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Wake-Up Call

Not to toot my own horn, but I have heard from many people that I am probably one of the healthiest people they know…but what makes someone healthy? Is it the outward appearance of a healthy weight and fit body? Is it that they eat well? Does exercise do it? There is more to health than meets the eye…I found that out the hard way.

That habit saved my life! 

Most of you know that I LOVE to exercise. I cycle, run or swim most days of the week and have been doing so for probably 15 years. That habit saved my life! How you ask? Since I exercise regularly, I have learned to listen to my body. I know when I can push harder and when it’s time to back off. I know when I’m on the verge of injury or when something is just not right. Most athletes will tell you the same thing, but listening to your body is not something that only athletes should do.

This year, 2014, has been a busy year filled with all kinds of events requiring me to be physically conditioned to compete. To give you an idea, in February, I completed my first full marathon. In March, I competed in a Duathlon (run, bike, run). April brought in some adventure with a team adventure race. In May, another duathlon went down in the books. The warmer weather of June had me compete in the first triathlon (swim, bike, run) of the year.

Heart rate up, pain – heart rate down, pain goes away.

While I was competing in that late June triathlon, I noticed that I wasn’t quite myself. I didn’t have that get-up and go when I got off of the bike. I chalked it up to a bad day and walked part of the run course to finish the race. After all, everyone has a bad race once in a while. I didn’t give it much thought. My wife and I spend a lot of time training with friends. Over the Fourth of July weekend, we spent time hanging with friends, training and enjoying each other’s company. We were out for a run and I started feeling some discomfort in my chest, a slight tightening. When I stopped running, the pain went away (basically, the description of angina). A few days later, we were on the levee on the bike and I had the same thing happen.  Heart rate up, pain – heart rate down, pain goes away.

At this point, I realized that there was more to it than just a bad day, so I decided to get it checked out. Fast forward a few weeks…blood work, EKG, cardiology visit. After seeing the cardiologist, I was scheduled for a stress test. Piece of cake right, after all, I run and bike all of the time. It turned out that I failed the stress test, or at least my heart did. Generally, a failed stress test means that there is blockage somewhere in the heart, but it does not specify where. After the failed test, I was scheduled for an angiogram to determine where the blockage was and how bad it was blocked. I was told that if the blockage was over 70%, they would stint immediately.

 It was time to see what was going on in there.

The beginning of September brought in Labor Day followed by D Day. It was time to see what was going on in there. It turns out that there was 95% blockage in the Left Anterior Descending artery (many refer to this as the widow maker). The blockage was about midway, but was long enough to warrant a double stint. After a restless night in the hospital, I was banished from the office for the rest of the week.

According to the cardiologist, I am a lucky man. The way I see it…I’m not lucky, I am blessed. I am blessed because God gave me warning signs that I didn’t ignore. He decided to keep me around instead of allowing a massive heart attack, which is what killed my grandfather at only 46 years old (I’m 46). Had I not listened to my body, I may not be writing this warning to you now.

56.6% of people diagnosed…did moderate to vigorous exercise

Please, don’t think that you’re immune from heart disease just because you exercise, eat right, don’t smoke, and maintain a healthy weight. Web MD cited a study which revealed that 56.6% of people diagnosed with heart disease did moderate to vigorous exercise at least 3 times per week. They also noted that 38.6% of those diagnosed, maintained a healthy body weight. Don’t get me wrong, those things are great to do, and they do reduce the risk – but they don’t eliminate it. Family history has more to do with heart disease than we want to admit. Like I said, my grandfather died of a massive heart attack at my age. My grandfathers, father and uncles have all had issues with heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure. Even though I exercise vigorously most days of the week, and eat a fairly healthy diet, my cholesterol was still high.

 So what is my point?

So what is my point? I want you to know the signs! I want you to pay attention to your body’s warning before it’s too late! My symptoms included dizziness, excessive sweating, anxiety, fatigue, and chest pain on exertion. Other symptoms include a persistent cough, nausea, lack of appetite, rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling and weakness. This is not an exhaustive list, and you may not have all of these symptoms, but chances are you will have more than one. God gave us life, and he gave us warning signs to tell us when something in our bodies is risking that life. Pay attention to those signs that something is not right and get it checked out. I am thankful and praise God that he gave me those warning signs, and I am thankful that I listened to them.

As I think about our bodies and the way that we are created, I think about Genesis 2:7 where it tells us “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Psalm 150:6 says, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” And, Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” I am thankful that I have a relationship with him and could be comforted even through that scary time in my life and Praise Him for giving me peace.  Philippians 4:7 says this: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I pray that you have that same peace and comfort that only He can give.

32 Join the Conversation

  1. Claire Mayor says
    Sep 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Dr. Paul, so glad to hear everything worked out for the best. Need you around to fix me.

    • Dr. Paul Tassin says
      Sep 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Thanks Claire! I plan to be around for a while!

    • Virginia C Causey says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      so glad you "listened" to your warning signs, God has healed you,, your doctors took good care of you,, stay well, continue to heal others,, not only physically, but also in mind, spirit and soul ~ ~ hello to Tammy and your daughters,, and to Michelle and all the staff

  2. bria says
    Sep 26, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    amen to that brother. i didn't know you were a born again christian. we need to talk. i think i need to get checked out too. you are the man, love ya! brian.

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      Thanks Brian! Give me a call anytime.

  3. Sean Cahill says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Glad to hear all is well. The article is point on. We all must listen to what our bodies are telling us. To ignore it may mean dramatic consequences.

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      Thanks Sean!

  4. Laurie young says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Thanks Dr Paul for being transparent about your health and your faith! And the good advice!! Laurie young

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Thanks Laurie!

  5. Rhoda Neville says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    I could hardly believe this when Stacy told me what happened to you. I am so happy that the problem was found and you are okay now. We are really happy to see you around the neighborhood! Rhoda

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Thanks Rhoda! Glad to still see you around the neighborhood too!

  6. Charlotte Dufrene says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    I'm so happy you listened to your body. I just love you and Stacy like crazy. You are some of the best people I know. The alternative would have just devastated Stacy and your girls. Thanks for sharing.

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Thanks Charlotte! We love you too!

  7. John Deason says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Dr Paul. Glad to read you are progressing well. God's Blessings!!

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Thanks John!

  8. Rick Decedue says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I am very happy that you discovered it in time !! I had the same thing happen to me in 2008, at only 27 years of age. I was placed on a stretcher and being worked on and no one could find what was wrong. I had asthma and didn't know and has experienced a near fatal attack. I am very glad you caught the signs early.

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Thanks Rick! Glad they finally figured out what was going on with you as well!

  9. Your Name says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    May GOD continue to bless you and your ministry. What you do and the person you are helps those who you touch. Yours is not just a "practice" but a living testament of GOD'S compassion and healing, hence... ministry. Keep the faith and continue to spread the WORD. GOD bless you and your family.

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      Thanks so much! I have always looked at my practice as a ministry as well...

  10. Grace Bourgeois says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story and information. We are so blessed that you listened to your body! We want to see your smiling face around for a long, long time!!!! We love and need you!

    • says
      Sep 29, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Thanks Grace! I plan on being around for a long, long time!

  11. Cynthia Mentel says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    I am so glad that you listened to the Holy Spirit and had things checked out. I believe we are all here for a reason and for a certain walk or in your case run. You are always so kind and gentle in your ways and always make everyone else feel better, both physically and mentally. Take good care of yourself and always know that my best wishes are with you. Thanks to all of your family and staff for taking good care of you.

    • says
      Sep 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Thank you so much Cynthia!

  12. Alistare says
    Sep 29, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Amen! We are all blessed by your sharing, your healing, health, & love and commitment to your clients! Continue to be blessed and a blessing!

    • says
      Sep 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Thank you so much Alistare!

  13. Sheila says
    Oct 01, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Stay well. Happy to know you are doing good. I am a firm believer that only we know out bodies, better than anyone else.