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First "hard" ride post-angioplasty(10 posts)

First "hard" ride post-angioplastyRich Clark
Sep 23, 2001 8:42 PM
As previously mentioned I got ballooned on 9/13, just a touch-up, and started easy riding (my 26 mile RT commute) on Tuesday (9/18). I worked/commuted Saturday so today was my first chance to really crank one up.

It went great, and what a gorgeous day here in eastern PA. I didn't go nuts -- 40 miles -- but I didn't really hold back, either. Climbed some hills, and spent 105 minutes between between 70 and 90% of my MHR. And felt excellent the whole way.

It's incredible how fast medical advances happen. I've been through the cardiac catheterization lab 10 times since 1995, but the last time was almost 3 years ago. That time, it was still 8 hours before I could get out of bed, and a week before I could walk without limping. The bruising lasted weeks.

Admittedly I'm in much better shape now, but still... they had me out of bed in 3 hours after the procedure, home the same night, and as mentioned, I was riding the fifth day after.

The docs all agree that if I'd had my 1995 heart attack in, say, 1990, before the introduction of TPa (clot-buster drugs), I'd've died. And that instead of some relatively low-impact angioplasties and stent implants between '95 and '98, I'd have had multiple bypasses.

The imaging from this latest incident shows *no* visible progression of the coronary artery disease since three years ago, except in the one difficult spot that had to be cleaned up this time -- a place where there was a stent implanted in '98, and closed up becuase of its problematic location.

The doctors were very impressed with how much revascularization had occurred in those three years, and with my sub-50 resting heart rate. There was a lot of discussion of bicycle commuting as a highly effective fitness program -- discussion that took place during the procedure, which was kind of cool.

If anybody needed a demonstration of how cycling can quite literally save your life, well, there it is.

Nicely done! Thanks nmA. Fan
Sep 23, 2001 8:48 PM
Sep 23, 2001 9:06 PM
Great post, Rich. You are an inspiration. All the Best! (nm)RhodyRider
Sep 24, 2001 5:21 AM
Ouch, I'm proud of you. You are the man! nmMB1
Sep 24, 2001 6:16 AM
Ouch, I'm proud of you. You are the man!Jon
Sep 24, 2001 7:39 AM
You're one for the textbooks! Your story should be published in the newspapers and cycling mags!
Heart healthyTig
Sep 24, 2001 10:25 AM
First off, a big congratulations on your recovery and the overall direction you are pointing you health to. I'm sure you'd agree the ol' saying, "You've come a long way, baby!" Keep up the good work and your body will reward you with a longer, healthier life.

Your improved health is an inspiration to us all and proves what cycling can do for our bodies, as well as our spirits. To have stopped CAD in its tracks is something I haven't seen much of in my past medical career (paramedic). Most people follow a doctor's recommendations for a few months or maybe a year, but then drift back to the old bad habits that put them there in the first place.

When did you start a regular exercise program/riding? How often do you ride a week, and what kind of distances/intensities? 105 minutes at 70 to 90% says a lot, but I'm curious about your "regular" rides as well. If it's not too personal, what's your age? Why all the questions? My dad is an active 68 and has fallen in love with mountain biking. He has minor CAD and high cholesterol, so I'm hoping his riding (he lives part time in the desert mountains of Mexico and has plenty of great trails) will help his heart to become healthier.
Heart healthyRich Clark
Sep 24, 2001 4:18 PM
I fell off the wagon in '88, when a really serious ankle injury had me on crutches/cane for the better part of two years. I wasn't in great shape then, but was riding now and then and staying reasonably active. But the accident knocked me down, and I never got up. Gained 60 pounds, smoked more than ever, followed by Type II diabetes and lots of frequent flyer miles in the cath lab, GERD, Barrett's Esophagus, major abdominal surgery, a whole raft of the kind of stuff that a lazy lyfestyle encourages.

The current program started after the last stent went in, call it the beginning of '99. After cardiac rehab (I was their best customer) that spring I got back on the bike, tentatively at first, then for fitness rides on weekends or after work. I had to buy a hybrid at that point because the abdominal scarring made sitting upright much more comfortable. I was also working on a treadmill and stationary bike at the time.

About 18 months ago I started commuting to work whenever it was dry and above freezing. I bought a road bike at that point (a Novara Randonee touring bike) and put a real tall stem on it, but I was bound and determined to return to the kind of riding I was doing in the 60's, 70's and early 80's -- riding everywhere, riding long distances. By my 49th birthday -- a year ago -- I'd lost 50 pounds and 8 inches of waistband, and the abdominal scar tissue wasn't such a big problem any more.

Between birthdays 49 and 50 I put in just under 5000 miles, most of them in that 26-mile RT commute, but with some really glorious 60-100 mile rides tossed in this past summer, after I bought my Airborne Carpe Diem.

There's not a lot of aerobic activity in my job, so the commuting is really my lifeline. It takes a lot to stop me now -- I rode all last winter except for a few weeks I lost to a broken arm -- and I count myself a true addict. Bikeless days are hard.

If your dad isn't on lipid-control meds, it would be worth considering in consultation with his doctor. Low cholestrol is, as you know, one of those things where low numbers really do reflect lowered risk, and while I've been able to reduce my dosages (and completely eliminate diabetes meds, yay!) I give the drugs credit for helping me over the hump while I was getting back into shape.

That's really it. Ten hours or more a week of cycling (most of which I used to spend driving and parking and walking and sitting in traffic). And if I'm a good boy, a nice long country ride on Saturday or Sunday.

My goal in life is to avoid open-heart surgery. So far, so good.

Thanks for the info. You're doing great! -NMTig
Sep 25, 2001 6:36 AM
re: First "hard" ride post-angioplastybianchi
Sep 25, 2001 9:48 AM
Great job Rich!

I spend hours and hours trying to convince people of the importance of regular excercise, usually without success. Most people think that the procedure they went through (e.g. angioplasty or CABG) cured everything and continue with their lives as they did. You are a perfect example of how people should change their lifestyles! Keep it up and remember to encourage everyone like this.