By CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A father of six nearly died from heart failure. Ernest Gordon was just 36 years old at the time. For him, it was a wakeup call to make healthy changes.

We met Gordon on a single digit, frigid day. The 38 year old looked hale and hearty.

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It was hard to believe, that in 2018, he would get winded and tire easily.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh interviews Ernest Gordon. (credit: CBS)

“It would become shorter distances that I couldn’t walk without taking a break,” he told Health Specialist Kathy Walsh. “And then my feet would start to swell up really bad.”

Gordon’s wife, Ebony, was worried. Gordon said she warned him.

“‘You know you’re not going to leave me here with all these kids to raise by myself, so you better get your butt to the doctor,'” Gordon recalled her saying.

(credit: Gordon family)

He said it took months and two doctors before he was hospitalized with heart failure, the heart’s inability to pump an adequate supply of blood to the body. He learned his heart was pumping at just 10%.

“So, I’m thinking in my head I’m about to die,” he said.

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On the day CBS4 met Gordon, we watched cardiologist Dr. Richard Jantz take a look at Gordon’s heart.

“It really looks quite good,” Jantz said.

Gordon has been in the care of the Heart Failure Clinic at The Medical Center of Aurora and  Jantz. An echocardiogram shows Gordon’s heart is now pumping at 55 to 60%.

(credit: CBS)

“It looks as though heart muscle function has now essentially normalized,” said Jantz.

Gordon feels lucky he found the clinic.

“I think it was lifechanging,” he said.

Gordon works security at an Aurora High School. He is a wrestling coach. He is a ramp agent for United Airlines at DIA. He has switched to a healthy diet and is on a number of medications.

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“I’m breathing and healthy and still around to take care of the babies,” he said, feeling grateful.

Kathy Walsh