The Doctors: Heart Attack At 28 From Heavy Smoking
If you survived a heart attack in your 20’s, you’d likely change your lifestyle. But for Shelly, it wasn’t that easy. She’s severely addicted to cigarettes, even though she knows that just one more could cause another massive heart attack leading to her death. She’s only 32-years-old and started smoking when she was 14 or 15. By the time she was 18 she was smoking a quarter of a pack of cigarettes a day. At 19-years-old she enlisted in the Navy but was still smoking heavily.
She had trouble with her physical performance while in the Navy and after boot camp she began gaining weight and suffering from chronic bronchitis, colds, and ear infections. But even then, nothing truly scared her at that point. When she was 28-years-old, she began having severe chest pains and felt as if she was suffocating. The next thing she remembered, she had a massive heart attack, explaining that it’s called the widow-maker because it has a very low survival rate.
Her husband had to call her mom and sister, asking about what to do if she didn’t make it through the night. Luckily, she did, but she began smoking again seven months later.
The Doctors: Can’t Stop Smoking Even After Heart Attack
Shelly has been smoking about a pack a day of menthol cigarettes and claims she “beats herself up about it afterward.” She lost her job because of the heart attack and her health, which caused her to lose her home. Her husband left her, and now smoking is on her mind 99% of the time. She shared that she likes the rush it gives her, which is why she’s outside smoking a cigarette about every hour throughout the day.
Since the heart attack, she’s been diagnosed with pulmonary artery disease, had teeth pulled, has high blood pressure and cholesterol, had a stent placed. During her second angiogram she began hemorrhaging on the table. She was told by her doctor that if she has another heart attack, she won’t survive.
The Doctors: Young Heart Attack Survivor With Smoking Habit
Shelly went to see Dr Mehran Khorsandi, who explained that Shelly is prediabetic, and the combination of smoking and diabetes is deadly. Her biological father had a stroke and a heart attack and her aunt had a heart attack as well. She admitted that she would struggle just to walk up one flight of stairs, so Dr Mehran ordered an EKG to show the status of her heart, acknowledging that she needed an intervention to convince her to reduce her risk factors dramatically.
Shelly joined the show and explained that her husband texted her to tell her he was leaving her, and it was then that she turned back to the cigarettes. Dr Mehran found during Shelly’s exam, that every risk factor Shelly currently had could be modified, except for her genes. She was prediabetic, overweight, and smoking, and all of those things could be taken care of if Shelly did what was required. The number one issue is the smoking habit.
The Doctors: Learning From The Cigarette Whisperer
Shelly visited Rocky Rosen, who is known as “The Cigarette Whisperer.” Rocky explained that he has a different approach to helping people go smoke-free. He also added that people who are addicted to cigarettes actually want to smoke, they just don’t want to suffer the consequences. He pointed out that not one cigarette has given Shelly true pleasure, and had her acknowledge what she was feeling when she turned to cigarettes. Before each cigarette, Rocky had her say out loud “I’m a nicotine addict. I want to smoke. I can smoke. I don’t have to stop. Think about your benefits. Make them large and powerful.”
Shelly wants a better life and to breathe better, desires less judgement, and doesn’t want to be a hypocrite. Rocky then explained that he was going to teach Shelly how to use the urge to help her stop smoking, while the next day he would help prevent a relapse to keep her free.
The Doctors: Giving Up Smoking Habit & Overcoming Addiction
Rocky Rosen then joined the show with Shelly, as Shelly shared that she’d actually been off cigarettes for three days. Rocky explained that within three days, he can teach people how to use the urge rather than fight the urge. His cognitive approach is to get people to realize that they want to smoke, but to know the benefits of quitting. The more someone is told they couldn’t smoke, the more it made them want to smoke.
Your body can improve quickly and drastically within just a short time of quitting smoking. The good news, on top of that, is that Shelly found love again and is getting married in June. Her fiance also has a problem with chewing tobacco which can hinder Shelly’s progress, which is why he needed to give up his habit as well, in order to give both Shelly and Bill a chance at a longer, healthier life. Physical Impact Fitness in Shelly’s hometown gave them both a 1-year membership for free. Veestro also agreed to deliver healthy meals to their home for six months for free, and Daniele Dellavalle, a nutritionist, was going to work with Shelly one-on-one for six months to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Do you believe Shelly can finally quit smoking once and for all? Do you know someone who desperately needs to stop smoking but can’t seem to give up the habit?