Heart failure patient Francois and his partner and carer Andre smiling for the camera

André and François

Heart failure can change more than one life

François, a former operating room respiratory therapist, was at work when he started to feel shooting pain across his back. François was having a heart attack and after surviving this, was later diagnosed with heart failure.

When his partner André got a call to say that François had had a heart attack, the news broke his heart. He remembers feeling helpless. It became a struggle going forward, but we have to play the cards we’re dealt.

Talking about how his diagnosis has impacted his life, François says he has a lot of trouble with physical exertion.

As soon as I try to do something physical, like bending over to pull weeds in the yard, I can’t stay bent over for more than 10 minutes without being drenched in sweat and out of breath. I wasn’t like this before. I had to change my way of being.

André says that sometimes he tries to protect François too much. We are always afraid of losing those we love. But he knows it can make François feel stifled, so André tries to keep it in check. We deal with things as they come and always focus on the future, never on the past. You have to figure out what to do about it.

Heart failure has changed nearly every part of André and François’ lives. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but we always keep our focus on the future. It is easier to deal with now. I have a better understanding of the disease. Overall and despite everything, I think life is good for us for now.

François’ advice to someone living with heart failure is to live your life an hour at a time, but live it to the fullest. Every night before they go to sleep, François and André say to each other: Well goodnight and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.


Learn more about caring for someone with heart failure with our guide