Life is busy and we often don’t have much time for ourselves. Meetings, deadlines and social events leave us running from one commitment to the next. We want to be active and eat healthy; however, time demands and priorities leave us lacking the follow through.
That was the case for Randy Lavallee, the owner of a flooring company. As he moved to a management role, he was not doing the physical work anymore. He took on the stress of owning his own business, his lifestyle became much more sedentary and his nutritional choices were based on convenience items like soda and fast food, instead of health and nourishment.
One day he was out doing some work on the side of a house, hauling heavy equipment. After the job was complete, he felt some soreness on the side of his body like he had pulled a muscle.
That Friday while attending his grandkid’s hockey game he felt the same tightness. After the game, he told his wife he thought they should go to the Peter Lougheed Centre. He was admitted to Emergency.
Randy went through an ECG and gave a blood sample before being sent to the waiting room with a few aspirin. The tests revealed a minor heart attack.
With no family history of heart disease, Randy started to think of his kids, five grandkids and one on the way.
“I want to see them grown up,” he said.
The next day an angiogram revealed the extent of his heart attack: two arteries were 100% blocked, one was 90% blocked, and one was 70%. The following week he had quadruple bypass surgery.
“They fixed me up and I was able to go home five days later.”
That’s when things got worse. Randy couldn’t relax at home; he was unable to sleep in his own bed since his heart had to be elevated and ended up sleeping in a recliner.
After rest and recuperation, Randy was given the okay from his doctor to get back to activity. Not knowing where to start, he was scared to shovel the snow and felt helpless.
Randy’s son then suggested he look into the Total Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, saying a friend’s dad attended and thought it was a great program.
It is catered to individual needs to change lifestyle habits and provide knowledge, skills, motivation and confidence to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle.
Randy joined the satellite cardiac rehabilitation program at World Health Sunridge in North East Calgary. Mosaic Primary Network and Cardiac Wellness Institute partnered with World Health in setting up this location to help reduce some of the traditional participation barriers such as travel time and convenience of location to help increase utilization of the effective program.
On his first day he was anxious – scared but excited to become active and feel like his old self again. Randy started with 30 minutes on a treadmill, closely monitored by the nurses who ran the program. They slowly increased his intensity as each session passed. He enjoyed the program, the people and the nurses. He felt the support of those in the program, and also from the staff and members of World Health.
Randy began incorporating the healthy habits he learned with Total Cardiology into his life. He changed his nutrition, and cut Pepsi out of his diet.
“Stay away from the fast food and try not to overeat,” he adds.
After the 12-week program, Randy decided to continue working on his fitness at World Health and joined the club. He began working with a Personal Trainer, Bonnie. She created a plan that would start him out slowly and work up to a strength training program, all while keeping his heart and previous knee injury in mind.
“Don’t be scared to join a gym,” said Randy, recalling his own nerves before starting the program. “You won’t use the treadmill at home, but here you have the members, the staff, the support and the motivation. Once you start exercising, it really does get better.
“If you don’t know where to start, work with a trainer to help teach you how to exercise properly.”
Randy feels his strength and endurance improving. At 62 years old, Randy is strength training for the first time in his life and boasts the accomplishment of now deadlifting 245 pounds. He’s back to work and back to normal life.
Thanks to exercise and balanced nutrition Randy’s medications are even lower than before, he isn’t tired and has more energy throughout the day, and hasn’t had to use his nitroglycerin spray.
“I’ve lost 20 pounds and am feeling a lot better. I’m going to keep going.”