New Book Puts Different Twist On Open Heart Surgery

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Dr. Tony Mussari went to a Memorial Day parade looking for a story. He came home with two new friends, heart disease and open-heart surgery

Almost 700,000 people had open-heart surgery in 2008. Dr. Tony Mussari is one of the few who saw it as the most positive learning experience of his life.

In his new book, Step Into My Heart: Heart Disease and Open Heart Surgery My New Best Friends, he tells how it made him a better husband, teacher, producer and friend.

Mussari's story is about overcoming fears and never giving up. It's a story about the destructive power of stress and the healing power friendship. It is a story about the life sustaining power of affirmation and gratitude.

In another respect, it is a teacher's story told in a teacher's way. Tony Mussari talks candidly about his lifetime quest for achievement, meaning, and purpose. He explains how his lifestyle and persistent denial of his symptoms led to a cardiac event and quadruple bypass surgery.

Only a heart patient could write this book, but it is not a medical book. It is not only for people with heart disease. It is for those who want to prevent it. It is for everyone who wants to know what is important in life. It is for anyone who wants to know how to live a life of meaning, purpose, and inner peace.

Mussari is a documentary filmmaker and retired teacher. Two months after his surgery, Mussari began producing a 21-part series about his experiences for his television program Windsor Park Stories.

Heart Scene: A Journey of Discovery and Recovery provided the raw material for Step Into My Heart. All the episodes and two interviews about the book are archived in the Now Playing section his website, The Windsor Park Theater,

Mussari's surgeon, Dr. Michael Harostock, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital wrote the foreword to the book. Dr. Harostock calls it a human story about a patient's journey that will "teach others not to be afraid of the uncertain." Harostock adds: "it is a roadmap for a healthy heart and a healthy life."

Reviewers have celebrated Mussari's book as bold, courageous, beautifully written, hopeful, inspirational, and heartfelt.

Father Joseph Girzone, author of the Joshua series, called it "a warm and comforting experience for all who read it."

Dr. Stephen G. Post, author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, wrote this about Mussari's work: "In Step Into My Heart, Anthony J. Mussari brings to light his powerful experience as a patient who has been transformed by open-heart surgery."

New York City attorney Barbara Hack liked the way Mussari and his wife, Kitch, remind us that generosity of heart can survive through great adversity. She wrote: "Although Tony speaks to the experience of the open heart patient, his own "open heart" will speak to a broad spectrum of people who seek a way to work through and triumph over adversity with grace and joy."

Dr. Caoilfhionn Ni Bheachain teaches at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland. She called the book "very brave and moving. Tony Mussari's recounting of his brush with mortality resonates with emotional honesty. This is a story of personal growth, friendship and the necessity for gratitude even when confronted with terrifying adversity."

After reading pre-publication excerpts of the book, Carl Mays, author and motivational speaker, wrote this: "Tony Mussari has done an excellent job in figuratively "opening up his heart" as he guides readers through the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences of open-heart surgery. He vividly and honestly describes his life before, during and after surgery. Tony advises, "If you don't reach out for help, you won't get it." I recommend reaching out for this book and sharing it with those you love."

For additional information about the book, contact Kitch Loftus-Mussari at 570-675-6374. Step Into My Heart: Heart Disease and Open Heart Surgery My New Best Friends is available at,,, and

Contact: Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Kitch152 (at) aol (dot) com


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