What I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed James Young II
James ignored classic heart failure symptoms, but once faced with a frightening prognosis, he made major changes to turn his health around. Today he volunteers as an ambassador for our Rise Above Heart Failure program.
The daunting sound of hearing the news that you have congestive heart failure can feel like your world begins to crumble with every word being uttered by your physician. That's how I felt. Having to sit with this newfound information caused an emotional build up – likened to the fluid mention that continues to rise within me. Now being left with an added bout of emotions to juggle, I received no prescription for that but wished I did.
There's plenty that can be discussed on this subject however I decided to focus on a few areas that impacted me most and had I been advised on these areas, my worries may have been moderately subdued.
1) Fear of the unknown. Feeling afraid can cause added pain – not only emotionally but physically as well. The threat of what could possibly be forthcoming down life's pathway can be most frightening for most heart patients. I certainly spent many nights in bed staring at the ceiling – afraid to close my eyes and sleep for fear of not waking up. Had I known which questions to ask of my physician or had my physician probed me to gauge my level of fear, the opportunity for understanding could be established and with that, I could have been calmed enough to rest at night.
2) Depression. According to an American Heart Association article entitled: Coping with Feelings, we learn that any diagnosis can cause depression however, more specially, among heart patients 33 percent of heart attack patients end up developing some degree of depression according to Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Behavioral Sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa.
Depression , if not treated, particularly with heart patients, may further worsen ones heart condition . For this reason, I wished those who were treating me talked to me about how to effectively cope with heart failure as well as recommended possible counseling or other methodologies that could be practiced in the comforts of my home to lift my spirits and brew within me more positive possibilities.
What a dramatic difference my experience with heart failure could've resulted had someone who'd walked in my shoes – down the road I'm going and provided a shoulder to lean on, or an attentive ear to listen.
The American Heart Association has developed this wondrous platform called the Support Network, which gives heart patients, survivors and caregivers common ground to interact, share, motivate, inspire and give hope.