The story I am about to recount is one that is truly remarkable, a tale of a divine intervention, a personal transformation, and the life-altering changes it inspired. This is the story of Doug Varrieur, a man who embarked on a path dictated by destiny, transforming his own life while also influencing the lives of many others.

In the early morning hours of a beautiful August day in 2007, Doug found himself sipping coffee in bed with his wife, Sherri, at their cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Western NC. It was a typical day, or so it seemed. After their morning coffee, a routine dip in the hot tub was next on the agenda. But as Doug rose, an unusual bout of heartburn and a strange sensation in his neck stalled his steps.

Worried by this anomaly, Sherri suggested a trip to the hospital, which Doug was initially resistant to. He had always led a healthy lifestyle, free of smoking, drinking or drugs, and this sudden discomfort seemed inexplicable. However, as Sherri prepared for her impending trip to a family reunion in AZ, her insistence won out, and they found themselves in the hospital’s emergency room within 30 minutes.

While the EKG and blood tests showed no alarming results, Doug still felt off, which the doctor picked up on. Doug found himself admitted to the hospital for observation. Sherri, although concerned, had to catch her flight to AZ, and Doug convinced her that he was in good hands.

Later, Jason, the ER doctor, explained that he had observed something amiss during the tests, even though Doug felt better and was eager to get back home. Jason insisted that Doug schedule a nuclear stress test to ensure everything was alright. Heeding his advice, Doug booked an appointment for six days later.

As the days passed, Doug returned to his daily chores and pet-care duties, and also continued his work on his book, FAT TO SKINNY. The day for his stress test coincided with Sherri’s return, making it a day filled with anticipation and excitement.

However, the treadmill test proved to be the pivotal point in Doug’s life. Dr. Gross, the cardiologist, revealed that Doug had a major blockage, almost 95%, in the left anterior descending artery (LAD), commonly referred to as the ‘widow maker.’ This artery is responsible for supplying blood to the pump, and any blockage can have serious implications.

Doug found himself facing an immediate need for surgery, grappling with the harsh reality of his situation on his ride to the Asheville Heart Tower. With his wife’s strength to lean on and a cascade of thoughts flowing in his mind, Doug found himself preparing for a battle he hadn’t expected to face.

In the quiet hours before the surgery, Doug found himself musing over life, his achievements, regrets, and the eternal question of whether he was ready to meet his maker. Despite the whirlwind of emotions, he felt comforted knowing he had lived a full life and had mostly fulfilled his dreams, with the only regret being that his book wasn’t in print yet.

Waking up on the day of his surgery, Doug found himself stepping into an operating room filled with the hustle and bustle of medical personnel. Despite the intimidating environment, Doug found himself intrigued rather than scared, as he watched the inner workings of his heart on a TV monitor above.

However, during the procedure, there was a moment of unease. “We’re having a bit of a difficulty,” Dr. Lawrence stated calmly. He elaborated that they’d made three attempts to insert the stent, but each time, the stent had not properly deployed. For a fleeting moment, the atmosphere in the room shifted from a well-rehearsed ballet to an impromptu scramble.

Despite the situation, there was no panic, just a newfound concentration as Dr. Lawrence and his team regrouped and reassessed. They decided to switch to a larger stent size, hoping that it would prove more successful. I remained, conscious yet eerily detached from the events unfolding inside my own body, finding solace in the methodical hum of the machines around me.

The fourth try was a charm. As the new stent slid into place, a collective sigh of relief washed over the room. Dr. Lawrence announced, “The stent is in position,” a satisfied smile spread across his face. The monitor overhead reflected a successful insertion and a restored blood flow in my LAD artery. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief wash over me, knowing that I was no longer on the brink of disaster.

In the aftermath of the procedure, the remarkable dexterity and calmness demonstrated by Dr. Lawrence and his team left me in awe. Their ability to adapt in the face of adversity had quite literally saved my life. I was swiftly moved into recovery, where Sherri was waiting anxiously. As I grasped her hand, I felt a renewed appreciation for life and the urgent need to complete my mission – to get my book, “FAT TO SKINNY,” into the hands of the people who needed it.

Over the subsequent weeks, the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and readers filled my heart with gratitude. It was a humbling reminder of the power of community and the human spirit’s ability to endure and overcome.

This event redefined my perspective on life, health, and the importance of being proactive about one’s well-being. It’s strange how life’s most challenging moments can serve as the most profound motivators. My divine mission took on a deeper meaning as I faced death head-on and emerged victorious, instilling a renewed sense of purpose and resolve in my fight against obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.

My journey from fat to skinny wasn’t merely a physical transformation, but also an emotional and spiritual one. And while I look forward to sharing more about this journey with you, I hope my experience also serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of your heart – both literally and figuratively. After all, life is too precious to take for granted, and every heartbeat counts.

As I sign off, here’s to a heart-healthy, fulfilling life for us all. My divine mission, as ordained by God, has become more apparent than ever – to assist people in their journey from fat to skinny, one heartbeat at a time. And that is a mission I carry out with profound joy and unending gratitude.

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