I had a heart attack in 2003 that, statistically, should have killed me. My odds of surviving were 50/50. I knew this statistic from the previous study and I was horrified at the possible consequence of the predicament I found myself in. I was confused and upset because I had done everything right – I thought. I had faithfully eaten the Canadian government approved “Heart Smart” diet – I had kept thin – sort of – I never had any pains or big medical problems. I never smoked and I only had a shot of booze on birthdays. I was always careful. I had no hint this was coming and then BAM!!! I was on the floor – dead – almost.
I was in the middle of the first battle of my life where I knew I was no longer in control. I’ve had my trials and tribulations in life but I always felt in control – there was always tomorrow to finish what I couldn’t finish today. There was always a sense of security knowing that I was healthy and able to cope with whatever came my way. I always slept well knowing I’d wake up in the morning and that I’d done whatever I thought I should have in the previous day to justify my existence. I had always “known” that I was going to be at least 80 before I would have to deal with any of this personally. I’d made it to 48 years of age without a hitch – I was almost immortal – I thought.
Suddenly there was a good chance that there was no tomorrow and there was a realization that everything I had come to take for granted didn’t count for anything anymore. Everything I knew previously now had no place in this situation. Everything I believed about myself had no meaning. I was completely cut loose – adrift – wondering if I’d ever go home again. For 3 and 1/2 days I waited in a hospital for the angiogram that would show the doctors and myself how badly my pump had been damaged by this event. For 3 and 1/2 days we cried, we worried, we prayed. These were some of the longest days of our lives. We shared our collective pain and my pain was magnified 100 times in the eyes of those who came to see me – possibly for the last time – in my life. We worried – how would my family survive without me? How would we pay the bills? What would life be like without me?
Not knowing was awful – it was the worst – it seemed to suffocate all hope, all life, out of all of us. We all knew that from this point on that nothing could be taken for granted and that each moment might be my last. We felt compelled to say our part and make peace with whatever had been put off for whatever reason in the past. We all groped for a sense of meaning and reason for the struggle we all found ourselves in. We said what we had to say to each other and then we sat there waiting …… waiting for the judge’s proclamation and the inevitable executioner’s next blow. Those were dark days. Waiting for news – any news. All I could say or pray was “God have mercy on my soul” it was simple and there wasn’t anything else left to say. God knew my heart – I simply didn’t need to dress it up any more than that.
I finally had the angiogram and discovered that I had 3 blocked arteries around the left side of my heart. They were blocked 90, 80 and 70% – thankfully they weren’t completely blocked but my heart was complaining as it struggled to get enough oxygen to breathe and faithfully pump blood throughout the rest of my body. I suddenly felt hopeful – maybe a pill would fix it – maybe a stent would fix it – at least I wasn’t going to die yet. And then they declared – you need triple bypass surgery – immediately. They stepped back expecting a big scene – I expect – but I just laid there grinning from ear to ear – I felt like I had won the lottery. All I could think is – god is good – thank you.
When I returned to the room and my waiting family they must have thought I was on happy juice because I was literally jumping for joy. I felt relieved – the unknown didn’t own us anymore.
A number of people have asked me “Weren’t you scared of dying?” My answer to all of you who ask this – no – I am afraid of surviving – the pain and struggle of surviving was much worse than the peace I experienced dying. In the 2 weeks that I spent on the cardiac ward, I witnessed more suffering than I could have imagined – many of these people were surviving but their existence was hideous. In the subsequent months of painful and pitiful recovery after open-heart surgery I personally experienced even more physical and emotional suffering than I could have imagined.
Life has changed a lot for my family and I. We still struggle from day to day with all of those normal things that everyone else struggles with but we do it with a thankfulness that we are all still together. We also realize that our time is probably shorter than planned and therefore more precious – hopefully not taken for granted as much as it once was. We also changed a number of things that we have control of in order to improve our odds for a pain-free life with as little physical suffering as possible. I spent the next 8 months reading, recuperating and getting very upset that most of what I suffered could have been prevented by a change in diet and exercise.
Nobody told me and I can assure you that I would have listened if it had been spelled out to me – I’m not stupid and I didn’t think I was ignorant about health issues but now I know I was because nobody told me and because I believed all of the self-serving propaganda delivered by every special interest group representing different food industries. I became so incensed by this realization that I published a new website dedicated to educating the public about just how gullible we are being led to the slaughter and how 90% of the physical suffering that we experience in North America and Northern Europe can be avoided. 80% of the world’s population is too poor to be able to afford the kind of calorie and protein intense processed foods that we eat which result in over 20 leading killer diseases that only the affluent suffer from and yet those poor people lead long healthy lives never bothered by osteoporosis or diabetes or heart attacks. All of this scientific knowledge is supported with factual research and no doctor I’ve asked can refute it – the evidence is clear – we all need to take better responsibility for our lives and personal health welfare. The most startling thing to me was how easy it is to do – we all just need a reason – mine is simply that I don’t want to suffer like this again if I can help it.
The next challenge was how to get the education that I needed to change my lifestyle. Most of the books I had read were great but they had some very exotic recipes with foods not available in our area. The books also showed me what was wrong with all of the boxed foods sitting on store shelves – too much salt, too much sugar, etc. When my wife and I first started visiting grocery stores to try to buy great tasting food that was healthier we literally sat down in the grocery aisle and cried – we cried out of frustration – there didn’t seem to be anything that met our new healthy criteria. We felt doomed.
Fortunately, we had several friends that had attended a mysterious set of classes called CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Project) https://www.chiphealth.com/ and they raved about the way it had changed their lives and how they had learned all about the food facts and easy recipes for successful lifestyle changes that we were struggling to put together ourselves. They showed us how we could dramatically improve our health in as little as 6 weeks and how easy it was for them to accomplish. We decided to give it a try and attended the CHIP program’s evening classes for a month with the hope that if 21 days sets a habit then an extra 7 days would probably set it in place with us for life.
The classes were amazing – easy to do – watch an informative video for 30 minutes and then discuss it and share ideas on how to implement what we learned into our lives. This was followed by a great tasting meal served by our hosts and after the meal, we were asked – what was in it? That in itself was a great education with lots of laughs and memorable observations regarding the meal and how easy it was too prepare and how it would help us maintain or improve our health. On the way out of the door after each session, we would receive the recipes for the great meals we had just received. This technique spread over 4 weekday nights 4 weeks in a row provided us with what we needed most – a sustainable menu of 16 NEW family meal favourites. Every family has their favourite 5 to 10 meals that get rotated throughout the month – making for easy meal planning for mom. This was our replacement meal kit to comfortably take us from a state of ignorantly unhealthy to the new and gloriously informed and healthy lifestyle change that didn’t cost us more or make us go to strange places for food. We could shop in the same old places we did before but now we knew where to find all those great foods we had previously walked right by without noticing. Without the CHIP program, we would never have figured this out before we would have given up in frustration.
Change is hard – sometimes – but with the CHIP program it was easy – much easier than we had thought.
It is now over 13 years since we first took that CHIP program and I am pleased to say we are still using what we learned every day and my family’s health has improved beyond our wildest imagination. As an example, I lost 30 pounds, I stopped snoring, my blood work shows my previously stressed and atherosclerotic arteries have stopped complaining and may actually be reversing/healing the damage previously done by my previous lifestyle choices. People who have not seen me for 10 years say I look younger and better than I ever have – they weren’t aware of my traumatic event. Friends of mine who have followed my lead now look 15 years younger than they used to and report feeling better than they can remember ever feeling. Other friends of mine who didn’t follow my lead have consistently shown marked signs of ageing, obesity and physical stress – replacing knee joints and hips joints or suffering from unexplainable back pain. Others have developed diabetes, lost vision in their eyes and other avoidable problems. The longer I live with my CHIP program lifestyle the more I see the benefits of its simple lifestyle changes in my own life and in the lives of others who choose to follow it or ignore it.
I challenge anyone, who may have the good fortune of reading my testimony to CHIP’s importance in my life, to make a commitment to change their lives for the better by simply attending a CHIP program – the program will give you the tools you need to permanently change your life for the better and probably reduce your physical suffering significantly. It worked for me and 1000’s of others.
Check out their site https://www.chiphealth.com/ or find a local chapter near you – it will improve your health and it might just save your life. Ignorance is bliss but that is no excuse – take responsibility for your health like I did. CHIP gives you the tools and education to get back to optimal health without diets or expensive gym equipment.
If you are in the Kelowna, BC area then check out our local site at https://kelownachip.com/ for the latest news and class schedules. I might even be there from time to time. I would love to meet you and hear your success tories.