A Change of Heart
With a survival rate of just 12% when away from a hospital, it’s perhaps no surprise that a blockage of the heart’s left anterior descending artery (LAD) is commonly known as a “widowmaker” heart attack.
So when Tyron Bennett suffered a widowmaker while doing yard work, the chances he would be getting married to the love of his life just a few months later were miniscule. But with the help of first responders, a team of Providence Heart Institute specialists and the Providence St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Medical Center, walking down the aisle is exactly what he soon found himself doing.
“I’ve changed my whole diet, my whole life, everything I was doing,” Tyron said.
Helping him acquire the tools he needed to change his lifestyle was his cardiac rehabilitation team at St. Luke’s. Upon his admittance to the program, clinical staff met with Tyron to go over his concerns and symptoms, helping them form an exercise prescription based on his limitations and goals.
“They were perfect in the way they inspired you to go and keep going, to fight,” Tyron said. “Their inspiration was just awesome.”
While the rehabilitation was a good start, Tyron’s team at St. Luke’s was also determined to give him the tools he needed to live a healthier lifestyle after his time in rehab. One of the most important aspects of the program was helping Tyron regain confidence in his heart through cardiovascular exercise, dietary changes and emotional health.
“I got a second chance, and I'm going to do the most with it.”
During his time at rehab, Tyron exercised in a monitored setting with the knowledge that he could push his heart in a safe environment. Once he developed that confidence, his team was able to get him started with home exercise, equipped with the knowledge of what symptoms to watch out for and how hard he could exert himself.
Thanks to the paramedics and doctors that saved his life and the rehabilitation team that got him back on his feet, Tyron has made several improvements to his lifestyle, health and diet.
“I used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day — I’m not doing that anymore,” he said. He has since married the love of his life, quit smoking and gone back to college.
“I got a second chance, and I’m going to do the most with it.”
Photos and quotes from Providence St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Medical Center.
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