#020 – This is a special episode. This is American Heart Health Month. We have Pam Frost, a member of the Inspire Virtual Runs Community and a previous guest & her husband, Kevin Frost, share their story about the importance of taking care of your heart and what they are doing as a family.
- Kevin’s journey with heart disease
- Healthy lifestyle and adjustments along the way
- Steps you can follow to take care of your heart and yourself
Kevin Frost Kevin is 53 years old and has been married to Pam for 19 years this May. Kevin enjoys watching his son participate in karate, and coaches his daughter with her pitching for softball. He also enjoys construction and home improvement projects and has done numerous large extensive projects in their home. Kevin has always been active and athletic and has earned State titles in track and field when he was in high school.
Pam Frost Pam is a fun-loving mom, Disney bride, and marathoner who loves to inspire people on how to begin their running journey. She ran 12 marathons, and over 30 half marathons. She shares tips on runDisney races and healthy living at her blog www.wifemotherrunner.com.
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Richard Conner 0:01
Welcome to Episode 20. Today we have a special episode. As its American Heart Health Month, we’re going to talk about the importance of heart health, and hear a personal story by a runner in our community and her husband. As you listen, this story is sure to inspire you to take time to learn more about how you can take care of your heart. Hope you enjoy.
Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast.
Kevin Frost 0:33
That was that was quite the experience putting the dye in if anybody’s ever experienced that it was felt like my head was on fire. That’s it that quite was quite scary. But But I got through it. A couple days went by and my cardiologist called me and said, okay, we took a look at the CAT scan and you have heart disease, just flat out said it and you know, my you know, and I felt the blood just rush out of my head. You know, it was just crazy to hear that. And he said okay, so we need to get you to the hospital and so they do a catheter and then see what’s going on inside your heart. It was all within a matter of a week that all this took place. It was a very scary time where I didn’t want to do anything I didn’t want to move I was I was afraid to exert myself.
Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. Whether you are new to running or seasoned. Get tips and the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 1:41
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. I am here with today’s guest, Pam Frost, who is a runner in our Inspire Virtual Runs community and former guest on the show. Pam is a fun loving mom, Disney bride and marathoner who loves to inspire people on how to begin their running journey. She ran 12 marathons and over 30 half marathons. She shares tips on RunDisney races and healthy living at her blog, wifemotherrunner.com. Joining Pam today is her husband, Kevin Frost. Kevin is 53 years old, and has been married to Pam for 19 years this May. Kevin enjoys watching his son participate in karate, and coaches his daughter with her pitching for softball. He also enjoys construction and home improvement projects, and has done numerous large extensive projects in their home. Kevin has always been active and athletic, and has earned state titles in track and field when he was in high school. I’m excited to have Pam and Kevin here with us today. So welcome to the show.
Kevin Frost 2:56
Thank you Rich.
Pam Frost 2:57
Richard Conner 2:59
Hey, so Pam, after our conversation back in episode eight: Practical Lessons and Inspiration for First-Time Runners, you were like, “This is fun. Let’s do it again, sometime”.
Pam Frost 3:10
Richard Conner 3:10
So I’m excited to have you back on the show in this time with Kevin.
Pam Frost 3:14
Richard Conner 3:16
Let’s kick things off with you and Kevin and learn a little bit more. So maybe Kevin will start with you. Let’s just learn a little bit more about you in general and your fitness routine.
Kevin Frost 3:28
Sure, um, as my bio said, I’m 53 years old as a 53 year old, very good shape. For my age, I always have been, I’ve always taken good care of myself. It’s important. However, at an early age, say, maybe my early 20s to experience some abnormalities with regards to to my health, specifically, my heart. And with the family history, I decided to be very proactive with that. So keeping in shape was very important. Eating healthy was very important to me.
And we can certainly get into more details with my journey with regards to any health matters that I had over the years and what I did about it.
Richard Conner 4:13
All right, that’s awesome. And I certainly agree that, you know, keeping in shape is important and really kind of focusing on your health. And that’s one of the things that we try to do here on Inspire Virtual Runs is, is to really help our listeners and community kind of prioritize their fitness and it sounds like you’ve been doing that all along. That’s awesome.
Kevin Frost 4:33
Yes, very important.
Richard Conner 4:35
And by the way, congratulations. 19 years, this may, congratulations to both of you.
Pam Frost 4:40
Kevin Frost 4:41
Richard Conner 4:43
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, you know, just for our listeners, this is American Heart Health Month and the reason why we’re bringing both Pam and Kevin back on the show is because of Pam’s post “When his heart rate dropped, mine stopped”, it It’s really a touching, you know, post and story of a recent experience that Kevin had. And we felt it was really interesting to share, you know, their story with this community. So why don’t Kevin, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about what happened. And I also understand that you also have fibromyalgia. And if you could talk a little bit about that as well.
Kevin Frost 5:23
Sure, as I previously mentioned, I started noticing some things with regards to my to my heart, or my chest area, in my early 20s. And that’s when I started first going to the doctors to be checked. It seems kind of odd for a 20 year old to have himself a cardiologist. But what I, I felt it was necessary due to the fact that anytime I felt something wrong with my heart, it’s scary, it creates anxiety, which amplifies any problems you may be feeling. So I did get a cardiologist who started me off, of course, with EKGs, and stress tests and everything else, everything always came back fine. So it was always a relief. But my family has a history of heart disease. So with that being said, we came up with a plan for every five years to repeat the stress test EKGs and whatever else they felt was necessary. So every five years or so, to the tee, I went did my stress tests have EKGs done. It’s a chest abnormality, it’s you know, I want to know what a heart attack feels like, because I’ve never had one. But when you feel pain or discomfort in your chest, obviously, it’s it’s very scary.
So the 20 years or so went on. And the only time I broke that cycle, last January, January of 2020, had only been it had only been three years. And I was having such chest pain and the signs that come with heart attacks such as you know, pain in your jaw, numbness in your hands, so on and so forth. And you know, I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. The anxiety levels pick up quite significantly, which doesn’t help matters at all. In fact, it makes it worse. So for the first time, I went and checked myself into the emergency room, which is where they did another EKG, they drew blood work, which would have shown if I had a heart attack, all came back negative. And they released me. And when I look back at and now, I think that was all the wrong thing for them to do. Because we are now in the fourth year. Again, I didn’t make it to the fifth year mark this time. And my Cardiologist said, well, we’re going to be a little more aggressive this time. Let’s go ahead and schedule you with a CAT scan with dye so we can get a better look at what’s going on inside there. That was that was quite the experience putting the dye in if anybody’s ever experienced that it was felt like my head was on fire. That’s it that quite was quite scary. But But I got through it. A couple days went by and my cardiologist called me and said, okay, we took a look at the CAT scan and you have heart disease, just flat out said it and you know, my you know, and I felt the blood just rush out of my head, you know, it was just crazy to hear that. And you said okay, so we need to get you to the hospital. And so they can do a catheter and didn’t see what’s going on inside your heart. It was all within a matter of a week that all this took place. It was a very scary time where I didn’t want to do anything I didn’t want to move I was I was afraid to exert myself. Small exertions like walking upstairs walking up a small incline would cause me to have that feeling of something going on inside my my chest, my heart was having issues. So I was scared. I did go into the into Yale to have the catheter put into my into my heart so they could see what was going on. I was awake the whole time, they just give you something through the IV to to make you feel a little relaxed. You know, there’s two ways for them to get into your arteries of your heart, they can either go into your grind, which was always pretty common. Or you know today in today’s day, they go in through your arm, if you’re a bigger person, if your arteries are big enough, they can go right through your wrist. No, but where they check your pulse. That’s about where they go in. When I got there, they checked that to said, Oh yeah, you’re good candidate for going through the rest, which is it’s a better recovery than going through the grind. So they did that they went in through the wrist. It could feel pressure, especially when they were they were they were checking the actual flow beyond any blockages to see what kind of flow there is. And that determines whether they’re going to put the stent in or not. There are I believe four main arteries, there’s one that comes across the front known as the Widowmaker. The reason it’s called that is because that’s the one that causes most people to have an instant heart attack and unfortunately pass away. That was the one that for me had a 70% blockage.
Richard Conner 9:58
Kevin Frost 9:59
They went into that area, thankfully. And that’s why I revert back to the hospital emergency room letting me go. When I’m sure within a year’s time, I didn’t just gain 70% blockage in that artery. So it was probably there at that time. And I say this, and I’ll circle back around to that as to why, but they put the stent in, and everything seemed to be fine. After they take out, when they go through your wrist, they actually put this it’s like a clear plastic clamp that goes around your wrist, and has a little airbag in it, that they fill it up with air, and that puts pressure on where the artery was cut. That’s the stop from bleeding so that it can heal up. And every couple hours or so they released a little bit of air on it till they get to a point where they completely release it, to put a bandaid on it and you’re good to go. I could see that, you know, there’s obviously blood within the side of the plastic casing. But that doesn’t bother me. Because a lot of people will faint with this at the sight of blood. I was sitting there, everything was fine, ate lunch, I was talking, everything was good. They explained what had happened. I was all set to go home. Then all of a sudden, I felt sick. I felt like I was gonna throw up, I felt very lightheaded. And it was it was very fast. It wasn’t just like, nausea building up, it was all within within 1015 seconds. So I sat up, I said I feel sick pamps it or I’m gonna get you a pan for you. And that was it. I felt myself I felt the lights going out. And that was it for me. I guess my blood pressure dropped down to 40. And I passed out which was the first time in my life that I had passed out. And I guess I you know, Pam can take over from here, but I guess I I kind of listed over on to the end of the bed. And the next thing I remember was a hearing a bunch of voices shaking me telling me to squeeze her fingers with both my hands to move my toes. And at first I wasn’t very responsive. I heard heard the voices, but I could not open my eyes. It’s a weird phenomenon. I can’t explain it. But I could not open my eyes. But I could hear people talking to me. I couldn’t talk. But again, I could hear them talking and I was doing what they’re telling me to do. So I’ll turn over to Pam because she can explain what happened in the time that I had passed out.
Pam Frost 12:23
When I was in the room with Kevin it was the recovery area. And with COVID I was actually quite lucky that I was able to be there with him. So thank God I was because it seemed to me that when he passed out, no one was like jumping over and hearing the alarms and rushing over to his bed to help out. I happen to be maybe 10 feet away from the bed. I look over because I start hearing some loud beeping noises. I look over to his heart monitor. And I saw the heart rate was down to 40. And I saw him slumping over in the bed and he looked very gray. And I yelled over to the to the nurses, they were all standing in an area. I yelled over that I need help. I said he’s passing out. So when I saw like, to me, it seemed like slow motion. So everybody came running over. And when I saw him like that, you know, I jumped over to his bed and tried to pick them up. But he’s huge. So you know, I couldn’t pick him up literally. But we were all trying to get him to lay down and lay back. I just remember being near his his head. When that happened. Like when we all got him laying down. They were all yelling his name and you know, trying to wake him up and he was very wet. He was sweating. His color was definitely weird. And he couldn’t talk. So he was like mumbly there wasn’t anything I couldn’t understand. And so I just kept talking to him to let them know I was there. But I was trying to stay out of the way of everybody at the same time. So they were telling me they they were telling me and kind of talking to each other. He’s going through what’s called vaes vasovagal and they were saying it’s very common. And because they were acting the way they were and remaining calm about it. It eased my mind that okay, this isn’t bad. But during those first few seconds when everything was happening, my mind was going through everything. First I was thinking oh my god, the stent broke loose. You know, maybe he’s having a blood clot. Maybe he’s having a stroke. Maybe he’s having a heart attack like all these things had gone through my head. So for me it was immediate panic, but when they had come over and they started addressing what was going on and
reassuring me that this is kind of a common thing. It helped me relax a little bit. But seeing your loved one going through that is not something I ever want to experience again. So it was quite terrifying. But I did feel more comforted knowing that they know what this is. They’re taking care of him. He was waking up, he was responding to the things that they were asking him to do. He could wiggle his toes, he can move his hands, he can lift his legs. So immediately, like seeing him responding that way made me feel a lot better that things are okay. But for the rest of the day, he was not himself. It took a real long time and into the night to recover from that. So for me, that’s what I saw in a nutshell. And it was, it was quite, quite scary.
Richard Conner 15:51
Wow, that does sound scary. And how long was he out for?
Pam Frost 15:58
It was maybe a minute, I would say, a good minute to two to three minutes. Like he was slumped over for maybe 30 seconds, 30 seconds to a minute then when they got him laying back on the bed. That was about another minute, you know, and as they were talking to him, and he was coming to that was about another minute. So it was like a three minute ordeal.
Richard Conner 16:23
Yeah, I hear you That does sound scary. Even if it’s three minutes. I mean, just talking about it not being there doesn’t sound like a long time. But as you’re experiencing and not knowing what’s happening, I can imagine the three minutes must have felt like an eternity.
Pam Frost 16:38
Richard Conner 16:40
I’m happy that it was nothing serious and it sounded like it was it was a common, I guess, side effect of maybe the procedure. And and Kevin you’re you’re recovering well. So like let’s let’s kind of talk about that a little bit like how has been the recovery process been and how have you been feeling.
Kevin Frost 17:00
I do have blackouts throughout that night. The next day, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. To this day, I still feel chest pressure. I still feel some some pain. Which is still, to me alarming. But my return visits my cardiologist, the person who did the procedure showed me the pictures of my heart of the arteries, they showed me the artery that had the blockage is very small, I mean, it’s probably half an inch or three quarters of an inch long is all it is. And you can see the artery nice and you know, as wide as it should be nice and smooth all the way through except for this one area. Then they showed the pictures of after the stent was in another whole artery it looks completely uniform showed me all the all the arteries they’re all perfectly fine too. So I know in my mind that my heart is a hundred percent fine now, with that stent in there, I have to believe that you know these stents, they do this all the time the stents are there they’re meant to stay in place and be permanent and that I’m not having a problem because of that stent now. Although my nephew who is a nurse did say that some people did it did experience chest discomfort after having a stent done for up to two weeks, which we’re well past at this point in time, my recovery is been very slow, because I’m still I’m still a little bit in shock I’m still a little scared when I feel that so I’ve gotten back to my routine of working out with weights I don’t do much in the way of cardio to get my heart rate up. Not so much because of fear but cardio has never really been my big thing. I know my bio mentioned that I was you know the track star in high school but that was a that was short distances reps you know, that was under meters 200 meters relays and stuff like that I didn’t by any means do anything long distance. You know pamphlets me the shame with respect to doing marathons and half marathons. So my my routines now are it’s more weights in light cardio. So that is my recovery now, I imagine I will pick that up over time. But we had earlier mentioned that I have fibromyalgia and for anybody who knows what that is, I should say who doesn’t know what that is? It’s it’s inflammation of nerves in your in your muscles and your joints. It’s like having cuts and bruises all over you. You know you can have spikes and pain for absolutely no reason in areas that you did not hurt or damage. It causes you to have a jarring response when you feel it when you feel that and I believe that part of the what I’m feeling in my chest now is related to fibromyalgia, you know, if you were ever having an episode on fibromyalgia, that could be a whole whole separate category that you could talk forever on. But I do believe that that is part of why I’m experiencing some of the chest discomfort, I will follow up next with a pulmonary specialist to make sure there’s nothing going on with my lungs. And then from there, there’s nothing really much left inside, you know, that ribcage area. So I think once I see the pulmonary specialist, and I just have to get back to move in my life with fibromyalgia, which hopefully that pain in my chest would eventually fade away and go someplace else.
Richard Conner 20:25
Mm hmm. Okay. All right. Well, I hope all that goes well, as you as you continue to get this checked out and go through your recovery. And, you know, back to your comment about the running don’t downplay track and field and the short distances, you know, running is running. And you’re right, Pam kind of puts us all the shame with all of her marathons. Running is running so so don’t don’t downplay that, you know, let that actually brings up to the next point about kind of your lifestyle, right? You talked about how you lift weights, and you do a little bit of cardio and how Pam does the half marathons and is really into more of the long distance running. And I know, you know, you guys have this philosophy about, you know, maintaining good heart health and fitness and good nutrition. So let’s talk a little bit about that. Maybe we, you know, we shift gears and go back to Pam, you just want to tell us has anything changed in your routine because of this, you know, episode that the Kevin had and the procedure. Tell us tell us a little bit about that.
Pam Frost 21:30
Sure. When he came home, it’s kind of funny, I was, after he came home, I was making all these chicken soups, and was like, trying to get the cleanest and simplest and healthiest meals available. But Kevin is 53 years old, healthy. But it’s not about diet and nutrition that caused his heart to have the blockage. He has it because it’s genetics. But in my mind, when he came home, I wanted, you know, to make sure that we’re eating very healthy, clean foods, which we sort of do already, but I wanted to step it up a notch. So in my world of blogging, and my social media, I’m trying to share with my audience, how to eat healthier, I’m sharing recipes that are clean. And so when I mentioned clean foods, I’m talking about more, more raw, so if you’re not processed foods, so when you’re grocery shopping, you know, I’m talking about shopping around the perimeter of the store, buying the fresh products, not things that are in boxes, or that’s like a powder that you have to add water to and then you cook it, you know, I’m saying. So I was going through how we can clean up our food in our house and teaching the kids to eat foods with different colors to add more salads to our meals. So that’s how it’s changed in our home. We’re trying to eat more greens, and I do have a, we do have a picky eater. So we’re trying to get Kevin our son to expand his palate a little bit. So we’re trying to have healthier dinners and healthier snacks and things like that in our home. So we’re trying to take this instead of just being about Kevin, we’re trying to make it about all of us. Because even though it’s genetics for him, I don’t know what’s going to get passed down to our kids. And to be honest, it makes me want to go get my heart checked, or at least bring awareness into my own health as far as I’m 40 I’m going to be 49 this year. So you know, what do I start doing to make sure that I don’t have blockages, you know, as I start to get a little bit older. And I you know, I should add to that definitely fitness, fitness is a big thing in our lives. Kevin and I used to be big mountain bikers. Back in the day, when we were let’s see, 20 something years ago, we used to, you know, really get out there and, and do a lot of different activities. We still like to do that with our kids as well. Kevin can’t do as many things that he used to because of his fibromyalgia. But we still promote, you know, getting active with our kids. We want our kids to be active because we think that’s just as important as diet and not diet in the sense of, you know, cutting out calories we try to talk diet in our house about overall wellness and nutrition.
Richard Conner 24:49
Okay, that’s excellent. And I have a lot to learn from you guys. We probably don’t have as many discussions about that and in our house. Even Though I am big into running, and I do try to eat healthy, it’s, it’s an area that we probably have opportunities to improve in my own house. And I’m sure for our listeners, this is very inspirational helpful for them, because it may not be top of mind for everyone. I think this is helpful for for all of them as well. So thank you for sharing that. So, you know, I just want to take a moment to thank you, Kevin for sharing this story. I mean, again, but just the overall situation, it sounds like it’s been, you know, quite a challenge that you’ve had to work through and, and it sounds like you’re on the right path, and you’re recovering well, which we’re happy to hear. And you know, as far as fitness and nutrition, you guys are taking this very seriously, which is which is awesome. So just want to say thank you, Kevin for for sharing your story. And thank you, Pam for, for adding those, I’d say those segments that Kevin missed when he was out. So thank you for sharing that experience as well and what you’re doing with the family?
Kevin Frost 25:59
Richard, if you don’t mind, I you know, I would like to just add that there’s no fear listeners, there’s there’s one very important thing to to remember. And number one is know your family history. You know, I have I have bad family history with respect to cardiovascular. So you need to know that. also pay attention to what your body’s telling you. All the EKGs all the stress tests in the world that I took, and all the assurances did not pick up on what was what was slowly building up an artery in my in my heart. So pay attention to your body, pay attention to your family history. It’s if you’re not feeling right, or something isn’t isn’t going right. get it checked. And, you know, is a stress test good enough? is an EKG good enough? You know, in my case? No, it wasn’t, you know, and thank God, we did the CAT scan and we were able to pick up the the blockage there. So be persistent with your doctors as well. If you’re you know, if if something isn’t right, don’t just take no for an answer. Don’t just walk out of an office because they’re in a rush to get to the to their next patient. Take care of yourself, know your body. Now you don’t have to be a hypochondriac. But you know, if something isn’t right, keep up on it.
Richard Conner 27:19
All right. sage advice. Thank you, Kevin. So Pam, I know that you you run the wifemotherrunner.com website, you have a lot of blog posts, and you talk about nutrition and fitness. And you have a great following there. And it’s my understanding, you’re going to share a little bit more about Kevin’s recovery and some of the some of the changes that you made in your household related to you know, your healthy lifestyle. So why don’t you tell the listeners how they could follow you and find you online?
Pam Frost 27:49
Sure. I am, I blog at www.wifemotherrunner.com. And you can also find me on Facebook, I have a page that’s called wifemotherrunner and I am sharing healthier recipes. I’m sharing healthy snacks. I’m trying to make things very simple for people, because even though more of us are home these days, they’re all having meetings. And the last thing they want to do is worry about putting together a meal. So I’m trying to teach people how to plan ahead for that. We’re also trying to learn that in our home. And I’m trying to keep things simple. Like I said, very, very little recipes that require a lot of work. I want it to be quick and easy. So that we can still move forward. And another thing that I’m doing with our family, we had been taking walks every night after dinner. And so hopefully when spring comes again, I can do some challenges. I have not been as diligent as you. I want to point out that I love your streak you have going on. How many days are you up to now?
Richard Conner 28:59
As of yesterday, 60 days, so I haven’t gotten out there yet, which I will in a little bit but 60 days so far.
Pam Frost 29:05
Richard Conner 29:06
30 to go.
Pam Frost 29:08
So I love that. I think you’re you’ve inspired me to consider something. I haven’t figured it out just yet. But I love the streak challenges. And so as spring rolls around, look for that on my my blog and my facebook group, about things that you can do, whether it’s just walking a mile a day, whether it’s just moving for 30 minutes, I don’t know I’m still thinking about it, but we can always do something to keep from living a sedentary lifestyle.
Richard Conner 29:41
Okay, perfect. Well, thank you again, Pam and Kevin. I love this conversation. And thank you for all the information and tips that you shared. And you know with that, thanks for coming on the show and have a great day.
Kevin Frost 29:55
Thanks for having us Rich.
Pam Frost 29:56
Richard Conner 29:58
I just want to take a moment to thank you And Kevin for coming on the show. Special thanks to Kevin for sharing his story and his heart disease diagnosis, experience post op. And the ongoing lifestyle changes that both Pam and Kevin and the entire family is making as a relates to nutrition and fitness. So I just want to share the three takeaways that I got from the conversation. And this was really summarized very well by Kevin. And I just want to reiterate some of the things that he said. Number one, is the importance of knowing your family history. Nutrition and fitness will obviously play a big role in your health, but also genetics, so it’s important to know your family history. Number two, pay attention to what your body is telling you and listen to it. And number three, take care of yourself. So I’ll include Pam’s information in the show notes, as well as some other resources on this topic. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. We would really appreciate it if you left a review and come to inspirevirtualruns.com and tell us what topics you would like to hear. So with that, thanks for listening, and have a great day.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai