Tag Archives: Thriving With Heart Disease

Learning to live with heart disease: the fourth stage of heart attack recovery

30 May

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Let’s consider today the last of The Four Stages of Heart Illness as outlined by Dr. Wayne Sotile, a cardiac psychologist from North Carolina and author of the highly recommended book called Thriving With Heart Disease.  This book is a helpful guide for both survivors and their families on “how to heal and reclaim your lives”.

One important way to do this is to review the heart patient’s journey through a series of four “separate, identifiable stages” that may help you know what to expect along this journey.

Stage 4:  Learning to Live With Heart DiseasePatient and family have accepted the diagnosis and committed themselves to living with the illness, not in spite of it.

Dr. Sotile reminds us that most survivors take between 6-12 months to get somewhat comfortable with their new, heart-healthy way of life (that may not mean totally comfortable, but on the way to comfortable).

But even after that first year, you won’t be completely adjusted to your new way of life. As heart disease lasts a lifetime, so does its adjustment period for both patients and their families.

It’s a big transition to your new normal. Remember that a large part of the transition is learning to talk to the people you love and live with about what you’re going through, what you feel for one another, and what life is really about.  Continue reading

Creating a coping strategy: the second stage of heart attack recovery

22 May

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Earlier this week, I revisited Dr. Wayne Sotile’s excellent book, Thriving With Heart Disease – a favourite of mine since I discovered it several months after my own heart attack, and particularly the book’s second chapter, The Four Stages of Heart Illness.  Dr. Sotile, a cardiac psychologist, describes the newly diagnosed heart patient’s journey through a series of four separate stages.

Dr. Sotile believes that your recovery will have fewer surprises if you are familiar with these commonly-experienced stages and know what to expect.  The stages may not occur in any particular order.

Today, we consider the second stage of cardiac recovery*:

Stage 2:  Creating a Coping Strategy Everyone starts to grasp what heart illness is, what’s involved in treatment and recovery, and that the patient and family must work as a team.

According to Dr. Sotile, once your heart condition has stabilized and your fears of imminent death have eased, you start asking:

“What happens next?”  Continue reading

Surviving the crisis: the first stage of heart attack recovery

18 May

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

How I wish I’d discovered Dr. Wayne Sotile’s wonderful book Thriving With Heart Disease while I was still a patient in our hospital’s Coronary Care Unit following my heart attack.

A large hint: if you or somebody you care about ever experiences a cardiac event, get your hands on a copy of this book before discharge from hospital.

The book’s second chapter is called The Four Stages of Heart Illness. Dr. Sotile, a cardiac psychologist, describes the heart patient’s journey through a series of four “separate, identifiable stages”.

These stages don’t always proceed neatly in sequences, but Dr. Sotile believes that your recovery will have fewer surprises if you are familiar with them and know what to expect.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring each of these four stages along the cardiac journey.

Stage 1:  Surviving The Crisis:  Illness strikes, and patient and family begin the journey.   Continue reading