The next morning, Deidra called out to Bow and got no answer.
“I saw his name light up on my phone. I picked it up and said, ‘Where are you?’ He told me he was in the emergency room. Then I became scared out of my mind.”
Overnight, Bow was diagnosed with a type of congestive heart failure called cardiomyopathy, where the muscle in the heart can enlarge, thicken or stiffen, leading to heart failure, irregular heartbeats and other complications.
There might be no symptoms in the early stages of cardiomyopathy. As the condition progresses, symptoms begin to manifest, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, rapid and fluttering heartbeats and chest discomfort—all of which Bow was experiencing.
Months after Bow’s diagnosis, Dr. Ravi Edupuganti, a Wellstar cardiologist, checked Bow’s heart function again. It still hadn’t improved enough.
“Only 50% of cardiomyopathy patients live beyond 5 years,” said Dr. Ravi Edupuganti, relaying the grim statistic. “I recommended that Bow get a defibrillator implanted. This would help him live longer.”
“I asked, ‘What other options are there? What can I do with lifestyle changes to where I can avoid more procedures and live a healthier life?’” Bow explained.
“Thankfully, Dr. Edupuganti gave me another path to consider.”
“The most influential thing you can do for your health is to improve your lifestyle in terms of diet, exercise and losing weight,” Dr. Edupuganti stressed. “Usually, that is more powerful than any medicine that I can give you.”
Bow reiterated that he and Dr. Edupuganti had an excellent physician-patient relationship, and he really felt heard.
“We had such a great rapport,” Bow emphasized. “He gave me my options, and we talked about how to move forward. Dr. Edupuganti keeps me honest about my new lifestyle changes with diet and exercise. I couldn't imagine going to any other cardiologist. He let me know I was empowered, and it was completely my choice.”
From Failure to Success
At Dr. Edupuganti’s suggestion, Bow chose to attend the Heart Failure Academy at Wellstar, a free, four-week course at Wellstar for patients and their family members. The Academy is aimed at giving patients and their support system the tools to make the lifestyle changes necessary to manage their condition and keep them out of the hospital.
The Academy was everything Bow needed, and then some.
“I followed all the steps that the Heart Failure Academy provided. I changed my lifestyle, improved my diet and exercise, and I’m proud to say I’ve lost 83 pounds since my diagnosis.”
Then when Dr. Edupuganti checked Bow’s heart again months later, its function had improved so much that a defibrillator was no longer necessary.
“I remember how happy I was telling him and the huge smile that lit up his face. All his hard work had paid off,” said Dr. Edupuganti.
After starting his treatment, Bow even noticed an improvement with other health issues—and one of them made Deidra very thankful.
“I had sleep apnea, but after attending the Academy, I lost weight and felt so much better,” said Bow. “I’m no longer affected by sleep apnea and I don’t snore anymore.”
“It’s so rewarding for me as a physician when my patients have these kinds of outcomes. Impacting their health and also empowering them to take charge of their own healthy lifestyle makes what I do truly satisfying,” said Dr. Edupuganti.
To this day, Bow, Deidra and their children reap the benefits of living healthy lives.
Bow says he is thankful to the cardiology team at Wellstar for helping him make healthier choices for his overall wellness.
“Wellstar is the health system that gave me a second chance at life. A second chance to hold my wife and children. A second chance to fight,” Bow said. “I thought congestive heart failure was a death sentence, but it doesn’t have to be. With help from Dr. Edupuganti and his team, I get to lead a happier and healthier life.”