Thursday, February 6, 2014

Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley

It is February and you know what that means. GO RED! We had the opportunity to interview MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley about their heart disease experiences. 

Ms. Frederick works in the graduate school and she shared her story. She described her story for us. “I had breast cancer twice so I had always been careful of my health and had regular checkups.  The heart problem was nothing I ever expected.  I had been fine and I truly feel like all the stress I was under the years before this Mitral Valve was failing is what caused the problem.”

Ms. Frederick explained her circumstances that lead to heart disease, “I had a Mitral Valve that was not working properly.  Luckily, I went in for echocardiograms and this is how they found the problem.  They say this is very common in women so you have to take control of your health.  I had a heart murmur all my life, but as long as it didn’t change I was fine. When it changed then as my surgeon said: it needed a bit of tweaking. I realized something was wrong when I would walk a very few steps and be out of breathe!  I have always had enough energy for 3 people and I danced many hours so I now knew there was a problem.” 

We asked her how heart disease has impacted her daily life. “It has made me realize how precious life is and it can be snuffed out in a moment’s notice. I live life to the fullest! I try to stay happy and have a good attitude and love walking and dancing.  I do watch what I eat and I also go in each year to see my cardiologist.”
She explained how heart disease impacted her family and friends, “My family and friends were horribly terrified when I told them I had to have heart surgery.  They have all supported me to the fullest and if I get down they build me right back up!” 

We asked how her thinking changed about health since her diagnosis, “Your health is a very precious thing.  You are nothing without it! Again, I appreciate every day I have here on this earth and I celebrate every birthday with gusto since as long as I am having those birthdays no matter how much older I get, I am still here!”  

What advice would you give to prevent heart disease?  “Try to watch your weight and exercise when you can. I always say: I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health!”

What advice would you give to those who have heart disease?  “Pay attention to the messages your body is giving you.  Exercise, even if it’s taking a walk each day.  You need to exercise that heart and try to eat healthy, but also treat yourself when you can.  Go in for regular checkups.  I thank the Good Lord I did this or I would not be here today.”

Next, we interviewed Dr. Roger Shipley an associate professor in the Department of Health Studies about his heart disease experience. 

Dr. Shipley was diagnosed with heart disease in 1995 after his first heart attack. His wife drove him to Jack County to a hospital and had care flight take him to a hospital in Fort Worth. He was monitored by a cardiologist every six months. He was active and his life was back to normal. This past fall Dr. Shipley started to have chest discomfort. He explained, “I would walk for a little while and then have to stop and rest to catch my breath.” He then returned to his cardiologist for a stress test which he passed with flying colors, but he was still having problems. The cardiologist then had him do a cardiac catheter test and it was determined that Dr. Shipley needed bypass surgery. Dr. Shipley stated that at first the thought of the surgery was scary, but was well worth it. He underwent surgery a 9 hour on October 29th, 2013 to have a double bypass, aortic valve replacement and aorta replacement. He is now attending a twelve week cardiac rehabilitation and should be back to normal activities upon completing. 

Even in 1995, Dr. Shipley did exercise and watched what he ate to help with weight loss. He explained that his wife is a nurse, so they tend to have healthy eating habits. He also manages his stress.
When asked what circumstances lead to his heart disease he explained that he had a genetic disposition because both of his parents had heart disease. He explained that he did have a healthy lifestyle prior to his 1995 heart attack. He continued to explain that the impact his heart disease had on his family. He stated, “My wife is used to it because she is a nurse. She took care of me and helped me” during his time of recovery. He expressed that she is supportive of Dr. Shipley’s continued rehabilitation. Dr. Shipley’s son is now concerned that he too might have heart disease and has started seeking advice. Dr. Shipley has recommended that his son see a cardiologist regularly because of their genetic disposition. 

When asked how his thinking has changed since his diagnosis of heart disease Dr. Shipley explained, “I knew all of the information because of my field of work, but I needed to do the preventive things.”  As advice for to prevent heart disease, Dr. Shipley suggested people exercise, have a healthy diet, and practice stress management. For those that are living with heart disease, Dr. Shipley recommended to know the symptoms of a heart attack and monitor yourself along with your cardiologist. If there is any inclination of a heart attack, go to the emergency room immediately.

Ms. Fredrick and Dr. Shipley explained that stress management is important and it too impacts heart health. If you want more tips on managing your stress check these sites.

If you want more information about a heart healthy diet, go here.

Visit here for information on heart healthy exercise.

Learn more about your risk.

How do you keep YOUR heart healthy? Got any special exercise tips to share? How about heart healthy recipes?  Share your ideas in the comments below.

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