Jakki Woywitka chooses her own adventures.
“In life, you always have a choice. Never forget that the choice is in your hands”
Two years ago today, I was faced with a choice. To have a horrible quality of life and live or to step into the unknown, take my chances but have an amazing quality of life. It was the scariest, blurriest, and panic-attacking time of my life.
I had been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and a Bicuspid Aortic Valve which caused a 15% Functioning Heart (EF). My Medical Team was saying that I would need a pacemaker, Open Heart Surgery, and would be on a cocktail of very powerful drugs that caused unseemly side effects for the rest of my life. While this news was frightening, it didn’t faze me.
What did phase me was that I was constantly ignored, being pushed to the back of long waiting lists, and not being given a choice in my own medical care. What was supposed to be no more than a week for a medical appointment, turned into 2.5 months just for a phone call to book an appointment. When I complained of side effects, I was called crazy, a liar, and I was yelled at. I was told to suck it up and that this was my life from now on. I am a curious cat and I had experimented with my treatments. I knew exactly which treatment was causing which side effect. When I asked to switch medications or Doctors, I was denied several times. I was heartbroken, defeated, exhausted, and sick.
I just wanted to die and get it over with.
Then, I had an epiphany.
Where were my options? There must be options. I had been researching and networking with professionals and those affected by heart disease around the world. I had heard the stories of people beating the odds. I had talked to those who had beaten the odds. Deep down, I felt that my current treatment plan was killing me. I decided to take a leap of faith and open another door.
But which door (or series of doors) to choose?
There were so many options.
Do I choose supplementation? Nutrition? Ayurveda? Traditional Chinese Medicine?… there were endless options. There was only one thing that I was sure of. I didn’t know what would work until I gave it a try.
All of the options seemed like good possibilities.
So, I started to work with a Counsellor. We talked through my life story. As we talked through my life story, we picked out things in my past that may have led to my heart disease. Using this as a framework, I was able to choose the most likely door of possibilities.
Today, I am medicine, surgery, and medical device-free. I believe in the power of choice and the ability to differentiate, and I want to help those with heart disease navigate the long, winding, and crazy journey to better health and reclaiming power over your life as an Integrative Heart Health Coach.