My Story: Living with Congestive Heart Failure

By Saniya Ghanoui —

TC shares how she felt immediately after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure.


OBOS Today: Yeah, it’s actually a really great way to explain it. After the diagnosis, what happened next, what was the next step or your immediate reaction?

TC: Actually, my immediate reaction, my cardiologist tells me all the time, that I gave him a reaction that he’s not familiar with. When he explained, you know, he just bluntly, he said, “You have congestive heart failure,” and my response to him was, “Can it be reversed?”

That was my immediate response, can it be reversed? I’m a fighter, you know, and he was like, “Wow yeah, I mean you know, with the right medicine, the right exercise and diet, we can at least try to slow it down and maybe you know get some of the fluid off of you and I’m not going to say it’s a definite.” And that’s what I needed to hear, you know, what can I do? And that’s all we can do is our part.

OBOS Today: Wow, yeah. That’s really amazing that he had not heard that response until you.

TC: Yeah, I mean I’m not gonna say that he didn’t shake my world up because I actually had to—that was actually, I left work on a Friday. I never went back to work.

The doctor told me, I had to quit work. So, I mean this really turned my whole world upside down. I’ve retired after 33 years of service in the criminal justice field, but I was not anticipating retiring that young at 54.

OBOS Today: In your quest to revert the diagnosis, how did your lifestyle change?

TC: I had to change my diet considerably. I mean that was one of the main things and then upon released from the hospital, I could not leave the hospital without wearing what they call a LifeBase. I had to wear external defibrillators.

And the reason for the external defibrillator is that I was a candidate for sudden cardiac arrest and the external defibrillator would get me back, you know, my heart back beating.

So, I wore them off and on for about two years because I was convinced that I could get my ejection fraction up high enough to where I would not have to have the external defibrillator. I could not. So now, I have an internal defibrillator pacemaker.