A Year to Remember!

Yes, that’s right, I said it! A Year to Remember! Not one to forget. One year ago today, I woke up in a hospital room not knowing exactly what had just happened. I was in a haze coming from the Cath Lab. Before I went in, the doctors told me that they weren’t expecting to find much (if anything). As the drugs wore off, the doctors revealed to me that they did in fact find something, to the tune of 99% blockage in my Left Anterior Descending Artery. My heart was potentially seconds away from a massive heart attack known as the “widow maker.” Thanks to an amazing set of doctors and modern medicine, they were able to place a stent in my artery, and I am able to sit here and write this blog today. That, my friends, is why this is a year to remember, and not one to forget.

I’m writing this blog as I sit on a plane at 5:30am headed to Phoenix for work. When I first got the call asking me to make this trip I was a bit upset. First, it was on short notice, I was only requested to make the trip a week ago. But, more importantly, I was going to take today off to celebrate my one year anniversary of my heart event. But now that I sit here on this plane, I realize that it’s really NBD (that stands for no big deal for you non millennialsJ). It’s NBD because I’m alive, happy and healthy. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to continue to work for my family. And since I live in Denver and I’m just headed to Phoenix, I’m able to travel back this afternoon and still take my lovely wife out for a celebratory dinner this evening, and to cap the night off I will be able to kiss my sweet kids goodnight.

Don’t get me wrong. This year has been full of challenges, ups and downs, both mental and physical. As I’ve wrote in previous blogs, the days, weeks and months immediately after my heart event were full of fear and uncertainty. I don’t wish to recount all of that here. Today, I want to focus on the positive, so instead of recounting the negative I would like to thank all of those that have been by my side this past year to get me where I am today. To the doctors, thank you for literally saving my life, what else can I say!?! Thank you to all of the post-op nurses who made me feel as comfortable as possible during a time of complete worry. Thank you to the cardiac rehab team that was amazing and had me back to running sub 8-minute miles just a couple weeks after my heart event. Thank you to my co-workers and bosses who gave me the time that I needed with my family to recoup, but never had a doubt that I would return to work and perform at a high level. Thank you to my parents for their love and support, and for coming to Colorado to be with me. Thanks to my in-laws, who also came and stayed with us shortly after, and helped my wife, the kids and I. Thank you to my siblings, all 5 of them, for their love and support of their baby brother (those that live in Colorado came to the hospital as soon as possible which made me feel more comfortable as I recovered). Thank you to all of my amazing friends and neighbors. You all know who you are, and whether it was bringing us food, getting our mail, going for a walk or run with me, helping with the kids or just sending well wishes, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you to all of my friends and family across the country (and world for that matter) who reached out to me, prayed for me, etc. Thank you to all of those that I have met through this blog who have been through similar situations, the community of support has been awesome. And finally to my wife Abbie. There is NO way I would be sitting here today feeling confident, strong, healthy and full of life without you. I will leave a lot of what I have to say about Abbie’s love and support between her and I on our dinner date tonight, but the cliché about being someone’s rock during a difficult time certainly applies to my amazing wife. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that I’m not shy about my emotions, so full disclosure: I just had to go to the bathroom on the plane to dry my eyes. One final thank you. I know that you may not read this for years, but to my kids, Mollie and Owen….you will likely never know how important you were to this first year, and every day going forward. You and Mommy are my motivation, my inspiration, my everything. Daddy Loves You SO MUCH! (Ok, I should have written that last sentence before drying my eyes).

Sorry for the lengthy thank you list, but that is so much of why this year is a year to remember and celebrate. I have so many great people in my life that I am eternally grateful for. And now, a couple of important notes and lessons from this past year that I want to share. First, I know that I have said this many times before, but if I have learned anything from this past year it’s that you literally have nothing if you don’t have your health…let that stew for a few seconds. If you have things in your life that are contributing to a decline in your health, please consider changing them. Second, if you feel like something may be wrong, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. I waited weeks after I initially felt discomfort in my chest to see my doctor. I got lucky, and made it to that appointment. Along those same lines, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation as mine, listen to your doctors, go to cardiac rehab, change your eating/exercise habits, and take your medications. Next, love your loved ones every day. I know, another cliché, but it’s so true. Life is fragile and uncertain.

What a year it has been! Truly a Year to Remember. I’m doing great and in the best shape of my life. Here’s to hoping (and believing) that I will be able to write this blog again in 30 years looking back and titling the blog, “A Look Back….30 Years to Remember!”

And finally, as always….

“Dream as if You’ll Live Forever, Live as if You Only Have Today!”

049_PontoFamily_2016.jpgMy Everythings!

2 thoughts on “A Year to Remember!

  1. Your blog was one of the first that came up in my early searches for guys who picked up running after a heart attack. You made a difference in my life and continue to do so today. Beautifully written Mark.


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