Save your heart, save your health

In January 1993, at the age of 58, I had a heart attack. A week later, I had quadruple bypass surgery, and two months later, I had another heart attack. I was depressed, in pain, had loss of memory, concentration and had the dread of hopelessness. I was unable to return to work. I searched for a program, a doctor, a psychiatrist, anyone who could turn my life around, with no results. On the advice of my daughters who lived in Tucson, my wife and I moved from Long Island, N.Y., to Tucson in November 2004 where I was blessed to discover the “Heart Disease Reversal program.”

My name is Richard (Richy) Feinberg. I have been an enthusiastic supporter since we moved here 22 years ago for the Heart Series program. The program was created by Dr. Charles Katzenberg, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and Edna Silva, R.N., a cardiac rehab nurse and founder of the T’ai Chi Center of Tucson. The program’s first challenge for me was to give up meat and change to a vegetarian diet. As the saying goes, “A long journey starts with the first step.” After accomplishing that goal, I realized that if I put my mind to it, I was capable of taking on many other changes and challenges in my life. 

The program taught me Tai Chi, yoga and how relaxation and meditation would refresh my body, mind and spirit and help me see the world in a more positive light. The three cardinal rules in the program are not to criticize, be judgmental and not to give advice that’s not asked for. (I still have a way to go in that area.) I learned to have an attitude of gratitude and that negative situations can be seen as positive ones, if one has the desire and capacity to see the possibilities. 

I thought the heart attacks and the surgery was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Years later, I realized having the heart attacks and surgery was one of the best things that ever happened to me because in Arizona my wife and I have been enjoying a happier, healthier lifestyle in one of the most beautiful places to live in America.  

The Heart Series program inspired me to open doors to new adventures. I took watercolor classes and joined watercolor groups and showed my watercolor paintings and pencil drawings in art shows and exhibitions. I was invited to have a one-man show at DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun. In my past life, volunteering wasn’t my cup of tea. 

However, I did volunteer for the Army and for marrying the love of my life. Because my health and happiness continually improved after joining the Heart Series program, I decided to give back to my community. 

I became a certified practitioner for a program called Bio Touch where I learned the technique of applying a butterfly touch to help clients heal themselves. I was on the development review board and selected to the government task force by the mayor of Oro Valley.   

Participants in the 12-week program meet weekly for a three-hour session. The series starts Feb. 9 and runs through April 26. Classes are offered Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. For information, call me at 797-2281.

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