Anatomy of a heart attack – nine months out and building a new life

by Bruce A. Smith

Part 5 in a series.  I had a heart attack in February 2012 during which I had a 90% blockage in one coronary artery and received a stent to re-open the vessel.  In addition, I had a 30% blockage in another artery, but that was left alone since it had a 60% injection rate of blood, so the surrounding muscle tissue was not significantly affected.  Since then, I have been posting stories about my recovery.

 Last month, I received excellent news regarding my cardiac health.  After six months of eating according to the Forks over Knives protocols, coupled with lots of healing energy work, prayer and meditation, my cholesterol level registered 129 – down from historic levels in the 300s, and 214 back in June three months after the heart attack.

 In addition, stress tests of my heart indicate that I currently have a 70% injection rate, which is decidedly higher than the 65% that is considered “normal” in most Americans.

 So, thanks to all who have been focusing on my heart and praying for my health.

 However, I was also re-hospitalized in August with chest pains, which begs the question – what the heck happened?  The chest pains were real – sharp, radiating and intermittent.  They were also accompanied by nausea and dizziness.  Thus I entered another phase of cardiac recovery, namely, the anxiety of building a new life.

 I tried to push through the symptoms for two days by utilizing focused meditation, but when I nearly vomited lunch on a Monday I decided to call 9-1-1 and get help.  At the hospital everyone assured me I was doing the smart thing – the paramedics, ER nurses, Good Sam’s attending cardiologist, and a Dr. Krishna that my own cardiologist sent over from his group medical practice in Puyallup, The Cardiac Study Center.

 I received a plethora of tests around the clock – EKGs, BPs and vitals, and blood tests every two hours to check for tell-tale enzymes from damaged heart muscle or a failed stent.  I even had an X-ray for some reason that I still fail to grasp.  On the second day I had a stress test that I thought was gonna kill me but fortunately only lasted for 40 seconds, and ultimately proved I was okay.

 “We find no sign of any activity of cardiac disease,” Good Sam’s cardio doc told me, which was confirmed by Dr. Krishna.

 However, I may have been visited by the good doctor’s namesake, as Lord Krishna is the deity responsible in Hindu lore for destroying the old and laying the groundwork for the new.  Such was my experience.  Here’s what happened:

During my second day at Good Sam, I placed my hands over my heart as I lay in my bed, and began to focus on “Blue Body,” which is a healing technique I’ve learned at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.  As I understand it, my Blue Body is a manifestation of my physical body, only in a more energetic and perfected state.  I took deep breaths and envisioned the blue webs of my Blue Body radiating throughout my chest, restoring my heart and resolving whatever was causing the pain.

 However, the chest pains only grew worse.

 What is going on?  Why is my  blue body healing causing me more pain? I thought.

 From “out of the blue” came a thought into my head:  “Relax, let it go.  What you are doing is a distraction.  Just be.”

 Hunh?  I wasn’t sure what to do exactly, but I stopped focusing on the webs.  I lay still in my bed, and immediately felt calm.

 Calm is good, I thought.  I can do this.

 I took a few more breaths and just rested.  All seemed well.

 Moments later, just for comfort I put my hands over my chest again, with my palms flat upon the middle of my chest, and continued to lay still and rest.  Then without any warning I felt my chest expand slightly, and I sensed a cracking sound through my palms.  I felt my sternum – or rather something directly underneath my sternum – crack, as if it was an egg shell splitting into a dozen hairline fissures.

 Wow.  The sensation continued for a few moments and I just lay there, experiencing the cracking.

 As a former psychotherapist I am very familiar with psychosomatic experiences – the phenomena of physical sensations expressing emotional changes – and I felt that I was having one.  I felt as if some kind of body armor was cracking, splitting open, and I was becoming more open to love and life.  It was glorious, and became an experience that initially I only shared with those whom I thought would hold it sacred.

 Medically, however, I was diagnosed with “A-typical chest pain,” and released.  To me, that meant I had a doozy of an anxiety attack.

 I returned home, ready to love and live in a new way.  However, nothing different or special seemed to happen.  In fact, my life became more problematic.

 I became depressed and lost all motivation to do anything.  My life seemed to be falling apart, utterly.  When I tried to write I got a migraine. 

 In addition, I was struggling just to live.  Months before I had lost my vehicle to a blown engine – and thus my “independence”.  Further, I had no income from the Mountain News, and I struggled to live on my social security check of eight-hundred bucks a month.  Even my teeth were falling out, and I gobbled aspiring tablets to blunt their infection and pain.

 Worse, I felt royally bored, and I struggled to get out of bed by 1 pm.  At night, I would sleep intermittently.  Around dawn I would put on some mediation music and eventually fall into a deep slumber by early morning.

 Upon awakening I would meditate, and I focused on resolving what was happening to me. 

The only thing that seemed to cut through the boredom was a grand thought:  becoming the “God I am fully realized.”   I challeneged my depression with the notion of being able to manifest any thought into physical reality, and thus becoming the master of mind-as-matter. 

 A big ideal to match a big depression.  Sounds about right, I thought.  I told my friend Valerie about my new perspective and she gave me a big “Attaboy,” which was a well-appreciated kudo.

 Pondering my newly declared goal further, I saw the arc of my life in a new light:

 I had left New York in 1990 and traveled to Yelm to learn how to achieve “God Realization.”  Now, I realized it was time to “get ‘er done.”

 After 22 years I ought to be able to manifest the stuff I need, like a car and a house!

 Since then, I have had some of the most sublime meditative sessions, and occaisonally I’ve had peak moments and felt at-one with the world.  However, I have also encountered some of the darkest nights of my soul. 

Some days I don’t care if I live or die, which embarrasses me when I think of all those who have worked so hard to restore my health.  Perhaps being profoundly depressed is a vital part of recovering from a heart attack.  I certainly believe it is, and it has also been a blessing – for it has forced me to find the motivation, as painful as that journey has been, to intensify my dedication to becoming God realized.

 My depression has also emboldened me to talk about this.  Up until now telling the world that I am in the process of becoming a God is not what I do in most social circles.  Now, I don’t give a flyin’ – well, you know what I mean…

 As for the specifics, I have chosen to focus on winning the lottery.  I figure some more cash would be helpful.  Mega Millions is my game.  Last week I got two numbers, which made me quite joyous.  Only four more numbers to go for the 3.9 million buckaroos. 

In the meantime, I’ve started taking an anti-depressant, a drug called Citalopram, and I’ve started a “Men’s Support Group” for guys in transition.  If you’re recovering from an illness or a loss, such as a job or a wife, and you want to make some changes in your life – join us.  We meet in Graham on Thursdays.  It’s free.  If you’re interested, call me to register and get directions: (360) 832.6248.

 Gawd, my chest hurts – I gotta go for a walk.  Ug, it’s raining.

 ©  2012  Bruce A. Smith

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8 Responses to Anatomy of a heart attack – nine months out and building a new life

  1. catalina says:

    Doing anything can be hard when you’re depressed, but one of the ways to get out of depression is to do things. Those dratted catch 22s! So, I’ve heard many ads requesting that cars be donated. Those cars must go to someone – why not you? A little research. A car will take you to work and to play.

  2. Robin says:

    Volunteer at the food coop in Eatonville . Great people and They always need help. When I am busy I always feel better

  3. Cele Noble says:

    Bruce–I 2nd what Robin says–KEEP BUSY (I ‘ll add–busy doing something you LOVE to do)
    ((Tai Chi Chikung in Edwin’s classes is what’s keeping me glued together and POSITIVE ))

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Hi Cele and Robin,

      Thanks for sharing your comments on the Mountain News. And thanks for your efforts to cheer me up!

      Here’s my view on depression, which may be my next article.

      The conventional wisdom of how to deal with depression is certainly: keep busy.

      But why? And more immediately, how? I am more circumspect than most and I want to move out of my depression because I have an answer for it. I want to know why I’m depressed, and I’d like to shed my depression by resolving the underlying issues. I want to be better because of my depression and not waste it.

      Okay, so some things are not going to resolve quickly on their own, such as my financial situation or the lack of transportation, but my attitude can. I see depression, as is any symptom or illness, as a message from deep within me – telling me that something is amiss. The essential question is what, and then what to do about it.

      I don’t want to be just “not-depressed.” I want to be content. Joyful even. Calm, loving, and purposeful.

      In my poverty I am certainly calmer – my life moves at a more graceful pace. Plus, I am very aware of the many generosities given to me by friends, neighbors, and my countrymen and women. That is a great blessing.

      Surprisingly, I am less depressed now than I was in September and so I’ve started my medications this week reluctantly. But I remember my hospitlaization in August and I respect the deep process of growth. So, I’m taking the anti-depressant for six months to see how it goes, and save the body some wear and tear as I become more open to life. L’chaim!

      Bruce

      • Marianne Lincoln says:

        How’s your blood sugar? I have had several family and friends get depressed and found out diabetes was at fault. Worth asking.

  4. Cynthia Richardson says:

    Thank you Bruce for sharing this very intimate place with others…

    I thought I had experienced depression untill I had a life altering injury 6 years ago.
    The 1st year of getting ‘worse’ instead of better had me dealing with ‘grief’ on top of immobilizing ‘real’ depression. (Who knows untill you’ve been there that there’s someplace ‘worse’ than the general depression most of us at one time or another experience in small degrees given life’s entertaining waves…) I’ll refrain from using highs & lows.

    This may not be the best word to use but the ‘humor’ I can NOW share is:
    I found out a year later my 2 oldest/dearest friends (in San Diego) were also ‘suffering/enduring/experiencing’ Major Depression at the same time and none of us wanted anyone, friends or family, to know how deep & dark the place we were in was…
    What a horrible place to be ALONE.

    I’m so glad you are getting help and hope sharing is not only cathartic but helps others make a move forward if they’re in need as well.

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