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When COVID Inspired Patient to Get Healthier, Hoag Lifestyle Program Was There

She is grateful for the support she’s received from personal trainers Dan Sparks and Rebecca Szostek, as well as from Lori Mueller, Hoag Lifestyle Program Manager, and dietician Mona Cabrera, M.S., R.D.

Rosa Morgan had already committed to improving her health, when COVID-19 laid her low. In August, she received a referral from her OB/GYN for the Hoag Lifestyle Program at Hoag Health Center Foothill Ranch. At the time, she wanted to address her plummeting hemoglobin levels and worrisome blood glucose levels.

She started exercising in the BIOCIRCUIT Studio, just down the hall from her doctor’s office. The high-tech machines “remembered” her and adjusted to her customized program. She met with a registered dietician. She was doing great.

After four months of working out, eating well, and seeing modest improvements, Rosa developed COVID-19.

“It made me think,” she said. “It was the first time in my life when I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. Will I be one of the ones that survives? Will I make it?”

Rosa prepared her will in case she died. When it was clear that she was going to survive, she found a renewed will to pursue a life of wellness.

“When I went back, I decided to work harder,” she said. “I was scared to meet with a personal trainer, but when I went back, I decided to do it and focus on that. Instead of trying to fix problems like diabetes or high blood pressure, exercise can prevent it. For me that is amazing.”

Prior to beginning her journey with the Hoag Lifestyle Program, Rosa was receiving blood transfusions and working with a hematologist to address her low hemoglobin levels. After she returned to the program following COVID, her hemoglobin levels normalized. She hasn’t needed a transfusion since, and she hasn’t experienced any fainting episodes.

Rosa and her hematologist aren’t sure what role the fitness program has played on her renewed health, but Rosa feels confident that by shedding weight, improving her diet and getting more fit and active, she is on a path to wellness that had alluded her for several years.

“Because of the problem with my hemoglobin, I couldn’t exercise outside. I would faint if I exerted myself too much,” she said. “I had a fear, that if I went to the gym or went running outside, I would faint. That’s why Hoag was the perfect place to exercise. I could work out in the gym, and my doctor was in the same building. The urgent care was right there, if I needed it.”

“And I had support from the people who work there,” she said. “They love their job. They like to support you, help you in everything you need.”

Rosa now goes to the gym at the Health Center three to four times a week. She cut out soft drinks and is working on reducing bread from her diet. She’s noticed her energy level go up and her weight go down. The resolve she developed after beating COVID shows no sign of abating.

She is grateful for the support she’s received from personal trainers Dan Sparks and Rebecca Szostek, as well as from Lori Mueller, Hoag Lifestyle Program Manager, and dietician Mona Cabrera, M.S., R.D.

“They are so inspiring. Just by getting people healthier, preventing disease, they give so much to their community,” she said. “My goal was to do some physical activity because I was very sad that I couldn’t. What I found in Hoag was everything I needed. I know I can give it my all because I’m safe and secure. The machines are tailored for you, and it’s fun. It’s challenging, but it’s really fun. It makes me happy.”