Heart series more than a life-saver - The Explorer: Editorials

Heart series more than a life-saver

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Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:10 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

In 1993, I had a heart attack. A week later, I had quadruple bypass surgery, and two months later I had another heart attack.

I was in pain, depressed, fearful of the future and unable to continue to work … and, for sure, I was definitely not thankful.

I visited many physicians and psychiatrists in New York. They were all pill givers. I needed something more. My daughters, who lived in Tucson, told us to move there. We did.

When we arrived in Tucson, I immediately researched for a doctor who would relate to my overwhelming need to get my life back. I was blessed to discover the "Heart Disease Reversal" program. The program was created in 1993, by Charles Katzenberg, MD, a preventative cardiologist, and Edna Silva, RN. They both had a desire to reach out to people who had heart disease. The wanted to create a program that was enjoyable and offered a practical, medically directed, hands-on, comprehensive, 12-week unique experience. The program's focuses included diet, exercise, stress management and how to prevent, halt, stabilize and reverse coronary artery disease.

The program not only reversed my heart disease, it opened doors to new adventures such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and volunteerism. One of the many lifestyle changes I learned in the program was to turn negative experiences into positive ones, to be thankful, and to have an attitude of gratitude.

The following are just a few instances of what I'm talking about.

I thought that my heart attacks and my bypass surgery were the worst things that ever happened to me. I later realized that it was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me. We left the cold, snowy weather and the hot, humid, rainy weather of New York. We left the high real estate taxes and the high maintenance on our house.

I no longer had to work at a job that I had come to dislike, and we moved to beautiful Arizona, where we enjoyed a much more fruitful life and I joined the Heart series.

I developed severe neck pain and headaches. The next day I was treated for two basal cell carcinomas, and the following day I hemorrhaged five units of blood and wound up in the hospital for five days. Two days following my release from the hospital, I handed out flyers for the Heart Series at a health fair in SaddleBrooke. I was thankful for having been involved with the Heart Series because what would the results have been if I didn't eat heart healthy food, exercise, practice yoga and meditate? What if I was overweight and didn't have an attitude of gratitude and a positive attitude?

I made a left hand turn on Ina into Oracle and the light turned red. I got a ticket from a mature lady police officer. I asked her to give me a break. She said she would consider it if it wasn't such a dangerous traffic violation. After thinking a moment, I put my hand out of the window to shake her hand. She looked bewildered, so did my wife. I said, "Thank you officer, lately I've been going though orange lights that turned red. The ticket is a wake up call and perhaps it's one of the best things that ever happened to me."

I ran for Oro Valley Town Council. I wasn't sure if it was the best decision I made for my life and my wife. I worked as hard as I could to win. But, I lost. After in-depth consideration, I determined losing the race was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

So there it is. I joined the Heart Disease Reversal Program for a healthier heart and I gained much more. I now enjoy a healthier heart, body and mind. Every morning when I wake up, I'm thankful for the life I have because of the Heart Series.

The next Heart Series will be offered on two days: Tuesdays, starting Sept. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Wednesdays, starting Sept. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. The program will run for 12 weeks. Each session meets once a week.

For more information, call Richard (Richy) Feinberg at 797-2281.

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