My role


'I've walked back from heart surgery'

At 67, Mervyn is fitter than ever two years after heart surgery. The secret is in the footwork.

I've had several health problems. I've had a growth on the spine, high blood pressure, suspected Meningitis, kidney stones (and a catheter), operations to resolve sleep apnaea, a Baker's cyst, laser surgery on both eyes and a prostate operation.

My heart condition was identified during one of many tests following a visit to the hospital after I reached a point where I didn't have the energy to even do up my own shoelaces. I was just 8 stone in weight. I had 'open heart surgery' to rebuild a valve inside my heart, created from material in my heart to stop rejection.

At the time my life expectancy was low but my recovery has been astonishing. After three days the heart could work on its own. It took me three weeks to leave my house after my operation with the initial support of a Cardiac Rehab Nurse and GP. Six months later I began  physiotherapy and have had only one angina episode since.

New lease of life

I've gone from strength to strength and much of this I put down to following my surgeon's advice to 'just get out and walk'. I joined the Coventry Healthy Walks Scheme (doing the Canley Healthy Walk, Allesley Healthy Walk and the Grapevine Healthy Walk ) and in January I became a qualified Walk Leader myself. I also swim, do tai chi and attend a Cardiac Rehab Programme in the local gym three times a week.

That was two years ago. I'm now 67 years old. I've put on two and a half stone in weight.

In January I did a high peaks walk of 8 miles in the Lake District in challenging weather conditions, the Bosworth Walk (5 miles) and the Forrest of Dean Walk (5 miles). Last year I did the Dovedale Walk (6 miles), Kingsbury Walk (5 miles), Coventry Walkathon (10.5 miles) and Wollongong to Dapto NSW (26 Kilometres) and in Western Australia walked 4 Kilometres at 6am every morning.

Walking has given me a new lease of life. I now feel great - the best I have felt in 15-17 years. My GP does not need to see me on regular basis anymore and my blood pressure to the lowest it's been for over 17 years.

Page created on June 10th, 2012

Page updated on June 11th, 2012