Kath & Eddie
20 March 2018
It's not often that a Husband and Wife are referred to our Cardiac Rehab service within a few weeks of each other, but that's what happened to Kath and Eddie from Pendle. Here they explain how Cardiac Rehab has helped them to recover from their separate cardiac incidents.
After my unexpected diagnosis of coronary heart disease followed by a triple heart bypass in April 2017, I was invited by my Cardiac Nurse, to go on a Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme at Pendle Leisure Centre in Colne. I must admit that at the time I thought I would never be able to do exercise as I'd found the major surgery very debilitating and for several weeks after surgery even the simplest of tasks were very difficult. I doubted if I’d ever get back to feeling normal and having the confidence to do the things both myself and Eddie enjoyed doing.
At my initial assessment with Emma we discussed my own personal goals and Emma then fully explained what the programme was all about. Emma quickly alleviated my concerns and clearly explained that initially I'd be part of a group of people in a similar situation to myself and I would work slowly and gently at first and then increase my exercise over the course of the programme. At the first session I was taught how to take my heart rate before and after exercise and at the end of the session I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with what I'd manage to achieve on the circuit exercise and found myself looking forward to the weekly sessions. It was good to be part of a group of people with similar health problems to myself and I felt that we all motivated and encouraged each other and I feel very privileged to have met such lovely people who are obviously committed to achieving a healthier lifestyle. At the end of each exercise session Emma would inform the group on various topics to ensure a healthier lifestyle such as healthy diet, the many benefits of walking, management of stress and relaxation. At the end of the 12 week course I joined the gym at the Leisure Centre and I was then in a better position to do more strenuous exercises in the form of more intense circuit training and using the treadmill, exercise bike and many more of the equipment that was suitable for cardiac rehab.
There is no doubt that the programme helped to regain my confidence, improved my fitness levels, helped to get back to my everyday life very quickly and reduced the risks of further heart problems. A little hiccough occurred just 5 weeks after my heart surgery but I'll let Eddie tell you about this and how cardiac rehabilitation then went on to also help him.
Just 5 weeks after my wife Kath had to have a triple heart bypass I collapsed at home in May 2017 and was admitted into hospital for almost 3 weeks. After a variety of tests it was discovered that I too had a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). In July 2017 I had a special pacemaker called an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) fitted, which is a small device to treat abnormal heart rhythms. Having the ICD fitted gives me a lot of reassurance that my heart rhythm is being properly controlled but I still felt quite apprehensive about the level of activity I was able to do.
Joining the Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme was the best thing that could happen for me. Although I was partially aware of the programme because of my wife's experience, my initial one to one meeting helped alleviate any personal concerns and misconceptions that I had. Joining the group enabled me to meet people who had experienced similar health issues to myself and really enabled me to focus on the positives rather than the negative. Emma’s informative and encouraging instructions allowed me and my fellow group members to progressively stretch ourselves and work towards regaining a good fitness level and a feeling of wellbeing.
At first I found the cardio exercise routine was stretching but very achievable with Emma's help and support. I found that the debriefing sessions following the actual exercise sessions giving additional guidance on healthy lifestyle was extremely useful. During the programme I have been watching and monitoring my food intake and also doing home exercises as detailed on Emma’s handout to supplement brisk walking several times a week.
Prior to starting the course I'd had a routine blood test and was told I was classed as pre-diabetic, being just one point away from type 2 diabetes. However I have been able to reduce my weight from 90 kg to 82 kg in just over 2 months and this, along with my new healthy eating and continued lifestyle and exercise regime, has resulted in normal blood sugar levels without the need for medication.
Many thanks to Pendle Leisure for hosting the programme and to Emma in particular for the delivery.