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Heart Attack Leads to Changes

Recovery from heart attack leads Corvallis man in a new direction

It wasn’t long ago when Jack Standeven received a dire warning from his doctor. Make significant lifestyle changes, or he wouldn’t live much longer.

Jack’s blood pressure was high. He didn’t exercise. And his diet didn’t help.“The cubicle lifestyle was slowing killing me,” Jack recalled.

Then came the heart attack in April 2015.

Fortunately, Jack’s cardiac event was mild and didn’t require surgery. After spending a few days at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Jack listened when Samaritan cardiologist Matthew Lindberg, MD, repeated the advice to embark in a new direction.

“There are people like Jack who look at a mild heart attack as a wake-up call,” Lindberg said. “Not wanting to have bad things happen down the road, they do everything they
can to try and fix that.”

Jack learned about good nutrition and participated in monitored exercise classes in cardiac rehabilitation at Samaritan Heart & Vascular Institute in Corvallis.

“I signed up for early morning sessions. We called it our morning organ recital,” Jack said. “I really enjoyed the program.”

After completing cardiac rehab in August, he was encouraged to continue exercising.His wife Linda was already a member of SamFit in Corvallis, and suggested he join, too. The extra membership was just $20 a month. And she bought personal training sessions to help him get started.

“He saw what SamFit did for me,” said Linda, who has lost a total of 85 pounds after being diagnosed with diabetes. “I’m getting in better shape, and now he’s getting in better shape.”

“If it wasn’t for Linda, I wouldn’t be in here,” Jack said. “She got me going.”

When Jack first came in, the goal was just to get him moving, said SamFit Trainer Carli Wymore. Jack started on a recumbent bike, and progressed to the StairMaster to strengthen his lower body and increase his cardio workout. When he was a teen, Jack wanted to be a professional mountain climber, but he became an engineer instead.

“Life took a different path. I used to enjoy getting out hiking, but a pinched nerve kept me sidelined for many years,” Jack said.

A lot of people can get stuck in an exercise routine. That’s where a trainer can help. His trainer taught him how to stretch out his bad hip to maximize the stair workouts,
which are named for famous climbs.

“I worked up to the Statue of Liberty. The next one I tried was the Pyramid of Giza,” Jack said. “That was a real milestone.”

“Each person is unique based on their injuries, strengths and body differences,” Wymore said.

At a recent training session, Wymore offered encouragement as Jack did chest press lifts.

“Good Jack. Outstanding,” Wymore said as she counted reps.

When the lifts became more strenuous, Wymore asked Jack math questions to distract him.

Jack’s taken on the role of household cook. He watched the movie “Forks Over Knives” about how people’s diets can help eliminate or control disease, and he and Linda have changed their eating habits.

Jack’s looking forward to volunteering again at Boy Scout’s summer camp, which he had to skip last year while he recovered.

After his heart attack, Linda told Jack they had to be there for each other. Now when their schedules align, they meet for gym dates.

“We have a lot of years ahead of us,” Linda said.