On July 25, 1989, I suffered a serious heart attack. The 100% blockage occurred in the LAD (left anterior descending artery). At the time, I had been seeking medical care for two years complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. Most of the doctors I saw during this two-year period told me, “You are too young and a woman so this must be indigestion or even inflammation of the chest wall.”
My family history was so bad for heart disease even I knew that a heart attack loomed in my future. Everyone in my father’s family, men and women, had suffered a heart attack or stroke prior to the age of 40. What I did not know was that my smoking and roller coaster weight gain and loss were almost guaranteeing that I would suffer this fate too.
Upon leaving the hospital, my cardiologist stated, “Carole, you will probably not see your 8-year-old son graduate high school. I suggest you enjoy the next three or four years and make plans for your family’s future.” This statement set me on the road to full recovery. No, I was not able to re-grow the portion of my heart that is damaged, nor was I able to stop the fact that I have heart disease. What I did, however, was set my sights towards a better future and beating the odds set against me.
The first step I took was to research as much as I could about heart disease, causes, how to slow it down, what I needed to change in order to extend my life. I found excellent information at the Cleveland Heart Clinic. I contacted the clinic and sent my heart tests records for evaluation for any further steps that I might take to make my heart stronger and more flexible. The Cleveland Heart Clinic gave me some great information on what I could do to help myself become healthier
My next step was never picking up a cigarette again, finding a way to lose 95 lb’s of excessive weight, and joining the hospitals coronary rehabilitation program. As time passed, I found other and newer ways to continue to become healthier and healthier. I joined a gym and began weight training, salsa dancing, and aerobics. At one period in my struggle to gain footing I actually went to a psychologist for help with the depression I began to feel. The feeling that I had to give up each and every one of the things I enjoyed in life was beginning to take its toll on my mental abilities. I became seriously depressed. My psychologist helped me to realize that I did not need smoking, drinking, and eating to make myself happy, what I needed was to like myself, tell myself that I am a good person, I am strong, and I will live a long life.
I began visiting with a Chinese medicine doctor who promptly began my regiment of natural herbs to help with lowering triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Dr Mengle Kou is a wonderful doctor who uses a mixture of western and eastern medical knowledge to combine a regiment of natural herbs and teas that enhance the western medications and their jobs.
I attended several classes at Providence Medical Center on how to eat a proper diet and lose weight eating correctly as another step in my long-term treatment. I am 60 years old now, take a cholesterol medication, blood pressure pill, blood thinners, medicinal herbs; however,
I am now 22 years post heart attack with three stents in my heart and still going strong. I travel, own, ride, train two horses, walk up to 15 miles at a time (while trekking through the parks and countryside for my adventures), camp, hunt, drive, ride bikes, and love each and every minute of every day.
I am a firm believer that you control your future. It may be a struggle to take the herbs, and do the exercises but it is what keeps you healthy, so taking the time to do these crucial steps is what keeps me alive.
725 NE 102nd Ave Portland, OR