Third Lease on Life

After suffering two heart attacks in eight years, Andre Martinez is ready to commit to better health. Six months before his second heart attack, 48-year-old Andre Martinez held bragging rights for finishing The Big Mamma Jamma—a 2-pound hamburger, topped with bacon and three types of cheeses, and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and a pound of french fries.

 

He cleaned his plate in a little more than 10 minutes. He laughed and puffed up his chest for weeks following his conquest. But his heart attack in February 2011 was no joke.

 

Martinez knew better. In August 2003, he suffered his first heart attack—just three months after his father’s fatal cardiac event. At the time, he was caring for ill family members, working midnights, coaching soccer, tending to household duties and trying to uphold a positive disposition for his four children.

 

“I wasn’t getting enough rest. I was eating bad—eating too much,” Martinez recalls. “It wasn’t that I was inactive. I was just way out of shape.”

 

A heart stent was inserted, and Martinez knew he had to make drastic changes in his lifestyle. “Having that first heart attack really made me think about my life,” he says. “You take more time to appreciate the smaller things, like making someone smile and having meaningful relationships.”

 

Back to the Burger

A heart attack is a wake-up call for some, and a chance to hit the snooze button for others. Following his first attack in 2003, Martinez tried to focus on losing weight and exercising.

 

“I’ve always been the heavy eater in my family,” he says. “I took the challenge to eat The Big Mamma Jamma because I knew I could do it—no problem. You know, you brag on it when you’re doing it, but—”

 

“It really is just a heart attack on a plate,” Martinez’s wife, Kim, says, finishing his sentence.

 

The night before his second attack, Martinez and his wife attended a party. Two hours after going to bed, Martinez knew something was wrong. “It was similar to the first time, but not as bad,” he says. “I took a couple of aspirin and waited to see if that achy feeling would subside. It didn’t. I called 911, let Kim know what was going on, and I reclined with my feet elevated until [the ambulance] got there.”

 

The Second Time Around

Martinez admits that he may have taken the first warning a little too lightly. Now, however, he is determined not to make the same mistake.

 

“Everybody looks for a quick fix, but that only works temporarily,” he says. “I work out at Parrish Health & Fitness four to five times a week, but with the insight of knowing that it’s more important to maintain a consistent routine.”

 

Kim adds, “We also try to eat our food in a controlled atmosphere, like at home. We eat large, satisfying portions of things like salad with grilled chicken.”

 

And, of course, The Big Mamma Jamma is not on the menu.

 

>>Register online for this month's HealthBridge Education Series Event

Healthy Eating Month: Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day
Presented by: PMC Registered Dietician
MARCH 12, 2013, 10:00 to 11:30 AM
PMC Conference Center