Bonus Days

Highlighting our readers’ experiences with heart disease from their own perspective. We’re always looking for contributions, so please send us yours. Before submitting, please review our Writer’s Guidelines.

David Warren in front of Wrigley Field

I woke up today and it was a big deal. In fact, the last five years have been full of bonus days. Waking up each day has been a really big deal!

November 14, 2014, I went into cardiac arrest and was dead for 15 minutes. It’s a miracle I’m typing now. Thanks to the good Lord above, my wife, some fantastic EMTs, doctors, nurses and more, I still have some time to do good and to be a pain in the rump in this world. With new life, I’ve come to realize each minute, hour, day and year is a bonus.

In the past five years, I’ve met and reconnected with hundreds of people. I’ve traveled to new cities, explored new states and visited new countries. I’ve tried more than a few new beers and experienced foods I never had before. I’ve had articles and stories published in a variety of publications. (I’d put being a published writer on my bucket list before prematurely kicking the bucket.)

I saw my daughter graduate college. I saw the Buckeyes win a national championship and even witnessed something I never saw coming — the Chicago Cubs won the World Series!

Lucky for me, I’d met a couple of kind, compassionate rock star cardiologists who put their vast knowledge together to figure out how to help me. Not an easy chore (just ask my wife)! Most people I know say I’m beyond help, roll their eyes and walk away, but not these two doctors. I’m thankful they never gave up.

They saw that my pulmonary valve was a mess due to a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot that I had surgery for as a child. Some adults who had this surgery as a kid don’t live past 50. Thanks to a miracle — or two or three — I’ve made it to 57!

The doctors and their teams kept a close eye on me, waiting for my heart to get stronger after my cardiac arrest. I had to keep a sense of humor to survive the serious stuff.

They did something I never thought possible. As part of a clinical trial, they guided a special device through my leg and into my heart, allowing a replacement valve to be inserted without invasive surgery. This has given me more bonus days.

I’m thankful for these rock star doctors and their teams. Just like all of my bonus days, they are a really big deal.

David Warren | Survivor Miamisburg, Ohio

Edit ModuleShow Tags

AD. American Heart Association logo. Know your blood pressure numbers. And what they mean. Gain Control. button: learn more.


AD: American Heart Association logo. American Diabetes Association logo. Know diabetes by heart logo. Living with diabetes? Inspire others. Submit story button.


AD. American Heart Association Support Network. Everyone's diagnosis story is different and sharing yours can help others. Join the Support Network and share your experience.


AD: American Heart Association logo. Symptoms. Always feeling tired isn't normal. Learn the signs of Heart Valve Disease.


AD. American Heart Association logo. Know your blood pressure numbers. And what they mean. Gain Control. button: learn more.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Special Topic Supplements

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Heart News

Heart health news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.


Articles, poems and art submitted by heart disease survivors and their loved ones.

Life's Simple 7

Improving your health is as easy as minding seven simple health factors and behaviors. Tips and information to help you improve your health and enhance your quality of life.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These heart patients, their loved ones and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.