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My Miracle-Escaping an Aneurysm (Don't ignore the little red flag)

Updated on November 8, 2013
A piece I did the day before my surgery
A piece I did the day before my surgery | Source


My surgeon, Dr Joseph Diliberto, sawed through my sternum and separated my ribcage. With my chest cavity open and my heart revealed, the surgical team cut away my lungs and all major arteries and veins from my heart. Technically; I was dead!

Okay, I think I have your attention, now I would like to pause here and start from the beginning; the beginning of a story about how fate decided to give me a second chance.

The Sleep Doctor

July 31st, 2009: I was in no hurry when I left the job site at noon. I was leaving early for a doctors appointment, but it was just a sleep disorder doctor; nothing serious.

This was actually my second appointment with the doctor; the first time I had been turned away because I had been there for a sleep apnea study and after an evaluation, he told me my problem was not sleep apnea, but rather, insomnia. To be quite honest, even though I knew I suffered from insomnia I really had no intention of going to a doctor for it. The only reason I eventually went was because some co-workers participated in the sleep study and said that if I went they would pay me and all treatment would be free. I was still skeptical, but the clinic actually called me and convinced me to make an appointment. I figured, what the hell! It was the hottest part of the year; I would take half a sick day and get paid for it. Why not?

The staff at the clinic did their usual tests and questions and then the sleep disorder doctor, Dr. Feldman, came in to see me. He went over the paperwork while we made small talk and then he too began to do some basic tests on me. When it came time to check my heart he put his stethoscope up to my chest and listened.

To this day I still remember, and will never forget, the look on his face as he listened to my heart. It was that slight look of concern that crossed his face that started the journey. He pulled the stethoscope away, took a step backward and scowled as if something were bothering him. Of course I was a little concerned by his response, but I had been told years earlier that I had a heart murmur, so I figured that must be what he was hearing.

He stepped forward again and held the stethoscope to my chest. He finally backed away, and still wearing the scowl on his face began to break the bad news to me. He explained that what he was hearing was a leaking heart valve and that it sounded very severe. He wrote down information for me to take with me and advised that I go see a doctor right away. He emphasized that I not let myself be put off with a future appointment, but that I see someone as soon as possible.

At one point, as Dr. Feldman was speaking to me, he paused and stared at me with a confused look. "Wait a second." he said. "Didn't you walk in here on your own?"

"Yes," I answered.

Still looking bewioldered he held his stethoscope to my chest a third time, listened, and then backed away again. "I don't understand; from what I am hearing, you should be so dizzy that you can hardly walk. Are you sure you are not feeling any dizziness or lightheaded?"

"No," I answered again. " I feel fine."

Even though my lack of symptoms seemed very unusual to Dr. Feldman he insisted that I go and see my doctor. He convinced me that my condition was of such a serious nature that it had to be addressed right away, and in doing so he saved my life.

Echocardiogram

Source

Diagnosis

Needless to say, the forty minute drive from Dr. Feldmans office to my house was one of the longest of my life. I had started the day thinking I was going to have an easy afternoon with the possibility of making a few extra bucks, to trying to come to terms with the fact that a doctor had just told me that I had a severe heart problem. What was going to happen to me: how was I going to tell my wife, my daughters, my mom?

After arriving home and breaking the news to my wife, Brandie, I was able to get in touch with my primary doctor and she agreed to see me first thing in the morning. After seeing my doctor, she sent me to a cardiologist who confirmed what Dr. Feldman had told me. The cardiologist was just as perplexed as Dr. Feldman about the absence of what he felt should have been obvious symptoms. The cardiologist scheduled me for an echocardiogram to be performed the following day. He told me that after the scan that I would probably be hearing from them in about three weeks.

By the morning of the scan a couple of days had passed since first discovering the problem, and during that time I received a lot of encouraging feedback from family and friends. I was finally starting to accept that I had something going on with my ticker, but by now I was thinking that fixing the problem would be some minor procedure. I had even begun to feel a little guilty about making a fuss over it. I was beginning to think it was no big deal and that the guys at work would tease me for being a wimp.

The following day I went for my echocardiogram, and after the scan I waited in the lobby for further instructions. A doctor came out and told me that they needed to study the scan a little further but that I would be hearing from them by the next day. I assumed that he was not on the same page as my cardiologist, so I told the doctor that my cardiologist said I would be hearing from them in three weeks.

This was when the second blow hit me, letting me know that this was indeed a serious problem. The doctor was direct with me and said that my condition seemed very serious, and he even advised that if I felt even the slightest of pains that I was to go to an emergency room immediately.

Once again I went home deflated. I could discern by the doctors tone and the fact that this was receiving immediate attention that I was dealing with something that might be more that just, 'a simple procedure.'

The following day I went to work. I had been off for three days going through doctor visits and examinations and I couldn't take it anymore. As soon as I got to work the guys started encouraging me again, and one fellow employee related a personal story about a family member who had a problem like mine and all he had to do was get a stint inserted in his heart. Again, I was starting to feel better and was almost wishing that I had not said anything about it to the guys.

At about 9:00am I was in the break-room with my foreman having a friendly chat and starting to feel pretty good about things. And then my phone rang.


Emergency Room

Source

Emergency Room

I answered the phone and it was my cardiologist. He began to tell me that they had discovered that I had what was called: a distended aortic artery, and that it was so severe that it was at the point of rupturing; it was the onset of an aneurysm. He told me that he had scheduled a surgery team and that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately.

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Just minutes after talking with the doctor my daughter Beth called me, and when I started telling her what was happening, I finally broke down. I called my wife, Brandie, breaking the news to her, and told her to meet me at the emergency room. I have to say that Brandie turned out to be a rock for me during that traumatic time. I know the situation was extremely tough on her, but she held everything together and was by my side through the entire ordeal. I can't imagine going through the experience without her there to hold me up.

When I arrived at the hospital, they were waiting for me. They took me right in and began running every kind of test imaginable. Because of the unusual circumstances of not having the symptoms that would normally accompany my condition, there were several surgeons who came in to examine and question me. They actually brought folding chairs and sat them around my bed. At one point they brought a group of interns in and had them listen to my heart.


Red Flag

Source

That little voice in your head

During the intense questioning there was an instance involving the memory of a slight pain in my chest that I recalled and shared with them. It did not seem to be too significant at the present, but the memory was a wake-up call for me and one that I wanted to share with the readers of this story.

It was true that I was not suffering any of the symptoms that normally accompanied my condition, but I recalled that on a couple of occasions over the prior few months that I had experienced some slight discomfort in my chest. The most recent had been about three months earlier, and I remember taking special notice because that time seemed a little more painful than any time before. Even though I was far from what I considered; old, I was forty-seven and knew that I should take seriously any pain that I felt in my chest. I remember telling myself that I was approaching fifty, and had always heard that fifty was the age when you should have a full check-up. And this is where I ignored that little voice in my head that was screaming, "Danger!" My instincts were waving a red flag, and if not for fate stepping in, my failure to act on it would have killed me.

I understand these aches and pains are hard to acknowledge as we get older, because they just seem to come with so much more frequency and severity as we age. But this wasn't just an ache; it was my instinct telling me there was something seriously wrong, and I put it off. I have tried to relay this part of my experience to everyone I can, because I realize now that no matter how old you are, there may be a time when you will feel something, and a little voice in your head will say, "we've got a problem here!" I truly believe this is a natural survival instinct, and if you ignore it, or put it off, it will probably kill you. If I had not gone to that sleep doctor and had my problem discovered, I would have died within the week; that is a fact!

The doctors explained my final diagnosis; my mitral valve was leaking and had caused my aortic artery to swell to about four times its normal size. The technical term for the condition is called: distended aortic artery. The artery was in the process of beginning to rupture and when this happens, it is a full blown aneurysm. The doctors told me that based on what they could see from their tests that my artery would have ruptured within a week; two at the most. They explained that if my artery had ruptured and I had not been at the hospital that I would have died within a couple of minutes.

I'm sure you have heard the term; deer in the headlights. Well, that was me. in a way, I think it was a blessing that it all happened so fast. I didn't have a lot of time to think about the 'why's' and 'wherefores' of my situation. It was happening whether I liked it or not. It was literally; life or death.

Bypass

Source

Heartless- The Bypass Experience

And so, back to the beginning of my story. I was taken in for open heart surgery and learned the true meaning of; bypass surgery. Regardless of what kind of work you are having done on your heart, if it requires the beating of your heart to be stopped, you must be put on bypass. The simplest way I can describe this is to say that they cut your lungs, arteries, and veins, away from your heart and hook them to a machine that pumps your blood and breaths for you. In my case, after cutting my heart in the clear they then had to wait for it to quit beating and then they put it on ice. When my heart was no longer moving, they removed my bad valve and artery and replaced them with titanium steel implants. When this was completed they stopped the bypass, (technically I was dead a second time), so that they could reattach my heart. With that accomplished, they then had to restart my heart. The entire process took just under six hours. I could get into the entire recovery process, but I will spare you those details. Let me just say; the first couple of days were hell!

When I was finally cognizant enough to understand, Dr. Dileberto talked with Brandie and I, and showed us photographs of my heart. They had been wrong about me surviving a couple of weeks had the problem not been discovered; the artery had already begun to rupture. I would have died within hours had I not gone in for surgery.

The lack of what they considered; normal symptoms, has been constantly discussed, and Dr. Diliberto has since spoken at seminars where I am told that he refers to my case and that of the late actor, John Ritter. The only explanation that they can come up with is that I was considerably young, and that I was in very good shape.

That's right; I was in great shape, and it damn near killed me. Obviously, I have battled with that idea for the last few years. In many ways it doesn't seem fair, but what has happened, has happened, and I am still alive! I know it is an old cliche, but boy, talk about gaining a new perspective on life.

My dear Hubbers, although I could go on forever about this journey, I know that what I have written is lengthy, so I am going to wrap this up by reminding everyone of the 'red flag' experience I encountered. I am not implying that you live in a state of paranoia, but please take my advice; if you do sense one of those little alarms going off inside you, do not ignore it. Take it very serious. We were born with that instinct for a reason.

I knew that something was wrong and I put it off. Call it what you will: destiny, fate, a miracle, my heart was beginning to rupture and I did not know it. If I had not gone to the sleep doctor on that day, I would not be here now. That is a fact!

But I am here, and I am alive. I have an eleven inch scar running down my chest, and the metal valve in my heart sounds like a loud clock ticking when I am in a quiet room. I was given more time; and that internal clicking will always remind me of that.



Survival Rate

As of 2006, the survival rate for an aortic aneurysm is just over 4 for every 100,000!

Three years after surgery
Three years after surgery | Source

Red Flag Result

Will the story of this experience make you any more health conscious than you already were?

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    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      What an amazing story, with a very important message. I will be sure to be aware of my body's red flags.

      It seems rare for something like this to happen to someone under 50. I think my uncle had something similar happen, too, but he was not very active.

      It's great that you went to that sleep doctor, even if you didn't think you needed to. What a sobering thought, that you would have died in a short period of time.

      Thanks for sharing this story with us. I hung onto every word. You hear about medical emergencies every day, but when you hear it from the actual survivor, and it's from an acquaintance of sorts, it seems far more real.

      I'm glad that this is a happy ending.

      Voted up and sharing. Have a great weekend!

      ~ Kathryn

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      That is an incredible story. Timing is everything and yours was prefect as far as keeping you among the living. We are glad this story had a happy ending, as I am sure you and your family are too.

    • Joel Okimoto profile image

      Kai Morris 3 years ago from London

      This is an enlightening story. I am glad to see you are doing well after.

      Also happy 100th hub!!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      While you have referred to this hub as lengthy, I have to disagree, it is certainly just right. You have included all the details in an interesting read and opened the eyes of many I am sure.

      I am glad you reached your happy ending. Though not nearly as scary as your heart aneurysm, my husband was diagnosed with an Aortic Abdominal Aneurysm and within three days was in surgery. (Yes, I wrote a hub about it but I like yours better.) Thank you for this important information!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      My goodness, but you did get lucky! This is a very important and well-written account. Thank you for sharing your personal story. The personal touch always makes a warning more credible than generic cautions put out by the medical establishment.

      My husband went through a quintuple-bypass surgery back in 2001, but not for an aneurysm--his coronary arteries were simply all blocked up. But it is the same kind of slow and painful recovery. It took him a full year to be back up and running at "almost normal" again.

      Now, he's had several stents placed over the years, and there is no more that they can do--he's being evaluated for a heart transplant.

      Voted up, interesting, useful, awesome and shared.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful and important hub Wayne. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story, as a warning to us all particularly us men who tend to sweep things under the rug with a "she'll be right" attitude. I don't go to the doctor as often as I should, but I'll be more aware after reading this. Voted up.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Katheryn, thank you dear for the visit and the support. And I wish you a very great weekend as well.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hello, sir Jim. It seems that nowadays i see you on Bubblews more than I see you here. But wherever it is, it is always a pleasure!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank goodness for a team of doctors who were in tune with your body's needs and condition. That sleep doctor was instrumental in saving your life and it wasn't even in his "area" of specialty. Bravo for the quick response of those who were in charge of your care and thank the good Lord for your recovery from what might have been a vastly different experience. My Dad had Aneurism Resection Surgery which prevented a potential aneurism from taking his life prematurely due to an unrelated appointment for some heartburn issues. Great story. I was captivated on your every word.

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 3 years ago from Maine

      Oh man, was this so incredibly hard to read. I have to be honest, I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face, remembering that day I called you and you had just got the call to go in to surgery. I was terrified, but I am so glad, beyond words, that those doctors saved your life. I cannot even began to imagine this world without you, and I don't want to. Just reading this, I can't wait to see you in a few weeks and give you a huge hug and be so thankful for that sleep study.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Joel, I appreciate the compliment. Thank you very much.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Mary. I am looking forward to finding your piece, and hopefully many more on that wonderful looking page of yours.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 3 years ago from Tampa Bay

      I'm pretty certain this hub will inspire readers to listen carefully to that instinctual voice within. It's amazing how the body alerts us to what we need to do. You must be eternally thankful for that sleep doctor who first detected a serious abnormality. Personal experiences are often the most potent form of caution and prevention. Thanks for sharing.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      DzyMsLizzy, I thank you so much for the visit and the kind words and I see that you are a soul that can definitely relate to my story. One of my best friends underwent a heart transplant about a year before my surgery. That was about five years ago, and even though he has gone through some difficulties, he is still doing very well considering his options. I wish you and your husband all the best. Hold your spirits high, be positive, and enjoy every wonderful moment you have in this life.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      This is such an important message which you have imparted with directness and sincerity. Listening to your body's messages is a must, however small or seemingly insignificant. I'm so glad you were saved by that wonderful doctor; isn't it strange how fate takes a hand, when you least expect it? It takes courage to go through such things and your wife obviously supported you well. You are a lucky man in more ways than one. May you have a long and happy life; you were obviously meant to be part of this wonderful world for much longer. So much the better for us too, being able to read all your excellent hubs. All the best to you. Ann

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks for the visit, Jodah and thanks for the kind words.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks for the visit, Peg, and I'm glad to hear that everything worked out okay for your father.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Beth, I love you darlin'. I am very happy that I am still here to see my grandson growing up. and of course, to spend many more wonderful years with my beautiful daughters!

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Wayne,

      What an incredible story and incredible journey. I would never have guessed looking at your picture you had gone through such a trauma and come out of it looking so fit. This is definitely a hub that I will share on HP and FB. We must be around the same age and so there are many of my FB friends in that same age bracket who can benefit from your story.

      Many Continued Blessings,

      Kim

    • bizarrett81 profile image

      bizarrett81 3 years ago from Maine

      I am so glad you are here to know my son = ) But you need to move closer!!

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you for the compliment Rebekah. It's always nice to hear from you.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Ann, I truly appreciate the feedback and the wonderful compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank s for stopping by Kim, and thank you so much for the share and the support.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      An amazing story that reminds us how vulnerable we are, and how important it is to pay attention to what the body is telling us. I am happy to hear you were able to overcome such a challenge and are here to tell us about it. This should be read by many. Voted up.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 3 years ago from The Shire

      God just reached down and put His hand on your head, Wayne! What a narrow escape -- I'm glad that you're okay! Thanks for drawing attention to the need to listen to your body and get regular checkups!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, Wayne what an amazing story! Had you not wanted to scarf on a few bucks, we wouldn't be reading this now.

      It was not time for you to go, obviously. I can only imagine how scared you and your family were when they discovered the severity of your condition!

      Several years ago by brother had a life-threatening scare. He was hospitalized for a couple of months. Priests came to visit him every two hours. It seems his blood count and platelets had gone down to 7. He should have been dead.

      He even went blind for a while once he was released. He was sitting on the toilet, got dizzy and hit his head on the tub. Back to the hospital he went. He was blind for several weeks. To this day my brother doesn't remember his time in the hospital, let alone the priests that stayed vigil at his bedside.

      He just had a follow up with his doctor this past Monday and he is amazed that there are no signs of damage to my brother's organs. His doc says the strength of his heart is what kept him alive and has allowed him to heal. The doctor sees no signs of my brother's death-defying condition. Apparently, it's not his time either. He has not yet accomplished his mission on this earth, nor have you my friend.

      Thank you for sharing this. I don't know the average age of your readership, but I'll be 57 in March. I'll pay closer attention to abnormalities from now on. Insurance or no insurance.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Beth I would love to live closer, but you know that picture of me with no shirt on at the beach was taken in January. Think I could do that in Maine? :)

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Adrienne, thank you very much for the visit.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Holy crap, Wayne!

      You're even more of a rock star than I thought.

      Congrats on defying the odds. I'm glad you're still here.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Molly, thank you dear for the kind thoughts.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      That was an amazing story, and thank goodness all those things came together to catch it in time! sadly my friends husband had the same thing, but was too late. this was a few years ago, and yes we should all take notice of the little twinges. about 20 years ago I kept dreaming I was being stabbed in my stomach, long story short, my kidney which had been malformed since birth, which I didn't know, was about to explode, so I told the doc, and got taken in. Yes those twinges, nell

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Wow what an amazing and frightening journey. I'm glad it all worked out in your favor. In the meanwhile you could possibly save a few lives. Wishing you continued good health!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Whew. A friend was in the car waiting for her daughter when she started to feel odd pain in her chest. When her daughter got to the car she had her go get help. She ran back into church, and into the arms of a cardiologist, he realized what as happening by the time they reached the hospital his surgical team prepped and read to go. Lapsed time about 20 minutes. Another few minutes or someone other than the cardiologist being the first one on the scene and the outcome would have been very different. "Listen to your body", is great advice.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Wayne, an inspiring story, indeed! How amazing and wonderful that you survived! Surely being fit and relatively young helped, but if your heart had ruptured, that would have been IT, no way around it. What a blessing it was detected in time and you had Brandie to help you through it all!

      When one thinks of the narrow escapes one has, and which one’s loved ones have, it truly makes one humble and thankful. My George was in good health but had a near-fatal heart attack in 2001 at age 79, and lived 7 years after, with several more near-misses. In 2004 another scary situation led to his getting an ablation, which allowed him to live another 4 years. One of the things which was so scary was that each of his emergencies happened to occur when we were in Dallas, rather than 500 miles away at the ranch, where we spent about half our time at one of the most remote places imaginable, 100 miles from even modest medical help, including 20 miles of very slow, rough ranch roads. At the time, it was uncharted and off the 911 route, so even emergency uplift was not an option. Now it’s been a little better mapped and zoned, so I understand 911 is a possibility. When I think of spending much of my youth there, without even a telephone, - wow.

      Fortunately, that time in 2004, we had just happened to have come home to Dallas for a couple of routine doctor appointments for other conditions, but the first doctor we saw detected a heart beat so rapid it should have already killed George. It was the last time he was ever at the ranch. I couldn’t risk it for him again, no matter how much he wanted to go back down there.

      His heart had stopped beating during his original heart attack long enough to cause short-term memory loss, which progressed thereafter to become quite serious. Yet, in all of it, the miracle of life was amazing. I know we were given 7 years we almost missed on several occasions. When he died, it was actually due to another condition, a blocked bowel, which crept up on him. He was too unwilling to be a bother to mention the symptoms when it might have been helped. By the time it made itself unmistakably obvious and I rushed him to emergency, the total breakdown of his body was too great to perform an operation on the major problem.

      Not only should red flags not be ignored, but a person shouldn’t try to be too brave or too considerate to admit them. It may be the same thing, but not quite.

      Thank you for sharing your well-told story, Wayne. If it helps even one person to be be more aware and alert to the body’s signals, it will be well worth it.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Such and interesting and imformative hub Wayne,thank you very much for sharing your experience with us,you helped me learn some very important things that i had no idea about..

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Sha. In the past few years since my surgery I have heard stories like your and it amazes me how the human body as well as the human spirit can go on. unfortunately, I have also experienced a lot of completely unexpected loss in the last year. We just have to be thankful for every day we have and never take a single second for granted.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Liz, I was going to say I don't feel too much like a rock star, but then again, all my old idols are getting pretty aged as well, so...maybe I could fit right in. Sing a song, take my meds, and hit the sack by nine! :)

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Nell. It's amazing that even through your dreams, your body was telling you there was a problem.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Lina for the compliment and for the Sunshine! :)

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      tireleestraveler, thank you so much for the visit. I appreciate the feedback.

      I see from your FB page that you are from the Livermoore area. I was born and raised in Bakersfield.

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      Valleypoet 3 years ago

      An incredible story, you must feel very lucky to be alive. As a man of a similar age, stories like this do really bring it home to me, and will make me more aware, I hope it does the same for others too...thanks Wayne:-))

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wayne.....Incredible! Your hub is worth it's length.....WELL worth it. I see my hub is listed in the "Discover More Hubs" section," "Surviving a Heart Attack..." so, you and I are both members of the "The Lucky Ones" Club.....I can completely relate to your advice about being alert to red flags and all warnings by "intuition" (another favorite topic of mine)

      This story is a MUST read, Wayne and I, for one, thank you sincerely for sharing your journey. SO glad you are here with us!...UP++ shared, pinned & tweeted

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nellieanna, so good to hear from you. I have heard you talk about your husband before, and I'm sure you appreciated any amount of extra time you had with him. I cannot imagine being so isolated with a dangerous condition. I have lived in some areas like that growing up, but now my health always crosses my mind before I make any decisions concerning where I am going and how isolated I am going to be. You can't live your life walking on eggshells, but you need to be smart about it. I want to have as much time with my wife, children and grandchildren as possible.

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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Mike, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate the compliment.

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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Valleypoet. I appreciate the compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you so much Paula. I visited your hub and left you a comment there. It's always interesting to talk with someone who can relate. Thank you for the kind thoughts and the support.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Flamin' heck Wayne! How fortunate are you? Firstly, thanks to Dr. Dileberto for being so professional in spotting said aneurysm, and the team of surgeons who gave you a second chance with such skilled handiwork, judging by your photo - your family must be so glad. Secondly, congratulations on your hundredth article, which I'll pin, if you don't mind, to get the word out. I'll raise a glass to ya, for many more years of good times.

      Best Wishes,

      R.Q.

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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Romeo, thank you my friend for the kind words, and even though it's just a mug of coffee, I raise mine to you in return. Cheers!

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikkij504gurl 3 years ago from Louisiana

      Glad to have you still here! That was a close call. It definitely wasn't your time yet.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Wayne, I'm so glad you made it, to be able to share your talent and experiences with us! And what a wonderful story of your survival it is!

      Yes, that time with George was precious and I frequently ask myself what I could have done to prolong it, but of course, it wasn't in my hands. I can tell people from my heart to treasure every moment they have with loved ones, as well as one's own moments of life, though; all so precious.

      I'm very conscious of the need to be close to help if needed. I am 81, soon 82, after all, and completely independent!

      The two guys who take care of the ranch for me now live a big distance from it, also, (In Sherman, just 70 miles north of Dallas) and they make the trip down there several times a year. They're healthy, robust fairly youngish men, accustomed to being out in the wilds, but I caution them, anyway. (A privilege of advanced age - hehe)

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      One, sorry I am late in responding to this very worthy read. Things have been a little busy.

      Two, congratulations on your 100th! It is quite an acomplishment.

      Three, what a great hub, your story is incredible. I use to work in hospitals for like ten years or something like that, and one of my greatest fears is aneurysms. They have a tendency to sneak up on people and kill with no warnings. Horrible things and hard to not only catch in time but to fix and treat. You are a very lucky man. Your friend. Jamie

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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nikki, I'm glad I'm still here too! :) Life is a gift and I am happy that I get to enjoy more of it. Eveyday is a bonus to me.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      I admire you Nellieanna.

    • StephSev108 profile image

      Stephanie Marie Severson 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I'm happy that you are still here. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Jamie. Yes indeed, I know that I am extremely lucky!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us. God has truly blessed you. He knew your talents had to be shared with the world.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Steph, thank you very much for the visit.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Rasma, thank you dear for the kind thoughts!

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I am happy indeed that you have survived this ordeal. Many out there have not. I have worked in the ambulance service for quite a time and have encountered many cases of death involving the heart. Most of them according to the relatives have taken the signs for granted. Congratulations and thanks for sharing this wonderful story of life..

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you JPSO138. It sounds like you have taken up a worthy cause. All the best to you.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow Wayne-I am sitting at lunch with my sister and we are both freaking out. There are many reasons why I am reeling from this incredible story of survival. You and I have both had open heart surgery. My twin Sis and I were born with holes in our hearts. Laura's healed but mine decided to grow a muscle over my right ventricle when I was a in 7th grade. I will never forget being told that I had to go in for open heart surgery as a young girl- I'm thinking, really, their going to open my chest. This is so not cool. LOL- Anyway Wayne, no matter what they are doing when they open your chest in nothing to take lightly. I can't imagine how scared you were to find all of this out in such a surprising way. At least I knew I had a heart defect at birth, so the news probably wasn't AS freaky as yours. I was in 8th grade when I had open heart surgery and I think it was just as hard on my twin sister. She definitely has that guilt thing going on as I have gone through the open heart surgery and lung cancer, even as a non-smoker. My parents were heavy smokers and I tease Laura that I have always been the weaker link and seem to have all the health issues. Truth be told, I am glad it's been me and not her. I thank you from the bottom of my open heart surgeried heart that you are sharing your experience. I remember that story about Jack Ritter-I bet you anything that he had warning signs but didn't want to look at them.

      I must say that the photo of you here is awesome. You look healthy and handsome. Your scar is barely noticeable. Because I had my surgery in 1976, my scar is LOUD & PROUD. I call my scar 'The Zipper'. I am so glad you are here to educate and inform us of the warning signs. God Bless you Wayne. This is one of the most powerful hubs I've ever read.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 2 years ago from America

      You must be like my husband. You just don't feel things going on in your heart. He has had to have his heart shocked 4 times in the last month. He didn't feel it when his heart rate went to 174.

      I'm sure telling your experance will help a lot of people. Voted up.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      What an amazing story! I am so glad that your doctors worked hard on your case and got you in the ER stat! I am also just as glad that your daughter and your wife were with you at the time. I voted it up and will share this one.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 2 years ago from America

      Sorry about that "experience"

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Your story held me spell bound. I'm very happy you are now alright. That was really a close call. So good of you to share the details of your story with others. I'm sure this will be very helpful for them. Stay in good health Wayne. You look great in your beach photo. Up and across (not funny) and sharing.

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this important hub, Wayne. Glad everything worked out well for you and you're healthy and fine now. Just in the nick of time. Really reinforces the importance of taking the early signs seriously. Sounds like you had an amazing set of doctors, which would have helped as well, esp the one who initially diagnosed you and pointed you in the right direction. Wish we all had doctors like those! But, we do need to initiate the path to treatment by seeking help as you point out! Voted up!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 2 years ago from USA

      I am happy that it was caught in time. Life is strange. My husband went into the doctor because his ear was plugged. She saved his life, because she found cancer just in time. I guess when it is your time to go, it is and when it isn't, it just isn't.

      Your story is a scary one. I guess when we have chest pain, we need to go to the emergency room and not worry if we'll be embarrassed if it is nothing.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 2 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Quite moving.

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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Linda, it is so good to hear from you. I remember reading of some of your trials when I first started HP and have felt a kindred spirit to you. I am so glad that everything has worked out for you. I'm sure you understood what I meant when I referred to having a new perspective!

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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Moonlake, I appreciate the visit. Hope all is well with your husband.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Lady Guinevere for the compliment and the share.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Audrey, I appreciate the support. And thank you (blushing) for the compliment on the photo.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Shil1978, Thank you for the visit and the support. I truly appreciate the compliment.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Barbara, I appreciate the visit and the kind words. Thank you.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you, Sanjay.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      When I read something, I gauge it by how well it grabs me and draws me in, and this one is both superbly written and spellbinding. This is one of the best I have ever read on Hubpages. Voted up and everything but funny.

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Will, that is a very nice compliment my friend, and considering the source, I am grateful for it.

    • sandy280 profile image

      Sandra 2 years ago from East Coast

      Wayne, this is the first time I have read this incredible story about your aneurysm. How absolutely terrifying! I'm so glad that you went in to see the sleep doctor, at the urging of your employees. I'm very familiar with Duke Energy -- my Dad and two of my three brothers worked and retired from Duke. Great company and great employees!

      You are like new now -- stay that way!

      Sandy Smith - NC

    • wayne barrett profile image
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      Wayne Barrett 2 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Sandra, thank you for the compliment and encouragement. It's good to hear from someone who understands the Duke family.

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