Without any warning in August 2007, I collapsed at work, the next thing I knew it was 5 weeks later and I was laying in Tunbridge Wells’ hospital recovering from a near fatal heart attack. Alan recalls: “I went to work feeling fine that day, nothing out of the ordinary and it wasn’t until I woke up in hospital that I realised the severity of what had happened to me. I was in there for another 3 weeks before being transferred up to St Thomas’ for a triple heart bypass. Although I didn’t feel any symptoms before my heart attack I have been lucky not to have any after affects either. I feel healthy, revitalised and alert.”
The paramedic that was trying to resuscitate me was so shocked to learn I was still alive he went to visit me in Tunbridge Wells.
“It was a shock for me to learn from the paramedic that I had practically flat lined whilst he was resuscitating me, he said my heart was beating but I wasn’t breathing, and it is a miracle I am alive and well today.
“Despite my near death experience, I am back to being on the go. I did put on about 2 stone after my heart attack where exercising wasn’t very easy. With the help of the cardiac phase IV classes at a Gym, and with the support of the class instructor, my mentor Naomi, I have really concentrated on the weight loss and am now at a healthy and manageable 12 stone, sadly this gym has now been closed by the council, and we have moved to a new gym but Naomi’s classes are fantastic and the Cardiac Rehab exercise has made such a difference to my life, so I am grateful for this service.”
I has also had a pacemaker fitted as well. The pacemaker’s job is to take over from the heart’s natural pacemaker – the sinus node. Modern pacemakers are comfortable and efficient, “I don’t even notice it, but I know it’s helping to save my life and give me my quality of life back.”
Over the past few weeks, I have been getting out of breath, more and more, eventually the local hospital contacted me and after some more tests they have told me that I have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) I am only using 50% of my lungs, this problem has now been diagnosed as Pulmonary Fibrosis, which is Interstitial Lung Disease, I might be lucky enough one day to catch something that the doctors can cure. This has now been diagnosed at Guys Hospital as NSIP( Non Specific Interstitial Pneumonia) which apparently is a rare form that destroys the parts of my lungs that get inflamed.
Another test showed that I also have ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura), this is where my immune system is seeing the platelets in my blood as alien, and is destroying them, so to counteract this I have been on a course of Steroids, they suppress my immune system and allow my platelets to build up again, but this in turn makes me more liable to catching colds and flu, and also makes me put weight on.
No matter what though, I will BEAT all of it and live for as long as I possibly can.
I can only hope that anyone reading my story, gets inspiration from it and FIGHTS whatever they have to live as full a life as they can, remember, there is always HOPE.