New Year, New Life 12-Day Retreat

Learn More

Ornish Living: Feel better, love better

Sections

Get StartedOr call 1-877-888-3091

Love Your Life.

Start Feeling Better Now

Subscribe Now

Name: Perry C

Age: 56

Ornish Site: St. Jude Medical Center

Health Challenges: Heart Attack, Stent

Greatest Motivation: The best part is that I am finally seeing the measurable rewards from my efforts. Compliance is the key to success in this proven program. Despite cholesterol and triglyceride meds, I’ve grown used to experiencing less than optimal improvements. During the 9 weeks of the program, my total cholesterol dropped from 153 to 118.

His Story: For me, it’s genetic, I suppose. I’ve fought high cholesterol my entire adult life, even when I was much younger and more active and physically fit. Nothing could have prepared me for the massive heart attack that I suffered in October of 2010, just weeks after my 51st birthday. Sitting in a meeting at work on a Tuesday morning, I started feeling some pressure in my chest. I initially attributed it to some physical activity I had been doing on Saturday. I thought that I had probably strained some muscles. Within a half an hour, however, I was unable to take a deep breath. I decided to drive about a mile away to a local hospital just to have it checked out. Within a few hours, while still being assessed, my situation escalated into a full-blown heart attack.

The commitment of the participants is second only to the commitment and support of the staff

Late that afternoon I was transferred to nearby St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California, where I had one stent placed. But the damage was done and I permanently lost the functionality of about half of my heart. I spent the next several days in CCU and went home with a portable external defibrillator vest. Soon afterwards, I went through a cardiac rehab program to help regain some strength and mobility in a controlled, medically supervised environment.

I know that I am fortunate that the “Widow Maker” did not end for us in the manner the name suggests, but my life has never been the same. I have continued to struggle to regain some semblance of normalcy. I’ve made attempts to get more physically active, but am always fighting fatigue and weakness whether from the damaged heart directly or from the side effects of all my necessary medications. This has affected my job and the activities in which I can participate in my personal life. My attempts to lose weight on my own haven’t been successful long-term even though we maintain a pretty low-fat diet – eating lean meats, salads, fruit and veggies. Now, over 5 years later and at the age of 56, I knew I needed more help as the odds for longevity aren’t in my favor if I don’t make permanent changes. There are things I still want to do with my wife and teenage son.

The spring edition Health Matters , the publication from St. Joseph/St. Jude, arrived in our mailbox and my wife saw an article about Ornish Lifestyle Medicine. My cardiologist’s name, Dr. Jon Sherman in Fullerton, caught her attention. Dr. Sherman is the Medical Director for the local Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program. I read the article and immediately contacted his office for an appointment. I told him that I read about the program, which is fairly new locally, and wanted in. It is a very structured program, but I was ready to do whatever it takes.

The commitment of the participants is second only to the commitment and support of the staff. They too have personally adopted this lifestyle. While the dietary changes felt drastic, I’ve never felt better. The program feeds so much more than the stomach. Our minds and souls are nourished as well. The staff continues to support our group, and we continue to meet monthly and stay in touch and support one another.

The rest, as they say, is history. This program took 9 weeks, but in reality it will last the rest of my life. After the first couple of meetings, I began to really look forward to the next one. I’m still following the dietary plan; I’m continuing with yoga for stress management, dance, and have joined a new gym to further my transformation.

The best part is that I am finally seeing the measurable rewards from my efforts. Compliance is the key to success in this proven program. Despite cholesterol and triglyceride meds, I’ve grown used to experiencing less than optimal improvements. During the 9 weeks of the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program, my total cholesterol dropped from 153 to 118.

Additionally, I lost more than 23 lbs – from 280.6 to 257; over 2 ½ inches from my waist; and over 3 inches from my hips. In the 6 weeks since completing the program, I’ve lost yet another 12 lbs.

I am so blessed and thankful for this program and the caring supportive staff and new brothers and sisters who are right there with me, and all who continue to support me on this journey.

Contributed by
Better Health Begins With You...

Comment 0

Launch Your New Year

Join Dr. Dean Ornish for a transformative, all-inclusive retreat.

Learn More