Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 7, 2021

2/8/2014 3:26:00 PM
Cycle of life gets close look

About 22 years ago, I wrote a column when our first daughter was born at Culver Union. I don't remember the exact words, but I believe I wrote that every day people are born and people die. It's what we call life. As a new dad I got a close up look at the process.
Recently, I got a sobering glimpse into the other side.
I wasn't feeling real great so I went to the doctor and within a couple of hours ended up in front of a cardiologist. It was my first clue that it wasn't going to be a great day.
"How long have you had a heart murmur?" he asked.
Didn't know I did.
Enlarged heart. Leaky valve. Open-heart surgery. I don't remember all the exact words, but those were seven.
Clue No. 2 on the day not going so hot.
It's an odd feeling when you truly have to face your own mortality. Although my wife tells me I still act like a kid, the truth of the matter is that I'm past 50 now and maybe not quite as invulnerable as I thought I was maybe 30-something years ago.
Fast forward a few weeks and the days are going much better. Turns out that I have cardiomyopathy, which basically means that my heart isn't working as good as it should. The path to recovery will involve a lot of medication and no surgery.
So why are you reading all this? Why am I writing about it? Because as I have become more knowledgeable about the human heart and its conditions, I've learned that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of us. I've also learned that it can be a very preventable thing. So I thought that as I go through this journey of getting better, from time to time I might share a few things with you. It's my hope that this can be of help to others, or maybe even spur some people into getting their own heart checked. Had I not, there's no guarantees I'd be here writing this today.
I'm pleased to tell you that I've lost 12 pounds since that first day. I have dramatically reduced how much salt I eat and I have stopped eating many of my other favorite foods. Funny thing is, I haven't missed it that much.
I'm also following the doctor's orders pretty closely, something I have not always been good at.
And I have taken time to reflect on many things in my life. My wife tells me that's been a good thing, too.
So my friends, I am on a journey that will hopefully lead me to a healthier life. I invite you to come along and I hope that we can enjoy and learn some things together.
Oh, and one last note. I mentioned examining mortality. One of the odd things I thought about was what I would want my last words to be if I had the opportunity to say something. Seems to me that one ought to say something profound or religious at that critical juncture. So far, I've come up with two ideas: The first would be simply thanking the man upstairs for a most enjoyable life. The second would involve the New England Patriots and nothing fit for a family newspaper.

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