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Balancing Lifestyle, Weight, HCM, CAD, Diabetes and Exercise

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About the Author

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JillC RN for over 40 years, MS degree in Respiratory Nursing, Worked surgical open-heart ICU for 18 years in Chicago.. After years of symptoms finally diagnosed with HOCM in 2006. I retired from nursing 2012 due to HCM and had septal myectomy at Local hospital 2013, Redo myectomy Mayo Clinic 2014. Now doing well. Find out more about JillC
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  • Balancing Lifestyle, Weight, HCM, CAD, Diabetes and Exercise

    If someone just knew my by my medical problem list...they would probably wonder how I am still alive at 69 yo. But I am. Not only that I am a vibrant and joyful person which I attribute to my years of meditation, introspection and serving others. However, I got a rude awakening recently, that if I want to continue to enjoy life I DO, much to my ego's dismay, need to alter some things in my lifestyle or my medical problem list is going to get the best of me.
    I eat an 85% " healthy diet" I have even dropped a couple pounds recently, but I am obese 220 lbs and 5ft 9 inches. I like to walk but I don't very often and I have bouts of fatigue where I can barely leave a chair....let alone exercise. Where does one start???? It is a huge hole to dig yourself out of with a not so healthy heart.
    I ended up starting by controlling my Type 2 diabetes with insulin instead of other medications.....It was amazing how once Blood sugar could get into my cells I actually had a good amount of sustainable energy! Then I found the Ornish Lifestyle to reverse Cardiovascular Disease....which has been around for a while..However, I found out that their 9 week Intensive Cardiac Rehab Program is covered by MEDICARE!!! It is the first program of its kind to incorporate Meditation and stress management, Group Support, Plant based Nutrition and cardiac monitored exercise ALL in one program....and Dr Ornish's Research shows it is improving diabetes, reversing heart disease,improving lipid panels, improving exercise tolerance, reducing chest pain, reversing early stage prostate cancer and lengthening DNA telomeres which can decrease the effects of aging.
    I am just starting the program here in Denver this week ..... 4 hrs 2 days a week Until January.....I will post periodically how it is going!!
    Onward and Upward!
    Jill C.
    After years of symptoms:
    Officially Diagnosed HOCM 2006
    Myectomy 3/11/13 at non-COE
    Extended Myectomy 7/23/14
    At Mayo with Dr. Joseph Dearani

  • #2
    Very interested to hear how this program works out for you!

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    • #3
      Jill...Wow you were absolutely right about my Takotsubo being the rabbit hole. I spent a month after the hospital doing deep breathing and tai chi and sleeping a LOT. Started walking and was able to build up to 1 mile in 1/2 hour. Saw the Dr. today after a Echo and his response was "Remarkable Recovery" My pressure gradient had fallen from 60% to practically none. He's no longer seeing obstruction, nor talking surgery. So grateful to you folk for being out there with this amazing wealth of information! I have long believed in the power of self healing through visualization and having access to all of you is invaluable!
      Many Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!

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      • #4
        Hi Jill, I too have been having trouble trying to lose weight since my HCM became active in 2009. I was in good shape before that, working out all the time, not obese. Now almost 10 years later, after a myectomy in Feb 2011, I am "obese" (according to my BMI) at 180, 5' 4" tall. I am pre-diabetic (on the low end) and controlling high blood pressure with meds and my cholesterol numbers are getting worse. I have been swimming for 3 years now 2-3x/week and walking 2 miles (45 mins) 2-3 times/week and nothing was getting better . But, like you, I now have hope since finding a program much like you describe! Its at the place, New Heart, where I did my cardiac rehab after surgery and the program is called "New Heart, New You". It's a comprehensive program beginning with a thorough medical evaluation and stress test to get a base line to begin the program (my insurance paid all but $70 of it). Then there are 36 sessions with an exercise physiologist (self pay) to help with building muscle and cardio which increases endurance as well as balance exercises, all with BP, O2 & HR monitoring at each session. I meet with a nutritionist each week and they have a life coach you can meet with. They promote the Mediterranean Diet, but I'm also incorporating a couple other books I've read on treating the whole person and diet. One is "What the Heck Should I Eat" by Dr. Mark Hyman (Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and founder/medical director of The UltraWellness Center) and the book "The Gabriel Method". Both are much like the Ornish philosophy, eating (organic if possible) whole foods, more plant based and moving away from processed and refined foods and sugar. The Gabriel Method has a lot of good meditations and imaging exercises. I started this in October too and boy it is hard to make changes and stay consistent, especially with diet. I get derailed when "life happens," going camping or on trips, holidays, etc. I love the workouts though & can see my progress. I still continue to swim as well. I must say I have seen improvement in my BP readings, strength and endurance. I realized that building muscle was the key I was missing. Cardiologist Dr. Barry Ramo is the director there and he said it'll take about a year for me to reach my weight goals. So far, I'm about the same but can see I am losing fat, clothes are fitting better! So let's keep it up and get better!!
        Mer

        Diagnosed 09/2009 @51 yrs old- HCOM
        Myectomy 2/17/2011
        Son & Daughter no findings as of yet (echos)
        No family history determined yet -- 1 sister, 2 brothers & extended family.

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        • #5
          I ended up only doing 5 weeks of my 9 week program....I Had to have laparoscopic GYN surgery and then had family issues I needed to attend to......Trying to get somewhere for 4 hrs twice a week became more stressful than healing So I respected my inner judgement and dropped out.
          However, I feel I got the boost I need to change eating habits ...... and hopefully exercise habits as well, once I heal from my surgery. I am fortunate in that two of the 4 parts of the program were already in my habit patterns before I started. Stress reduction/ meditation and incorporating Love and Support in daily life. I have lost a few pounds......but so far my cardiac lipid profile remains unchanged. I have to say that starting on insulin and getting my blood sugar under control has been a huge factor in my overall health improvement. I’m glad to hear you are only pre diabetic so you should be able to nip that in the bud and you are very smart to look at how your clothes fit rather than a number on the scale!
          Blessings and be well!
          After years of symptoms:
          Officially Diagnosed HOCM 2006
          Myectomy 3/11/13 at non-COE
          Extended Myectomy 7/23/14
          At Mayo with Dr. Joseph Dearani

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