I am writing today a different type of story than I would usually file.
On November 27, 2012, I had a heart attack.
It was my second heart attack in my life and while neither incident was particularly pleasant, this one really scared me and my family.
My day started off normally, and I was preparing to come to work at about 1PM in the afternoon. I was getting dressed when the dreaded chest pains started. Fortunately, my wife had taken the day off of work and was home at the time. Having suffered a previous heart attack, I immediately knew what was happening to me and recognized the symptoms.
Short of breath, severe chest pains, tingling and numb arms and a feeling of dread and like my life was ending.
Immediately, I asked my wife to drive us to Woodwinds hospital and while, in retrospect, this was a mistake, at the time it seemed reasonable to me. Once there, the staff acted immediately to begin stopping the heart attack and stopping any further potential damage to my heart with a regimen of drugs, including nitro glyverin and heparin (blood thinner), in very significant doses.
Also, they called a Health East ambulance to transport me to St. Joe's Hospital, who, in my opinion, is the only place to go for the best heart care in the world.
At this point, the pain in my chest was out of control and my wife, or as I like to call her, the ROCK, was by my side. I started to say my goodbyes, and apologize for not taking better care of myself as I truly thought the end was near.
I didn't think that I would be around to see my kids open their Christmas presents and be with my family over the holiday season, and I thought about all of the things that I enjoyed in life that I would miss.
The ambulance arrived and the paramedics did a great job of getting me to St. Joe's in what had to be world record time (I think the medic driving the ambulance should try out for the Indy 500). Once I was at St. Joe's, I was taken immediately to the catheter lab where my cardiologist, Dr. Carmelo Panetta, put me at ease, told me I wasn't going to die, and that they were going to perform an angioplasty on me going through my radial artery.
The procedure was a success, and I received two stents in my Lower Anterior Descending artery that cleared up the blockage instantly. The relief was immediate and significant. I could breath again, my pain subsided and I knew that I would be able to be with my family for the holidays.
As a bonus, I had 0% damage to my heart because of the excellent care I received from the Health East teams. I cannot thank them enough for every thing they did for me that day, but would like to especially thank John, my nurse from Woodwinds, and Jaime, my after surgery nurse at St. Joe's. If not for them, I feel my outcome may have been different.
In the weeks since my heart attack, I have been back to work and able to perform all of my duties with only minor adjustments. I have also been working my lifestyle choices which leave quite a bit to be desired. One other area that is working against me is the fact that I am adopted and know nothing of my family history. I have visited my cardiologist and have a stress test upcoming and likely will need one more blockage cleared in my Circumflex artery.
This time, I will have it done with out the heart attack and in a more controlled environment.
My hope is this, I am only 44 years old. I know that until about fours years ago, I always thought that heart attacks were an "old" person's problem and that I would never have one, regardless of my poor diet, my smoking habit, my ability to, at times over indulge in adult beverages and my total lack of knowledge of my family history.
Guess what? I was wrong. I was totally wrong. I have never been so wrong in my life about anything, ever.
My belief that modern medicine can fix almost any problem is very much a reality in my life. I have been given another chance to get this right. I hope that I make the changes I need to live a long life and be able to see my children grow up and have families of their own.
My other sincere hope is that if you are reading this, and you need to make changes in your life that my story compels you to pursue those changes.
Or, if you know someone that would get value out of this article, pass this along to them. It is never to late to make the changes in your life. The human body is an amazing machine and modern medicine is an amazing thing. Coupled together, along with the power of prayer, they can become an unstoppable force and allow us to all live full lives.
Happy New Year to all of you, and I sincerely mean this, I am very lucky that I am able to say this to all of you!!!