Sep 18
djpalan , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

5280 Feet

Story image

I recently spoke with the folks at the AHA and they directed me to this site. As I've been reading a lot of these stories they reminded me of the day my friend Joe had his heart attack.

To be more specific, he was 44 with no family history of heart problems, and had a triple bypass.

He survived open heart surgery, and after 10 days in the ICU was finally released to go home. I remember taking walks with him some mornings. In the beginning his chest was concave. He was gaunt and unable to walk more than a couple of blocks before he had to stop and rest. It was jarring for me to see, as we had been laughing and hanging out only weeks earlier. I couldn’t understand why this had happened.

On the one-year anniversary of his heart attack, I sat him down and filmed a conversation about his journey back to health. Out of the 90 minutes of footage, I compiled a 3-minute story that I felt captured his fear, struggle, pain, strength and eventual hard-fought recovery.

The film is a reminder that the road to recovery isn’t always a fast one, and there will always be moments of self-doubt. To run a mile, you first have to take a step. That’s the toughest part. After that, you fight to run your 5280 feet and celebrate at the finish line, because you’ve been able to overcome something you never thought possible. You’re now stronger than before.

You can find the film here. I submitted it for a film competition. You can vote for it if you’d like, but that’s not the reason why I shared today.

Joe's heart attack reminded me that sometimes we all need to pause and be thankful for life, instead of questioning the hand we've been dealt. We often face obstacles that seem insurmountable, but overcoming those obstacles can be a celebration of life. For people on this board, the survivors and their families, I wanted to wish you good luck in overcoming your 5280 feet. In each of our lives, we all have our own mile to run.

  • Johnlynk

    Well done my friend.  It is extremely difficult to capture what goes through us when we experience this type of event.  I had a very similar event on Thanksgiving 2017.  What Joe has gone through is life altering to say the least.  To truly explain it to people that haven't experienced it is a daunting task.  Thank you so much for so eloquently capturing a piece of what survivors go through.  Thank you to Joe for saying what most of us feel.  I feel very similar when I train as well.  Happy to say I run, bike, and swim miles now and sometimes I am very emotionally happy as I finish.  A long way since I cried as I was trying to stretch during my first session in cardiac rehab.  Thank you once again.

    Stay strong,


  • zoomcorey

    I can totally relate I have a survivor story on this site myself. I was and am very active. I was a very competitve track and field athlete I ran a mile in 4:04, a 5k in 14:17, a 10k in 29:05, and a full marathon in 2:23. At 32 years of age I was busy with my family and also serving active duty in the united states navy when I had a heart attack. I had a 90% blocked LAD. It scared the crap out of me and to this day I suffer PTSD and difficulty understanding why. I can run and do most things I was able to before my heart attack. I am 37 now so obviously my competitve running days are over but sometimes I find my self in a slump because of all of the medications that I now have to take. My wife and I are getting ready to buy our first house pretty soon and sometimes I get scared and think whats the point I am going to die young anyway but that is not the case. I need to realize at least I am lucky enough to understand and know that I have that issue I have corrective stents in my chest some people are no so lucky and dont know something is wrong. Anyway I will check out your friends video and tell him to keep up the great work.  

  • JeffBoyce

    Awesome job! You have such talent and captured his story well.

  • DntllDdr

    Beautiful story!  It gives hope that I too have still much to look forward to instead of trying finding out "why" me.  Thank you for sharing.

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