Northland Man Share His Story Of His Very Own Christmas Miracle

Michael Sylvester was adopted and plans to have genetic testing to see if he carries the gene.

DULUTH, Minn. – After nearly 14 years on the job with the U.S. Postal Service Michael Sylvester is what some may call a walking Christmas miracle.

It’s a far cry from where he was back on Dec. 16, 2016.

“I noticed I was having some chest pain,” said Sylvester. “I thought it was indigestion.”

Michael then did something that isn’t recommended. He drove himself to the hospital.

“I drove in and parked over in the ramp right over here and I walked into the emergency room.”

When he got there doctors discovered what was initially called a heart attack.

“On the echo cardiogram, I saw that his aortic valve was severely leaky,” said Cardiologist Dr. Joseph Doerer. “He’s not looking too good after getting the stint placed he should be feeling better, he’s looking worse.”

Doctors gave Michael and his family a slim chance of hope. The prognosis was a 50/50 chance of dying.

“A dissection is a tear of the aorta,” said Dr. Doerer. “The aorta vessels has layers and his tore.”

Michael underwent a 10 hour surgery to save his life.

“The majority of his dissection was quite severe,” said Dr. Doerer. “I think the most striking thing is how well he’s recovered.”

“Not everyone gets, I’d say the majority of people don’t get to this level,” said Dr. Doerer.

What came next was a two week stay in the hospital.

“It was pretty brutal, at first,” said Sylvester. “I mean, I was unable to move, couldn’t lift hardly an arm. I was so weak.”

Michael had to learn how to live differently and even how to walk again.

“I got a walker and it was 10 feet the first time, 20 feet and a couple walks a day,” said Sylvester. “It just went from there.”

Part of Michael’s recovery included 36 sessions at Essentia’s Cardiac Rehab Heart to Heart Program. He still comes in once every two months.

Now that Michael is feeling like himself again, he doesn’t take anything for granted.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Sylvester. “As far as I’m concerned they’re not medical workers, they’re miracle workers.”

Michael was scheduled to go back to work last Sept., but he returned sooner than expected.

“Then after a couple of weeks I went to six hours a day, by April I went back to full time,” said Sylvester.

This Christmas, Michael will catch up on time lost and spend it with his family.

“I don’t need a Christmas miracle this year, because I got one last year.”

Until then Michael is back on his route delivering miracles of his own to others just days before Christmas.

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