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Ride For Rehab cyclist summer 2011

Testimonial from Alexander Holton

In 2006 Vanessa and I were surprised and shocked to discover that, at age twenty three, I had developed an eight centimeter dissection in my ascending aorta. Over the course of forty-eight hours, I went from being what I thought was a completely healthy person to undergoing life saving surgery to replace the damaged section of my aorta and rebuild my heart.

I've always considered myself to be an active person, but post surgery I lost all confidence in my ability and even the safety of being an active person. Worry about harming myself through activity really started to prevent me from fully recovering from the surgery. After discussing this with my cardiologist I was referred to the cardiac rehab center at the Toronto Western Hospital.

Cardiac rehab did two things for me that helped my recovery in ways I could have never achieved on my own. It gave me access to exercise equipment in a safe environment monitored by health care professionals and provided me with a judgment-free space full of people who had shared similar experiences. The group of patients and workers in the center helped normalize my perspective on my health. Being in a group of patients who have all been through what I had been through really helped me accept that recovery and a normal life were obtainable goals and that I wasn't the only one shooting for them.

I entered rehab doing slow shuffles on a treadmill and by the time I left I could run. Without the confidence and guidance they gave me, I have trouble imagining Vanessa and I could have accomplished what we did this summer: Bicycling 7260km across Canada in support of the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada.

- Alexander Holton

The articles, on the Canadian Cardiac Rehabilitation Foundation website, are presented with the understanding that the Foundation is providing information only and not rendering medical advise. Please check with your family physician, specialist or health care professional before implementing any of the ideas expressed in these articles.

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