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

Heart Attack Stories- Donna Diaz. We All Bleed Red.

Today Please meet Donna Diaz.

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.

 

DONNA DIAZ PIC

 

Who are you?  Name, current age, where are you from?

Donna Diaz, age 49, Cedar Grove, NJ

How old were you when you experienced your heart attack?

48 Years Old

Where were you when it happened?  Tell me your story.  What were your signs and symptoms?  Did you have any pre existing conditions or family history?

We were on a mini vacation Easter weekend (4/19/2014) at The Revel Casino, Atlantic City, NJ.

Seven months earlier went to hospital with indigestion. I was admitted. EKG a little off and mildly elevation troponin level. Had catheterization–showed two 20-30% lesions. Really nothing. Couple of weeks before HA, was tired, felt a little lousy when exercising. Thought it was dehydration. Morning of HA, felt sense of doom. I knew something was wrong. Sweat started to pour off of me. Then severe pain in chest and arms went numb.

Was brought to cath lab right from emergency room. Dr. saw blood clot and 70 blockage. She said they would administer meds to break up clot and scheduled another cath two days later. That morning started to have severe chest pain. LAD had become 100% occluded. I coded and needed to be cardio inverted and resuscitated. They brought me back to cath lab and put in two stents where lesions were.

I had no pre-existing conditions. All my “numbers” were good—blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. Exercised daily. Ate organic paleo diet—lots of green veggies, etc. 5 feet tall 120 pounds. No family history. Only major work stress.

How did this affect your life?  Physically/ Personally?

It has hit me in a major way and truly taken a toll on me. Feel like my body let me down. I did everything right. I live in constant fear that it is going to happen again when I least expect it. In seven months I went from happy and healthy to a train wreck.

What lifestyle changes have you made?  What are your struggles?

I have made no lifestyle changes, except not eating paleo. I now eat wheat again, oats and grains. I have no dietary restrictions. Lots of emotional issues and PTSD.

Stents/ Zipper or Defib ?  What is your situation?

Two stents LAD

What do you fear now?

Everything except death. When I was being resuscitated, I was in a place of great serenity and peace. It was probably a lack of oxygen to my brain, but it was surreal-calm and just so peaceful.

What are three things that are most important in your post heart attack life?

  1. My faith—I would not be here doing this well without it.
  2. Want to live life and do everything and not put anything off.
  3. My family

 

Did you do Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehab was alright. Met lots of nice people. Staff would not let me do much though.

What are your new dreams?

Just to enjoy life as much as possible and live every moment.

What do you wish you could do now that you never tried before but so wish you could?  Eg:  Skydiving.

Ironically, I want to try everything (ok, maybe not sky diving).

Who was there for you?

My sister and my aunt. My husband and my kids were okay, but my aunt and sis really helped me. I posted a mini blog on Facebook about what happened, as a sort of therapy I guess. The outpouring of love and support I received from people I hadn’t seen in years was amazing. It made me feel very loved.  Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my dog, Nellie. She sat next to me day in and day out and never left my side.

What is the funniest thing someone has said or asked about your heart attack?

Most people do not believe me. They said I was one of the healthiest people they ever knew.

Have you had any detractors or people who have been hard on you?

No. I am harder on myself than anyone would ever be.

If you could go back in the past how would you live your life differently?

I wouldn’t. We learn from our past. It is who I am.

What do you want more of in life?

Free time.

Is this the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

Yes.

What makes you great ?

I am easy going and empathetic. I love people and try to please everyone and love to make everyone smile.

What advice would you give to a healthy person?

You never know.

 

 

Heart Attack Stories- Sue Thomas. We All Bleed Red.

My family history of heart disease and early death should have been enough of a mental intervention to supersede any feeling of immortality that I had.   At 53, I was a strong woman…. a mother, a wife, and a business owner.  I was very fit and an avid exerciser, even though admittedly in the last few years stress was taking its toll and I had let some pounds pile on while slacking on my exercise.  I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure in my twenties, but as they say “there’s a pill for that”, and on I went, thinking that my life would continue as per usual.

Sue Thomas Photo

My world started to change with a strange feeling in my throat.  It felt like something was stuck and I couldn’t swallow it down.  For the next 19 hours, as my body was telling me that something was terribly wrong, my mind let fear and denial take over and freeze any intelligent action.  From the tightness in my throat, to pressure in my chest, to shortness of breath, to not being able to lie flat, to jaw soreness and a tingling down my left arm, my symptoms continued to mount.  It wasn’t until I felt an excruciating burning pain in my chest that I decided that “yes, this was happening to me”, and I should go to the hospital.

I now don’t let a minute go by without being thankful that I survived a nearly fatal heart attack.  My LAD artery (the widow maker), had two blockages; one at 99% and one at 80%.  Four days in ICU and 2 stents later, I was sent home.  While still in the hospital, the reality of what had happened to me was sinking in fast, and I knew that I had to take control of my health.   I was told that my genetics were an outstanding factor in my heart health, which to me was another strike against me that perhaps others in my situation didn’t have.  It wasn’t something I could control.  But what I could control was my lifestyle.  My second chance at life was gifted with an enormous sense of empowerment, neither of which I will ever take for granted again.

The advice I got in the hospital on nutrition was to cut my sodium intake and to cut out the mayo and French fries.  Ok, I could do that, but with my genetics I felt I had to do more to save me from being one in the 23% of women who don’t make it within a year of having a heart attack. I also had the personal implantation of watching my father die of his second heart attack within a year of his first , which was a huge driver in my mission to live. I dove into researching everything I could find about heart health and nutrition. By the time I had my first follow up visit to my cardiologist, I had committed to eating a plant based diet, which consisted of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.  I cut out all meat (except for a piece of salmon twice a month), all dairy, eggs, oil and processed foods.  My doctors were a bit shocked but very pleased with my commitment and especially pleased with my weight loss.

One month after my heart attack, I began suffering from shortness of breath, extreme exhaustion and terrible chest pain.  I would notice a pattern of these symptoms coming just hours after my exertion in cardiac rehab.  After much testing which all came back normal, it was decided I should have another angiogram to make sure that there were no other major blockages and that my stents were still open.  My doctor decided to stent a 50% blockage in the mid diagonal artery, which had been noticed in the first angiogram but thought too minor to cause me any problem.   Everything else looked great.

 Unfortunately, the symptoms still persisted, and 3 months later, I was diagnosed with Coronary Microvascular Disease.   The hearts microvessels  assist blood and oxygen transportation that our hearts require when placed under the extra burden of exercise or stress.  Our vessels are lined with endothelial cells which produce nitric oxide to open them when needed. Because of my endothelial dysfunction  the microvessels were not opening, thus causing the pain, exhaustion and shortness of breath. I began to make sense of why I was having such a hard time jumping back into life, let alone jumping at all.

 I knew that my plant based eating was helping to reverse my Coronary Artery Disease, but after more research, learned it was also helping to heal my endothelial cells.  I believe I am also reversing my Microvascular Disease, as I continue to get better, not worse as predicted.

The way I now live my life to the fullest is to first accept responsibility for my health.  My heart was ailing, and even though some of that was not in my control, there was a lot that is. Taking control of how I feed my body, managing stress, and maintaining a positive attitude are huge.

 I might not be able to live the exact life I had before, but I have been given the opportunity to make a different one, a better one.  I have readjusted my goals and my mental energy and now spend time helping others with heart disease with my voluntary project called Heart Hungry.  Through talking to others via online heart support groups, doctors and insurance case workers, I learned that many people who suffer from heart disease don’t have the time, energy, resource or willpower to take control of what they can.   For two years now, I have been gathering information focused on plant based nutrition and heart disease, collecting and trying recipes, and share it all on my Heart Hungry social media pages.   

Knowing that I might be helping someone with this information does my heart good.  One beat at a time!

Please check out her blog at  :  https://www.facebook.com/HeartHungry?ref=bookmarks and her  Heart Hungry pinterest page, where I have over 1000 heart healthy recipes (all plant based, low sodium, no fat, little or no oil) I test and try: https://www.pinterest.com/hearthungry/.

 

Sue Thomas.

Heart Attack Stories- Melissa Gillett. We All Bleed Red.

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.

 Today, please meet Melissa Gillett.

My name is Melissa Gillett and I am 52 years old and have lived in San Diego, CA for the last 8 years, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Melissa Gillett

I was 42 years old when I had my first heart attack.  I was a banker and was working many hours in a stressful job.  I was also a smoker, for 30 years!  I was told by my doctor on a visit a few months before my HA “ what do you want?  Your life or your job?”  What a question from your Dr.!   Well, I had just sold my house, so I thought…I’ll quit my job and lay by the pool at my new apt for the summer and then find another job.  My children were 15, 19, 22 and I was a single Mom.

  I started my summer by quitting my job, going to the library to get many books and laying out every day at the pool reading.  It was relaxing or so I thought.

  I didn’t feel good about 2 months or more before my HA, my teeth hurt, my jaw felt tired all the time, like I was chewing gum for years.  I just didn’t feel good.  One day after getting out of the hot tub I couldn’t breathe, I felt tingly all over and weird, it passed.  3 days later it happened again and lasted longer and it was a more painful this time.  I mentioned it to my sister, who is a MD and she said if it happens again, call 911…(she’s always over protective of us, I’m not calling 911!) 

  Well, it happened again right after a massage, I was standing out with my masseur smoking a cig and it happened.  She said I looked grey and asked if I was ok, I said yes and drove home in pain the whole wait, it didn’t go away this time…I called my sister and my parents and then 911….I was laying on my bed not knowing what was going on.

  A Heart Attack never even crossed my mind, I was sweating, nauseated and wanted to pull my jaw off.  Once the EMT got there, of course it went away…I didn’t want to go to the hospital…but I did…my sister was in the ambulance with me and when we got to the ER she told them to work me up for a heart attack…the doc looked at her and said….no…she’s a woman, young, not over weight it can’t be a Heart Attack!!  Right then and there on the table I had another one….the look on my Mom’s face was the worst…I was in pain and she couldn’t help me….they rushed me to Cath Lab and stented one side of my ramus that was 99% blocked.


I was in the hospital for 5 days and was getting ready to go home when my jaw started hurting again….they took me back to cath lab and stented the other side of the ramus which was blocked….I  came home after another 3 days and was scared to death it was going to happen again.

I learned to live with the fear and decided to go to school to become a X Ray technologist….I had quit smoking but everyone at school smoked, so I started again (stupid) it was stressful going to school and doing clinical but I loved it.  Half way through my 2 yr program I had another Heart Attack, I was at home by myself and stressed out because I lost my engagement ring….it hit me hard…I called my son to come home and then 911….the last thing I remember for 15 days, is my son putting his hand under my nose to see if I was still breathing.  I died and they used the paddles on me twice in the ambulance and once again in the ER.  I was intubated for 13 days and they called my family in not knowing if I was going to make it.  I remember waking up trying to pull out the tube so I could breathe….I opened my eyes and remember seeing my nephew and saying hi to him, I didn’t remember much of anything else.  I kept asking questions, I had short term memory problems, I still have some memory problems now.

   I cry as I write this.  The memory is so scary but I’m so thankful to still be here!  Cardiac Arrest now in my mind of fears.

  Two years after this I was helping my daughter with her 13 month old son while awaiting the birth of her twin girls….they were born on Oct. 5th and Oct. 7th.  During that time I had another Heart Attack and was in the same hospital as the twins…Because this hospital was out of town, they really didn’t know my history.  I received another stent.  More fear….another year passed and another HA and stent.


In total, I’ve had 4 Heart Attacks, cardiac arrest, 4 stents, and 15 angioplasties …..I have prinz metal, CAD.  It’s been a rough ride!  And you should see the size of my medical records!!!

My life has been profoundly affected.  I remember a gal at church telling me that God has big plans for me and I ought to be afraid!!!  hahaha!!!

People ask me if I saw the light when I died, I do not remember if I did but I do remember hearing the MOST beautiful music I’ve ever heard, not earthly but heavenly music.  I have no fear of dying, I just don’t want to right now !  I don’t know where I’m going but I want to enjoy my life to the fullest, I’ve learned to be grateful for every day I open my eyes and try to live in the moment.

I did do cardiac rehab after my cardiac arrest…..then I moved to San Diego and have not…..I need to get back in the exercise mode!

3 things most important to me now are :  My family, friends, and spending time with them!

My new dreams are to build my business so that I can help as many people as I can, see the world, do the things on my bucket list…which is growing daily!  Hahah.

I’m not sure I wish to do anything I haven’t tried….I do wish I could still ride roller coasters!

My husband, my whole family has always been my biggest support….I have many friends too.I didn’t lose anyone that was worth keeping around….I was not going to deal with drama or have the life sucked out of me by negative people…so they are gone!’

The things that are said, maybe not funny but ….”its hard to remember that you are sick because you look so good”, “are you sure you’re Melissa Gillett?” as the nurse walks in the room with my chart!  “you’re lying, right? no way have you had HA’s”

If I could go back in life…I would NOT smoke…would listen to my Mom, she was right about everything.  I would also  finish school before marriage!

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced…and I think because it’s always on going, it never goes away but over the years I’ve learned to deal with it better….maybe!

I’m great because I’m made in the imagine of my loving heavenly Father….I’m a daughter of the King!

My advice to others, don’t smoke, learn to do something you love to rid your body of stress, find your passion in life and share it with the world.

Thank you for reading my story,

 

Melissa Gillett

Heart Attack Stories- Heather Remus. We All Bleed Red.

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.

 Today, please meet Heather Remus.

HEATHER REMUS PIC

 

My name is Heather and when I was only 30 years old I had 3 heart attacks.  I survived and I’m here to spread awareness to all. You don’t have to be old to have a heart attack. 
Here is my story. 

It was August 14,2013

 I got up and went and picked up my fiancées mother and took her to work. I got home was sitting on the couch talking to my fiancée and got a heavy and pressure feeling in my chest that quickly turned to pain. Ashleigh (my other half) asked me if I was ok and I said I don’t know I feel funny.  I got up and headed to the bathroom and felt more pain. I came back to the living room and told her if I didn’t know better I would think I was having a heart attack. My chest hurt, my right arm, jaw and side of my head hurt, my chest was on fire. I had Ashleigh drive me to the ER.

   I told them everything that was going on the did an ekg and chest x-rays told me I had a panic attack gave me a dose of atavan and sent me home.

   That Saturday the same thing happened only the pain was worse. I went back to the ER this time they told me I had acid reflux and carpal tunnel gave me a GI cocktail and again sent me home. I made an appointment to see a primary care physician to follow up. My appointment was Wednesday August 21st. At 2am on the 21st I woke up in excruciating pain in my chest.   Ashleigh was at work, I called her and told her it was happening again.

 Luckily for me our friend had crashed on our couch that night who also happened to be an EMT. Ashleigh tried calling her phone but it didn’t wake her up. I finally gathered the strength to walk to the living room and wake her up. She grabbed my 3 kids and got me to the car and she took me to the ER.

 I told the Dr everything once again and after my 3rd EKG, showing nothing he decided to do blood work. It came back with high levels of traponin.  He came and told me that there was something wrong with my heart but he didn’t know what so they called in a cardiologist and I was going to have a heart cath.  I held it together but I was dying inside, I was scared as hell. I sent a text to my sister and told her what was going on and asked  when it got a bit later if she would call our parents and tell them what was going on. I live in Michigan my family is all in Florida. She said ok.

   About 7:00am rolled around and the cardiologist showed up, they had to call one from another hospital because the one here wasn’t available. He did the cath and told me I had a blockage and he was going to fix it but I had to be transported to another hospital. I still had no idea that a blockage meant a heart attack. He called for them to take me by ambulance. Lights and sirens all the way to Detroit. I have never felt so alone as I did in that rig all the way there. I was taken to the cath lab and came out with a new stent. After the procedure he explained to me what he did and I remember talking to Ashleigh and them telling me I had a heart attack. I couldn’t believe it. She had called my mom who got on the first plane she could. I was only 30. I had 100% occlusion of my LAD caused by a spontaneous coronary artery dissection. I was told by 5 doctors I’m lucky to be alive. I had 3 major heart attacks in a week and was sent home for the first 2.

  I am grateful to be alive. I get to see my kids grow up. Every day is a gift and we are here for a reason. Some days it is hard to deal with. Some days I feel like shit. Some days I’m depressed about it. Everyday I’m scared it will happen again. But every morning I wake up is better than the alternative and I thank God I am alive.

You can view her Facebook Page for Young Heart Attack Awareness by following the link below.

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=783130568411065

HEART ATTACK SURVIVORS UNITE !

That Moment I met someone who inspires me.  Sarah Klena.

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There are few people I admire or look up to in this world.  Those whom I do are those who have risen above the tough situations in which they have experienced.  Over the coming weeks I am going to acknowledge some of these amazing people.  Each of them has a special place in my Heart for different reasons.

One of those people is my heart sister, fellow Heart Attack Survivor, Sarah Klena from http://heartattackat31.blogspot.com/  .  I met Sarah through her blog and she even wrote a guest post here on my blog in February which I recommend you read.  We have interacted back and forth though Facebook sharing our experiences with each other and getting to know each other.

 I was in Disneyworld a few weeks ago and sent her a message asking if she would like to meet for dinner.  Plans were made.  We met on Dec 3rd at Raglan Road- A great Irish Pub ! ( my favorite place in Downtown Disney !)

To say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement.  Reading her blog shortly after my Heart Attack was so helpful and inspiring for me.  To me, it was meeting a someone who gave me hope in my recovery through reading her experiences on her blog.  She inspires, for what she survived, how she’s recovered and the attitude and honesty she chose to display.  She chose to share her story to help herself and others.

We met around 5:00 pm. I walked into the front door and there she was.  A beaming smile and a welcoming hug.  She looked healthy, beautiful and full of life.  She is also a little taller than me haha.

I was unsure of what to expect or how the night would go.  I will say this, we both can talk… A LOT. 

I cannot remember what we ordered, I do know we ate pretty healthy and that the food was pretty awesome.

I won’t go into all the details of our conversation but I will say this.  Nothing is more refreshing than speaking with someone who had been through what you have and truthfully, she definitely was far luckier than me to have survived.  Sarah had not ONE but TWO Heart Attacks and survivede at the age of 31.

One thing we both agreed on is that once something like this happens to you at such a young age you almost feel an obligation to help others, get the word out, tell people about what happened, how it can happen, how to prevent it happening.   We both would not want others to experience a Heart Attack, we both have a desire to help others and get the word out.   We are young and never thought this could happen to us.

We talked about the scary moments, being a slight hypochondriac at times, the differing emotions and experiences, the recovery and how amazing life can be.

We spent a lot of time laughing, talking about our lives post Heart Attack, how others reacted, treated us, what they said ( some people say some funny things, trust me !)  She told me of something great about her personal life! ( seriously exciting news but hers to share, not mine.  It is not on her blog yet haha !)  Before we knew it, it was past 9:00 pm and we had lost track of time.  We probably could have spoken for hours, maybe even days more.

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We almost didn’t take a photo !  We asked the server if he would take a photo of us on both our phones, and my camera.  After all, how could we have met and not had a photo together right?  

I could tell you so much more about that night however, the most important part was just being in the moment and meeting a friend that I met through chance and experience. A friend who has inspired me on my journey.  Not that I recommend having a Heart Attack to meet new friends  😉

I will say this about Sarah.  She is humble, has good energy, great attitude, is friendly, funny, engaging, strong, motivated, healthy and has a smile that has presence and light.

I have watched this amazing woman become a huge advocate for women’s heart health in the United States since the time I first sent her an email.

Time to brag about her a bit and share a few of her accomplishments.  She has appeared in the November Issue of Good House Keeping, spoken for Go Red for Women through the American Heart Association and recently appeared on an episode of Doctor Oz- Dec 17, 2013.  You can watch her 2 segments here:  http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948074010001

And here: http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-viewers-who-saved-their-own-lives?video_id=3948090061001

Thank you Sarah for a great evening and great conversation. Here’s to friendship, good health and kicking Heart Attack’s ass !  Now, I’ll have to get you and Lina up to Canada  haha.

-Mini-

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.

The Inspiration Inside.

Sunday June 1st I completed the Jugo Juice 10 K race at the Calgary Marathon in a time of 1 hour, 10 mins, 47 seconds unofficially at the moment.

The moment I crossed the finish line I finally became my own inspiration and my own hero.

IPHONE JUNE 14 581

Why do I say this ?  Because I became a firsthand witness to all it took to get there, to take the first steps and fight back on the hard days. There were definitely hard days. So. Many. Hard. Days.

 Is it narcissistic of me?  Maybe.  But not really.  I rarely toot my own horn.

Most people I know have people who they look up to for inspiration.  It could be an actor, athlete a friend or family member.  I too have had past inspirational people I have looked up to. But I wonder why can’t someone be their own inspiration ?

The answer:  because we focus on what’s wrong with us or are ashamed of our stories to really inspire ourselves. We are afraid of Judgement, ridicule.  We pick at the lack of success or the body parts we hate or the last 10 lbs.  We do not realize how great we really are or even how others may see us.

I am willing to bet you have at least one person who you have inspired.  Think about it, you may realize by someone’s actions that it was you who helped them make that change or take that step.  Now…look in the mirror and realize that you can and have it in you to inspire yourself to new levels. Stop worrying about what others think of your story, you may be surprised at the support you get.

IPHONE JUNE 14 585

I use to hate when people said I inspire them, I was uncomfortable, uneasy.  Who am I to inspire?  I thought I was a complete screw up.   A life screw up.  I focused on my bad decisions, the failures.  I hated my so called lot in life for so long.  Not anymore.

Then I had a Heart Attack. It was the best thing that could have happened. Truth.

It wasn’t until after that I really started seeing my own self worth and yes even why some people said to me that they are inspired by me…..even long before this Heart Attack. 

Through months of rehab, to making better lifestyle choices and never giving up and realizing the sweat and pain was going to get me somewhere, I took the step to the start line of the 10 K.

My friend Sam ran this race with me and I met up with  2 other Cardiac Rehab graduates before the race.  15,000 people took a step that day, that is a huge accomplishment in itself.

jugo3

The race wasn’t easy but wasn’t hard either. It was amazing for me, exhilarating, fun.  I spent the previous week being nervous.  Could I do it ?  Would my heart hold up ?  Was my training adequate ?

Yes, Yes and Yes. 

As each step brought me closer to the finish line I smiled knowing that all I have been through made it all worth it.

As I crossed the finish line I realized for the first time, that all along as I was looking around for inspiration to get better, to be healthy and take steps forward in my life but it took finishing that race to realize……I had it in me the entire time.  My own will to succeed, my determination and my attitude of never give up.

Me and my litel buddy Olaf !
Me and my litel buddy Olaf !

I will still get uneasy when people tell me I inspire them, for I don’t do well with compliments and I am just simply a man trying to live as best I can for as long I can.

 I will smile knowing that as long as I keep inspiring myself then maybe, just maybe I can be an inspiration to others.

June 1, 2014, I became my own hero.  My own Inspiration.  Friends, YOU have this inside you, just look a little deeper when you look in that mirror.

 Mini

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