If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting J. Anthony Murray, Th.D., pastor at Doxa Ministries Church Without Walls, then you would know that he’s a very active member of the community.
From his roles as an engineering project manager at a manufacturer and the director of student and academic affairs at a seminary to planning worship services and other church duties, Murray gives 110 percent each day. “I’ve always been the type of person who could wake up at six and keep moving until 12 the next morning,” says Murray. “That was until I started having chest tension. I’d have to stop what I was doing to regain my breath.”
For two years, the looming tightness continued, resulting in a visit to a cardiologist, where Murray received a normal stress test and prescription medication. Then, on an eyeopening evening in April 2020, he awoke in the middle of the night to use the restroom but did not make it back to bed. “The pain was like a dull ache, nothing that seemed alarming,” says Murray. “It all felt like a dream, but I had actually passed out. The next thing I knew I was at Carroll Hospital.”
With recent renovations to the hospital’s catheterization lab, cardiovascular care capabilities at Carroll Hospital have skyrocketed—allowing patients to have their procedures and follow-up recovery services in one location.
In the cardiac catheterization lab, a stent was inserted into Murray’s blocked artery, returning the blood flow to normal. He then came under the care of Temilolu Aje, M.D., a Carroll Health Group cardiologist. “I knew Dr. Aje and his team were very capable and willing to do what was necessary to restore my health,” says Murray. “But I felt depleted after my experience and didn’t know what to do.”
That’s when the call came from Carroll Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. “While cardiac rehab isn’t mandatory for patients, it’s a program we continue to offer because it benefits the health of the community,” explains Terry Mapp, cardiopulmonary manager. “It’s an individualized opportunity to regain your strength, learn about your risk factors and establish a lifelong care plan.”
After consulting with his physician, Murray proceeded with the optional recovery program. “I was very vocal about not wanting to participate in cardiac rehab,” he shares. “But my body needed it, and it was time that I listened and learned from the experts.” With a combination of monitored exercise and education from a team of therapists, dietitians and physicians, Murray began to have a change in attitude and in physical ability.
“Cardiac rehab is imperative for a person’s long-term outcome,” explains Heather Green, executive director of critical care and cardiovascular services. “We’re able to watch how a patient is performing on a biometric level and use that to guide their recovery.”
The customized program gauges a participant’s exercise ability with the goal of incorporating movement into his or her daily routine and lessening the fear of exercise after surgery. “Independence at home and a better quality of life is what we aim for,” adds Mapp. “When patients are discharged, we give them our contact information so they can always utilize us as their go-to resource.”
Thanks to 12 weeks of rehabilitation for three days a week, Murray now has a clean bill of health. He continues to maintain a heart-healthy diet and workout routine at home, which allows him to be active in his ministry, spend quality time with his family and, occasionally, drop in to visit the Cardiac Rehabilitation team.
“They stuck with me every step of the way—teaching me discipline and perseverance,” he says. “You can tell they really love what they’re doing and the people they’re helping.”
A Helping Hand for Your Heart: Explore our outpatient cardiac recovery programs at lifebridgehealth.org/cardiacrecovery