Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  radiation-induced heart disease

    Posted 06-03-2022 10:49

    Because of radiation treatments to my chest at the age of 19 for Hodgkin's Disease (type of lymphoma), I was diagnosed last year, at the age of 60, with radiation-induced heart disease.  (This is common many years after radiation treatments to the chest region for breast cancer and lymphomas.) Eight months ago, I had a pacemaker "installed", x3 bypass, two valves replaced, and a Commando procedure (to address calcified annulus and leaflets) by a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in radiation cases, which can be very challenging for a variety of reasons.

    Like many of us, I experienced post-surgery depression and a lot of anxiety related to my health and uncertain future; a cognitive therapist helped me to think more realistically about my situation.  For example, early on when I tried sleeping on my heart side, I would have all sorts of negative thoughts about my heart beat etc...  The therapist challenged those thoughts and taught me to be more realistic and positive about my heartbeat.  In addition to therapy, I have been eating real food (unprocessed), avoiding starches and sugars, and exercising daily--the science is clear that exercise has potent anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects.  Also, the fairly new field of nutritional psychiatry has been very successful in treating psychological issues, like depression and anxiety, with significant dietary changes.  I mention all of this because I want to encourage everyone who is struggling post-surgery to do the research like I am doing.  You do not need to have advanced degrees and diplomas to do this.  Your research efforts will make you feel empowered (and healthier) b/c you will be taking control of your health rather than relying on well-intentioned, traditionally-trained physicians who are focused on biological treatments, which often have side-effects.

    Despite still feeling breathless on hills and up stairs and having weak/wobbly legs on many days (and feeling sorry for myself and weeping), I feel very lucky to be alive, and I am determined to find ways to improve my recovery.  

    Thanks for listening, Keith

  • 2.  RE: radiation-induced heart disease

    Posted 09-16-2022 10:18
    go to cardiac rehab

    Charles Crow
    cardiac Rehab nurse