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My Life or Death 'Adventure' with Congestive Heart Failure

Updated on March 1, 2016

Signs of (CHF) most times include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Leg swelling
  • The shortness of breath is worse with exercise, while lying down, and may wake the person at night. A limited ability to exercise is also a common feature.

(CHF) defined in medical terms

Just what is heart failure (HF)? It is often defined as congestive heart failure (CHF), that occurs when the heart is unable to pump efficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body's needs. The common terms: Chronic heart failure (CHF) or congestive heart failure (CCF) are often used interchangeably with congestive heart failure.

How my bout with (CHF) began

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The medical definition of congestive heart failure. I suffered from this deadly-affliction during the months of June and July, 2015. The funny thing, if there is one, was that I did not realize how close to death that I was living.

I would work in the afternoons in my birdhouse shop and sweat as if I were in a sauna. Not a bad gig, I thought to myself. But I was swelling more by the day. My stomach and ankles were swelled so out of proportion that my wife, Pam, and our daughter, Angie, literally grew angry (through love) to get me to have a doctor check me out.

I knew that I was licked, so I visited our family physician and she sent me (immediately) to the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo, to see what was wrong with me. Our family physician had thought that I had congestive heart failure, but she wanted to be absolutely sure of her diagnosis.

My meeting with a cardiologist

From the emergency room to Cardiology Associates also in Tupelo where I met with a Dr. Hill who gave me an EEG and he did not mince words. "You either get a heart cath, or die." I was not one to argue with someone, especially a physician, who was this adamant about my condition.

I did take a heart cath and the nurses "drained" my heart and body of the excessive fluid that had built up around my heart. I was told later that they drained 57 pounds total out of my system.

Pam told me during my hospital stay that prior to getting my heart cath, I was talking non-sense at our home and sitting in my recliner and falling asleep without any effort. I did remember some of the things that she told me and then I was not surprised at her and our daughter being so concerned.

Before I came home, my cardiologist gave me my new orders in how I was to live. Some of his advice was easy to accomplish while other parts were down right tough namely the Mediterranean Diet that I have to stay on for the rest of my natural life.

This special diet strictly has me to never eat junk food at all. No chips, candy bars, or doughnuts. No fun. But by keeping on this diet, I will be increasing my lifespan by months. But I also know that as gifted as my cardiologist and the medical personnel are who tended to my case, God still has the last word when it comes to life and death.

X-Ray of a patient's chest who suffers from (CHF).
X-Ray of a patient's chest who suffers from (CHF). | Source
Cut-away of a heart with (CHF).
Cut-away of a heart with (CHF). | Source

(CHF) for me was a learning experience

In the aftermath of getting treated for congestive heart failure, I came to realize a few things that I would like to share with you, my valued followers.

  • I realized that "I" need to pay closer attention to my physical life as well as my spiritual life. Both are important to God, so I will give this diet the "old college try" and do my best. As of this writing, I have lost 101 pounds and that makes me very happy.
  • For a tasty snack, I used to consume potato chips by the bag. Not anymore. Now I reach for a tasty red apple or maybe an orange. Both are great for the body I have read.
  • I am realizing that each day, as well as each breath and heartbeat, are all gifts of God. Not to be taken for granted like I was doing. I cannot afford to take these things and those around me for granted.
  • When spring and summer arrive, Pam and I are going to start a walking regiment to further help my heart grow stronger as to add to my life.
  • I was given a new beginning with three of my family members who I had some problems with some years ago, but after some honest conversation with them, we are now as close as ever.
  • In closing, let me urge, not ask you politely, get a regular physical check up. Exercise regularly and learn to eat healthy foods that are better for you than a bag of chips.

After all, taking good care of ourselves is a matter of life and death.

Ankles in this photo are similar to how my ankles had swelled with (CHF).
Ankles in this photo are similar to how my ankles had swelled with (CHF). | Source

(CHF) explained


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear, Sweet bravewarrior,

      Thanks, dear Friend, for your warm comment and sure, I would be glad to go in-depth about the Mediterranean Diet. Just give me a little time to get it organized and we will go from there.

      Peace of God to you and yours.

      Your Friend for Life.

      Love, Kenneth

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      Scary stuff, Kenneth. I'm so glad you're alive to tell your story.

      Too often we ignore signals our bodies are sending us because, frankly, we don't want our suspicions to be confirmed. But ignoring those signals can literally be a matter of life and death.

      Again, I'm so glad you're here to warn us and give us your first-hand recount.

      I'd love for you to go into more detail about the Mediterranean Diet. Would you consider writing a hub about it? I think it would be very beneficial to your readers.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, KoffeKlatchGals,

      Praise God that you are much better. I am not worried about you now.

      And you are right about "not keeping a good woman/man down."



      P.S. you may write me at anytime you like.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      @ Kenneth I have been ill but so much better now. What can I say, you can't keep a good man, or woman, down.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Well, hello, KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      It has been a long time. How have you been? I am also adding what a pleasant surprise reading your sweet comment.

      God is helping me lose weight, and I am slowly easing back into my birdhouse building and just slowing down for a change.

      Thank you again, my dear Friends for your support.

      Your Life Long Friend,


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What a marvelous hub. I am sorry you hav3e experienced this, glad that you have come to terms with it. It isn't something you can just ignore. Best of luck to you.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, tsmog,

      You are absolutely correct.

      Listening to our bodies is vitally important. Sometimes signs are evident that something may be wrong with us and we need to see a doctor.

      I know that from a first-hand experience.

      First, it was Fibromyalgia in 2003 which I am still battling and now I am on a diet where I can eat only fresh food items.

      NO fried foods, sweets and a minimal amount of bread.

      I do feel better and I thank God for healing my heart of the weakness in the main muscle.

      He is good all of the time.

      Please pray for me.


    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Sweet Kiss and Tales,

      First off, THANK YOU so MUCH for your uplifting comment about my eye-opening experience with congestive heart failure.

      And I am so PROUD of YOU for NOT following the patterns of bad habits that took two of your family members.

      You just keep up the great work .

      Eat healthy. Get rest and take time each day to commune with The Heavenly Father.

      Yes, we can either extend or shorten our days with our choices.

      Write anytime you like.



    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear annart,

      I am so glad that you liked this hub which was more of an educational piece than anything else.

      Believe me. There is nothing funny about congestive heart failure. At all.

      I just hope that those (with this affliction) will read this and get to their family doctor ASAP.

      Continue to pray for me.



    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      2 years ago from SW England

      Well, Kenneth, I'm glad that you are healthier and happier now. That must have been quite a scare for you.

      It's true of course that fruit and veg are much more healthy but also, once people realise that they feel better and lose weight, they can do so many more things and enjoy life. That has to be worth ditching the chips and burgers!

      Well done you! Hope your 'near death' experience has brought you a much longer and happier life. I'm glad to hear that you're ok and it's good to read more from you.


    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 

      2 years ago

      Wonderful hub many will experience this whole thing Kenneth, My mother died of congestive heart disease, she would not give up the smoking

      , her cigarettes was pallmall, my grandmother was camels, both died young in 50s,

      Both the same, age at death.

      I have not followed suit to some habits of theirs and now I am past the age they died at.

      I am truly greatful of you sharing this information with many , because you can add more days to your life, many times it depends on you and your habits,

      Ac 15:29to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      2 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Wow!! I can appreciate more immensely your earlier forum post sharing this experience. Thank you for sharing and spreading the good word. On that note on the 16th I went to be with a good friend of another friend (they are kinda' dearest best friends) he kinda' ignored some symptoms, which were a headache and body aches to the extent he called into her he couldn't work. He worked for her.

      Anyway it turned out to be a tear in the Aorta. They told him he had to 'decide now' or not be with us in 3-4 hours to have an operation. Thankfully today he is with us, yet still in ICU. I ask forgiveness, but I wished to add to your emphasis of listening to our bodies and where to place thanks too . . . while it is up to use to care for it!


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