Gold Vs. Heart Attack/Maybe Death

October 19, 2012 by  
Filed under blog

Okay…  what do you want first–the good news or the bad? Let’s go with the bad first.

I worked hard on my tennis game all year long with the gold medal as my goal at the Huntsman World Senior Games. I was going to get the gold in men’s 65 to 70 singles–no if’s and’s or but’s. The bad news is that I failed!! But there is good news connected to the failure … I didn’t die. I kind of like that part.

You see, one week before the Senior Games my Doctor was searching for the source of my 2 year cough when a cat scan revealed something totally unrelated to my cough.  I had a possible 80% blockage in my right coronary artery.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My family has no history of heart disease, I eat a very healthy diet and I work out regularly.  But when I totally flunked my stress EKG test I started to believe what the doc was saying. I told him that I was heading to the Senior Games in St George, Utah and asked for his advice.  He said I would probably be ok but not to push myself and besides he added “they have defibrillator machines on site (that comment did not fill me with confidence!)

So I forged ahead but with some caution and a fair amount of fear. I worked my way through matches but when I found myself in the finals I got a huge big time scare! I started the match playing very strong but when I found myself ahead in the first set 3-0 something started happening to me.  I began feeling a slight chest pain and felt a bit sick. By the time my opponent Michael Murphy caught up and we were “on serve” I was sweating like a horse and my chest pains had intensified. I stopped the match right then and told Michael I couldn’t or at least shouldn’t play on, so the gold medal was his and I had to settle for the silver medal. Yes I was very disappointed but more than that I was scared. More than 30 minutes later my heart was still racing with a resting rate of over 100!

Back in Salt Lake City I had another EKG stress test, this time with radio-active dye that gives the docs a clearer picture of the blood flow through the veins. And yes I flunked that test too.

Then just a few days ago my doc called and told me that there is a 90% chance that my right coronary artery is completely blocked. His recommendation was to have an angiogram and most likely they need to put in a stent. Of course I agreed and scheduled it for this coming Wednesday, October 24th.

What is the take away lesson here? For me it’s this … life is so precious and can be so very short. You never know what might happen so live it in that “Great right now”!  Thankfully, we have access to such great medical knowledge, great medical technology, and great medicines so with that, taking care of ourselves, and a great bit of luck, we can all live a little bit longer and stronger.

So that is my great “golden” lesson of this year. Or should I say my great “silver” lesson?