Living Well – Fit class heart attack doesn’t stop member from working out

Coach Vicky Trill's monthly column on staying fit and healthy.

Nick and Vic

You may recall a column I wrote back in February about the most significant Valentines Day I’ve ever been a part of. At a Senior Fit Class on Feb. 14, the heart of my friend Nick Lebedoff stopped. Nick has been a dedicated, hard working member of the Sr. Fit Family for over a year, none of us could have known that day, that inside his fit body, his heart was a ticking time bomb. With the help of 22 friends, First Aid training, an AED, and a God who answers prayers, it started beating again and Nick is not only here with us today, but he is as strong and vibrant as ever!

After the Feb. 14 heart stopping and re-starting incident, Nick went  to the Ashcroft Hospital, then was air lifted to Kamloops Hospital and then on to a lengthy stay at the Kelowna Hospital where he under went a quadruple bypass which remedied two arteries which were 100 percent blocked and two more arteries which were 80 percent blocked. Within an hour after Nick’s arrival home from the Hospital, he called me over for a visit and asked me to write his story and his thanks. So here it is, from the living, moving, miracle himself.

First of all, I want to thank many wonderful people who are the reason I am alive and well today. I’d like to thank the Sr. Fit class for the role you played in re-starting my heart. Specifically, I’d like to thank Al Mertens and Ken Klassen who performed CPR; Judy Klassen who kept my airway open and slapped me back to this world! Thank you to Judy Roy who manned the AED and pressed the button to shock my heart and to Maria Russell-Martin who knew where the AED was and brought it to the rescuers so quickly. Thanks to Vicky Trill and Jack Jeyes who were lifelines to the 911 Operator. Thank you to Joan Henderson for your prayers, God has answered. I’d also like to thank the Ashcroft Ambulance Crew, Ashcroft Hospital Staff, Kamloops Hospital Staff and the Kelowna Hospital Staff in 2 West. Your expertise and care, made my stay happy and healthy.

Since my heart attack, subsequent surgery and hospital stay and recovery, I have had much time to reflect on things that are important and how healthy living makes an even larger impact on being alive and well than I realized. My heart specialist told me that the main reasons I survived the heart attack and have had a speedy and full recovery is due to the fact that I was already healthy and fit. I had been walking, biking and doing strength workouts regularly. This combined with no smoking has led me to being alive and well today.

While in the Kelowna hospital, the ward where I stayed became known as, “Nick’s Walk Block.” The medical staff named it this because of all the walking I did around and around the block. While I waited for surgery, I walked the “block” as much as the hospital would permit me and the very day after my quadruple bypass, I walked that block and I haven’t stopped walking yet. Four weeks after surgery, I walked up the hwy hill in Ashcroft. In regular consultation with my heart specialist, I have been moving and exercising as much as they will permit me. I am very aware of my body and how it is feeling and I know my limitations, but I don’t sit and feel sorry for myself. I am ready to live life. To be healthy. Thank you again to all of you who saved my life. You didn’t give up and I’m not either.

Vicky Trill (and Nick Lebedoff)

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