Fulfilling my hopes and dreams - Tina's story

“I am now very much in control and live a rich life. I have two beautiful children, drive, work and exercise. I am steadily fulfilling my hopes and dreams!”

In 1994, out of the blue, I suffered a cardiac arrest. I was fortunate that my husband was on hand to resuscitate me. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and our world as we knew it was changed irrevocably. 

It was a relief to have a diagnosis: at least we had some idea about what we were up against. At the same time we felt fear, anxiety, disbelief, anger, sadness and so much uncertainty about the future. We were setting out on married life with so many hopes and dreams. Would these be fulfilled? Would my life expectancy be reduced? So many unanswered questions.

At the same time I had to stop driving, decrease my hours at work, stop the exercise that I love and start on life-long medication: big unexpected lifestyle changes. I struggled to cope and felt out of control. My fatigue meant that my husband had to take on more, giving his little time for his hobbies. When asked how he was doing he would reply ‘OK’. However, he wasn’t really: he was just putting on a brave face and being strong for me. 

I was very fortunate to be put in contact with Cardiomyopathy UK. To be given reliable and accurate information and talk to a knowledgeable nurse was so reassuring. I have now become an expert patient and am very proactive in managing my condition. This is something that I have found to be very empowering. Peer support, talking to others with cardiomyopathy who can empathise and ‘get it’, has really helped me. 

I’ve had counselling on several occasions and have found this invaluable. As a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy is a life-changer, being offered counselling at diagnosis would have been so beneficial. I would have liked to have been offered cardiac rehab after I was given my ICD. I’ve had shocks from my ICD. This is both reassuring (it literally saves my life) but psychologically traumatic at the same time. After a shock is also another time I’d have liked to been offered counselling.

I’ve also undertaken a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and Expert Patient Programme. Both have been very beneficial and enable me to live in the here and now and worry less about the future.

Being a ‘can do’ person I am now very much in control and live a rich life. I have two beautiful children, drive, work and exercise. I am steadily fulfilling my hopes and dreams!

©Cardiomyopathy UK. October 2017