….I feel so official! 😊
Seriously though I would like to introduce to you today a very good friend of mine who has an important story to share. Earlier this year he experienced some serious health issues which gave him a good scare but also a much-needed wake up call. I really wanted him to tell you his story today because I think it could be one that a lot of people can relate to but also one that has been really inspiring to me!
Here is his story:
Hello everyone! My name is Michael and my story really begins right after graduating college when I started my career in the high-pressure sales game. I worked long hours, had a bad diet, drank a lot and rarely exercised. As I climbed the corporate ladder, my health really took a back seat to my career. My go-to meals most mornings and again at lunchtime came from a fast food drive-thru and then often while wining and dining clients I indulged in something like a steak dinner with more than a couple whiskeys to wash it all down with. This went on for years and years. Needless to say, I ended up with a big belly and a BMI that was over 25. On top of my poor eating habits, 12-hour days leave little time for the gym. Or, maybe I was just lazy. Probably the latter!
April of this year, it all caught up to me. I had a heart attack! As I was laying in the ICU the doctor came in and I was told that I had 100% blockage in the right coronary artery and a piece of plaque had broken off and caused sudden blockage that led to the attack. Two stents were inserted in an emergency catherization to re-open the artery and restore normal blood flow to and from my heart. My cardiologist told me that had I not gotten to the hospital when I did, I probably wouldn’t have survived. He actually said 15 minutes longer and I would have been dead. His next words to me were “change your diet, exercise and get healthy or this will happen again”.
Now while I had not been one to hit the gym or pay much attention to what I was feeding my body previous to my heart attack, I have always been very conscientious about my health and made sure to get my routine check-ups and labs done on a consistent basis to screen for any potential issues. Each year, around my birthday in fact, I get a complete physical. Last year, my doctor suggested I get an echo cardiogram stress test. For those of you not familiar with this procedure, it involves running on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion and then having a video of your heart taken to see if everything is working as it should be.
My test was in August 2017 and I received a 100% pass/clean bill of health. No issues were detected whatsoever. That’s right, you read that correctly….they did not detect any blockage at all! Eight months later I had a heart attack and 100% blockage was present. Surely you don’t get 100% in eight months! What’s the message here? Medicine isn’t an exact science and doctors are human. If you think something is wrong, get a second and maybe every third opinion! Make them run the tests again! Challenge your doctors if you have to. You know your body better than anyone else does. This blockage was something that was building up over years and years but was unfortunately was missed when I had my stress test performed.
I had been feeling off for a while leading up to my cardiac event. I had been experiencing shortness of breath. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without having to stop and struggle for air. I started getting more and more tired during the day. I found myself napping almost every afternoon. I couldn’t concentrate at work. I just felt off. I knew something was not quite right but I believed the doctor when they told me my stress test was normal and my heart was in good shape. We were both very wrong.
Now while I am very lucky to have survived due to the quick response of everyone involved in my care that evening, the result could have been very different. Heart disease is a leading killer in this county and all over the world in fact. Millions of people die each year due to a form of cardiovascular disease. My experience was a huge wake-up call for me. Since that night in April, I have changed my lifestyle to include regular exercise and proper nutrition. I work out an average of 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time and have changed my diet drastically. I no longer eat red meat, I have included a nutrition shake introduced to me by Beth into my daily meal plan, I eat a lot more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, and have all but cut out processed ones. The results have been amazing! I have dropped ten pounds so far, my blood pressure is much lower and my energy levels are through the roof! I feel like I am 20 years old again!
I hope by sharing my story today I might encourage someone out there who may also be struggling with an unhealthy lifestyle to make some small changes and take ownership of your health and well-being. I waited until I had no choice but to make these changes but it is never to late to start! I am extremely grateful to still be on this earth and am going to continue to do everything I can to take care of my body going forward.
Thank you all for reading!
A very big thank you to Michael for sharing his story. His commitment to getting and staying healthy has been very inspiring to me and I am hoping to you as well. If you have any questions for him or me please feel free to reach out!
Have a great week y’all!