Confessions of an Insecure Heart


I originally wrote this for Linked in. It is Thanksgiving evening, and I am in San Jose, CA for the first time since my heart crisis. I walked 5.31 miles today, my longest since June 2016. We have a lovely holiday dinner with family and loved ones, and it was much needed.

On Monday, Dr. Matthew Wolff, my cardiologist gave me a clean bill of health after six months. He told me to walk, jog, travel. My heart has recovered from surgeries. That made me feel good.

The previous Saturday, I met Dr. Tim Hacker, 1985 NCAA Cross Champion and cardiologist at UW. Tim found me a cardiologist, but more importantly, got me into see Dr. Wolff the next day, instead of a six week wait. While in Dr. Wolff's office, I was sent to the hospital and my stents were put in the next day. I had 3 blockages at 90 percent. I was a ticking time bomb. I met Dr. Tim Hacker at NCAA Cross Country. Joe Hanson, a mutual friend introduced us, saying, "Hey Tim, this is Larry Eder, you saved his life."

I write this in order to encourage my dear readers to take care of themselves. My story could have been quite different. A final special thanks to Sean Hartnett, who put me in touch writh Dr. Hacker, who took the time to save my life.

IMG_1653.JPGWorking with the Shoe Addicts in NYC, adidas GP, photo by Mike Deering/The Shoe Addicts

Finally, back to travel, a mending heart and a clearer mind

It is Wednesday, November 7, 2018. I am back at my home in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. I have just returned from my first global trip since March 2018. As many of you know, I found out that I had a heart condition while on a walk in March. Thanks to the fast work of Drs. Stephanie Nottestad, Tim Hacker, Matt Wolff and Ray Kipp, I am walking 3-5 miles, reducing my diabetic and heart issues and feeling human for the first time in several years. I had 3 stents put in on April 11, an ablation on August 11. That my doctors took care of me saved me from an imminent heart attack. I am doing a 85 percent vegan/15 percent fish diet, and the reduction of the diabetic threat is reducing my heart threat as well.

I figured out that I had something wrong on March 19, 2018. I was walking 3 miles near Santa Monica Pier and I had angina (heart discomfort). I had been hiding from it since July 2017. I had been having check discomfort, lack of energy and higher blood sugar readings since my Mom's death in September 2016. My sister, Beth passed away on December 1, 2017, and I knew I had to deal with my issues. After my Dad's 3 heart surgeries in February 2018, I told him I would get a check up and asked my son to as well.

I am a very spiritual person. I was raised Catholic, studies (short time) to be a Jesuit priest, and have spent most of the last 30 years following the precepts of Zen Buddhism. My spiritual side kept me pretty present with the doctors. The time by myself, and then, with my son Adams' monthly visits, helped me deal with the emotional changes after coming so close to death. Spending time with Adam is something I truly value. Now that he is 32, his wisdom comes in quite handy.

I am writing this, and it took a lot of time, to tell my friends the following: Please, get a check up each and every year after 40. Before then, every 2 years. If you feel anything in your chest, get it checked out. I have walked my self to emergency room in Fort Atkinson seven times since my April surgery (it's a quarter mile away). My anxiety has gone away, but it has taken many months to appreciate how close I came to the abyss. And it was my own doing, well, that and some DNA.

Life is precious. I was lucky to be with my Dad, brother and family, for my Mother's hospice. She died with such dignity, and I think of her every day. My sister Beth, with a tube in her throat, flipped me off when I told her she was my favorite (of three sisters). Her death came as a shock, and I miss her goofy texts, and phone calls. My father is doing well after 3 heart surgeries last February, and checks on me daily. My brother and I have a relationship that has us connected, as one person noted, by umbilical cord. My sister Lou and I check in on each other, and talk about our sister Beth. Our third sister, Kathy, keeps herself quite busy teaching at the high school that my brother and I attended.

It has been hard coming back to business after six months. I wrote every day, and worried about dwindling business, but somehow, survived. I loved being back in Chicago, but Frankfurt and New York were just what the doctors ordered. I also fought depression, which was partly due to one of the meds for my heart, and partly due to the challenges in keeping a business going when one is ill. I am still learning on the second challenge. Walks, sometimes two a day, help, dramatically. Speaking with my family members also help.

On Sunday, November 4, 2018, I worked in the NYC Marathon media room. I sat with Wendy Sly, Publisher of Athletics Weekly (and yes, 1984 silver medalist, 3000m, LA), and Barbara Heubner, one of the finest journalists that I know. I missed my son, Adam, and his team, Mike Deering and AJ Felice. It was their first year away from Chicago and NYC in a decade. They were doing a video for Brooks, and on a stiff deadline. Such is life and business in our running world.

As I sit in my kitchen, in my lovely farmhouse built in 1905, and moved to my lot in 1948, I hear the whirring of the fan, the smell of freshly brewing Lavazza coffee, and I know it is time for my first walk of the day. I am grateful, so grateful for the second chance to live, love and laugh. See you all on the roads.

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