Who Is Your Favorite Cardiologist?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Well, it’s been a most unusual week on my planet. On Tuesday, I went to my doctor about some recurring chest pain I’d been having. He gave me an EKG and a complete physical. He told me that there had been some changes since my last EKG (in 1985), and then asked me something I greatly hope that not one of you ever gets asked. He asked me, who was my favorite cardiologist?

Pills

I allowed as how I didn’t know one cardiologist, and I’d never given the question a moment’s thought.

So I said that my father-in-law, who is 85, had a cardiologist I’d never met. I’d take his. My doc said go. That was Tuesday

Early Wednesday morning, I found myself in the cardiologist’s office. He turned out to be like my doctor, warm and informative. His assistant hooked me up to another more complex EKG machine. Then they gave me an “echocardiogram”, that was fascinating. I could see my heart beating, and watch the valves open and close … astounding.

However, when the cardiologist read the EKG and echocardiogram charts, he told me that I’d suffered a heart attack. He said it was an inferior myocardial infarction. Inferior? Really? I have a heart attack, and it’s second-rate?

He made an appointment with the surgeons for the next morning. He said said they would thread a tube through my veins into my heart, release some dye, and take pictures to see exactly what was going on. 

But there was more. He said they did the whole thing in one go—after the dye test, if the plumbing was clogged, they’d likely put in a stent.

stent insertion

Diagram Source

He also said that if it was really bad, they’d cut me open right there and and do bypass surgery … dangalang, that’s not the kind of thing a man wants to hear, and certainly not before 10 AM. He gave me some nitroglycerine pills to take home with me … that was Wednesday.

Thursday I checked in to the cardio unit at the local hospital, accompanied as usual by my gorgeous ex-fiancee, who is a Family Nurse Practitioner and my main medical squeeze. First thing, they shucked me out of my clothes and had me put on one of those hospital gowns, the kind I call “fundamentally drafty” because the draft is on … anyhow, the nurse was asking me all these questions and came to “Are you taking any medications on a regular basis?” I said no … she said “Really? We hardly ever see anyone in here who isn’t taking some regular medication”. 

“Not me,” sez I, “not even aspirin.”

She looked at me with a wry smile and said matter-of-factly “Well … that’s over.” 

Dang.

The surgeon came in, again a warm and encouraging man. He said if they could put the catheter in through my arm and I had to get a stent, I could go home that day. But if they went in through the groin, I’d have to stay overnight.

“OK,” I said, I was only a pawn in the game at that point.

So they took me away to the Operating Room, and I woke up with a stent in my heart. They put it in through the arm, so that same day I came home. That was Thursday.

The whole crazy sequence of events has been relatively painless, except for my arm where they put in the catheter. That still aches, but that’s minor. And I’m enjoined from pounding nails or lifing anything heavy or doing anything strenuous for a week.

So no condolences or the like are necessary. I count myself among the most fortunate of men. Heck, since I can’t work at house building, I’m free to do more research and writing, what’s not to like? …

What do I take from all of this?

Well, it sure was great to wake up after going under. And it is always good to be reminded of my mortality. It let me know that I need to keep the pedal pressed firmly to the floorboard, and that I need to produce during my days, for the night is assuredly headed my way, wherein no man can produce …

Finally, it is very strange to think that I have a piece of metal mesh in my heart … first step to being a cyborg?

I go back to see my new favorite cardiologist on Friday.

My best to everyone,

w.

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220 thoughts on “Who Is Your Favorite Cardiologist?

  1. This aging thing really sucks doesn’t it. Hopefully, perhaps with the help of a few tech upgrades, you’ll last as long as you feel you want to stay here. Very best from Sydney!

  2. Fortunate it wasn’t cancer. Of the 8 people I know who did, all suffered terribly from chemo, and died. Bad odds on that small (but personally impressive) sample. One was my next younger brother.

  3. The vigor with which you live your life has always astounded me. Now you have to slow down a bit and someday you might slow to a more ordinary pace, but I doubt it. Sounds like the “refurb” job was a one time fix that you can forget about. I pray that it is. My best wishes to you and yours. You remain the hero for our time.

  4. Only Willis could make a second-rate heart attack sound funny. My best wishes for a full recovery.

  5. If you’re interested in investigating a rather cheaper and less traumatic alternative which Dr Linus Pauling claimed to be effective for such conditions as well as having long-term preventive benefits, you might like to research the Pauling protocol.
    Either way, I’m also glad to hear it went well.

  6. We have a favorite saying in our extended family:

    “Getting old is not for the timid.”

    I’m glad your favorite cardiologist took good care of you, Willis!

  7. Willis
    Sorry to hear of you cardio problems. I can totally relate having just recovered from an interesting 8 year bout with congestive heart failure. You probably already eat beaucoup fish, so I’d guess fish oil is one of the reasons you are still with us.

    As far as continuously taking medicine for the rest of your life, that depends on what you do now that you are mortal. I hated to face that, but every day I wake up now is a great day!

  8. Willis,
    Sorry to hear about you heart attack. Great term that. I am dang near 61 and I had a minor stroke. Three weeks later a high school classmate had the real McCoy. I will spare you the details of both, but I think both of us have put a lot of miles on the system, and I doubt either of us got Niall of our oil changes, and regular maintenance. I enjoy your writing a great deal, so for my sake, I am hoping you take care of yourself. If you find you are headed to Lexington, Ky. Let me know

  9. Willis,

    Sorry to hear of your heart problem and wish you all the best in recovering. Getting older is definitely not for sissies–good that they fixed it tho.
    Many years ago, I was reminded by a friend that there are not an unlimited number of days to walk the high country, so do it now while you still can. We’ll have time later on for the rocking chair.

    Don

  10. Get well soon Willis (by Friday at least!). Glad you got this done before your health insurance got cancelled and the ‘Death Panels’ kicked in. Let us know if President Obama sends you a get well card.

  11. And after 60 not only has your warranty long expired but your self-sealing tires are starting to have cracks about the rims. :)

    Wish you well Willis. Oh my, now you can write non-stop… but do remember what your doctor said, easy going.

  12. How fortunate that you had actionable chest pain. I knew a few not-so-lucky men who dropped dead without any prior symptoms.

    Don’t worry about the stent, if you’ve got just one. It doesn’t make you more of a cyborg than a crowned tooth.

  13. Sir? My best wishes for your continued, and improving health. Your writing is always exceptional, your stories are eye-opening, and your thoughts bring me to ponder.
    I pray that the world may enjoy your continued presence for a very long time to come.

  14. I wondered why the blog hadn’t heard from you as much lately. Hope, as you suggest may be the case, that we’ll figuratively hear your stentorian tones again soon.

  15. I hope that it works out OK for you. In the diagrams, I assume that the plaque is the blockage. When the stent has pushed it out of the way, where does it go ?

  16. Sorry to hear that, but happy to hear of the successful outcome. I can empathize, been there, done that, got the stents and scar from open heart to prove it. No t-shirt dammit. Between the two, stents are far to be preferred to being split open like an oyster. But the plus side of either is it’s better than massive heart attack and/or death.

    While getting older is better than a dirt nap, middle age ain’t for sissies that’s for sure.

  17. I’m certainly glad cardiac science hasn’t floundered like climate science.

    Live long and pound nails.

  18. Willis,

    On the bright side, there probably wouldn’t be a bright side if this had happened thirty years ago. Medicine has come a long way.

    Glad to hear you came through it OK. Take it easy, we need you. The world needs you.

  19. I’ve been physically active, just like you have judging from your posts, all my life. Then, on some cloudy day in June 2007, I did not surface when pushing off the end wall while doing laps in the local swimming pool. The heart apparently went in an arrhythmia, quivered, then stopped and had I been on the jogging trail while running (I used to run one day then swim the next), I’d be gone at that time. But the trained staff at the pool started a CPR and then the local firemen shocked my heart back into some more orderly pace.

    Two weeks in the hospital, no it was not a heart attack in my case but more likely a rare infection that damaged the heart muscle and electric conduction inside and I ended up with an ICD in my chest. A little computer that shocks your heart when it wants to spin out of control and one that also paces your heart pretty well 100 % of time.

    And you think you are on the first step to become a cyborg? Give me a break, lol.

  20. Willis, are these stents metal or plastic?

    Plastic I hope.

    Prior to having an MRI, I had to do a full inventory of all my spare parts. I was told if any of them were metal, they could be sucked right out of my body by the gynormous magnets in the MRI machine. Not a happy thought.

    Anyway, all were reputedly plastic, and this was happily verified when they turned on the MRI and I was not provided with a second fundament in a new location.

    If you have a choice, ask for a plastic stent. Maybe you can get one in your favorite colour. :-)

  21. I’ve learned that, after 40, the warranty has expired

    Absolutely. We’re designed for 40 years with a design margin of about a factor of two. Hard living ala medieval peasant will put you under at 40 while, if you are so fortunate as to be born in a first world country, you might make it past 80.

  22. “I go back to see my new favorite cardiologist on Friday.”
    =========
    Just don’t let it go to his head.

  23. Good to hear its only mild “suffering”! As my Norwegian grandfather Chris used to say:
    “Its the first hundred years that are tough. After that its not so bad!

  24. Do all you can to avoid statins (Lipitor, for example). If you are one of the people that has a bad reaction to it, it will make every muscle in your body ache, your legs grow weak, and you begin to consider looking at your insurance to see if death squads are covered by your policy. I’ve had a stent since 2005 and that is about the time I developed regular PVC. Nothing gets your attention faster. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

  25. The stent only solved the existing problem. It does not treat the cause. There are solutions for the cause. Individual research and conversations with your doctor are good starting points. Lifestyle chamges are in the offering.

  26. Best writing I’ve seen from you, Willis. As a writer myself, I appreciate that kind of thing, Might seem beside the point, but perhaps not. Nothing like a sneak peak at the ‘ol grim reaper to humble a man. Came through loud and clear, and to fine literary effect.

    Wishing you good health and a speedy recovery.

  27. I’ve got 5 stints (4 at one time) but none for the last 13 years. The healing is straight forward, no worries! Live life to the fullest – one never knows…

    Enjoy your columns immensely – God speed!

  28. May we assume that there was no damage to the heart muscle? Just curious, did your cardiologist prescribe COQ10?

  29. First, not all statins cause muscle pain. Second, I hope that now you’re taking aspirin, at low dose at least, or possibly even Plavix for now. But most of all, follow your doctor’s advice.

  30. My favorite cardiologist that I never meet in person is Dr. Mike Davis from Wisconsin. Opened my eyes when it came to nutrition and heart disease. He wrote Wheat Belly Diet and Track Your Plaque. http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/ I just happened to come across his website a few years ago when I was doing some reading over vitamin D. As it turns out that it is excessive consumption of carbohydrate that keep your sugar blood level stay elevated that lead to high dangerous small LDL particles level that speed up the build up plaque build up…

    All the scare stories we heard about saturated fat?… turned out to be a total bunk. Just like CO2-CAWG… Saturated fat actually increases your good HDL level. What does vitamin D have to do with this? Turns out that it helps increase your HDL level (we need much more vitamin D than what is currently recommended). http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

    Apparently, Paleo Diet or Wheat Belly will do wonders against diabetes type 2 which often involves heart disease. (Actual trials proved that you can reverse it as long as it is not severe).

    Majority of us do not take enough vitamin D and magnesium every day. Best to invest in supplements for that. Will help a lot for the long haul. And cut out excessive carbohydrates from diet if possible.

  31. I hope you are on the mend.
    Sorry about the second rate heart attack. Not sure whether to hope for a better one next time…
    By the way, do you think your cardio problem might be caused by global warming? It is just that there are so few things left which are not caused by global warming these days…

  32. All the best to you Willis!

    It is always best to wake up and smell the roses and not be looking at their roots.

    Insert “Borg Quote Here” ;-}

  33. Happy to hear that intervention went well.

    Stent take some time AFAIK to “integrate” w/t the “tubing” wall. Stick closely to given anti-coag med. & be attentive to early sign of “re-clogging”.

    There was a post before talking about the Linus Pauling “stuff”. You have a reputation of being open minded, so I hope you will NOT ignore those controversial things from Pauling, especially the link between vit. C & blood vessel wall integrity. FYI Linus Pauling is one of the very few to earn TWO NOBEL (at least one is relevant), and is considered one of the “father” of molecular biology. It is my opignon that he was not going crazy in his final years & was on to something…

    Seem also a good time to “study” at little on the subjet of Calcium, Magnesium & Potassium level in serum, possible effect of unbalanced ratio, supplementation, …

    Good luck & keep the pump running.

  34. Take heart Willis (pun not intended) My father had a serious heart attack at age 67, but them went on to live a normal active life until cancer got him at the age of 90.

    • As I mentioned in my phone call to you, I’m glad you are still with us and on the way to recovery.

      Sincerest wishes, Anthony

  35. We have a magnetic that used to hang on my grandparent’s fridge, then on my parent’s, now on mine. It reads ‘Old age ain’t no place for sissies.’ I’ll see if I can find you a new one cause I’m too old to give you mine.

  36. and you’ll be in better shape than ever with better circulation!
    my wife got 10 years younger from her stent.

  37. The stint may get you to that happy place & time when Ray Kurzweil’s nanobots take over and Rotorooter out your veins properly.

  38. I had a quadruple bypass last March, recovering nicely, and then I got a pain in my hip. Arthritis, says the doc, a total hip replacement needed. You have a loong way to go to qualify as a cyborg.

  39. Best wishes, Willis and prayers of thanks it turned out well.

    I had an accident and ended up with a metal rod down one femur and a second rod at an angle into my pelvis plus the bolts and screws to keep them in place. Ten weeks in a wheelchair and about 500 hours in the gym and I could walk again without a limp. Then my 180 lb dog came running, throwing clods of dirt with all four feet, and hit me going about 30 miles an hour. This time I ended up with a metal plate and eleven screws from various angles to pin the lower part of the same leg together. My x-rays look like something out of a sci-fi film. I was in a wheelchair for another 10 weeks and my surgeon just laughed when I asked if I could rehab it back to normal. She said, “Of course not!” I still have the dog and a limp. But, I won’t be getting an MRI.

  40. Oh boy! Another missive from Willis! Then it wasn’t about the South Pacific or other people, but about a near miss heart attack. On I read, dreading he aftermath, and then the end, and Willis is going to get well with a new stent and a new understanding of his own life. We all feel better for you and hope you can provide us with more of your wit and wisdom for some more years. Best wishes and consider us all your friends, even if you don’t know our names. Best from John.

  41. Willis,

    I am glad to read that you took the opportunity to step off of life’s treadmill long enough to get the care you needed and deserved. While contemplating what to do next you mind may be flooded with all sorts of “what ifs” and what do I do next. If you find some sort of resemblance of your present circumstances to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross the five stages of grief. You may wish to chronicle those stages you feel. Two years seems to be the usual time to come out the other side of this story having re-awakened some past bugaboos as well as things you still want to do, your “bucket list.” Of course you will be immersed in your life well before the stages of grief reveal themselves to yourself. It may be subsequently helpful and interesting for you to keep a journal of this “pit stop” if you have not already done so.

    I speak from direct experience as well as providing for others whose journey have also been interrupted.

    Good luck and God’s speed.

  42. Glad they could take care of you so quickly.

    The most memorable cardiologist I met was a guy in business class on a flight from Sidney to LA. The plane sucked up 5 birds into the number 3 engine of the Boeing 747, and we had to spin around Sidney Bay dumping fuel.

    Unlike the Australians, who, upon hearing some very odd sounds for an airplane to make coming from the outside of the plane, I was terrified. These Australians heard there was a problem, looked up, and went back to reading their papers. The Americans were all looking around, wondering “What the he** is going on.”

    As it turns out, the guy sitting next to me was a Cardiologist. An aged fellow. And not any cardiologist, but the guy who had worked to develop the original procedure for open heart bypass surgery. He wasn’t the primary doctor, but an attending. As the plane circled around Sydney Bay, dumping Kerosene, he calmly explained to me that “After we lost 50 patients in a row, I almost quit.” That wasn’t the extent of it. He told me how they could not use a heart lung machine on infants because there heart is too small, and how they cool the body down. There is one hour of time to perform the surgery, and the lawyers are waiting to see if there is any twitch or tick in the baby afterwards.

    He is a smoker (and was irritable, as he could not smoke), and explained to me that he tried to give up smoking one time. While quitting, he was incredibly irrataded, because the he was having a problem with a surgery. For some reason the person he was doing surgery on would not clot, and he was having a terrible time. He explained he was berating the nurses, and one finally asked “What DO you want, Dr.?” At which point he said “I don’t know.” I waited for a moment, and asked him “Did the patient live?” And it was odd to watch him realize he had never considered this, thought for a moment, and replied “I don’t know.”

    He expressed his disdain for modern ideas about fat being the problem with Caucasians and heart attacks, saying “The body converts fat to energy, and vice versa. Americans die of heart disease, the Japanese die of stomach cancer.”

    My other experience was personally resuscitating a person whose heart had stopped. Really stopped, as in no pulse. The man went blue in the face. I performed CPR, and fortunately, we had a D-Fib kit recently installed. The CPR and the d-Fib kit worked, and the guy lived. But it took putting the guy into a deep chill for a couple of days for his heart to repair, followed by surgery. He says he can’t remember two weeks before the incident. He’s older, and retired.

  43. God bless, Willis. I hope things continue to go well. At age 83, I am well familiar with my cardiologist,,,and the amazing technological advances in recent years. The nurse wheels in a very small unit, hooks me up, runs an electrocardiogram and echo, then leaves. The doctor comes in, works his desktop computer…and voila! reviews all of the data right there in real time. He pats me on the head and says come back in 6 months. Great! A ticket for six more months of being on the right side of the sod.

  44. Regards,

    My dad had a similar incident, and I commented to him how he sounded pretty cheerful for a guy who just had a heart attack. He asked me how he was supposed to sound, and said with a smile he could try to sound sad and upset if I thought that was appropriate. I’m 47 years old and still learning from this man.

  45. Best wishes for a full recovery and long life, Willis!

    If you think that was a wild ride, you should try my epilepsy brain surgery – 9 hours on the table, and my entire right temporal lobe is removed. I got a sexy scar and an attitude. D-Day was Sept 23, 1999…no seizures since then. Modern medicine is amazing.

    We both survived, take advantage of it! I have a hunch we both will.

    Best, Charles the DrPH

  46. Willis:

    I’ve had two inline skater friends who have had blockages in the last 2 years. Both guys somewhat overweight (40 to 60 lbm, on frames that should be about 160 max).

    BUT both guys are LONG TIME ATHLETES, endurance sports. (Cycling, Running, inline skating, hockey and soccer..)

    NOW THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART: Neither of them showed “heart muscle damage” in the
    Echo-cardiogram. (Colateral supply was that good for both of them.)

    ONE, was at an inline skating event, and had skated about 2 hours, and went home “feeling shitty”.
    Nurse/Wife made the call for the 911, and he was taken care of in a “few hours”.

    Number Two: Felt “not up to parr” for one month, finally went to the friendly local “free clinic” (Although 32 years old, lost 6 years to drug use and is currently finishing his 4 year degree..

    He managed a trip to the local county hospital in short order for his “reaming out” too.

    What I’m getting at is this – Let’s hear what your post op Echo says. I’m hoping its minimal or NO
    damage!

    Keep Calculating!

    Max

  47. Life is such a twisted path of ups, downs, side roads, cliffs, and sudden turns. So it seems that the best advice I can think of is this:

    Ecclesiastes 8:15
    Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be joyful: for that shall abide with him in his labor all the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun.

    American Standard Version

  48. CRS, DrPH says:
    November 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    OK, of all the great stories here, yours takes the cake, IMO.

    Right temporal lobectomy 14 years ago & going strong is hard to beat!

    Although Snowsnake’s happy 180# dog attack setback is also in its own way a world-beater. Shades of the movie “Reuben, Reuben”! Truly, you just can’t make this stuff up.

  49. PS: One of my best friends from undergrad years was a doctor in Seattle who got brain cancer, had a big chunk of his brain removed & could no longer practice medicine, but still has managed for the past 20-odd years since the surgery to enjoy his life, family & friends, though at the end of conversations I do have to remind him who I am.

  50. They let you sleep through the procedure? My doctors insisted I stay awake so I could pose for their imaging. They’re great plumbers though. It’s the follow-up chemistry that drives you nuts. Keep on writing.
    jws

  51. Well, congratulations Willis on your successful treatment and be well.
    See how he didn’t ignore his chest pain guys? Good reminder for all of us.

  52. Had that done through the groin 8 years ago. Its amazing what they can do these days.
    The pills are quite cheap now (in DK), but beware the statins as many complain of tiredness, as a side-effect.

  53. Willis,

    I thought for many years that I would never experience a heart attack because I began taking a daily aspirin religiously in the late 1970s and was quite active. I overlooked several other important aspects though: 1) I grew up in a house of smoke and had smoked heavily for about 7 years during my 20s; 2) My mother and her only brother both had CAD and experienced heart attacks; and 3) My HDL cholesterol was always borderline low for many years and my total cholesterol and LDL were always modestly elevated. Then in 2006 at the age of 66 and never having had any chest pain, I experienced a sudden heart attack, arrived in the ER at 8:30pm, underwent immediate cardiac catheterization when my EKG & cardiac enzymes confirmed a heart attack, and when there was too much coronary artery disease to attempt any stent placement + I had to be defibrillated, I was taken for emergency CABS and was on the operating table by 2:30am…multiple bypasses plus another defibrillation. Of course I don’t remember anything beyond the ER except I had an out of body experience. Post discharge I entered a cardiac rehab program and was discharged early because I was tearing up the treadmill. So now 12% of my heart muscle is gone, and I take Lipitor, Zetia, high grade fish oil, a beta blocker, and have continued on my daily aspirin. I feel fine other than some Lipitor muscle pains in my legs (I’ve tried other statins…same problem, and CoQ-10 doesn’t help), and I have never had any subsequent episode of chest pain. My cholesterol & LDL are now in great shape, although my HDL still is borderline low.
    So if you are a smoker, it’s time to stop, and I suspect that you will have lipid & cholesterol abnormalities as well as they are common in our affluent society. And what is your family history of heart disease? You may have a family history of lipid abnormalities.
    Incidentally, that business about Linus Pauling and Vitamin C….I read his first book when it was published in 1970, and at that time I began taking high dose Vitamin C daily, 1000mg+, which I have continued religiously even to this day. Obviously it did not prevent me from developing advanced CAD.

  54. However, when the cardiologist read the EKG and echocardiogram charts, he told me that I’d suffered a heart attack. He said it was an inferior myocardial infarction. Inferior? Really? I have a heart attack, and it’s second-rate?

    Superior sense of humor, though.

  55. Willis, be just as skeptical of cardiologists as you are of climate scientist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get a second opinion. I met my first cardiologist clinician when I was in intensive care suffering from congestive heart failure as a result of myocarditis and pneumonia caused by whooping cough. I had just spent 2 weeks in Indonesia with these medical problems. This first cardiologist kept telling me that I couldn’t have had myocarditis caused by whooping cough because I would have died. He also didn’t believe I had had pneumonia. Then after a couple of days when the confirming pathology tests came back he didn’t believe them and sent fresh blood samples for further tests. He still didn’t believe the results. As he was a little fat man I then told him to get some exercise! He left the practice after I got out of hospital so I got a new cardiologist who naturally put me on different drugs for the residual atrial fibrillation that I had.
    I modified the drug dosage and times prescribed by the second cardiologist because they were making me feel ill. So eventually that cardiologist referred me onto a third cardiologist known as an Interventional Electrophysiologist with a note that I was non-complaisant. After vainly trying for two years to get me to have the operation that he specialised in the third cardiologist finally referred me to another cardiologist who did a different (cryogenic ablation) type of procedure that I believed was right for me. He also stated that I was non-complaisant. The fourth cardiologist did the (successful) operation using both femoral veins but the next day argued with me about the cause of my complaint – presumably because he didn’t believe I could live through what I said had happened to me. I therefore got my hospital records sent to him to put him right. After that he returned me to the third cardiologist who now wants to do another echo-cardiogram as if the 3 hours of echo-cardiogram taken from inside the esophagus during the operation wasn’t enough. I refused to have an appointment to have the new echo-cardiogram and I probably wont return to that practice.
    So don’t accept without question what cardiologists tell you any more than you would accept without question what climate scientists tell you without question.
    Finally, you were lucky to have the stent inserted through your arm. When they do these type of operations through the groin they shave you first. Just before I went under the anesthetic I chatted up the flirtatious nurse who presumably did this and after the operation when I stood in front of a mirror I discovered she had shaved me in the shape of a heart! Touche!

  56. So Willis’ Eagle has a stint. Well it still has wings and can fly and soar. I have a stint, too, and my life has been better since it occurred, but beware the blood thinners they give you. Plavix has been around a long time and is relatively safe. Another one I took for a couple of months nearly killed me. Doctors now reflexively proscribe pills we may not need. I squabbled for two years with my favorite cardiologist (hope you’re reading this Dr. G) about taking Lipitor. He finally won because he finally convinced me that the (small dose) Lipitor had other benefits then reducing cholesterol, a problem I don’t have.

    I don’t pray thinking it craven to pray to a God I don’t believe in, but if I did I’d pray for you Willis.

  57. Max Hugoson,

    Dr. Davis from Wheat Belly Diet/Track your Plague noticed something similar to what you wrote about people being in good shape (endurance stuff) and they still got heart disease… it turns out that they tend to have Lp(a).

    Dave L, you might want to read Wheat Belly Diet and Track your Plaque by Dr. Mike Davis. It changed everything I learned about heart disease and nutrition. I’m very familiar with Pauling’s work on vitamin C. I’m not convinced anymore. Saturated fat such as coconut milk will push your HDL significantly higher (I’ve heard of crazy numbers esp in triple digits!). You need to pay a close attention to two types of LDL, One is harmless large fluffy type and one is dangerous small dense LDL type. It is driven by how high your blood sugar level is 24/7. If it stays high, mostly small LDL type that is directly responsible for plaque build up in the arteries will be produced. Also Vitamin D3 at the right dosage will keep your HDL level up (plus many more all kinds of health benefits). Low fat, high carbs diet is very dangerous! Calculated cholesterol test is totally useless as it cannot accurately measure two types of LDL. You want a blood test that would measure them precisely. Don’t get too hung up on total cholesterol as it is totally useless. Best to pay attention to each type of cholesterol separately. You’ll learn a lot from Dr. Davis’ books/websites. He’s a cardiologist that mainly focus on nutrition instead of drugs if possible. Lp(a) is another story though.

    Look at his Facebook page for before and after pictures after going on Wheat Belly Diet – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wheat-Belly/209766919069873?hc_location=stream

  58. Great to hear your okay. Please keep in good health. I expect you have many more wonderful stories to share and I look forward to reading them.

  59. Phrases for you to adopt, Willis:

    “When I was your age,…”
    “Young people today…”
    “When I was a boy, …”
    How much? It used to cost…”
    “[Negative] + any more.”
    “Is s/he still alive?”

  60. Willis,

    Don’t know how much you have read about cholesterol and heart disease, but, in case you haven’t, it is a wild goose chase. The body uses Cholesterol that it produces to cover inflammation in the arteries. You need to find a doctor who can attempt to address the inflammation and not one who tries to put you on cholesterol drugs which are more damaging.

    The other bad news is that using a stent to forcibly expand an inflamed artery means you are physically weakening the artery wall even more than it already has been weakened by the inflammation. Again, start looking for a doctor who is not stuck in the past and is aware that the old solutions are based on incorrect guesses.

    Just noticed Lou above is giving you the Consensus view which is incorrect!!!

  61. Willis, while the stent did the job, in the long run its only temporary. The same is true if you have a bypass. The other thing to think about is if your cardiac arteries are clogged, what about other arteries in your body. Other than the carotids, they never really mention the rest of the body. So, with that said, I would suggest that you look into EDTA Chelation therapy. Most cardiologist will say its a bunch of bunk, but people have been getting positive results for many decades. The only that is that there is not multiple double blind studies to prove it efficacy.

    The original intent of this treatment was for heavy metal toxicity, lead poisoning, ect. But, one of the components of many arterial plaques is calcium and the EDTA will remove the calcium from the plaque causing it to break down and removed from the body. You will need to find a doctor in your area that practices complementary or functional medicine who will be of the mind set to do the treatment for you. Regular cardiologist are like the warmist, they believe what they believe, facts be damned.

    Here is a link to a book about Chelation Therapy. It was written several years ago, but is still very valid. There are others that you can read too.

    There are three ways to do this. The old way, and the most effective, is a slow drip method and it takes about three hours per treatment and you will have to have several treatments over several weeks. There is a fast drip method that I have heard about, but my understanding is that it is not as effective. The third way is Oral Chelation, where the give you a bunch of supplements to take over a period of weeks. This is relatively new and I don’t know much about that.

    Good luck and best of health.

  62. Hi Willis, we’ve never met but welcome to my world, even to the “inferior” bit. My favourite cardiologist, who I’ve never met since, was the one in the emergency room who said “if you’re going to have one of these things, this is the place to have it” (to be precise, the anterior descending artery, hence inferior). You may be pelasantly surprised how normal things will probably become, probably fairly quickly. I was promised all sorts of restrictions but most fell away and life, over a period of eight years, has returned to relatively normal. The one restriction I dreaded was “only one cup of coffee a day” so I determined then and there it was going to be the best coffee money could buy. So now i enjoy a little more than one pot (yes, about 6 cups) every day of the most glorious Kona coffee that I buy green and roast myself. The dreaded medication regimen reduced to just Lipitor and either Plavix or aspirin (I find Plavix gives confidence); the ace inhibitors and beta blockers were found to be unnecessary and perhaps the Lipitor is as well but I tolerate it so no problem. You may well be asked to go to cardiac rehab – I found it the best support group there is going and discovered one thing common to almost all my fellow sufferers – the common symptom is not a massive pain but vague discomfort accompanied by a feeling that something is terribly wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it!

    Good luck and hang in there.

  63. Be well, Willis. Get ready to take pills for a year including the dreaded statins for chloresteral lowering and Plavix, which is a blood anticoagulant. The worst pill is pravastatin because it can cause peripheral neuropathy which usually starts in the toes. Most cardiologists don’t realize this side effect of pravastatin. You wouldn’t wish neuropathy on Roy! The first symptom may be pain in your toes when you orgasm. If so, discuss this with your family doctor or with a neurologist ASAP. Don’t settle for pain relief pills, insist on treating the root cause.

    After your wrist heals a bit you can type to your heart’s content. Having been all over the world, your bucket list is probably not too long but fulfil in due course whatever it has on it.

    I look forward to reading your epistles for many more years.

  64. Glad to hear you are on the mend, Willis. I will guess that you arrived home with a bagful of pills. As others have mentioned, research these carefully. As for the statin they gave you, I urge extreme caution. They did some serious damage to a cousin, and my wife still has two nagging side effects one year after tossing them out. (She was a “treat the number” patient. A frequent swimmer, she did not have any CV “risk” to speak of to begin with!)
    I recommend you check out Dr. Duane Graveline’s spacedoc.com and The People’s Pharmacy.
    Stay well.

  65. Cardiac medicine is wonderful these days. Like the other men in my family I had a heart attack right on schedule at age 51. It came on at 2 in the afternoon and I was out of the OR by 9 that evening with a stent. The worst part was having my groin prepped. They must have gone to the drugstore and bought a bag of the cheapest disposable razors they could find to shave all the hair off. Ouch. Fifteen years later, the doctor gives up on the stress test when the treadmill gets tilted up to 45 degrees.

    At age 70, my father was given six weeks to live his heart was in such bad shape from having been a three pack a day smoker into his forties. He had eight hours of open heart surgery to bypass all five of his heart arteries, that’s the maximum possible. It worked just fine and he passed away four years ago at age 96.

    Good luck Willis and follow the doctor’s orders, you’ll be just fine. Modern heart medicine is great.

  66. Good health to you, Willis. I think you will be around long enough to write about post-AGW climate:

    “Mr. Eschenbach, tell us again the story about how humans used to believe that the atmosphere was dramatically warming and how you helped the world to see the truth!”

  67. I had been taking low-dose aspirin (81 mg) preventively for a long time, as I have a family history of heart disease. But when I read about a study claiming an association of aspirin with macular degeneration (family history there, too), I discontinued it, assuming, as all these studies routinely imply, that correlation is likely evidence of causation.

    Then a few months later, I suffered some left-leg weakness, and an MRI showed a minor brain (in)farct, as I call it, i.e. a stroke. Did discontinuing the aspirin lead to a ‘rebound’ and a tiny clot? So my wife (an internist) and a neurologist suggested. Of course, correlation is not causation, but who am I to argue with consensus? Fear (as the politicians and the left have discovered) is a great motivator. So I resumed the aspirin regimen, and was told to add 20 mg of pravastatin to get the ‘bad’ cholesterol down. No muscle aches from the low-dose statin, thankfully, and no after-effects from the (in)farct. I’ve decided this is just a bump on the road to starting my second biblical span.

    Willis, I’m surprised that they told you they’d do a coronary bypass without even waking you up and letting you mull it over. Is this ‘major surgery’ (as I think of it) now as routine as putting in a stent? Modern medicine is wonderful, but it’s going to have to get a lot better if we’re going to get through our second biblical spans not only hale and hearty, but still able to tell the difference between correlation and causation.

    /Mr Lynn

  68. Allan MacRae says: “I was told if any of them were metal, they could be sucked right out of my body by the gynormous magnets in the MRI machine.”

    No, only magnetic metal is a problem. Metals like titanium and cobalt are no problem at all. For example, some stents are made of a non magnetic alloy of cobalt chromium molybdenum. I would assume any austenitic stainless steel would also be okay.

  69. ++Lou: “Majority of us do not take enough vitamin D and magnesium every day. Best to invest in supplements for that. Will help a lot for the long haul. And cut out excessive carbohydrates from diet if possible.”

    Reducing carbohydrates, and dramatically increasing fat intake seven years ago saved me from diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart attack today. Although obviously this stent intervention was necessary, the root cause here is carbohydrate intake, and you’ll do much better for your health if you avoid the statins and low-fat/high-carb diet you’ll likely be prescribed.

  70. Hmm. . . . I wonder if the stent you had placed in you was one I helped invent that delivers an anti-restenosis drug directly to the affected artery wall?

  71. WILLIS: This is eerily disturbing news, with a good outcome – that you’re OK. I say eerily because my competition license needs a new medical every 3 years due to my age (I was born in 1965.) My physician’s assistant looked over my cardiogram, and said that it did not look normal. So now I need to see a heart specialist. Ughh. I’ve been putting this off, because I am busy. Maybe you gave me a wake up call.

    Best to you Willis.

  72. Willis, so happy to see you came through everything and are doing well. May God Bless you and keep you.

  73. I just prayed for you, Mr. Eschenbach, (and for your beautiful wife and for your daughter) and I will continue to do so in the months to come.

    Good — for — you to set your jaw like flint and “put the pedal to the metal.” After such a diagnosis, you either “get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

    He made it. And so will you.

    Take care.

    Janice

    P.S. Remember (for those who believe in Jeshua), the very best is yet to come!

  74. Hi, Moderator — re: my post this evening at 8:43pm

    Can you turn the second video link into a control screen? It would sure make a nicer post.

    Thanks! (if you can)

    Janice

    [Control screen? Huh ? – mod]

  75. Willis – I’m sure you will be better than ever, and that’s a high level to surpass considering all you have done in the past year. I’ll be seeing a doctor in Santa Rosa in a couple of weeks; I assume that’s where you went for treatment. I ruptured a disc again jogging, this time on a treadmill going up the Mississippi on a big steamboat. When I did it the first time 37 years ago, it was running in a gym to escape the deep Illinois snowbanks on Scott Air Force Base. Well, once each 37 years isn’t bad. At this rate, I’ll be 108 the next time, and jogging at that age should be a kick.
    I have faith that medical advances will occur at just the right rate to provide whatever we need in maintenance and repairs to our bodies, but keep taking good care of yourself so the doctors won’t have to dip too deep in their bags of medical miracles.

  76. Willis – welcome to the club which counts me as a reluctant member for the past seven and a half years. I had two stents put in after my MI and was awake for the procedure – quite fascinating watching the blood flow return to my heart in real-time. Best of wishes to you.

  77. Willis, I am happy for you that you caught it early and improved you life expectancy .

    All the best.

    @Chuck ,

    We are not “designed” for forty years. The low life expectancy at birth in the ages before this one were due to child mortality, lack of inoculations, uncontrollable diseases from ignorance of microbes and hygiene , typhus, tuberculosis etc ( in case I forget some), and of course continuous wars. Life expectancy if one survived all this to adulthood was similar to present times.

    The Bible is a great folk statistics repository :
    The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
    Psalm 90:10

    And since this subject came up I will share this told be a professor and friend of mine when in his seventies:

    When I was fifty and I heard that somebody I knew vaguely, died , I payed small attention. It was like being far away from the front of the war and hearing a random shot. Now that they are falling left and right and ahead of me, I realize I am at the front. line .

  78. Good thing you could get it done before Obamacare kicked in. No doubt someone already said that. As for me, I’ll just let nature take its course. When it’s my time, then fine. I’d rather have that than the controlling and expensive Obamacrap that will wind up refusing “care” anyway. They can take their BS healthcare and put it where a proctologist might find it with an endoscope.

  79. @ Mario,(Nov 10 8.37 pm) “I need a checkup every three years due to my age”, “I was born in1965,”,
    That is a frightening environment to work in You are barely , into your 50’s ?
    What is a “competition” license? Can you explain? Is a like a permit to practice? Thanks, Tobias.
    Oh and BTW get better soon Anthony.

  80. He asked me, who was my favorite cardiologist?
    —————————————————-
    If you like your cardiologist, you can keep your cardiologist.

    …but seriously, best of luck Sir!

  81. Willis:
    Continue in good health. Your writing has taken us many places and looks like you just added another one which is very close to home for all of us.

  82. Very happy for your outcome Willis. My late father in law, lost a kidney at 50, heart attack at 70ish and passed when he was 86, peacefully in his sleep. He was a pilot who use to fly to the DEW line, after being one in WW ll. He was still shoveling his own driveway on his own insistence, that very week.

  83. Weird to read this so soon after your post about your stress test! My grandma had five heart attacks, starting in her fifties. After her third heart attack, the strangest piece order she got from her doctor – a young immigrant – was that she had to stop eating watermelons. Nothing else distressed her so much. Then during our annual visit my mom went along with her to see the doctor, and it turned out he had no idea what watermelons were, and had to reverse his order. Grandma was so relieved as this was her favourite fruit. She made it to 86, and died of old age.

    Several people have mentioned bucket lists, which makes me wonder what yours could possibly be like, Willis, after all you’ve done? I’m sending you best wishes for many more years of glorious experiences, accompanied by your splendid accounts to share with us.

  84. Willis, two years ago tomorrow I had quadruple-bypass surgery – it was the smartest decision I’ve made in my life. The second smartest decision was to incorporate the lessons taught on a blog I found – marksdailyapple.com. The short description of it is primal living. You seem to be far from being sedentary but if your diet was part of the problem, the change to a primal diet can bring about relatively rapid change – it has changed my life. There’s still a lot of educating for you to pass on to us. I wish you the best.

  85. If we all lived each day as if it were our last….
    a lot less would get built.

    Re: rgbatduke Oct 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm
    The [enchanted] frog croaks out “One door leads to freedom; the other door leads to certain death. You may ask me one question, but I always lie!”
    [But the logic of it is] All doors lead to certain death.
    Some perhaps sooner than others…;-)

    I am glad to read that for you, Willis, the better door opened for you.

  86. @Lou (November 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm)
    “Low fat, high carbs diet is very dangerous!” Spot-on… I’m no fan of taking my info from book with “canned” solution & try to get the info by myself & understand how “the machinery” work, but the more I learn from human cellular metabolic process, the more I’m conviced too of the toxicity of the carbohydrates & mystified about the drive to demonize the saturated fats.

    As said before me, I’m now very doubtfull of what the “modern” medical practice & the parallel with climate science is excellent. It is not the science that is not right, it is the “human” side of the practice that make me sick (politics, patented medication, marketting machination…). I sadly now consider most doctors simply as puppets controlled by marketting arm of big pharma (usefull educated idiots). They have no clues that they are being “managed” from the very start of their education, throught their entire career. It is a constant astonisment to see how human seem to excel at shooting themself in the foot at long term…

    Not long ago, I began studying the multiples metabolic pathway present in human, and began very suspicious when learned that many medical “authorities” were convinced that no human can survive w/t a prolonged diet of ZERO carbohydrates, that w/o glucose the brain cannot work… Again very similar to climate science: lots of theory & model but ZERO practical knowledge and discrediting any realworld exemple as being false.

    For those that does not believe we can survive w/o carb. explain to me how the Inuits of northern Canada (of the past) have managed to stay alive for so long? But no problem NOW, we have managed to “convert” them to our “healty” way of live, so there is no proof left. But I began to pay lot more attention about these legends that before their “conversions”, that the incidence of cancer & cardiovascular disease were practically zero, and that numerous medical expeditions were made to try to find their “secret”.

    The more I understand about the subject, the more I am inclined to believe that it is quite possible that taking our energy from ingestion of carb. may NOT be the primary & most efficient pathway, but instead is a secondary mechanism. The main one may possibly be the lipid one (Ketogenic diet). Again explain to me why epileptic that do not respond to any med or treatment respond well to the Ketogenic diet? Also why this diet seem neuroprotective? My belief is that this pathway is lot less “stressfull” on the mitochondria, especially when they are already fragile due to disease. Also, it is well established fact that lipid store more energy per weigth unit than carb. It seem logical that natural biological process tend to go to most efficient way at first, then use alternative less optimal method as a backup when primary way is unavailable.

    And for the cancer thing, AFAIK the mitochodria is central to the apoptosis mecanism & it seem lots of cancer simply deactivate the mitocondria to gain immortality. It is interresting to learn that most cancer produce energy by anaerobic glycolysis that does NOT depend on mitocondria (the Warburg effect). It is also interresting to know that ketogenic diet seem to require functionnal mitocondria to provide energy to the cell, the “inconvenient” it provide to cell that depend on anaerobic glycolysis may starve them enough to let immune defence and/or chemotherapy chance to do the work. But we talk here of ZERO carb intake and ZERO glycogen store left, and that is tricky… Diabetic are especially problematic for the transition to ketogenic mode due to uncontrolled acidosis that can lead to death.

    For the coconut oil, that this is medium chain triglyceride saturated fat. Not all saturated fat are equal. Long chain saturated fat may still be bad, I don’t know, but MCT fat are different & use a different mecanism of absorbtion (lot easier), are highly ketogenic, and source of lauric acid, a powerfull anti-fungal & antimicrobial agent normally present in human milk. But be wary of fractionned coconut oil, this is the leftover stuff after the cosmetic industry et al. have removed lauric acid & possibly other good stuff, this is the reason why peoples recommend using only virgin oil or even insist on extracting it by themself.

    Next time you have problem w/t fungus, especially the mighty & powerfull Candida genus, try to apply coconut oil topically just to see if it work…

  87. Good to hear everything went smoothly for you.

    Here’s another one of those conversations.

    “I’d like you to go see …”

    “Okay. What’s this about? What kind of do is he?”

    “… is an oncologist.”

    Every ounce of your being hits the pit of your stomach and goes straight to your feet.

  88. The correct answer to “Who is your favorite cardiologist?” is the cardiologist you never have to go to see.

    Lou and Jere above are definitely steering you right (except the Wheat Belly author is Dr. William Davis, not Mike Davis). Heart disease is not caused by a buildup of LDL in the arteries (people think it’s like sediment buildup in a water pipe), the actual cause is inflammation due to chronic high blood sugar eventually causing a breech of the endothelium (the single layer thick interior lining of an artery); LDL and white blood cells rush to the site of the breech and attempt a repair. But because the cause (high blood sugar) has not been addressed, the breech becomes a chronic situation and the LDL and WBC’s become trapped under a scab-like cap where they oxidize. Wash, rinse and repeat over years and eventually you have blockage that doctors say can only be fixed by with a stent or a CABG. Blaming LDL for arterial blockage is like blaming a fireman for a fire.

    It was in 2009 that both CAGW and health/nutrition became topics that interested me. I quickly realized just how similar the two disciplines are. Both are dominated by awful science, conventional wisdom, cognitive dissonance, financial interests and incredibly misguided government policy. I consider Ancel Keys, the father of the lipid hypothesis, to be the Michael Mann of nutritional science. It was because of his 7 Country Study, that is as flawed as Mann’s Hockey Stick, that we are mired in the misguided notion that saturated fat is bad for you and a low fat/high carb diet is excellent for heart health. If you have an open mind (and as skeptics of climate science I would hope all of us here do) it’s trivial to discover that mainstream medicine is 180 degrees wrong about the cause of heart disease. My level of trust in medical doctors is nil in terms of being able to cure the diseases of our day that kill in the millions and are most likely due to high blood sugar.

    Your body works very hard to maintain your blood sugar in a very narrow range – roughly 75 to 90 ng/dl. This is why glucose is metabolized by the body before fat, your body views it as toxic at any level over 100 ng/dl. All carbohydrates are converted to glucose in your body and depending upon your insulin sensitivity the resulting blood sugar spike can raise your blood sugar well over 100 ng/dl for several hours. If you eat as the government, doctors and nutritionists advise (“healthy whole grains” being the base of 6 small meals per day) you are spiking your blood sugar well above the toxic level for all of your waking hours (and then some).

    I know this sounds nutty if you’ve bought into the conventional wisdom but I urge you to do some research into this topic (which I know you enjoy anyhow). Dr. Davis’s “Track Your Plaque” and “Wheat Belly” blogs are excellent as are Tom Naughton’s “Fat Head” blog, Dr. Peter Attia’s “The Eating Academy”, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s blog (as well as his book – The Great Cholesterol Con) and Dr. Michael Eades’s blog “Protein Power”.

    And for god’s sake, don’t take a statin! I would hope that trying to reduce a substance that is so important that every cell in your body can manufacture it makes so little sense I can’t believe we ever bought into it.

    Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest with my comment so far and before I go let me leave you with a single chart that I hope will make your eyes pop out of your head. This chart shows the LDL-C level of over 136,000 patients who were admitted to the hospital for heart issues. As you can see there is no correlation between LDL and heart disease, in fact I would say there is actually a reverse correlation. Medical advice today is unfortunately as bass-ackwards as the conventional wisdom of CAGW. Do your own research before you let your doctors permanently put you on a bunch of drugs that won’t be of any benefit and will probably do a lot of harm.

    http://s81.photobucket.com/user/bobbyj0708/media/LDLandheartattacks.png.html?o=35

    Warm regards,

    Bob Johnston

  89. Having survived the CABG routine several years ago, but still needing the occasional nitro tab, I asked my cardiologist about taking citrus bioflavonoids. He said they probably wouldn’t do any harm.

    Tried ‘em and after about two weeks I have not needed any nitrostat tabs at all and am still able to do my usual exercises.

    So, Willis, if you are still having some chest pains you might ask your doctor about taking a supplement like flavonoids.

    In the meantime best wishes and a speedy recovery to you.

  90. Willis, Please, please, please check out http://www.DrFuhrman.com and his track record (He is the consulting doctor featured in Australian Joe Cross’ documentary of his recovery, available on YouTube or NetFlix, titled FAT SICK AND NEARLY DEAD). Dr. Fuhrman’s home page has a boxed click to archived “Nutritional Wisdom” radio programs … the drop-down menu shows many subject titles of interest. Dr. Joel Fuhrman was featured PBS special on my local (Naples, FL) tv in June,2013 and I began his program then. It has been transformational for me … SO, I beg you and your beautiful medical squeeze, at least take a peek…and his book EAT TO LIVE. Long may you live and thrive. Best regards.

  91. Willis, I hope you recover and continue your adventures for many years. I have enjoyed your writing so much and I hope you get to keep at it as much as you like. Having passed my own “expiration” date at age 50, I am glad we live in a time when medicine can extend those “expirations” and allow us to be thankful for every day.
    Sincerest regards,
    slohr

  92. Hi Willis,

    I am so glad to hear you got to the right place at the right time and had the problem fixed! You should be right as rain now.

    I had no less than five stents put in myself a couple of years ago, into the internal carotid arteries in my skull, by a magician and a complete genius, after it turned out that a vehicle rollover in the bush 30 years ago had done far more damage than I originally thought, and the advancing years had completed the job. And now, two years on, you wouldn’t even know there had been a problem.

    The whole fascinating thing was done in two lengthy procedures, in a theatre like the bridge deck of a spacecraft, with a slimline version of what looked like the brake cable off my old pushbike, fed in through my femoral artery and then all the way up into my skull, guided on the X-ray display of six huge LCD screens, as I lay there conscious and able to comment, and let them know if things were going awry.

    An utterly painless, un-troubling and completely effective modern surgical miracle, and a very interesting experience indeed. Hooray for modern medical science!!!

    I did vaguely pause to wonder afterwards how the hell you go in and out of the biggest artery in the body without getting claret all over the ceiling, and what the little thing in my groin was that held the hole shut for a month or so and then quietly melted away, and also WHAT I should now do in the case of an incoming coronal mass ejection?

    I mean, here I am, with five little tubular ring circuits wrapped around inside the meaty blood vessels that pipe the precious fluid to my frontal lobes. And what happens if these find themselves moving across a huge incoming loop of solar magnetic flux (..apologies Leif)? Do they fry?? Will there suddenly be smell like the burning insulation on a dodgy three pin plug ..and then nothing?

    I had a contingency plan of course. My girlfriend’s old metal garden shed. I would monitor Spaceweather.com diligently, and every time we had a big incoming, out I’d go. I’d bash the rusted padlock off the hasp, dive in there amongst the sun-damaged plastic garden toys, termite-ridden cartons of forgotten books, broken garden implements and red-back spider nests, and there I’d stay until the danger had passed.

    But then I had an even better idea. Maybe I was simply being neurotic? Perhaps I was over-estimating the hazard? And there was a website of course, or at least there used to be, called “Ask an Astrophysicist”! So I asked one, and some months later was pleased to receive a slightly bemused reply (possibly from a very young astrophysicist who wasn’t even aware that he had carotid arteries), telling me that the tiny circumference of my stents – about a millimetre n fact – was incomparably small in comparison to that of the Canadian National Grid, so that I was probably worrying unnecessarily, as post-operative patients occasionally tend to do.

    So there you go: Cyborgate, fully functioning, and completely out of danger. And better still, should I have the strange geological fortune to get fossilised, my stents will be good for another thirty five million years!

    Best regards Willis. And here’s to the moon-wind..

    LK

  93. I’m very glad to hear that it was only a ‘second-rate’ heart attack. Even if that sounds very funny, I hope that you take notice of the warning, as we want to hear from you for a long time yet. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

  94. Scary reading.
    Have the courage to take the time for yourself, Mr Eschenbach. You are well liked.
    And there is more to life than the public battles.

  95. Break it in well, Willis. It’s good they had the right aftermarket parts in the shop.

    Instead of wasting money on third-rate climate science we should be spending it on ‘second-rate’ heart attack research. And non-OEM parts industries.

  96. Lou says:
    November 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Absolutely correct. Wheat belly is why humans are the only chronically ill animals on Earth.
    It’s been drilled into our heads that whole grains are heart-healthy and essential to a diet that keeps us slim and satisfied. But the wheat toast you opt for over a muffin or bagel in the a.m. may not be as smart of a dietary decision as once thought. In his new book “Wheat Belly,” preventative cardiologist William Davis, MD, argues that the world’s most popular grain, found in everything from lager to licorice to lunch meat, is destructive to weight loss – and overall health.

    According to Davis, the compounds found in wheat are responsible for appetite stimulation, exaggerated rises in blood sugar, and the release of endorphin-like chemicals that get the brain hooked on breads, pastas and crackers, while increased wheat consumption can also be linked to higher incidences of celiac disease, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and schizophrenia.

    If you think this talk about wheat sounds like a new spin on the gluten-free fad, it’s not so simple. While wheat is the dominant source of gluten in the human diet – gluten is what gives dough the ability to be stretched, rolled and shaped into bagels, pretzels and pizza crusts and is the culprit underlying inflammatory damage to the intestinal tract in those with celiac disease – it also contains a unique carbohydrate called amylopectin-A, which sends blood sugar soaring higher than table sugar or a candy bar ever could.

    This isn’t your great grandmother’s wheat – or waistline – we’re talking about. Amounts of wheat’s destructive compounds have increased over the past 50 years as the grain has been hybridized and crossbred to be resistant to drought and fungi, produce higher yields per acre, result in better baking consistency, and cost less to produce. Not surprisingly, the increase in wheat in the American diet parallels obesity rates that have nearly tripled since 1960.

    We took a close look at “Wheat Belly,” chatted with Davis, and discovered eight ways that wheat could be wrecking havoc on your weight loss efforts and how going wheat-free can help you slim down.

    Whole wheat is marketed as healthy

    Studies performed during the 1980s show that when processed white flour foods are replaced with whole grain flour products, there is a reduction in colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes. While the science here can’t be disputed, the logic is faulty, says Davis: “If something bad for you (white flour) is replaced by something less bad (wheat flour), and there is an apparent improvement, then plenty of the less bad thing is (considered) good for you. What was not asked: What about the effects of total removal? That’s when far greater health benefits are witnessed.” Davis compares this misguided nutritional advice surrounding whole grains to substituting hydrogenated fats for saturated fats, margarine for butter, and high-fructose corn syrup for table sugar.

    Many of Davis’s overweight patients report eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoiding junk food, fast food, and sugary soft drinks, some adhering strictly to dietary guidelines and many exercising for an hour every day. Still, they continue to gain weight.

    Until they cut out wheat, that is. Davis says he’s witnessed the wheat belly weight loss effect thousands of times, watching patients replace processed, wheat-based foods with vegetables, nuts, meat, eggs, avocados, olives and cheese, and drop 50 to 100 pounds in one year. Among 30 patients he recently placed on wheat-free diets, the average weight loss was 27 pounds over the course of 6 months.

    Whether patients on wheat-free diets consume non-wheat carbohydrates, like quinoa and millet as well as non-grain carbs such as fruit depends on the individual’s carbohydrate tolerance, says Davis. “For an established diabetic looking to become a non-diabetic, for instance, I would advise complete avoidance of these blood sugar-increasing foods since diabetes, by definition, is a disease of high blood sugars,” he says. “On the other hand, a young, slender, athletic female usually can include these carbohydrate sources and do just fine.” Still, most people fall somewhere in between, doing well with portion sizes of non-wheat carbohydrates of a half-cup or less, says Davis.

    Bread breeds belly fat

    Where there’s glucose, there’s always insulin, the hormone that allows entry of glucose into the cells of the body, where it’s converted to fat. It works like this: When you eat wheat, your body gets a huge helping of a blood sugar-spiking carbohydrate called amylopectin-A. To move the sugars from the wheat into your cells where they can be used for energy – or stored as fat, the pancreas responds by releasing insulin. The higher your blood sugar is after eating, the more insulin that is released – and the more fat that is deposited in the abdominal area. When belly fat builds up, it floods the body with inflammatory signals that cause energy-requiring tissues, like muscle, to stop responding to a proportional amount of insulin. As a result, your pancreas churns out more and more insulin to help metabolize the carbohydrates you eat. Years of running your body through this high-blood sugar, high-insulin cycle result in the growth of visceral fat, or what Davis has deemed a wheat belly.

    Carbs create cravings

    If you’ve ever noticed that eating a grain-heavy breakfast at 7 a.m. leaves you scrounging for a snack by the time you reach your desk, you’ve experienced the effects of amylopectin-A. The surge in glucose and insulin and subsequent drop in blood sugar that follow wheat consumption set you up to be hungry approximately every 2 hours, regardless of whether or not your body really needs to eat, says Davis. Davis suggests snacking on hearty portions of very low or no-carb foods, even those that are high in fat or calorically dense such as nuts and cheeses.

    Wheat eaters eat more

    Thanks to an appetite-revving wheat component called gliadin – and that all-day cycle of cravings for wheat and non-wheat-containing foods alike – it’s no surprise that, on average, those who consume wheat eat more overall. According to Davis, wheat eaters generally consume an extra 400 calories per day. Over the course of a year, the equivalent of 42 pounds of weight gain.

    “On the other hand, (people who follow wheat-free diets) naturally consume 350 to 400 fewer calories per day because they aren’t craving food every 1.5 to 2 hours,” says Davis, adding that by picking wheat-free foods you’ll also reduce your exposure to sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial food colorings and flavorings, cornstarch and so on.

    Wheat messes with estrogen

    Grow yourself a wheat belly and you won’t just need a bigger belt; you may also need a man bra. In males, visceral fat spurs the production of estrogen, which results in the growth of breast tissue and leads to what scientists call gynecomastia, or what your friends probably call “man boobs.” For women, a surplus of estrogen caused by excess belly fat raises the risk for breast cancer. In a Journal of the National Cancer Institute analysis of nine breast cancer studies that included a total of more than 2,400 women, breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women with excess visceral fat was double that of slender premenopausal women who did not have excess belly fat. Other studies suggest that excess belly fat can increase a women’s risk for breast cancer as much as four-fold.

    Your brain becomes addicted

    When you grab a coffee or pour a glass or two of wine, you’re looking for a certain fix. But when you eat wheat, you consume it for its nutritional value – or so you think. What makes wheat the real bad guy is its addictive property, which it doesn’t share with other grains, like millet and flax, says Davis. Wheat stimulates your appetite so you want more and more of it and when you stop eating it, your body goes through withdrawal symptoms. In fact, wheat’s effect on the brain is the shared with that of opiate drugs.

    Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that polypeptides in gluten have the ability to penetrate blood-brain barriers. Once they gain entry into the brain, wheat compounds bind to the brain’s morphine receptors, the same receptors to which opiate drugs bind, producing a sense of reward or mild euphoria.

    Eating wheat zaps energy

    “When you take wheat out of the diet, you see incredible turnaround in health far more than you’d ever predict,” says Davis. “When someone gives up wheat, there’s a very frequent and marked increase in energy and sleep quality,” he says. While there’s not a lot of research on the topic, Davis speculates that the connection can be explained by the absence of sharp swings in blood sugar and resulting energy slumps.
    Swapping processed, wheat-based foods for veggies, fruit, nuts and dairy may also be precursors to better sleep, more energy and more stable moods.

    “Gluten-free” foods are not the answer

    Even if you don’t have a wheat allergy, perhaps you’ve picked up gluten-free cookies, pasta or cereal because they just sound healthier. Truth is, many gluten-free foods are made by replacing wheat flour with corn starch, rice starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch, which hike up blood sugar even more than the amylopectin-A in wheat. This is especially hazardous to weight loss, since gluten-free foods, although they don’t trigger a neurological response like gluten does or stimulate your appetite like gliadin does, still trigger the glucose-insulin response that packs on pounds.

    Davis suggests removing wheat from your diet and enjoying larger portions of other healthy foods, like baked chicken, green beans, scrambled eggs or salad. If you’re worried about not getting enough fiber, increase your consumption of vegetables and raw nuts and fiber intake will actually go up, says Davis. In fact, two slices of whole grain bread containing 138 calories contains about the same amount of fiber as 138 calories of nuts (about 24 almonds).

    If you’re itching to try a wheat-free diet, try a gradual withdrawal from grains, suggests Davis. First, eliminate wheat from your dinner for 1 to 2 weeks, then get rid of it at lunch for a week or two. Finally, try going wheat-free at breakfast, when it’s often hardest to let go of cereal and other grain-based breakfast foods. “Or go ‘cold noodle,’ advises Davis. “You’ll be confronted with pain upfront, but you’ll emerge feeling much better.”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1623150388/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

    The wheat of today is not the wheat of 50 years ago. Give it & live long & prosper.

    Perry

  97. The moment you notes that life is short you wonder why so many want to make it even shorter and more stressful and full of misery. You also wonder how such people get in power.

  98. or lifing anything heavy

    A freaudian slip ? Willis. You were lucky. An aquaintance HAD here did the same as you, I think. No pills, no checkups, dropped dead in the garden 3 weeks ago. The one thing you did that he didn’t was to go see a doctor when the first signs appeared.

  99. Dear Wilis, having had coronory bypasses three years ago in the same way you had now your stens, I can imagine what you have experienced inbetween the diagnosis and the sten implant…

    We are fortunate that we live in these times and in these countries where heart surgery is about as routine as pulling teeth. My father died from his second hart attack at age 72 (which I am quite near in age…) in a period that heart surgery still was non-existing, neither were stens invented.

    The only drawback I had from the surgery (or probably from the anasthesia) was a huge loss of short term memory, so bad that I couldn’t read a book anymore as when at page 10, I couldn’t remember what passed at page 1… That slowly returned by practising Sudoku, but still is not back to what it was before surgery…

    Anyway, welcome to the club of blood thinners (aspirin) and cholesterol pill takers and good luck with your health in coming years, we need your regular contributions to WUWT…

  100. Willis

    When you go to visit your favourite Cardio I suggest you keep off the subject of Obamacare and Climate change just in case…

    Hope all continues to go well with your recovery

    tonyb

  101. Ferdinand said;

    “The only drawback I had from the surgery (or probably from the anasthesia) was a huge loss of short term memory, so bad that I couldn’t read a book anymore as when at page 10, I couldn’t remember what passed at page 1… That slowly returned by practising Sudoku, but still is not back to what it was before surgery…”

    So that explains why you didn’t return that very large sum of money I lent you a few years ago? You simply forgot. That is easily rectified now you realise what happened.

    This is a notification that I have the rights to try this with Willis should his memory go…

    I suspect that many of us here are not in the first flush of youth and judging by the responses we are uncomfortable with these reminders of our own mortality. Those who suspect something is wrong but haven’t done anything about it should take the lesson and make an appointment to see your doctor now, and not at some time in the future.

    tonyb

  102. Wheat is being rapidly being phased out in our household. Have not eaten bread for 4 days. Do not feel any different unfortunately. Certainly, sugars ,especially the fructose corn syrup cause chronic inflammation, which then precipitates cholesterol, which your body makes on your arteries. It is not the cholesterol per se that kills you. The statins are a massive fraud by cherry-picking data. We have been sucked in for decades, just to make these greedy bastards money at the cost of our health. Just think- a dollar a day per person for life. Every second male over 40 is taking statins. My cardiologist was not impressed a year ago when I told him I was not going to take the *&^$% anymore. Cholesterol jumped up really high.
    Like all medication, statins have their side effects. Sore muscles, possibly linked to dementia. It is a major scandal how, even with the actual information freely available, browbeating and intimidation have allowed this scam to persist for decades. It is all VERY similar to the CAGW scam. The stakes are a little bit different. For the drug companies it is loads of money, for the UN it is destroying economies and eventually society itself for them to take over and install their Fabian “Utopia.” Both are pathological liars. I have been using the similarity to the statins fraud to highlight the AGW fraud. Here in Australia, the ABC of all places had a 2 part series exposing the uselessness of statins without actually accusing the drug companies of major fraud.

  103. We’ve woken up in this part of the world now so, after reading the long list of comments, perhaps I can add my own ‘stent’ event as something of an oddity. After the usual preparations, with local anaesthetic and groin access, the procedure commenced for what I was told would be about 15 minutes. Watching the whole thing on the screen was fascinating but the same picture seemed to keep recurring and the 15 minutes seemed to be inordinately long. There was much coming and going and raised voices and it turned out after the operation that the surgeon had had great difficulty getting around a particular corner. Eventually all was fine and at the check-up with the surgeon some time later, he met me with a broad smile and profuse apologies. I jokingly replied that I perfectly understood and we all lose our way at one time or another but he said: ” No, no, I am apologising for my language”.

  104. Definitely check out chelation. Also, pomegranate juice has been shown to do wonders, at least for carotid arteries. From http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/feb2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm

    ” Despite the patients’ advanced atherosclerosis, ingesting pomegranate juice produced statistically significant reductions in the thickness of their carotid artery walls, which is correlated with decreased risk for heart attack and stroke. After only three months, the average thickness declined by 13%, and after 12 months, the thickness dropped 35% compared to baseline. During this same 12-month period, the average carotid artery thickness of the placebo group increased by 9%. ”

    Also, don’t have a link handy, but taking short (about 15 min) walks after eating has been show to dramatically temper rises in blood sugar.

  105. Best wishes from a fellow cyborg (in my case titanium endoskeleton with organic material for the exterior). I found my upgrade a major benefit since 2011.

  106. Glad to hear you are recovering Willis. My mother, in the UK, was on holiday in the early months of this year in the US. She had a heart attack while in CA/LA and was rushed to hospital (I got a call here in Aus at 4am). I shudder to think what the result could have been if she had the attack in our home village in the UK. She too has a stent and on aspirin (She was on beta-blockers too, but they aren’t so nice after a while from my own experience). Truly amazing technology. At about the same time my mother-in-law had an asthma attack in her home town, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most Ethiopians have even less access to medical care, especially if they don’t have money. Close call either way!

    All the best!

  107. Relieved you’ve had a positive outcome. A couple of years ago I want to my doc with problems with balance and memory. Thought it might have been early onset altzheimer’s, turned out to be hydrocephalus. So now I have a foreign body in my brain, a shunt, and it is a really weird feeling every time I am reminded of it like when I touch the bump on my skull. Empathise with your feelings about the surrealness of a med implant though. Snap!

  108. I wondered where you went, Willis. We missed you here.

    [sarc on] So you’re using the old worn-out “I had a mild heart attack” excuse for the lack of blog posts. [sarc off]

    Take care of yourself so that you and your ex-fiancée can continue to enjoy one another for many more years.

    Cheers

  109. In answer to your question, Peter C Gazes.
    A few years ago, I saw him give a talk as part of a post-doctoral cardiology course at the Medical University of South Carolina. His talk contained some sage advice, and was riveting in places. He had been practising cardiology since WW II and was still as sharp as a pin, despite advancing years.

    He was also clearly still a little bit miffed at having been retired, apparently somewhat against his will. The irony wasn’t lost on the audience, because he was speaking in the cardiology research institute that is named after him.

  110. Willis, may I wish you a speedy and full recovery, and a very long and productive future. And keep the articles coming!

  111. Oh well, that kinda shucks. Thankfully surgeons sure know their trade!

    (About the rest of the medical profession, I would not come to the same conclusion. People who want to “save” something – like say “the planet”, or fellow human beings – don’t all know what they are doing. Shocking, I know. But enough of that. Hope this will be the last such run-in with doctors for you, until you reach an very very very old age, and leave your – any mine – planet like we all were meant to go.)

  112. Medical Miracles.

    Heart disease has gone from a leading cause of sudden death and long term debilitation to an interesting (and scary) pause in a long and productive life. Starting with Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts (CABG) in the 1960s and continuing through Balloon Angioplasty and now Stents, all supplemented by lifestyle changes and some amazing pharmacology, we’ve come a very long way. A series of Medical Miracles.

    Then there’s pacemakers. And AICDs — Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators.

    And now all those people who have been saved from cardiac disease are having their hips and knees replaced. It’s a wonderful world and we’re lucky to be living in it.

  113. Willis:

    Sincere good wishes for your rapid and complete recovery. I know you are an atheist so I hope you are not offended that you are in my prayers.

    Richard

  114. Good luck Willis, and go hard at that bucket list of yours. I’m glad you managed to complete your trip to GB before your heart attack, although I would have been interested in your comments on our medicine/doctors.
    I have always been amused by Billy Connoly’s observation that if you stop smoking, keep to a modest alcohol intake and eat sensibly you should get another ten years of life. The only problem is that you get it in your 89s/90s, whereas it would be far more fun to get it added to your 30s!

  115. All the best Willis on your recovery and rehab.

    I had a similar experience as you had, went in had a stress test, no heart attack but some irregularity. Sent off for a heart cath with the idea the worst was going to be a stent.. when I woke up I was told surgery was scheduled for the next morning as I had a major blockage, something called the “widow maker”.. so I had some major plumbing done CABG X4 ..

    The lessons I learned are: 1) there has been and continues to be great advances in the treatment of heart disease 2) there are a lot of opinions and theories out there.. do the research and work with a cardiologist you trust.. 3) you have entered a whole new world where your penchant for research and discovery will keep you engaged and busy..

    Carpe Diem..

  116. Glad to hear you’re OK! The great thing about modern cardiology is that if you actually get checked regularly, they can prevent a great deal of bad things from happening to you.

  117. Back when everyone was healthy because the sustainable agriculture of the day was growing only organic food, you would be soon dead.

  118. Despite the attitude so many people like to take in relationship to ourselves I suspect that Nature is quite satisfied in the experiment it conducted when it created humanity. What other reason could there be that we still persist as a life form on this planet in this magnificent universe. I guess the measure of our lives is in what we do to further and improve this experiment for others. Mr. Eschenbach, I suspect your measure is quite long.

    Best wishes, Thomas Judd

  119. Like everyone else here I am concerned for you, Willis, but I note a very strong thread of optimism about the future. I’d expect nothing else, of course. All the very best for the future, and please keep us posted.

    Can’t agree wholeheartedly with the great majority opinion in the thread regarding carbohydrates. I’ve not had a heart attack, but I have atrial fibrillation, starting about 18 years ago, and a leaky mitral valve. Cardioversion zapped the fibrillation, but I have to take a drug to prevent recurrence, and it seems to work perfectly for me so far. Mandatory aspirin (low dose) too, and the fashionable simvastatin, which has no side effects that I’ve noticed. So, people are different. Also I have a diet high in carbohydrates – loads of bread, delicious, home made using a machine, and a quite low saturated fats intake, no caffein, really modest alcohol, and also loads of veg and salads and fruit. and very little red meat. I don’t want to change, either! But then, I’m only 85, so may become wiser in due course.

    Meanwhile, take care, and keep writing.

  120. Dennis Hand says:November 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm
    Thanks for your post regarding the chelation therapy. While I was not looking for that, per se,
    rather, I was looking for arterial calcium removal. A slight murmur showed up in a heart valve, and looking at the electro-cardio results and the little ring of calcium on the valve, I commented, couldn’t we just lower the Ph temporarily and dissolve it?

    Thanks again for WUWT, it is a wealth of resource.

  121. I was born in 1940 and am bitching about arthritis is my knees!!! Guess I’m a lucky one.
    Good luck, Willis.

  122. metamars says:
    November 11, 2013 at 2:20 am
    “Definitely check out chelation. Also, pomegranate juice has been shown to do wonders, at least for carotid arteries. ”

    Interesting to hear, thanks. Eating them regularly, but didn’t know that effect.

  123. Welcome to da club Willis.
    Please do get religious about the statins and a good Plavix-like med for a year. Even coated stents can plug up pretty quick, but I’m sure they have gone over that with you.
    Mine was referred pain in the throat. But then my wiring has never been quite right. I went through 4 docs and two months of living hell before I got a proper diagnosis.

  124. I’m sorry if I’m coming off as overly passionate on this topic and promoting someone else’s blog is not my goal but Dr. Mike Eades has a new post up today that is definitely on topic with some of the items discussed in this comment section: poor medical advice based upon bad science. If you take the time to watch the video of Dr. Eades being interviewed for a recent Australian program on heart disease, see if you’re as struck by the similarities in the science behind heart disease and the science behind CAGW.

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/cholesterol-heart-disease-science/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+drmikenutritionblog+%28The+Blog+of+Michael+R.+Eades%2C+M.D.%29

  125. Hello Willis,

    Hope you are coming along well.

    Today is Veteran’s day in the USA and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. This day is also celebrated in France, Belgium and Poland.

    I suppose I am OT, but not really.

    I have a great-uncle born in rural Ontario who is buried in France, who enlisted at the outset of WW1 and survived almost the entire war, but was killed in battle in the last six weeks of the conflict. I also have an uncle who was the only surviving officer of the Essex Scottish at Dieppe in WW2 – actually he was seconded to the Essex and was from another regiment, and I believe that all the other officers in his group were killed on that fire-swept Dieppe beach. My uncle picked up the ten living men of the 120 who landed, loaded them into a rowboat, and swan them out to sea – I believe they were the only survivors of the 120.

    When these true patriots fought, bled and died for us they did not do so to enable the current crop of scoundrels and imbeciles to rule over us and to impose their imbecilic whims upon us.

    These patriots were honorable, intelligent men with strong convictions. They would be outraged at the fraudulent nonsense we see today, as our foolish governments squander scarce global resources to “fight global warming” in a cooling world, in order to placate false “watermelon” environmentalists and fellow-travellers.

    I leave you with a poem written by Lt Col. Dr. John McCrae, M.D., who also died during WW1 on January 28, 1918.

    Best, Allan

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    – John McCrae, written near Ypres, Belgium on May 3, 1915

  126. Hi Willis,
    I was born in 1947,got my stent in 2004 after a coronary artery occlusion ,had Plavix for half a year, from then 100mg Aspirin p.d..I have had no problems since then though I am still working hard and have to at least 3 years! Instead of statins ( caused muscle pain) and Beta-blockers ( caused Hypotension ), I prefer a teaspoon of Blueberry jam, a small glass of Pomegranate juice and a spoonfull Linseed Oil a day! Don’t worry, be happy and keep writing! I’m looking forward to read much more of yours!
    Good luck!

  127. There is 20 years of research (hundreds of peer reviewed papers and clinical studies) that supports the assertion that roughly 80% of Western diseases including atherosclerosis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes type 1 and 2, arthritis, and so on are due to diet. Collin Campbell and John McDougall are two of the pioneers in the field of stopping disease by changing diet.

    Collin Campbell was the director the largest and longest dietary study into the connection between disease and diet ever done; the China Cornell Oxford project that examined the diets, lifestyle and disease characteristics of 6,500 people in 65 rural Chinese counties, comparing the prevalence of disease characteristics for more than twenty years. The study included blood work so it was possible to monitor the change of people’s health with time. Campbell has written a book the ‘China Study’ that summarize the China study results and other research to support that assertion that 80% of Western diseases are due to diet.

    McDougall’s books include a summary of the research (hundreds of peer reviewed papers) and explains the mechanisms in detailed to explain why the Western diet causes diseases. McDougall has successfully treated 1000s of people who have varies degrees of Western diseases by changing their diet.

    The movie “Forks over Knifes”explains some of the concepts and issues.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._Colin_Campbell

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._McDougall

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forks_over_Knives

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8038801/Bill-Clintons-new-diet-nothing-but-beans-vegetables-and-fruit-to-combat-heart-disease.html

    http://web.archive.org/web/20090223222003/http://www.nutrition.cornell.edu/ChinaProject/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%80%93Cornell%E2%80%93Oxford_Project

  128. Take all the spare parts offered to you Willis. I have 2 replacement hips, two replacement knees, plus a pacemaker and at 90 years of age I am very glad to have them all.
    Wishing you we’ll. we need yor good humour.

  129. Allan MacRae:

    re your post at November 11, 2013 at 9:09 am.

    Yes, I agree that today being Remembrance Day is pertinent to this thread: they died that we may live.

    You mention that your uncle was one of the few who survived the Dieppe Raid. The heroes of the Dieppe Raid left from here in Falmouth, and they must have known few of them would return from the raid. The dock they left from has a memorial and its surface is inlaid with bronze plates engraved with statements about those who were awarded VCs and with quotations from others involved in the raid. It is a moving experience to walk over the dock and to read the engravings. One quotation is a comment of the Captain of the Essex: upon his having managed the astonishing task of ramming the ship onto the lock gates he then said he was “4 minutes late” according to the schedule. The heroes of Dieppe demonstrated by their sacrifice that it was not possible to capture and to hold an enemy harbour so a portable harbour would need to be invented and transported to Normandy if the D-Day landings were to be a success. The heroes of the Dieppe Raid sacrificed themselves so the losses of the D-day battles would be reduced by thousands: you are truly honoured to be related to one of them.

    Similarly, we are honoured to be acquainted with those who fight to overcome life-threatening illnesses.

    Richard

  130. Have a good recovery. If you have some downs after this untimely reminder of your mortality just remember that getting older isn’t all fun but a lot better than the alternative. :-)
    Looking forward to see you back on WUWT!

  131. One good thing about being old and retired is that I have time to follow the writings of thinkers like you. So hang in there, Willis – you are an essential part of my continuing education.

  132. Plumbing in the nether regions is now having the usual and customary issues, hoping that’s all in that department and not anything worse. Other typical issues, touch wood, have not yet started up. But based on DNA I’m a walking time bomb. Every day is a gift and I am only around the half century point, hoping to reach 60. Everything after that would be a double bonus.

  133. Willis, I wish you a speedy recovery.
    A little while ago I had the pleasure of listening to Dean Kamen give a talk ( http://www.dekaresearch.com/founder.shtml ). Amongst other things he was relating his role in the development of the stent. The engineering challenges in getting the right alloy, shape, surface finishing and heat treatment so that its flexible going in, then work hardens as the balloon expands it were remarkable.
    He’s now working on another issue close to your heart (ahem) of how to bring reliable electricity and water purification to off grid villages.

  134. Brian H says:
    November 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm
    Fortunate it wasn’t cancer. Of the 8 people I know who did, all suffered terribly from chemo, and died. Bad odds on that small (but personally impressive) sample. One was my next younger brother.

    Just what Willis needed to hear, I’m sure. /sarc

  135. First, my thanks to everyone for their well-wishes.

    A couple people said it was surprising coming so soon (five years) since my last full cardiac workup which gave me a clean bill of health … hey, you think you were surprised, consider my position. My doc says it can come on fast …

    Many people have said that diet is critical … sure ‘nuf. I lost about twenty pounds in 2009, just wanted to get back to my fighting weight. So I plan to examine what makes up my current diet, eliminate some things, make some changes, follow up on some of the things folks have posted.

    Anyhow, mostly I just wanted to express my appreciation to y’all for the good thoughts, wishes, and even prayers. What a curious place WUWT has grown into … I am indeed among the most fortunate of men.

    w.

  136. Willis,

    I’m sorry to hear about your heart and wish you the best.

    Now then, how many different cardiologists does anybody know and how would they go about picking the best? If you personally know somebody who works for a hospital or clinic you can ask them which doctor they would see if they were sick. If you don’t know them personally, you’ll get an answer such as “all of our doctors are the best.” But if you know them and trust them, you’ll often good a candid answer.

  137. Willis Great but one thing. You never mentioned who paid. In the UK or perhaps the whole of Europe it would not have arisen. The NHS is recognised Europe wide and I could have received treatment anywhere, which is important as I am off for a week in Malta early December. But who has paid. I understand the US system – why should I pay for the guy next door – that’s his responsibility. But in the UK we make it everyone’s responsibility. I am a libertarian up to the gills but I don’t know the answer to this.

  138. BrianJay says:
    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    In the US we do pay for the guy next door if he’s too poor to afford his own health insurance. It’s called Medicaid. We didn’t previously pay for those who could afford to buy insurance but chose not to. Instead of a national universal health service, we need only to help out those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford a plan covering expensive treatments such as for cancer. There are good free market means of doing so without adopting the monstrosity of Obamacare. I don’t know how a libertarian can support completely socialized medicine. If there were private insurance in Britain, Malta would probably accept it.

  139. Ageing is certainly not for the faint-hearted. I’ll be 85 this year, and the prostate cancer doesn’t seem to have got me, although it tried. Even my GP agrees now that I’ve gone past my use-by date. I am planning to marry again, anyhow.

  140. Glad to hear everything has gone well. I am a recently retired medical specialist (Thoracic Medicine) in the UK. I agree with the above bloggers about the cholesterol scam. The parallels with AGW scam are interesting. The epidemiology of ischaemic heart disease suggests that an infectious origin might be relevant or at least a co-factor. Also,in the UK there is a clear risk with diminished sun exposure, the disease being more prevalent with increasing latitude. This north-south variation is not seen in the US but is seen E-W with diminished risk at altitude over the Rockies.
    The origin of the word ‘stent’ is from a 19th century English dentist called Charles Stent who used a variety of materials to support tissues in the mouth. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Stent
    Keep moving Willis!!

  141. tobias says:

    November 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    @ Mario,(Nov 10 8.37 pm) “I need a checkup every three years due to my age”, “I was born in1965,”,
    That is a frightening environment to work in You are barely , into your 50′s ?
    What is a “competition” license? Can you explain? Is a like a permit to practice? Thanks, Tobias.
    Oh and BTW get better soon Anthony.
    ++++++++
    Thank you for asking. I do not want to steal attention from Willis… but it was so close to home, because it was only two weeks ago for me.
    I have a competition race license. I also instructor and coach other race car drivers and instructors. I guess they want to make sure I don’t die while I’m going around a corner at 135mph :)

  142. I am so glad that all went well for you. I was not so fortunate. I had a stent and six (that’s right, six) bypasses grafted onto my heart. I also was taking no medications of any kind prior to my heart attack. At 55 years old, it was quite a shock. But there was one aspect of which you should be aware, depression.
    It is common for this to result in depression. Crying over the least events was very common. Others in my physical rehabilitation class also experienced this, even men much larger and hardier than me.
    It has been more than 4 years now. The depression is long gone. I exercise daily, my body mass index is down to 24, my total cholesterol is 122 with an acceptable LDL to HDL ratio, and my diet includes lots of fruit and vegetables (all I can eat thanks to Weight Watchers).
    I am so glad you are doing better, but be aware of the depression factor. Discuss it with friends that have also had cardiac problems or join a rehabilitation class, you will find lots of understanding friends there.
    Take care and get better soon.

  143. “I was only a pawn in the game at that point.”

    If you really want to use a chess metaphor, you are closer to being the chessboard than a pawn. :-)

  144. richardscourtney says: November 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Thank you Richard for your informative comments.

    I neglected to mention that my uncle Donald Fraser MacRae did receive the Military Cross from George VI based on his Dieppe experience and was trotted around the UK. He was given a set of Hardy bagpipes by the City of Edinburgh or Glasgow, I’m not sure which, and I believe they were donated late in his life to Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

    I guess there was not much to celebrate in 1942. Wonderful year for Chrysanths …

    Best, Allan

  145. I’m very glad of the positive prognisis, Willis.

    Folk who’ve glimpsed the Reaper oftentimes choose to live more fully thereafter, but given your tales and your substantive contributions to clear thinking here at WUWT I’m not sure that’s practicable.

  146. Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    First, my thanks to everyone for their well-wishes.

    So I plan to examine what makes up my current diet, eliminate some things, make some changes, follow up on some of the things folks have posted.

    w.
    ======================================================

    You are truly blessed to live at a place and time when such life saving miracles can happen within days. (God help all of us Americans in 20 plus years).

    As far as your diet and life style changes, sometimes “stuff just happens” that you can’t control.

  147. Heart disease runs strongly in the male side of my family. My father died of a massive heart attack in his early 50s, and his father died of heart problems before I was born. My doctor has me on statin drugs, and BP meds. I run long distances to try to keep in shape, even though I’m 66. So given my family history, what test do doctors insist I take regularly? — A COLONOSCOPY The only one who had cancer in my family was my mother — she had breast cancer when she was 96, and even she died of a heart attack. In all fairness, when i worked for the US Geological Survey, they gave me a complete physical, to include an EKG, every two years. But they told me the EKG wouldn’t really show anything unless I was having pretty bad problems when they took it. (BTW, I know — when God says your time’s up, YOUR TIME’S UP).

  148. Willis. in a previous comment I suggested that you get ‘religious’ about the statins and an anti-platelet like Plavix for the first year and I stand by that. I also agree with most of the comments about cholesterol, but with a stent just introduced into the human body within the last 6 to 12 months, we are talking about something entirely different.
    My cardiologist, (who taught at the University of Texas for 20 years),his associate that performed the procedure and most of the nurses on my floor (entirely devoted to cardio) where fully aware of current thinking on cholesterol and reiterated some of the same literature I had read prior to my heart attack, ie. Cholesterol has little effect past a certain age, no effect on a large gene pool and even the suggestion that the only thing that centenarians have in common is HIGH cholesterol.
    But a stent, even a coated stent, is a foreign object and everyone responsible for my care went out of their way to make it clear to me that without anti-platelet and statins, they had lost patients in DAYS. A piece of metal in your knee is not the same as a piece of metal inside a crucial coronary artery.
    I also have little doubt that, like so-called climate ‘science’, medical consensus, in many areas, is driven by dollars. That said, you are not going to get your body to accept your pretty new stent with aromatherapy, candles, prayer or any of the hundreds of diets at your disposal. So until your artery grows new tissue around the stent, stay the fuck away from any new-age, feel-good-fairy dust. Don’t pull a Steve Jobs. After a year…. knock yourself out with whatever floats your boat.

  149. Warmest best wishes, Willis,
    It’s wonderful to wake up breathing!
    I am thankful for this every day, and those who say that ageing is not for the fainthearted are wrong, as ageing is a boon not granted to all.
    It’s marvellous that your writing and your sense of humour are as healthy as ever.

  150. Two things, Willis. First, this new technology sure is great! Second, if what ails you can be cured simply by taking a couple of pills, then count yourself lucky. Oh, and third, I love reading everything you write, including your visit to the doctor.

  151. Getting older gets more fun every year . . .

    My Finnish Grandfather used to say to me when I was a young lad, “Too soon old, too late smart.”

    Godspeed Willis.

  152. Good luck on the recovery, Willis. You are very lucky. It could have been much worse.

    I had my heart attack in 2005 when I was 58. My symptom was vomiting. It came on me as I was started a summer skiing trip up Ralston Peak, near Tahoe. I managed to drive myself home to the West Shore. The next day I still felt crappy and drove to the hospital in Truckee, when I got there I was surprised to find myself gasping for air in the ER. They wisked me off to Reno where the angioplasty was performed the following morning, followed by a stent. Then the next day something lodged in the wrong place in my brain triggering a mild stroke. I lost my ability to write, and speech was slurred, simple arithmetic was a challenge, The next day they told me I had Type 2 Diabetes, and did I know that ? Well no, but thanks.

    My recovery has taken a long time but I was back to skiing a few months after the events of that summer and still climbing the back country peaks in the spring time and summers since. My ejection fraction remains extremely low about 20% I think but it only affects me when I am skinning up a peak or climbing stairs. I lost a huge amount of my left ventricle functionality. I continue to take a gob of pills every day, not much side effects perhaps a small balance issue. I do metformin now no longer the insulin injections for the type 2. Unrelated to the above I get terrible leg and hand cramps in the middle of the night. I take powdered cinchona bark in a tea for this. It works wonders. This was based on my first cardio prescribing quinine, then when the FDA started blocking that use I did the research to find the source of quinine.

    I guess we don’t live forever. I try to enjoy every day to the fullest.

  153. Willis,

    You have received lots of good advice from folks who genuinely love and respect you. I join them in anticipating your full recovery to glowing health. One thing that I learned is important is this:
    Every time you exhale, be sure to inhale.
    Those who do not follow that advice quickly learn how important it could have been.

    Blessings to you and your family.
    Clay

  154. richardscourtney says:
    November 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    The US Navy felt that portable harbors weren’t needed, which belief in the event was shown valid by the destruction of the Mulberry at Omaha beach by the terrible storm on June 19. The British Mulberry was however useful, even though the Americans were able to land all the logistics they needed over the open beaches in their sector, as their experience in the Pacific & Med led them to believe possible, given enough amphibious ships & craft.

  155. HR says:
    November 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    nobody going to mention Obamacare?
    ————————-

    Better IMO to let Willis comment himself, but I assume he’s on Medicare, possibly with supplemental private insurance, so Obamacare doesn’t really apply, except that to fund the debacle, Medicare has already been raided to the tune of about $800 billion, stealing from the monies paid in by workers over five decades.

  156. milodonharlani:

    re your post at November 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm.

    I don’t want to disrupt this thread, but the Mulberry harbours and Fido were essential to the success of the D-Day landings. As you say, the Americans lost their Mulberry in a storm (n.b. on 22 June 1944 not 19 June when the storm started) but that does not disprove the critical importance of the temporary harbours whatever excuses the Americans later chose to make for their loss of theirs. As Encyclopaedia Brittanica says in its good summary of the matter

    The Mulberry harbours were conceived after the failed amphibious raid on the French port of Dieppe in August 1942. The German defense of the coast of western Europe was built on formidable defenses around ports and port facilities. Because of the strength of these defenses, the Allies had to consider other means to push large quantities of provisions across the beaches in the early stages of an invasion. The British solution to the problem was to bring their own port with them.

    And

    The various parts of the Mulberries were fabricated in secrecy in Britain and floated into position immediately after D-Day. Within 12 days of the landing (D-Day plus 12), both harbours were operational. They were intended to provide the primary means for the movement of goods from ship to shore until the port at Cherbourg was captured and opened. However, on June 19 a violent storm began, and by June 22 the American harbour was destroyed. (Parts of the wreckage were used to repair the British harbour.) The Americans had to return to the old way of doing things: bringing landing ships in to shore, grounding them, off-loading the ships, and then refloating them on the next high tide. The British Mulberry supported the Allied armies for 10 months. Two and a half million men, a half million vehicles, and four million tons of supplies landed in Europe through the artificial harbour at Arromanches.

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/396732/Mulberry

    And that is all I intend to say about the matter in this thread.

    Richard

  157. Another thing to look into is supplemental vitamin D and K, specifically, D3 and K2. D (“the sunshine vitamin”) tends to be especially low in individuals in more northern lattitudes, particularly during winter months. And guess what, even in the summer, if we’re outside, that “protective” sunscreen people put on screens out UV-B, which is what we need to produce D (which our body stores in the liver, until needed). Vitamin K2 is what directs calcium into our bones, and without it, the calcium is free to attach to arterial walls. As we age, our need for these extremely important vitamins (as well as A, C, and E) increase.
    I have an allergy to doctors myself. I don’t even have one, and I turned 60 this year. My ideal doctor if I decided to find one, would be someone versed in alternative therapies in addition to conventional ones (which I consider last resort).

  158. Bruce Cobb says:
    November 12, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Glad to see a mention of K2, which is still somewhat unknown as an important co-factor for the cholecalciferol-calcidiol-calcitriol system. Vitamin K2 is not the same as the familiar vitamin K. It seems to be very important, and is the “Activator X” discovered by Weston Price in the 1930s. There is a good recent book on K2 by the Canadian naturopath Kate Rheaume-Bleue. Here is a link to the current 95 reader reviews, nearly all very positive —

    http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-K2-Calcium-Paradox-Little-Known-ebook/product-reviews/B00D5TSMAS/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    Dr. Cannell’s website for D3, vitamindcouncil, has been mentioned. There is also an extensive (4408 pages) website by the diligent Henry Lahore:

    http://www.vitamindwiki.com/VitaminDWiki

    As for an ‘ideal’ doctor that combines conventional medicine with nutrition, etc, one might mention books by Dan Purser, which are available on Amazon. Dr. Purser mentions that two free e-books by Jeff Dach, MD, are available on-line:

    http://www.drdach.com/Dr_Dach_Books.html

  159. Best wishes for a good recovery. I enjoy reading your life’s adventures. I wish that you may have only positive ones.

  160. I’ll add my voice to the people warning you about statins and the mainstream view of heart disease. Do not EVER take statins: http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2013/11/04/statins-blasted-on-aussie-tv/

    Want to avoid heart disease / artery plaque ? Replace plant oils with healthy saturated fats: the omega-6 in the former turns inflammatory in your veins and boosts plaque formation, while the latter has no such “feature”.

    Another suggestion, from (my own favourite cardiologist) Dr William Davis, is to avoid eating modern wheat in any form: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/11/a-grain-eaters-cholesterol-panel/

  161. Best Wishes, Willis.

    Thank God your required surgical process was completed before Obamacare squads were involved. You are set for another 20 years.

  162. Willis Eschenbach does have mysterious ways his wonders to perform, not only in his writing but in what he lets us know about his life and mind. And he inadvertently turned WattsUp into a medical blog, of sorts. Great! Taught me a lot about my body’s arteries, yet unexplored and in good shape for all I know. But I’ll have some alpine quack take a dekko of them now.
    My best wishes for Willis who deserves, and will shortly regain, all the health and stamina that Mother Nature holds in stock for able seamen. Including his never-ending curiosity that holds me spellbound, even from a distance. Curiosity, as all of us know, only kills the cat.
    To Willis, with love: greetings from a Tyrolean mountain gently kissed by billions of early snowflakes no doubt owed to AGW. :-) They’re blowing kisses to him, too!

  163. While it seems likely that American eating habits have a lot to do with their diseases of middle age and later, especially compared to other parts of the world, I am skeptical about many of the claims made above about the evils of ‘carbs’ and of wheat in particular. Most of humanity, since the Neolithic, have lived on cereal grains (wheat, millet, barley, maize, etc., and especially rice) and most still do. Most of humanity do not suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So I suspect there is something lacking in the ‘evil carbs’ hypothesis, and maybe something present that is not science: fad-following.

    /Mr Lynn

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