Doctor’s visit leads former Wichita TV anchor to septuple bypass surgery

Larry Hatteberg is recovering from a septuple by-pass surgery. (KSN News)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In our new special series called Grateful Heart, KSN will share an inspirational story of a local person overcoming a heart condition.

First is the story of a man many of you will likely recognize.

Larry Hatteberg worked at KAKE-TV here in Wichita for more than 50 years.

He recently started enjoying retirement when a sudden septuple by-pass surgery changed his life forever.

“I have a second chance, and I know that now, and this is something I never thought about before because I thought I was healthy.”

“The final report came back that, no, it was a single impact,” David said. “It was not a second impact. It was not because of a previous concussion. It was a single impact.”

“I have no history of heart problems, nothing runs in the family, I thought it was fine. And then on a shoot in my backyard I became light-headed and that’s just so unlike me,” explains Larry.

That’s what initially got Larry in to see the doctor.

After hearing about his light headedness, the doctor put larry on a treadmill for a stress test.

“An hour later he calls me up and says ‘Larry, you’re gonna have a heart attack.’ Well. When your doctor tells you you’re gonna have a heart attack, that sort of focuses you pretty rapidly.”

Larry says no one was more surprised than he.

Larry is average weight, eats a Mediterranean diet and has no issues of heart trouble in his family health history.

The next day a heart cath at the hospital showed at least three of his arteries were completely blocked.

Larry remembers, “A few days later I’m in for surgery, I come out of surgery and the surgeon says you had seven arteries blocked. That was a huge surprise.”

The good news from all of that – Larry didn’t actually have a heart attack.

He and his doctors caught the trouble just in time.

“My mission after this,” says Larry, “is to tell people – hey, you may be feeling fine and everything may be going perfect in your life. And then bang! – To have this happen to you. It’s a real showstopper.”

After retiring, Larry took up the habit of walking four to five miles a day at the gym.

His doctors say being physically active put Larry way ahead of the curve in recovery from surgery.

“But I didn’t know I was doing it for my heart when I was doing it. I was just doing it because I liked it,” laughs Larry.

Now, several weeks post-op Larry is learning recovery takes time.

Used to just running up the stairs, it now takes Larry a little longer to get around his home.

He says his chest incision doesn’t hurt, but the 25-inch incision on his leg where they took his veins during surgery is uncomfortable.

“I have a second chance, and I know that now, and this is something I never thought about before because I thought I was healthy.”

Larry’s doctors say his recovery prospects look great, and Larry hopes to get back to his retirement hobbies of photography and traveling across Europe with his wife.

He strongly advises that anytime you experience a symptom with your body that’s out of the ordinary, that you see a doctor.

Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet. Follow and like us on Facebook and Twitter.