For 20 years I was scared. I took the path of least resistance, avoided conflict when I could and directed every emotion inward. Most of my adult life was a sad, slow shuffle through a mundane life of quiet desperation.
When my heart attacked me everything changed. During those precarious days before, during and immediately after major heart surgery, something happened. I wasn’t scared anymore. In the time when I should have been frightened beyond imagination, I was calm.
While doctors and nurses rushed around me, I watched their faces, studied their actions and tried to help when I could. I could barely breathe, but my mind was quiet, lucid and acutely aware of what was going on. At times the pain was more than I could bare, and at one point I remember wanting to give up, but I never felt scared.
Then, when I went away, only kept alive by a heart and lung machine, a transformation occurred. At some point I went from being a human being having a spiritual experience to a spiritual being having a human experience. It is okay if you have to reread that sentence, it’s taken me months to understand and curate this belief and welcome it into my life.
In the 14 months since walking out of Vassar Brother’s Hospital I have carried a lot of weight around, and for almost as long, you as readers have rode along with me as I have shed those pounds in many different ways so it is with great respect for you as my extended family that I bring you into the latest in a series of milestones.
I am not taking my statins anymore.
Against the advice of my current cardiologist I have ended my cycle of one of America’s most prescribed prescription drugs. For those of you fortunate enough to not have to take a statin, I can tell you a little about them. There are several kinds of statins, the most popular, atorvastatin, known as Lipitor for anyone that has watched a television commercial this decade is prescribed to patients as a means to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks, and they work for many people.
I have been taking Lipitor for over a year and have been told on numerous occasions that I will have to take it every day for the rest of my life. Ending this cycle was a hard decision and one that many people will not understand. Advice comes from many corners and I have been open to all of it, but when we lay our heads down at night and shut our eyes, in those precious moments before we fade to dream we answer only to ourselves.
My decisions are based on many factors. In addition to how I feel, I have had some impressive blood work results, and at times, considering I underwent triple bypass surgery just over a year ago, the blood numbers are phenomenal.
This decision was made with serious contemplation surrounding all possible results. In the last year I have spent most of my free time reading, researching, learning and listening to everything related to healing not just the heart, but the entire body, mind and soul.
Considering statins are a 30 billion dollar industry, it’s safe to say there are many more members of the medical community against me than with me, but that doesn’t mean I am alone. Statins can be a good way to lower cholesterol and assist those of us with risk factors of heart disease, but I have come to believe that making the lifestyle changes I have made has given my body the tools its needs to begin to halt, and eventually reverse the chronic disease that riddles it without the side effects that will inevitably occur due to a lifetime of medicine.
Eating a completely organic, whole food, nutrient dense, and plant rich diet has changed everything with regards to how I feel. Other additions to my weekly regime have helped with stress management and the love and support from family and friends has been invaluable to me as this process evolves.
The old Kevin would have accepted a fate that the standard prescription based medical community would have bestowed on him. But the old Kevin was the guy that got us into this mess in the first place. Sadly there are many people that revert to their old ways after a health scare or being informed they have a chronic illness like heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
Everyone has their own process and most of us eventually come around to an understanding in our minds to reduce the things that cause us pain and increase the things that make us feel special. When those choices you make are affirmed by the response your body sends out to the world, an insurmountable energy engulfs everything you do.
There may be things you don’t like about yourself or maybe you think you are just a few tweaks away from getting to that next level. In some cases, like me and the drugs, it could be something or someone you need to lose from your life. Or, like me and yoga, it is something you need to add to your life to raise the ceiling another story.
When I reflect on the decision to stop taking the drugs that have been with me for over a year, I see a path with smooth stones and broken glass. There is always the danger of falling into old habits or being nicked by an unforeseen circumstance, but as long as I hit the stones free and true the journey remains open and the impossible rests at the tips of my fingers.
I’ve learned that you don’t need to go to the woods in order to suck the marrow out of life because if you focus, the woods come to you.