It was eight short years ago that I missed the warning signs of a heart attack. And not just any heart attack, my heart attack. I’m always asked the same questions, what caused it?, what was your cholesterol? does it run in your family? were you over weight? did you smoke? were you doping?
I’ve becone quite comfortable with my response, “I don’t know”, “they don’t know what caused it.” Yes we know it was a 99% blockage of my LAD, but why did it block up, was it a plaque rupture or tear of the intima lining? They, being the 6 cardiologists (soon to be 7 this week), and one internist who’ve looked at me. Each doctor has their own opinion, and all are highly well regarded yet don’t all have the same medical opinion.
So, when I say that I don’t know something, or they don’t know, it’s probably just that the gray area is infringing on my ability to unequivocally respond with the definitive answer in an infinite world.
Enough of the history …
This weekend marked 8 years ago when in a race Father’s Day weekend I lost all power while on course, not to mention my temper and feelings of impending doom as I slogged my way to the finish in the first hot weekend of the year, before crawling into the front seat of my car to be driven home. I was curled up with what I thought was indigestion for 3 hours in bed. When we looked up what I thought was stomach pain and general bad feeling all over we were led to believe I might be experiencing heat stroke.
What about the burning lactic acid acid sensation in my arms between the bicep and tricep? I can’t remember if that happened then, or 10 days later during another race of the best season of my life, and almost my last.
It wasn’t until 2.5 weeks after Father’s Day that we found out what those strange, uncomfortable sensations were. They were the symptoms of an MI. A myocardial infarction. A heart attack.
The whole story of that July 3rd masters road nationals can be found in the about section of MIaware.org and I encourage you to read it and share it as well as all the stories of many others who’ve been more or less fortunate than I.
It’s great to be here and great to be able to say there is life after a heart attack. Life after a stent was inserted into my LAD, after a retro peritoneal bleed and a week in ICU, after having the lights turned out. My cholesterol was good by certain standards (total cholesterol was 111), I wasn’t smoking or taking PEDs. I was having incredible performances for a 41 year old, or even a 25 yr old for that matter. And 11 months after, I went on to turn personal best times and even earn a national championship as a member of the 40-44 team pursuit squad. I’ve ridden multiple “Triple Bypass’s in CO” and “Leadville 100′s”. I even spent 8 hours and 200+ Km’s on the bike yesterday. I may not be racing anymore, and I may pull up just short of kickIng it over the top, but I can say I have no regrets when it comes to being active these days. Any activity beats the alternative.
Knowing the warning signs, knowing your numbers and leading a healthy balanced lifestyle may help you avoid a heart attack.
Push Hard Pedal Fast!