Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

What Drives Me


I was asked, if I could in just one word, describe what drives me.  I am going one better… no words.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

“LIMA” Update


Every now and then, I have a post that validates why I began writing “Paul’s Heart” years ago.  My blog is about helping and advocating for several causes that have personally impacted me over the years, from cancer to survivorship, adoption, and divorce issues (in particular parent rights).

The other day I wrote about a procedure called “LIMA”, known as the Left Internal Mammary Artery, often used during heart bypasses, as was in my case.  Over a decade later, a symptom that I have had since my bypass, and occasionally and spontaneously pops up, and undiagnosable, had finally been explained to me as a very likely possibility, as a “LIMA attack” or as my cardiac nurse also described it, a “lightning strike.”

It turns out, I am not the only one who has not only gone through a LIMA bypass, but also has these attacks, and they, also not able to have these attacks explained to them.  I had more than a dozen readers/survivors who experience these same issues.

Having this “new” knowledge, I will be having a discussion with my cardiologist, as well as primary care doctor, for their input on these attacks, and what they feel if and how it could affect me.  Please know, as I always do, I will share that discussion with you when it happens.

My Arteries Were Not The Only Thing Opened Up


Of all the side effects that I had to deal with following my double heart bypass, caused by damage from radiation therapy for my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, extreme pain, weakness, the one that really caught me off guard, crying.

Those closest to me, know that I am a fairly tightly wrapped emotionally restrained individual.  You will have no problem seeing when I am happy, annoyed, sometimes bored.  But if there is one thing that no one witnesses, it is crying.  Well, at least it used to be that way.

There was a time that I attended multiple funerals over several days, or had other reasons to be sad, and nothing, not one tear.

During my recovery at the hospital, as I regained strength, and my body began to heal, I had not other reason to be concerned about anything else.  Everything was going as it should.  I even got to sneak in a hockey game, something the nurses were not happy about, and could tell I was watching the game, by the reaction on the monitors they were watching.  I thought I was being sneaky when I heard them coming toward my room and would change the channel quickly.  I fooled no one.

I was not expecting what happened once I returned home.

My second wife was fond of watching daytime soap operas.  And I will never forget the title, nor the character that changed my life forever.

I had just arrived home earlier that morning.  And my wife was settling in herself after having gotten me all settled in my nesting spot for the next several days.  She was ready to resume her life, and that meant watching her soap operas.  A favorite of hers, was the Young and The Restless.  I had seen it before, and as far as I was concerned, it was not different than all of the other soaps on all the channels.  That is, until…

The Y&R story line was taking a dramatic twist with one of its characters, Victoria Newman.  Like I said, I remember this only because of what happened, as I do not, and have not, watched these dramas ever again.  Newman’s story had her undergoing open heart surgery.  The first shot of her “recovering from the ICU, I burst into tears.

What the Hell?

I have watched plenty of other things involving surgeries and blood and stuff and I had never reacted that way before.  I was literally bawling.  I could not even remember the last tear I shed or why.  And I have been through enough to have had reasons to, and did not.  Why now?

My wife turned to me.  I know for sure she had never seen me like this before and lightheartedly asked, “what’s wrong with you?”

Me:  I don’t know.  I have never felt this before.

And then it hit me.  That was me less than a week ago.  I could see what was happening to her, was me just the prior week.  I came home with a copy of the surgical report, and pulled it out to read.  I will do a post about that another time, but there it was, step by step, how doctors saved my life.  The reality set in, I was going to die.  Seeing this played out on television was as they say “too fresh” for me.  That said, I still cannot get through any scene involving the heart or cancer.

I still have no idea what caused me to lose control of my tear ducts, and it continues to be a problem for me, though normally now only while watching movies about dogs.  “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” destroyed me, because the movie made me wonder the perspective my own dog may have had as I fought for my life.

The other times my eyes will flood, any thoughts of, or events with, my daughters.  The thoughts of how close I was to losing them forever, now cherishing every new milestone, I am proud of the tears I shed for them.

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