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.

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on December 12, 2005
From the WebMD Archives

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%.

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.

Continued

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.

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