When you are winded and wheezing, short of breath and just don’t feel right, it’s time to get help. That drowning feeling hit me in the face for a few days then seemed okay and came back again. Coupled with puffy, swollen legs, ankles and feet during the last few months, I was in a danger zone.
The shortness of breath showed up with routine walking, while I was sleeping or just trying to find a comfortable position to lie down and relax. Enough of this; it was off to my doctor’s office for medical intervention.
It didn’t dawn on me that it was my heart. But, the lab work and test results say I have CHF, congestive heart failure. This means changes in my lifestyle, eating habits and attitude about maintaining a healthy heart.
The heart catheterization procedure in December to clear the two blockages in my left atrium was the first start. My heart needed a jump-start to pump enough blood to keep up with my body’s needs. Now, the medications are a daily must. The pills are an aspirin, high blood pressure medicine, beta blockers, diuretics and ace inhibitors.
You have to follow the doctor’s orders, exercise and live with taking the meds for the rest of your life. It’s a reality check on the road to recovery and learning to live with heart failure.
My long-term outlook can be good but there are no easy solutions. My damaged heart must live with weak kidneys and diabetes. So, as my dietitian put it, you’ve got a complex diet to live with. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just work on it daily and adjust. Visit the American Heart Association website for some heart-smart recipes for starters.
Life is worth it. I’m a heartbeat away from remaining a friend, confidant, big sister, life coach, mother to my two children, and the greatest “GGMomma” to my five grands. Give someone a hug this Valentine’s Day and take care of your heart.
– Wilma Moore-Black