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New Members

Post by Dave Tuttle on Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:26 pm

Several new members have joined our forum in the last few weeks and we would like to welcome you all to the group. I know of at least two potential members who learned of us in Harrisburg last weekend and a couple more who Tom Price reached out to on the Inspire forum... Please feel free to introduce yourselves and join the conversation here. We welcome all no matter where you are on your journey with heart disease or heart defects (I'd rather call them heart challenges). We offer the support of those who have "been there" to anyone wants to post here.

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4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
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Re: New Members

Post by pjs74 on Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:07 pm

Hello,

I am Philip a 40 year old father of two (8 and 5 yr old) living in Scotch Plains NJ who had an MI due to a blocked LAD on 12th August this year.

I am a Toxicologist and a triathlete. My amazing wife is a registered dietitian and triathlete also (the better athlete in the family). We met in Masters swimming, which for both of us is our strongest leg in the triathlon.

On Tuesday 12th August, I was on my morning training ride with a friend. We did 31 miles, at 18 mph average getting in 2000ft of climbing. I just missed out on my best Strava segment for the toughest climb on our route. I go in to work, clean up and eat a PBJ. Then my chest hurt. I finally figured it wasn't workout fatigue when I was struggling to walk and both of my arms went real heavy. Very very fortunately for me my work is 5 minutes from the ER. The doctors have placed 3 stents (3.5X33, 4X8, & 4X8 mm) in my LAD. I did have some damage to the left ventricle, I have a slight reduction in EF there.

Since then, I was off work for 2 months. I started cardiac rehab of which I have one month left. I got on my bike trainer for the first time last weekend. At the moment I am capped to a HR of 125 bpm, so I am doing as I am told. I can jog 2 miles during rehab and do some work on the Air Dyne bike there as well.

The hardest part of recovery is the anxiety aspect. I had a couple of panic attacks that sent me to the ER. Why is that discomfort always in the chest? I can poke it, which may make me feel better, but makes it sore too!

Important things are family, but I am excited to swim/bike/run again. Everything is a bonus now, I want to see what is possible and when. I will meet my cardiologist next week and ask if the cap on my HR can be raised for this last month in cardiac rehab and if I can swim again. Then I will be out on my own training again; appropriately.

I would love to hear how people similarly affected plotted their comebacks. What are some reasonable expectations? Can you come back to what you were or do you work with a new normal? What are the things to be careful about etc

I look forward to getting to know folks here and seeing where things go and what is possible . . . .

pjs74

Posts : 10
Join date : 2014-11-13

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Re: New Members

Post by Tom price on Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:35 pm

Welcome!  We can all relate to the anxiety trying to come back.  Back in 2007, I was carrying a cell phone in all my long runs....just in case.  Good luck in your rehab!
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Re: New Members

Post by Dave Tuttle on Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:14 pm

Hello and welcome to HEART  pjs74, I'm glad you found us and hope you find our group helpful. You're pretty young and fit for this and so was I. Any family history? None here... You sound like you're doing everything right, working with your medical team, and progressing very well. That's great, you're miles ahead of most MI patients already and from what you indicated in your post you're likely to stick with it so you have every reason to be optimistic.

I can't speculate on whether you will be able to return to your previous performance levels or not, only time can tell that but you seem to understand that a "new normal" mindset may be necessary and that's a very healthy attitude for now... The bottom line is that we're lucky to be alive and it's a huge bonus that we can still run and be as active as we are. You seem to get that and again, you're way ahead of the pack. That said, we do have several members here who have done extraordinarily well after their event/surgery/procedure. Read some of the posts here and you'll find some really encouraging examples of what can be possible but in the end everyone is different and although there is a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of significant training levels after a heart event we're each still essentially an experiment of one so see where it takes you..

From my experience I would have to say your anxiety/panic attacks are quite normal unless they are overwhelming and show no improvement with time, just don't ignore signs of real trouble. I had anxiety/panic attacks too and I know a lot of others here in our group who have struggled with them... With time and miles you'll begin to trust your body again and eventually you'll  probably be even more in tune with it than before... I racked up several thousand miles before I was truly comfortable with the new me but back then I didn't know of anyone else who was crazy enough to try to run after a heart event. There just wasn't anyone else talking about it on line back then. We now know that there are lots of heart patients ramping it up to very respectable levels. The key is to do it safely, keep working with your team, and listen to what your body is telling you.

I hope you'll continue to post here and let us know how you're progressing... I'm betting you'll do well.

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4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
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Re: New Members

Post by pjs74 on Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:24 am

Thank you Tom and Dave.

Just a couple notes Dave since you asked. I have no family history to speak of and I had no red flags at my previous annual physical. My LDL was a little up, but nothing that said I needed statins now. I was grateful for the extra vessels I have developed over years of being athletic; I think they may have helped my chances significantly.

I will be a frequent visitor to this forum to help build on my recovery and see how my experiment goes.

pjs74

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Re: New Members

Post by twal on Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:21 pm

Welcome to the group.

Just before WWII, my father lived in Bound Brook and I had relatives there and Rahway.

If you are ever in Northeast PA, feel free to drop by for a run or bike. That goes for all the folks on the Heart forum.

This is a great group of people. You'll like it here.

As an athlete, you're probably already bored with rehab and want to test yourself. Listen to your body. Hopefully you have a cardiologist who understands athletes.

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Mitral valve repair
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Re: New Members

Post by RoadKillBill on Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:55 am

Hi Philip

Welcome. I had different problems from yours, but I recall my own fear and anxiety after having my chest and heart split open and trying to ready myself for triathlon. Time will tell what you're capable of and there is no sense in trying to rush things, so for now you should just follow medical advice. Just know that you are not alone in the world, and others with stented LADs have gone on to enjoy some very active lifestyles, including participation in triathlon, marathons, etc.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

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Cleveland Clinic
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Re: New Members

Post by Rachel August on Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:05 am

I'm also very familiar with fear related to heart events as I too have had huge problems with anxiety including several panic attacks right after my diagnosis and well into my recovery from open heart surgery. Like you I was in excellent shape, unlike you my condition was a birth defect (bicuspid aortic valve - 5.2 cm aortic aneurysm) Still - it took me about a year after my surgery to really trust my heart again.

Everyone is different - I took my recovery slowly and didn't push myself too much - I listened to my doctors but got second opinions when something didn't set right with me - and I relied on the wisdom from both this group and from my own self awareness (I've learned...or rather am learning.... how to listen to my own body).

So sorry this happened to you - keep your positive attitude - I was surprised how far mine could take me.

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OHS - July 15, 2011
Aortic Valve Replacement (Edwards 3300TFX) and Ascending Aortic Aneurysm Repair
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Re: New Members

Post by jerseyguy on Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:54 pm

Greetings. This is Phil from Mount Laurel, NJ. I had the good fortune of meeting many of you in Harrisburg last weekend. I hope that I will catch up with everyone again at another gathering.

I am 48 years old, happily married and the father of two teenage boys. I experienced an LAD infarction on October 20th, 2013. I had four drug eluting stents placed: one in my proximal LAD, one in my 1st Diagonal (which I understand to be part of the LAD) and two in my Obtuse Marginal.

Like Philip, I also experienced sensations in my chest for the first several months following my event. To me they felt like sharp twinges. Although I didn't end up in the emergency department I did end up having a nuclear stress test in January of this year. This showed the scar on my anterior heart wall from ischemia and decreased left ventricular systolic function with an EF of 45%. Although abnormal findings they were normal in the context of my event and no new findings were found. My cardiologist stated the sensations were likely an "awareness" of my heart problems. Although I did not identify this as anxiety at the time it certainly could have been. The long and short of it is that as the months went on these sensations dissipated and now I don't experience them at all.

I think it is possible to come back from an event like this though I am still discovering what my potential is. While I was a marathon runner in my twenties, I had not run in many years. I started running again in earnest 6 weeks post infarction. I have since logged 1500+ miles, 3 half marathons and am running in the Philadelphia Marathon next Sunday...my first in nearly 25 years.

Philip, it sounds like you are going to do well, particularly given your level of fitness and functioning before your infarction. I hope you stay in touch. This is a great group of people.

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Re: New Members

Post by mikenall on Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:19 pm

Hi Philip and welcome to the group.

My story is an AMI with stent placement in July 2000. I didn't run for 3 years after that (doctor's orders) but they know better than that now.

September 2010 had a carotid endarterectomy and ran the long relay leg with this group at Harrisburg in November.

August 2013 had a pacemaker implant and ran a relay leg with this group in Syracuse NY shortly thereafter.


Did sprint triathlons in June, July & September this year but few races due to foot problems (not heart).

Stick around, ask any questions you like, and listen to your doctors.

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AMI/stent July 2000
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Re: New Members

Post by twal on Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:25 am

Phil and Phillip from New Jersey. That can be confusing. Surprised

Brad A. (New Me) is also from south Jersey. You may want to connect with him for some runs and support.

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Re: New Members

Post by Dave Tuttle on Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:18 pm

jerseyguy wrote:
I think it is possible to come back from an event like this though I am still discovering what my potential is.  While I was a marathon runner in my twenties, I had not run in many years.  I started running again in earnest 6 weeks post infarction.  I have since logged 1500+ miles, 3 half marathons and am running in the Philadelphia Marathon next Sunday...my first in nearly 25 years.

Welcome to the forum Phil. It was nice meeting you and having you run on a team in Harrisburg last weekend... First marathon in 25 years. That's fantastic! All your new friends here will be cheering for you on Sunday... GOOD LUCK!!! and please post your results and how the race went for you when you can.

I think it's great that you took up running again after the infarction... That's the way to turn it around! I wasn't a runner prior to my CABG in 1999, I started running a year after. That was nearly 14,000 miles, 6 marathons, and many shorter races ago. It was one of the very best things I ever did for myself.

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Re: New Members

Post by BobC on Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:54 am

Hi, I'm a new member from a similar background to many on here. In early 2014 I was training for a 70.3 when I had to stop because of a wretched urine infection. On my return to exercise I started getting chest pains, thinking (wrongly) that I just needed to work through it until the pain went away, I ended up fainting instead. After a bit of exploration it was found that I had blocked arteries and needed a triple bypass.
All history now, the surgery went well (October 6th 2014), the rehab went well and I am now trying to get back into the exercise. I certainly find mountain biking easier than jog/running.
Like others here I seem to be much more aware of little aches and pains particularly where it seems to be in the chest area. Even when I am convinced it has nothing to do with the surgery.
I am finding that after some exercise, the next day I am lethargic and not inclined to do much. Is that normal?
Also I am being told to take things slow and easy. Probably great advice but it isn't what I actually want to hear.

BobC

Posts : 2
Join date : 2015-01-11
Location : East Sussex, England

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Re: New Members

Post by RoadKillBill on Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:20 am

Hi Bob

I had different surgery from yours but I found that I had off days for several months after my op. October wasn't so long ago. Be patient, things will get better.

Welcome to the group. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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Re: New Members

Post by Tom price on Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:43 am

Welcome Bob!  I had a valve replaced and single CABG.  I found that it took a full year to feel normal, although a new normal.  Up until then, I had those off days you are feeling.  The important thing is to keep at it.
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Re: New Members

Post by EugeneRunner on Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:12 pm

Good to have you here Bob!

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Re: New Members

Post by Dave Tuttle on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:12 pm

BobC wrote:Hi, I'm a new member from a similar background to many on here. In early 2014 I was training for a 70.3 when I had to stop because of a wretched urine infection. On my return to exercise I started getting chest pains, thinking (wrongly) that I just needed to work through it until the pain went away, I ended up fainting instead. After a bit of exploration it was found that I had blocked arteries and needed a triple bypass.
All history now, the surgery went well (October 6th 2014), the rehab went well and I am now trying to get back into the exercise. I certainly find mountain biking easier than jog/running.
Like others here I seem to be much more aware of little aches and pains particularly where it seems to be in the chest area. Even when I am convinced it has nothing to do with the surgery.
I am finding that after some exercise, the next day I am lethargic and not inclined to do much. Is that normal?
Also I am being told to take things slow and easy. Probably great advice but it isn't what I actually want to hear.

Welcome to HEART Bob!

It sounds like you're progressing very well for just over 3 months out. Like Tom, it took me about a year to fully bounce back from surgery. You just need to listen to what your body is telling you and carefully work with it, that OHS really beat you up. My Doctor told me it was about as traumatic as being run over by a truck or bus and I think he was pretty close with his comparison... There's a lot of healing to do inside even after the sternum fuses and it seems like many of the nerves need to re learn their jobs too. All that healing takes energy and that can lead to more fatigue than you're used to when you exercise. You'll improve when your body is ready, just don't push it more than it likes and don't hesitate to see your Cardiologist or Rehab team if something doesn't seem right.

Good luck with your return to racing and let us know how you're getting along!

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4X CABG Feb 17, 1999 at 46 years.
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Re: New Members

Post by BobC on Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:44 am

Thanks very much for the words of wisdom, it's nice to be in a forum where everybody seems to be so positive.

BobC

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Location : East Sussex, England

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