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Our Members' Stories

Michelle, a 50-year-old member, had always made healthy lifestyle choices. A visit to her doctor for something believed to be minor resulted in bypass surgery. Unfortunately, during the procedure she went into cardiac arrest, causing major damage to her heart. Michelle explains, “I thought I had a pinched nerve and the next thing I knew, I was in the midst of a massive heart attack. They did emergency surgery just to save my life…most people don’t survive the type of heart attack I had.”

CareFirst member Michelle with her family at fundraiser

"My nurse gave me hope—she was one of the only people who ever said I could get better."

When Michelle was introduced to her nurse care coordinator, Christina, her health concerns included heart failure, renal insufficiency and vitamin D deficiency. Her numerous medications caused extreme dizziness and she experienced chest pain, tightness and shortness of breath with activity.

Christina reviewed Michelle’s medications, assessed her heart rate and blood pressure and suggested Michelle speak to her cardiologist about her medications’ side effects which were interfering with daily activities.

To strengthen Michelle’s heart, Christina implemented “activities of daily living” goals for Michelle and slowly expanded them. She educated Michelle about her optimal heart rate and made sure Michelle knew what warning signs and symptoms to look out for and when to call the ER versus her doctor. These changes allowed Michelle to increase her activity level and continue working as she felt more confident she would not experience sudden dizziness or worse, pass out.

Today, Michelle’s heart strength is significantly improved. She says, “I am truly grateful for the invaluable support my nurse has given me. Care coordination helped me in many ways manage my heart condition and prevent additional cardiac problems. All of this continues to provide a long-lasting impact on my continued recovery.”

Michelle’s doctors continue to be amazed by her progress. “Those specialists that I went to—world class doctors— when they sit there and tell you ‘wow, I really don’t know how you did that,’ I have to give all the credit to the CareFirst PCMH program and my nurse.”