But, I have learned my lessons, and I am on a journey toward better health in the future.
I am sure you are wondering what this has to do with business.
Well, business is something that I enjoy. As I have told you many times, I am an entrepreneur. Business is something that is “close to my heart” pun probably intended. In the past year or couple of years, I have experienced some very significant health issues, and I really am, honestly, luck to be alive today. If not for my luck, combined with some things I did that helped me stay alive, I would not be able to type this article in, I would not be in business at all, because I would be dead now. My family would be without a father and a husband for my wife. I am not trying to be overly dramatic, that is just the truth.
I abused my body
Over the years, I abused my body. In some ways, I had the problems that I have experienced due to my genes, but I also did little to alleviate the problem or to stop it from happening. I am diabetic, and I did not take care of my diabetes for more than 20 years. I am surprised, in fact, that I am not dead already.
I was diagnosed with diabetes about 25 years ago. A few times in those years I tried to get control of the disease, but it did not last long. I lost control again, and my blood sugar numbers were completely off the scale. I really did not worry about it.
My father died in 1993 from heart disease. He did not know he had a heart problem, and one morning he took a shower and as he stepped out of the shower he had a heart attack and died instantly.
Over the years, I never thought I had a heart problem, though. Pretty stupid I realize now.
It started to change about 3 years ago.
In February of 2014, I woke up one morning and my right hand was sore. I was not sure what it was, though. Within about 4 days or so, my entire right arm was purple. A day or two later my left arm was also purple. I had a killer infection called cellulitis. Cellulitis will kill you. I had to go to the hospital in order to receive antibiotics through an IV, it was the only way to save my life.
I had felt for several years at that time that I was in poor health, and that I probably only had a few years to live. In fact, for some reason, I thought there was a good chance I had cancer. I had lost a lot of weight with no explanation and thought that it was due to cancer. I had resigned myself to the “fact” that I would die young as my father did, he was 55 when he died. I just recently turned 55 ourselves, kind of scary.
Well, when I was in the hospital for the infection, which by the way was caused by a bug bite, they did a lot of tests on me. The doctor gave me the good news that I was very healthy, and he felt that if I could just get my diabetes under control, I would live for many more years to come. I was shocked to hear that, and it inspired me.
Worked on the diabetes
I really got to work on diabetes. I got control of my diet, and I started exercising daily. My blood sugar started showing good results. After about a year, my blood sugar was still not all the way where I wanted it to be, but it was much better than it had been previously.
The doctor had been trying to convince me to start using insulin, and I finally agreed. I really got my diabetes in great control, in fact, my numbers were better than most people that don’t even have diabetes.
Then 2016 came along
In 2016, I thought I was doing great. My diabetes was really good. I was exercising. I had lost weight. Everything was going great.
At the end of June, I had a heart attack. I spent nearly a week in the hospital. When I went home, I felt good, though. As stupid as this sounds, I thought that I had dodged a bullet and that I did not have a serious heart problem. I decided to manage the heart situation with medication and did not really even look into surgery or angioplasty. I did not think I needed it.
Then September came along.
I had been exercising even to a greater extent than I was before the heart attack, and I was feeling great. Then, suddenly, in September, I would go out to walk, and even after just 1/4 mile or less I had to stop because I could not breathe. I had chest pain. What was going on? I was sure that my heart was not a problem! I am a smart guy, or so they tell me. LOL.
When this started happening (again), I went to the doctor and got set up with a cardiologist. He sent me in right away for an angiogram, a test that would determine if I had an arterial blockage.
I was shocked
When the angiogram results came back, I was shocked. I had 95% to 99% blockage in 4 arteries. I needed a quadruple bypass as soon as possible, or I would die. Things just got serious. Very serious. I was in the same position where my dad was back in 1993. The difference was, I got some advanced warning, my Dad didn’t.
So, in November I had a quadruple bypass. Although you have to put on a strong front for your family and friends and have to say “oh, I’ll make it through this”… in my mind I was fairly certain that I would die from this. Probably I would not make it through the surgery.
But 12 hours after they started the surgery, they rolled me into the recovery room. I don’t know how many hours later it was that I woke up. My first reaction was “hey, I thought I was going to have heart surgery” then I looked down at my chest and saw that it was all bandaged up and I noticed that I had a breathing tube down my throat. “Oh, I guess I did have the surgery!”
Today is a different story
Now, I am coming up on the 4 month anniversary of the surgery, and I am feeling great! Last month the cardiologist released me from his care. He sent me back to my Internist and told me he hoped to never see me again! My latest heart test showed that my heart had made a full recovery, and was very healthy.
I have beaten this. I have to take care of myself to keep it from being a problem again in the future, but for now, I have won the battle!
I can continue enjoying my family, watching my children grow up, waiting to meet my grandchildren someday. I can keep tinkering with my various businesses and enjoying doing that.
Today, even though this is off topic, I want to encourage my business friends to get their heart checked out. Take care of whatever medical problems you have. If you don’t do it, you might not be as lucky as I was. I got a second chance, and I am so grateful for that. My dad was not so lucky. You might not be lucky either. I wonder why I was lucky, but I am glad that I was.
By the way, if you want to follow along on my health journey, or if you need to make changes yourself, check out my new website: 430 to Fit. I reached a maximum weight of 430 pounds, and I am down to about 280 now, and still working on improving. Follow that journey!
Take care of yourself!