Mary-Ann is a retired nurse. She is also one of the 60 million people worldwide to be impacted by heart failure. Recalling when she was first diagnosed with the condition, Mary-Ann says her first reaction was shock: “You feel that it’s someone else’s diagnosis, like it doesn’t really apply to you. And then as it starts to sink in you think: My heart? My best part? You feel your body has failed you and you’ll never be the same again.”
Heart failure takes a big toll on individuals and their caregivers. It limits people’s abilities to go about everyday activities and Mary-Ann says it has changed the way she lives. It’s hard for her to do much before getting short of breath or very tired.
“If I had one wish, I would want to be, maybe not exactly like I was before because there is always room for improvement, but I’d want to be totally independent, in control of my life, able to do everything any time I wanted, without restrictions.”
Mary-Ann says her day to day activities are improving, but slowly and much slower than her schedule would wish for.
Thinking about what she has learnt since her diagnosis, Mary-Ann says: “I’ve had to learn patience, I’ve had to learn to program myself for my medications, my activities and my diet. I’m learning to respect my heart and that my heart needs rest.”