In November 2011 tests were done to uncover the reasons for the chronic fatigue, dizziness and lethargy that I had been struggling with.  The tests revealed that I was suffering from Mitral Stenosis, which is a narrowing of the heart valves. I was told that I needed emergency open heart surgery, as my doctors had discovered that I was experiencing right sided cardiac failure!  Whilst my aortic valve was also leaking, my doctor felt at the time that this could be repaired at a later stage.

I was told that the procedure would entail three days in the intensive care unit, four days in the normal ward and then eight weeks at home to recover. The surgery involved cutting into the breast bone which is the thickest bone in the body. This meant that I needed sufficient bed rest to ensure that the bone knitted together before returning to normal daily life.

Unfortunately, my procedure did not turn out to be as simple as hoped. I had several serious complications.  My liver was enlarged and two weeks later my lungs collapsed in five litres of fluid.  Four weeks later I had double pneumonia and five weeks later I had an intercostal drain infection.  I went into hyperfibrillation twice and my heart had to be paddled back into rhythm.  After eight weeks of severe complications the doctors sadly reported that I needed to undergo open heart surgery for the second time to replace the aortic valve.  During this period, I was unable to eat as I could not keep down anything.  I tried several shake supplements but nothing would stay down.  Even water tasted bitter and I struggled to tolerate any form of sustenance that I was given.

My weight had dropped to around 43 kilograms and the doctors let me know that I would have to be given a feeding tube after the surgery to ensure that my body was supported with the nutrition it needed to recover.

I had the second open heart surgery on the 2nd of February 2012 to replace my aortic valve.   I continued to struggle as my body and immune system were under significant stress.  To make matters worse, I also contracted a fungal infection in my mainline which resulted in a further extension of my already extended stay in hospital.  Then my pulmonologist suggested that I try Lifegain® shake.   I tried the vanilla flavour and I managed to keep it down.  It was agreed that if I could consume at least two servings of Lifegain® shake a day I would not need a feeding tube.

I started to thrive and flourish as well as regain my strength and stamina.  My rehabilitation process finally took a turn for the better.  Going into hospital in November 2011 and enduring the long and painful process until coming home on the 1st of April 2012 was an ordeal from which I thought I was never going to recover. I am truly thankful that I found out about Lifegain® shake, as this advanced nutritional supplement provided me with the additional nutritional support that I needed to assist with my recovery.  Since Lifegain® assisted me to regain my health, I still use Lifegain® shake to support my nutrition today.