Jesse Jones shares his story about the very close call that led to open-heart surgery

It’s been a while since Jesse Jones has been on KIRO 7, fighting for your rights and standing up for the little guy.

Jesse has been taking on another fight, this one for his life, and he’s hoping his story could save other lives.

Jesse’s new journey started at the first tee at Everett Golf and Country Club.

“I got to the end of this hole, and my life changed,” Jesse explained, “Just like that. All of a sudden, I was having a hard time breathing.”

Jesse had heard of the signs of a heart attack, but he didn’t think it was that.

He didn’t have visions of Redd Foxx playing Fred Sanford, clutching his chest and yelling for his wife.

Jesse described it as, “If you’re running like as fast as you can, until you can’t run anymore, and you know how you feel at the top end like you can’t catch your breath? That’s how I felt. And it was like why do I feel like this?”

Jesse’s wife, Kim, is a nurse and told him not to play around. It was time to go to the doctor.

He went to Swedish Medical Center and took a stress test.

His doctor ordered an angiogram, an X-ray of his blood vessels.

Dr. Christopher McGann knew it was serious right away and diagnosed Jesse with coronary artery disease.

“He had extensive area within his heart tissue that was not receiving good blood flow,” Dr. McGann explained. “It was severe enough I was actually surprised by it.”

Blockages of 70% or greater are considered significant.

Jesse’s blockages were worse. with some at 80 and 90%.

When asked if Jesse could have died, Dr. McGinn said, “Definitely, he was at risk.”

Jesse wasn’t even allowed to go home and pack a bag; he needed a quadruple bypass immediately.

>>Learn more about heart attack signs and symptoms.

It was tough news for anyone to hear.

Jesse, who is a cancer survivor, started to reflect.

“I had cancer. Cancer does you,” he pointed out. “This I did to myself, and there’s a level of regret and guilt that goes with it.”

However, it’s that regret and guilt that fueled his determination.

On April 5, Jesse was rolled into surgery.

>>Three hidden symptoms of a heart attack in women.

Now, he’s racking up miles and taking off weight. So far, he’s lost 20 pounds.

Dr. McGann said Jesse was an ideal candidate for surgery and his prognosis is good.

Back in the early ’80s, Jesse was a star fullback for Montana State.

Since college, he’s been an avid golfer. Those years of activity mean his body was already primed for this comeback. It’s used to exercise, and Jesse is pushing himself.

Exercise isn’t his only challenge. Anyone who’s seen him in front of a plate of barbecue knows that.

“You save your money, do all kinds of things because you want to take care of your family,” Jesse explains, “but I never thought not eating barbecue or staying away from fried chicken is taking care of my family, and it is.”

Now, Jesse knows he has to take care of himself to take care of them.

>>Send Jesse a get-well message.

He promises he’ll be back at the station soon, getting back to his old business of fighting for the “little guy.” As he puts it, “The fire is to make change and still do right by people. I still love that.”

But first, he has got to keep up the fight in the gym and at the dining table, so he can take care of the people who matter most.

“My daughter Cydney is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet,” this proud papa said. “And for me to miss her she’s going to do something, my daughter is going to do something, and I would’ve missed it.”

Now, he won’t miss it.

But, his KIRO family and viewers will need to miss him a little longer to give him the time to get stronger and healthier.