Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Sam Morton: Living With Heart Disease

For this WebMD Community member, having a chronic heart condition and diabetes means choosing to live each day to its fullest.
By Sam Morton
WebMD Magazine - Feature

I've discovered that most of the time, my life with a chronic disease can be much like everyone else's. I am 41 years old. I am a father, husband, uncle, nephew, and son. I am an ex-cop. And, to either the bemusement or bewilderment of my friends and family, I am a former professional wrestler-the raucous, fake, TV kind. I am a writer and the token male member on my office's women's advancement committee.

I am many things to many people. Most of all, I am a man with advanced heart disease, aggravated by type 2 diabetes. When I was 38, I had quadruple bypass surgery. One of my arteries was 99% blocked, the others a mere 90%.

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Eat for a Healthy Heart

Eating heart-healthy foods may be easier than you think. You don't need to measure or weigh everything or consult calorie books and food labels before every meal. You can fit a healthy diet into a busy lifestyle.   It can be as simple as 1-2-3. Just focus on these three areas, says Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE, a dietitian and assistant clinical professor at the school of nursing at the University of California at San Francisco:   Eat more fiber. Switch to healthier fats.  Eat less sodium...

Read the Eat for a Healthy Heart article > >

After the surgery, I had a stent [a tiny mesh-like tube used to prop open clogged arteries] inserted. A week passed before I felt "normal." Then I was back into a routine-insulin pump management and medications. It's my diabetes that has sped me along this path to heart disease, and I can't afford not to manage it properly.

Before having the stent placed, I was taking nitroglycerine to relieve some minor but noticeable angina. Recently, I haven't touched it. I take that as a fantastic sign, but my cardiologist is always a bit more cautious. However, I am quite optimistic about my next follow-up appointment.

Life, with or without a chronic disease, cannot be a constant pity party. Attitude and good mental health are keys to good physical health. The responsibility for taking care of myself lies within me. I can diet, exercise, manage my diabetes. I can faithfully take my cholesterol medications.

Lately, my biggest concern is finding my son's lunch box and my daughter's tennis shoes so we're not late for school. I can live a normal life. Together we can go to the beach, the mountains, camping. With my friends and extended family, I can celebrate the births of their children or grandchildren. I can watch my daughter perform ballet and my son compete in karate. I can hold their hands and wipe tears. With or without a chronic disease, this is "normal." This is life.

Originally published in the January/February2006 issue of WebMD the Magazine.

Reviewed on December 12, 2005

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW