Great Recovery !
by David W
(Santa Cruz, CA)
I am a male who just turned 64 years old a week ago. In November 2009, I was admitted to hospital with CHF, having tipped the sale at 215 lbs at 5'11" (up from around 185lbs three months earlier) and an EF ~16%. I have always been quite active, running, cycling and generally healthy, almost but not quite a vegetarian. My decline was quite fast, taking place over 3-4 months. The cause may have been viral, but it is not clear, other than there is no history in my family of similar problems. I spent 10 days in Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, under the care of Jim Glancy. With IV diuretics I dropped to 154 lbs in this time. I also had a problem with an enlarged prostate, so I was fitted with a catheter, which made my life very easy!
On the 7th night, before a planned discharge, I had an arrhythmia, which I was not aware of myself, although it was very clear in the monitoring system. As a result I had an ICD inserted within 36 hours. When I was discharged I was walking about 100/100 meters out and back without any issues.
I gradually increased my walking, eventually after a couple of weeks including a good set of steps. I live close to the beach (where I had been used to running), so the first day I made it to the beach and back (Christmas Day) accompanied by my 19 year old son was a major victory. I walked 3.4 miles daily throughout January, hitting 100 miles for the month, also keeping my weight down around 160-165lbs. I was not deemed fit enough for prostate surgery, so I was still carrying my "little baggy" strapped to my leg at this point. In February, I started to run a little on the beach (with Dr. Glancy's approval) and made my first business trip on a plane (new experiences with TSA as a result on my ICD and "little baggy"!).
By end of March I was running more and actually managed 1000 feet of steps on the day of my cardio appointment. Dr. Glancy was a little concerned about my drive to recover, but I always listened to him, and my EF was now up to 45%+. In April I was strong enough to have the prostate surgery, and was very relieved to no longer look like a "pull toy" and actually be free of the "baggy".
Now one year later, on my visit a week ago with Dr. Glancy, he declared (jokingly) that "normal people" were not allowed in his clinic and that I should leave! I have not seen the echo results yet myself, but all appears normal, which is not to say it IS normal. I am taking medication still, and we are now working out what that means in the long term. I still have my ICD, which is useful for data gathering, but hasn't shown any sign of being triggered yet. I weigh 175-176lbs having rebuilt my muscles with a steady 3-4 times a week hard workout, mostly interval training/running/bicycling for cardio and light weights, and I feel fitter than I have in several years. Next month I am off to China on a business trip, which will be a diet challenge, since I am very careful about keeping sodium low.
All in all, this has been very successful. I'm sure helped by my desire to be fit and enjoyment of the highs I get from working out. My wife's great care and cooking has also been a great contributor. I just want people to know that if you have the desire and drive, it is possible to improve life back to beyond what may have been predicted originally. "Take Heart"... literally.