Marie Dunican Is Managing To Live Well With Heart Failure

Let’s focus on living, because even with heart failure, you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

Like us all, Marie Dunican has had memorable birthdays. However, her most recent one proved to be more memorable than most, but for all the wrong reasons as she was diagnosed with heart failure. Despite this setback, Marie is determined to get her life back, get back to work and start living a normal life once again.

“I was diagnosed for my 54th birthday! I was often tired however I put that down to my job, but on the day it happened, I knew I wasn’t right. I wasn’t feeling great at 10pm that night and I said, ‘I need to go to hospital.’ I knew myself I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t climb the stairs, I got really sick and my lungs were full of fluid.”

Once admitted to hospital, Marie was diagnosed and treated for heart failure. With this diagnosis, Marie was able to start adjusting her lifestyle to better manage her condition. She monitors her symptoms on a daily basis to ensure that her condition is kept in check. “I weigh myself every day and I know by my weight if it goes up in a short space of time that the fluid is building up in my lungs and I need to contact the doctor immediately.”

A hiker by nature, Marie tries to get out and exercise regularly, particularly since her diagnosis. “I would be good for climbing hills. I would be fit and I get on the bike as often as I can.” Once she was discharged from hospital, Marie contacted Croí for some support and advice on how she should manage and live with her condition.

“I was really stressed the day I rang Croí. I rang for advice and to see how I can manage this. When I spoke to the nurse in Croí, she reassured me that help is available and gave me the support and information I needed.”

Heart failure can affect different people in different ways. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people are at risk of heart failure and it is the most frequent cause of hospitalisation in people over the age of 65.

Heart Failure Awareness week runs from Oct 4th – 10th. For more information, click here.

Making changes for life – Terry’s story

One of the programmes here at Croí is a Phase IV Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme, designed to provide ongoing support and motivation to individuals with cardiovascular disease to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity.

Terry Small is a dedicated member of Croí’s Phase IV programme and joins us every Tuesday for exercise at Croí House. Terry was referred to Croí after having a stent inserted. He started with Croí’s Active Heart Cardiac Rehab programme back in 2017, before continuing on with the Phase IV class.

“I wasn’t doing much exercise before…You can get lazy when you’re retired! My wife used to go for walks on her own, but now I love joining her and getting out for some fresh air and exercise. Now I am as fit as I can be,” says Terry.

“It’s been a lifestyle change. I’m not a worrier and I just enjoy life. I’ve started relearning how to play the piano, and for me, exercise was like learning an instrument. You have to practice and you have to be patient. Consistency is key!”

The team at Croí are so proud of Terry’s journey to a healthy lifestyle. Terry even took part in Croí’s Annual 5km Night Run last year, “I love showing off my medal… I hadn’t won a medal in 40 years!”

“I look forward to Tuesday and coming to Croí…it’s an excellent facility, I can’t praise it enough.”

Well done, Terry! We look forward to seeing you again on Tuesday.

Terry Small, left, pictured with fellow programme participant, Darach Flanagan.