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Published on March 13, 2013 By Jythier In Health & Medicine

I'm 28 years old, I have 4 kids, and I am in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and the related proceedures that saved my life.  Over the last two weeks, I went to the doctor, was diagnosed with high blood pressure, went back to the doctor, went to a lab, got diagnosed with high choloesterol, got put on medication for both, and then ended up in the hospital after having my 'first' heart attack.

I was playing basketball with some kids at the church, and my heart would not calm down afterwards. I started losing feelings in my extremities.  My wife, who had just watched a character have a heart attack on Brothers and Sisters, recognized the symptoms and called 911 as I lay down.  The ambulance came and got me, and they brought me to the local hospital, putting drugs into me as we went - nitro pills, mostly, which open up arteries.  They also give a terrible headache.

I stopped at the local hospital where doctors and nurses explained that I was, in fact, having a heart attack and that the helicopter was on its way to take me to the specialized heart hospital in the area, which is Borgess hospital up in K-zoo.

Once I landed I went straight to a procedure room and they put in a heart cath and a stint, clearing the 100% blocked artery that I happened to have... the one that leads to that chamber that basically feeds the entire body.

Yesterday I went back to that room and they fixed another artery that was blocked enough that it would be causing me trouble if they did not fix it.

I will be out of work for at least a couple weeks and probably longer.  The main question that seems to haunt me is 'Was this preventable?'  Looking at my lifestyle, my eating habits, my sedentary job and sedentary hobbies, I think that it was.

I am happily looking forward to the lifestyle changes I am forced to make, and the impact these will have on my family.  The entire family will be eating more healthful foods, and at more healthful volumes because of this.  I am being forced to stop leading my family into overeating ruin and instead will be leading them into healthful choices.  I'm very excited about it.  I've been trapped by the sin of gluttony for too long.

I look back at these last couple weeks, and I realize I was foolish.  I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Why didn't I take steps to lower it?  Well, I did, but not seriously enough.  I was diagnosed with high cholesterol the week after that.  I literally thought to myself that the same things that I had done for the high blood pressure would get me through, the same diet changes that weren't really changes - you know, the ones that had me still eating out at that buffet on Friday, and eating a McDonald's sandwich for breakfast Friday, the day before my heart attack.  There were no changes, only weak efforts to almost pretend to change.

Well, now I sit in the hospital, and changes NEED to happen or I'll be in here again.  I don't want to be in here again.  It's painful.  It's not fun, even if I've made the best of it, made friends with pretty nurses, had time off from the kids with my gorgeous wife.  I'm going to make the best of these penalties I'm facing, so hopefully and prayerfully, my life will start to glorify God in this area, instead of openly mocking him. 

I can almost imagine Him up in heaven.  "Dude, you need to change..." High blood pressure.

"... okay, you're still not changing, you really need to listen to me here."  Cholesterol.


Helicoptered in for life-saving operation.

Lord, I pray that you help me listen.  I pray that things do change.  I pray that I'm never in a hospital for a heart attack again.  I pray that my life can glorify your name in this area.

Do you understand how many things came together to get me here?

Basketball, which I never play, but was thinking about joining the Tuesday night game at another church for.. likely the cause of the 100% block... but done beforehand with some kids who were in Family Promise, which I do with my wife, so she was on hand to recognize what was going on and call 911.

The helicopter wasn't already busy.

The diagnoses right beforehand which had me thinking about my heart enough to realize I needed to stop playing.

It reminds me that there will be consequences for sin, even by his own children, and maybe even especially by his own children.  Which I also 'know' but fail to internalize.

I can walk, but it hurts, because they put two holes in my right groin. 

I can't run.  I can't work.  I have no useful purpose to society for weeks, except to pray, and work on those changes that need to take place.  So that's what I'm going to do.

God loves me.  He saved my life, even when I deserved through my own actions to be annihilated.

on Mar 13, 2013

Best wishes for a full recovery and a long, happy life, Jythier.

on Mar 14, 2013

Thanks, Daiwa.

on Mar 14, 2013

We know while on earth, Jesus healed all who sought His help. Now from heaven He continues to send His healing love to help us in hours of pain, suffering, and illness. I will pray for you and your family that you might have strength and healing according to God's plan.

on Mar 14, 2013

Good luck Jythier, hope you have a quick and full recovery.

on Mar 15, 2013

Thanks Tess!

on Mar 15, 2013

My brother was 36 when he had one.  We do not have a history of it, so it was quite unexpected.  And as I am 15 years older than he, I was a bit concerned as well.

But I give blood every 8 weeks.   7 years ago, the vampires told me I had Hypertension.  So I have been treating it ever since.  Then my Cholesterol got a bit high (which my family does have a history of), but I am fortunate in that I am treating it with diet and Niacin (no Statins - I discussed that with Daiwa several years ago).  The problem with Niacin is that it makes you a bit diabetic, so I am treating that with diet as well - as in Pasta is a REAL treat and seldom eaten.

You were caught off guard because of your age.  I have not had a heart attack (knock wood), but I learned to eat healthy as well.  It is a bummer when you see a teenager stuffing their face with Pizza and burgers, but it is a fact of life.  I do not want to have to use the more aggressive drugs as they do mess with the entire health of your body (nothing in life is free).

I am doing so well, that 6 months ago my doctor lowered my Hypertension medicine (I guess because my diet was doing more than I thought).  I always said eating healthy is just another name for eating cardboard.  I still think that, so I use a lot of spices.

Thankfully your wife was alert as were the doctors so you can be around to harass us for a long time to come.  And that laptop you are using can be used to work remotely as well.  My staff at worked laughed at me when the doctor threw me in the hospital 2 years ago (I was dehydrated - nothing to do with my diet or medication) and I was working from my hospital bed the whole time!

on Mar 15, 2013

I refuse to work from a hospital bed.

I might do some work from home next week, but really, it's difficult to concentrate now.

on Mar 15, 2013

Doc -

Big study recently published pretty definitively showed no benefit from niacin in reducing risk for heart attack or stroke, no matter what impact it had on cholesterol values.

Looked good from current understanding of lipid metabolism but didn't pan out in real patients.  There's much more to it than the numbers.