How it all started

Tuesday September, 22nd, I had one of the worst days in the office I could remember in a long time. For the rest of the day, I kept getting what I could only describe as a “nervous” feeling in my throat,/top of my stomach, followed by tightness in my chest and harder (not faster) than usual heartbeat.
This lasted the rest of the day and into the night. When I awoke on Wednesday the 23rd, it was still happening and seemed to be getting stronger. I opted to stay at home as I had multiple conference calls and training sessions to go through. I was on my first conference call when these episodes started to increase so I went to the hospital.

I chose St Clair’s as it is not as busy of a hospital as some of the others in the region. Was almost to St Clair’s when another episode came over me. I chose to speed up as I was within 1 mile and thought just needed to make it there. Fortunately, I chose to do so next to an unmarked Lakewood Police Officer (Pictured here with me) who proceeded to stop me for speeding. He called me an ambulance and the medics got me on the EKG and could see what is called V-Tach (Ventricular tachycardia) happening rapidly and repeatedly. They chose immediately to alter our course to St Joseph’s as they have a superior cardiology department.

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Upon arriving at St Joe’s, they got an ultrasound performed on my heart and then a full chest X-Ray with dye. The X-Ray showed a lot of bad signs. 2 major blockages, several areas where arteries had disappeared, scar tissue on my heart from a previous heart attack that we never knew about. There were 2 cardiologists on sight and one of them looked at me and stated that he had no idea how I was even alive.

They sedated me and put me on overnight monitor for an emergency open heart double bypass the next morning.

Thursday the 24th at 0600 I was being prepped for surgery. They told me they would put me under in just a few seconds and I remember nothing else of the 24th except waking up long enough for them to pull something out of my throat that was keeping me alive during surgery.

So, besides what felt like endless days of sitting in a hospital bed, this was the long and short of what happened.

The scar tissue on my heart came back a bit after the surgery. I am on countless medications that I honestly have minimal idea as to what they do.

The V Tach is still an issue. It is what brought me to the hospital to begin with but it was not dealt with during the bypass. The bypass was just to keep me alive so we can worry about the V Tach later. Because I still have the V Tach, I have to wear a defibrillator at all times except during showers. In 2 months, if they feel the bypass was a success and no other issues are looming, they will look at a non-evasive means of fixing my heart. If they cannot cauterize the area that is causing the V Tach, I will have to undergo another surgery to have a permanent defibrillator installed.

The long and short, I have to watch my diet and my stress level. Stress set this episode off and continues to threaten my health. Diet is already being changed and we will continue to do so.

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