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Lifestyle medicine program to rehabilitate a heart without surgery worth the journey

  |  2 minute read

Bryce Webb thought he had indigestion when he went to the Veterans Hospital for a checkup in February 2022. Instead, he learned blood flow had stopped to his heart recently, causing a mild heart attack.
The shocking news sent Webb and his wife, Peggy, on a journey to repair his heart and regain his health without surgery. They traveled more than 450 miles from their home in Winterset, Iowa, to join the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center.
“I didn’t want the surgery,” said Bryce. “Sometimes, you have to take your health into your own hands.”
Goshen offers the only Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program in Indiana. It’s also one of only two facilities in the Midwest that hosts in-person intensive cardiac rehabilitation classes.
Lifestyle medicine teaches how to eat well, stress less, move more, love more
The nine-week Ornish program focuses on nutrition, fitness, stress management and support. It follows scientific evidence that lifestyle changes can control the progression of chronic conditions, such as heart disease.
The Webbs immersed themselves in classroom-style learning and hands-on experiences that are part of the Ornish program. Through cardiac rehabilitation services at Goshen, Bryce regained his confidence to push himself with physical activities. Noontime presentations gave the Webbs tools they needed to prepare no-fat, plant-based foods for every meal. Bryce learned to relax by following deep breathing, Tai Chi and meditation techniques introduced in his Ornish classes.
“Lifestyle change can be just as powerful as medicine,” said Connie Dobson, RN, Clinical Coordinator for Cardiac Rehabilitation Services and Ornish Lifestyle Medicine at Goshen Heart & Vascular Center. “Our bodies are capable of healing more than you may think. The Ornish program gets you moving in the right direction”
By the time the Webbs left Indiana in November 2022, Bryce had the tools and motivation he needed to eat well, move more, stress less and connect more with people. The couple encourages family and friends to find their own path to a healthy lifestyle – and maybe avoid major surgery.
“You have to lead by example and that means be in good health,” said Bryce. “Like they say, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.”
Not only does Bryce look forward to his next checkups at the VA, he and Peggy are already talking about a return trip to Indiana. A refresher course offered through the Ornish program is just the right medicine for them. It will keep them on course to live healthy for a lifetime.
Goshen Heart & Vascular Center offers the 72-hour Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program every four to six weeks. Medicare and other health insurance carriers cover costs of the program for qualified participants.

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