Mar 15
zoomcorey
zoomcorey , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

I was 29 Years Old when things started to change and 32 when it struck:

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I was 29 Years Old when things started to change and 32 when it struck:

As a kid I was heavily involved in athletics most notably the sport of Cross Country and Track and Field. I can still remember being 12 years old in 1995 and first breaking 5:00 minutes in the Mile I ran 4:54. Fast Forward 11 years later I was a senior in college it was 2006 and I was still racing I ran 4:01 for the Mile and 29:05 for the 10,000m. Later on that year I ran a 2:23:16 Marathon. I ran out of options in life and decided that becoming a Navy SEAL seemed like the next challenge that excited me after all I was incredibly healthy and full of life or so I thought. I joined the Navy in August of 2007 and was in Coronado by November of 2007 taking my first shot at BUD/s.

I wound up withdrawing from training but would return in 4 years at the Age of 29 only something had changed in me. I was one of the strongest in my class the second time through but noticed I was gassed very quickly running was becoming difficult and I started to not like this aspect of training. By 2012 I was having abnormal EKG’s which to me meant I got to go hang out at Balboa Naval Hospital San Diego for a couple of days why they ran tests. This started to become pretty routine I would have an EKG and be admitted I thought it was because of how healthy I was. By 2014 I was jogging on a treadmill and had incredibly tense chest paid that nearly did me in at MCRD this was on July 31, 2014 how can you forget the day you almost died? Well you can’t and it will continue to replay in your head forever why? Well because this is the day that your life changes forever.

I was not diagnosed on July 31, 2014 the doctors originally said I was too young and healthy to have a heart condition and ruled it as a biological change. This made zero sense to me I went from being able to still run a mile in well under 5:00 to not even being able to walk to the store without being out of breath. They contued to push me to the side and even called me a hypochondriac at one point and referred me to mental health. Until January 12, 2015 when I completely collapsed and told my wife that I need to go to the hospital and I am not going to make it she rushed me to Sharp Medical who ran tests and my cardiac enzymes where through the roof. The next day I was back and Balboa Naval Hospital for a Cardiac Cath and they found my LAD (Left Anterior Descending) Artery known as the Widow Maker was 95% blocked. They stented it put me on a bunch of medications.

I was medically separated from the military. The problem is when you have a heart attack at such a young age the battle is not over when they put you on medications. The battle has just begun like a coal miner hearing a rumble in the ground and thinking it is the end, we too have that fear we constantly are waiting for the next heart attack the big one. I was left broken with sever post-traumatic stress disorder. I also got to see my entire world turned upside down everything I worked for was gone. The idea of death became very real and one point I was so suicidal that I was planning my own death because I refused to allow this illness to control me. The problem is I am a prisoner to this disease and the only thing I can do is try and make it to the next day.

I do hope I get to have a full life and one day get to see my 80’s or 90’s and maybe even 100 even though I know it is slim. Just so people know you don’t have to be some 500 pound person to catch this disease you can do almost everything right and still unfortunately wind up with this. The message of me writing this is to try and find an inner peace a reason to carry on when things go so horribly wrong and take you off course. I had to change my goals and I panicked when I found out I had this it pushed me into a very real and early mid-life crisis. I was in a hurry to find a new meaning a new reason to live and all it did was push me into a very severe depression. We have no control over what happens in our life and some of us are faced with brutal challenges but maybe we are the ones that can make a difference for someone who is faced with similar and can’t find their way out of the dark…

6 Comments
  • yarn007
    yarn007,

    Welcome to the site Zoom.   Thanks for sharing your HA story.   In reading it I thought about a particular member on the site you might find particularly interesting among other is RunningBear.  He has done a lot of work in particular on his depression and learning various techniques for relaxing and dealing with anxiety that I think you would find very helpful.   A book that another member recommended that I thought I would mention to you is called "Riding the Dragon 10 Lessons for Inner Strength in Challenging Times" - Robert Wick.  Might be something that could be helpful to you.

    Do take care of yourself and know that anytime you should use some support just drop a line on the site.   There are some really amazing people with great heart on here.   Remember you are not alone in your struggles.

  • marysirianni
    marysirianni,

    Hi...

     

    WOW...thank you so much for sharing your story......by doing so, you have shown such courage and inspiration....and strength.,....I am "in the dark" for similar but different reasons, but it is comforting to know we are not in this dark place alone....thank you, becfause, by sharing, you HAVE indeed lifted the spirits of other people who are there with you....we WILL get out!!!

  • JamesPL
    JamesPL,

    Don't depair. There is life after a heart attack and the key is partly from what you have already been doing which is regular exercise.You may be reluctant to push yourself to the levels you had previously achieved but you can still maintain an exercise program and live a good healthy life. I have always lived an active lifestyle and had no history of heart problems in my family. I have always been a runner and have competed in many races including numerous half marathons. When I started to experience mild chest pains, I dismissed them until I had one that literally stopped me in my tracks during a morning run.It scared me enough to see a doctor. Long story short, I ended up with a quintuple bypass. I was told by my health professionals that depression is common and I should seek therapy after the surgery. My wife discussed this with me I told her that I know I am going to be anxious to get back out there after I fully recover. And so I have. I continue to exercise on a regular basis and my cardiologist has encouraged and supported it. Although I escaped a heart attack, the surgery was pretty tramatic.I am just thankful to be able to continue my life style. I hope that sharing my story gives you some encouragement. Determine what you are allowed to from your cardiologist and do it. Just being active even at a reduced level will greatly help your mental state. I was estatic the first day I was able to start running again even though it was a short one. I am now in my 7th year since the surgery and don't have any plans to stop. I wish you all the best!

  • withamm
    withamm,

    God bless you!  I had my first (documented) cariac arrest right after I turned 31.  I ran three miles the night before.  I drank nothing other than milk or water for the weeks leading up to this (I was told this would not have happended if I had not indulged with illegal narcotics).  I am now 43, my pacemaker has been a game changer.  

    Marlise

  • dphilli42
    dphilli42,

    Sorry you had to go through all that Corey, and I'm sorry you are stuggling mentally since your event. I know all too well what you're going through. I'm 36. I had a 70% blockage in my LAD when I was 34 and got a stent. Two years prior to that, on my 32nd bday, I had an angiogram due to my cardiac enzymes being slighty elevated and they found nothing. My arteries were "huge and crystal clear." I went from that to being 70% blocked in 2 1/2 years at 34. I'm a former college athlete. I wasn't in near as good a shape as you, but it was a shock to me and my family all the same.

    Here is my email address-    dmphillippe42@gmail.com

    Reach out if you want to vent or just talk about things. I struggle with fear, anxiety, and depression as well. 

  • jcummings26
    jcummings26,

    Hello! My name is John Cummings. I am a graduate student at NEIU in Chicago. I have found your story to be compelling and worth sharing. I would like to ask your permission to use it in a project for school – your name and picture will not be shown. My email is jrosswellcummings@gmail.com. Please contact me. 

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