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Jeric finds peace

Nothing is impossible with God. He’s just nudging you a bit to relax and enjoy life with the people around you that you have probably taken for granted because you were too busy. It’s time to take care of yourself. You have served other people too long. God is good and He will make this new lifestyle fun as well.

BAGUIO CITY — Golfer Jeric Hechanova sat comfortably at the veranda of the Baguio Country Club with Benjie Sumulong beside him on a Wednesday morning, the start of the grueling homestretch that will decide the champion in the 72nd Fil-Am Men’s Invitational golf team championships.

He has been here many times before as team captain of many Luisita teams, including last year when his players were overpowered by Manila Southwoods in the regular tournament.

Hechanova, who has managed several golf clubs from Baguio to Cebu City, has never looked healthier with his trim body. His smile captivates everyone around him.

“Life is good,” he would always say.

Only last March, Hechanova was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital, fighting for his life. He had difficult time breathing and his legs became swollen.

He was eventually diagnosed with a severe heart failure called “dilated cardiomyopathy,” a heart muscle disease that causes the heart chambers to thin out and stretch and grow larger.

It is inoperable and incurable with a life expectancy of five years.

In his Facebook post last month, Hechanova said the condition makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.

“At that time, my ejection fraction (the volume of blood being pumped out) was a critical level of 28 percent,” he wrote.

At that current level, Hechanova said he could die any day because of heart failure.

To say that he was surprised upon learning of the dreaded news was an understatement.

“I always thought I was healthy,” he recalled.

Instead of sulking and feeling sorry, Hechanova said he accepted it and thanked God for having a good life.

“I am resolved to continue to do everything I can to get better and live the best days of my life,” he said.

Hechanova made sure to take all the prescribed meds and follow a strict diet that consists of only 350 calories per meal.

He exercises by walking for about 30 minutes at either 5 a.m or 7 a.m. He has since lost over 40 pounds.

He now lives a stress-free life. His motto: Live life to the fullest each day.

There has been a remarkable improvement. His ejection fraction is now 45 per person, with normal being 55-70 percent. This means his heart is now pumping blood much better than last March, boosting his chances of living beyond five years for persons with cardiomyopathy.

He initially did not want to go public about his condition but his cardiologist, Dr. Mariann Almajar of the Medical City, encouraged him to share his story to inspire others and hopefully even save a life.

A week after being discharged from the hospital last March, Hechanova received a message from a close friend.

“Nothing is impossible with God. He’s just nudging you a bit to relax and enjoy life with the people around you that you have probably taken for granted because you were too busy. It’s time to take care of yourself. You have served other people too long. God is good and He will make this new lifestyle fun as well.”

Hechanova is now at peace with himself.

He talked about his recent travel to Thailand where, for the first time, he put his mobile phone on airplane mode the whole time.

He will still be a fixture at Fil-Am and the forthcoming Philippine Airlines Interclub wars.

Hechanova still wants his team to win, there is no mistake about it.

But he won’t lose sleep if they lose.

Life is good.

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