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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Twilight Of The Embers.....





Don't fall in love with the way things were 
It'll fuck up your mind, It'll fuck up your mind 

Snow Patrol

Well, it does not appear at this point that my goal for next year will come to fruition. So I guess that some revision will be necessary. The pace of my runs, even with some cruise interval incorporation, just doesn't appear to be dropping very much. weather its from having missed those two years, or more likely, the average 30% decline in aerobic threshold that occurs between the ages of 60-69, it just seems to have currently plateaued. I'll continue to work on it, but whatever I get I will just have to be satisfied with.
The other part of the goal was getting to 4 hour long runs per week. I have had a few hour runs, the longest being 1:11, but also had some shorter ones. 40 minutes always seems to bring some degree of fatigue, and makes getting to that hour more of a drag. Weather this fall and early winter has been the worst in the 11 years we have been here. Cold, wet, very windy, and just fugly. It is sub artic this week. So much for that call for a warm winter. Maybe in the new year?
Weight work has gone very well. So my revised goal is now to just alternate run days and gym days. So one week 3 runs, the next, 4. I will keep trying for an hour on those runs, but won't beat myself up if they end up 45 minutes or more. And I will never do real speed work again, but cruise intervals and tempo runs will be included to keep working on that pace. Heart has been reasonably cooperative. Mostly the afib resets in the first few minutes of  a run, with those occasional days where it just won't. Medtronic guy said my afib has remained at around 1/2 of 1 percent, so the longer it stays this way, the better. In the last 4 months, pacemaker has gone off only 7 times.....5 times in the upper chamber alone, and once a combined upper and lower chamber firing. If that one was not corrected, that could have been the one time damage could have been done. Don't fall in love with the way things were, it will fuck up your mind......

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Very Slow Progress.....






     


This is how the world will end......some kids will release the red balloons, only in this case, it will be a deranged hacker who will send us all to hell......


So I have made progress in moving my running to the 50 minute to one hour range. weather has been absolutely atrocious with high winds and cold temperatures. Looked at the national weather service map, and it looks like all the country will be warmer than usual for December except for two states that will be very cold.....New Mexico and Arizona. Pace is slightly improved, but not enough yet to get to my 5 mi/8K goal under an hour. Once I am confident that I can do 4 one hour runs a week, will start to do a set of tempo intervals to try to build up a bit of speed. But, I have to be happy that with the Afib and the pacemaker, I have made this much progress. See the EP heart doc in a few weeks, and will see what the readings on my pacemaker download get me. Have felt that my Afib is substantially reduced, and that the pacer hasn't had to fire too much. So the beat goes on (yes, ironic!) and we will see what develops.......


Sunday, October 14, 2018

April Fools 2019!


Well, it's been three weeks running outside here at moderate altitude in Deming. Been pretty horrible runs overall. Mechanically doesn't feel like descent jogging, form is horrid and pace is very very slow. Mid back stiffness and knee pain. Runs of varying length between 25 and 47 minutes. Usually things start to settle in at the three week mark, but not as yet. Heart Rate has been generally good, with AFIB correcting in first few minutes on most all runs.
I promised myself I would give this at least 6 months before I decide if it is doable or if I'm done... So April Fools day next year is the decider. If I can run an hour 4 times a week and cover at least 8K/5Mi, I will consider it success and keep at it. Oh, and it has to have a modicum of fun to it. If it doesn't work, I will give it up and get an upright internal geared hub bicycle and just motor around easy for an hour on those days I don't hit the gym and do weights. Not very encouraging thus far.....

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Paully "The Rat" Ryan Is Coming For Me!






Since turning 65, I have certainly utilized Medicare beyond what I thought possible. In 20 months, have reached a gross billing of 1.3 million dollars. Keep fearing that I will wake up to find Paully "the rat" Ryan standing by my bed with a pillow in his hands. I have had a cardio version, two ablations, catherization, pacemaker placement, ICU hospitalization for cardiac tamponade from pacemaker lead puncture, three ER visits, two connected to the cardiac tamponade, cataract surgery with lens placement on both eyes, and recently 4 more skin cancer biopsies. Next on the agenda is a prostate biopsy in late September to determine if I have prostate cancer, and if so, thru a gleason score, weather it is a fast or slow growing variety. That helps decide if you need to address immediately and which treatment you may choose. Fun stuff.
Been back to jogging on the treadmill and lifting weights 5 days a week or so at the gym. Can slog thru 40-45 minutes on the mill. 2 of 3 times my heart rate will reset after 3 to 5 minutes and remain within what I consider a normal range of 118-125 BPM. On the third occasion, damn heart rate won't correct, and stays between 150-170.  Those jogs are hardest because they are most fatiguing. Ready for cooler weather and doing it outside. Within an hour after each jog, my heart attempts to drop to a rate in the 30's (bradycardia), but the pacer kicks in and drives it back to the 70's or 80's. Afib has been reduced to less than a half a percent of the time, but still get periods where I feel a bit weak or dizzy. Just have to accept that going forward.
Heading to Ohio next Sunday for a couple weeks to see friends and the grand kids. Flight and car are arranged, and some of the stays. Will figure the rest out after the first week or so. Will be a nice change of pace from freakin doctors......

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Held Together By Scars And Tatoos....


Woody Allen once said "I'm not scared of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens". After my near demise from pericardial tamponade, I understand that quote perfectly. Pericardial tamponade is where you get a massive buildup of fluid inside the sac around your heart that presses on your heart and attempts to stop it. Mine occurred from a small screw which was used to anchor the pacemaker lead into my atrium that punctured it. When I was last awake in the ER awaiting a decision on weather they were going to attempt to put a needle assisted drain in my heart or cut thru my ribs and open a drain window in the sac, I just wanted to be sedated and not be around for whatever the result was. I awoke with a drain port about two inches above my naval, and a bag full of about 10 ounces of blood and fluid. I ended up being drained for 5 days before it was safe to remove the needle. That felt like something from a horror movie where you see someones heart pulled thru their chest. Fun stuff. So to the surprise of my cardiologist, cardiac surgeon, and electro physiologist, die I didn't do.  I  had an echo performed last wednesday to see if any further fluid has accumulated. I will have to call in for the results, although the tech said it looked good. Also, I have a pocket hematoma of dried blood where the pacemaker was implanted, that I have to apply heat to 4 times a day to try and get my body to absorb it. Also fun stuff. So mentally I feel a bit fragile, and a bit non engaged in what is going on around me. Odd.....hope it ends soon. Also have had lots of crazy ass anxiety dreams. Hope that also ends soon.
When the Medtronic man saw me last to test that everything is in place and firing when it is supposed to, he told me that he thought I was held together by scars and tatoos. Haha....I think he might just be right. Lost 13 pounds during the 8 days I went from pacemaker implant to being released from heart sac draining. Got about 3 back, and in no hurry to get the other 10. My shorts fit comfortably again. Worst part of the aftermath, is I feel weak and dizzy. All the meds I have to take, and there were 4 new ones for a week or so, have dizziness and fatigue as the number one common side effect. That hasn't helped. I have walked for 40 minutes on an inclined treadmill every day since the second day after coming home.   Hopefully will get over the standing dizzies and fatigue and start to garner some strength back soon. In the meantime, the assisted beat goes on......

Friday, May 18, 2018

Time To Get Paced!


On Wednesday they will finally put a pacer in me. Have been expecting this for some time. I will have the procedure at 2 PM mountain time. I will be awake for it. They will first open a vessel in my neck and feed two electrical lines down into my right ventrical and left aorta. They then do a small charge to see that conduction occurs and the lines are seated. Then they make a small slit under you collar bone, attach the lines, and test it. The last step is to slide the silver dollar sized pacemaker into the pocket under your collar bone, and sew it up. After that is accomplished, they will make a small pen sized incision in my pec to remove the loop recorder that has been in place for the past 13 months.
Not concerned about being awake for it. They give you stupid pills to relax you. Did that for the catherization. They need you awake so that if you feel any pain during any of it you can inform them. The hard part is another recovery. For two weeks, not allowed to raise my arm over my head or lift anything heavier than a milk carton. Don't know why they always use that analogy. Then I can at least do some walking for two more weeks, and then I am free to go back to any and all exercise activities. Doc said I wouldn't try to do heavy exercises or squats though, as this can push the pacer out of its pocket. I said look at me.....do you think I do that?
So that is that for now. This pacemaker will stop my bradycardia where my HR drops into the low 30's. It will be set somewhere between 50-60. Secondly, it will recognize the problem that appears often to trigger much of my afib, and that is PVC's. I have more of those than my current Afib load of around 1.5%. Thirdly, this pacemaker has something called reactive ATP which is supposed to reduce afib reactions, so all in all, am hoping this gives me some degree of exercise tolerance that I currently don"t have. The pacer battery should go 10-13 years, longer than I will be alive, is bluetooth encrypted/secured to allow them to use a smart phone to change settings, upgrade,  and read data. Had to make sure Deb couldn't be able to shut me off with her iphone! So that is that!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Seeing The End Coming More Clearly!


Had Cataract surgery on my left eye with a lens implant on Thursday. Tender and a bit blurry yet, but no real pain. Worst part is another 6 days free of exercise and special care. Vision in right eye is 20/20, but this eye appears not to be quite as cooperative. 20/60 a few hours after surgery, and seems sharper today, but certainly not 20/20. Hope is to get to 20/30 and not need to have a contact in that eye, and escape the need for glasses other than readers for close up stuff.....
Heart remains another matter. Still have  mild Afib, which in general is not bothersome, except it horribly limits endurance exercise. Heart rate does not seem connected to activity in any meaningful way, and my exercise tolerance is horrid. The other problem remains the bradycardia that occurs in the hour after the exercise ends, falling into the high 30's for now. Before last ablation, when 4 months of work got me to being able to jog 30-40 minutes, it dropped twice to 32 and 31, which does not feel very pleasant. I plan to see the EP after we return from Padre in late may to see where I stand. If the problem remains Afib, I would try one last ablation, but only by Dr. Natale, the nations best, in Austin Texas. If they determine that the problem is more with the AV node, your hearts computer that controls it electrically, I would push for a pacemaker implant to take over the electrical function. So for now, just gotta be patient and do what I can do.....gym and recumbent work fine, walk jogs suck, but I will keep doing what my heart allows..........