A second chance

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mike Lott had a quintuple bypass heart surgery at the age of 30.

Mike Lott had a quintuple bypass heart surgery at the age of 30.

Lott hopes to inspire, educate others with his survival

Mike Lott was guiding a turkey hunt and found himself winded after walking about five yards uphill. He felt light headed and dizzy. He was nauseated.

“Actually, I lost my breakfast,” Lott said. “But, I sat down and, after about 10 minutes, I felt better and made the hunt.”

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Lott dismissed the incident as just something he ate.

“But the next morning, the same thing happened and at the same place,” Lott said. “The hunter from New York that I was guiding said, ‘Son, you have all the symptoms of a heart attack’ and he asked if I’d seen a doctor. Of course, I hadn’t. Didn’t need to. In a few minutes I felt better and went on and guided the hunt.”

Lott said that he was young and healthy. He was not a candidate for a heart attack.

“Nothing like that happened again and I guess I forgot all about it,” he said.

A month later, he woke around 2 a.m. sweating, nauseated and hurting in his neck and jaw. Two weeks later, Mike Lott had open-heart surgery with five bypasses.

That was April 23, 1994.

“I was 30 years old and working at the farm,” Lott said. “I wasn’t overweight. I was active. I thought that heart attacks happened to people who were old and out of shape.

I wasn’t supposed to be in the hospital having heart surgery. But I was.”

Lott said that he went through the surgery without any difficulties. It wasn’t a cakewalk but he didn’t come out of the surgery anxious.

“I was in and out rather fast. I went in on Monday and was out on Friday. I was young and maybe I didn’t know enough to get scared,” he said, with a smile.

Some heart surgery patients suffer from depression but Lott said went through the recovery period with a positive attitude and was never depressed.

“Eleven weeks later I was back doing most of what I wanted to do,” he said. “But my attitude changed.”

Lott said he realized that a heart attack could be just a hilltop away.

“I know how important it is to eat healthy and to exercise,” he said. “I also know that you should pay attention to early warning signs of heart disease. I passed off the episode I had with my heart as indigestion. But, when it happened the second time and exactly the same way and at the same place, I should have had it checked out. And, I didn’t pay any attention when I was told that I had the symptoms of a heart attack. I should have listened.”

Lott said that he knows that his outcome could have been different. “I have a wife and family and I want to be around to take care of them,” he said. “I’m glad that I have that opportunity. New advances are being made in the treatment of heart disease every day and every day lives are being saved. My life was saved 20 years ago and every day I thank the Lord that I’m here enjoy my family and life.”

Lott gives credit for the surgery that saved his life to advances in medical technology that are the result of research and the skill of physicians that put that research into practice.

“I’m a strong supporter of the Pike County Heart Walk and the American Heart Association,” he said. “I know that dollars make a difference. They did in my life.”

The 2014 Pike County Heart Walk will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 at the Troy Sportsplex. Everyone is encouraged to attend.