When Donna Hamilton's cardiologist told her she needed cardiac bypass surgery because of severe arterial blockage, she couldn't help but wonder if having the surgery meant her active lifestyle might be coming to a screeching halt.
"I'm most definitely a 'Type A' personality," laughs Donna. "My husband, Sandy, and I own a marketing and public relations firm and the work is extremely demanding - he's always saying that I have just two speeds, zero and 190 m.p.h.! I'm very athletic and have always used exercise as a way to stay in shape and to help control my diabetes. I never dreamed that some dizzy spells and a feeling of tightness in my back were symptoms of heart disease."
Deeply faithful and always optimistic, Donna decided to place her trust in her physicians and the cardiac healthcare team at Washington Regional. "I credit my physicians for discovering the problem and providing a solution," she says. "I also learned from them that having bypass surgery doesn't mean you sacrifice your quality of life; in most cases quite the opposite is true!"
About six weeks after surgery, Donna enrolled in Washington Regional's cardiac rehabilitation program under the supervision of her cardiologist, Dr. Joel Carver. The structure of an exercise program depends upon the patient's specific heart problem and other health problems. Combining all aspects of cardiovascular rehabilitation improves functional capacity and quality of life, reduces risk factors, and can help create a sense of well-being and optimism about the future.
"My recovery from the surgery was remarkably pain-free and I was anxious to get into a regular exercise program again" states Donna. "From the moment I walked through the door of the Cardiac Rehab (CR) gym, I felt right at home. A personalized program was designed for me by the CR professionals and I exercised under the supervision of a physical therapist and a CR nurse. It was very reassuring to know that I was being closely monitored, and I really benefited from the encouragement and motivation provided by the CR team."