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  1. #1
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    Arterial Blockage

    I am 47, nearly 48. I have been commuting for a little over a year, lost almost 20 pounds. I was averaging over 100 miles a week and training for a century. I was setting personal bests on commutes and training rides.

    Then out of nowhere I started having problems. I'd head out to ride and had no energy, it felt like I was totally drained after a hard training ride. No energy to spin. This went on for about a week. I resolved just to take it easy thinking maybe I had overtrained.

    Then symptoms changed. I would be riding along (still no energy), I would approach a slight (i mean SLIGHT) rise in the road and pedal just a little harder to get over the rise and I would feel a burning sensation starting in the middle of my chest radiating outward and it made me feel like I was going to puke.

    I decided to call the Doc when I was riding home via the most direct, shortest route which is only 3.5 miles. I hit one of those very mundane rises in the road and I thought I was going to have to stop and call my wife to come pick me up.

    Story is already getting long...keeping it short. I had an echo stress test last week. Thought I was going to die, EKG looked perfect, but the Doc suspects a blockage/partial blockage. Angiogram is tomorrow afternoon.

    Anyone else gone through this? I want to know the likelihood of being able to get back on the bike, daily commuting, mountain biking, training for another century, etc.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  2. #2
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    Hope the procedure went ok for you. Have not had it done but have several friends who have. Not sure all the details but one of my buddies had it done and they put a plug of collagen (?) in the cut in his artery in his groan where they insert the probe. Told him to take easy because if the plug came out before it healed he would bleed out. I found out because the day after it happened we were riding dirt bikes - he told us after the riding was over. He had no blockage and apparently no ill effects the day after.

  3. #3
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    At the hospital. Still waiting...the doc had an emergency procedure ahead of me, trying to save a guy's leg!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  4. #4
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    It is really wierd to say this...but I am having quadruple bypass surgery tomorrow. Obviously results from the angiogram were not good, but caught in time. If I had not been cycling so much I would be dead. One 100% blockage, one 90% and two 70% blocked. Wow. Blessed for prayers and protection. I LOVE MY FAMILY AND MY CHURCH FAMILY.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  5. #5
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    Hey! Congratulations.....you just got a whole new life. They are going to fix you up as good as new and all other things being equal, you'll live as long as any of us.

    Amazing when you think, over the whole history of the human race up until 50 years ago or so, guys like you, my brother in-law, father-in-law, father etc....got to the point you are at and the game was over. Now...surgery and whole new lease on life.

    Good luck with the surgery and recovery and see you out on the trails.

    Peace

  6. #6
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    Yes count your blessings and think about how much you are going to enjoy that first ride when the doc gives you the ok. Also for the benefit of us older riders the crushing chest pain is an obvious clue but did you have other symptoms before that - ones in hindsight that should have been a flag?

  7. #7
    fat & decripit old guy
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    For years I was dealing with a foot, leg that would have problems when riding. Talked to my Doc about the matter several time and he would say then don't do those activities! Wanted to stab him with one of the used needles in the bio container. Finally I had harassed him enough to send me to a specialist. Turns out that I had a blockage in my femoral artery! Had it fixed 2 years ago and now I can ride longer, farther and faster than I ever could before. LIFE CHANGER for me!

    Follow the Doc's recovery and you will be better than new.....I was.

  8. #8
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    Wow, glad you are taking care of it. You're lucky you're in good shape. My dad was way overweight and out of shape going into his quad bypass, and he has never really recovered and made the changes he should have. (He has a bunch of other health issues, too, though.)

    I'm trying not to follow in his footsteps, though I'm 44 and had a stent implanted last year. I was trying to lose weight and get back into shape, so was riding a stationary bike I have at home. One morning, I was pushing really hard, and looked down at the heart rate monitor and it said 210 bpm. I got dizzy, started pouring sweat, got really cold and tingly...no pain though. I screwed around and didn't go right in, but long story short I had had a panic attack that worrid me enough that the cardiologist ran me through the tests and found a 70% blockage.

    Saw him for my 1-year follow-up a few days ago. He was very impressed with my weight loss (58 lbs) and improvement of my cholesterol levels (total from 199 to 117, LDL from 127 to 56, etc.). Said I can exercise as much and hard as I want.

    Hope you're recovering well. Take all the meds. Unfortunately, we'll always have heart disease, but it will make you more vigilant.

  9. #9
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    Update?

  10. #10
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    I am walking about 3.5 miles a day now, I feel so much better. Only really bummed about the forced 3 month times off the bike. Doc says my sternum must heal completely before I get back on. So...walking (working up to running) it is for a while. Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers. My diet (no...life change) is good too. I've been eating so healthy, I just fear the spectre of the old habbits creeping back in, must remain vigilant and disciplined.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  11. #11
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    Good for you. Prayers sent up.

  12. #12
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    Your post could have been written by my husband. The only difference was he was riding a mtb when it happened, and I had to call the doc.

    He is as good as new now. So, keep up with the recovery & many, many years of health to you!


    .

  13. #13
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    Same shit happened to me. I noticed my training was not going well. Low energy, Hard time getting my heart rate up and basically sucking on the bike. I wrote it off to getting old and tried to push myself. It wasn't working. I was getting way frustrated and a bit angry that I could not compete the way I was used to. Then one day riding I started getting very bad heart burn in direct correlation w my heart rate. Three days later i tried to race and the same thing happened plus pain in my jaw. I dnf'ed and barley made the ride home. Off to the doc! Just had triple bypass! I ate right,rode a bunch, low stress and this shit almost got me. Now I am shuffling aroun like a octogenarian. Uhhhhggg. I am w Ya! Cant wait to get my shit together and back on the bike.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wampuscat View Post
    Same shit happened to me. I noticed my training was not going well. Low energy, Hard time getting my heart rate up and basically sucking on the bike. I wrote it off to getting old and tried to push myself. It wasn't working. I was getting way frustrated and a bit angry that I could not compete the way I was used to. Then one day riding I started getting very bad heart burn in direct correlation w my heart rate. Three days later i tried to race and the same thing happened plus pain in my jaw. I dnf'ed and barley made the ride home. Off to the doc! Just had triple bypass! I ate right,rode a bunch, low stress and this shit almost got me. Now I am shuffling aroun like a octogenarian. Uhhhhggg. I am w Ya! Cant wait to get my shit together and back on the bike.
    When did you have your surgery? How old are you? I had mine on the 24th of October. Doc has ordered me off the bike for 3 months (to heal my sternum). It's been less than two weeks and I'm up to walking 3.5 miles and 1.5 miles on alternating days. It's been just less than two weeks and I am starting (starting) to feel normal. Except for sneezing...I don't even want to ever go there again. Freak that hurt!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  15. #15
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    ...and I have lost ten pounds since leaving the hospital. But my appetite is back now, though all the crap that I used to love turns my stomach now.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  16. #16
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    I am 51, had my surgery the 22nd. I am starting to feel pretty good. Chest is sore like a mofo. I am getting some good walks in, doing house chores. I am a single Dad w a 14 yr old so that is keeping me on my toes! I have not seen the Dr since I left the hospital. I will tomorrow. I am not sure how long I will be grounded but I certainly look forward to getting back on the bike! Getting in form and doing some racing!

  17. #17
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    Blessings to you on your healing!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    Blessings to you on your healing!
    Thanks Man! Right back at Ya'


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    It is really wierd to say this...but I am having quadruple bypass surgery tomorrow. Obviously results from the angiogram were not good, but caught in time. If I had not been cycling so much I would be dead. One 100% blockage, one 90% and two 70% blocked. Wow. Blessed for prayers and protection. I LOVE MY FAMILY AND MY CHURCH FAMILY.
    I'm 45, been riding my whole life. I've had two heart attacks. One at 39, one about a month ago. Same crap, blockage in my arts. I'm the proud owner of four stents. What's weird is, one MI was while I was getting ready to go ride Downieville, and the other happened while I was riding down in Carlsbad. Can't win for losing. Thankfully no open heart mess...yet. Hope you get well, and you will see a difference once you start riding again. Watch what you eat and drink. Salt and stress are now your enemy.

  20. #20
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    Major changes already in effect (nutrition)...unfortunately my job is pretty stressful. Trying to figure out what to do about that!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  21. #21
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    Glad you are doing well. Our prayers are with you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    Major changes already in effect (nutrition)...unfortunately my job is pretty stressful. Trying to figure out what to do about that!
    Yeah, I have major work stress which is mostly what has been kicking my ass. That's a hard one to deal with. No good answer for that.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by renderedtoast View Post
    Yeah, I have major work stress which is mostly what has been kicking my ass. That's a hard one to deal with. No good answer for that.
    True, but death is the worst answer.

  24. #24
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    Curious if any of you who have suffered from heart related problems have changed their diets? I haven't had any problems, knock on wood, but I've recently started reading more about diets, specifically regarding inflation. Mostly curious if the doctors recommend any specific books.

    Also, have any of you read about the new studies on gut bacteria and TMAO? Cleveland Clinic Research Shows Gut Bacteria Byproduct Predicts Heart Attack and Stroke

  25. #25
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    I have radically changed my diet. Some of it is fallout from the surgery to be quite honest. I did a 5k Saturday morning (walked it). At the finish they had boxes and boxes of donuts...the look and smell literally made me gag. I used to be the guy that would eat 3 to 4 donuts on a binge if someone brought them in to work.

    I went to the grocery store for our weekly food shopping...just about anything/everything processed makes me ill. We as a family have started eating a lot less meat, as much whole/raw food as possible and staying away from refined/processed junk.

    I am down about 15lbs since the procedure. I still have about 30 or 40 to go. I really hope and pray that the psychological/emotional revulsion to bad food stays with me.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  26. #26
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    I changed my diet too. Much smaller portions, no fastfood, no soda, and I try to minimize sugars and salt. After this last MI, I found out I was diabetic too, which contributed to my heart issues. I eat a lot more veggies too, even though I hate the bastages.

  27. #27
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    How are you cooking the veggies? I've tried a bunch of different ways. I still hate peas...but I really like just about everything else now.

    Roasting broccoli, brussell sprouts, sweet potatoes is GREAT eats. It feels like cheating. Steaming broccoli is good too. I just can't stand mushy veggies.

    Chopped up cabbage (about tater chip size) is pretty good all by itself (crunchy and sweet) or with some spicy mustard to dip it in.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  28. #28
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    I'm eating them mostly raw. I've never liked them, so I'm just trying to munch them up without putting too much thought into them.

  29. #29
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    So it looks like I'll be having open heart surgery within the year to repair my aorta. Not obese, don't smoke, no blockage. For those of you who had open heart surgery, do you have any tips on what to expect the week afterwards?

  30. #30
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    The evidence is pretty clear that the dietary advice given regarding vascular disease over the last 50 years has been as damaging as positive. Not the bit about eating vegetables, but:

    avoiding natural, saturated fats in favour of factory manufactured polyunsaturates, especially when heated
    low fat and no fat diets
    reduced fat dairy
    the recommendation of lean meats only
    micro-nutrients being recommended as an alternative to whole foods

    and most importantly, believing the opinion of those companies disguising their marketing in medical hype - top of the list being margarine, breakfast cereal, commercial bakers and supermarkets, soft drink including "sports and energy" producers, fast food companies and increasingly pharmaceutical companies (they caught the hunger for profit after food manufacturers) and in my country - the Heart Foundation. Parasitic, profit-grubbing entities with their own interests at heart - not yours. No pun intended.

    Your US NHLBI Guidelines for managing lifestyle in cardiovascular disease have just been released While the use of medications has been refined, all the old barrows for diet remain in place. It amazes me that in the face of all historic evidence, they still just do not get diet and vascular inflammation.

    We (I mean all of us when asked) just keep recommending what is killing us. I guess that's how evolution works.

    With regard to squishy veges, brussel sprouts and peas - try Indian curries. Don't use lean meat cuts, but cheaper ones with connective tissue and natural fat content - it tastes better and reduces the need for added oils. Peas and BS's go pretty good in things like tossed together vindaloo or rogan josh (home cooking rather than dogmatic recipes). Any vege can stand alone (pea) or soak up the goodies (brussels). Imagination, combined with the logic that we eat to live and every meal does not have to look like a TV ad make experimenting with food more fun. Take longer to cook, longer to eat and have more left over for tomorrow, so you don'y buy crap for lack of options or time. Real, natural food costs more, but if you eat less, you achieve everything your body and cardiologist really want. Best wishes and remember that God did not make your food in a factory.

  31. #31
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    You will need some help. You cant use you arms for much at all and getting up is a pain in the ass as well as the chest. You will be able to get caught up on your tv or reading thats for sure. You will have to sleep on your back for a while so get some extra pillows to prop you up. A month out and it hurts to sleep on my side. I know you will be on pain meds so chill and dont try too much for a week! Good luck Bro!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Zulu View Post
    So it looks like I'll be having open heart surgery within the year to repair my aorta. Not obese, don't smoke, no blockage. For those of you who had open heart surgery, do you have any tips on what to expect the week afterwards?
    I am about 5 pages into a journal of sorts describing what led up to my surgery and the days following the surgery. I will try to finish it up in the next few days. There are definitely some things that caught me by surprise.

    One is the soreness in my upper back and the connection points for my collar bones. Think about it...they use a bone saw to cut your sternum in half, then spread you wide open. It's no wonder those things get so whacked out.

    The most aggravating thing was for the first week they have you on a diuretic to ensure the wound site drains properly. Holy crap...for the first week I was peeing about every 45 minutes. Which is a real pain in the rear in the hospital when you are tied to an IV bag and you have drain tubes coming out of your belly into a cool little gross suitcase that measures how much you are draining.

    Start walking the hallways in the hospital immediately...as soon as they get you out of ICU. Do your breathing exercises a LOT and be sure the nurses see you doing them, otherwise they are going to bug the crap out of you ("so you don't get pneumonia").
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  33. #33
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    Glad to hear the O.P. and others are recovering well. I would recommend using this episode to look into and incorporate nutritional strategies for your future. Look into cardiovascular inflammation and how to reduce it. Processed foods are the largest cause of systemic inflammation. As a health care professional the most difficult job I have is getting folks to modify lifestyle and diet. When people go through what you all have been through there is a much higher motivation to make lifestyle changes. Read, research, and talk with professionals to craft your paradigm. While there are certainly genetic predispositions, most cardiovascular maladies can be mitigated by proper diet.

    Good luck!
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  34. #34
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    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  35. #35
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    Check online for vegan recipes. You'd be surprised what's out there.

  36. #36
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    We are eating more and more "vegan" all the time.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    A great place to start!
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    I am walking about 3.5 miles a day now, I feel so much better. Only really bummed about the forced 3 month times off the bike. Doc says my sternum must heal completely before I get back on. So...walking (working up to running) it is for a while. Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers. My diet (no...life change) is good too. I've been eating so healthy, I just fear the spectre of the old habbits creeping back in, must remain vigilant and disciplined.
    God's plans for you are not done yet brother! You have more to do, glad you caught it in time.

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  40. #40
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    "Running" about 3 miles every other day now.

    Feeling pretty good, though my diet has slipped last few days! Jeez I'm a pig for bad food.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  41. #41
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    WOOT!

    Just got medical clearance to start riding my bicycle(s) again!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  42. #42
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    Good for you man! Stay on your diet . We tend to forget once it all passes and this is bad as this is all rather progressive. GOD bless.

  43. #43
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    I got to bicycle commute to work for the first time in two months today!

    It was glorious!
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  44. #44
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    Just remember to keep your exercise moderate for awhile. Think "rehab', not "workout."

    Most of us (myself included) are so driven to ride hard, lift hard, and otherwise work out hard...it takes real effort to back off and keep things reasonable. And now is the time when you can either do yourself some real damage...or expedite your recovery with MODERATE exercise.

  45. #45
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    An identical story for me except I had several 60% blockages and one that is @ 80%. So the 80% got the stent and the rest was put on hold ( no stent unless it is 70% or more I was told). I was eating a well balance diet, optimal weight, exercise regularly and all my vital numbers were very good. And this shit happen!. Chest still hurt, bleed and bruised easily felt like a ticking time bomb, but I'm back on my bike. My daughter got me a brand new set of Specialize Purgatory tires for Christmas, can't wait to try it. Bikecolorado sound like you are in good spirit, I'm in NoCo if you need partner riding look me up. Take care.
    Bill
    Last edited by LNA07; 12-26-2013 at 05:20 PM.

  46. #46
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    i had one stent put in ,was 100 % blockage that was july12 2013 im feeling great now and exercising, fast as ever. cardiologist told me keep it under 75% of my max bpm @ 32F and below .
    still have to ask him about summer heat and humidity

    33 to 80 F up to 85% of max bpm is ok

    cleaned up my diet . i was a whole food vegan already, now i cut out diary and olive oil.
    using meds , my overall cholesterol is 120 now. my blood pressure is great

    hdl 48 should above 40

    LDL is 58 should be below 70
    long island,ny

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    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


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