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To be given the chance to sit in on what could have been.....well, it could have been an ending of tragedy that plays out over and over again.  Depending on how you view the world and all that happens in it, it could be a great karma thing.  Maybe it was random luck.  A miracle?  There are plenty who believe that they happen all around us.  No matter the circumstances surrounding this reconnection of Dr. Dirk Bonnema from Trinity Health Muskegon and Kirk Antekeier who's a born and bred Muskegon champion, it was as close of a call as it comes and the good Dr. and Kirk are here to share the story. 

 

Dr. Bonnema and Kirk first knew one another in their younger days, before their career paths were set and as they figured out their way and as life tends to do, they drifted a part raising families of their own and getting in to life.  Dr. Bonnema took the medical path and Kirk went in to real estate.  Years passed and as life often does, Dr. Bonnema found his way back to West Michigan from South Carolina to be a Cardiovascular Specialist at Trinity Health Muskegon.  

On a random chance, they passed one another in their neighborhood out on a bike ride and thought - "Was that who I thought it was?".  The circled back, and sure enough, long lost friends picked up right where they left off.  Time to schedule a golf day.  As they are both really busy, that took some doing, but it happened and in the ride to the course, the conversation turned to a few "minor chest pains" that Kirk had been feeling.  Dr. Bonnema made the suggestion of some simple tests to rule out anything and Kirk agreed.  It was then, things took a turn.

In the tests, it was found that there was a major blockage in the arteries that carry blood to the heart.  Major.  Kirk had already gone past the point where an angioplasty (where a balloon is used to clear out the artery) could help and even stents were past the point of being useful, Kirk needed open heart surgery as he had the "widow maker" blockage hiding in him and it was only a matter of time until the heart said "no more".  This is the kind of heart attack most common in men 45 and older and women 55 and older and if one happens, there's not much of a chance of survival.  Some survive....celebrities Bob Harper and Kevin Smith managed to pull through but it's really a longshot.  

A combination of factors can lead to this issue.  Genetics and lifestyle are key.  If your family has a history of heart disease it's important to get checked.  It's recommended too that your routine consists of a healthy diet, exercise and staying away from smoking and other over indulgences.  Kirk was in the prime of his life, working out and walking twice daily when this blockage was found, so making sure that as you age, you're getting this checked regularly is important too.  Ask your primary care physician when it's time to start regular screenings and more thorough checks. 

Today, as friends are reunited, we are reminded that what might seem random, could really have a great purpose.  Did this reunion happen so that one guy could get fixed up and carry on, or could it maybe a little more?  Could all of this have been in the plan to get two guys together to be able to tell a truly remarkable story? A reminder to rest of us to do a little better for ourselves and keep an eye on what's important for our health, and to protect those we love from the instant and devastating loss of us?   Miracles do happen you know.  

Our thanks to Trinity Health for their sponsorship of all of our work.

 

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