Stamford man hikes Mount Kilimanjaro on 3rd anniversary of quadruple bypass surgery
A Stamford man has beat the odds and pushed beyond his limits to climb the highest mountain in Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro.
Arun Sinha, 59, says the hike happened on the third anniversary of his quadruple bypass surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside.
"We climbed the peak; Uhuru peak - that is about 19,400 feet," he says. "It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life but it was worth it. Every second was worth it."
"He's a very motivated person who wants to live life to the fullest and we’re delighted he’s been able to do that," says heart surgeon and the chair of the department of cardiovascular surgery Dr. John Puskas.
Puskas, along with cardiologist and director of Mount Sinai Heart Dr. Valentin Fuster, are Sinha's doctors. Sinha has always been active and seemingly healthy, but only learned he had coronary disease three years ago because plans to scale Mount Everest required a stress test - which he flunked.
"He wanted to climb the Everest and it was found he had three coronary arteries blocked," says Fuster.
Sinha went to the operating room instead of Asia.
"After the surgery, recovery from that, I had trouble walking 100 steps," he says.
It makes Sinha's accomplishment last month that much more extraordinary.
"You feel liberated. It's like your dream come true. I never imagined three years ago that I would be able to do that," he says.
Sinha credits his doctors, who signed off on the trip, and his training.
"He told me he hasn’t given up on Mount Everest. I told him he has to go speak to Dr. Fuster about that one," says Puskas.
"Yeah, maybe I will train and go with him," Fuster says, laughing.
Both doctors say Sinha's story is really an example of what should be done -- and it highlights the importance of getting checked out.
They say not everyone shows symptoms of heart disease.