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'Learn to walk again': Sask. doctor tells story of miracle recovery from deadly heart condition

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It was a powerful morning at Regina’s Conexus Arts Centre Wednesday, where the Lieutenant Governor hosted the annual Saskatchewan Prayer Breakfast and a provincial doctor told his story of survival from a deadly heart condition.

The event traditionally features a guest speaker, and this year, Dr. Khami Chokani, a medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), had many of the attendees visibly emotional as he recalled his near death experience with a complex type A aortic dissection two years ago.

Type A dissection occurs when a tear develops in the ascending part of the aorta just as it branches off the heart.

Chokani is one of only seven people in North America to survive this specific diagnosis.

He recalled the experience of being in and out of consciousness during his six week ICU stay, and the difficult rehabilitation process which included relearning many skills.

“I actually was paralyzed on one side. I had to learn to walk again. I couldn’t tie my buttons, there was no way I could bring my two fingers together, they didn’t meet. I couldn’t see, I was actually blind, I had no depth perception on my left [side] I had no balance, I needed a support in order to keep me upright,” Chokani said.

He shared with the audience how prayer and faith played a large role in his recovery, which is the message he wished they would take home with them.

“I hope they feel hope. Hope that there’s faith and that there’s faith and that there’s that belief that we can get something done together,” he said.

Recently, Chokani was moved from a type A to type B in his diagnosis, meaning he is continuing on an unexpectedly positive and rapid recovery.

Chokani admitted that the entire process was somewhat of a blur, with much of the story being told to him after he was in recovery.

“Even as I was talking it was like I was filling in gaps and then there was the realization that hey this happened as you were told and it’s been a growing process, a learning for me of trying to fill in that gap in my life.”

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