Jan 8
Thomtarman
Thomtarman , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

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I notice most first posts explain how the person came down with their particular health problem. Well, frankly, mine is a long story filled with lots of (boring) details many of which I am not comfortable sharing in a public forum.
Suffice it to say I was living the conventional American lifestyle and it caught up with me. By the time I was diagnosed with CHF in 2011, I had suffered a heart attack and a stroke -- but didn't miss a moment of work due to either event -- which may tell you something about how I ended up here.
Now, I've got an enlarged heart that pumps inefficiently.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that I have succeeded in making nearly every change I needed to make to get away from the conventional American lifestyle. The high-stress job is gone; the high-stress marriage is gone; the bad food is gone. I didn't have to worry about smoking, drinking or illegal drugs. I don't smoke, I drank a little bit -- but it was, litterally, one glass of wine per day or one beer per day and that was it; so, it was easy to quit that. And drugs? Nope. (Well, okay, I tried a little marijuana in college. But none since then -- and I'm approaching 60 years old.) Drugs are simply not a factor in my life.

As for my diet, my breakfast this morning was low-sodium turkey bacon with an omelette made of egg whites, mushrooms, spinach and onions. (I was out of chopped peppers!) I found it delicious, flavorful and filling.

And that's been a big change for me since my diagnosis: I have learned that heart-healthy foods actually taste good! Before my diagnosis, there was no way to get me to eat anything with mushrooms and/or spinach. And now, they are part of one of my favorite breakfasts! (Does an enlarged heart change your taste buds?!? :-) )

So, that's where I'm at. I've got multiple years of blood test results with everything in the normal range and my doctor has not ordered an ECG in three years because he finds no need for it. Yes, I still have CHF but, "it's compensated for," as my doctor puts it.

So, now, who am I? I spent 30 years working in the newspaper business and in retail sales; I am the father to four (three boys, one girl) and grandfather to seven. My youngest is 21 years old and married; my daughter is married and mother to five of my grandchildren; my oldest is married and father to two of my grandchildren. My other son seems to have found his mate but -- well -- it's complicated. But, I have learned that those are HIS complications -- not MINE! So, I don't stress about it. I figure they just give me more time to think about a wedding gift.

 

1 Comment
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie,

    Thank you for sharing this great story with us! So many times people come to the Support Network with a CHF story, having heard about the 5-year myth and are very very concerned about their quality of life moving forward. You have a wonderful story about how life goes on post CHF diagnosis and I look forward to many people reading and being inspired by you. Best Katie 

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