Renewed sense of purpose after a close call
Fifty-year-old Patrick Puopolo of North Portland considered himself a healthy and active person, taking the occasional walk around the neighborhood with his wife and spending most of the day on his feet as both the owner of a local bar and real estate agent.
When he started experiencing pain in his abdomen and down his arms, he called Legacy Medical Group–Broadway
, his primary care physician's office, and they recommended he go to the emergency department immediately.
After undergoing a series of tests, his physicians determined he had a blocked artery and his symptoms showed that he was on the brink of having a heart attack. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Shawn Patrick
, his new cardiologist, diagnosed him with unstable angina and placed a stent in his blocked artery.
“I remember Dr. Patrick recommending Cardiac Rehabilitation at one of my follow up appointments,” Puopolo recalled. “I hadn’t been active in some time. I am a former athlete with old nagging injuries that had kept me from exercising but after having a near heart attack I knew I was ready to get back into shape.”
Puopolo went on to graduate from Legacy Good Samaritan’s Cardiac Rehabilitation
Phase 2 program in December 2016, which helps patients safely recover from heart-related events and make permanent life changes to improve their cardiovascular health.
“I have not only improved my heart health, Cardiac Rehabilitation also healed my old sports injuries so I am now able to exercise five to seven times per week and have lost 25 pounds,” said Puopolo.
Puopolo recalled one of the helpful elements of Cardiac Rehabilitation being the nutrition education. He thought he ate healthy before, but Laura Schaeffer, Legacy Good Samaritan’s Cardiac Rehabilitation dietitian, taught him things he had never heard of and also stressed the importance of eating a plant based-diet.
“Thinking you are a completely healthy 50-year-old and then suffering a near heart attack out of nowhere was a terrifying experience,” recalled Puopolo. “Taking care of my body has given me a new sense of confidence, optimism and purpose. I am more grateful and aware each day and I feel better physically than I have in years. I can’t thank everyone at Cardiac Rehabilitation enough.”
Pupolo will kick off Legacy Health’s fourth annual Walk Around the Clock event on Wednesday, February 1 at 12 p.m. alongside Dr. Kenneth LeClerc, medical director of Legacy Cardiac Rehabilitation.
“I was excited when I got the call because I already was thinking about what I could do to honor American Heart Month and get the word out about how important it is to take care of your body,” said Puopolo.
Walk Around the Clock is Legacy Health’s official kick off to American Heart Month. Physicians, patients, staff and leaders will keep treadmills moving nonstop for 24 hours in the main lobbies of Legacy Good Samaritan and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center.
This year’s event will be the fourth time Legacy’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has hosted the event in celebration of staying active to prevent heart disease and also to raise funds for Legacy’s cardiac and pulmonary Rehabilitation services.
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