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Dear John,

By now you are likely lying in a hospital bed; contemplating the future and replaying the past.  Hospital beds are a great place for reflection, because every few minutes you are reminded of the seriousness of the situation.

I recall my first few nights; watching shadows move under the door, hoping it was not the nurse coming in for the next round of torture.  I recall the gentleman in the room next to me who had severe coughing post bypass surgery… in the morning the room was empty.

I am certain you have had a slew of visitors.  Everyone loves you John; your daughters and your grand children.  Your lovely wife of so many years is likely a few inches away; she to is worried.  She to is living with this new reality.  Her entire foundation has shaken and she is desperately seeking a return to the past; when everything was ok.

I remember feeling I had betrayed my wife by being sick.  She attached herself to me and gave me her heart and trust.  She trusted in me to guide her through our future.  She depended on me and I let her down.  I felt very selfish and insensitive.  I had completely changed her life based on my disregard for my own health.

Honesty can be harsh in a hospital bed.  The truth hurts, because only you know exactly what it took to put you in that bed.  Regret.  Naturally, regret overpowers any positive feelings you might have.  Regret that you are not the exception; that you are not the 100-year-old who lived on eggs, cheese, meat and cigarettes.  Regret that now you are a statistic.  Regret that you are now in the 1/3 of Americans that have heart disease club.

By now you are getting an uncensored picture from the doctor exactly what needs to be done.  The doctor will suggest a lifestyle change, a gentle nudge towards change.

The doctor, in the near future, will supply you with your new best friends.  You will never start the day or end the day, every again, without your orange, plastic little buddies.  These pills will ensure your survival and are the current game plan being offered to you.  Actually you will feel relief at this stage, knowing that the pills offer a solution… they are going to heal you and you grab a hold of this life jacket.

Soon, you will be home.  Resting as they say.  More like thinking.

This is a critical time.  This is the only time that you will have to make strategic changes in your lifestyle. 

Time has a way of eroding those hospital emotions and sooner than you can imagine you will be up to your old habits.  Comforted in the fact that this time you have your little orange buddies on your side and new hardware on your inside.

Everyone wants you to make a change, your wife wants you to rebuild the foundation she is accustomed to; the foundation that provided for your children and their children.  Your daughters want you around for a lot longer than 60 years.  You owe them an effort to live longer.

You owe them a plan; a course of action that at the minimum will show you care.  This plan will set the ship on a new course versus the trip that lead you to the hospital.

You’re a good man John.  Yes, we all make mistakes.  Your life is in the future not the past.  You are loved by everyone that knows you.  Don’t fall back on old habits and wishful thinking.  Don’t trust the game plan that the system provides you.  Be open and embrace the science.  Create a new approach to your health immediately.

Listen to your body, it is pissed off at you John.  I needs some attention.  Don’t worry, work will take care of itself.  Reprioritze.  Put your body on the top of the list.  Feed it well.  You are driving around in a 60-year-old car that has never been serviced.  Change the filters, put the good gas in, take her out of the garage and show her some fresh air.

You are not alone.  You have more options now then you did last week.


Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn