WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas veteran battled a heart condition that could have turned fatal.
Kevin Will is a 56-year-old disabled Army veteran. In July, he noticed something was off.
“When I started exercising, I started getting chest burning right across here. And I’m like, man, what the heck is that all about?” Kevin said.
Living in Oklahoma at the time, Kevin went to the emergency room twice.
“They did all the tests and everything and said, ‘Well, you just have heartburn.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ve had heartburn a lot of times. I know it ain’t heartburn,'” Kevin said.
Kevin was stuck on a two-month waitlist to even get a treadmill test. In August, he moved to Wichita and visited Ascension Via Christi.
“‘Oh yeah, and by the way, I’ve been getting this heart burning in my chest. It hasn’t really been happening lately, so I don’t know if it’s that big of a deal.’ Right away, her doctor instincts kicked in. She said, ‘Yeah, it is a big deal,'” Kevin said.
Dr. Terri Nickel moved swiftly and referred him to a cardiologist. Next, she lined up a heart catheterization.
“I had 99.9% blockage in one artery, and I think my other one was 85% blockage, and my other one was 80, and my other one was 80,” Kevin said.
The condition is commonly known as the widow maker.
“I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, so I was pretty nervous. I knew what was going to happen. So I just was there for him,” Carol Will, Kevin’s wife, said.
“They sent me to a room. They didn’t want me to leave cuz they said, ‘you know, I was just one step away from having a fatal heart attack,'” Kevin said.
Four days after his initial visit, Kevin underwent surgery, which was a success.
“I’m just thankful that God blessed me to get me here in the speedy time that he did, getting me to Dr. Nickel and Dr. Saad. The speed of it all is just amazing. I’m here for the holidays and because of these people in this hospital,” Kevin said.
Kevin is still recovering. He is even back to his mile-long walks. His best advice is to take your health seriously, and if something is off, get checked.