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There’s a Difference between Hoping and Knowing when it comes to Your Ticker…

July 2017
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I’ve spent the last 24 years and change trying to do the next right thing when it came to my health.  I quit drinking, quit smoking, quit soda, quit, quit, quit, quit, quit…  and started exercising.  A LOT.  I’ve been active for most of my life but I got nutty about rollerblading as a young man, and cycling as a mid-life journey.
The amount of exercise I get on my bike had my doctor nervous…. it turns out some people think 10-15 hours in a week is a lot.  Crazy, right?  They called it “extreme”.  Seven hours a week at a geezerly pace is okay but ten or twelve riding like a middle-aged comet is beyond the pale?

Anyway, I had an appointment with a specialist that a doctor/cyclist friend of mine holds in high regard to get checked out.  The weeks leading up to the appointment were pretty tough.

I had trained hard through the winter and I was riding strong.  Then came the freak out by my family doc (who had nothing but my best interest and health in mind).  When he said that I had a special hook on my EKG that was either nothing one big @$$ coffin nail – and I mean coffin nail in the worst way, as in you only need one.  I backed off on the intensity of cycling almost immediately.  I tried to convince myself that I was being silly, that I was as healthy as an ox, but I couldn’t help but as a friend of mine likes to say, “It’s real easy to talk tough about death until the bus shows up for you”.

I had my appointment and it went exceptionally well – according to the specialist, it was more likely that my heart was perfectly healthy and strong than it was the coffin nail.  He didn’t hear so much as a murmur, and I should go on living my life and come back to see him in 30 years when I started slowing down (that would put me at about 77).  He then offered that just to make 100% sure that I was clear, he’d order an echocardiogram.  That just happened, and it was awesome.  To be able to see the valves of my heart working in real time…. to hear it working.

I’ve all but ceased worrying, but in two weeks or so, when the report finally comes out, I’ll know for sure that I can still hammer.  Let’s just say I’m looking forward to that report.

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5 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    Hammer anyway. It’s not the odd blip in a heart that causes the problem. It’s the stress. I’d say most of us have mild arrhythmias from time to time that are never noticed. You picked up on yours not because you’re a slob but on the contrary: you care about your health. Ride on, brother. You might get a flat in the tyre department; sounds like your ticker is built like a Schwalbe Marathon!

  2. Archetype says:

    Whew! That’s quite a relief I’m sure buddy. Having a family and young kids that has got to be one of your worries, and the worries of most parents. Glad you have a clean bill of health! 👍

    It’s funny you posted this because I’m going for a stress test in a week. Back eight months ago when I had the mountain bike crash the X-ray showed some calcification in my arteries. So I had blood work done which came back a little suspect, the echocardiogram wasn’t good, and the calcium score test came in at 22. Seriously no good.

    So I talked to a friend of mine who’s a doctor and she said I’ll have to go on statins there’s no doubt about that. I’ve got a significant amount of plaque build-up in my arteries. 😕 I’ll be 52 years old in September, I’ve been active my entire life from a wee toddler on. I played Sports in grammar school, high school. I played in adult stick & ball leagues… was a big tennis hack for about 10 years before I started cycling in 2003.

    So go figure… of course it’s mostly down to genetics. Sometimes I wonder about the irony 😒 But it is a bit of a slap in the face, a good dose of reality. Like one of the comments basically said; mortality is one of those things you don’t really think about until it gets a bit concerning! 😃 unfortunately it’s one of those things where we have little control it is what it is… but it won’t deter me from being active and pushing myself, I’m too fookin’ stubborn for that mate! 😂

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