Gena B.

Gena B.

Dr. Gregory S. Sheff, Family Medicine

In 2008 Gena B. began gasping for breath after two minutes on the treadmill. Today she feels great. “Fifteen minutes with Dr. Sheff changed my everything,” she says.

Gena was not too concerned when she began gasping for breath after two minutes of walking on a treadmill in the spring of 2008. She was experiencing a recurrence of her asthma so she went to see her primary care physician, Dr. Gregory Sheff, ARC Family Medicine. Until that point, she was “very healthy” and only saw Dr. Sheff for annual check-ups and colds.

“I went in and I said ‘I just need an inhaler so I can work out,’” Gena recalls. But after Dr. Sheff examined Gena he told her that her breathing was normal. To Gena’s shock, he then referred her to Dr. Norman Risinger , a board certified cardiologist, for a stress test.

“He must have been very concerned,” Gena recounts, “but he didn’t show it.” This kept Gena calm but in retrospect, Gena thinks Dr. Sheff knew that something serious was going on. He joked about the stress test, “If anything happens you will be in the right place.”

Dr. Sheff immediately telephoned Dr. Risinger to discuss Gena’s case. “Another Dr. would just refer you to another doctor and you’re on your own, but Dr. Sheff really cares,” Gena says.

The stress test “went poorly” and, after making an appointment for an angiogram for the following week, Gena went home feeling her worst. “I never recovered from the stress test.“ Gena recalls. “All weekend I was exhausted. By Sunday, I couldn’t even get up from the couch.”

On Monday, Gena called Dr. Risinger to report her exhaustion and was instructed to go to the heart hospital immediately. Gena’s angiogram showed a 95% blockage and she had a stint implanted in her heart.

“Fifteen minutes with Dr. Sheff changed my everything,” Gena says. She believes that a less thorough doctor may have sent her home because her case did not necessarily point to heart disease. She was only 46 years old and had no symptoms other than shortness of breath at the gym. “I owe Dr. Sheff so much,” Gena says. “He took me very seriously. If he hadn’t, I probably would have had a heart attack. I don’t know what would have happened.” 

Today, Gena feels great. Five times a week she enjoys hour-long visits to the gym where she works out on an elliptical machine and trains with weights. She feels blessed to have regular visits with Dr. Sheff who closely monitors her health.

Gena describes Dr. Sheff as “easy to talk to.” She appreciates that he always takes the time to listen and never rushes an appointment. “We have been through something big together,” Gena says. “It is a relief to have a doctor who knows me and genuinely cares.”