Went to Kaiser for heartburn symptoms, What a shock!

(Los Angeles CA)

I am a 58 year old male, 5’ 10.5” tall weight 225lbs. Three weeks ago I went to Kaiser my HMO to find out why I was getting heart burn symptoms that later became worse after exercise. I felt slight pain in my shoulders as well. They checked my blood and found a heart enzyme that indicated my heart was stressed. That led to other test including the treadmill hooked up to the EKG, then the angiogram. What a shock when they showed me the images of my arteries! I will never forget the helplessness I felt and the deep grief and fear when the doctor looked me in the eye and said "Sorry we can’t fix this with stents due to the location and the condition, you will need a triple bypass". Later another DR surgeon from the bypass dept. came to see me, said he reviewed the case and I will need to get this done ASAP that they would get me in into surgery in the morning or the next day.

The last year and a half I had started a new job as a project manager for large printing company servicing national retail chain stores. I often worked 12-hour days and came in on the weekend as well. My exercise routine was non –existent due to not having personal time and my diet was not great. I was also under a lot of stress each day multi tasking and dealing with the hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. I knew I was not in good health and thought that as soon as I had a break I would do something about it. I also during this time purchased a fixer upper house to live in and was under the pressure on my few days off to work on it.

They said the surgery went well although I still have trouble breathing and pain in my right leg from the graft. I went back after a week at home to complain about my leg and breathing and they said it was normal just continue walking as much as you can each day but don’t over do it. So hear I am, my wife was on family leave but had to return to work, my 16 year old daughter left for Hawaii for a schools out vacation and I am home alone filled with questions and emotions as I limp around the backyard each day trying to improve my breathing. The right leg is a little better; I lost 13 lbs and plan to get down to 185lbs by the end of the year. I have a big swimming pool and now worry -will I be to afraid to swim in it, can I go back to my stressful job and find a way to not let the job get to me and what happens after ten years when they say some of these bypass grafts may start to clog up again. Thanks for listening.

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Thank you Brian!
by: Glen

Brian you hit it on the spot, must be the lawyer in you. I will stop feeling sorry for myself and look at this as a new begining and a new chance on life. My leg is feeling better and I walk a little more each day. Thanks for your help.


Hang in there
by: Brian from North Carolina

Hey. I heard that exact same speech a little over two years ago. Can't do stints. Bypass for you dude. Three of them. Scared me half to death. I know that feelings. My leg turned purple from heel to hip where they borrowed the vein. But I walked the day of the surgery and I've walked or run just about every day ever since. I'm a trial lawyer. I understand the stressful job concerns. It's all part of the crap that comes with this. For a perspective on this? If you have a list of names of people your age, as I do, who never even got the chance to have a bypass? Who found out about their coronary artery disease by falling over dead? Well, you didn't. Neither did I. We got a second chance. You gotta figure God had a reason for that. Best of luck to you dude. Be thankful for the opportunity to continue living. I feel certain, when you're not overly concerned about life's complications, that you do smell the roses.

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