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I was diagnosed with CHF (an ejection fraction of 24%) in April, 2001. I immediately adopted a very low sodium diet & continued a regular exercise program. Through God's grace, a good Cardiologist and an extremely low sodium diet, my ejection fraction had increased to 54% by April, 2003. The initial diagnosis was that I was "a perfect heart transplant candidate." I immediately responded that possibility was not an option. I am so very thankful that the Lord is watching over me and mine!—Dorothy Powell

There is one thing I have done. I am active in the local neighborhood association and have bought out two book stores here of your books and have given them to heart patients who do not have the money to buy groceries, much less books. Can you sell me a few books as I need them so I can give them to older people that need them. Or better yet, if you could send them and I will pay for them it could mean a lot to some people that need a little love in their lives.—Alex Myrhorodsky

Just a comment really and a thanks. I don't have heart disease, but was diagnosed with Meniere's disease last May. I'm a nurse, nurse educator in a dialysis center, so have for years cared for patients on low-sodium diets, now I'm doing it myself. While I have symptoms every day, I have never cheated on my diet and firmly believe I'm avoiding severe attacks by my compliance. I initially took the approach of adapting existing recipes, using the Bowes & Church nutrition book available to me at work, and continue to do that. However, a computer-literate young friend found your site for me and it's been such a help, so I want to thank you! We go camping regularly in spring and fall with our good friends from Phoenix (we live in Kansas City) and last fall, I did all the cooking for our camping trip because my dear friend couldn't figure it out. However, I introduced her to the website and she bought the book and on our spring trip, she used recipes from your cookbook and they were wonderful, so now I've ordered my own copy. The other reason I 'm writing is I wanted to alert you (if you haven't already heard) to the imminent demise of Heluvagood cheese, low-sodium version, which I was overjoyed to find mentioned on your website and have been indulging in since January. The nice lady from the company called me last Friday to tell me they are discontinuing production, fortunately in time for me to order 5 cases for my freezer. I don't know of any other source for low-sodium and I love cheese, so this is huge for me. While I doubt one little consumer here in the middle of the country can have any impact on that corporate decision, I'm composing my letter to them to plead the case of people everywhere who need low-sodium cheese! Do you suppose it would be any help to put a notice on your website of this occurrence so many people could write letters. Again, I don't know if it would help, but it couldn't hurt to try. Thanks again for the fine service you are providing. Sincerely, Sharon Slusher

'Just thought I would tell you about an experience we had with your cookbook here. My son decided that he wanted to surprise me, and make some cookies that I could eat. He chose the recipe for "Becky's Oatmeal Cookies". As he was rushing for it to be a surprise, he left out the raisins. And, because he could not find the toasted wheat germ, he decided that anything wheat would probably work as well. He opted for cracked wheat as a substitute. Of course, when I discovered he had made a batch of cookies, I was delighted. When I asked if they were low sodium, he said, "Yes...they are low sodium cookies." Then he added, "Do you miss eating Grape Nuts?" :) Despite the mess-up, they were still somewhat tolerable -- maybe we could call it a high-fiber version. :) We continue to have fun trying the recipes. Thanks. LeeAnn

Hi. My name is Tom. I'm 30 years old and got the doctors orders last week -- cut the sodium because your blood pressure is way too high (actually he put me on Altace first for a week to monitor, something i"m not comfortable with). Anyway, I moped around for a few days, thinking I could never eat anything "good" ever again -- that it's rice cakes and apples for the rest of my life. This weekend I was in the bookstore and found your book (took a while, hard to find low sodium cookbooks at all. There's yours and the American Heart Association's. I tried one of your recipes this weekend and it was terrific! There are tons of good things to try. So thanks for the book. It will help me get back in shape and get my blood pressure down. 30 is too young to worry about congestive heart failure, but I know I can eat right and help myself! And I have to tell you that "A Few Good Men" was an amazing book. As a writer myself (former newspaper reporter and humor columnist), I always appreciate a good book. That one was amazing.. Thanks for that too! — Thomas J. McFeeley

Dear Don, I have to tell you something wonderful. My husband Dave has just returned from an appointment with his cardiologist, and he was told that his heart has made amazing progress in just two months! (The amount of time we have been on the diet.) The doc says it sounds nearly 100% better already! They did not do any tests today, so I don't know what his EF would be, but they are very excited about his progress. And this is without the Coreg, which he can't take. The cardiologist told him that the very low sodium diet is the main thing responsible for this success, and of course I couldn't wait to share this with all of you. This could never have happened without you, and my gratitude goes way beyond words. Have yourselves a lovely weekend, and I'll write again later. — Martha Lepo

My wife was just recently diagnosed as having two heart murmurs. Of course it was "cut out the salt time." Unfortunately we have always added salt at the table, and reducing it to no table salt has been a fight in and of itself. We both work so our lifestyle also often includes eating out. Add to that the fact that I was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes about two years and it is to our advantage to take a good look at out eating habits and make the necessary changes. We are going to a local bookstore this afternoon and buy the book, we will also use the site for updates and new info to help us stay the course. Don, thank you for stepping up to the challenge of your Dr. and putting this together so others may live a healthier life. — Bob G. Owensboro, KY

I'm a CHF patient who when released from the hospital 3 years ago got no advice or guidance with my new very low sodium diet. Most heart healthy cookbooks like Ornish are too high in sodium for me and I had to experiment on my own. It's nice to find a site out here devoted to low or no sodium cooking, I just wish I had found it 3 years ago. Thanks?!!! — Irv Grabstein

Well, my husband went to the doctor on June 4 because he hadn't been feeling very well, and suddenly started to swell with water. They called me at work and said to meet him at the emergency room - he would be going straight from the doctor's office by ambulance.

Needless to say, that was the worst day of my life. The diagnosis was non-ischemic CHF, and I learned all about ejection fractions (his was 10%), angiograms, IV diuretics, Coreg, and "low sodium" diets that day. We were told that if medication didn't work, the only option was a transplant.

We did OK for about a month, but the diuretics were steadily increasing on a 2000 mg sodium diet. I knew absolutely what that meant, and I started literally praying for a miracle. It's funny how people like me find God only when all other hope is gone.

I happened to be in Barnes & Noble one day, looking for any kind of low sodium cookbook to give me some ideas. I searched in every likely section but didn't find anything. I was actually on the point of leaving when I noticed the "Health" section right next to me, and I halfheartedly moved over to look. There, right before my eyes, was your book. I cannot describe the feeling I had just reading what the cover said! It's like it was written for my husband! Then I opened it and saw Dr. Fowler's endorsement and I was sold. What made so much SENSE to me was the statement that the reason some people retain water is that they cannot process large amounts of sodium!

In other words, we're looking at the wrong end of the problem. I honestly believe that sodium is toxic to some people, and the damage is cumulative. I've known my husband for almost twenty years, and in all that time he drank so much water that I was convinced he was diabetic. Literally by the gallon, and could NOT be without it. Lots of other symptoms as well, that made me wonder if he was "poisoned" somehow. Anyway, I bought the book, showed it to my husband, and we got approval from his cardiologist to begin the 500 mg diet the very next day.

Here's the best part: within 48 hours of starting the diet, all the fluid just melted away and hasn't come back! His doctor was astonished, and is very supportive of our efforts. He says most patients won't do it. I say, how can they NOT? My husband no longer craves huge amounts of water, and some of his other symptoms seem to have disappeared as well. We've been doing this for about a month, and are eating very well. The opinion now is that the CHF was probably viral in origin, and my husband might make a full recovery.

I'm trying not to look too far down the road, but I want you to know I asked for a miracle - and I got one. Standing there in Barnes & Noble that day. I'll never forget it. When I said your book saved his life, I meant it. They had already told my husband he was a transplant candidate, which he refused. Now that we got rid of all the sodium, we have real hope for the future again, thanks to you. So that's the story, Don. May all good things come to you. — Martha Lepo

Answers from a real life CHF Survivor

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