Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyHeartDiseaseTeam

Member Spotlight: Finding My Silver Lining

Posted on May 20, 2019

When I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) in 2007 at UCLA Medical Center, I got a lot of information from the physician. I felt very comfortable with her as she explained how this would affect my life. The information about my diagnosis and structured treatment was sent to my doctor. I was a good patient and felt no problems for several years. But the symptoms progressed.

First, I started to feel very tired and had no energy. Then I was placed on many medications. A couple of the cardiologists didn't seem too concerned, so I wasn't either. But as time went on, I got edema [swelling] and had to be wrapped for several months at the wound clinic.

Now I knew I had to be more of a partner with my healthcare team, and I started looking around for good medical care. I now have COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], so my breathing is not OK, and I fall a lot. This affects my husband in a significant manner, as he is my caretaker. When I fall, I usually hurt myself pretty badly, and he takes care of me. I now use a walker and a cane, so his care is cleaning and cooking when I can't do it. He worries about me, but doesn't talk about it to me; his silence while watching me lets me know he is concerned. My diagnosis has affected his peaceful life.

For my friends, I can plan an outing, but when the day comes, I may have to cancel because of my lack of energy to dress and drive there. On my birthday, they planned a luncheon at my favorite restaurant, but I ended up in the ER and then admitted to the hospital. My new cardiologist ordered a pacemaker, and I am now doing much better.

I have learned that I need a cardiologist and a primary care doctor who work together, with me, to keep me alive, healthy, and happy. My children were frightened by the hospital scare, so they call at least once a week to be sure all is well with me. Overall, I feel blessed to have the care I have from my husband, my medical team, and my family.

I would advise anyone recently diagnosed with CHF to make sure they have a cardiologist and a primary doctor who work together well. The cardiologist should care about them, keeping them updated on their medicines and care. I had a cardiologist who wouldn't return my calls and ignored me for a couple of years. I finally found the best cardiologist in our town who takes Medicare patients. I immediately signed him on, and he was the one who said I needed a pacemaker after my short stay in the ER. Within a few weeks of having a new physician interested in my condition, I was once more able to enjoy life.

The silver lining of my experience with heart disease is knowing that I have a wonderful husband who is ready to help me at any time. I have a tendency to fall and he is right there to pick me up. At one time, the fall was so severe that he had to take me to many doctors and labs. I was unable to drive, and he happily took me wherever I had to go. I have never heard him complain about needing to take care of me, though he also has a heart condition and PAD [peripheral artery disease]. I'm not able to do much, but I can use the computer, encourage others via MyHeartDiseaseTeam and telephone calls, and reach out to those who need support.

The focus is not on me, but on others. My husband has been a model of unconditional love; he serves me coffee, gets the paper out of the driveway for me, and does so many things. To the end of my days, I could never thank him enough. For those who do not have such a compassionate caregiver, it is important for them to find a close friend, or even an online group for encouragement. Behind every cloud is a silver lining, and I pray that others find theirs.

This article was written by MyHeartDiseaseTeam member Barbara Meulman as part of the Member Spotlight Series. Barbara is retired and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2007.

Do you want to be a part of the MyHeartDiseaseTeam Member Spotlight Series?
Let us know here: support@MyHeartDiseaseTeam.com

A MyHeartDiseaseTeam Member said:

Ask your dr.

posted 2 days ago

hug

Recent articles

Article written by Alison Channon The 2020 fall and winter holiday season will be different than...

How To Have a Safe Holiday With Heart Disease During COVID-19

Article written by Alison Channon The 2020 fall and winter holiday season will be different than...
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyHeartDiseaseTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of...

COVID-19 and Heart Disease Essential Updates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyHeartDiseaseTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of...
Thousands of members of MyHeartDiseaseTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories...

Four Books About Heart Disease You Should Read

Thousands of members of MyHeartDiseaseTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories...
Article written by Christine SprungerIt is vital to seek urgent care for new or worsening heart...

Heart Disease, Emergency Treatment, and the Stress of Health Care Delays Due to COVID-19

Article written by Christine SprungerIt is vital to seek urgent care for new or worsening heart...
Article written by Christine SprungerThe past several weeks have been unprecedented in our...

COVID-19 and Heart Disease: Are You At a Greater Risk?

Article written by Christine SprungerThe past several weeks have been unprecedented in our...
Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Heart Disease

Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...

Setting Intentions for 2020 With Heart Disease

Eat healthier. Exercise more. Learn a new skill. Pay off a credit card. Many of us have made...
This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...

Practicing Gratitude With Heart Disease

This time of the year can be overwhelming with expectations around the holidays, and living with...
If you’ve had a heart attack – or were diagnosed with heart disease - eating a nutritious,...

Foods to Avoid When You Have Heart Disease

If you’ve had a heart attack – or were diagnosed with heart disease - eating a nutritious,...
You don’t have to sacrifice all your favorite foods – or delicious taste, texture and flavor - on...

MyHeartDiseaseTeam’s Favorite Healthy Foods

You don’t have to sacrifice all your favorite foods – or delicious taste, texture and flavor - on...
MyHeartDiseaseTeam My heart disease Team

Two Ways to Get Started with MyHeartDiseaseTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with heart disease. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about heart disease sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyHeartDiseaseTeam My heart disease Team

Thank you for signing up.

close