As a reminder, in January I failed a stress test miserably and bought myself a stay at CAMC Memorial for open-heart surgery to repair five coronary artery blockages. It was a scary, frightening time. But even before I got out of the hospital, I knew I was going to write about the process. My first column, written from my hospital bed and published the day I was released from the hospital (to the amusement of my surgeon), was “Don’t Make the Same Mistakes I Did.”
My hope in writing about my recovery is that some of you might read my story and make some changes in your own lives, or at least go see your doctor. (A number of people have written to me to tell me that they did just that.) I also thought some of you might read my story and have a better understanding of what would happen if you got the same diagnosis I did, making the process not so scary.
A few people have asked me if I feel better than I ever have before. I doubt I will ever feel as good as I did in my 20s so that’s not going to happen, but I can safely say that I feel better now than I did before I went into the hospital and probably better than I’ve felt in at least a year. It’s amazing how we can accept slight decreases in our health, justifying them away without realizing there was an underlying cause.
Now that I am done with cardiac rehab, I’m not about to slow down. I’m planning to diversify my home exercise some more, adding in some more swimming and biking, but I am not about to slack off. Any time I think I don’t feel like exercising or if I want to eat something I shouldn’t, I just rub the scar in the center of my chest and I get motivated and back on track. My goal is to be able to return to scuba diving status in the very near future.
I have to send out a big thanks to everyone who took care of me, from my cardiologist to the hospital staff and then everyone at cardiac rehab. You’ve put me on the right track and I won’t let you down.