Name: Michel Xavier
I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by an intense burning sensation, unsure of what was happening to my body. I had to pause during my training session and let my trainer know that something wasn’t right. Feeling scared and confused, I reached out to my wife, desperate for answers. I described the burning sensation in my chest, expressing my fear. She immediately knew something was wrong and insisted on taking me to the hospital, dismissing my suggestion that it might be severe heartburn.
As we hurried to the hospital, doubts crept into my mind. However, the moment we arrived, I realized the seriousness of the situation. During our conversation, the doctor emphasized the importance of stress management. He explained that our hearts are not only muscles but emotional muscles as well. When we are under stress, our hearts constrict, which can be especially dangerous for a compromised heart like mine. It was then that I started connecting the dots. My father had battled congestive heart failure, and diabetes, and ultimately passed away in 2007.
My heart attack became a pivotal moment in my life. It made me realize the significance of prioritizing my health and well-being. The experience fueled my desire to become a heart advocate, particularly for Black men. High blood pressure and high cholesterol disproportionately affect the African-American community. I recognized the importance of sharing my story, and of becoming a voice to provide information and support to those who need it.
Having been given a second chance at life, I am determined to make the most of it. Being a heart advocate gives me purpose and energy. It allows me to give back and help others navigate their own health journeys. My mission is to raise awareness and educate, ensuring that others don’t have to go through what I did.