New Book Tells Story of Triathlete’s Journey With Open-Heart Surgery

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Ellen Charnley’s Living Life To The Full tells of a the author’s Ironman triumph just eight months after having life-saving surgery.

“I open my eyes, and the sense of relief is overwhelming, just to wake up and know that my heart did, after all, ‘restart.’” Thus begins this compelling memoir by Ellen Charley, started on her flight home one week after open-heart surgery. It’s the story of her discovery that she had been living with a congenital heart defect for 41 years, training and competing in triathlons with a heart that was slowly failing. It’s also the story of her recovery and desire to compete in an Ironman competition.

Charnley, an accountant living in Las Vegas, found out she needed the surgery while training for the the 2010 Arizona Ironman. After temporary vision loss during a race forced her to undergo a battery of tests, doctors discovered her heart defect. Charnley would have to undergo open-heart surgery to repair numerous holes in the wall of her heart, which looked like Swiss cheese.

Though her Ironman plans were put on hold, Charnley’s drive and ambition never let her give up on her dream.

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