30 Days of Boundaries: Day 10 - First Domino, Heart Attack

 Photo by  Daan Stevens  on  Unsplash

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

In May of 2009 I had a heart attack. One of the biggest reasons why I live and breathe and talk about boundaries is, I did not have the boundaries that I needed in my life back prior to my cardiac event, as I refer to it from time to time.

I was in the middle of a start-up organization, building it from scratch, I was employee number one. I was hired in August of 2007. I would say that it turned out to be pretty well, it was successful. It definitely was an organization that's serving the community well. It provided employment for several people made lives better for the people that use that facility day after day.

It was a start-up organization and the challenge was, I felt like I had to do everything. While there was support staff there that could help me with some things, I took it upon myself to do it because, well, I felt like I was Superman. Even though I like Batman, I was definitely acting like a Superman. I was basically playing with kryptonite and eventually that kryptonite hit me.

I have two stints in my left anterior descending artery. If you Google anything about that particular artery, it's often commonly referred to as the 'Widow Maker' because when people have blockages in that artery, the likelihood of survival is slim. Well, I'm still here. So, I don't take that for granted. I get a daily reminder of my heart attack when I have to take medications every day. I'm thankful that I have prescription drug coverage to cover the cost of the pills because they're not cheap.

Because I didn't have boundaries in my life, because I didn't take care of myself, because I was burning the candle at three ends, I now have to take certain types of medications for the rest of my life. It's gets pricey. It's not cheap. When you're thinking about things, and you're taking care of yourself, and you're not protecting yourself and establishing the right boundaries in your life, there's going to be a cost, or several.

Talk a little bit about the procedures that were done after I had my heart attack. Because of the challenges of the healthcare system in Ontario, Canada, I was in the hospital for almost a week. Now, if I was in the United States I probably would have been in and out of the hospital a little bit faster, but then I would have had a nice little thing in my mailbox a few weeks later called a bill. Where, I did not get any type of bill, I didn't pay anything out of pocket. Now mind you, we have this thing called PST and GST, which is sales taxes, and we basically pay 13 cents on the dollar for a majority of products and services that we purchase. So we're paying for it, anybody that says healthcare is free in Canada has no concept of what free is.

The benefit of going through what I did would be that it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I would have not survived if that didn't happen to me when it did, the way that it happened. I would have been continuing down the path of what I was doing and my hunch is I would have had another heart attack. It would have been much more severe and I wouldn't be here with you today.

When you are laying in a hospital bed and you are vice gripped to the bed so that you keep the bleeding under control for a period of seven hours, you realize that you have to make some changes in your life.

Are there changes you need to make in your life? A

re you virtually fastened down to something that's really creating problems in your life?

Think about that. It's important that you really focus on taking care of yourself. Not just from a diet and exercise standpoint, but also from a point of living your life the way that you were designed to live it. Finding that sweet spot, finding what you're good at, finding what you want to do, and ultimately what you don't want to do.

When you have a heart attack you get to carry this badge of a cardiac patient. I have a chronic disease. I don't tend to walk around with that, saying it, but it is a reality. It is something that I will be dealing with for my remaining days. I don't let it get in my way, but I do let it motivate me to say I don't ever want to have that happen again. I see too many people living lives where they are approaching their own potential heart attacks or strokes or challenges that their facing and they're not really doing anything to address it.

It's crucial for you have boundaries in your life. If I would have had boundaries I would have avoided having this cardiac event. I would have avoid the astronomical cost of what transpired after that heart attack, which I'll start sharing tomorrow, and I wouldn't have to deal with the side effects of taking heart medications and all kinds of other things that end up really impacting on your life and the things that you want to do.

Your homework for today is this, take a long, hard look at how you're living. Take a hard, long look on the types of foods you're eating, the activities you're doing. How active have you been today? The things that are on your mind. Are you resting? Are you sleeping well?

All those were a huge contribution to my cardiac event and it could have been prevented. I know that. A majority of heart attacks are preventable. So tomorrow, we'll talk about the second domino of my 369 days and it caused dominoes three and four to really be impactful.

Until then, enjoy the rest of your day