Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Original Post Oct 27, 2018
I want to share a vulnerable part of my life. It’s a place I never imagined I would get to with my health. For those of you who don’t know, 9 months ago I unexpectedly suffered sudden cardiac arrest while running. I was saved by a good Samaritan (now friend) who performed CPR. By God’s grace I survived.
Being competitive by nature, my whole life I have pushed boundaries, and always push myself to the edge. This situation was no different. Since my cardiac arrest in January 2018, I have jumped back into my normal life, my regular routine. I had been given a second chance and knowing I have an implanted defibrillator, I continued working out at a high level just with more awareness of any symptoms, attempting to minimize the risk of another cardiac event.
I felt more confident with a defibrillator knowing I have a fail-safe in case anything happens. Worst case, the defibrillator shocks me back in the event of another cardiac arrest. But my competitive nature and drive to push myself finally gave me a reality check. I’m not invincible. I’m not immune to physical problems. On Wednesday October 24th I suffered my second cardiac arrest event.
I was working out at the gym, when suddenly I felt this ever increasing sensation of light headedness and dizziness. I had felt this feeling before. I knew exactly what was happening. I laid down on the ground and within seconds I lost consciousness. About 10 seconds later, I woke up. I had just survived my second cardiac arrest. Instantly a swirl of emotions came to my head. I was pissed. I was confused. I was scared. I thought I would never be allowed to exercise again. I was rushed to the hospital to evaluate what happened and what caused my heart to go into ventricular fibrillation (V-fib).
My defibrillator worked beautifully. It did exactly what it’s designed to do. After a couple days in the hospital and evaluating different drugs, my doctors recommended extremely limited
exercise until we can evaluate further. However, I’ve been told I may never be able to compete or exercise at the same level I have my entire life. This news rocks me to my core. This changes everything for me. It takes away a massive part of my life, an aspect that I have always perceived as helping me to live a long healthy life. I don’t know what the future holds for me. No exercise? Another near death experience? More drugs? Becoming a professional patient?
As I’m writing this I can tell you - I’m so scared. I’m scared of the implications of my cardiac arrest and what it means for the rest of my life. I don’t have the answers. I try to be strong but inside I’m worried. I share this story and my emotions because there is so much power in vulnerability. Never be afraid to show vulnerability because this is a part of life; it shows our humanity. We all deal with struggles, and I encourage you to never shy from your fears, and your emotions. My family and friends have been there for me through everything. They have encouraged me to create a mindset of strength a perspective to find the best in everything, to constantly maintain a positive outlook even in the bleakest of times and to focus on what I can do versus what I can’t. God has given me so many blessings. The opportunity to share my story in hopes of inspiring others to embrace vulnerability is another blessing.
Ironically, vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths we can have. I don’t know what my future holds. I’m scared to death, but I know I’ll continue to embrace my feelings and work towards the strongest mindset I can possibly have. I will seek to find the positive in everything, and live my life the best way I know how. And, I will always be grateful for the power of vulnerability. Vulnerability that not only helps me to find strength, but most importantly I hope it empowers others to be vulnerable and share their innermost fears and struggles to empower authentic human connection.