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Average Joe, Georgia

by Krystle N. on Friday, September 14, 2012

Everybody loves my husband, Joe, because he genuinely loves people.  He smiles and waves at everyone.  He is extremely healthy.  Having three boys – an eleven year old and identical eight year-old twins – gives him every opportunity to be physical.  But he takes it beyond sports and playtime by training for and participating in Triathlons.  He watches his weight and is very conscious of nutrition.  He has some family history of cardiac disease and has had high blood pressure since college.  Knowing this, he's always lived a much healthier lifestyle than those relatives who've had heart problems.

One night, Joe told me that he'd been having a pain in his chest and then an arm tingle, like he'd just hit his funny bone.  Soon after, on the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend, he rushed himself to the Urgent Care and was told that he had exertional angina.  Joe eventually was admitted at St. Joseph's for observation & additional testing.  The next day doctors told him that he had aced the tests.  Joe convinced them to release him after promising to be inactive and make an appointment for the angiogram first thing Tuesday morning.  I went with Joe to the hospital on Tuesday.  Shortly into the angiogram, a doctor informed me that they were performing an emergency intervention procedure.  My husband had two major blockages that required stents.  He has a condition called The Widowmaker, with a 95% blockage in his left anterior artery and 80% blockage in the circumflex artery.

Apparently, Joe's healthy, athletic lifestyle had allowed him to fool the tests.  The doctor declared, flatly, that Joe was very lucky and smart to have gone in when he did because he'd just narrowly missed a fatal heart attack.  Lucky and smart, yes, but Joe needed to accept that he has cardiac disease.  He'll probably be on medications the rest of his life.

We got right onboard with his prescriptions as well as a plant-based/vegan diet as suggested to help his heart heal faster.  Six weeks later at his follow up, his cholesterol had dropped almost 100 points, from 236 to 140.  Joe is going to win this.  We're moving ahead, embracing the challenge to keep him heart-healthy.  We're spreading the word that it can happen to anyone.  Anyone you know.  Any "Average Joe" that waves to you on the street.