Yes, he had survived a Quadruple Bypass Open Heart surgery a little over six years prior. But we had been eating healthy, taking all the right supplements, exercising regularly, and trying to do all the right things to prevent blockage from happening again.
The cardiologist, who had ordered the Nuclear Stress test, basically told us that the only thing Larry could do was start taking statin drugs again. Statins? Why cholesterol lowering drugs when his cholesterol was really not that high and we know that cholesterol is really not a good indicator of heart disease?
After his open heart surgery they had automatically put him on statins. However, when a period of time had passed after his surgery and we had done research on the side effects of statins, we made the decision to stop the drug. Larry was taking several heart healthy supplements and we were eating a heart healthy diet so why risk the side effects of statins?
He had a history of high blood pressure and actually took blood pressure medication from about age 27 or 28. His father had died at age 61 of a massive stroke and his mother had been on blood pressure meds for years so our assumption was that Larry had inherited the tendency to have high blood pressure.
When he was in his early 40’s, his blood pressure was going into the dangerously high zone even on medication. The doctor wanted to give him an additional medication but Larry talked him into waiting to give him a chance to bring his blood pressure down in a more natural way.
I believe it was August of 1986 that Neo-Life, the nutrition company we had associated ourselves with, came out with a new supplement called Salmon Oil. Studies had shown that salmon was very beneficial for the cardiovascular system and could be helpful in lowering blood pressure.
Larry started taking 3 Salmon Oil capsules daily right away. At that time he was monitoring his blood pressure at home on a daily basis. Three months after starting the Salmon Oil supplement, his blood pressure dropped to normal levels. He was able to stop his blood pressure medication all together never needing to go back on it until after his heart bypass surgery over 20 years later.
A note here: Larry’s blood pressure was never high even through surgery. It is automatic for doctors to prescribe blood pressure medication after heart surgery just to make sure there is not too much pressure on the new grafts.
Needless to say, Neo-Life Salmon Oil has been a staple in our supplement cabinet since 1986. We credit it with keeping Larry’s blood pressure at a normal, safe level.
Another side note: Larry’s mother and step father were both able to greatly reduce their blood pressure medication after using Neo-Life Salmon Oil for 3 months.
Be careful! All fish oil and Salmon Oil supplements are not created equal. Click here to learn more.
Over the years when Larry was in his late 40’s and 50’s there were times when he experienced irregular or skipped heart beats. As a result he had worn a heart monitor at one time, had an echocardiogram, had several EKG’s, had tread mill tests, etc. but during all that, his blood pressure remained stable. The only diagnosis from all those tests was that he had a mitral valve prolapse (they told us it was probably from birth) but nothing to get too excited about and no treatment was suggested.
An interesting note here: after a few years of using additional heart healthy supplements, the mitral valve prolapse problem seemed to go away and did not bother him any longer.
A few months prior to Larry’s 64th birthday he started experiencing more tiredness than usual and he couldn’t keep up with me when we went out riding our bikes uphill. (He would sail past me going downhill.) That was unusual because I was typically the one that lagged behind on the uphill climbs.
Then he started complaining about feeling extremely tired and was having chest pains after very little exertion. That was when I called his cardiologist and made an appointment for him to get checked out.
That was the appointment that led to an angiogram (heart catheterization) that led to his 4-way bypass surgery. Major blockages were found – 99% in the main artery, 85% & 80% in 2 other arteries, and 100% in one of the minor arteries.
The doctor told him if he would have had a heart attack there was no way possible he would have survived.
Why had he not had a heart attack with all that blockage?
We do not know for sure but our theory is that his blood was healthy, non-clotting, and slick enough to actually flow through despite the blockages. What made his blood healthy, non-clotting, and slick? Neo-Life Salmon Oil and other heart healthy supplements is the only logical answer.
You may be thinking; if Larry’s blood was so healthy why did he have all that blockage? Believe me; those same thoughts went through our heads as well.
The blockages could have been caused from any one of several things or perhaps a combination of reasons.
- Could have been from living and working in a very stressful environment for many years?
- Could have been from not eating properly and too much fast food during those years of living away from home during the week?
- Could have been hereditary; after all, his father and several relatives had died at fairly young ages from having had strokes or heart disease?
- Could have started during the years prior to when he was able to get his blood pressure down to a normal level? Once a buildup of blockage starts, that can set you on the pathway to serious blockages later.
- Could have been all those highly processed corn chips he used to eat as a bed time snack?
In our mind there is no doubt that Neo-Life Salmon Oil saved Larry’s life.
It was not until after Larry had open heart surgery that we found out that in the process of surgery they cut the membrane that holds the heart. They leave that membrane loose after the surgery because of the possibility of swelling. That means the movement of the heart beating is felt more after open heart surgery.
I do not know how many times since Larry’s open heart surgery, I have heard him say, “I wish I had my original heart back, the one that God gave me.”
Over the years since his open heart surgery he has really never gotten used to what is supposed to be a normal feeling in his chest and what could be an indicator that something is not quite right?
I might add that in the years following heart surgery Larry did a lot of extremely hard physical work like he had always done all his life so having the surgery really did not slow him down very much.
At around 5 ½ to 6 years after his heart surgery, he started noticing chest pains and feelings that were a little different. He also seemed to be a little more tired than usual when he went out to do work like cutting and splitting firewood with a chain saw and an ole’ fashion splitting maul.
It was at that point when he had the Nuclear Stress test at age 70. The results showed that part of his heart was non-functioning (dead) probably due to having had a heart attack at some point. What a shocker! Evidently it is not unusual for people to experience heart attacks and not know it.
Since Larry did not want to take statins, the doctor basically just said to continue doing what we had been doing but to listen to his body about when to back off and rest. Otherwise there was nothing they could do for him so he continued cutting firewood and splitting it by hand.
We decided to take this a step further and go for a heart catheterization (angiogram) so we would really know if there was blockage and how bad it might be.
Results of the heart catheterization showed that two of the major bypasses were working fine with no blockages. The other two bypasses had occluded (fallen away). One of those had auto-rerouted so was functioning and the other was not important because it was to the part of Larry’s heart that was non-functioning (dead).
No blockages after six and a half years from the open heart surgery. It seems that the heart healthy supplement program is working to keep the blockages from reoccurring and the doctor never mentioned statins again… yeah!
Once again we can say the Neo-Life supplements are working. They have been doing their job of keeping Larry’s arteries clear of blockages and free of clots.
With more research and education about heart surgery we found out some more interesting information.
- Approximately 10% of all heart bypasses fail within the first 6 months.
- Approximately 50% of all heart bypasses fail within 10 years.
- The failure of a bypass can cause a heart attack.
At least now, the doctors were no longer bugging Larry to go back on statin drugs, that was obviously not the problem. They did suggest a rather new medication that helps increase the blood flow to the heart so as to put less stress on it and to reduce the ongoing chest pains he has been experiencing. At this point the medication does seem to be helping some with the chest pains.
Meanwhile we are continuing to eat a healthy diet and Larry is continuing on the Neo-Life heart healthy program. He seems to be able to do most everything he was doing previously but is just more aware of not pushing himself like he used to do.
Larry is a type A personality. When he starts a project he does not want to stop until it is completed regardless of how exhausted and tired he becomes so this is a bit of a challenge for him. I am proud of him as he is doing better in this regard most of the time.
Here’s what Larry wants you to know because here is what he wishes he had done and known along the way.
- Having high blood pressure is not necessarily hereditary.
- Start focusing on good nutrition at a younger age.
- Know and understand the differences between the kinds of supplements on the market.
- Have a spouse that supports the use of nutrition supplements. (I previously believed you could get all the nutrients you needed from the food you ate.)
- Fritos are not a healthy routine bedtime snack – nor are any other type of chips.
- Find out all the facts for your particular situation.
- Do all you know to do to preserve your health before it starts to break down.
- Strive to live life to the fullest with the least amount of bad stress as possible.
- Trust God to take care of everything else.
We have shared Larry’s experience with you because we want you to be able to keep the heart God gave you.
Start where you are today – make the necessary changes.
Are you at risk of having heart disease?
Don't wait until you need to have heart surgery.
Listen to your body.
Do me and yourself a favor! Make Larry’s experience count for your life!
Your heart will thank you!
Larry’s desire for you is for you to keep the heart God gave you.
“Sharing the things I have learned.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on today's post! Please take a quick moment and leave your comments and/or questions below in the comment section below.
Pat has been married to the same man for over 51 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and avoiding a major heart attack, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others. Her goal is to share with others the things she has learned and is still learning about having the BEST REAL HEALTH possible.
Join Pat in having the Best Real Health possible.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
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