February is American Heart Month so it is a fitting month to tell my Daddy’s heart story. (You’ll notice I say ‘Daddy’ a lot in this article, but that is what I called him, “Daddy.”)
His heart condition first showed up when I was a baby. He was a small farmer/rancher in northeastern New Mexico. One day he needed to load a sick cow into a trailer. The cow was too sick to make an effort on her own so my Daddy some way picked her up enough to get her into the trailer. After that Daddy had issues with his heart.
The doctor told him it might help to move to a lower altitude so my parents had a big sale and sold most of their belongings except for what would fit in the small trailer they towed with their car. We moved to a ranch near Midland, TX but my Daddy just really did not like that area of Texas so after 3 months we moved to northern Idaho.
My parents used the money from their New Mexico sale and purchased a small farm with dairy cattle. They milked 10 to 12 cows by hand 2 times a day, farmed enough alfalfa to feed the cows, and my Daddy drove the local children to the nearby one-room school house. He also sold milk and cream to the little local country store. He delivered the milk and cream when he drove the neighborhood children to school in the canvas covered back of his pickup truck. I remember riding with Daddy in the front of the pickup truck on those trips. When we were at the little country store I would beg Daddy for an ice cream cone!
- I was only about 4 years old at the time.
During our time in Idaho, Daddy got a stiff neck that was absolutely miserable. Mama finally convinced him to go to a chiropractor for an adjustment. It took some convincing because Daddy believed that chiropractors were quacks and could even kill you. He finally agreed to go and let the chiropractor adjust his neck to relieve the pain.
Much to Daddy’s surprise, the chiropractor gave him relief from the neck pain for a short period of time. When the neck pain came back, he went back to the chiropractor for more relief. The chiropractor told Daddy he needed a back adjustment and he believed the back adjustment would help his heart condition.
By then the chiropractor had gained Daddy’s trust so Daddy allowed him to give a full back adjustment. Lo and behold, Daddy’s heart condition improved and as long as he kept his back aligned and adjusted he was not bothered again until much later in life.
After about 1 ½ years in Idaho and with Daddy’s heart now better, my parents once again sold all their belongings except for what fit in a small stock trailer. We left the cold long winters and headed back to Daddy’s beloved New Mexico and the ranch work he loved.
When Daddy was in his early 70’s his heart started giving him problems again. The doctor wanted to put a pacemaker in his chest to regulate his heart beat.
- At this time in my life I was starting to learn more about nutrition and its affect on health. I was in my early 40’s.
I had heard about a combination of natural foods that were good for the heart so I sent the recipe to my parents.
They went to the health food store and purchased wheat germ, lecithin granules, and brewer’s yeast. They mixed it together and Daddy started eating a good serving of the mixture every morning along with his cooked prunes before his breakfast of hot biscuits, peanut butter, eggs, and bacon.
After a few months he went back to the doctor. The doctor checked him, couldn’t find anything wrong with his heart, and told him to keep doing whatever he had been doing because it was working.
- Meanwhile I continued to learn more about nutritional supplements and how they apply to certain health conditions such as the heart. Now I was about 45 years old …….
When Daddy was about 75 years old he started having trouble with his heart again. It was then that the doctors determined that he probably had rheumatic fever as a child and it had damaged a heart valve. He never did have a heart attack but mainly had an irregular heart beat which caused him to be very weak.
Daddy had always been a very active man working on his ranch taking care of at least 100 head of cows, riding horses, and doing all the other necessary chores on his small ranch. He ended up with congestive heart failure and could not do his work on the ranch. At that point he finally agreed to open heart surgery to replace the valve that was not functioning properly. His doctor also was expecting he would need to do several bypass procedures as well.
My husband and I scheduled our vacation so our family could spend time with my Daddy before the open heart surgery. When we arrived in New Mexico Daddy was so weak he could barely walk across the room without being totally drained. This was how we found him.
Prior to leaving California I had packed the quality supplements I had learned to trust that were excellent for heart health. I knew it might be in vain because Daddy had previously refused to take any supplements I had suggested to him. However he had told me on the phone that he wished there was another way other than surgery!
When we arrived at the New Mexico ranch I told my mother that I had brought the supplements. She said Daddy would probably not take them but I could ask him anyway.
That evening after supper at the kitchen table I was trying to muster up the courage to share with Daddy what I had learned about supplements and the heart when Mama spoke up and said, “Pat has something to talk to you about.” Well, that was my open door.
I reminded him that he was wishing there was another way to fix his heart other than surgery. I told him I could not guarantee the supplement heart program would help but I knew it would not hurt him. I even told him exactly what it would cost and the large amounts he would need to take before going on a maintenance level. He listened intently but then just went to bed.
The next morning at the breakfast table he said, “Well, Pat, I think I’m ready to give it a try.”
Daddy started on the heart program that day. Three days later Daddy said he was going to go get the mail, about a 75 yard distance. He got back to the house, sat down in his chair, and said, “Well I got all the way back to the cattle guard (right by the house) before I realized I was supposed to be tired, and sure enough I was!” My husband and I looked at each other with both of us thinking, “Is he already noticing a difference or does he just think he does?”
We only had a one week vacation scheduled so had to head back to California the next day. When we got home, I made a safe arrival call to my parents. My Daddy said, “I called and cancelled my heart surgery today because I walked a mile this morning!” He had been on the heart program for only one week at that time.
By 2 weeks he was able to walk 2 miles a day. His doctor told him to keep doing what he was doing and maybe they would consider a valve replacement surgery at a later date if necessary.
The heart program he took daily was:
He stayed on this program for about 8 weeks and then gradually decreased amounts to a maintenance level.
Daddy was feeling so well on the heart nutritional supplement program, he decided to try chelation therapy (without my knowledge.) It was a therapy that gave supplements intravenously. The chelation therapist insisted that he stop the program he was on and use only their program. After only 3 chelation therapy treatments he was back to the weakened condition just like he was with the congestive heart failure.
At that point Daddy stopped the chelation therapy and got back on the heart program I had suggested for him. He soon recovered and stayed on the program for one year. He was healthy enough at that time to have the heart valve replacement surgery at age 77. The cardiologist was amazed at how clear his arteries were and that he did not require more than one tiny almost unnecessary bypass.
The heart surgery was in the middle of July and by the end of August, he was back out riding his horses once again working on his ranch.
Daddy stayed on the basic heart program for the rest of his life. He passed away of a staph infection from a botched intestinal surgery about 3 weeks prior to his 88th birthday. His heart was strong until the end. We were so thankful he was able to have 11 more years of quality life living and working on the ranch he loved.
Valentine’s Day is a good time to think about how we can take care of each other’s Hearts. So take care of your Heart so you can take care of others!
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Pat is a Health and Nutrition Coach. She helps people make healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices.
Pat has been married to the same man for over 50 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 7 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and the past 26 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and avoiding a major heart attack, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and others. Her goal is to help others have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible and slow the aging process. The products Pat personally uses are featured at www.bestrealhealth.gnld.net.
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