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Yiannakis Kyriazis, 61, with his wife, Marbie. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

​Heart Attack Delayed by 8 ½ Hours

Someone shouted, “Quick! He’s having a heart attack.”

By Yiannakis Kyriazis

Dreadful abdominal pain awoke me at 5 a.m.

Though rested, I felt exhausted and out of breath. I was nearly 60 and not in the best of health, so I went straight to the hospital in Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia. A doctor examined me, said everything was fine, and told me to go home.

My wife, Marbie, was by my side. She had been instrumental in helping me to stop smoking five packets a day. She also had led me to Jesus and membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She only had agreed to marry me after my life changed and I was baptized.

Here I was now, just two years into my new faith and marriage, and feeling very unwell.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I told the doctor.

I was still in pain and wanted to know why. Seeing my persistence, the doctor agreed to call a cardiologist. Being off duty, it would take a while.

One hour passed. Two hours. Then five, seven, eight hours.

Around 1:10 p.m., the pain increased substantially. Struggling to breathe, I stood up to go outside for fresh air. My head began to spin, and darkness came over me.

Someone shouted, “Quick! He’s having a heart attack.”

At that moment, the cardiologist arrived.

Medical workers rushed me to the emergency room.

When I regained consciousness, I learned that my heart arteries had been badly blocked.

“We did everything that we could,” the cardiologist said.

I was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for three weeks. Once my condition improved, doctors performed open-heart surgery. I was in the operating room for 9 ½ hours. By God’s grace, the operation went well, and I am strong and happy again.

Looking back, I believe that the pains that awoke me at 5 a.m. were the beginning a heart attack. I could have died right away. Yet our loving God delayed the heart attack for a full 8 ½ hours until the cardiologist arrived, thus preserving my life.

Today I am 61 and very grateful to God for giving me a new lease on life. I will use the extra years that He has given me to serve Him and others.

Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in second quarter 2020 will help construct a new church building and community center in Nicosia for Yiannakis’ congregation and two other congregations.