Sunday, July 24, 2011
Some of you may tire of me talking about it, but this is something that I live with everyday. My thought pattern has changed, whether I like it or not. Many wonder, "why am I here?" or "what is my destiny?" I can say that these questions haunt me more than ever now. After some reflection, I have come up with some interesting thoughts:
Live like you were living. Some say that you should live like you are dying. To some extent I would agree with this. We shouldn't take loved ones for granted and we should make every opportunity count. Here we have this two-sided coin. On one hand we should sieze the day. On the other hand, we should take action to not be careless. When I hear "live like you are dying" the first thoughts are to throw caution to the wind. Go sky-diving. Eat cake. Whatever. There is a place for all of that, but I also think we should plan our future, build our networks, and take care of ourselves.
Serve one another. The whole "what am I here for" question has bounced around in my head more often than anyone can imagine. And to the best of my ability, I believe we are all here to serve one another. That is what makes social networking sites and sites like SparkPeople so powerful, they build connections and give us hope that we are serving one another. Whether it is a blog, a status update, whatever it is...we are benefiting one another.
Know what you believe. At some point in your life, your foundation will be rocked. When life is going well, it is easy to discount this. It is during this time that you need to explore where, what, or who your safety net is. When, not if, the tide turns there needs to be something that will catch your thoughts. I can't tell you how many times I have awaken at night, thinking this was my final moment on earth. Thanks to a strong belief system and having confidence in my network, I am able to remain stable.
There is nothing here that is negative. This is all positive stuff. Work towards building your network up, serve one another, and know who, what, and where to fall back onto. This may not solve all of life's questions, but it will help in getting there.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Last year I felt I was reaching my stride. With the help of SparkPeople.com, I was able to lose 40 pounds, exercise without tiring, and even ran my first 5k in nearly 20 years. On February 19, 2011, I was to start a new trend. Since then I have set a few new records, but not necessarily ones that I wanted to set. In the last four months I have; died twice, been admitted to the hospital three times, road in the ambulance five times, and have had two shirts cut off me.
Here is the nice thing though, thanks again to SparkPeople, I am pretty healthy. Now you wouldn't think I am healthy by the previous paragraph, but I am by all medical measurement standards. My blood pressure is normal, I have no irregular heartbeats, there are no blockages in my heart, and just about any blood test you can think of has a positive number.
I am blessed, fortunate, and all around lucky. However, I am not what I was at the end of last year. I have gained all of my weight back and am not allowed to exercise until the doctors can pinpoint or prevent what is causing me to go into cardiac arrest. For the most part, I feel fine. Just a few weeks ago, I felt fine, then a little dizzy, and then I was waking up from the ground. Does this scare me? Yes, very much so. I do have an ICD in me now that will shock me back to life, but I would much rather not have to deal with it at all.
Now, for the returning champion part. This morning, after stepping on the scale and seeing the dreadful return of where I was, I am now more determined than other. Now, I can be like Rocky V, Rambo 6, or the most recent Indiana Jones. In other words, I can make a comeback even though I have this working against me. I can make up a bunch of excuses, but when I look around me, I find lots of people fighting past those excuses.
I don't know if I will ever be allowed to run again, but that doesn't mean I can't come up with some other good goals. I'm looking forward to working towards these goals along with all the rest of the good people here on SparkPeople. And I am convinced, more than ever, that we CAN do it!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Last month, about this time, I was waking up from a coma and feeling like a train hit me. Today, I’m back at work and took a nice walk during lunch. I would consider this remarkable progress. The best part, I don’t think this would be possible without those around me. And yes, that especially includes my wonderful friends here on Spark. Each day I’m getting better and each day I’m finding new motivation from all of you. This is why the SparkPeople program is so wonderful. It allows us to share with each other, to know one another, and to celebrate with one another. Here is to each one of you. May we all see many happy days ahead as we reach for our goals.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
February 19, 2011 will be marked as the day that changed my life. That is the day I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Usually on Saturday afternoons, I am home alone watching the kids while my wife is at work. If that was the case, I would be dead and buried today. However, someone had other plans for me. My parents were supposed to have visited about a month earlier, but due to a surgery my mom needed, they were out to see us on that day.
I woke up that day feeling great. I was excited to visit my folks and spend time together as a family. They came over, we played a little Kinect, and were going to go out to eat. The plan was to get the kids some birthday presents after that and come back home. It was at the restaurant where things took a turn. Right in the middle of the meal, I died. I slumped back and then over on my son. No pulse, no breathing. My wife was the first to react as she started to clear out the booth and ask people to call 911. There it was, where everyone started to react. One person started procedure for choking, but quickly realized, this wasn’t the case. A New York City firefighter was there, and started CPR. A nurse was there and was checking my airways. The manager got security, which brought an AED device to shock my heart.
In the ambulance, all I remember was them asking me who the President was and what day it was. The next thing I know is shocks. Several of them. I remember the folks in the ER talking about turning the unit up to 300 joules. I remember them asking me to cough and to “hang in there”. I remember my family coming in and out telling me they loved me and then the ER staff saying “there he goes again” and asking my family to leave the area. My family tells me that they could hear me scream while they were outside of the ER. All together, I had 72 shocks and went through nearly two crash carts. I felt about 20 of those shocks, which still haunt me today.
After they got me stable, I was in a medically induced coma for about 2 days. They did many tests on me; a cath, a MRI, a CAT scan, etc. For those that have read my previous blog entries, you will see I’m a relatively healthy guy besides being overweight. I’ve been to my primary care doctor before all of this and had a whole bunch of tests for my check-up. My blood levels were good, blood pressure good, EKG good. I even had a sleep test done because I snore, but there were no problems there either. My heart rate was good throughout the night. The only thing they noticed was my leg twitching while I slept, because I ran so much.
The bottom line is, they have NO IDEA what caused this. This is coming from some of the top doctors in the world (treated at Yale/New Haven Hospital, where several of my doctors teach at Yale Medical School). They are guessing it might be something viral, but even that probably should have showed something on my MRI. So for now, it was just an electrical “fluke” that caused my heart to stop pumping. The good news is, I now have an implanted ICD. It will pace my heart if it goes to low and shock my heart if it goes into a dangerous fibrillation.
The process of healing has been progressing, both physically and mentally. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared still. Yesterday was my first day at work and today is my first day back on SparkPeople. I’ve been taking it slow and hope to be a lot more active soon. For those posting messages and sending me goodies…THANK YOU. I am meaning to respond to each of you as I get the time.
So what limitations do I have? Practically none. I was probably the only one on the Cardiac Intensive Care unit that didn’t have a restricted diet. My heart, blood, etc is healthy, so I can move along. As for exercise, that is limited to walking right now, but should be back to normal within months. The best part about it all…having SparkPeople to turn to. I have a community of friends here that are all motivated by the goal of having a healthy and wonderful life. There is nothing strange about the Spark plan. No weird gimmicks or tricks. Everything on here is sound, proven, health advice.
Which leads me to the title of this blog: So I died, now what? Now, I get back to what I was doing here before. Maybe even more so. Earning those SparkPoints, keeping up with my friends here, and motivating myself and others to get and stay healthy. This is the right place, the right people, and I’m excited to see what our future holds.
Quick Edit: a friend here suggested I post the Newspaper articles. Here is the first one:
Here is the second, follow-up:
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