I graduated from Cardiac Rehab, sort of...

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO 2004008944

I've learned so much since my heart surgery in October, but the most valuable lesson is that I CAN CHANGE. Of course, the fact that I HAVE TO CHANGE probably helped. No, actually, I do not have to change. I could return to the old lifestyle, and my grafts will last seven to ten years. That is not enough time, though, I'm thinking. Seems like the surgery should buy my family and me more time than that.

Stressful lifeI have to admit to a stressful, sedentary lifestyle. In spite of my delusion that showing houses counts as exercise, I spend hours at the computer. In spite of the fact that I think I have everything under control, much of my real estate business revolves around deadlines, daily problem-solving, managing multiple properties, and shepherding often troublesome deals. Cardiac Rehabilitation has helped me learn new habits, and I needed that. Three times a week, I go to the hospital and work out. I graduated from the 36-session course known as Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 2 earlier this month (Phase 1 is when the patient is still in the hospital after surgery).

I set the phones to call forward, put my bluetooth in my ear, and  head to the hospital where I hop on the treadmill or the stepper or grab the weights. Few customers or agents know what the background noise is (or why I sound winded) when they talk to me on the phone during those workouts. The cardio nurses and my fellow rehabbers now know that I multi-task and am not simply talking to myself. At first, though, I got lots of strange looks when it appeared that I was babbling into the thin air.

Hint to fellow agents--when I say, "I'm sorry but I'm not in front of the computer right now. Please drop me an email," I might be on the treadmill. Most of the time, I can answer a caller's question right then and there from the treadmill. Being able to dispense with the question lessens the stress I would feel about stacking up voicemail messages. I hate voicemail!

I participated in the local Heart Walk on Feb. 9 and raised over $700. I plan to continue to help the American Heart Association and my rehab unit in local education efforts. My story of odd symptoms, surgery, and rehab was featured in the hospital's full page ad on Feb. 10. I will, forever, be a heart patient, a fact that I have come to accept.

So how am I doing with the "Get Healthy in the Rain" goal that I set earlier this month? I haven't missed a single workout day, that's how. I did, however, sort of wimp out on the promise to transition to doing it on my own. When I finished with Rehab 2, I enrolled myself in Rehab 3. That means I am still going to the hospital, and I am still with the same support team, though most of the patients I started with have now graduated and are not returning for Phase 3. While I do visit the health club where I have membership, I find the small group atmosphere at the hospital's cardiac rehab to be important to me. On Friday, I will pay for another month there. I have decided that is the best way to "hedge my bet" against a return to my old lifestyle. For now, my "gym rat" sessions are still at the hospital, instead of the health club.

Though my insurance is no longer paying for rehab, I have decided that I'm creating my own insurance policy. I am in charge, and I'll be writing a check to prove it.

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Scott Nowling
Prudential Starck - Saint Charles, IL
Prudential Starck
Congrats on your graduation! I like your commitment to being an alum and being aware of what you CAN control. Be well and I wish you the best!!!
Feb 27, 2013 01:02 PM #1
Rose King
David Tracy Real Estate - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Hi Liz! I'm proud of you for sticking with your exercise routine! It's hard to stay motivated to exercise, and I'm sure it's easier with that support system you have at the hospital. Wishing you the best!

Feb 27, 2013 01:32 PM #2
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

The lesson here is clearly, it's never too late. 

Feb 27, 2013 07:28 PM #3
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Glad to hear your recovery is going well. I've often said that because change is painful, no one changes until the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change! I exercise regularly and when I'm tempted to stop I remind myself of how much better I feel and LOOK afterwards.

Feb 27, 2013 08:49 PM #4
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Liz, congratulations for taking the initiative to make a change in your life. Your "gym rat" sessions should get you totally on the road to recovery and a bright future.

Feb 27, 2013 09:56 PM #5
Ann Samuelson
Suntree Inc. - Astoria, OR

OK, that's it!  I need to make the commitment to get back into my exercise routine.  I moved my office home approx. four months ago, and changed brokerages, and have been really busy with work, and the body is feeling it..I've gained a few, skipped my physical so far this year, and have put work ahead of my health.  Thanks so much for this post...it's a changer for me.

Feb 27, 2013 10:18 PM #6
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

This is a major concern for all real estate agents. .as we grow older, our health is a huge asset for our survival

Feb 27, 2013 11:50 PM #7
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Lets not forget the quality of our lives , the smelling of the flowers and the stillness that brings...peace too...good post

Feb 28, 2013 12:18 AM #8
Tom Jansson
Acuity Home Inspections - Chicago, IL
Chicago Area Home Inspector - InterNACHI Certified


Warmest, heartfelt congratulations on your successful transition to a new way of living.  This is an inspiring post.  

Please be good to yourself.  Enrolling in a class is not wimping out!  You're doing whatever it takes!  

Your presence in the rehab group is probably giving some much-needed encouragement to someone who needs it.  You could be saving a life, just by showing up.



Feb 28, 2013 12:34 AM #9
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Congratulations, Liz. Being open to a change, whether you NEED to or not, is good. Actually making the effort and being successful is fantastic. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

Feb 28, 2013 01:16 AM #10
Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

So glad that you are doing well.  In times like this, you do find out what is truly important and that yes, things and clients can wait.  Keep on getting better!

Feb 28, 2013 03:07 AM #11
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Love it, Liz! I was surely destined for heart issues, but joined weight watchers in June. Including exercise is such an important factor in being healthy, and you're right.... Real estate can be a very sedentary lifestyle. Congratulations on your graduation to phase 3. I'm going to subscribe to your blog and follow your journey!
Feb 28, 2013 05:02 AM #12
Carol Semkew
HomeSmart - Goodyear, AZ
Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Agent

Congrats Liz.  I've always been a very active person, going to the gym regularly, trying to run outside, and walking my dogs a couple of times a day.  Out of the blue at the end of January I suffered a heart issue.  My aorta ruptured and I had only a 20% chance of survivial.  Here I am today, just about 6 weeks later.  I'm a huge advocate of doing regular exercise and credit my survival to having been in great shape.  They replaced my upper aorta and they say I have something called Marfans Syndrone. 

Congratulations on taking the steps to do the cardiac rehab.  You're definitely on the right track.  It sounds like you're handling everything beautifully. 

Feb 28, 2013 05:24 AM #13
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Congratulations, Liz. Real estate can make us more sedentary than is good for us. Keep up with your goals. Thanks for your post today,

Feb 28, 2013 06:35 AM #14
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Scott~Thank you for the well wishes!

Rose~Yes, they know me at the hospital. It is nice to be greeted by name when I walk in, and they know when to expect me.

Lenn~Sometimes, it's almost too late; but for me, the beat goes on!

Nina~Getting into the habit of regular exercise is tough for most of us, and some of us never get it accomplished. Congratulations on your healty habit!

Michael~I never thought I'd be a gym rat; but just the other day, one of the rehabbers called me a "show off" because I had increased my treadmill speed.

Ann~That is wonderful to hear! I have been telling my story all over the place, in hopes that my story will help others.

Feb 28, 2013 07:30 AM #15
Liz Lockhart
Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO - Cape Girardeau, MO
GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate

Fernando~Real estate agents and broker owners do not have much of a safety net--no sick leave days, no company-paid insurance--so we do need to take care of our health in the best ways possible.

Ritchie~My first outing after surgery was to go to Sunday services at church almost two weeks after surgery. Afterwards, my family and I went to a favorite restaurant for lunch. My son was supposed to drive me home (while husband and daughter had showings), but we took a detour to drive around and see the fall colors. We even drove a few miles to the state park and ventured out to the scenic overlook. In defiance of the oncoming fall, the rose bush at our office was in bloom. I did smell the roses that day!

Feb 28, 2013 08:15 AM #16
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Liz...your commenting and sharing is the best therapy of all....thank you

Mar 01, 2013 01:18 AM #17
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