I wasn’t aware of the symptoms…

My dad’s consultant recommended that his children have some tests done as my father was diagnosed with heart failure and had to go through early retirement before the age of 60. 

My sister and I contacted our doctors, provided the letter from my dad’s consultant, and had our appointments booked. It was a relief to hear my sister had the all clear, and will have another review in a few years. I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2021 after a CT scan revealed some abnormalities. I had a cardiology MRI scan, ECG and was fitted with a Holter monitor that would keep track of my heart rhythms throughout the day. The results revealed my left ventricle wasn’t pumping enough blood around my heart, heart failure was here, no cure, but it could potentially be managed through medication and lifestyle changes. Heart failure could be hereditary, meaning my children would also have to be tested.

After my diagnosis, I started searching for answers to find out about my condition and what home remedies and small lifestyle changes could improve my wellbeing. I wanted to know how this came to be. How didn’t I know? Am I going to die? Are my children going to be ok? How is my life going to change? Can I still work? Is this what my symptoms were? 

Throughout lockdown I felt drained, shattered all the time, breathless at times when I’ve always been an active person. I couldn’t stay awake even if I tried and by the end of every week, I was constantly rundown, in bed with flu likes symptoms. I had dizzy spells, and if I moved up or down too quickly, I felt like I was going to collapse and had to close my eyes and grab onto something to support myself. I put these down to lockdown, home schooling and work overload. 

I researched multiple websites, asked numerous questions to my GPs and consultants, and signed up with heart failure organisations just looking for answers. It was hard work, emotional and I felt there wasn’t much support for us. So I decided to set-up theHeartBeatsorg to advocate and raise social awareness for heart failure survivors, our family and friends. 

I was transferred over to Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals in late 2021 and I couldn’t have been more grateful. My dad is a patient at the hospitals and is forever singing their praises. The care that Harefield provides is phenomenal, the staff at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity are fantastic, especially Sall. 

I reached out to the Charity to see if I can support my home hospital and their work to help patients with heart and lung disease. Sall listened to my story and was more than happy for me to get involved from the get go! 

My mission is to make a difference by raising social awareness and supporting heart failure patients. 

Support Lou on her fundraising mission to invest in research, equipment and patient care for those with heart disease at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals using the link below.