Jun 28
SteveCotton , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

2018....Year of miracles. Happy to be alive

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I had posted my initial story last may but felt the need to update it....doing well right now just hope there is no truth to bad things come in 3's

I share this in hopes of maybe encouraging others that we are tougher than we think sometimes There is always hope!

I tried to post this to "Survivor Stories" but it would not take it...so i am sorry if this is in the wrong place

Steve Cotton


Well....you can get busy living or get busy dying...After having 2 HA's (keep seeing all these really technical terms that I dont even know what they are or mean....don't really think I want to) last April @ 56 YO followed by what was supposed to be quad bypass but turned into 2 bypasses and 2 stents (because my veins where to small for bypass) I coded twice and left with a defibrillator implanted. If I said I wasn’t depressed a little after my "first" open heart surgery I would be lying. I too, had many of the same thoughts I am reading about. I think the shock is pretty normal. Cardiac Rehab helped me immensely in letting me know I could push myself. Soon after I was back to work and back on the golf course and doing other things I always enjoyed.

Then all of a sudden while on Vacation in the Outer Banks NC last October I got a really stiff sore left shoulder in my back...never associated this pain with my heart.....tolerated it for about 3 weeks with several trips to PCP and Chiropractor with no relief....as a last ditch effort I asked my wife to take me to the ER for a cortisone shot since I couldn’t have pain meds....god was looking out for me.

Explained all the history to the ER doc and he quickly said I am sending you for a CT scan....when he walked back into the room with the results he was white as a ghost. I know doctors try not to let things show but i could tell in his eyes there was a problem. He promptly asked me "how long did you say you have been like this"...3 weeks. He proceeds to tell me that I am in critical condition and don’t even know it...most people don’t last 48 hours with what you have....a dissecting aorta....then tells me I need emergency open heart surgery and the helicopter will be here in 18 minutes.....once I arrive at Hershey medical center there are 2 teams of surgeons waiting and holding the operating room. The attending doc calmly looks at me and says "I need to be honest with you...there is a very real chance you will not survive this procedure" Well what an eye opening statement. My wife was following behind in a car because she wasn’t allowed on the helicopter so I asked to see a priest which took a while to find one then refused to begin the procedure until I could tell my wife good bye. The doctors kept saying if it totally ruptured I would die before they got me opened up...no matter I am waiting on my wife. After 15 hours of surgery I woke up in recovery with my wife by my side and little memory of anything. Found out later that the procedure only has a 20% success rate and another fellow having the same thing done at the same time didn’t make it and my wife had to watch as his wife was told.....so remember your loved ones have been on an emotional roller coaster with you and probably don’t know how to react...

So anyway (sorry so long) that was November 12th. Recovery took a little longer but i went back to work in early January. I completed cardiac rehab again! And continue to power walk at the gym 3 miles at a 8-9% incline @ 3.6 MPH. I do this 2-4 times a week. I am back to playing golf....having a few beers with the guys, taking my grandkids fishing all the stuff I used to do...Last week I actually walked with a pull cart (See Pic) all 18 holes at my club. I just got a new remote controlled cart for walking too...

 So I guess to wrap this up my advice is follow your doctors instructions, take your meds, excercise as much as possible, watch your diet and don’t let your self be consumed with worry....god didn’t get you this far to turn his back on you.......so get busy living or get busy dying.....I choose life!

My biggest challenge is smoking.....currently smoke free...praise god!

  • AHAASAKatie

    Congrats on the smoke-free part! That is so hard and you have much to be proud of! Best Katie

  • KWcares

    Glad that you’re doing well.  God is good! 

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