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Name: Lorraine M

Age: 61-years-old

Ornish Site: Beebe Healthcare

Health Challenges: High cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, breast cancer in remission

Greatest Motivation: These days, I’ve also been riding my bike into town, taking a water walking class at the local Y, and participating in extra free swims. I’m excited to jump into the ocean in just a few weeks (in a size smaller bathing suit, I might add). Moving forward, my goal is to become strong enough to sing 50 songs in a row with a bass guitar around my neck.

Her Story: My health problems started with a-fib when I was 40. That’s when I started taking Beta blockers, when my cholesterol numbers began inching up, and when my hips started inching out. Being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation was one of my lowest points ever. A person can manage a life with it, but having a-fib with no known reason why and no known cure made it frustrating and, frankly, depressing. In the following years, my health problems continued. In 2006, I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage. In 2008, I fell into a rough patch after the death of my husband. In 2013, I had an aneurism, and in 2014, I had breast cancer and doctors installed a pacemaker. The list goes on. I was only in my fifties when I had most of those problems, but I felt like an old lady. I needed a change.

I learned that low-fat, whole food recipes are the nutritional answer.

With the help of Mike, my second husband and band partner, I slowly began to work my way back to health. My cancer went into remission, I felt better, and I began to move on. My doctors told me to exercise, but I hoped that playing music and jumping in the ocean with Mike would be enough. As it turns out, it wasn’t. Even though I thought I was eating good foods, I gained a lot of weight and was approaching obesity. I needed a new direction, and I turned to the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program. (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation).

The Problematics

Dr. Ornish’s book, The Spectrum, which I read in one night, introduced me to the program. After completing the book, I learned that Beebe Hospital would soon be offering the full Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program. I simply had to go. I thought that if my a-fib could be controlled, my cholesterol could decrease, and my chances of breast cancer reoccurrence could be lowered (even a little), I had to give the program a shot. Something told me that participating in the program would be the “secret sauce” I needed to be successful.

Joyfully, I started the program this past spring. I learned that low-fat, whole food recipes are the nutritional answer. I cook them mindfully. I have organic produce delivered to the house once a week, which is even cheaper than my old grocery store. Mike has started to try the recipes as well, and he even came to the program with me to learn how to cook. In only 9 weeks, I have lost ten pounds and over 8 inches on my hips. My cholesterol has decreased by 30 mg/dl. It’s amazing.

Our guest room turned into our own little stress management and fitness room. It’s a meditation, yoga and training studio, complete with flowers, candles, pillows, barbells, bands, and exercise straps. I was lifting 3 lbs. weights at the beginning of the program, but now I’m up to 8 lbs. weights. I’m going to need heavier weights soon! The stress management element of the program is also working for me; I have more patience and calmer days than I did before. I choose my battles and I’m able to relax when those around me are getting upset. Overall, I have been through a lot of well-being low points in my life, but I know that I will do better if I stay on the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program.

These days, I’ve also been riding my bike into town, taking a water walking class at the local Y, and participating in extra free swims. I’m excited to jump into the ocean in just a few weeks (in a size smaller bathing suit, I might add). Moving forward, my goal is to become strong enough to sing 50 songs in a row with a bass guitar around my neck.

Ultimately, many things in this life are out of my control, but the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program showed me that so much is still in my control—and that empowerment is what I’ve been missing in recent years. I am truly blessed to be in this program. Thank you to Dr. Dean Ornish, to his program, and to all the dedicated people who bring it to life.

 

 

 

Contributed by

Adam Farina
Contributor

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