Before My Heart Stops: A Memoir (Hardcover )
by Paul Cardall
I was born with half a heart. God made up the difference.
This is the remarkable true story of one man's struggle to survive long enough to get a second chance at life.
Award-winning musician and popular speaker Paul Cardall was born, essentially, with half a heart. After living more than three decades with a congenital heart defect and undergoing six major heart surgeries and numberless procedures, Paul was informed that his heart would not beat much longer.
“Paul was a poor candidate for a heart transplant,” says Angela T. Yetman, MD. “It would be technically difficult and possibly fatal . . . but Paul was determined to beat the odds.” And beat them he did.
Along the way, Paul wrote down his thoughts, feelings, and observations in an online blog called “Living for Eden,” named for his three-year-old daughter. This book reflects those blog entries and additional intimate insight into a miraculous journey that convincingly shows that God knows us personally and that we are put here on earth for a reason.
Paul says, “I'm a witness that these soul-stretching experiences can offer us, if we let them, joy, wisdom, happiness, and a personal relationship with God.”
After reading his story, you might also ponder the question, What do I need to do with my life . . . before my heart stops?
Table of Contents
1. Living for Eden — Part 1
2. My Wife, Lynnette
3. Living for Eden — Part 2
4. Growing Up the Son of a Newsman
5. Living for Eden — Part 3
6. Memory of a Christmas Past
7. Living for Eden — Part 4
8. A Broken Heart
9. Living for Eden — Part 5
10. This Disease Could Kill Me
11. Living for Eden — Part 6
12. The Gift of Music
13. Living for Eden — Part 7
14. “Pianist's Competitors Rally for Fellow Artist”
15. Living for Eden — Part 8
16. Pioneer Faith
17. Living for Eden — Part 9
18. “Son of KSL Editorial Director Dies after Being Tased by Police”
19. Living for Eden — Part 10
20. “I Knew You Would Come”
21. Living for Eden — Part 11
22. Fishing with Brian
23. Living for Eden — Part 12
24. A Tribute to Brian
25. Living for Eden — Part 13
26. Living for Eden — Part 14
27. My Memory of the Transplant
28. “With a New Heart . . . Paul Cardall Beats Odds Yet Again”
29. Living for Eden — Part 15
30. “Paul Cardall Recovery a 'Miracle'”
31. Living for Eden — Part 16
Epilogue: Looking Back
Progression of My Heart
Photo and Illustration Credits
Book on CD: This unabridged audio version of Before My Heart Stops is recorded by Paul Cardall with narrations by his wife, Lynette, and his father, Dwayne Cardall. Also featured is the foreword written and recorded by Dr. Angela Yetman. Listeners will also enjoy excerpts from Paul's music.
- Size: 5½" x 8½"
- Pages: 208
- Published: 2010
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Number of discs: 5
- Run Time: Approx. 6.25 hrs.
About the Author
Internationally acclaimed pianist, producer, and film composer PAUL CARDALL is known for his unique, heartfelt musical style. Indeed, his fans say Cardall’s music literally soothes the heart and nurtures the soul.Such descriptions are ironically appropriate since the artist was born with essentially half a functioning heart. That life-threatening congenital defect as well as a series of difficult surgeries and heart-related illnesses have shaped Cardall’s musical style and inspired his dozens of popular melodic compositions and arrangements.
Notably, his thirteenth studio album titled New Life debuted as the number one Billboard New Age album in February 2011 and held a position in the top five for more than 30 weeks. Radio stations reporting to Reviews New Age recognized New Life as the best album of 2011. Music critic Michael Debbage wrote, “There is no filler on this brilliant album that has even surpassed Yanni and Enya on the Billboard New Age Chart, hitting No. 1 without any major label support or media attention – Amazing!”
The aptly named album was Cardall’s first recording after undergoing a life-saving heart transplant in September 2009. It was during the 385 days of waiting on the organ donation list that a hospitalized Cardall turned to blogging as a means of maintaining perspective while facing death and sharing his experience with family and friends. Over a million people followed the blog and own one of his albums.
Cardall believes his music “has the power to heal and inspire others.” Indeed, audiences who attend a Paul Cardall concert or speech typically come away feeling more alive and grateful for all that is good in this beautiful, yet often chaotic world. One well-known fan, Fox News Anchor Bret Baeir, who has a son with a similar congenital heart defect, has said, “Paul inspires me and my family. He exudes optimism.”
Steinway & Sons Artist Manager Jenn Gordan said, “Cardall’s commitment to excellence in his artistic and professional achievements make it most appropriate that he is included on the Steinway Artist Roster, a list of the most accomplished and discriminating artists in the world.”
In addition to his recording career, Cardall founded his own record label Stone Angel Music in 1999. He launched cellist Steven Sharp Nelson’s recording career with the popular “Sacred Cello Series” that debuted on the Billboard Classical Charts. Cardall also helped establish acoustic guitar virtuoso Ryan Tilby with a solo career. As part of his Stone Angel Music venture, Cardall owns a prestigious recording studio in the heart of Salt Lake City featuring a large orchestral live room, piano room, drum room, iso-booth, and two mix rooms; including offices for the record label.
In addition to his music, Cardall actively promotes various causes involving congenital heart disease and speaking out about what has been described as the nation’s number one birth defect. He created an endowment at Salt Lake Community College that funds scholarships for students born with congenital disease. His long-list of awards and recognitions includes an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Utah State Board of Regents.
Amazing book! Very inspiring...
by Mishell - reviewed on September 08, 2010
I read it in 2 days...couldn't put it down. What an amazing man. Everyone can learn something from this book. It made me really take a look at what I am doing each day....does it really matter in the eternal view on life?...is it bringing me closer to my savior?
by Customer - reviewed on September 08, 2010
This was such an uplifting inspiring read that was hard to put down. We all have trials and challenges...it is how we handle them that sets us apart. Paul sets an amazing example for all of us in how to deal and overcome adversity. Heart warming!
by rebecca - reviewed on September 10, 2010
Loved, loved, loved this book. Written so beautifully. What a wonderful story with a happy ending.
by Customer - reviewed on January 14, 2011
This was an easy uplifting read. I was inspired by the authors outlook on life and strength in the face of challenges. I would recommend this to others.
by Dianna - reviewed on October 12, 2011
Paul has truly put his feelings, personal life, talent into his work. Knowing what he has gone through inspires me to work harder and appreciate my health. Also Paul's cd's touch my heart with his talents. one of the cd's has his sweet daughter ... a treat
A truly remarkable story of courage, faith, endurance and love.
by Jane - reviewed on September 12, 2010
This was a truly remarkable, miraculous story of courage, faith, endurance and love. I'm so glad it had a happy ending! I am a daughter of someone who suffered from a rheumatic heart condition, and I know a little of the anxiety and fear that accompanies such a condition. What a remarkably supportive wife and family. He is truly loved by them and by our Father in Heaven. Paul must have a great work still left to do on this earth. I can hardly wait to see what's next for him.
A Courageous Man
by Linda - reviewed on September 17, 2010
I was touched by the Spirit as I listened to Paul's book on CD. He took his trials and used them as the Lord intended to strengthen him and his family. He became a tool in the Lord's hand to spread the gospel and share God's love no matter the circumstances. My difficult circumstances were put into perspective and I found myself with a sure knowledge that I too can serve others in my affliction while being richly blessed. Thank you, Paul, for your individual example of what a courageous man should be. Thanks to both of you, Paul and Lynette, for allowing your strong devotion to each other be such a wonderful example to all in this time of withering faithfulness.
wasn't as impressed as everyone else
by Dena - reviewed on November 02, 2010
I found the book to be marginal. I was hoping it would be more of him writing from the present tense looking back. Instead, all he did was publish his blog in hardback.
Remarkable perspective on making the best of life’s journey
by David - reviewed on November 16, 2010
I had a chance to barrow this book from my wife and read it on a flight. I was impressed by the overwhelming sense of gratitude and thankfulness from birth to beyond the heart transplant. The perspective of valuing each day and thanking God no matter what life has in store has given me cause to reflect and provided a much needed perspective on what life is truly about; the quality of relationships with those around you and the Lord. Insightful quotes and profound experiences that lift the soul.
Inspiring and humbling! A must read for anyone!
by samantha - reviewed on January 04, 2011
Being a Mother of a HLHS boy, I felt an immediate connection to the author. What I appreciated most was his positive outlook on life and his appreciation for family and the little things. We can all be a little more thankful for the good things in life, and I felt as though I was able to draw some strength from his experiences. I wish Paul and his family all the best, and recommend this book to anyone who believes miracles can really happen! Because they really do and I can testify the truth of that!
by Customer - reviewed on December 04, 2012
read this book and loved it. but sad of hear of some sad things going on with Paul.