JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A well-known Jackson County leader is now home recovering from heart surgery, and he's sharing his story to help save lives.
Todd Trenchard is well known on the Coast, primarily for his work as director of the Bacot McCarty Foundation. He is also known for overcoming a drug and alcohol addiction 18 years ago. It's a story he shared to help others battling addiction.
Now, Trenchard is fighting a new battle. He had triple bypass surgery last week after finding out that his seemingly minor symptoms were due to a major heart condition.
"I was in a situation where my heart was working as hard as it could, and then it stopped working and I didn't have anything left," explained Trenchard.
The 56-year-old retired banker says his symptoms came on pretty suddenly during his daily three mile run. He didn't think they were serious.
"The first thing was a slight discomfort in my lung area during my first mile, but I didn't think it was my heart. I thought it might be bronchial."
He decided to see a doctor anyway; and it's a good thing he did. Soon after his visit with a cardiologist, he was making an appointment with a cardiac surgeon. He had a 99 percent blockage in his main artery. He also had a 95 percent blockage in two other arteries.
Thoracic and cardiac surgeon at Singing River Health System Dr. Richard Eubanks said his condition was like a ticking time bomb.
"In this case, his heart was still strong and he was doing pretty well, but it was kind of like he was walking along next to a cliff and he could be blown over at any time," said Eubanks.
Eubanks said far too many people ignore their symptoms and die from heart attacks. He said it's important to pay attention to your body.
"The body gives us these warning signals; chest pain, shortness of breath, uneasiness, and in women it may be uneasiness or a flu like feeling or feelings of heartburn," said Eubanks.
He said another factor to pay attention to is heredity. Trenchard's father died of heart disease at his age, so he's very thankful he went to the doctor when he did.
"A lot of us males think we are Superman. I was very close to having someone find me on one of my jogs," said Trenchard.
He says recovery isn't easy. It's painful. He describes it as a "10" on a one to 10 scale the first two days after surgery. He says it's a "five" now.
"It's going to be a long journey before I'm doing things like jogging or hitting a golf ball again, but I do believe I'll have a full recovery," said Trenchard.
Doctors say the recovery could take anywhere from four to eight weeks.