Is there still drumming life after a heart attack?

bobacwrd

Senior Member
Guys, last Monday 2/11, I suffered a massive heart attack. Obviously, I survived. The doctor told me it was what the medical world refers to as "The Widowmaker". I am now at home resting comfortably and my cardiologist says I should be able to see a 100% recovery in time and can resume all the activites I was participating in before the attack...even drumming. I definately need to change my dietary habits (I have been eating like an 18 year old kid for many years now) to a more healthier diet with very reduced fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. So for the past week now, I've been eating like a rabbit. I don't know how long I can keep that up but I do feel I can keep a much healthier diet in the future even if I don't "veg" out for too long. My questions to y'all on the forum is, has anyone here ever suffered a heart attack and resumed their drumming? If so, has your playing suffered? How long was it before you were able to resume playing and do you feel 100% again? Did you have to make any concessions or changes to your playing to allow you to continue?

Thanks,
Bobacwrd
 

SkaaDee

Member
Hi Bobacwrd

In my opinion, this question is too important and dire to ask on a message board.
If it was me, I would rely on the doctors. No offence intended to anyone on this message board, but everyone is different and we are talking about your health. I guess there is no harm in asking but your decision should be made relying on the people who have examined you.

cheers
Scott
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Wow Bob, sorry to hear of this.

I don't have any answers, as I have no experience in this matter.

Other than I can sympathize on the diet. I've been making some changes myself, abet for other reasons. Carrots and celery are my friends.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
I've had two heart attacks. One when I was 32 years old, and one, three years ago, when I was 65.

My lifestyle has always been a paradoxical combination of Keith Moon, Carlos Casteneda, and Andy Kaufman. Mystical, out of control, and totally in control via OCD, all at the same time, so I'm not sure that what I did will apply to others, but I can tell you this:

After my second heart attack, which was accompanied by a quintuple bypass, which for me was the most horrific experience in the world (but fortunately they no longer crack people open but do it endoscopically instead now) I was playing my drums, wildly and to my ear wonderfully, the first night home from the hospital.

Lots of pix, video footage, and sound recording to prove it. (Although I don't have any of it; one of my son-in-laws, who took it all, has it stashed away, probably to blackmail me about in the future.)

Actually, my second heart attack was inspirational to me. I needed exercise but felt as though I couldn't do much because of the chest pain caused by the surgery, so flailing around like Moonie was just the ticket for entry into cardiovascular fitness.

Not only did I lose nothing in terms of whatever skills I had, I've become much better in the years since the MI. Faster, better able to stay in a groove (but less willing to also). I was never able to grasp funk or polyrhythms; now both flow out of me.

For what it's worth, I use the time I spend at the drums (about an hour a day alone now, and two - five hours a week either gigging or rehearsing with a couple of groups) for meditation. I connect to my body, which in turn is connecting to the drums, which in turn are connecting to the spirits/universe/god/whatever-you-believe-in, and everything becomes one, united by the music.

The only experiences I've ever had that compare to that feeling, and its aftermath, have been exhausting physical activity and sex. And while playing the drums may not be quite as fulfilling as sex it's certainly easier on the rest of my body than doing calisthenics in the desert or trying to survive ice storms in the woods. (I know, not the kinds of experiences you expect to hear from a "Hollywood" type, but I've spent a hell of a lot of time living on Indian reservations - which is where I learned the drumming-spirit connection thing. But that's a whole other story.)

If you want to get into details regarding physical recovery, etc., just PM me. Happy to share what I learned and to listen to what you're going through.

All my best,

LB
 

BigDinSD

Gold Member
Guys, last Monday 2/11, I suffered a massive heart attack. Obviously, I survived. The doctor told me it was what the medical world refers to as "The Widowmaker". I am now at home resting comfortably and my cardiologist says I should be able to see a 100% recovery in time and can resume all the activites I was participating in before the attack...even drumming. I definately need to change my dietary habits (I have been eating like an 18 year old kid for many years now) to a more healthier diet with very reduced fats, trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. So for the past week now, I've been eating like a rabbit. I don't know how long I can keep that up but I do feel I can keep a much healthier diet in the future even if I don't "veg" out for too long. My questions to y'all on the forum is, has anyone here ever suffered a heart attack and resumed their drumming? If so, has your playing suffered? How long was it before you were able to resume playing and do you feel 100% again? Did you have to make any concessions or changes to your playing to allow you to continue?

Thanks,
Bobacwrd
hey Bob,

There aren't too many more important things than health, even drumming. I'm glad you survived, and it's very very promising that your doctor has you back at 100% eventually.

Good health is strongly connected to lifestyle. Lifestyle includes Diet, exercise, daily activities, hobbies, etc. I'm not a physician, and I don't have any experience in these matters. However, extreme health is a priority for me. Now I don't eat like a rabbit, but I minimize bad fats, red meat, etc. Check with a dietician, because you really are what you eat. Get that under control and you've taken a big leap.

IMO, physical exercise (easy at first) walking, stretching would definitely be a high priority and serve you well. Lifestyle changes / concessions would put you in a great position so you wouldn't have to do any drumming concessions.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
All you have to do is resist the temptation to put garbage in your body. That's it. Don't eat fatty animals every day, make sure you get less salt, and drink enough water. What's worse? Being vegetarian and living longer, or faltering back to your old habits, and potentially not being able to drum?

When I was 27, my doc told me I was in "pre-hypertension". All I could tell him is that I eat "like everyone else I know". Lots of dining out, and meat/salt for literally every meal. I didn't feel like I had actually eaten a meal unless it included a hunk of animal. He said "people never want to hear this, and you're likely not going to listen, but you're doing it wrong".

The more I thought about it, the more I realized he's right. Our bodies aren't made for this. We aren't meant to have easy access to animal flesh for every meal of every day. If it weren't for mass farming and trucking routes, I'd be eating mostly veggies and fruits; maybe meat when I could get my hands on it.

Shortly after that, I switched to a more vegetarian lifestyle, but not completely. I still eat a few steaks in a year, I probably eat some meat about once or twice in a month, I tend to stick to seafood because it's simple and easy to digest. Now I'm almost 31, and at last check, my numbers were "right where they should be". The less I eat meat, the less I want it. My digestion is literally better than I thought it could be, since I grew up with meat and taters on every plate, I never knew that you didn't have to feel heavy after a good meal.

"Food" for thought. You don't have to even be a "real" vegetarian. I'm sure you could take it far less extreme than I did and be both happy and feel better. A simple start would be to only eat animals for say, half of each week. The other half, check the menus for something different, hell, even just getting a veggie pizza is tons better for you than the processed meat pies that get pushed. If you're anything like me, you'll start to notice that you feel better for half of each week, and your "meat days" will become fewer. Our bodies naturally crave things that are only good for us in slight moderation, because these are also things that during most of our evolution were both somewhat essential, and also very hard to obtain.

It's really not that bad to be healthier, and I say that coming from the standpoint of someone who still loves a good cheeseburger or prime steak... It's just that they're once-in-a-while treats now, like a milk-shake or something.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
I've had two and I play more now than I ever did. It takes a while to recover but, once you do, it's good exercise. Follow doctors order and LIVE a healthier and you will be fine. It keeps you young.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Wow Bob, sorry to hear of this.

I don't have any answers, as I have no experience in this matter.
+1.

Wish I had an answer for you that offered more than just pure speculation. But if your doc is suggesting a full recovery.....including reinvigorated skin duties, I see no reason to doubt him.

Wishing you much luck on your journey back to good health. Glad you're still here to tell us the tale, mate. Rest up, continue 'fueling the temple' with all the right things and above all, keep swattin' my friend. I'm sure you'll be chipper again in no time!!
 

stormyrider

Junior Member
I have a different kind of experience in this matter (I'm a cardiologist).
I can't and won't diagnose and treat anyone over the internet. I can tell you that the goal in general is to get people back to usual activitities,exercising, etc after heart attacks (slowly). Your eventual activity level will depend upon how much damage was done, ie what the heart function is when you finally recover, your general health, and how much you exercise to get / stay in shape. I have 2 or 3 patients who are drummers, one is a pro and still working, one was gigging part time until recently, years after his event. For some people, a heart attack is a "wake up call" and they actually feel better after because they lose weight, take care of themselves, quit smoking, and exercise. Not sure if any of this applies to you, but just throwing it out there.

Sounds like you're on the right track.
My advice in general is listen to your doctor, listen to your body, do what you can do, don't do you can't do, increase activity slowly, and have some patience. Also, if you go to a cardiac rehab program mention drumming to the people there. they will be able to give you more specific advice to your situation.

Good luck!
 
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larryz

Platinum Member
Glad you're still here with us Bob and my prayers and thoughts are with you. I preach a lot here about nutrition and I don't discourage meat eaters their rights, but basically if you stayed away from anything animal-based you'd be a million times better off. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years. I do enjoy a good cheese or ice cream too but I could easily be a vegan. People today dig their graves with their teeth. In my opinion many in conventional medicine know very little about proper nutrition and would rather you be on drugs for an unspecified period of time than be 100% healthy and never have to pay a hospital visit... Your best consultant is your own self. Everything you consume is a conscious decision. Just make the right one more often than not. Best advice is to buy a juicer and juice carrots, apples, lettuce at least once a day. Exercise 30 minutes a day. The more cardio the better. walking and drumming are great. And educate yourself relentlessly about nutrition. Good place to start is www.mercola.com and what DocWatson said is also good advice. Thanks for sharing your story :)
 

wsabol

Gold Member
I'm very glad you survived and are recovering. I also have no experience with heart attacks myself.. all I can say is that there are many activities that are more physically demanding than drumming. Think of the "If you can climb a flight of stairs, you are ready to have sex" tip from the movie "Something's gotta give" with Jack Nicholson. Start slow, set realistic exercise goals, listen to your doctor, and eat healthy balanced meals. You'll know when you are ready.
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
Sorry to hear about your heart attack but glad your still with us to talk about it. Looks like I can't add anything that's not been said already. Some great advice that I too should take.

I wish you all the best in your recovery. Thanks for the wake up post.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
a good friend and fellow drummer had triple bypass 2 years ago and has been back gigging full time for over a year

he changed his diet, exercises more and no longer smokes or drinks

I have faith that you will recover fully
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
.... my cardiologist says I should be able to see a 100% recovery in time and can resume all the activites I was participating in before the attack...even drumming.
I think if your cardiologist gave you a green light ...... that's advice worth following. Best of luck in your recovery.​
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Wow Bob, big stuff, & a big wakeup! I'm sorry to hear of this. I have no direct experience that relates specifically to heart attack, but I do have experience of drumming after life threatening illness. So long as you're physically somewhere close to functioning, the rest is all mindset. Any slight deficiencies can be corrected through finding different ways to do things. Drumming helped me avoid slipping into that dark space that all who have been there know about.

Positive vibes coming your way Bob :)
 

john gerrard

Senior Member
I've never had a heart attack, but two years ago I had a quadrouple by-pass, the kind where they split you wide open. You have to make the right changes in your diet and exercise and follow your Doctor's advice. The most important thing I can add to this is to stay with your changes. Once you start to feel better don't go back to your old habits. You don't change your eating habits and exercise habits, you have to change your life style. Good luck. John
 

bobacwrd

Senior Member
I have a different kind of experience in this matter (I'm a cardiologist).
I can't and won't diagnose and treat anyone over the internet. I can tell you that the goal in general is to get people back to usual activitities,exercising, etc after heart attacks (slowly). Your eventual activity level will depend upon how much damage was done, ie what the heart function is when you finally recover, your general health, and how much you exercise to get / stay in shape. I have 2 or 3 patients who are drummers, one is a pro and still working, one was gigging part time until recently, years after his event. For some people, a heart attack is a "wake up call" and they actually feel better after because they lose weight, take care of themselves, quit smoking, and exercise. Not sure if any of this applies to you, but just throwing it out there.

Sounds like you're on the right track.
My advice in general is listen to your doctor, listen to your body, do what you can do, don't do you can't do, increase activity slowly, and have some patience. Also, if you go to a cardiac rehab program mention drumming to the people there. they will be able to give you more specific advice to your situation.

Good luck!


Thanks for the very beneficial response. My cardiologist says that the heart works at approximately 60% efficiency (If I heard him right). He said after the heart attack mine was working at about 40-45%. I have since the attack started walking around the neighborhood and even took a very abrieviated bike ride of about 4 blocks. I did not become winded in any way. I have not yet sat down behind my drums because the doctor said to give it at least a week (Which will be tomorrow from the day he told me that advise). I have been eating a lot of salads which do produce gas and bloated stomach feeling which cause more breathing discomfort than any of the small exercises I have done recently. I am not a smoker but do have very bad dietary habits which I have since revised to eat more foods like fruits and greens and no red meat. I feel much better and understand that this will also improve even more in the very near months ahead if I maintain the better dietary habits and cardio-type exercise. I have since lost 7 lbs in a week and look to lose another 20 in the next couple of months.
 

bobacwrd

Senior Member
I want to thank all who replied to this thread for thier well wishes and inciteful responses. I welcome any and all information, opinions or ideas reagrding this life-altering experience.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Great news Bob, my thoughts go out to you.

I'm by no means a paragon of health myself but I will recommend that if you're losing weight, the difficult part is not the first few weeks - it'll be keeping up the sustained loss for months later. Losing a lot of weight over a short period is relatively easy but you'll find yourself hitting a 'wall' and becoming frustrated. Stick with it.

Also, becoming a vegetarian is no guarantee of weight loss. I can definitely attest to that from personal experience!
 
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