Updated: May 24, 2022
I recently came close to dying. It’s not like it was the first time or anything, but it was the first time that it was my own body trying to kill me. To be clear, it wasn’t my own foolhardiness, nor was someone else the reason for pain or harm. And since the whole living thing is still a work in progress for me, we’re here to discuss that. Why share with you, or why should you care? That’s an excellent question, and to be honest and quite frank with you, I’m not sure that I care that you do. I have something to share that could help all of you, but only if you appreciate being challenged to do your own research and make your own decisions. I don't want you to take my word for it, and after doing those couple of tasks, maybe you’ll find my journey back at least entertaining.
This journey stems from being a creature of habit, believing that I was doing the “right” things most of the time, and then changing my lifestyle when I learned that I wasn't. And changing isn't easy. It's not that the change was hard. It's the putting aside 63 years of beliefs, questioning how I was raised, and what I was told to believe since childhood. It involves even more questioning of the disparate information I was receiving from the medical community, doing a lot of research on my own, and then making the decision to implement the changes as quickly as possible, because I tend to be impatient and prefer immediate results.
I had a heart attack. I began a new journey, and I am still on it. I changed my lifestyle—completing all of the cardiac rehab sessions prescribed by my cardiologist (emphasis on “all” will be an important detail later) and taking medications to counteract the effects of other medications (and that's no way to live). Now I participate in different types of exercise several times a week including new workout routines, my most recent labs show remarkable results and the reason isn't the medications—it's nutrition. See, this is about the results of becoming whole food, plant-based. If you need a shorter title or adjective, call it "vegan.”
The real start of this blog series was April 17, 2021. It started as a regular Saturday morning. I got up, milled about, had a coffee, discussed going to the grocery store with my wife, and went upstairs to shower and dress—super exciting stuff. Then my left arm started tingling and going numb. I shook it, and it was still numb. Then a tightness in the chest, followed shortly by pain, and the realization that I, a reasonably healthy individual, was having a heart attack.
I called down to my wife, and she “finally” came upstairs. There was a call to 911, she gave me an aspirin, and while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, she was instructed to take my blood pressure, while the ambulance was on its way. Stubborn as I am, and against my wife’s advice, I walked down the stairs to my Man Room where the EMTs, who arrived in less than 6 minutes, assessed me. I was swiftly brought to the emergency room, and where the Cath 5 Team was assembled and ready within 15-20 minutes of my ER arrival. The diagnosis was immediate surgery—an angioplasty to install a stent in the left anterior descending artery—as I had a 100% LAD blockage. (STENTS—a 19 billion dollars-a-year industry, and whether or not you are pro or against, I have one, so we’ll be discussing it in a later blog post as well).
I did say the attack was unexpected. Almost six months to the day prior to my heart attack, I had thoracic back surgery of which one of the required prerequisites was an EKG to check on my heart. Eight weeks prior to my heart attack, I had a thorough annual physical and again, all looked good. There are no known heart conditions or disease in my family. And on top of all that, when I was released from the hospital stay, my cardiologist told me that he could not tell me for sure why I had the heart attack. He just didn’t know.
Well I certainly wanted to know. I didn't want it to happen again. So this is just the start of my story, and I hope that you find it intriguing enough to continue to follow my journey. I said that there would be something to share with all of you. And there is, and we'll get there. I am not a fan of treating the symptoms over curing the cause. Prevention is better, but if you’re like me and the medical episode has already occurred, then it is my opinion that you do the research, determine what can be done to cure or fix, and make those changes.
No, I’m not living in my parents basement wearing tie-dye clothing or espousing that conspiracy is everywhere. I don't believe JFK was an alien or that big brother is always watching. Well, maybe a little bit on that last one.
Anyway the thing is, there’s nothing, other than a stubborn streak, that should tell you what I am doing you can't. We'll get to that next blog and, who knows, maybe you can see even better results.