Living with Heart Disease

John Awen - Vegan Mentor
John Awen – Vegan Mentor

Life with Heart Disease

Life is held in a precarious and invisible balance. We look forward and to the future, everybody does, it is part of being Human. Goals, dreams and aspirations of what we would like to achieve and look forward to. It is these hopes that can push us onwards. At times though, we can be given news relating to our own physical selves that can side swipe us, devastating blows that can seem to totally eradicate the dreams we hold dear.

I was diagnosed as being in Heart failure in 2015. After surviving several health scares a few years ago, my health was worsening noticeably. After trying to deny it, as we all do, I visited my Drs and after many trips, I underwent an echocardiogram. I knew something was badly wrong when 3 consultants rushed in on the scan, a giveaway really.

Once the echocardiogram was finished, I went in to have a chat with my consultant. He was brilliant and me being me, I asked him to not wrap up any bad news and tell me the truth in layman’s terms. Which he did.

He said I shouldn’t be waking up each day and that my heart was so badly damaged, there was not much they could do at that point. Stents were not possible and then, neither was a transplant, simply because I would not survive the anaesthetic.

As well as Angina, I have:

  • Ischaemic Heart Disease
  • Aortic Regurgitation
  • Aortic Valve Failure
  • Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction
  • Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
  • Calcified Plaques of the Coronary Artery
  • Dilated Aortic Root
  • Central and Outer Heart Calcification
  • Mitral Valve Failure

I walked out the hospital that day feeling as if I had been run over by the largest steam roller ever, I felt pain, fear, loss, guilt and just total bewilderment.


I became what I now know was depressed, which lasted about 5 weeks, then something snapped in my head and made me realise how lucky I was. Now that might sound totally mad, let me explain.

The medical profession had told me that I was defying the odds and I should be dead, simple. Within that though, there is no guarantees in life, especially for any longevity that we can often take for granted and nonchalantly just accept, another failing of the human conditioning really, which is sad and we so often perceive that we are invincible and illness and death only seem to happen to others, so we trudge along taking each breath, each day and everything for granted, without a thought about our own physicality, let alone our own mortality, such a shame.

Nowadays I know, accept and am fully aware of the fragility of life, especially my own and that is the biggest lesson that any of us can understand and fully comprehend.

To accept all of this has ultimately brought me to a rich and very fulfilled state of being and has helped me no end in my understandings of the sanctity of life, how to treat people, be compassionate and empathic towards others, and not take anything, anyone, or a single second for granted, not ever.

My illness does not define me and neither will I let it. Enjoy and live in the moment.


As well as offering support to others who might be going through this, or something similar, I am also available to give talks on this topic and any other subjects mentioned on other pages on my website.

Please feel free to contact me, either by phone, or the contact form.

Thank you,

John Awen