Silicon Valley Blogger and UCSF Heart Patient Shares Lessons Learned

On the first anniversary of the heart attack he says altered his life “irrevocably,” prominent Silicon Valley tech blogger Om Malik thanked his doctors at UCSF and offered some lessons learned on the road to recovery. In a Dec. 27 posting on his blog, titled “What I Learned This Year,” Malik said his 2007 heart attack — while terrifying — changed him for the better by forcing him to reexamine his lifestyle choices and his priorities. Malik, who is in his early 40s, lost both his father and his grandfather to heart attacks. “When I came back from the hospital on Jan. 17, I made a silent pledge to myself: I am going to do whatever it takes to make it to the first anniversary of my heart attack,” he wrote. “I am not a big advocate, however, of simply surviving. Rather I want to feel a sense of winning, on a daily basis.” To accomplish that, Malik said he focused on setting realistic, short-term goals such as posting two weblogs each week and “smiling more.” In addition, he made health-affirming changes such as giving up cigarettes, red meat and alcohol, and becoming a regular gym-goer. He has since lost 50 pounds, he said. Perhaps even more impressive for a typical Silicon Valley workaholic, Malik took the advice of his UCSF cardiologist, Eddie Rame, MD, and pared down his schedule, cutting back on business travel, public appearances and nonessential meetings. He also learned to delegate and has seen his company thrive as a result, he said, noting that “when you empower people, they, in turn, empower you.” Malik said he credits UCSF for saving him from “near disaster” last year, and in his posting he included an appeal for donations to the University’s various heart disease-related efforts, as well as a link to the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center’s Prevention Tips webpage.