I was shocked this past weekend to learn that my namesake Kevin Ross, the record exec based in Chicago, had a major heart attack a few months ago. He is a friend on FaceBook and I was wondering why I hadn’t seen him post in a while. The last time I saw him post he was talking about this great new apartment he moved into near the water in Chicago and he was posting pictures of himself, after hardcore work outs and applauding his efforts for achieving his workout goals. We had also talked about a project he was working on shortly after that. Seeing his workout pics inspired me.
We’re about the same age and people have ALWAYS confused me and Kevin and we always joked about it over the years. He even changed his name to Kevin E. Ross and I told him he was wasting his time because my middle name starts with an E too. Then he posted a pic of his mother for mother’s day a while back and mentioned her name, and I almost fell out of my chair. I told him what are the odds of us working in the same industry, being the same age, having the same name including the middle initial and our mothers having the same name too? This was surreal but true. That was the last time I talked to him. This past week he started posting more often and in one of his posts he stated “It’s been 3 months and 3 days since my Heart Attack…. I was shocked and asked him if I could post his story for RFFocus readers. He agreed. The story is below.
We urge all of our clients and RFFocus fans who are Black men to PLEASE get a complete physical with a COMPLETE blood panel to make sure your health is on point. It’s AMAZING what doctors can see with just your blood alone. No matter if you are fat, thin or in the best shape of your life get it done. Our diets have a way of catching up to us and as black men, we are constantly under enormous stress. PLEASE do the deed.
A good 10 to 15 guys had committed for basketball, so the runs should be great. Around 8:15 a.m., after scoring a basket, I found myself struggling a bit for air. For the first time in my life, I called for a substitute. I went to the sidelines and sat down, feeling a lump in my chest. All I could think of was that chicken sausage, and how perhaps it was bad. I was wrong. I was having a heart attack. A big one. Stage 8 out of 10. The kind that kills 767,000 people per year.Now understand clearly, I have been in excellent physical shape most of my life. A three- sport athlete in high school, two- sport athlete in college. Consistent workouts every week. and a lifestyle and business that keeps me constantly on the move and active. Unfortunately, I am also predisposed to a genetic disorder which causes my body to manufacture three times the normal amount of cholesterol that my body needs. If unchecked, this cholesterol can spike and begin to do damage.
After resting against the wall for a good 45 minutes, I gathered myself up and drove myself home. This was around 10:30 a.m. Still feeling discomfort, and still assuming it could be indigestion or food poisoning, I stopped and picked up some Alka-Seltzer and Tums. These were, of course, ineffective. I tried laying down, but my body was in complete disarray. I could not sleep at all.Around 6 p.m., I sent a text to my best friend telling him I still wasn’t feeling well and I probably need to go to the hospital. He sent me back a text saying no problem I can take you. Upon arrival, I went to the front desk and told the woman seated there that I was having discomfort in my chest. She gave me a white wristband, and directed me to go sit in area 10. I did so. 5 minutes later, a tall young man called my name, called me to another area, began to put some leads on my chest and wrists and run an electrocardiogram.He was very jovial and continued to be humorous throughout the entire process.. Until the readings started coming through. He looked at me, looked at the machine, looked back at me, and told me to wait right here. He was going to consult a doctor. When he came back, he came back with both a doctor and a gurney. He instructed me to get on it immediately. I was having an active heart attack.Here’s the strange part: I’d been having a heart attack since 10 a.m. that morning.
In all reality, I should have died earlier on that court. 30 minutes later I was on a table being operated on. They opened two of my three main arteries to restore blood flow.
My heart and the rest of my body was so strong and because I’d not subjected to such abuse, that it found a way to keep itself beating. In all reality, I should have died earlier on that court. 30 minutes later I was on a table being operated on. They opened two of my three main arteries to restore blood flow. Please bear in mind that this entire time, I felt no discomfort other than what was in my chest. No panic. No fear. My image of heart attacks has always been limited to Redd Foxx and his fake ones on “Sanford and Son.” But the look in the eyes of these doctors suggested that this was much more. Two additional doctors had to be called at their homes to come to the hospital for the procedure as well. There was no time to…put me under apparently. A small incision through my thigh, a wire up through my leg up to my heart, and the process began. I was awake the entire time.
Once I went into recovery a couple of hours later, it struck me. The only way possible I could survive not only the heart attack, but the potential stroke even before that from the elevated cholesterol levels was God’s covering. This is no fluke. No stroke of luck. No “testify and roll down the aisles with your eyes bugged out”. This was God, pure and simple. He has something for me to do. He’s kept me alive all these years operating on less than one third of a heart. Normal, healthy cholesterol levels for someone my age are right around a 100 to 150. Mine was 392 when they tested it. Seven days later, after walking into a hospital under my own power while having a heart attack, I have now walked out under my own power, healthy and expected to make a full recovery. In fact, it is expected that I will be stronger than before. Prior to this past week, I had never spent a day in a hospital. In 52 years. ￼
I’m telling you straight to the point. Had I not made healthy lifestyle changes 3 years ago and kept myself physically active, coupled with a lifetime of avoiding drugs, excessive alcohol, and smoking, there was no way possible my heart could have withstood the pressure that was placed on it for seven hours. Nobody walks around that long having an active heart attack and lives. 767,000 people die annually from heart disease. Someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. And it is responsible for one out of every four deaths. I’m home and feeling good. There will be steps that need to be taken, but I expect to make a full recovery. A friend of mine has started a new workout apparel company, and sent me a sample. When I checked the mailbox after arriving home, this Captain America t shirt was in there. It felt appropriate for me to put it on immediately.
Do not take your health for granted. And please consider making God the head of your life.
Have a great day.
Kevin Ross owns and operates Twoguard Media Group – Music, Business, & Brand Marketing (FB)