A Look Back at One of the Scariest Moments of My Life [VIDEO]
They say that some of your luckiest moments in life can sometimes be the scariest.
At the young age of 32, I have everything going for me. With the world in the palm of my hands and a bright future ahead, there was nothing that was going to stop me. Nothing that was going to slow me down. Nothing that was going to take away the perseverance and energy that was strongly burning inside of me, as I was a man with a mission.
Well, almost nothing.
While doing one of the many things I love in life – working out – I thought I was doing everything right. Stretching well before running, excessive hydration since it was a scorcher outside and I even had on a heart monitor to keep track of my performance and my cardiac levels.
At some point, while working out vigorously and sweating buckets, my phone had died. However, my heart monitor was still keeping track of every step, every calorie burned, and every heart rate spike. What I didn't know was that I was pushing the limits of my heart. But I was unaware, as the strain I was putting on my heart was overshadowed by the fact that it was hot out and I blamed the sun for my panting and fatigued emotion.
I put in a solid 95 minutes of work, only to stop briefly for water or Gatorade before continuing on with my workout regiment. It wasn't until I charged my phone and drove a solid 40 minutes home that I realized that something wasn't right.
As I was washing up, I started feeling dizzy and had to catch myself before taking a spill in the shower. I hurried and finished as quickly as I could, my breaths becoming shorter and shorter. There was no present pain at this time, but it felt as though there was a weighted blanket sitting across my chest, making it unbearable to catch a strong breath.
Stubbornness aside, I knew it was time to get to the nearest hospital.
Thankfully, St. Luke's is right around the corner from me in New Bedford and I was taken in right away. I became disoriented and inattentive to my surroundings. I was dazed and unable to focus, and I felt tiredness like never before. Then, as I was lifting myself from the wheelchair into the hospital bed, I was quickly awoken by a sharp pain that nearly sent me through the roof.
Clammy hands and cold sweats began taking over and the pain was unbearable. Every breath I took felt like a knife to the ribs, but continuously, like a bad Charlie horse that refused to go away. I could feel my eyes rolling into the back of my head in pain and there was nothing I could do to alleviate it.
"This is it," I thought to myself.
I was scared and it showed through my tears. My fists were clenched so tight I thought my hand was going to break. What felt like an hour was really only a total of 10 minutes and it was by far the longest and most brutal 10 minutes of my life.
Fast forward an hour or two later and I was told by the ER doctor that my troponin levels were highly elevated, which in most cases are enzymes produced from a stressed cardiac situation.
In other words, a mild heart attack.
I must have gone through 16 bags of IV before I finally got to leave the hospital, but it was keeping me hydrated, and if it meant getting out as soon as possible, then I wasn't going to question it. The RNs, nurse assistants, and the entire staff were more than helpful when it came to my health and care and I couldn't be any more thankful for them.
Through vigorous stress tests that simulated the exact same pain I had when I entered the ER, along with EKGs and CAT scans, I was put through the wringer, but it was all worth it in the end.
Finally, the news I was waiting to hear since I got there: I was told that there was no damage, no clots, no tears whatsoever, and that was all I needed to hear.
"Thank God," I said out loud.
"Excessive exercise" was the diagnosis, which means I rushed myself and my heart a little too much.
I got lucky this time.
Yes, there are some things I need to change to assure this incident doesn't happen again, and it must be taken seriously. I'm always on the go and stress plays a huger factor in all of this. If it means slowing down for a little while and "taking it easy," then that's just what I'll do.
Doctor's orders are to maintain a healthy heart-conscious diet and to lay low on the workouts, but just for a little while.
If there's anything I'm taking away from this learning experience, it's the fact that I'm so grateful that I listened to my body. Stubbornness could have played a horrific role that I'm just not ready to think about, but I'm fortunate that I made the right decision and got myself checked. It just might have been the smartest decision I've ever made.
I'm still here, SouthCoast, and I'm still kickin'.
To everyone who wished me well and sent numerous messages, comments, texts, phone calls, etc., just know that your kindness helped me overcome a threat to my health that was completely unexpected. I couldn't be more thankful for your support and healing words.
I love you all, and this time, I'm here to stay.