By Chris Greco, MS, PMP, PMI-ACP, CISSP,
In December 1989, I was an Air Force officer stationed at San Vito Dei Normanni Air Station in Brindisi, Italy. While I was on a daily run, I felt a burning pain like heartburn which transmitted to my right arm and hand. I was only a few days from being considered for deployment to Saudi Arabia for the first Desert Storm (then Desert Shield until January 1990). I was in my mid-30s and in good health (or so I thought), so I imagined the pain was probably just a case of heartburn, but I went to the local doctor anyway.
A team of local doctors decided I should receive more testing in Naples, Italy which is where the major Navy hospital was located. The medical team in Naples decided I should be medically evacuated to Germany for additional tests and treatment which included a cardiac catheterization (an invasive procedure where a wire is threaded through the femoral artery in order to diagnose, and possibly fix, heart blockages. The results showed the Left Anterior Descending artery in my heart was more than 90% blocked which required an emergency procedure to clear the blockage. For the next 10 years, I fluctuated between being okay and having a medical procedure to clear blockages, undergoing 5 more cardiac catheterizations, and finally a triple arterial heart bypass to treat the heart blockages. I still have heart disease, but I am treating it with eating better, drinking lots of water, exercise, and medical advice. The complete adventure is documented in the book “Wholeheartedly” in which my wife and I wrote about the experience. After all, having heart disease affected the family, not just me. I look back at the experience as something I needed in order to understand life. Interesting how we must face death to appreciate life.
Thanks to Chris Greco, MS, PMP, PMI-ACP, CISSP for sharing his personal journey with us; Lulu for allowing Chris and his wife to share their experiences in a book; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to share the picture, text, and links in this post.
Please note: GRECTECH is a Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Certified Disabled Veteran Owned Business