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I Survived Congestive Heart Failure

On April 4th, four years ago, I had congestive heart failure. It wasn't as scary as you might think. I wasn't there seeing my life go before me, I was thinking about the pain in my chest ending. I am a faith guy, so I don't really get concerned about going home; not even when.

That day I didn't really care how it turned out.

I was in ICU for a week. I had already lost about 20 pounds when I when I arrived there. The cardiologist said it was a really good thing that I had been exercising for a few months, or it might have been lights out. Two days before I arrived in heart surgery, I had completed my first 5K walk/run on the treadmill (C25K). It took about 49 minutes.

I thought long and hard about my health that day. In my mind's eye I was still thin and 30.

I was convinced that I had lived my best years of my life. I didn't have any health goals, and for now, I should just trust the doctors to treat my symptoms and wait for it all to be over.

My poor health and fitness habits had bankrupt me. They were about to do the same to my personal finances. I was out of work for eight months while I struggled to get moving again. I saw a variety of specialists including a cardiologist, a sleep therapist, an immunologist, a dietician and I had my GP and two nurses monitoring my progress. I had to weigh in twice a day and I was on 6 heart medications.

My fitness sucked!

That's when I found MFP. Actually, I found it earlier and had a hundred excuses for why I didn't need to log my food. I restarted Couch to 5K with a 30 minute nap on the couch. I was not allowed to have my heart reach levels which are required for cardiovascular health. (above 120) I wore a heart rate monitor all the time.

Eventually the cardiologist raised the heart rate limit from 120 to 130 and then to 160. I could run!

And I did. I have completed 52 races including 4 full (26.2 mile) marathons. The Boston Marathon is in 2 weeks, San Diego Marathon in Memorial Day weekend, and I am signed up for NYC and Philadelphia in the fall.

Why am I doing all this? I have cancer. It's being treated and monitored, but for now, it's still there. I am not going to lay on another operating room thinking I missed the best years of my life.

68 votes + -

13 comments:

Leahbcc wrote 87 months ago:
You have a wonderful out look and so proud of you
suttercm wrote 87 months ago:
Outstanding!
H_Factor wrote 87 months ago:
Showing the rest of us what can be done!
opalsqueak007 wrote 87 months ago:
What an inspiration you are. Thanks for writing this. Wishing you all the best.
Time2LoseWeightNOW wrote 87 months ago:
A positive attitude can get you through the toughest times..and yours has been well tested, David. You are such an inspiration!!
KrysGettinFit wrote 87 months ago:
I just found your blog on the main site. You are such an inspiration, thank you. I live in Boston and will be cheering you (and all of the other marathoners) on! Thank you for being you.
ljmorgi wrote 87 months ago:
Heh, I feel awesome about myself when I do one of the first days of C25K (I had CHF secondary to renal failure in '02). I guess I have to aim higher to really BE awesome! Congrats!
hezemakiah wrote 87 months ago:
YOU are very inspirational! Congrats on your triumphs! Thanks so much for sharing! Best wishes to you.
DoneWorking wrote 87 months ago:
Uh oh! I guess I better get off my butt and actually use the C25K app I've had on my phone for two years. Thanks for the story. Good luck!
trazter31 wrote 87 months ago:
Very inspirational. Praying the cancer will go away and stay gone!
jdpemberton7 wrote 86 months ago:
Thank you for writing that, I so needed it. I was sitting here feeling sad because I haven't been able to work out in 5 days (diagnosed with vertigo)4 days ago. Your story has definitely inspired me to move on!
cassondraragan wrote 86 months ago:
You are incredible. And I am ashamed. After baby #3, I have gained the 50 lbs that I have lost and I have a bucket full of excuses. Reading your story, I can't waste my life! 37 year old mother of three little boys, the youngest at two? I have to see them graduate, get married, have kids. I won't at this rate. Thank you for this beautiful post.
jorinya wrote 86 months ago:
You brought me to tears. Wow, I wish I could be half the person of faith you are and achieve as much as you have achieved in such a small space of time. God bless you and your entire family and friends. May you continue to be an inspiration for people both here and wherever you go. The world needs more people like you.

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