cardiac-rehab-storyCarlene Moreland is retired and has lived in the Walla Walla area most of her life.

Last year Carlene Moreland, 65, went to see her physician, internist Suteevan Cholitkul, MD, at Adventist Health/Medical Group. She didn’t expect to find out she had a heart attack seven years earlier. She was sure heart attacks would be painful and dramatic–and she hadn’t felt a thing.

In June, Moreland began having trouble with her arm, but she presumed it was a recurrence of her tendonitis. She ignored the pain–until she couldn’t ignore it any longer.

“I told my husband to call an ambulance,” Moreland says. She was experiencing a second heart attack. Moreland was informed she had severe heart disease and she knew life couldn’t continue on the same path, so she enrolled in the cardiac rehabilitation program at Walla Walla General Hospital.

With the support of Aileen Litchfield, a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, Moreland began making some major lifestyle changes. She started exercising consistently and has transitioned to a more plant-based diet.

“I loved goodies so that was hard to give up,” she says. “I still can’t walk very far, but I make sure to walk twice each day. It’s a huge change for someone who never walked before.” But the biggest difference has come since she made the decision to stop smoking. “That’s the biggest thing I’d recommend to people. I wish I had made it a priority years ago.”

Now she and her husband are enjoying life more than ever. “The support and knowledge I gained through Cardiac Rehab has made such a difference–not just in my health, but in my attitude and outlook on life,” Moreland says.