It doesn’t seem fair to have to battle cancer and major heart disease in one lifetime.
It’s even less fair to have the cancer treatment cause the congestive heart failure that’s now plaguing Patty Settle of Johnston County. She’s already beat the cancer and now with the help of August’s 3-Degree Guarantee charity, The Johnston Health Foundation, she’s getting her heart better too.
Thirteen years ago, Patty Settle was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The radiation used to treat that cancer was focused around her chest, near her heart. While she has been cancer free for some time now, her heart was weaken by that cancer treatment. A recent trip to the emergency room for some swelling she thought was related to her gall bladder actually resulted in a congestive heart failure diagnosis.
For the second time in her life, Patty had a major medical scare to overcome. During a lengthy hospital stay, her doctors prescribed her with a special vest to monitor her heart and potentially give her a lifesaving shock should she need it. The cost of this vest was $3000, but Patty didn’t have insurance to cover this device. That’s where the Johnston Health Foundation stepped in.
Despite working full time and owning her own business, Patty could not afford and in some cases did not qualify for insurance, but she needed the vest to survive. The Johnston Health Foundation, which is celebrating it’s 25 year of serving Johnston County, was able to cover the high cost of the vest.
Now, Patty has an internal defibrillator that was surgically inserted nearly a year ago. While she still has some health struggles, she is doing much better.
“I breathe heavy because I still have a lot of fluid, with congestive heath failure, you build up a lot of fluid around the heart and it makes it more difficult to breath at times because it puts pressure on your lungs.” Settle says.
The Johnston Health Foundation will launch a new heart fund later this year to help even more people in Johnston County stay heart healthy when they otherwise may not be able to afford it. The Foundation also has an Angel Fund assisting oncology patients, a healthy kids program and a hospice fund.
Heart disease is one of the few conditions that is actually preventable, says Dr. Eric Janis, who has been a cardiologist with Johnston Health for more than twenty years.
“Exercise, eating right, keeping your weight under control along with not smoking are the best ways to ensure a health heart,” says Dr. Janis.
If you would like to learn more about the Johnston Health Foundation or if you would like to donate, please visit their website.