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A change of heart: Cardiac Rehab team delivers

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dori Wenzel

Nearly 150 people participate in Northwest Community Healthcare’s Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab early outpatient/Phase II program; more than 350 are actively involved in maintenance/Phase III. Read how our cardiac rehab team is building stronger hearts and creating second chances.

Dori Wenzel doesn’t spend much time feeling sorry for herself. She’s too busy learning how to exercise right and make heart healthy food choices.

Last Thanksgiving, the Rolling Meadows resident had a massive heart attack. Her main symptom was shoulder pain. “My mom asked me if I was OK. I thought I was having a hot flash,” she says.

Shortly after her discharge from the hospital, Wenzel, age 56, joined the cardiac rehabilitation program at NCH. “I didn’t think I would live to see my grandchild’s first birthday,” she says. “Instead, this team has taught me that even with heart damage you can live to an old age. I’ve learned how to read food labels and follow a low salt diet. I’ve learned I can exercise – and get my heart rate going to help strengthen my heart muscle.”

Wenzel had never been to a gym in her life, but the cardiac rehab team quickly put her at ease and gave her peace of mind. “I am in fantastic hands. When I’m exercising, I know they are monitoring me. The staff is encouraging and positive. They have given me the tools and I’m running with it!”

Wenzel is in Phase II of the program and attends cardiac rehab three days a week after work. “I can’t wait to get here most days. The way I look at it, God gave me a second chance, and I’m still alive because of this team. I certainly don’t want to waste anybody’s time – it’s too precious!”

Editor's note: Dori recently graduated to Phase III!

NCH’s cardiac rehab program is located on the second floor of the Wellness Center. For more information, call 847-618-7910.

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