Kathy Bennett’s Story

“I feel like I have friends at CRMC”

My name is Kathy Bennett, and I live in Independence, Kansas. I’m originally from California. My parents are from the area but moved to California before I was born. We lived there until I was in my early teens. We moved back to the Midwest and then as a young person out of high school, I moved back to Independence.

I like to eat well. I like to eat right. And I like to exercise. And I’ve always taken good care of myself. So, when I didn’t feel well for a while, I thought that maybe I just had gotten injured or something. I noticed that when I was walking, I wasn’t feeling all that great. I had a friend that said, “you need to get checked”. I have blood pressure issues, too – so I did get checked by a provider – and you know, it was like a shock to me. My provider said, “you need a heart cath. You need to be checked further.”

I made an appointment to see a cardiologist, And I really felt very stressed about the appointment. I went to the heart hospital – two days later I was recovering from open heart surgery from a Widow-maker – and I was only 63 years old.

It was hard for me not wonder “why did this happen to me?” But then I began to realize that there have been heart issues in our family. My dad had bypass surgery when he was 71. It was still kind of shocking for me. Everybody that saw me said “why would it be you? You’re the most clean-living person I know.”

I had a lot of support. I had family support. My husband was wonderful. He took care of me, and we had church friends that brought over meals and took care of me.

I just wanted to get well, and I asked if I could start my cardiac rehab as soon as I could. So probably six weeks after my surgery, which is unusual, I showed up at Coffeyville Regional Medical Center Cardiac Rehab. I was looking forward to it because I had a friend that had successfully completed it, and he was bragging like crazy.

I went down to CRMC Cardiac Rehab, and it was just the most amazing experience – to feel such great success between my appointments. I was doing the stationary bike, the treadmill and walking on the indoor track. I couldn’t do arm exercises initially because of my incision but graduated to those exercise in about 4 weeks.

I feel like I have friends at CRMC. Not just with Cardiac Rehab – both my husband and I have also seen Dr. Gery Hsu, the neurosurgeon. Our surgeries went exceptionally well, and his bedside manner was amazing. He explains things so well. I’ve never had anyone do that before.

Through all of this, even my husband has said “you’re a different person.” I was a positive person before, but now I’m really positive.