Skip to main content

National Heart Failure Awareness Week

This is National Heart Failure Awareness Week.  I am a CHF survivor.  What is CHF?  It stands for congestive heart failure.  I was diagnosed almost seven years ago.  Because of what I went through, I want to remind patients with heart failure, their family members and others who may be at risk, how best to manage this syndrome, what heart failure means, to re-evaluate lifestyle and consider changes to improve qualify of life.

Here is my story.  Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormal after damage from heart attack or high blood pressure and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.  My heart had taken a pounding from high blood pressure and there were even signs of a possible light heart attack, when I was officially diagnosed with congestive heart failure in July of 2003. 

In cardiovascular physiology, ejection fraction is the measurement of blood pumped out of a ventricle with each heart beat.  In a healthy man, the normal ejection fraction is 58 percent.  My EF was barely 13 percent.  I was told to gather my children around me so they could spend as much time with me as possible.  My name was going to be added to a list of heart transplant patients.  All this came two weeks after my dad had died.  I hated that my mother had to be in the room when my doctor first revealed all the above to me.  It had to be hard on her. 

I praise God that within a few short days my condition began to improve, so much so that I was no longer a candidate for a heart transplant. Even though she was obligated to tell me the straight up about it all, I could feel her faith and I fed off it, along with the faith of so many others in my life. 

After just three months, my ejection fraction went from barely 13 percent to 58 percent.  My condition had gone from critical to normal in just three months. I don't think anyone's condition had ever improved that fast.  I was waiting sitting in the patient room waiting for the results when suddenly I heard Dr. Shirley shout, 'Praise The Lord!"  She burst into the room grinning from ear to ear and told me the news.  Then, she announced it to her staff and they likewise rejoiced.  To say it was emotional for me would be putting it mildly.  You see, I had been told that it would take 3 to 5 years for me to get back on my feet, if I even did then.  I owe it all to God and prayer and a God-sent doctor and great medicines.   

Nearly 5,000,000 Americans live with heart failure and as many as 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. As for me, I was only 43 years old, so go figure.   Recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy.

I encourage all heart patients to follow the low sodium diet you have been given, exercise properly, manage medications and report any irregularities.  The absolute hardest thing I had to overcome was the salt shaker, but I did it and seven years later, I am still salt shaker-free.  When I was released from the hospital, the first thing I did was go online and learn all I could about heart failure.  I learned to listen to my body and not to take anything for granted.  I have made many trips to the emergency room in the past seven years, only to be told I have indigestion, but, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Please, for more information on heart failure, do what I did, visit


Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…