"I had a feeling something wasn't right."
For Steve, hunting and fishing make life worth living. Years of practice have taught him to notice the slightest events – a tiny nibble on his line, a brief movement in the forest. Those heightened senses came in handy one February morning in 2006. “It wasn’t like in the movies,” he says. “I felt strange, and had some minor chest pain. I had a feeling something wasn’t right. A neighbor took me to Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital. Within minutes, I was in the cath lab with a stent in my heart.”
Although the symptoms were subtle, they weren't shocking to Steve. “I have a strong family history of heart disease, so I’m not surprised I had a heart attack – I’m just surprised I was only 56 years old when it happened.” Steve says.
Excellence close to home
Doctors discovered Steve’s artery was 95 percent blocked and his heart strength was about 50 percent of normal. “Every minute the heart goes without oxygen, more heart muscle is damaged.” says Park Nicollet Heart and Vascular Center Cardiologist Marek Kokoszka, MD.
Steve is grateful his neighbor chose to take him to Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital. “I never thought about having a good hospital nearby before this,” Steve says. “But once something like this happens, it’s reassuring to know there’s a world-class facility nearby with doctors that can really increase your odds of surviving a heart attack.”
Powerful lifestyle changes
After his heart attack, Steve took his doctor’s advice to heart. He watches his cholesterol, lost more than 25 pounds and exercises nearly every day. “I feel great,” Steve says. “Life is too important to not take care of myself. Fishing, hunting and spending time with my wife and children are my life. I couldn’t do any of that without my heart.”
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