A coach for open heart surgery recovery for heart patients and family

Open-heart surgery patients and caregivers alike will be in good hands with my honed listening skills, my caring and guidance, and most of all, my heartfelt firsthand experienceThere are more than thirty-five known congenital heart defects, and I was born with one of them. My valve anomaly was so mild that it was never supposed to progress and give me trouble. As an adult I enjoyed two uneventful pregnancies. I had a rewarding 20-year career as a publishing company executive (Simon & Schuster, Bantam, Beacon Press). That career has been followed by an equally rewarding ten years in my own business as a professional certified coach (PCC), and consultant. Book publishing coaching continues to be my specialty.

That said, my abrupt experience of a dormant congenital heart defect popping up to haunt me in my fifties – requiring open-heart surgery -- is what inspires me to support heart patients to prepare in advance for the arduous eight to twelve weeks of open-heart surgery recovery. Anyone whose sternum is opened -- whether for valve repair or replacement (15% of open-heart operations) or for the more common coronary artery bypass surgery (85% of open-heart operations) -- is faced with strenuous open-heart surgery recovery. 

Here’s how it happened for me: Suddenly (and of course it wasn’t really suddenly) I was confronted with having to choose open-heart surgery to repair the defective valve. At the age of 53 I had had my first arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm. Over the next few years I had an acceleration of arrhythmias. Then, within a six-month period in early 2003, my mild congenital anomaly progressed to “severe” status. The valve now “leaked” so badly it simply had to be fixed. I prepared myself very well for the July open-heart surgery, but never gave a thought to educating myself about what to expect during the convalescence. It is this omission – and plodding through an overly stressful open-heart surgery recovery myself – that impassions me to help others, and to have written the book, The Open Heart Companion: Preparation and Guidance for Open-Heart Surgery Recovery.

We all need advance information, compassion, motivating ideas, and tangible techniques to reduce the stress of the intense two to three-month period of open-heart surgery recovery.  Please consider subscribing to our free online newsletter, Heart to Heart.  Or consider participating in our free monthly phone support group, or ordering The Open Heart Companion.  Patients and caregivers alike are in good hands with my honed listening skills, my caring and guidance, and most of all my heartfelt firsthand experience. To sample a free 20-minute open heart coaching session by phone, please contact me to make your appointment.

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