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Of Mice & Men Fans Helped Vocalist Recover From Open Heart Surgery

Megan Thompson

In April 2010, while in the midst of touring on a successful debut album, Of Mice & Men frontman Austin Carlile found himself having to step down from the band. It was truly a hard decision. With an open heart surgery needed to save his life, though, it had to be done.

“It was one of those things just tugging on me to do. It was always tugging on me, and I was always worried about it,” Carlile told Noisecreep while taking a break from the studio with Of Mice & Men. He had recently rejoined the band after he was given the go-ahead to perform again.

At 18, the former Attack Attack! frontman was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a disorder of the connective tissue that can affect the body in various ways. But for Carlile, it was wearing down his heart valves and cardiovascular system. “There’s some things in life you can’t do anything about,” he said in his trademarked positive tone. “You’re stuck with a situation, and all you can do is get the best you possibly can out of it.”

He attempted to put the surgery off initially, but shows had become a problem as his chest tightened, causing immense pain. “I just wanted to get it over with so I can do things normally again.”

After surgery, Carlile spent two days in intensive care. “After that I was in the hospital for eight days, and then I was literally on a couch for two months. After that I started doing physical therapy.

“There where days I would sit recovering, bored, and not able to do this or that, and if it wasn’t for the reaction of the fans and kids talking to me, giving me encouragement, sending me letters, I would have gone insane.

“I somehow wish there was a way [to show] how thankful I am for their support,” he admitted, breaking a smile. “It got me through a lot of the rough phase. I would wake up and my chest would hurt. I couldn’t sit up to watch TV. [The fans] really helped with the whole recovery process. I couldn’t be any more grateful.”

Though he’s ready to take the stage again, a new diet and lifestyle have to follow. “I can’t do cocaine,” he laughed. “It was never a problem before. I can’t do lots of caffeine. I can’t do certain kinds of weightlifting. I can’t scuba dive … some of the things are kind of intense. For those most part, everything is back to normal. I can run again and play baseball; all things I couldn’t do before because I was restricted.”

Only two days after speaking with Carlile, he was rushed to the hospital for complications with his heart. Staying true to his relationship with fans, he detailed everything on his Twitter — even the procedure needed to balloon his arteries. “So ready to get outta here and do some killer work on this album,” he relayed. “Hope you are all ready for it. Holding nothing back at all.”

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