“It was 1 am. My heart was hammering in my chest. I could feel the sweat dribbling down my face. A sharp pain pierced through my chest.

Was it a heart attack? The panic wouldn’t let me think.  

I was doubtful if I would wake up in the morning.  

I did wake up.  

…and my life changed forever.” 

– my personal experience

One of the best things about my job as a software engineer is being able to travel all around the world.  

On June 25 back in 2012, when traveling didn’t feel like I was signing a death warrant, I landed in beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio. Although I had been there before, this time my 30 year old self felt complete – my wife and my baby were with me.  

Downtown view of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.  PC: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/states/ohio/cincinnati/

A tall twin-tower downtown office, the Ohio river running across and the People’s Purple Bridge and homes with sprawling greenery – it was a pretty great for a guy to be.  

The country side apartment where I lived with beautifully designed  club-house was much of my dream home.  

Club House of Brandy Chase Apartments, Amelia

My son turned 1 here. I made friends that I still cherish here. It was absolutely perfect – until this life changing incident.  

My wife and I were sound asleep on a weekday when I woke up with a strange pain in my hands and chest. Palpitations, panic, confusion – the whole hog. It got to a point where I thought that was the end for me. I was a smoker at the time – so the fear was pretty real.  

My Life Changing Experience…

Anyone else would have probably gone and seen a doctor but I’ve never been fond of them. Something about the whole deal makes me nervous. I think it comes from a dentist I went to as a kid, who pulled out my tooth. I’d throw my pills away as a kid. 

One of my friends recommended digestive medicines, saying it was probably just an upset tummy. But I knew deep down that this was something more.  

I did what we all do without ever admitting it. I googled it. 

 Ask about coding or health, it will always come up with a pleasant answer. 

Google India Website

 I decided to quit smoking.  I threw my cigarettes and wrote a note on the last remaining Benson & Hedges Lights I had with me – “I am not a Smoker”. 

I recreated this picture to explain exactly what I did.  I told that stick – “Sorry, you have been with me since last 9 years; when I am both happy and sad.  It’s time for us to depart.”

After 21 days of no smoking, I decided to quit drinking.  That’s what Google asked me to do.

This is the original picture from my online albums. “Jack, I met you recently.  More than I miss you, I will miss my good friends in India.  Especially, the good old monk.

After getting rid of my vices,  I decided to go jogging.  

My neighbor who was a gym coach advised me to follow HIIT training but my backache didn’t permit me. It also made jogging impossible.   

Walking was the way to go for me. 

Sunrise on the Great Parks of Hamilton

I took this picture while walking on the mountains.  Whenever possible, I would take my son out with me on short walks within our apartment premises. 

My son learnt to walk when he was 1 year old

I walked every day.  

I walked for hours. 

Rain, shine or snow.  Nothing could stop me.  

I was outside, determined to reduce my weight and improve my health.  I was a fitness freak.  

Great Parks of Hamilton County – Beautiful park on top of the hill.
East Fork State Park – https://www.stateparks.com/east_fork_state_park_in_ohio.html

I clocked 1 million steps (10 Lakhs) on my pedometer.

After reading and researching, I switched to organic whole foods.  

WholeFoods Market in Kenwood

It wasn’t that hard, actually.  I went from 90 kgs to 74 kgs in one year.  I went further down to 62kg after I got back home in Bangalore, India. 

80 Kgs in 2013
65 Kgs in 2015

My friends and families loved my transformation.  I became a Weight Loss Guru! I was a health advocate.  But there was still a problem. 

I had a shifting pains all over the left side of the body – back, eyes, fingers.  Some days, my ankle would hurt so much it was hard for me to walk. Other days, my neck would hurt.   

The worst pain was on my palm – the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  I couldn’t work because of it. 

After a few emotionally draining experiences, we decided to come home.  I hoped that this would help me and somehow reverse what was happening to me. 

Picture taken while returning back to India.

It did help me.  

But it took me 2 years and lots of experimenting.  

My friends laughed at me.  I was called tee-totler. They’d say I was debugging myself (software engineer joke). “Stop now, or you will die.  I told him that, one day I will come back to you and tell my story.”  

And here I am.

How did I get rid of the pain?

Long story short, I found the diet that suits me. I will write my next article on this topic.

Thanks for reading my blog. Have a great day!

Bonne journée, à bientôt.

Special thanks to my friend Priyam Chhetri for editing this blog.