When we are young, we think that life will go on forever and we have so much ahead of us; our dreams, our passions and our family. Suddenly, without a moment's notice all of this can change.
It seems like yesterday when my Dad was leaving for a short vacation to Florida in the winter of 1991. He normally went for a couple of months, and I would always hug him and tell him how much I loved him. But this time he was only going for a couple of weeks so when he left I just punched him in the arm and said, "See you soon Dad, see you soon!" Then I received that fateful call on March 7 -- the day before he was to come home from his vacation. He had suffered a massive heart attack and died.
I never realized that would be my last message to him -- I miss my Dad, I miss him so much. In an instant I had lost my mentor, my best friend and my Dad forever.
My Dad was from a different era. He was not as health conscious as we are today. He was a smoker and he did not exercise. He was not like me. I was different: I ate healthy, I never smoked and I played tennis. I was your classic weekend-warrior when it came to exercise.
I was on the tennis court when it happened -- the shortness of breath that really put the fear of dying into me. I was scared and I did not know what was wrong with me. Luckily, I managed to walk off of the tennis court and make it to my doctor. He sent me for a series of tests and after five weeks it was an angiogram that finally determined that of my four main arteries, three were clogged at nearly 100%. I was barely firing on one cylinder and I needed an emergency triple bypass surgery. It was like the universe flipped a coin with my Dad and me and I got lucky.
Once I landed on the road to recovery, I took on my health crusade and went from weekend warrior to an exercise expert. As I progressed and graduated from my cardiac rehab therapy, I learned what it meant to be heart healthy and how to track my progress. Later, I was introduced to the Heart and Stroke Foundation online risk assessment tool where I was able to automate this process for myself. I firmly believe, what is measured is improved. And having access to a digital health tool helped make this easy and convenient.
Life is good; really, really good...but I still miss you Dad.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Canada Health Infoway has launched a public education campaign called Better Health Together, aimed at helping Canadians learn more about the value and benefits of digital health.