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Heart Attack Recovery - Carol's Story


January 19th, 2014 – I’d just finished watching the Broncos win to get into the Super Bowl. I hadn’t felt well all day – and I was cold.  Also, I had hollow and painful feelings on the right side of my mandible (jaw).  I called a friend who said to get to the hospital right away – I drove the 5 or so miles to the hospital and was checked in… they were getting ready to do a heart catheterization when...

I had a full-blown heart attack.

The heart catheterization showed 3 blocked arteries (2 – 75 % and 1 99%) I was scheduled for surgery on the 21st.

Following the successful surgery, I developed complications and was highly sedated for several days – I was “on the fence” they didn’t know if I would survive.  After 18 days in the hospital, I was finally able to go home.  I then developed pneumonia and ended up in the hospital again for 8 days.   I had to go to cardiac rehab – and I didn't feel it was helping me in any way so I stopped going.

Following the by‐pass and pneumonia, after the surgery, the simplest tasks such as picking up a glass of water, taking a shower, getting dressed were like moving mountains.

I knew I needed to work out, and the low/no impact aspect is what I was looking for.

I also wanted to get in shape and get healthier.  My cardiologists were on me every visit to get moving, and I knew I had to find something I would stick to.

In the past, I loved Jazzercise, water aerobics, aqua pilates, and aerobic dancing.  I started back to Jazzercise several years ago, but it hurt my knees.  As for the water activities, the gym/pool where I worked out was not kept very clean, and I couldn’t stand walking in the place… so I stopped going.  I have “every piece of exercise equipment” known to man and countless videos/DVD’s at home and I do not use them.  It’s hard for me to get into the routine of working out on my own.

I couldn’t get “into” any other exercise routine – and just didn’t do anything for years.

In July, 2018 an ad popped up on my Facebook page for Club Pilates, Wiregrass. I wondered where is this place, when did it open, and why didn’t I know about it? Finding the studio in the mall, I went in and scheduled the free introductory class. I was hooked after the introductory class so I joined immediately with an unlimited membership!

In December, I had a terrible bout of vertigo during class: Everyone was very concerned and then, Marlana and Ashley drove me home on a dark and rainy Friday evening, taking their time to be sure I was well taken care of. It was something I never would have expected anyone to do for me. The vertigo just about did me in and although I was ready to cancel my membership because I did not want to draw attention to myself if, and when, I had another attack.

Marlana encouraged me to continue, and I am so grateful she did. The instructors and I have created ways in which I can modify the movements so I do not experience any vertigo, and they are aware if I do have an attack, I know what to do to combat it. I’m back to taking 5 to 7 classes a week and feeling better and stronger every day.

I still am very careful when I lay down flat to do any bridging.

After a few months, I was again able to lay flat and bridge properly.  I am very cognizant of my balance and whether or not I get the least bit dizzy.   Modifications for bridging is something that I am able to perform if needed.   I know what to do if I get dizzy and the instructors are aware that I could get an attack…. Luckily it has been many months since any type of vertigo attack.

While I haven’t lost any weight, I did lose inches at first. But I am the same weight and size as I was a year ago.  I take medication and I also sit at a computer all day, so none of that helps.   But, I do have muscles and I know I have a six-pack hiding under my skin.  I do have a much greater lung capacity.

Overall, I physically feel better after I go to class.  Also, I’ve made a few friends and have many ladies I can just chat with for a few minutes before or after class.  The socialization is a big thing for me, as I live alone and work in a small office – in the past, I rarely had any socializing in person and most of my interaction was over social media and the phone with friends.

Mostly I look forward to seeing the other members and getting a good workout.  I usually take 1, 1.5 and center and balance.  These classes work with my schedule.   Strength wise, I could take a 2, but with my balance issues, I have not been cleared and that is fine with me.  I can modify and add-on to the 1 class to challenge myself.

I have achieved 2 goals!

I’ve gotten stronger and I am healthier.  AND, I did get to my 250th  class last month (I wanted that T-shirt)!  I figured with the time out for illness and other things, it took me about 13 months.  I try to take 5 – 6 classes per week.

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