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MedWatch: Cardiac Rehab Support Group

“I have always run or swam but and have lived a family healthy life.”

That’s one reason Trish Fiebing was surprised when a regular checkup ended with open heart surgery 3 days later.

“I feel just great and pretty much have from the beginning. They replaced the aorta valve with a pig valve and I was in the hospital maybe 2.5 days,” says Trish Fiebing.

That was 7 months ago.

Today, she still does physical rehab and has joined Munson Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehab Support Group.

“I’ve never been in a support group ever, it was a great it helped me to understand myself better which sounds like a selfish thing. But listening to other people and hearing how they handle things was so much help to me,” says Fiebing.

Jim Batsakis is the facilitator for the new support group, kind of by accident after he had an emergency stent put in.

“My background was appealing to them since I was a recently retired Munson Medical social worker having had a cardiac event and in the program I couldn’t deny any for that it felt good to be able to consider to do that again,” says Jim Batsakis, M.S.W. facilitator- Cardiac Rehab Support Group.

And his experience certainly helps him help others.

“I didn’t realize how much of a hit my self-confidence took until I started to try and become independent again thinking I could just step into that and realizing that wasn’t the case I just didn’t feel as confident and safe as I thought I was,” says Batsakis.

Trish enjoys coming and says no one is forced to talk, but people typically open up.

“When you get to this age you don’t have that many opportunities to exchange feelings and emotions with other people your age. This was so different you could just say what you felt,” says Fiebing.

The group is open to anyone who’s had a heart issue and their families.

To help them heal the mental scars that go along with the physical ones.

“I think it’s very courageous thing to come to a support group to strangers for the very first time and start talking bout those very personal private things that really gets at your vulnerability as a person and your mortality as well. those are issues we tend to brush away until they blindside us and realize that’s what we’re here for is to help each other,” says Batsakis.

The group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 2-3pm at the Munson Community Health Center.

For more information, call 231-935-8560