'I thought it would never happen to me again, but it did' 

Mike Smith has had three heart attacks. As he nears 60 and enjoys life to the full, he explains how the attacks affected him.

"My first experience was many years ago. I thought it was heartburn but ended up at my local hospital, where they told me I’d had a heart attack.

"After that, I was put on a course of tablets and didn’t have any more problems for the next 14 years. I stopped smoking and, with the help of the tablets, I was leading a normal life.

"However, I started smoking again, which was not the wisest thing to do. I was feeling so fit and healthy that I thought I'd never have a heart attack again, but I did. And after this second heart attack, I had another one a month or two later. The doctors decided that I needed a heart bypass operation.

"I remember waking up in intensive care about 10 hours after the operation. I stayed there for about two days, before being moved to the normal ward. The doctors had me up and walking pretty much immediately. I was in hospital for about a week.

"On my first day home, I was visited by a cardiac nurse. For the next week or so, I had to hold a cushion every time I was about to sneeze because it hurt. 

"Once I'd recovered, I went to the gym in my local community centre, where I met other people who'd had the same problem. It was useful chatting with them about a common condition.

"I now take three tablets every morning and one at night. It's a small price to pay.

"You don’t have to sit in a corner and be woeful all day. I got married and had a son after my first heart attack. Life certainly doesn’t end after you’ve had a heart attack."

Heart attack: real story

Mike Smith has had three heart attacks. As he nears 60 and enjoys life to the full, he explains how the attacks affected him and how his recovery was different for each of them.

Media last reviewed: 21/04/2015

Next review due: 21/04/2017

Page last reviewed: 13/06/2014

Next review due: 13/06/2016