Published on October 09, 2017

Baldwyn Woman Thankful for ‘Second Lease on Life’

BALDWYN, Miss.—Linda Armstrong of Baldwyn had been extremely sick for several months. “I was so tired,” Armstrong said. “I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I had so much fluid on my legs, all I could do was drag them. I had to pick up my legs to put them in the car, they were so weak.”

Armstrong’s cardiologist, Jim Stone, M.D., with Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi in Tupelo, referred her to cardiothoracic surgeon Robert Derveloy, M.D., with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery Clinic. She had open heart surgery March 22 to repair her tricuspid valve and replace her mitral valve. Two days after surgery, Evan Gault from NMMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department came to get her for a walk down the hall. “I would make up excuses not to go with him,” she said, “but he would just stand there. Now I’m glad he did.”

At first they walked 10 feet, then 40 feet, then more. Armstrong was still in bad shape when she reported for outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation one month later. “When I came in, I couldn’t even walk. I was in a wheelchair,” Linda said.

She was unable to finish the “walk test” that staff members use as a baseline assessment, but they started with what she could do—using the rower, Nu Step bike and arm ergometer. As time passed, she met goal after goal and continued to improve.

The goal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation is to assist heart patients in recovery physically, mentally and socially and to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program is designed to restore each individual to a maximally productive, active and satisfying life. Physicians, nurses, dietitians, social workers, exercise specialists and counselors work closely with the patient and family. This program is also beneficial for individuals who are at high risk for heart disease.

“I started seeing a difference in my body, and I could get up and walk,” she says, citing her faith in God and hope for better health as her motivation not to give up. By the time Armstrong graduated from Cardiac Rehabilitation on Sept. 8, she had lost 50 pounds and was back to doing what she had been doing before she got so sick. “It’s like I was in a tunnel, and I thought I’d never make it to the other end. I couldn’t see myself ever getting better,” she said. “I got a second lease on life here.”

Armstrong shares her story to encourage others who are going through a difficult situation. “Life is worth the fight to overcome the obstacles that come your way,” she said. For more information about NMMC Cardiac Rehabilitation call 1-800-THE DESK (1-800- 843-3375).

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