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: Lynn A.

Age: 69 years old

Location: St. Dominic Hospital

Health Challenges: Severe chest pain, 2 arterial blockages 

Greatest Motivation: Before the program, I couldn’t bring in any groceries, so my wife had to do it. But now, I pick up four or five bags, walk in the house, and then come back for more. It’s the best. Most people don’t think of weed whacking or bringing in groceries as goals, per se, but for me, they mean a lot. They show just how far I’ve come.

His Story: My heart disease story begins in 2002, when I began to experience some really bad chest pain and found out that I had two severely blocked arteries—100% and 90% blocked, respectively. The cardiologist who discovered the blockages referred me to two other doctors, who he thought could help with my pain: one doctor who performs bypass surgeries and another who does stent operations. Unfortunately, each of them, in turn, told me that they couldn’t help me. Apparently, a stent or bypass operation would’ve only made things worse for me. So, I left the hospital with these words from my doctors: “We’re sorry, but there’s nothing that we can do for you. Go home, learn to live with the blockages, and endure the pain.”

“If you’d told me back in April that I would feel this way today, I would never have believed you.”

Between 2002 and 2015, I went to a couple different cardiologists hoping for a new course of action. Unfortunately, their answers were always the same old story—“there’s nothing we can do.” Hearing that was tremendously frustrating; I was doing all of the right things for my health, but nothing was working, and nobody could give me any way out. I was helpless and in pain. Have you ever seen that commercial where there’s an elephant sitting on some guy’s chest? That’s how bad I felt physically. I couldn’t go to my mailbox, I couldn’t take the trash out to the garbage can—I couldn’t do anything. I was very depressed. Then, I got lucky. Some nurses referred me to one last doctor, Dr. Guynes at St. Dominic Hospital, and I made an appointment with him for April 1st, 2015. When I saw him, he looked at my records and said, “I think that there’s something we can do to help you—let me go grab a pamphlet.”

When he walked out of the room to grab the pamphlet, I was shocked—I’d been told for 12 years that there wasn’t anything that anyone could do to help me. Why was this different? I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But then he came back into the room and, very simply, handed me some information about the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program. (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation)

A few weeks later, I enrolled in the program, and now that I’ve completed it, I can say that Dr. Guynes was absolutely right. The Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program has changed everything for me. As I mentioned earlier, before the program, my pain was completely oppressive. I’d wake up in the morning and think, “Ok, here’s another day of suffering—let’s try to get through it.” I couldn’t walk 15 yards without taking a nitroglycerin pill or having chest pains. I had no hope.

But since the program started, I haven’t had any chest pain, I haven’t taken one nitro pill, and because of that, I haven’t been depressed anymore. I’ve even lost 27 pounds and decreased several of my medications, which has saved me a ton of money. Honestly, I feel alive again. I am so thankful for Dr. Guynes, St Dominic Hospital, and the program; together, they totally changed my life.

It’s funny—when you undergo a change like I did, and totally revamp your wellbeing, the first places where you notice improvement are the smallest areas of your life. For example, just before 2013, I bought a new weed whacker; I live on 5.5 acres of land, so you can’t use some small weed whacker to take care of it—you need a commercial one, so that’s what I bought. But as soon as I got it home, I realized that I couldn’t use it because my chest was hurting so badly. Consequently, I put it in my garage and it stayed there, untouched, for two years. After a while, I actually started planning to sell it. Then, one Saturday afternoon after graduating from the program, I decided to take it out for a minute or two, just to give it a spin. Long story short, I lasted way longer than a minute or two; in fact, I was out there all afternoon and never had one problem. Needless to say, I’m not planning selling that thing anymore. I can weed whack again.

Another small improvement in my life has been bringing in the groceries. Before the program, I couldn’t bring in any groceries, so my wife had to do it. When we’d get back from the store, she’d notice that I was in pain and say, “Go sit down. I can get the groceries in.” I always felt really bad about that. But now, I pick up four or five bags, walk in the house, and then come back for more. It’s the best. Most people don’t think of weed whacking or bringing in groceries as goals, per say, but for me, they mean a lot. They show just how far I’ve come.

To sum everything up, this program has given me my life back. I came into the program with one goal—to get rid of my chest pain—and in just a few short months, I’ve already achieved so much more than that. If you’d told me back in April that I would feel this way today, I would never have believed you. So, to anyone who reads this, I want to encourage you to join the program. Let it help you the way that it has helped me. You will not regret it.

Contributed by

Adam Farina
Contributor

What is your Ornish story?

Share your Story

Better Health Begins With You...

Comment 10

Launch Your New Year

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

Learn More