Since her open-heart surgery, Amy Grant has been singing the praises of heart-healthy living.
In 1991, singer Amy Grant released her album Heart in Motion which sold more than five million copies and included five Billboard Top 10 singles. In 2021 the six-time Grammy winner released a double-disc 30th anniversary edition of that iconic album featuring never before released tracks and updated remixes of the hit singles. This time, however, the album’s title had a new and special significance. In June 2020, Amy successfully underwent open-heart surgery for a rare heart defect. She recently spoke to My Hometown Health about that experience, what it has taught her and why she is encouraging everyone to take their heart health seriously.
How did you find out you had a heart condition?
I had gone with my husband Vince (Gill) to find out the results of his stress test. When the cardiologist finished talking to Vince, he turned to me and said, “Let’s check you out.” That was in December 2019, right in the middle of our Christmas shows, so I agreed I would be tested the first week of January. The day after the tests, I got a text saying everything was great. But then, the next morning I got another text from my doctor telling me to call him as soon as possible. That’s when I learned I needed heart surgery.
What was the specific diagnosis?
The medical term is Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (PAPVR). It’s a condition that causes the blood that has received oxygen to flow back to the lungs instead of to the rest of the body. Apparently, I had been living with PAPVR my whole life. After my diagnosis, my sister, who’s almost two years older than me, reminded me that our pediatrician growing up had noticed I had a heart murmur. Looking back I can see where there were some strange things going on with my heart, but I never gave them a second thought at the time. When I did something strenuous, like a lot of singing or riding my bike up a hill, I would have real trouble breathing. It was like I was sucking for air. Now after the surgery, I’m just amazed at how effective my breathing is.
How did you approach the surgery and how are you doing today?
Biking taught me that every hill is climbable. All it takes is time, one pedal stroke at a time. That’s the way I approached my surgery. You don’t freak out. You just take it one day, one moment, at a time. The first few weeks after the surgery were hard, but I’m feeling fantastic today. I’m definitely new and improved from what I was before the surgery. Everything is back in running order.
What lessons have you taken from this experience?
It has made me so aware of how precious our health is, especially as we age. I find myself today asking my friends when was the last time they saw their doctor. Within six months of my surgery, I had several friends call me who were concerned about their health and I would give them names and references. I’m always encouraging everyone to take their heart health seriously and have regular checkups with their physician.
Any final thoughts?
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during the surgery. I felt those prayers like I never have before. That’s the reason I posted the picture of my surgical scar.
Second, because of my heart surgery I feel such a deep debt of gratitude to the community of doctors, nurses and caregivers, especially with what they’ve had to face during COVID. These are people who have dedicated their lives to caring for other people. In the early days of the pandemic, someone suggested that I set an alarm on my phone at 8 p.m. to remember the caregivers at that time each evening. I don’t think I’ll ever take that alarm off my phone.
February is American Heart Month. As a result, overall awareness of heart health is extremely high for this important and serious medical condition. Consider using this opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease and the wide range of heart health services available through your hospital and clinics. Cardiologists, internal medicine providers and cardiac rehab specialists are the appropriate voices to promote this awareness. Effective marketing tools might include social media, digital media and print, in tandem with a strong call to action to learn more about heart disease and to schedule an appointment with a local provider..
About Brentwood Communications, Inc.
Brentwood Communications specializes in healthcare marketing. Through our monthly AdBank subscription service, thousands of field-tested marketing materials — including content related to heart health — are available and can be easily customized to reflect your hospital or clinic’s existing brand.
Brentwood Communications also helps hospitals stay in touch with their communities through an informative and cost-effective digital and printed magazine called My Hometown Health, a powerful tool to help promote better health and raise awareness of key services available at the hospital. Grammy and Dove Award winner Amy Grant is featured in the current Winter 2022 magazine. Amy talks openly about her open-heart surgery and encourages readers to live a heart-healthy life.