I am
Show me:
Show me:
Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab helped get his life back on track.

Key takeaways

Cyril Hennequin, 60, from Melbourne, managed a successful recruitment business, and was an avid cyclist and father of two boys when he suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab was a very positive experience for him.

Cyril’s heart story 

“I thought I had indigestion… my wife, Marieanne, and I had some takeaway food that evening and I woke up at midnight with mild chest pain. The discomfort was similar to indigestion and I rated it as four out of ten. I assumed it was indigestion from the food I ate earlier, but the chest pain continued to slowly increase. My wife made me some herbal tea, but it didn’t help. So I took a gastric reflux pill, as it usually fixes everything, and went back to bed. 

I still couldn’t get relief, so my wife jumped on her iPad and googled ‘chest pain’. The Heart Foundation website popped up, where she read about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. I was in denial and continued to protest that it was just indigestion. 

Through some previous work I’d done, I suggested Marieanne ring Nurse on Call. After she told the nurse “middle-aged man, chest pain”, they put me on the call to describe what I was feeling. The nurse told me I could be having a heart attack and suggested I go to hospital.  

I felt that gave me permission to go to hospital.  

We went down the road to the Alfred Hospital where they admitted me. They put all the gear on me and talked about my high heart rate. It was sitting on 220. They said, “You’re having a heart attack, but this is the best place to have it.” 

I was looked after very promptly. I remember thinking “Boy, I’m not even 60 and I’m gonna have a heart attack, I may not make it.” After prepping me for an operation, an hour and a half later, I was back in the ward with a stent inserted in the right side of my heart. 

Well it was a shock, it was a shock for my two boys, seeing me all plugged and wired up in hospital. My wife, Marieanne, she was the rock. I was healthy, I was fit, I never thought a heart attack could happen to me.  

I spent four days in hospital and while there, got some literature about heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation. I was determined to get back to the level of activity I was doing prior to my heart attack, so I signed up to attend a six-week rehab course in Caulfield.  

Heart attacks don’t discriminate – women, men, even a young fit guy who was 35 – was in my rehab group. Having a heart attack was my ‘wakeup call’ – you realise you’re not invincible. 

Cardiac rehab was a very positive experience for me. We had a physio supervising our cardio and weight activities. A cardiologist talked about understanding heart disease and what it was all about. We had a pharmacist speak about managing medications and side effects. And a dietitian who talked about healthy eating – how to reduce salt, sugar, saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and read food labels.  

It also covered the psychological aspect of recovery – because you will experience feelings and emotions that are quite unique. You might get a little bit angry with yourself – ‘maybe I should have done this or that.’ Rehab helps normalise your experience and emotions – I found it most helpful and you leave the program feeling quite informed. 

I always say, “you’re the CEO in charge of your own body”, you need to take control. Cardiac rehab provided me with the structure to get back to the activities I used to do. I was very focussed. Even before I finished rehab, I had signed up for a 5 km charity run.

Two months after my heart attack, I ran and walked the 5 km course in the Run Melbourne marathon. Four months later, I had the confidence to cycle a half Around the Bay in a Day. I exercise with a Fitbit to monitor my heart rate and try to keep it below a certain level. 

I met a great group of people at cardiac rehab. We regularly catch up on the last Sunday of every month to go for a walk around the ‘Tan’ (Melbourne Botanical Gardens) and grab a coffee. It’s a very Melbourne activity! We spend the first 10 or 15 minutes talking about how we’re going and then we just talk about life – the social aspect is very good.”  

Cyril’s one piece of advice 

“I feel cardiac rehab changed my life. It’s the best investment you could make – for yourself and your family.”

Discover more heart stories

You might also be interested in

At the heart of Mother’s Day

At the heart of Mother’s Day

At the heart of Mother’s Day

Three people living with heart disease share how their Mums helped them face their health challenges....

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Heart stories

Heart stories

Heart stories

Stories of hope from Australian men and women fighting heart disease....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Quit smoking action plan

Quit smoking action plan

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Understand blood pressure and how it can impact your heart health....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

Blood cholesterol

Blood cholesterol

Blood cholesterol

Keeping your blood cholesterol at a healthy level can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and other serious conditions. ...

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Dan was six minutes into his treadmill session when his heart stopped beating....

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes is an ongoing health condition where your body’s usual ways of controlling your blood sugar, or blood glucose levels, don’t work properly. ...

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David's heart failure diagnosis led to significant changes in his life....

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

A family history of heart disease could mean you are at greater risk....

Debbie's heart story

Debbie's heart story

Debbie's heart story

Debbie decided to give cardiac rehab a go and hasn’t looked back since. ...

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

Exercising for heart and soul

Exercising for heart and soul

Exercising for heart and soul

Alicia Philipatos was three days old when her heart condition was diagnosed...

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or over 30 if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart attack came without warning....

Heart health information in your language

Heart health information in your language

A selection of heart health information brochures in a range languages...

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

I’d always thought of myself as fairly fit; I swam a lot, and did ‘soft running’, a combination of running and walking. ...

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Having a mental health condition can have a negative impact on your heart health and increase your risk of heart disease....

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Thankfully for Grant Byrne, a lifelong Led Zeppelin fan, some quick thinking helped him avoid a stairway to heaven. Read Grant’s heart attack story now. ...

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more. ...

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

David reflects on how his life changed when he had a heart attack at 35 and how he got back on track....

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Is salt bad for your heart?

Most Australians are eating more than the recommended amounts and this can cause health problems....

Helen's heart story

Helen's heart story

Helen's heart story

It wasn’t until Helen's second heart attack that she realised the importance of exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet....

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Smoking and your heart

Understand how smoking can impact your heart health. ...

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

How your waist measurement contributes to your heart health...

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

Nicola, mum of 2, shares her heart attack recovery story....

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Ian “did not hesitate” to leave 100% of his estate to the Heart Foundation....

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

Jo's heart story

Jo's heart story

Jo's heart story

Joanne had five stents inserted into her heart in her early forties. Fifteen years later she had a triple bypass....

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Kate wanted to find a way she could make a difference to future generations...

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Cardiac rehabilitation was a turning point for Kylie and essential to her heart failure recovery....

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Lea was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at 24. She shares her story of recovery....

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Today, Cupid is busy slinging arrows. Perhaps, you are frantic buying flowers or chocolates, booking dinner or penning a pitter-patter inducing poem....

Margaret's heart story

Margaret's heart story

Margaret's heart story

Margaret was young, fit and otherwise healthy but suffered a major heart attack that could have devastated her life...

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

My role as a cardiac nurse

My role as a cardiac nurse

My role as a cardiac nurse

Michelle shares her experiences working as a cardiac nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital....

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm didn’t worry too much about his cholesterol problem – until an angiogram revealed he had an 80 per cent blockage in a major heart artery. ...

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter has lived with a rare heart condition since he was 14, but hadn’t given it too much thought until his 30s....

Peter's heart story

Peter's heart story

Peter's heart story

After his heart attack Peter felt incredibly demoralised....

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day; some people celebrate, other’s vehemently oppose it. Whatever your opinion, it’s important to remember that the day is about love. All forms of it....

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy, Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack. However, after experiencing a ‘widow maker’, she counts herself lucky....

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Rachel, Angela and Lea are all young and living with heart conditions. ...

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Savannah and Gerry, two Australians living with heart disease share their COVID-19 stories....

Warren's heart story

Warren's heart story

Warren's heart story

Warren suffered a heart attack while on a skiing holiday in Thredbo....

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease....

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

Clinical resources: Coronary heart disease and mental health

The prevalence of depression is high in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD)....

Q&A with Lauren Blekkenhorst

Q&A with Lauren Blekkenhorst

Q&A with Lauren Blekkenhorst

Research to develop better evidence for the vascular and metabolic health benefits of vegetables and their bioactive constituents....

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

The Heart Foundation delivers innovative, evidence-based programs and initiatives to support and prevent heart disease in Australia...

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

What is FoodTrack?

What is FoodTrack?

What is FoodTrack?

FoodTrack supports the collection and monitoring of nutrition and product data for foods and beverages in Australian supermarkets. ...

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

QCVRN provides a framework to strengthen cardiovascular research in Queensland...

MyMarathon Insights Survey 2020 Terms and Conditions

MyMarathon Insights Survey 2020 Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions...

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Cardiac rehabilitation was a turning point for Kylie and essential to her heart failure recovery....

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

How to boost your fruit and vegetable intake to help protect your heart. ...

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

Health professional online learning

Health professional online learning

We offer a number of modules focused on improving cardiovascular care....

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

Leaving a gift in your Will: A lasting legacy

One of the most powerful ways to help support a future without heart disease is to include a gift to the Heart Foundation in your Will...

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

9 food and heart health myths, busted

Let’s dive into nine common food and health myths and the facts behind them....

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions....