HEART ATTACK STORIES- TONY YIP- WE ALL BLEED RED

Today Please meet Tony.

In the spirit of Heart Month I am sharing stories of fellow Heart Attack Survivors that I have met through The Under 55 Heart Attack Survivors Group on Facebook. Everyone has a story and I hope you will take a read and help us create awareness of the #1 Killer in North America.

 

Hi, my name is Tony Yip.  I’m currently 48 years old and have been living in Calgary, Alberta since the age of 21.  I was born and raised in small town Saskatchewan (Canada).  I am one of five kids in our family.  Like the typical asian family in the rural prairies, my mom and dad ran a little Chinese/Canadian food restaurant.   Fried and fatty foods were the norm growing up.  In grade five, I remember weighing more than my teacher; I was over 150 lbs. 
 
Being overweight has always been an issue for me growing up.  In addition to the health concerns with carrying too much weight, my self esteem took a beating a well.  My oldest brother, also overweight, had diabetes, and had passed away from a heart attack at the age of 40.  My dad, who was a smoker, had a severe allergic reaction to the latex in the heart lung machine during bypass surgery and passed away as well at the age of 66.  These two events were wake up calls for me.

 

Tony Yip
 
On January 2, 2012, at the urging of my sister, Nancey, I joined Weight Watchers.   At 5’9″ tall, I weighed in at 260 lbs.  In a year and a half, I lost 100 lbs.  What started out as a “diet” for me had become a lifestyle change.  I was watching what I was eating, exercising more, and feeling pretty darn good.
 
On March 20, 2014, I had my heart attack at the age of 47 (weighing in at 160 lbs).    A week prior, I had experienced chest pain while curling (a winter sport in Canada).  The pain was intermittent; as I exercised more, there was more pain.  If I rested, the pain went away.  A couple days later, I was participating in a hot yoga class, and the pain began again.  I left the yoga class early and met a friend for coffee.  While walking to the coffee shop, I experienced more pain.  Again, the pain was off and on.   Since I live alone, I decided to drive myself to the emergency clinic a few blocks away.  The triage staff at the ER clinic assessed me very quickly and did the full battery of blood tests and EKG monitoring.  Everything was deemed normal; they sent me home and asked me to follow up with my family doctor.  A couple days later, I was walking  to a dentist appointment.  I experienced pain once again in my chest and had to rest once I arrived at my dentist until the pain subsided.  After my dentist appointment, I went over to the medical clinic to explain my symptoms.  They suggested my pain may be related to stress, prescribed Ativan, and sent me home.
 
Two days later, at 4 am in the morning, I woke up with chest pain again.  I took the Ativan tablet and waited ten minutes.  The pain did not subside, so I drove myself to the ER clinic that I had visited a few days ago.  The same triage staff were there again and they recognized me.  I said, “it’s me again….It’s probably another false alarm, but since I live alone, I just wanted to get it checked out”.  I was whisked away immediately where they went through the routine of hooking me up to the EKG machine again.  As soon as the machine started providing the readings, the curtains to my private cubicle flung open and 12 nurses and doctors started to tend to me;  it was like a scene from an ER television show.  They told me I was having a heart attack, but I didn’t really realize the seriousness of the situation until I heard the doctor telling the nurses to admister morphine.  They called an ambulance to take me to the nearest hospital.  When I was being prepared by the staff for the ambulance transport, the doctor had asked me if I wanted to be resuscitated should I needed to be.  I must have had a stunned look on my face.  I fully expected to live through this.  My thoughts to myself were….”I can’t die now, I haven’t been in love yet”…..  I asked the doctor to repeat the question and I replied “yes, I want to live”.
 
The cath lab did an incredible job.  I was assessed as having 4 blockages:  two 50%, one 40%, and a 100% blockage at the RCA.  Two stents were used to clear the blockage at the RCA.  I was in ICU for 24 hours.  Initially after the stents were placed in, I was experiencing A-fib; fortunately, my heart converted back to a normal heart beat on it’s own overnight.   I was in the hospital for 5 days….off work for 5 weeks.
 
I attended cardiac rehabilitation for 12 weeks.   I highly recommend taking part in the rehabilitation program.  After my incident, I was in constant fear of over-exerting myself and possibly triggering another attack.  The cardiac program here allowed me to exercise and determine my limitations while being under constant watch by health care providers.  More importantly, I think it’s very important to talk to other heart and stroke survivors about his/her individual stories….you learn from sharing information….much like the “Facebook Under 55” group provides…..
 
 After having a heart incident, you become VERY sensitive to what’s going on in your heart;  when you’re healthy, you don’t think about your heart actually functioning.   After a heart incident, you feel when you’re more emotionally stressed….you feel when you’ve taken one extra step up a set of stairs…..you feel when you’ve lifted too much….. you feel this directly in your heart.   I wanted to know if I was ever going to feel “normal” again.   It has almost been a year since my heart attack, and most of the time, I don’t “feel” my heart anymore (and this is a good thing!).
 
I had my six month appointment with my cardiologist and wanted to share one piece of information that I thought might be useful for heart attack survivors.  I asked that if I were to have another heart attack, what would the symptoms feel like?…..The reason for the question, I explained, was that I had my blockage in the RCA…..but if a different artery were to be blocked, would the symptoms be different?  He told me that in most cases, the symptoms you experienced during your inital heart attack would be the same symptoms that you would likely experience if you had another episode, regardless of which artery was blocked.  Everyone’s symptoms are different, but you will recognize the pain if you feel it again.
 
If I can offer some words of wisdom having experienced this life changing event:
– if you experience any sort of pain, and YOU think it’s serious…and feel you should go to the hospital, call 911 (call it a feeling of doom….your gut will tell you that it’s serious….don’t ignore your gut instinct)
– don’t wait for a wake up call to change your life for the better (I know…easier said than done)
– don’t only save to live for tomorrow; live for today as well
– express gratitude wherever possible
 
It may seem kind of ironic that I had my heart attack after having lost 100 lbs, but in the end, if I didn’t lose the weight, perhaps I wouldn’t be here today, sharing my story.  In addition to eating healtier,  trying to lower my salt and sugar consumption….and exercising more…..I’m also trying to reduce stress by living a kinder, gentler life….and expressing more gratitude.
 
Tony

CRAP HAPPENS ! IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

Tonight’s blog post comes from a man who’s brain is so stuffed full of thoughts and things I just cannot comprehend. It comes from my thoughts after not one but two Facebook posts today outlining crappy things that happened today.

IPHONEOCT 2014 588

Crappy but somewhat humorous considering this is how things happen to me in general.

So here are my thoughts after a day in which I could , under normal circumstances have lost my mind.  I just don’t operate that way anymore. So here it goes…..

Dear Friends,

After what I wrote in two previous posts today, a few of you may think today was a unbelievably shitty day for me. It wasn’t.

You see, crappy things happen all the time to many people, most whom wouldn’t vocalize it. I choose to because sometimes crappy things just happen and for me, in the oddest of ways. Yes what happened sucked and my wallet is going to be lighter. But I got to experience this day.

It’s simple really. No matter how hard life kicks at me, I fight back.  I find the positive in the day.  It’s kinda who I am, what I always do.

Why? Because i just don’t let the shit bring me down as much as it could.  Life could be A LOT worse.

Why sit there and wallow in self pity or as others say ” Marks bad luck.” ? There’s no point. I am stronger than that.  

Maybe I’m nuts but I’ve had plenty of shitty things happen to me, especially the last few years.  

Each day I wake up and am continually thankful that I am simply here for yet another day. Good or bad, it’s my day and I own it. Life is to be lived and sometimes shitty things happen.

Friends, don’t worry about my “luck” because in the big picture, I’m far luckier than most and am thankful for that.

 

IPHONEOCT 2014 581

 

Sacrifice- A Great Motivational Video

Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au
Image Courtesy of : www.befreetoday.com.au

Earlier this week I saw this video on a friends Facebook Page.  I watched, then watched  it again.  It caught my attention in a good way, it made me think at the way I am going about the life I am living, made me think about my dreams and goals and why I allow myself to get comfortable rather than push.

I have no doubt I will watch this video many times to remind myself to keep pushing to reach my dreams and not get comfortable.

Take a view of this video, it may or may not inspire you.  Below the Video I have added the transcript for those who wish to read it and save it.

Enjoy,

Mini.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis) Sacrifice – Motivational Video] Source: LYBIO.net

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There will never be a point in your ti — in your life — where it’s the right time to do a great thing. If you’re waiting for that perfect perfect moment, that perfect timing, it’s not going to happen. You know what you have to do? You have to create the perfect time, and the perfect opportunity, and the perfect situation.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
So a lot of people become comfortable. They stop growing, they stop wanting anything, they – they become satisfied. People getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like, jobs that are making them sick. You see when you are not pursuing your goal, you are literally committing spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you are stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities you have that you didn’t know you have. When the messenger of misery visits you, what are you going to do? What will keep you in the game.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
There are things that you think you’ll never need to know. That you may only need to know one time in your life, but that could save your life because you had that knowledge.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that, which you’ve already mastered, you will never grow. What is it that you looked at, at some point in time and you decided that you couldn’t do it, that you talk yourself out of it.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
You’re waiting on your next door neighbor to make it happen for you, it may not happen. If you’re waiting on your mother, or your father, they may be so ancient in their thinking, that they don’t understand this opportunity that you have. And if you’re waiting on them it may never get done. You don’t beg average people to be phenomenal. You don’t beg good people to be phenomenal. You just are phenomenal, and you will attract phenomenal.

[(Motivational Speaker Two:)]
What reason can you remember, that you can call on, that you can reach on, that can make you get back up. Find that reason.

[(Motivational Speaker One:)]
If you’re not where you are. If you’re not where you want to be. If you don’t have what you want, want to have. If you’re not where you think you should be at this particular place. It has nothing to do with the system, but it has everything to do with the fact that you’re not making the sacrifice.

I want you to make that dream become a reality, because if you don’t, you will be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality.

And everybody is against you, or don’t believe in you no more. And let me tell you something, that’s a lonely feeling. That’s a lonely feeling. Particularly people that you are doing it for.

Most people take their greatness, take their ideas to the graveyard with them.

Listen to me, if it was easy, everybody would do it. There are people right now who are working who don’t want to work. There are people who hate their jobs, but they keep getting up to do it.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
The wealthiest place on the planet, is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we never ever were exposed to. Ideas, dreams, that never became reality. Hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.

The question is what are you going to do with your time. What drives you. Greatness is a lot of small things done well. Day, after day. Workout after workout. Obedience after obedience. Day after day.

When things don’t work out for you. When things happen that you could not anticipate. What are the reasons that you can think of that can keep you strong.

You will never ever be successful, until you turn your pain into greatness, until you allow your pain to push you from where you are to push you to where you need to be. Stop running from your pain and embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your prize, a part of your product. I – I challenge you to push yourself.

See it’s easy to be on the bottom, it doesn’t take any effort to be a loser. It doesn’t take any motivation and any drive in order to stay down there on a low level. But it calls on everything in you. You have to harness your WILL to say I’m going to challenge myself.

I mean that what you did last week don’t count. Today today is the only important day. There are eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day and how you use those are critical. You got eighty-six thousand, four hundred today and what you do today is going to cement who you are. Nobody gonna talk about what you did last week.

Yet the biggest enemy you have to deal with is yourself. There’s an old African proverb that says “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”

You have this opportunity of a lifetime. It means absolutely nothing if you don’t take advantage of it in the lifetime of this opportunity.

I got a saying that: When life knocks you down, try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it. If all that you dream and scheme is about it. And life seems useless and worthless without it.

See it’s time now. If you want to make this your decade, you’ve to start saying YES to your life. You’ve got to start saying yes to your dreams. YES to your unfolding future. YES to your potential. As opposed to saying no.

[(Motivational Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis)] Source: LYBIO.net
When you die, die on E. Leave no dream left behind guys. Leave no opportunity left behind. When you leave this earth, accomplish every single thing you can accomplish.

Listen to me, you’re going to be here one day, but you’ll never get here if you give up, if you give in, if you quit. And finally guys, you gotta wanna succeed, as bad, as you wanna, breath.

* die on E (die on Empty)

SACRIFICE – MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO – SPEAKERS – LES BROWN – ERIC THOMAS – RAY LEWIS. STOP RUNNING FROM YOUR PAIN AND EMBRACE YOUR PAIN. YOUR PAIN IS GOING TO BE A PART OF YOUR PRIZE, A PART OF YOUR PRODUCT. COMPLETE FULL TRANSCRIPT, DIALOGUE, REMARKS, SAYING, QUOTES, WORDS AND TEXT.

HAPPY 37 TH BIRTHDAY TO ME !

birthday2

 

August 19, 2014 I celebrated my 37th Birthday. It was an amazing time shared with some friends.  It is also the first birthday I have actually celebrated in 7 years.

I could share many reasons why I haven’t celebrated but let’s focus this year on why I did.

August 19, 2013.  8 days post heart attack.  I had been released from the hospital the day before.  Happy Birthday to me right ?  I lived, so umm maybe I should be doing something because I almost did not make it to my 37th.  Sadly, no.  You see, my Heart Attack was still a secret to most people.  Very few people knew at this point what happened and if you look back to my posts in February you will see that is when I came out and told the world.

DBDAY

Friends did the usual Facebook “Happy Birthday”, I got some texts and phone calls.  I had people invite me out for a drink.  I replied to a few people, half heartedly, I declined the invites because I did not want anyone to know what was going on.  It was so hard not to tell people what I was feeling and thinking.  Part of me wanted to celebrate my life but I knew my reality that day.

I slept a lot as I was still battling fatigue.  I walked my 20 minutes as instructed.  I read a little and basically stayed in my protective cocoon.  It kinda sucked really.

Truth.  I felt very alone.  I felt like I may have not even been worth people’s time even if I was healthy that day.  It was like I was in a dark room with one light shining down, four walls with no escape.  I was trapped in my own loneliness.  The only escape was the hard way out and that would have meant telling people why I was staying home and not returning their phone calls.  I couldn’t.  I did not understand a lot of what happened and I was still trying to make sense of it all.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I was thankful I was alive but the reality that I may have never seen another birthday was quite striking and the fact that the Heart Attack happened so close to my birthday only made it worse.

birthday1

In 12 months, I realized that I really am not alone, that I am worth celebrating.  Life in itself is worth celebrating.  It doesn’t matter how crappy other birthdays were or how others made past birthdays miserable.  What does matter is that even if we don’t have an elaborate birthday party, that we take the time to celebrate the past year and the year of life that we will now enter in hopes that we make it to the next one and many more after that.

August 19, 2014.  I celebrated with friends, had a few wobbly pops ( yes, 3 is the # I remember putting me into umm “tipsy mode.”  I did a failed muff dive shot, I laughed, I goofed around, I had fun.  It was nice to hear Happy Birthday sang out of tune from my friends.  It was fun having a wide mix of friends sharing their stories about the silly and crazy things I have done.  It seems everyone had a great “ Mini” story.  Each of those stories no matter how embarrassing made people laugh, made me laugh and that my friends is exactly what I needed last night.

If you wish to view the failed Muff Dive Video, it is on my They Call Me Mini Face book page. They Call Me Mini

BIRTHDAY MUFF DIVE FAIL VIDEO

MUFFPIC

Thank you to everyone who came out and making my night fun and a little crazy.  I am looking forward to next year.  I only get better with age from here.

Mini.

ONE YEAR !

 

 

ONE YEAR LATER ! 

Two days ago was the one year anniversary of my Heart Attack. I did not post that day for it was my day, for me.

August 11, 2013- August 11, 2014.

I could sit here and give you all an emotional post or try to be somewhat inspirational on what is my 1 year anniversary of having a Heart Attack at age 35.  That’s not what I am here to do.

1 Year later I can simply say this.  I am better, healthier, more alive, mature and probably the most awesome “Me” that I have ever been.  I am not the same guy but I love who I am even with the differences.

1 Year later I will not say it was easy to get here, not remotely easy but it was worth it.

1 Year later I accept and appreciate all that got me here.  The hard work and the fun stuff.

1 Year later I am happy and I think I have only just begun to re take the reset of my heart and my life to the next level.

1 Year later I truly and honestly for the first time in my life fully love and accept who I am.  Flaws and all.

I enjoyed the day … by disconnecting from social media and the news, reading a book, going for a walk or two and just reflecting and being thankful.  I also had Ice Cream.

Sometimes all one needs is a little time to disconnect and be with their own thoughts to truly have a good day.

Bring on Year #2 !

Mini

 

What is so great about being me? 30 days…30 Great Things.

Self Deprecation: self-dep·re·cat·ing

adj.Tending to undervalue oneself and one’s abilities.

dep

 It was pointed out to me last year by a friend that I did this a lot in our texting conversations  I would make comments like ” I am short, I am not hot, I am not good at ……”  And so on and so on.

Since my friend pointed this out I have done my best not to make self deprecating comments and tried more to re enforce what is good about being me.  Uniquely me.

Well, the other day this same friend called me out again when I made a joke about offering to be a “Hot” massuese for her.  I followed it up by saying…”OH , wait, I am not hot”.  Her reply ” Stop being self deprecating.

I will say this about this girl.  She is pretty confident, pretty intelligent, quite awesome and I can’t really remember any time she has made self deprecating comments about herself.  I want that confidence.

 

Stand Tall, Be You, Be Great !
Stand Tall, Be You, Be Great !

So why do we do this ?  Most everyone I know does this in some way, shape or form.  Most of this is derived from insecurities we each have or things we may have been told.  We do this to down play things or brush off compliments.  Now, this friend did not say specifically that I was “Hot”  but her saying not to be self deprecating was compliment enough.  ( and, I am cute !)

I am usually the friend that tells those around him the good I see in them even when they don’t see it themselves.  I need to do the same for me.  It is very common to hear me say “You are awesome” followed by a good quality about that person I may be speaking with.

So, I have 30 days that I am going to find 30 things about me and post here, each day on this blog I have a goal to say one good thing about myself.  At the end of 2014 I want to compile this list into one big blog post and print it for me to read when I am not feeling so good about myself.

I am sure I may have tough days thinking of one but I will.  I hope you will do the same.

What is one thing that makes you amazing ?

 

I AM SO CUTE !
I AM SO CUTE !

 

 

Dodgeball- My True Love Story.

D9

 

7 years ago I entered into a sport, a child’s game really.  Little did I know from the moment I picked up my first Dodgeball that my life would forever become more enriched,  more playful and yes have more bruises, bumps and injuries than ever !  It has all been worth it.  What I also did not realize is how close and important my team mates would become  in my life.

Its started with my first team – Dishin It Out !  which has evolved over time to The Incrediballs, The Dodge Brawlers, Dodge of the Dead, Jolly Dodgers, Jolly Dodgers 2.0, Not you, Fat Jesus and many different team names for tournaments.

D10

Over the years I have tried to become a better player.  I am not the strongest arm on my team by far, nor the best catcher, I am a pretty good dodger I think. Dodgeball does actually take some skill and there are some pretty good athletes playing….umm not me.  I have had the privilege to watch many of my team mates grow and get better over the years.  We have won divisions together, lost together had a lot of fun along the way.

Every week, twice a week and through tournaments I put myself through a little punishment.  I have lost count of the various injuries I have had over the years.  Arguably, if you ask my team I am by far one of the most injury prone and clumsy players out there.  Ask my team mates they will be sure to tell you a “Mini”  Story, there are numerous. !    So why do I keep going back for the punishment

My friends.   Old and new.  Some of who are like an extended family to me.  I love these people and would do pretty much anything for them.  As the years have gone by and I have become more entrenched in the Dodgeball community making countless friends I have become hooked on the social aspect of my sport.  Are there times we get annoyed with each other.  Of course !  We are friends throwing rubber balls at each other, there are bound to be disagreements.  But in the end we still forgive and move on…usually over ice cream or a beer.

It is this community of players who have supported me in two charitable tournaments which would not have been successful without those amazing people helping to raising almost $5000.00 to date for the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Next year brings my third annual tournament and I want to make the experience even better to show my appreciation for my Dodgeballin friends.  We are all great at supporting each other in our endeavors.

Collages 3

Dodgeball has saved my own sanity a few times .  In tough years when my personal life was in shambles the 2 hour a week of game time became my escape.  It was the one place for an hour at a time I could cast my own worries, fears and cares aside and just be free, if even for a brief moment. It was a chance for me to be with people who I care about and hopefully cared about me, having fun.  There were definitely odd moments during these times –( Remember the Percocet incident Brawlers ) but these nights helped me so much to not fall into a hole that could have been tough to come out of.  Over time I got better and the game was no longer an escape but a place I went because I truly loved playing and i loved the people who I played with

DODGEBALL 2 006

So why share all of this?  I LOVE DODGEBALL !!!    I have had to take the most recent season off from playing and I have missed playing immensely.  I have missed seeing my team mates and many others that I use to see on a regular basis.  I have spent time watching my team and photographing them, but it is not the same as being out there on the courts with them.  This season off has truly shown me how important this game is in my life, how important my friends are and how much I love all that Dodgeball encompasses.  Ya it’s just a game, but many of these experiences and people are forever.

To my team mates directly.  Thank you for all these amazing years and experiences.  Thank you for supporting me as your friend in highs and lows.  Thank you for being so much fun, a little crazy and the most amazing people one can surround themselves with.  I love you guys and look forward to my return to playing with you all in 2014.

It’s not just a game, it is has become so much more.

 

Mini

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