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John Kimbrell – Heart Bypass Surgery Success Story

Going the distance for heart health

John Kimbrell is no novice when it comes to meeting life’s tougher challenges.

He’s a father and grandfather and the owner of an oil and gas company, and, as of spring 2013, he was bicycling 125 miles each week.

John Kimbrell – Heart Bypass Surgery Success Story
Successful bypass surgery at Methodist Dallas meant that John Kimbrell didn't have to bypass favorite activity: long-distance biking.

That’s about the time he started noticing an “odd feeling” in his arms and chest during his bike rides, as well as a drop in performance. John’s primary care physician referred him to cardiologist Imran Afridi, MD, on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

“I pretty much failed my stress test, so we ended up doing an angiogram [coronary X-ray],” John says. “I had extensive blockage in several arteries. Dr. Afridi wasn’t even sure how I was still walking around.”

That very day, he was introduced to John Jay, MD, thoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas.

“He came to my bedside and clearly outlined the options for me to consider: stents or bypass surgery,” John says. “I had the bypass surgery in November.”

Planning his tour de force

Two months after surgery, John was referred to the Folsom Fitness and Rehabilitation Center at Methodist Dallas.

“My care team was wonderful,” he says. “Everything felt well-coordinated and well-managed. The staff members’ positive encouragement, combined with the support of my wife, who’s walked with me every step of the way of this journey, helped me get started in the right direction for my recovery.

In fact, John started setting recovery goals as soon as he woke up from surgery.

“You should have something to work toward,” he says. “It may sound cliché, but you’ve got to realize that you’ve been given a second chance.”

Within a few weeks of his release from cardiac rehabilitation, John was walking five miles a day. About three months after surgery, Dr. Jay approved his return to long-distance biking.

“In February, I was able to celebrate my birthday the way I’d been celebrating it for years — by riding my age in miles,” John says. “This year, it was 63 miles in 4½ hours. When the anniversary of my surgery rolls around in November, I plan to ride 100 miles.”

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From the fall 2014 edition of Shine magazine