My compassionate God gave me yet another extension on my life to continue to serve Him, care for my wife and children, and YOU! God is for real, and He wants us to know that He is still the God of miracles. Because you care, I wanted to share this with you. Getting two 19 inch large pots ready with 50-qts of potting soil and 40-lbs marbles, planting two pants, and carrying them inside the house triggered some discomfort in my chest. Felt like something inside my chest wants to force it’s way out. Of course, as of typical of male machoism, I ignored this warning sign for several days. But, kept on running between my job and the ministry. With this tremendous pressure and discomfort, rather not going to a doctor, I drove to a wedding in New York, conducted Holy Liturgy at Bensalem St. Gregorios, flown to and gave keynote speech at a Mar Thoma Regional Family conference in Titusville, FL, conducted Holy Liturgy at St. Paul’s Orthodox church in Orlando, FL. After 15 days of ignoring the severity of my condition (bad choice from my part), I finally told my Ajitha that something is really wrong with me.
Now we are still trying to comprehend the true mercy and love of my God! I clearly know that He was pleased in my 32 years of Holy Sacrifices on His Holy Altar unconditionally serving Him and YOU. Everything happened so fast! So unbelievable. I am grateful to my Ajithakutty for forcefully taking me to our primary physician at the perfect time. God took charge from the moment we left home to see the primary doctor on Tuesday onwards till now back from Hopkins. It was definitely a very close call. I had no previous medical problems other than an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) on my spine. Primary doctor rushed us to our local Howard County General Hospital Emergency Room (HCGH is run by Johns Hopkins). My ECG was absolutely normal. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides were normal as well. But cardiac enzymes were slightly elevated and I was admitted to HCGH. My cardiac enzyme was elevated from .01 to .02 and then to .03. HCGH then gave me a heparin injection. Also did Coronary CT Angiogram followed by stress test. Pictures revealed that, I had some abnormality with my left ventricle. Doctors immediately transferred me via Ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, as HCGH doesn’t have a Cath lab. Catheterization revealed my Left Anterior Descending Artery (LAD) (also known as the ‘Widow-Maker’ because when it goes, you are a goner) had a 99% blockage. LAD is also known as the ‘Widow-Maker’ because when it goes, you are a goner. The medical term for an LAD blockage is a proximal LAD lesion. Cardiologists at Johns Hopkins conducted angioplasty and implanted a drug eluting stent inside me. Everything from my Ajitha taking me to our primary, ER, HCGH, to Johns Hopkins, to implanting the stent, I had best care and top-notch doctors – Perfectly planned by God placing archangels at every point of the process as someone was walking in front of us to make all necessary arrangements. Not a second was wasted. All other arteries are normal. It was absolutely a pure miracle to take care of it at the right time! It is very hard emotionally to comprehend what exactly had happened! So much happened in so little time! You can survive even with 99% per cent blockage to your LAD, but everything had to go correctly and God has to step in. God can really do miracles. That is what saved my life. Doctors said I could have had a massive attack and died any moment! Doctors are still wondering how I survived this long with such blockage, the discomfort and such pressure. But my awesome God lifted me from that tragedy for my family.
I am doing better now. The chest pressure is gone. Pain in my left arm disappeared. Now I only have the discomforts from the procedure and long sleepless days. Our powerful merciful God gave me back to my family safe. An extension on my life to serve Him longer. I have my follow-up with my Cardiologist on Monday. I am doing well, on a few heavy medications to avoid blood clot and I am also in cardiac rehab with constant monitoring by my specialists. Exercise is very important to me and goes a long way to keeping new cardiac problems from developing and helps with reducing stress and anxiety. As you know, I have been running non-stop for 32 years serving my God and you, His children with great pride. Plus, my Washington secular job serving my Country is extremely stressful. This translates to 32 years of working full time 7 days a week, 365 days a year without proper rest or recuperation for the body. It finally said enough is enough. I must slow down. I am eating better and working on reducing stress. My life partner of 32 years – my Ajithakutty and my three children are my biggest supporters and they are keeping me focused and helping to prioritize. Please continue to pray for my family and me.
For your Information – Warning for South Indians:
There are three arteries that run over the surface of the heart and supply it with blood. There is one artery on the right side and two arteries on the left side of the heart. The one on the right is known as the right coronary. On the left side, which is the main side, we have the Left Anterior Descending Artery (LAD artery) that runs down the front of the heart and supplies the front and main wall, and then the left circumflex that supplies the sidewall. When the main artery down the front of the heart (LAD) is totally blocked or has a critical blockage, right at the beginning of the vessel, it is known as the Widow Maker. If LAD is blocked right at the beginning of its course, then whole artery goes down. This essentially means that the whole front wall of the heart goes down. As far as heart attacks go, this is a big one, with big consequences if not dealt with appropriately; it’s why you should take it so seriously.
Within minutes of the critical blockage occurring the heart muscle stops working, and if blood flow is not restored within minutes to hours the muscle typically dies. The consequences are often deadly – can lead to sudden death, and many patients do not make it to hospital alive. The good news is that if caught in time, doctors can treat to good effect with the use of minimally invasive techniques such as stent placement.
South Indians do have a prediction for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). It is so easy for doctors to miss heart disease with basic tests like a cholesterol panel and ECG. There are cutting-edge tests for heart disease, which may reveal signs of clogged arteries or heart disease symptoms sooner: 1) Electrocardiogram; 2) Coronary calcium scan; 3) Blood test for C-reactive protein; 4) An NT-proBNP blood test; 5) A high-sensitivity blood test for troponin T. Although, these cost money, but will save your life. Please be proactive and check it out. Do NOT ignore the warning signs as I have. Your body is trying to speak to you. Please listen to your body and do the necessary for your family.