Janet Dreier had known for nearly 20 years that she had a heart murmur. The murmur was caused by a mitral valve prolapse, which means the valve between the upper and lower chambers of the left side of her heart did not close properly. She and her doctors monitored the murmur without alarm. Then, in 2007, after she retired as an educator and moved to Pacific Grove, her doctor discovered a tear in the valve. It was time for surgery.
“I was 67 and in pretty good health,” says Dreier, “so I was not expecting this. It was scary to consider this very delicate procedure of repairing the valve. But I had total conĀdence in my doctor, who was very thorough and very skilled.”
After the surgery, Dreier spent a week in intensive care, then time in a skilled nursing center for recuperation and physical therapy. Ultimately, she went to Community Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program, located at Peninsula Wellness Center, where she learned to rebuild her stamina and take care of her heart.
“I started very slowly,” she says, “and by time I was ready to leave, I was riding a bicycle and walking on a treadmill for half-an-hour. This really helped boost my self-confidence.”
It also boosted her ability to take care of her husband, who is temporarily disabled. “And it gave me the exercise bug,” she says, prompting her to team up with a friend to be more active.