Counseling For Young Adults With Newly Diagnosed Cardiovascular Diseases

My best friend Jen was only 20 years old when she married her high school sweetheart, Joseph. Their families accepted their decisions wholeheartedly, even if they were only juniors in college, because they saw how in love those two were. They were also very open to their loved ones regarding their relationship, so they did not need to do much to convince their parents to let them get married early.

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Despite the acceptance that Jen and Joseph received from their immediate families, the young couple experiences some backlash from the more traditional community members. I personally heard some people say that my friends were setting an awful example to the kids in town, considering they were indirectly saying that it was okay to get married early.

In reality, though, Jen and Joseph were not saying anything at all. I firmly believed that they just happened to be soulmates who found each other immediately, so they were wasting time to do what they were meant to do: become one in the eyes of the law and the eyes of God.

The Highs

I was one of the happiest people in the world when I found out that Jen was pregnant with her first child. The news came only a year after the wedding. I knew that they had been planning to expand their family soon, but I didn’t realize that it would be THAT soon. I was so excited since it also meant that I would have a baby to dote on in the coming years.

 I was in awe of Jen when she continued to go to her classes, even when she was already pregnant. I could not imagine how difficult it was to get up every morning and be out and about, especially during the first and second trimesters of the pregnancy. She powered through it all until she received another fantastic news on her third trimester about being able to graduate with all of us.

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While Jen did not manage to march during graduation as she intended to do because her water broke the night before, the new baby proved to be a blessing to the couple at once, given that Joseph got accepted at a high-paying construction firm in the city as a civil engineer. It pretty much meant that their family’s future was already secure.

The Lows 

Since my parents did not raise me to be superstitious, I believed that Jen and Joseph would be the most blissful couple that I would ever meet. Their fights were always too cute to count as such; they cared deeply for each other. More importantly, they were all about healthy living.

Unfortunately, I was made to believe that people could not be too happy all the time when Jen called me one day, crying. I asked her why; she said that Joseph was diagnosed with diabetes.

I thought it was a prank or something. For one, Joseph was too far from being overweight. He always ate healthier stuff than all of us whenever we hung out. In truth, even Jen drank more alcohol than he ever did in his life. So, you would know that I meant it when I told her, “Get out of here. Why are you really calling me?”

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But Jen was not pulling my leg – her husband genuinely got diagnosed with diabetes at 21 years old. The doctors could not tell what caused it, considering his family did not have a history of having the said condition. Still, they said that it was most likely because of Joseph’s love for fruits. According to Jen, he could eat a big watermelon on his own in one sitting every day.

After that diagnosis, Joseph had to go on a stricter diet and take some pills to regulate his insulin production. We all thought that everything would get better once he was on medication, but Jen told me that his blood sugar level would often go three or four times higher than usual. Worse, he kept on losing weight, thus making him look sickly.

I recommended changing Joseph’s doctor and giving them the number of my dad’s doctor. What’s different this time was that the latter required Joseph to do an executive checkup to see his overall health. Sadly, it turned out that blockages were beginning to form in his heart, and it could be the side effect of his diabetes.

The news naturally devastated the new couple. When I visited them at home, my best friend said that Joseph was worried primarily about dying early and not seeing their only son grow up.

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Counseling My Friends

As a counselor, I felt like it was my duty to give them some mental health relief by helping them see such a challenging situation in a different light. After all, it was a blessing that they learned about Joseph’s new condition early. Otherwise, the man could have suffered from a heart attack, and they would be too shocked to do anything to save him.

“It’s a troubled time, I know, but this is when you need to be more optimistic than ever. You can afford the best treatment, but it won’t work if you feel worried and depressed all the time,” I said.

Both Jen and Joseph promised to try to be a little positive despite the circumstance. And it seemed to be working, considering my best friend just informed me right before publishing this blog that her husband was responding well to the insulin injections and heart medications.

It goes to show positive mental health can do wonders, even for your physical health.

How Cardiovascular Patients Can Protect Their Loved Ones’ Mental Health

We were students at NYU when my best friend, Jean, met Tyler, an army sergeant who was ten years her senior. It was love at first sight ever since the two bumped into each other at a bar where we celebrated her 21st birthday, and I believed that’s what happened because I saw how the soldier only had eyes for Jean.

At the beginning of their relationship, everything was blissful. Tyler moved to a base closer to New York so that he could see Jean at least once a month. Whenever he visited our apartment, he would bring food and sometimes even invite me to tag along with them during their dates. Then, after six months of dating exclusively, Tyler asked my best friend to move in with him, saying he got an apartment between Brooklyn and New York, so their commute won’t be too long.

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It was a major – read: scary – decision, mostly since Tyler was Jean’s first boyfriend. I asked if she was ready to play a soldier’s little wife, but she said she was, so I even helped them move. My communication with my best friend despite living in different locations; we also saw each other often in the university.

But then, two months later, Jean called me, crying. She took Tyler to the hospital because he had a heart attack. As it turned out, she did not even know that her boyfriend had a cardiovascular condition. It was not obvious since he was buff and in the army for eight years and counting. I was in the hospital room with the two when the doctor divulged that Tyler applied to get a heart donor and that a heart was already available for him if he still wanted the operation.

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Of course, Jean was scared because everything happened so fast. There was also a 50:50 chance that Tyler’s body wouldn’t accept the new heart, and it could be lethal for him. However, he squeezed my best friend’s hand reassuringly and said, “I want to marry you after the heart transplant surgery, so I will definitely wake up.” That was the sweetest thing I ever heard, and it made me want to find a Tyler of my own ASAP.

Tyler was in a coma for three days post-operation, getting fed via a tube that went through his nose and ended in his stomach. When he woke up on the third day, the lovers cried in relief for his second chance at life. But Jean cried harder when Tyler asked her to rummage through his backpack, and she found an engagement ring for her.

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A Change In The Patient’s Attitude

The doctors disclosed that it would take six months before they could say that Tyler’s body had entirely accepted the new heart, so my best friend and Tyler decided that they would get married after that. Jean took a month of absence from school to take care of her fiancé while he’s recuperating at home, and the professors were sympathetic enough to allow it. Hence, I hardly saw or talked to my best friend around that time.

When Jean’s leave ended, I thought everything was back to normal. She went to class on a Monday, and we chatted as usual, but she seemed to be distracted by her phone. When I asked what’s wrong, my best friend said that Tyler kept texting her, saying he missed her. I still thought it was sweet.

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Unfortunately, because Tyler was still in a fragile condition and depended on Jean, he grew possessive of her. Sometimes, he would not let his fiancée attend classes and stay at home with him; other times, he would yell at her for wanting to visit her parents or me. Then, Tyler would feel faint, and he would blame it on Jean. Blind in love, my best friend would keep on apologizing. It came to the point that Jean was already unhappy with their relationship, but she could not go away in fear of Tyler ending his life during her absence.

The Fault In The Patient’s Attitude

The change in Tyler’s attitude only came to light when Jean knocked on my door in the middle of the night with all her bags six months later. She said, “Tyler left me without a goodbye today after the doctor told him that his new heart was healthy.” She also talked about the emotional abuse she dealt with in Tyler’s hands.

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I could not help but feel anger rising inside me. In the man’s pursuit to return to perfect health, he destroyed my best friend’s mental health. While trying to fix his heart, he broke Jean’s heart. If only Tyler did not use her as a shock absorber, she would not be a shadow of her old self now.

Final Thoughts

In case you have cardiovascular issues like my best friend’s ex, you should never treat your loved ones like he did with Jean. It was awful, brutal, and – for lack of a better word – heartless. If you are miserable, don’t make others’ lives miserable, too.

Oh, Fine Dining We Love

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I have always been fascinated with fine dining settings and good thing that I was able to attend the 2019 Fine Dining Conference. Though fine dining is costly, it is good to experience it once in a while with your family or your loved ones. But I guess fine dining would suit best for those people who belong to the upper-class society who always deal with business negotiations for their companies, right? Well, if the person you are with on that fine dining experience is very dear to you, then you will have to save up so that you can both go to that type of beautiful ambiance.

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