In September 2016, Margaret attended a Healthier Living workshop, a six week program specially developed for people with chronic health conditions. The workshop provides support for normal daily activities and dealing with the emotions created by chronic conditions. It also addresses topics such as nutritious eating and relaxation techniques. A year later, we visited Margaret at her home to see how she’s doing now.
“My case manager from Blue Shield referred me to the class because I wanted help with the nutrition side of things. I was motivated to come because I’m living with a chronic condition – I have congestive heart failure. I’ve always had heart palpitations and I was born with a hole in my aorta. I also have atrial fibrillation – it’s when your heart isn’t getting enough blood and it starts to beat really fast. As I got older I put on weight, so that was putting my heart under a lot of stress.
There were about 12 of us in the class. People were there for all sorts of reasons – many of them had depression. I think just the camaraderie of the group and having a place to go to out of the house helped them. Most of them expressed that the class had helped them quite a bit. I’d definitely be interested in going to another class. And I’d bring friends along too.
I found the book very good, because it’s hard to remember everything that we covered. It’s well written and easy to understand. I like the section that tells you all about food. It’s about calories and they emphasize things like portion control. I had started a plant-based diet in the November prior to attending the class and I had reached a plateau. We spent a whole session going over nutrition labels, so now I look at those before I buy. And I can call my nutritionist at Blue Shield if I’m not sure about something.
I also have neuropathy in my feet, which makes walking hard. I’m not really an exercise person, but now I do try to get out once or twice a week, in the morning when it’s still cool. I got a stepper to use at home too, because I’m afraid of falling when I’m out. And I still play pool and darts. I’m in a darts league. I just won the last group – I beat everyone else out!”
If you would like more information about health self-management workshops visit our webpage here.