sweet potato “home fries.”

His wife drives him twice a week to an outpatient cardiac rehab centre where he works with Sally, who gives him exercises to lower his heart rate and strengthen his overall heart health. He was overweight before he had his heart attack, and now has lost 35 pounds.

The rehab program also provides counseling, which Marlon was hesitant to attend at first– what does talking about his feelings have to do with his heart attack? But now he’s grateful for this time, as it’s hard to talk to his family and friends about how such a major medical event lead him to feel “weak” and scared and he appreciates the space to be able to open up.

When Marlon leaves the rehab centre he always walks by a hot dog cart and the aroma of the street meat is so tempting! But he knows that it’s the daily choices about living healthy that will make him live longer, although his wife promises he can have one on his birthday.

Before Marlon had his heart attack, he didn’t pay too much attention to his health and generally didn’t sleep well which made him tired and occasionally irritable, and joked that he was an old man before his time. The recent changes in his lifestyle have led him to a happier life. All of the changes he made are relatively small, but his friends, family, and co-workers see the difference in Marlon. He’s generally in a good mood, looks healthy, and is more engaged and focussed in his relationships.

Marlon’s been able to take this time to focus on his well being while getting long-term disability benefits from his employer. He couldn’t imagine what he would do if he was forced to go back to work or live without the support.

If you or a loved one is recovering or living with heart disease, remember there are things that you can do to ensure your most optimal health. Like Marlon, making small changes to your routine can make all the difference.

 

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