It's been 10 years since 65-year-old John Maiorana of Virginia Beach, Va., suffered daily bouts of chest pain. And it's been 10 years since an emergency bypass surgery restored blood flow to his heart. He has spent those past 10 years getting stronger and feeling better, but one thing has remained constant.
"I still have heart disease," he says. "If I were to stop doing everything I'm doingdiet, exercise, medicationsI'd be right back to where I started."
A declining threat
Alfred Pasquale of San Rafael, Calif., is another survivor. In 2001, after an evening spent entertaining business clients at his Las Vegas hotel, he woke feeling "like I had an elephant on my chest." The now 67-year-old marketer of cheese products limped down to the lobby and caught the eye of the hotel concierge, who grabbed him and pulled him into a private room. All of a sudden, he says, an EMT was giving him nitroglycerin. He was plunked on a gurney, whisked to a hospital in Las Vegas, given a battery of tests, and had quadruple bypass surgery that very night. "If I had had that elephant on my chest 30 years earlier, I would be dead today," he says. "But thanks to that amazing treatment I now have a good quality of life."
As a volunteer with Mended Hearts, Maiorana often visits CAD patients in the hospital. Whether they're recovering from a heart attack or bypass surgery or both, he has the same message: It's possible to live with heart disease. And he's proof.