Okay, so that is probably an eye-catching and dramatic subject line, however sadly it is true and my intent. It seems my last day on this earth was almost Sept 1st, 2017 at 5:15pm EST when I coded from congestive heart failure. A great debt of gratitude goes out to the health care professionals at St. Vincents Hospital. I have been waiting until November (Movember) and my birthday month to get out the word. For disclosure, I have attempted to meet with those that are close and tell you in person, yet I know we all have busy lives. I hope you will see from below men are dying an average of 6 years younger than women and the message needs to be louder and more persistent. To help drive home that you men need to be more attentive (including me), two upperclassmen, whom I played football with from my high school, Chris Giles and Mark Westerfield, unexpectantly since then, died (not just coded) from related health issues.
I went to the hospital Sept 1st, 2017 feeling bad, I thought I had a bad sinus infection or was dealing with pneumonia and found out differently. I was to find out over the next couple of weeks, I had been doing quite a bit with “Less”. I was told I had experienced over the last several years several silent heart attacks based on the chemical markers, blockage levels, and heart injuries. Also to be more specific, it was determined in the heart cath and an echocardiogram that I had 100% blockage on the left and right side arteries of the heart and 90% blockage in the middle artery, which left me with an ejection fractions rate of about 12%. That is the same ejection fraction rate my father died of last year, the difference is I don’t smoke, was never as heavy as Dad and I am 20 years younger. Did I mention I was training and hiking parts of the PCT last summer, averaging 7-10 miles a day? Well, genetics plays a big part here, as my mom, passed away at 40 with “bilateral pneumonia” and an enlarged heart, now known as congestive heart failure. It came on so quick at the last that she had been on the phone 16 minutes prior to a lifelong friend.
So this is why Movember is ever more important to me and you gentlemen. I hope the ladies got the drift last month with all the pink ribbons, etc for cancer awareness and have made the appointments to get your exams, look at your diet and exercise routines, as we need you goddesses in our lives. Now for you men that eat a decent diet, exercise regularly and go to the Dr. for your annual, I have a tale of caution, about silent heart attacks, the routing exams will NOT spot them. Even my new Primary Care Physician and Cardiac Dr. both say, if they didn’t know the facts, they wouldn’t know I have CHF from the routine heart and lung exam. So I am encouraging you to get an echocardiogram. They are not considered Standard Care by most health insurance companies, so you have to ask and they are much more reasonable than a funeral service. The Dr.’s can see if you have an enlarged heart, blockage or lower than normal ejection fraction ratio which is approximately 45-60%. Also be aware the numbers for many aspects of your health are changing from what you grew up and may have reached middle age with concerning blood sugar levels, blood pressure, active exercise and diet goals in many respects.
What can you do?
- Ladies, get your men to talk about their health and what they are doing about it based on your families history of issues.
- Gentlemen, make the time, get the information and talk to your family if you are unaware of what has been the health issues your family has experienced. Many times old terms are just a cover word for heart disease, cancer, etc.
- And if you feel like making a donation at this time of year, (even in lieu of getting me a coffee for my birthday) please do so at the “Movember Donation page”
What’s next for me?
Well, that is still in the works due to the severity of my heart issues going undetected and at present stents and bypass surgery are NOT an option for me. There is a plan and I am following the Dr. orders and I learn more each day and work for improvement and should know more in the spring. I will communicate to as many as I can about getting screened early, including a renewed focus on my sons and wife and this is apart of this.
As many of you that know me, I am a pretty energetic person. I love to work hard and play hard. I am grateful for the amazing experience and friends from the seven startups and many companies and clients I have worked for. I have enjoyed competing in sports, love to hike and in general tackle each day like it might be my last after losing my mom so early. I love my family and friends and I hope they receive that. I want you to know I am at peace with how my exit may go, it wasn’t scary or painful for me, however, the looks and tears in my immediate family and friends faces are why this message goes out and why I am working diligently on what I can do to prolong my second chance. It felt good to be out driving yesterday for the first time since late August now that I feel confident and my meds are settled in. I am grateful I had the energy and focus to also get this post published as I know I have been quiet and that is just not me.