Music legend Brian May has emerged from a major health crisis.
The Queen guitarist, 72, took to social media on May 25 in a post he called "my medical adventures" to reveal that he was "very near death" after suffering a heart attack in recent days — and that he's now undergone stent surgery that has saved his life.
His journey began several weeks ago when he sought medical help after injuring himself while gardening at home during COVID-19 lockdown — he made headlines when he told fans in early May that he'd ripped a muscle in his backside and had to go to the doctor. But he soon learned there was more going on.
He was still in intense pain. "I had an MRI and yes, I did have a rip in my gluteus maximus, and it's so easy to make a connection… so that must be the cause of the pain, end of story. And no other tests were done," he explained in a lengthy Instagram video. "And a week later I'm still in agony, I mean real agony. I could not believe the pain.
"So eventually I had another MRI but this time, I had one of the lower spine — and sure enough what we discovered [was] I had a compressed sciatic nerve, quite severely compressed, and that's why I had this feeling that someone was putting a screwdriver in my back. So finally we started treating the thing for what it was," added Brian, who's been using crutches and undergoing physical therapy.
That's when he got the wakeup call of a lifetime. "I thought I was a really healthy guy and I keep fit, good diet," he said. However, "In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack. I say small — it's not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness. It's that feeling in the arms and sweating," he explained in the video.
His "wonderful doctor" realized what was likely going on and "drove me to the hospital himself," Brian said.
There, he had an angiogram that discovered a more serious issue. "I actually turned out to have three arteries which were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to my heart," he said.
"There was a lot of pressure from some quarters to have open heart surgery… and have a triple bypass," he explained. "But I had other people telling me look, you don't have to do this, you can have three stents put in and you can walk tonight or tomorrow morning."
After a lot of consideration, he opted for stent surgery. "When I came 'round, it was as if nothing had happened," he marveled. "It's been amazing… It's an incredible operation done by the right and skillful person and I thank them from the bottom of my heart."
Brian knows how serious the situation was. "I could have died from that. I didn't die. I came out," he said, going on to suggest that everyone in his age group should, as a matter of routine, be given an angiogram, as he believes it's the only way to know if there are life-threatening blockages forming, especially in people like him whose medical tests don't otherwise indicate any issues.