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A Vigorous Journey to Healing

Beverly Hendrix did not want to believe she was having heart problems.

She had always been active, and at 60 was too young, she thought, to be a cardiac patient. But when a heart blockage was discovered and then resolved through an elective angioplasty, Beverly began her process past denial and into action. Three times a week, every week, she worked out at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Shady Grove, pushing herself to limits safely set and monitored by the center’s professional staff — knowing that with each workout, she was strengthening her chances for future, better health.

“I was very frightened,” Beverly says of her initial reaction to her doctors telling her they had discovered a heart blockage. After her angioplasty procedure at Shady Grove, Beverly was even more shocked to learn she had two more partial blockages, to be treated on a later date. “Every little pain, I thought, might be a heart attack.”

Cardiac rehab eased Beverly’s mind and became a roadmap for her journey to health. Simply knowing that the center’s supportive, empathetic nurses and physiologists were watching her heart rate on the electronic monitors, lessened her anxiety and inspired her to push herself harder. Each of the 72 times Beverly “religiously” went to cardiac rehab, she worked out until she was drenched in sweat.

Part of Beverly’s fear stemmed from a sense of losing control over her body. She was always worried it might fail her. “Working out,” she says, “restores that sense of control.” “It was wonderfully reassuring,” she says. “You find out you can do more than you think you can do.” Bev also learned that simply by exercising hard, she might be able to dissolve her two remaining, worrisome blockages.

“The day I finished my sessions,” she says, “I cried. It was like leaving friends. Everyone is so kind.” Beverly continues her journey, returning to the center once a month and working out on her own six times a week. Each time, she monitors her heart beat as she has been taught to do. Now stronger, fitter and more confident than ever, she has become the rehab center’s “biggest cheerleader. It is a wonderful place.”

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