Hello my name is Justin Davis,
I was serving in the United States Air Force when I was misdiagnosed with anxiety after returning from Iraq. I was suffering from severe chest pain and would fall out of formation was unable to do PT, and would constantly go to the med clinic. Not long after this began the Air Force was going through what they called a “downsizing” and they medically separated me.
After returning to Ohio I returned to the work force where I jumped from job to job before landing an assistant manager job in a grocery store chain which took me to Illinois. While working for this company I would constantly become fatigued and suffered from regular chest pain which I was continuing anxiety medications for.
Unable to meet the physical demands and wanting to use my G.I. bill to pursue my passion for music, I relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota where I began school for Audio Engineering at the Institute of Production and Recording. It wasn’t but only a few months into my schooling that I was in my apartment and I was woken by INTENSE chest pain. I was sweating profusely, short of breath, and hardly able to stand. Assuming this was another “anxiety attack” brought on by the stresses of school I got dressed and proceeded to board the metro to go to school. With headphones on and unable to catch my breath and sweat pouring down my face I took the 10 minute journey to the train station next to my college. When I got off I embarked upon the hardest and longest walk of my life. What was only an 1/8th of a mile felt like a 10 mile hike.
When I finally reached the doors of the college I collapsed next to the elevators and was unable to do anything as i was fading in and out of consciousness. Luckily one of my professors saw me and called 911. When the ambulance arrived they re assured me that it was simply an anxiety attack and that I would be fine. Unable to breathe and in pain they waited with me in the back of the ambulance for a half hour outside my school before taking me to the hospital.
Once we finally made it to the hospital they assessed me and assured me that it was an anxiety attack. However, nothing they did was helping. FINALLY they decided to take me into the heart cath lab where the doctor instantly looked at me and said “Where is your cell phone? We need to call your family and inform them that you need an emergency bypass surgery”. After a grueling 10 hour surgery I awoke from a quadruple bypass. Instantly my life changed.
8 weeks later my bypass collapsed and I returned to the hospital for more stents. This lead to frequent visits to the hospital for stents and further examination. We soon found out that there was extensive damage to the tissue and that a section of my heart was getting no blood flow. We would ask question after question and the doctors could provide no answers. With all the visits to the hospital and the lengthy recovery I was dropped from my academic program, unable to maintain a job, and had to move back to Ohio.
I continued my health care with the support of my family was able to make a decent recovery as i tried to restart my life. However, when I started to work again I returned to the hospital and had to miss a day of work. When they found out about my condition they took what was a full time job and told me they could offer me 4 hours a week. This resulted in me having to quit as I was informed that I was a drastic “liability for the company”. I would continue to hear that several more times.
My family and I were frustrated and all we wanted were answers! Finally my mother was getting ready for work one morning and a segment on Good Morning America played. It was of a young girl who’s doctors believed had a “one of a kind heart”. Her story matched mine almost perfectly and they were searching for patients like her to put into a case study at the National Institutes of Health. Upon hearing about my case they called us back not even a few hours sending them my information. I was taken to NIH campus where soon after they began studies on me.
As you could imagine this all takes a great toll on somebodies mental health. As I was having my own pity party I decided I would rather help others. This lead to the formation of Rock for the Heart. I wanted to give my life meaning and do anything I could to help further heart research to help the next generation.
I now have 4 CABG and 20 stents. I am still a patient in the case study and we are still searching for answers. Without the love and support of my family and friends I could have never endured any of this. THIS is why we do what we do. Our mission here is simple: fund research, help patients, and their families. We want to bridge those gaps, strengthen the bonds make it a team effort, as well as raise awareness. Together I truly believe that we can accomplish some amazing things and save a few lives while were at it. If you are reading this, I would like to thank you, and ask you to join the team in any way that you see fitting. We here firmly believe that we can change the world, one good deed at a time.
Thank you for your time and support,
Justin A. Davis