1st Half Marathon Post Heart Attack- What an experience !

My First Half Marathon Post Heart Attack !

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It took me a while to write this.  I had to sort through all my thoughts on this race.

I trained hard, I was dedicated, I pushed when I wanted to give up, kept going to the gym even when I didn’t feel like it.  Every moment leading up to the race was a challenge.  I was as ready as I was going to be.  My mind, my body felt strong.

Now, before I dive into this further please understand I am very proud of finishing the race and no one can take that away from me.  The pride and the finish.

I spent time before the race meeting friends, taking photos and having my photo taken many times thanks to people loving my race shirt ! The Shirt….that is for another post.

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To say I was nervous would be the biggest understatement of the day. 

I was ready to take this race and make it mine.  In my training I had felt amazing, was running an 11:45 min/mile.  I only had a few blips while training but worked through it smartly.

Smart.  That here is the key word my friends.  I trained not for speed, I trained to be smart, healthy and to ensure I was having fun.  Trained not to think too much about my heart attack and what could go wrong.  I felt so amazing !

Then came race day.  Up at the crack of crazy ( 3am) for a start time of 7:00 am.  I never publicly stated I had a goal but in my head I wanted to finish in 2:25.  That is what I trained for.

I won’t detail every kilometre, I promise. 

The course was amazing, flat, scenic.  The weather was cool at the start and quite warm as the race progressed.  The first kilometre and a half I ran with my friend Susan but realized her 9 min per mile pace was too much for me and out of my training zone.  I let her go ahead because I did not want her to stay behind for me.  I really wanted to do the whole race with her but realized she was a lot faster than I was.  Respect the pace, respect the distance is exactly what was going through my head.

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The first 5 KM I felt amazing, was matching my 12 min/ mile pace and just before the 5 km mark I stopped to see my friend Danielle who was waiting kindly for me by the Starbucks in Bridgeland.  It was so good to see my friend Danielle on the course, it gives you a little boost to keep pushing forward.  I took a photo with her and off I went.

Danielle and I :)
Danielle and I 🙂

 

As I ran back across Memorial Drive I was loving the race having fun with other runners and was still keeping a 12 min mile but  that was not to last much longer.

It was slightly before reaching 17th avenue that a little fatigue had started to set in.  This was between kilometre 8 and 9.   

17th Avenue.  What do I say about this part of the course ? It was definitely the worst part of the entire course.  It was 2.5 km of uneven roads, pot holes and a narrowing of the course.  Pedestrians crossed at a few points from the sides of the street.  Just before Kilometre 10 is when my race started to go downhill.

I went to pass 3 runners who were running side by side by side.  As I cut to the right I hit a dip in the road hard, twisted my knee, tried to brace myself from falling right over ( BIG MISTAKE !).  It took about another KM before I started feeling immense pain.  Now in theory this could have absolutely ruined my race but something great came out of it.  The Injury?  A Sprained Knee which I am still battling the pain of a few weeks later.

I MAY JUST BE IN A LITTLE PAIN HERE :(
I MAY JUST BE IN A LITTLE PAIN HERE 🙁

 

As I went to walk to the side once the pain started, I bumped into a young woman, apologized and we laughed.  This woman would be one of 2 that I ran/ walked the rest of the race with.  Her name was Lindsay.  The other girl was Shona.

The rest of the race we paced each other, taking walk breaks and although I admitted being in pain, I downplayed it.  I remember at one point,  Shona had said I was the reason she was running and staying in it.  That was awesome to hear and yes, it motivated my ass to keep going.

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318778_199516843_XLargeMy pace slowed to between 14-16 minutes per mile.  There were far more walk breaks than I had hoped for but I knew pushing harder would have made this injury worse.  So I did what I seem to do best in hard situations.  

I laughed.  I danced.  I chatted with those around me.  I posed as I ran past cameras.  I hugged a random person.  I pretended to be Superman, only, I was missing my Lois Lane.  My Knee was my race kryptonite but it would not wreck my spirit.  I kept repeating encouragement to my run mates as they did with me. This race was still mine.

 

The final kilometre was upon us and yes I continued to run/walk right up until the final corner where I ran, in tons of frickin pain but I ran.  That finish line looked so close and yet so far away.  The three of us kinda split at the end.  I would run into Lindsay again at Bag Check and a few days later on Instragram.

Crossing the finish line.  OH. MY. GOD.  So much awesome that it is hard to put into words.

I Crossed, I Cried ( that is again  for another post), crouched to my knees after crossing, got up and walked up to… and this is where it gets really cool.

 Her name is Sarah Lynn Stephens.  The day before the race she saw me at the packet pick up and told me I would finish and do amazing. Little did I know til later that the girl I got my medal from, who’s shoulder I cried on was the same girl who had encouraged me before the race.  A Girl who’s sister is actually on one of my Dodgeball teams.  Small World.  318778_199763060_XLarge

Seriously such an awesome finish, I would not have changed a thing.

The Race was fun, tough, but fun.  My Heart felt amazing, not once was I worried about my heart. It was my heart that got me through to the finish.  My body was up to the task at hand and I had fun for the entire 21.1 km.  I made a couple new friends, experienced brief emotion ( again a different post), finished a race and became very proud of what I accomplished even if it wasn’t the goal time I had hoped. 

 

 

 

So what else is there to say?

 

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When you set out to accomplish a goal, No matter how hard you train, how prepared you are…..Sometimes things don’t go as you had hoped or planned.  Sometimes we search and try for one thing but discover another.  There is no reason to be disappointed if you don’t get your time or PR and complete your goal.  Use it to move forward but don’t beat yourself up, be proud of what you did accomplish and look for what made the experience great. 

 

For me, it was two women who made me laugh, crossing the finish line, crying on the shoulder of someone who said they were proud of me and in the end……Kicking Heart Disease’s Ass for yet another day.

-MINI-

 

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The post that wasn’t……Trained Well. What Are You Afraid Of ?

Before you read the actual blog post below, there is something I must say.

I wrote the following a few days before I ran my Half Marathon.  I did not post this because although I wanted to believe the words, a part of me was still too scared to share what was going through my head.  These words got into my head after I wrote this so, I decided not to post.

Until tonight.

Why is it that we all are afraid to admit what scares us ?  Even when we feel confident outwardly we still don’t share.  So, my friends, I was sacred, scared enough not to share.  I can’t let continuous fear hold me back, so here it goes… Read on, if you wish.

 

TRAINED WELL……WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF ?

If you have trained well, what are you afraid of ?

This question was posed the other day in a conversation when I was discussing my upcoming Half Marathon as well as my training the last few months.

I have put a lot of time into my training, truthfully, it has almost been to the point of obsession.  I have never felt more focused in training than I have the last few months.  I want to have my best run ever.

So, what am I afraid of ?

Well, for starters, I have run 5 previous Half Marathons.  I was training for my 6 th when my Heart Attack Occurred.  OK, well it didn’t happen while running but it happened a few weeks before my big race.

I know exactly what it takes to run 22 kms, 13.1 miles.  I know the toll it can take on the body. I know how hard it can be mentally.  The internal battles with every step.  I know how the elements of weather can change and affect a persons body.

 

My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.
My First Half Marathon- Jan 2012 in Disneyworld.

I am now doing this race knowing all of this and being aware that I have Heart Disease, that I am running with a 70 % blockage that was never surgically fixed. Let that sink in a bit.  Not to mention the various other 70’s and 50’s you can see in the pics below.

It is like being told before you start something that you are already have a disadvantage. This is a a disadvantage that you must overcome and no one around you would know. 

That part will never leave my head.

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This is the farthest distance I will have run consistently in 2 years.  My highest training mileage was 15 kms in the controlled environment of the Gym.  Kinda protected I’d say, wouldn’t you ?

To be clear, I do not fear death.

I fear the headaches.  I have been battling a small concussion for a few weeks now which has limited some running and other activities.  They have subsided for the most part.

I do fear that as prepared as I am, that my heart could shut me down.  Not another Heart Attack.  I fear not being able to finish the race that I have been so dedicated to training for.

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I mean, if my heart races too hard or the heat makes it too hard on my heart that I will have to pull out of the race. I will pull out.

It plays in my head that maybe I am not trained enough or that my heart may not quite be up to the challenge.

I fear my lack of emotion since my Heart Attack.

I fear the effect of my medications,

Let me explain.  

Most of my training was has been at night, 12-16 hours after I have taken my medication, a couple hours before I take my night time meds.

I take medication that does suppress my heart rate and my blood pressure.  I will have to take these within about an hour or two before my race.  So what is the effect ?

I have trained my heart rate to be at a consistent 145- 150 beats per minute at night while running. Given that I am taking my meds so close to race time, it will seem like more work and most likely my heart rate during the race won’t exceed 125-130.  I have done exercise on meds before but it has been a while, so, I truthfully don’t know how hard this could end up being.

My biggest fear ultimately is that I will let these thoughts get to me at some point during those 22 km.  I am so afraid that I will allow these fears to overtake the strengths I know I have and ultimately make me give up out of fear.

So why write about this ? Because tonight and until I cross that finish line I am giving a big F YOU  to these thoughts.  Why ? Because I have let them control me the last few weeks. and I am taking control back, for me, for my goal.

So, to answer the question.

 Today I fear nothing because I know I can do this.  I have already beaten many challenges in the last 20 months and I will finish this race.

I will finish because I am strong, I am healthy, I am confident and I am trained as best I can.  Let’s not forget… I am also…..

Pretty. Damn. Awesome.

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My First 10 K – 9 Months after my Heart Attack.

Mini

 

 

7 DAYS

7 Days from now I will run my first Half Marathon Post Heart Attack.

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7 Days from now I will put my training and hard work to the test.

7 Days from now, I will be 100% focused.

7 Days from now I will equipped and prepared.

7 Days from now I will face fear head on.

7 Days from now I will beat my fear.

7 Days from now I will take the first step to more races.

7 Days from now I will encourage others as I run.

7 Days from now I will have fun.

7 Days from now I will dance on the course.

7 Days from now I will feel physical pain.

7 Days from now I will beat that pain.

7 Days from now I will feel joy.

7 days from now I will embrace that joy.

7 days from now I will run, walk, crawl if I have to.

7 days from now I will finish the race, even if it’s in last place.

7 Days from now…..Simply….I WILL.

 

Mini.

Dear Universe, Thank You.

 

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Dear Universe,

 Thank you.  On  April 23, 2014 I took a chance and asked you to help me.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable and put something publicly out into the world.

As you know Universe, I was struggling in the area of employment.  I had a 3 month goal in my head.

As you know Universe, you had other plans.  You made me wait, be patient, you had me make a few errors and re asses my worth and what I thought I should be doing vs what I should be open to.

As you know Universe, it took 10 months and a few adventures along the way, even re visiting an old “stomping ground” in July.  Little did I know that would be the start of my turning point.  You knew.

Thank you Universe for being patient with me. 

Thank you Universe for showing me things about myself that helped me regain some confidence.  Confidence in my worth as an employable asset.  As a human being.

Thank you Universe for allowing me to try a few jobs that got my thought process going.  Jobs that didn’t work because I felt constrained.

Thank you Universe for giving me some free time to rest and re charge.  I needed it and I fought it but you made it happen.

Thank you Universe for showing me that asking for help and seeking guidance is absolutely ok and not something to be ashamed of.

Thank you Universe for showing me that the value of my friendships and my ability to stay connected on a human level helping others is karma which can be returned by the right people.

Thank you Universe for testing, challenging and kicking my butt in gear.  I like challenges and you knew that.

Thank you Universe for giving me the strength and ability to realize I can be myself and sell myself in an interview. To just be Mark.

Thank you Universe for making me open to an opportunity that has so far been amazing.

Thank you Universe for presenting me with a job, a place where I finally feel like I fit in and can be utilized through growth and learning that I am finally open to.

Thank you Universe mostly for helping me to see me and putting me on a journey that has just begun. 

Most of all Universe for making me accountable,  thank you for having Faith in me when I was full of self doubt.

In a world where we get beaten down, lose confidence in ourselves, we fail to take a shot when we need it most.  It is scary and you can be judged.  Do it anyway.  The only person you are battling is you.  You are all that matters.  In the end succeed or fail, you gave it a shot.  Don’t give up.  Thank yourself and the Universe when you see the direction in which you may have been blind to before.

 I took it, I made it public.  I made myself accountable to what I asked.  It wasn’t easy but I am here, I am thankful and I have a job I am finally happy with again. 

Thank you Universe for opportunity.

Thank you Universe, I put it out there and you showed me the way.

Sincerely,

Mark.

 

 

 

 

HEART ATTACK STORIES- LISA URBAN DOWLING- 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 Lisa Urban Dowling.

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

I am Lisa Urban Dowling.  I am currently 48.  I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, but have lived in St. Augustine, FL for the past 25 years

How old were you when you experienced your heart attack?

I was 46

Where were you when it happened?  Tell me your story.

I was at home, alone, while my 7 year old daughter spent the week with her dad and his girlfriend.  Since it was a holiday weekend (4th of July), I had asked if I could stop by and see her.  They decided that it would not be a good idea.  I let myself get pretty worked up about the situation.  I then decided that I would paint my great room.  While I was painting, I was talking to a friend of mine.  I all of a sudden felt as if an elephant was standing on my chest.  It was very strange and did not really go away.  I took my blood pressure (I have had high blood pressure previously during times of stress) and it was WAY high!  Like 260/150 high.  I decided that it was a faulty reading, and that I needed blood pressure medicine.  It was a Friday, so I found some old med in my medicine chest.  I had another round of pains two nights later (Sunday). I didn’t have a general practitioner, but I called one and was told that they couldn’t see me until Thursday.   I had pains again on Tuesday, but breathed through them and they seemed to lessen.  On Thursday, I went to the new doctor.  She checked me out, did an ekg in office, saw some abnormalities, called a cardiologist to see me the next day, and sent me to have blood work drawn.  That evening she called and said that I showed heart damage and needed to go straight to the hospital.  My ex grabbed my daughter, his girlfriend took me to the hospital, and I called my parents who lived out of state to come.

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The next morning, I had a heart cath with attempt to stent.  My LAD is 100% blocked and could not be removed, but my EF is still at 55 – 58.  I have had a Mayo consult, and they agree that I should be medically managed at this point.  It was something called SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) – rare, most common in perimenipausal or post partum women.

What were your signs and symptoms?  Did you have any pre existing conditions or family history ?

Not really – some slight hypertension.  I got too worked up, Elephant on chest.

How did this affect your life?  Physically/ Personally? 

I was so tired on the medication, but being a single mom, I really didn’t take much time off.  I did cardiac rehab.  My cholesterol and everything is fine.  I watch what I eat, try to eat Mediterranean and try to stay active.  I also let a lot of things go so that I don’t stress.

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

I am a little less type A.  I also live very in the moment, especially spending time with my daughter.

Stents/ Zipper or Defib ?  What is your situation?

None for now.  Part of my heart is dead – the distal apex.  But dead is dead, so not much that can be done.  Will need defib in future if it gives off faulty signals.

What do you fear now ?

Not being here for my daughter.

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

My daughter, spending time with my family, leaving a positive impact on others.

Did you do Cardiac Rehab?  What has been the hardest part of your recovery ?

I did and it was helpful.  The weight gain (caused by menopause or medication)

What are your new dreams ?

I want to work at becoming a life coach so that I can help others more.  (I taught high school and middle school English for 20 years, and now work as a service and sales rep for a great family owned photography company).

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

I want to travel more! Paris, Hawaii…

Who was there for you?

My family.  The friends I told.  My ex and his girlfriend.

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Did you lose many people after ?

Several high school acquaintances have died due to heart attacks since mine.  

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

Not really.  I seem so healthy that it is a shock to most.

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

I wouldn’t!  I have lived a great life and made a difference to many, which is how I measure.

What do you want more of in life ?

Peace, fun, time with my daughter, travel, love.

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What makes you great ?

My positive, upbeat, helpful spirit.

What advice would you give to a healthy person?

Love your kids, spend time with your loved ones.

HEART ATTACK STORIES- RACHEL TURNER- WE ALL BLEED RED.

Today Please meet Rachel Turner .

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.

 

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

Rachel Turner, 38, Auckland New Zealand

How old were you when you experienced your heart attack?

35 Years Old

 

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Where were you when it happened?  Tell me your story. What were your signs and symptoms?

Started 2pm,  July 20, 2011 with severe reflux and generalised body aches and lethargy (seriously thought I was coming down with flu or such).

 I  went to work 3-11pm shift at a local accident and medical.   I had joked with my husband that if a pateint came in with these symptoms and was 10+ years older we would do ECG and refer them to hospital.    But yeah, I thpught,  nah,  I must be over reacting.   At work few people commented I looked a bit unwell, said I felt like getting flu. Discussed with senior nurse on duty but agreed ecg was probably over reacting. Walking to get dinner that night from subway felt like legs made of lead and short of breath just  walking 50 m each way on flat. Finished shift went home. Next morning woke feeling even worse, dizzy when standing, nauseous, had vomiting and diarrhoea. At home alone with 2 year old son, husband at work and when phoned not able to come home. Rang few friends & neighbours but no one free and given hard time for wanting someone to drive me to drs or hospital for bag IV fluids. (Have birth defect in kidney so get dehydrated really quickly with d& v which i thought it was). Syptoms at this point, dizzy, reflux, d/v. Father in law agreed to come and pick up my son but not take me to hospital or dr.

Rang ambulance embarassed as not able to drive self safely just to get a bag of iv fluids. Ambulance and father in law arrived, had crawled out to lounge with son as he was too short to reach the handle on the door and open it. He was so cute he just sat by mummy until help came. I joked with ambulance staff as they were concerned about tracing of my heart, but in past due to kidney ecgs when i was dehydrated showed weird rythms. So i thought everyone overreacting. Got to hospital (lights no sirens) at 9am. Taken into cubicle, nurse took one look at me laying on stretcher and went  ah no we are going around to resus ( at this point i’m thinking oh come on just give me a bag of fluids and send me home to bed). Sat up and they said okay cut clothes of, me no way they were my nice pj’s, so took them off thinking overreacting. TOP cardiac specilaist/ medical director of the whole hospital walks in. I knew him from my post grad nursing placement 13 years previously, so said hi Dr Hart (Seriously his name). Floored by his next comment, ” forget chest xray lets get her to angio” in my mind, ” f me it is a heart attack, bugger” still not freaked out. 2 hours later came out of angiography having had a stent put in main anterior left ascending artery, 100% blockage at spot called the widow maker.  Saw husband by the trolley as I am wheeled up to the coronary  ward, said to him “suppose this means no more babies” ” ah yes” his only reply.

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Did you have any pre existing conditions or family history ?

Birth defect left kidney (benign), fluctuating hypertension thought to be due to kidney. Most family live to their 80s with some heart disease in late 70’s. Since my ha both parents have been found to have developed high cholesterol. My cholesterol was 5.4 at time of heart attack (NZ normal is <5). Had chest pain a few times previously and had seen my cardiologist and even had had an exercise test negative.

 

Did this affect your life? / ?

Yes but not really, hubby and I are really roll with the stuff life throws at you people, if you can’t prevent it accept it and get on with life. Kept in hospital for 5 days as staff were concerned we weren’t taking it seriously (we were but why cry over something no one saw coming). My cardiologist was in the angio room that day and didn’t realize it was me until when my husband rang him that night. He just thought there were 2 people with my name and age in Auckland.

Physically for a year had to watch energy levels, couldn’t walk up steep drives, hanging washing up was hard as everytime lifted arms above head all the blood drained out of them and i would start puffing. etc. Now I have resumed my normal activities and life I don’t do marathons but can jog if the need arises and walk neighbors puppy 20 mins twice a week. Work 2 partime nursing jobs 32 hours per week, have an energetic 5 year old, am on school commitee. 

 Personally We have decided not to have a second child purely due to fact IF I ran into heart issues we would have to immediately terminate and that in our mind is no way to enter a pregnancy. We have a wonderful little man and to us it is selfish to risk him having to grow up with no mummy or one with serious heart issues. 

What lifestyle changes have you made ? 18 months ago changed job from 24 hour per week at a & E to working in community as a Parkinson’s community educator( Parkinson’s nurse in USA). We had worked out my angina triggers- poor sleep improved with son getting older and having his tonsils out. Working with certain people who increase my stress levels exponentially- changed job. Avoid certain people when not feeling at best (MIL), Low iron levels.

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 What are your struggles ?

 Pacing myself and not taking on too much (I hate to disappoint people)

Stents/ Zipper or Defib ?   What is your situation?

Stent x1 ejf 35%, Had 2nd angio at 6 months all clear stent good. HAd echo at 3 months back to normal EJF 55-65%, repeated at 3year mark normal and small patch of hypoplasticity visable on all echos, on some meds and 5 year recall to cardiologist and echo.

What do you fear now ?

Repeat MI

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

Son, husband, living my life to fullest.

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Did you do Cardiac Rehab?  What has been the hardest part of your recovery ?

Yes I did Cardiac Rehab.  The hardest part is the fact people don’t believe I had a full proper heart attack OR think i am broken somehow and unable to make own decisions rationally.

What are your new dreams ?

Grandchildren, retiring and travelling with husband in 20-30 years.

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

 Nothing,  I hate heights, cold water and roller coasters.

Who was there for you? 

My husband and son.

Did you lose many people after ?

No,  everyone soon realized I was still me and not fragile.

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

Nothing was said that was funny.

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

 A lot of people did not believe that i had actually had a heart attack or they thought i was over exaggerating the severity of it. Boss at a&e called me into a disciplinary meeting one year after my ha as i had had too much time off sick with my ha. (I was back at work part time 8 weeks after heart attack and back to normal 24 hours per week by 4 months, she had been a senior nurse until promoted @ 6 months after my heart attack).

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

 Drink more, party more, not be afraid of life.

What do you want more of in life ?

 Time with my husband and son and not have to work so much

Is this the hardest thing you have ever experienced ? 

 Yes and no,  yes as it held me back for a year and everyone fussed over me, and no not the most painful- prior to this had had 13 kidney stones and since have put lower back out that hurt more, and went thru 2 periods of abuse in late teens.

What makes you great ? 

 Sense of humor, desire to help others, my husband and son, without them I  would just be mediocre.

What advice would you give to a healthy person?

 Don’t smoke, have healthy weight, live life to the most. 

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Rachel Turner

HEART ATTACK STORIES- ONDRA ELDRIDGE- 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 Ondra Eldridge.

ONDRA

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

Ondra Eldridge  50  from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

How old were you when you experienced your heart attack?

 Just turned 50 in Sept 2014

Where were you when it happened?  Tell me your story.

 In Feb 2014 I had lost my job and after 30 years of working I became really stressed trying to find another job.  My last job was also stressful and I couldn’t handle the stress.  After losing my job I began looking everywhere and was really hard to find one with my experience and pay.  The days before the heart attack I realize now that,  I was really tired and having issues with heart burn.  I just shook it off and was eating the wrong foods.

On October 8, 2014 I was going over to my best friends to do my hair and spend some time with her.  We had just colored my hair and she was cutting hair when I realize I was getting pain in my chest and arms, then my back and jaws starting hurting really bad.  I told my friend something wrong and told her to get me some Aspirin.  I started not being able to breath and pain was getting worse.  My friend’s husband called  911 and luckily the fire station was down the street.  She told me they got there within 5 minutes and started working on me.

 I don’t remember a whole lot but they tried to put equipment on me to see what was going on but the  wires wouldn’t stay on me.  EMS showed up and started working on me and told my friend I was having a heart attack.  They then put me in ambulance and ran hot to Oklahoma Heart Hospital.  I was semi alert until I got to the hospital and then I passed out and don’t remember much after that.  I did come to after they put stent in and asked if I was alive.  Everyone was looking at me when I finally got to recovery.  I felt no more pain by then and was so thankful.

I found out that my triponon count was over 200 and I had to stay in Hospital for 4 days.  My doctor told my  family that If I didn’t think quick like I did I wouldn’t be here.  I found this out after.   My LAD was 99.9 blocked and I had Widowmaker Heart Attack.  It’ been 4 months since my Heart Attack and I am  feeling better every day.  Thank goodness for the knowledge of Doctor who said I had a horrible heart attack but easy fix.  I am thankful for everyday that I get to see family and friends.  Very thankful for my best friend and EMS and firefighter and doctor for saving my life.

What were your signs and symptoms?  Did you have any pre existing conditions or family history ?

Heart burn and really tired for three days before.  No Family history

How did this affect your life?  Physically/ Personally?

I have a harder time getting around like I used to but it gets better every day.  I haven’t really absorbed that I had a heart attack and I take one day at a time.

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

 Eating better and trying to get back to my new normal.

Stents/ Zipper or Defib ?  What is your situation?

 I have a stent now.  Unable to work at this time but ready to work again.

What is most important in your post heart attack life?

Living better

Did you do Cardiac Rehab?  What has been the hardest part of your recovery ?

I had no insurance for rehab.

What are your new dreams ?

To get healthy again.

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

 I have done a lot in my life.  Don’t really have any wishes except to live longer.

Who was there for you?

 My best friend.

Did you lose many people after ?

 No

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

Did it hurt…lol.

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

 Yes, I’d take meds better.

What do you want more of in life ?

Health and happiness.

Is this the hardest thing you have ever experienced ?

 Losing my job.

What makes you great ?

My positive attitude.

What advice would you give to a healthy person?

Stay healthy and keep it up.

Ondra

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.

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

Self Appreciation Day 25- Supportive.

Whether it is a friend taking on a new venture or dealing with a life circumstance I do my best to be supportive.

I love to see family and friends be successful.  I have talents and an ear that I use to support those people with.  I do many things free, such as my photography skills to help others in their endeavors.

I do this not because I have to but because I know what it is like to not be supported in some things I have attempted.  It is an empty feeling.

So, I support as best as I can and where I can to help others take those steps.  Many have returned the favor.

Mini

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