Enjoying life again.
My name is Nick and I was born in the Netherlands in 1940. I was in good health, with a normal body-mass index and was quite active, rowing and playing tennis for six hours a week. Although I had retired I was still working for one and a half days a week as a university teacher, after having occupied general management positions until my retirement.
The last six months of 2006 I started to feel more tired and occasionally I had chest pain. The pain was attributed to stomach problems and I thought the tired feeling was caused by unusual physical work at that time (I was rebuilding my daughter's apartment). There were no thoughts of a heart problem because I didn't feel tired or experience any other symptoms when active.
So it was quite a shock when I was hospitalised with a previously missed heart attack, with my left coronary artery blocked completely and the right one approximately 70-80% blocked. I felt betrayed by my body and was afraid of dying or becoming disabled. Although I have had two stents and my ejection fraction is less than 40%, I am working again and playing sports for six hours a week with no noticeable difference compared with before. My cardiologist and the heart failure department have taken great care in adjusting my medication as I suffered from several side effects initially.
My social activities are affected by heart rhythm disturbances that developed after the heart attack, and which are most noticeable at rest. Two hours at a party is my limit, and four hours desk work is all I can manage as these disturbances become too annoying. However, I manage to arrange my activities in such a way that my family, friends and I enjoy it. My eating habits have also changed. I now eat meals with less salt and fat, and as a result I have lost eight kilos. I enjoy a good meal and, with some care, the meals are as tasty as before.
With some adjustments, life is a great pleasure again.
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