Log in
British Heart Foundation
6,828 members4,274 posts

Heart failure, seven years on

Today marks seven years since I was unexpectedly diagnosed with heart failure. I didn't think I'd even live to see Christmas 2011, but heart failure wasn't the automatic death sentence I'd presumed it to be. My life is different and in many ways harder, but it is also GOOD (better?) and FULL (fuller?) and BUSY (busier?) and HAPPY (happier? yes, happier!) because of my experience. And life is showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

Every year this anniversary, which I remember all the more because the diagnosis led to my daughter's early arrival, gets easier and easier, but this is the first year I think I've felt all good about it. (I'm owning heart failure! Ha!) Just wanted to share my perspective in case there are any heart failure newbies out there fearing the worst - there's a very real chance that things could turn out better than you are able to imagine.

And because I can never say this too many times... Stay away from Google! Bring your questions here (or to your doctor) instead xx

56 Replies
oldestnewest

Truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing 👍

3 likes
Reply

Thank you! :)

Reply

Love it. Happy anniversary of 'bad news that perhaps wasn't so bad in the end'. Good to hear you're doing well, especially from someone only 2 years into the journey.

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Pikaia. Hope all goes well for you in the years ahead. X

Reply

Hear, Hear Laura, thank you and happy anniversary

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Mark, as always :) x

Reply

Thanks for this post laura_dropstitch I have only had my HF since diagnosed in May this year. It has been a shock to me and my family and still coming to terms with it and the meds. Sometimes I feel positive and then I'm right down in the dumps and can't see what the future holds.I am 60 yrs old and hoping to get early retirement through ill health. Reading your post has really helped as I do think sometimes how long will I be here. It's great to hear you are doing well and very happy. I will try and strive to achieve this outcome once again thank-you xx

2 likes
Reply

It's a really scary time and takes a lot of adjustment. I was quite seriously depressed for a while (I mean years) and it took a lot of hard work and a lot of support from various corners to fight my way out of that. I'm very proud of myself for getting to this stage. I know it seemed an impossible dream in those early days, but here I am - still ill, but stable and hopeful and happy. Make sure you are talking to somebody (anybody and everybody) and feel free to message me any time you like. Good luck! x

2 likes
Reply

Happy Anniversary Laura!

I don't have HF and don't really understand what it means. I thought "death sentence" like you. Do you think a WFPB diet would help HF sufferers? It has helped me with my blocked arteries. I suggest it to people on here that I think may benefit from it, e.g. angina sufferers. What do you think?

3 likes
Reply

Thanks Jimmy :) I can't see how a WFPB diet would help with heart failure specifically, but then there are so many different root causes for it. Mine is caused by a large and mysterious scar on my heart, so that's not going anywhere, no matter how many lentils I eat! (I do actually eat A LOT of lentils, so feel I can bandy that terrible stereotype about, as I've been vegetarian for...28 years?) My arteries are clear, but that's not necessarily the case for all heart failure patients. A healthy lifestyle is certainly recommended (as well as a healthy weight) but diet wouldn't reverse the damage as it might for some other conditions. I don't think so anyway. Glad to hear it's been beneficial to you though!

1 like
Reply

Thanks.

Reply

Laura

Thanks for sharing your feelings especially for the newly diagnosed who might have similar fears.

I’m so pleased for you that you can see the positives and can live well and hopefully.

Long may it continue xx

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Jo. The friendship of kind folks like you certainly helps! X

Reply

I am 3 weeks post heart attack and I am so grateful for people like you who are kind enough to take the time to share positive stories.

Thank-you.

1 like
Reply

That's my pleasure. Hope all goes well for you. Lots of love x

Reply

Really great news , lovely positive post Laura. Best of wishes xx

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Plum :)

Reply

Happy anniversary Laura, I was feeling a wee bit down this morning...out of breath, aches and pains etc and just generally feeling a bit sorry for myself but you have really cheered me up with your comments. You've heard the saying 'happy as Larry' well I don't know who Larry is but today I aim to as happy as Laura x

2 likes
Reply

Happy as Laura! I love it! :) Hope you are feeling better soon. Hard to be cheerful on the days you feel like that, I know. X

Reply

Happy Anniversary Laura. Have a lovely weekend. Xx Clare

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Clare :) Weekend is set to be...interesting! I'm hosting an "animal arty rainbow party" (no, I have no idea either) for my daughter and her friends. Wish me luck!

Reply

I wish you good luck! Have a great party! Clare

1 like
Reply

Thank you for this. I’m a newbie and quite frightened, your post gives me hope!

1 like
Reply

Glad to have given you a bit of hope! Feel free to message me any time, I remember how scary the early days (weeks, months, years!) were. Lots of love x

Reply

Really appreciate it Laura, have a happy anniversary!

1 like
Reply

Fantastic! What a great example of positivity you are! I think the old saying "when life throws you lemons, make lemonade" is best held on to here. Your daughter must bring you immense joy and your positive nature will pass on to her. My journey started out of the blue just over a year ago and I'm going for my annual check up soon; hoping I find good news like yours.

1 like
Reply

Hope all is well at your annual check-up. My first few years were quite rocky, but I have been stable for a good few years now and I think I had to go through all the rocky bits to get my treatment plan working as well as it does. I'm not always positive about my situation (and that's fine too!) but I'm happier than I ever thought I could be and much healthier than Dr Google would have had me believe. I wish I could have seen into the future when I was first diagnosed as I spent a long time feeling very unhappy and fearing the worst. So often I see that same terror in the posts of new heart failure patients and, while I don't want to underestimate the condition, which is awful in many ways, I think it's important to show that it's far from hopeless. The doom-laden viewpoint gets plenty of coverage elsewhere!

1 like
Reply

Dear Laura, it's very comforting and inspiring to read your message. I was diagnosed 2 years ago (but realise I'd had it for longer of course!) and find that though I'm generally positive, the clouds creep up on you every so often so it's so helpful to read your messages. I hope things continue well for you too! X

1 like
Reply

I don't think it's possible to avoid the clouds all the time, it is a difficult and scary condition, but I do feel more and more positive (and less scared) the more time passes. Hope it all works out well for you, glad my post helps :)

1 like
Reply

Happy Anniversary Laura!

I was only diagnosed with heart failure in April and didn’t even want to tell my family the dreadful diagnosis. Now I have more energy than they do and cannot believe how ill I felt at the time.

I hope that your daughter has a lovely party.

Ann

1 like
Reply

I read a letter in Heart Matters magazine a few years ago, written by a woman whose mother had been diagnosed with some form of heart disease (can't remember what) years back and made big changes to her lifestyle as a result. She was now in her 80s and fitter and healthier than a lot of her "healthy" friends, and probably fitter than she would have been if she hadn't had heart problems in the first place. That letter was the beginning of my more positive thinking about illness. Hope you continue to feel well for a long time to come, Ann :)

Reply

Thank you Laura.

The odd thing is that there was nothing really in my lifestyle that caused the problem so it has been put down to a virus I didn’t know I had!

I am lucky that the medication suits me and seems to have sorted me out.

I am sure that you will have a long and happy life with your lovely daughter.

Ann

Reply

I'm the same - cause remains a mystery and certainly not lifestyle. But I know it's my heart failure that motivates me to go to the gym, so maybe it will be better for my health in a roundabout way :)

Reply

Thank you Laura for as ever your words of wisdom.

Living with any long term heart condition can be a tough challenging journey but your positivity is a wonderful inspiration and you are helping so many people...Thank you!

You are so right about the unreliability of Dr Google's consulting room.

Stay well

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Milkfairy :)

Reply

Hi Laura,

Great to hear you are doing well, I like many others thought that HF was a 'dearh sentence'. I remember readind your post when you where not in a good place so I am thrilled you are in a current state mentally wellbeing. Living with a heart condition is never easy, I think initially you struggled a lot more as you were diagnosed at the same time as your daughter's birth and a daunting thouht of not seeing her grow up and here you are 7 years on. Be so proud of yourself especially today at how far you have come. Such a loely postive post has put a smile on face.

Take Care

Love Fran x

1 like
Reply

Thank you, Fran! I still have my down periods where I struggle with it all, but less and less so. Definitely agree the diagnosis coinciding with my daughter's arrival and the news I couldn't have more children made it a particularly difficult experience, but it's great to prove my negative expectations wrong year by year. I spent my daughter's first birthday crying because I thought I'd be dead before she was old enough to remember me. Now her birthday is all about her, as it should be :) Hope you are well these days? Lots of love x

Reply

I expect you do have days when you meet an overwhelming darkness.

I think more so when you have children as that fear says what if I die before they grow up. For you though this increases tenfold because of your health. How amazing it is theat you watch her grow the joy and enthusiam keeps you smiling. I hope she has faboulous birthday and party adding more positive memories.

I'm not great, but plodding along. Keep myself busy doingrafts for various charities.

Best Wishes

Fran and big hug for your daughter. Xx

1 like
Reply

I am just past my third anniversary. As you say at first it is frightening when I came out of hospital I organised my funeral thinking I didn’t have long for this world. Three years on and my condition is improving good days and bad days but more good days now. As you say don’t believe all you read on google.

1 like
Reply

That's it exactly, isn't it? More good days, less bad days. It's never going to be easy, but it does get easier. Hope you continue to get more good days for many years to come x

1 like
Reply

Hi Laura.. happy anniversary hun.. and to many more too. And although none of us hearties want that diagnoses it does also so change our perspectives that I sometimes think that we are happier than the "normal" folk. As we grab life by the scruff of the neck to enjoy every moment. Happy anniversary again xxx

Reply

Thank you, Karen :) You're my guiding light in all this, you know! 😘

1 like
Reply

Aw and you mine 💕. Xx

Ps don't know why my profile pic has become a lion 😂😂. Life is full of surprises x

1 like
Reply

😂🦁

Reply

Thanks for making me laugh out loud when l read about your lion pic and saw it, or should say l roared with laughter at 4.52 in the morning. ls your star sign Leo? Take care, Sue x

Reply

What a lovely post. As a newbie to sudden and unexplained heart failure this year, it’s so important to connect with the good experiences and outcomes. Your honesty about the psychological battles is so important - my heart may be fairly knackered but it’s the emotional journey in my head that causes me the greatest heartache, and it can be difficult to imagine getting to a better, more comfortable state of mind. This roller coaster may be a rough and scary ride at times but you’ve helped me cope with it better today, thank you Laura.

3 likes
Reply

Hi there..

Welcome to our lovely forum. Just read your post and wanted to reply that we wonky hearties know exactly the emotional roller coaster you are going through emotionally. But honestly there is a full and fun and wonderful life after HF. Yes we need to make changes and may not b able to do all of the things we could before.. but the secret is to adapt and change with your body. I was diagnosed with HF 23 years ago!! I may be at what they classify as severe HF but although I am sensible eat healthy and exercise... and for me no alcohol ...all important to keeping the old ticker going.... I also ensure I have a social life...hobbies.... and listen to my body and stop when I need to. I am genuinely having more fun than ever... and no hangovers!! It is very hard to deal with at first but do take heart ( excuse the pun ) that there are many if us living a good and happy life...there is a happy life to be had following this diagnosis....xx

3 likes
Reply

Glad my post helped. Hope you begin to find things easier soon. Feel free to message me any time x

2 likes
Reply

You are an inspiration Laura. It has made me feel really happy to hear how well you are doing.

I am a hospital based Wonky heart nurse and I will use you as an example to those patients who feel hopeless.

Keep being well, busy and supportive to others xxx

1 like
Reply

Thank you so much - for your comment and the work you do :)

Reply

I've read all the posts, you are ALL AMAZING AND INSPIRATIONAL. I will be passing your details on to patients I work with. Thank you for sharing your experiences and lives with others

1 like
Reply

Hi my husband was diagnosed with lvf a fortnight ago & we are devastated & shellshocked & don’t know what this is going to mean for us & our future 😭

1 like
Reply

Really sorry to hear that. There's so much information to process when you are diagnosed and often there are often no answers to be had until the doctors see how the heart responds to treatment etc over the coming months. Have you tried phoning the BHF Helpline? It's manned by qualified nursing staff, so they can help to answer most of your medical queries, as well as offer emotional support. Number is 0300 330 3311 and it's open office hours.

No point in telling you not to worry, but I hope my story lets you see that things are not always as awful as they first seem. My only advice at the moment is to seek information from real people and not by googling - that will only make you more worried, usually unnecessarily. Sending all best wishes to you and your husband. Lots of love x

1 like
Reply

Whatever you do DO NOT GOOGLE. there is lots of support out there, including this forum. Hopefully your husband will have an echo cardiogram and someone can discuss the results so that you know the next steps. There is also a good charity purely for patients with heart failure called 'pumping marvellous'. Look this up as it, like this forum, is very positive in it's approach. Hope everything goes well and you find enough support

1 like
Reply

Thankyou so much Laura xx

Reply

Well done Laura look how far you have come and what you have achieved!!! You will live to be an old biddy and with your creative skills you can decorate your zimmer frame with colourful flowers. Take care and thanks for inspiring. l am feeling happy like you l've just been discharged from outpatients as my heart operations were so successful and my pacemaker has hardly been used last year due to my body taking over its role, now l only have to take warfarin forever and have a pacemaker check once a year. Onwards and upwards mate, keep shining bright. Sue x

1 like
Reply

You may also like...