I get to live my 1%! Seven Simple Tips for Living Life More Fully
Warning – this post is about life, not about remodeling!
Early Saturday morning writing and posting ritual
Saturday morning June 4th started out in my usual wacky entrepreneurial way. Got up at 4:15. Put on my running clothes. Fed the cats. Got the laundry started. Went into my den (joined by my favorite pet Sammy – a beautiful Maine coon cat). Started cranking out another remodeling article for my blog. Got the first draft done. Then did a little bit of social media posting (I’m not only an owner of a few remodeling businesses but I’m also a CDMG – Certified Digital Marketing Geek!). Normal day… so far.
It’s now 7:30 and light outside and a beautiful sunny day for my morning run through my peaceful suburban Copley Ohio neighborhood. A little stretching, crank up some R & B tunes on my Spotify playlist and I’m ready to rumble for my one-hour EVERYDAY run (I am a bit – OK – maybe more than a bit – obsessed with running). I’m ten minutes in (not really rocking it yet) and started making the trek up Regalstone Dr. hill like I’ve done thousands of times before. I’m feeling a bit more tired than normal, not sure why. Then I start to notice a throbbing pain on the right side opposite my heart. I say to myself, “You must be imagining things. Suck it up and keep going.”
On I went for another 10 minutes and the pain is still there. Not an unbelievable crazy nasty pain – just something I’ve never felt before but it’s consistent. Divine intervention (as I will figure out later) tells me to stop running.
When I’m running I never stop (that’s what a somewhat crazy type A driving entrepreneur does – we never stop!). On this day I did stop. I thought should I call my wife Rose or just walk back. I opted to walk back, the pain’s really no big deal. I saw a 30-ish woman run by me with her child in the baby jogger. I was perturbed. I felt defeated and thought “who am I – some old guy who has to walk for exercise? I’m a runner – doggone it! Yes, I’m 56 years old but I should be blowing past this woman with her kid in tow (now there’s the competitive entrepreneur coming out of my brain)!”
Got home. Told my wife Rose about the pain and said I’d drive myself to the Akron General Emergency Center 2 miles from the house (I’m thinking, “I got this – I’m in control!”). Rose – being the smarter person (and also Dr. in the family) says “Not so fast. I’m driving you Mike.” Leave it to wives to stop husbands from doing stupid things. Of course I took a shower first (don’t want to be smelly in the ER!)
The local E.R. and a little transportation excitement
The pain is still with me – but it’s really not that bad. I’m joking with the nurses. The head nurse comes in and demands that I “get those clothes off NOW.” (She’s feeling more urgency than I am). They run an EKG, get my vitals – everything looks good so far, but they say they want to take me downtown. No, not to arrest me. They want to take me to the main hospital for more testing. I’m still thinking – OK – I can do this. A get the testing done and get this day back on track.
The transport team arrives and I’m joking with the 2 guys as they’re strapping me to the gurney to go downtown in the tall medical van. I’m asking important questions like can I bring my coffee along (the answer was no – bummer). We get on the highway and a car in front comes to an abrupt stop – the transport van slams on the breaks, starts swaying from side to side, and in that split second I think “THIS THING IS GOING TO TOPPLE OVER.” The driver gets control of the van and gets around the car that stopped suddenly. He apologizes. I say, “don’t sweat it.”
I’m admitted and get to put on a “cool” and stylish hospital gown. I’m hot!
The questions and testing begin. The nurses and doctors ask, “Are you a smoker, drinker? Do you have high cholesterol? How about high blood pressure? Any family history of heart disease? I say no. They ask “Do you exercise?” I say – at least 1 hour a day (hey – I may be dressed like an old man in a hospital gown but I’ve still got some pride in what I can do!”). They run the first (of what turns out to be many) blood tests. The blood enzymes are a bit high.
The admitting Doctor says to me, “Everything is looking pretty good. I don’t think you had a heart attack. Although the first blood enzyme was high, we sometimes get false positives. Let’s get you on the treadmill and do a stress test.” I’m thinking cool – I get to run. Let me get on this treadmill and then head out of Dodge (‘er I mean the hospital).
3 ladies get me wired and prepped for the stress test. The main woman leading the testing leaves the room (she doesn’t explain why). I’m chatting up the other 2 ladies (it’s never a bad time to get to know people!). I’ve still got this!
Fifteen minutes later the lead tester shows back up and carts a wheelchair up to the door (I’m thinking uh-oh that’s bad). Sure enough, the second blood test came back with elevated enzymes. They are cancelling the stress test.
The doctor & the diagnosis
30 minutes later the doctor appears. He says, “Mr. Foti you had a heart attack.” Quick, simple and to the point. I’m thinking “Wow.” I thought heart attacks were supposed to be like Fred Sanford from the old show Sanford and Sons. He would clutch his heart and say, “Elizabeth, I’m having the big one.” There was no big one. I felt I could have run out of this hospital right that minute if I wanted to!
I was scheduled for a heart catherization with a doctor for Monday (I have to wait 2 days – bummer) to see what’s up with my heart. I guess it’s time for a bit of blogging (which sure beats watching Oprah!).
Aren’t I lucky – now I get to have two days of hospital food (I guess losing a few pounds wouldn’t hurt).
The heart catherization and my weird haircut
It’s Monday at 10:30. I’m wheeled down to the clean, sterile and way-too-cold surgical staging area for the catherization procedure with Rose by my side. My palms are sweaty. I’m feeling a bit teary eyed. I’m more nervous than I want to be – thinking about mortality has a way of doing that. The nurse is fun and funny (that’s a good thing!) but she’s shaving me in places I’ve never had shaved before (hospital stays have a funny way of contributing to a weird losses of hair in strange areas!). I say goodbye to Rose and off I go into the procedure. I wish I had more laughter in me right now.
I bring my IPhone and headset in and ask the Doctor if I can put on some music. I’m thinking my Christian playlist will be just what I need to let my mind wander from “getting worked on” by the Doctors and surgical staff. Since he may need to communicate with me during the procedure he says no. I’m thinking big bummer! They put the catherter in through my wrist (the easier way to do the job).
Let the “games” begin! He checks the first artery. He says, “Looks excellent.” Checks the second artery. Once again, “Looks excellent.” I’m thinking cool – this running has helped me out. He checks the third and main artery and says “Mike – I need to show you something.” Not good.
99% blockage of the “widow maker”
The doctor goes on to tell me the 3rd artery called the left anterior descending is 99% blocked. I’ve come to know that this artery is also “affectionately” known as “The Widow Maker” because when it gets 100% blocked it does an excellent job of making widows! Ouch.
He says, “Mike – we can fix this for you now. You’ll need two stents installed to open you up (guess this post is about “remodeling” after all since I’ll need some personal plumbing work). He says we’ll need to run a catheter through your groin since it’s a bifurcation (I think – now I get a BOGO catheter special – buy one wrist catheter and get a groin catheter thrown in for free!).
I’m on the table and they’re calling out part numbers. I need a B8. Get me a G60 balloon (not sure if these are the right numbers but I’m thinking about yelling our BINGO at any moment). I just know I really didn’t want to hear the part numbers they were trying to use to fix me! I was using one of my fingers under the blanket continuously making the sign of the cross (I have faith in God – but I’m not ready to go yet, I’m thinking – please God let this team know what they’re doing and fix me).
3 hours later they say, “Mike we’re done.” I’m thinking YES!
What does article this have to do with remodeling? Why did I write it?
Thanks for sticking with me through my story. As I warned you in the beginning this story -even though it’s on my Innovate Building Solutions remodeling blog – it has little to do with remodeling, unless you count adding plumbing parts to my body as remodeling.
You may be asking, “What is the purpose of this article and why are you writing it?”
Simply put – I’m writing it because I felt I had to write it. This story was in me and needed to come out. If you’ve never met me, you might not realize I’m one lucky guy. I’ve been married to the same woman for 32 years, have a great family which actually gets along (most of the time), a cool church I attend and an entrepreneurial business I love. I lead a blessed life. However, I had a BIG medical problem and didn’t even realize anything was going on until that fateful Saturday.
I didn’t notice any symptoms of a heart problem until 10 minutes into my daily run. Yet, I was running around with the main heart valve 99% blocked. I was a walking/running time bomb and didn’t even know it! Hanging on by a thread. 99% gone, but 1% alive!
I get to live my 1%, Seven simple tips for a life more fully lived
I wrote this article because I’m lucky to be alive today – to get to live my last 1% (for as many years as this 1% lasts). If I lived in a third world country I would most likely be dead today. So I’d like to share with you some things I will challenge myself to do to make the max out of my 1%. If any of these points help even one of you to live your life better, then this article was totally (say it like a valley girl) worth it! So here’s my 1% life tips for a full life.
Tip 1) Keep loving
It’s all about love. Love of people, love of relationships, love of your church and connection to faith. While faith, hope and love are all important – the greatest of these is love! (1: Corinthians 13).
Tip 2) Keep your focus on what you “get to do” today, not what you “have to do”
This was such a fantastic sermon I had the pleasure of experiencing through my church (Grace Church in Bath Ohio). The focus was to reflect on what we “get to do” not “what we have to do.” It’s easy to complain, “I have to send this proposal out. I have to pick up Jade and her 3 friends and bring them to the high school football game. I have to visit my Mother in Law at her assisted living apartment.” What would your life be like if you didn’t “get to” do these things? How full would your life be if you didn’t enjoy these people or have a job to go to? Focusing on the “get to do” will make your life worth living as you’re living it.
Tip 3) Keep learning
My Dad used to say to me, “An ounce of perseverance is worth of a pound of genius and is this family we ain’t got no genius. So keep learning and work your butt off.” Leave it to Dad to provide sage wisdom. My Dad – who immigrated to this country from Italy at the age of 17 with almost no money and an 8th grade education- loved learning. His love of learning (and applying what he was learning) lead him to get a GED while in the Army and then grow a multi-million dollar masonry construction business from nothing.
I’m glad I picked up his love of learning. If you’ve got an IPhone with an Internet connection, you can learn anything.
Don’t stop learning – spend your extra time digging into something which piques your curiosity. Apply what you learn and see what happens.
Tip 4) Keep having fun and laugh
If you aren’t laughing at life, at yourself, at life’s weird predicaments and challenges you’ll have with too much stress and not enough enjoyment. I believe we’re here on Earth to experience joy and bring joy to others. Smile more. Laugh more (yes – especially at yourself). The other cool thing about laughter and smiling is studies have shown people perceive you as smarter when you laugh (yes – that’s one of the reasons I laugh A LOT!).
Tip 5) Keep your passion in overdrive
I believe we were brought onto this Earth to be thoroughly used up in using whatever God-given strengths we have. I’m a crazy entrepreneur. I think my passion is to make other crazy entrepreneurs. I’m working to do more with a non-profit called Ohio Business Week Foundation which grows young entrepreneurs (although I need to do more here). What is your passion? Is there something you need to do and the world needs you to do? Are you going to bed each night “used up” using your talents?
Tip 6) Keep your senses tuned to what your body is saying
Call it divine intervention. Call it dumb luck but something, somebody or some spirit tapped on my shoulder and told me to stop running you stubborn dude that morning. Are you listening for the all-too-soft messages your body or spirit are telling you?
Tip 7) Keep reflecting and sharing
In the business of life it’s hard to “find” the time to reflect on what we’re learning. We’re so busy. We don’t stop to “smell the roses.” Sometimes we can’t even see the roses when they are right in front of our face. I need to stop, learn and reflect. It’s part of the reason I’m blogging now and hope to get back into professional speaking (like I used to do about 8 years ago). Take the time to reflect on 3 good things that happen to you each day. Reflect on 3 things you learned on this day. Write them down or tell and teach them to someone close to you.
As Larry the Cable Guy would say “I apologize” for the length of this post. As I said earlier – this article was “in me” and it “had to come out.” My hope is this article is it as helpful to you as it was for me to reflect and write it (or maybe it just gave you an opportunity to laugh at my crazy life – which is OK as well). I believe there is so many great things in store for both you and I!
The question is, “Are you ready to fully live your 1%?”
The author of this article, Mike Foti, is a passionate remodeling entrepreneur, crazy 1 hour a day runner and super fortunate guy with a family who actually gets along (most of the time). He would love to connect with you. Please feel free to call him through his business numbers below. If you do need any help with remodeling project in Cleveland or Columbus or remodeling products anywhere in the country, please call his company at the numbers below (shameless plug here).
Please let Mike know if you like seeing personal articles and reflections on this remodeling blog (it was risky posting this personal article on a remodeling focused blog).
Call Innovate Building Solutions in Cleveland at 216-658-1280, in Columbus 614-565-5888 or Nationwide 877-668-5888.
Lydia – thanks for your thoughtful comments. As you can tell from this post I poured my heart out into this article. I’m lucky to be alive. God’s not done with me yet! Mike
“Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us, unplayed.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Today you blessed us with your music. Thank you.
Fantastic Barbara! At 74 you’re still making things happen! Stay busy and make an impact. What’s funny is many times we don’t even realize who(m) we’re making an impact on. If I can be of any assistance to you don’t hesitate to call – we never have enough friends! Mike
Wow, this is so good. I am the busiest person I know. I feel bad at the end of the day because there are so many things I planned to do that I did not get to do. I love that I get to go to You Tube and learn so much every day about all kinds of things, and that at 74 my zest for living expands every day and I am so grateful to being able to have fun with even the most mundane part of life. I think the way you present these ideas brings me a lot of clarity and appreciation for the life I have honed for myself. Its so easy to take it all for granted, especially when its “ordinary” like mine, but to me it is a wonder!
Rich – thanks for taking the time to read this post. I am a lucky guy on many levels. I hope this piece is helpful to someone out there – and it should serve to help me to stay better focused as well.
Amanda told me about this post and I’m so glad she did! I learned so much about you and who you really are.
Glad you made it through to share your story. Thanks!