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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Becoming Bionic!


But I, ain't done nothing wrong, no

Still I, can't find my way home....

                     Blind Faith

So I saw the EP today and he apologized for his staff dropping the ball on my bradycardia symptoms which caused me to quit my sad little bit of running back at the end of July. He went in depth and said afib is an ugly beast that can hide everywhere in your heart, and even in some places where it is unsafe to ablate, like near your sinus node. My afib, is slightly elevated to one percent from a half a percent back in May, but obviously better than constant, like it was prior to the first ablation. Of course in my lucky case, it is most prominent during exercise, and also results in the occasional bradycardia like I experienced back in July where my heart rate dropped to 31 and 32 respectively after two 40 minute runs. In a funny side note, the medtronic guy says they had me set at 30 as the low alarm, so I missed it by that much......
I am scheduled for another ablation on November 29th.When they are finishing, they will remove the linq loop recorder and also implant the medtronic single chamber pacemaker below my collar bone, and hook me up. This will be set to go off somewhere in the low 40's in case my sinus node tries to kill me again. If ablation two is successful, it may never go off and become a larger more expensive HR tracker. He said it is better to be safe, and since recovery from installation is about two weeks, the same amount of time as from the ablation, why not have the recovery be concurrent. So, I hope this both kills the damn afib and stops the bradycardia, but only time and God will tell.......Will 2018 be the year of the Tom?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Finally, I Go All In!


Saw Dr. Posten today, the robotic heart surgeon. Mitral Valve is bad, but looks repairable. Repair is much better than replace, but if he had to replace, I asked for pig valve. They last 12-15 years, and I would be dead from something else in the mean time. With a mechanical valve, you have to stay on anticoagulants for the rest of your days. Besides the mitral valve repair, he will do two other things....sew off the atrial appendage which is a pocket on the outside of your heart where 98% of strokes originate. He will also do a short maze procedure on his way out in the hopes that the Afib can be stopped. If I still have afib after all this, there is a good chance that I have sick sinus syndrome, and a pacemaker will appear in my future. The procedure is done thru three incision between and below the ribs on my right side. The way your heart sits makes this valve most accessible from that side. I will be put on a heart and lung bypass machine for the two hours or so that the entire three procedures should take. Although the pain is shorter than when they break open your sternum, there is a good deal of chest pain from your muscles spasming for the first forty eight hours, and then it resolves generally after that. I will be in the ICU for two days, and stay in the hospital for 3-5, I will have to take it easy for three weeks after the procedure, then I can exercise carefully and progressively from there. I go in tomorrow for a variety of non invasive tests. On monday they will do a cardiac catherization to insure my vessels are clear and no stents would have to be done first. I will stay overnight, and on tuesday, they will do the three procedures. The only fear I have is stroke, and he says the echo shows my heart and valves are virtually plaque free like a teenagers, and that is generally where the stroke risk resides. So, there is suffering in my future, but the hope that I will be able to run again and 2018  will be the year of the Tom.....

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Plan B!




Well, the shit has hit the proverbial fan. After working for three months to try and jog, two problems surfaced in alternating fashion. Either the Afib would not reset, and the jogs were all with a heart rate of 160-180, or the heart rate would reset in 5 or 10 minutes, but for a couple hours after the jog, I would go bradycardic with a heart rate dropping to 32 or 33.....heart failure territory. So, I have scheduled an appointment on Sept. 5th with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale with the cardiology department in the hopes that they can run tests and determine the best path forward. I don't have any problems on gym days with weights or the recumbent bike, but any attempts at jogging seem dangerous....So, will just go back to walking on the days I am not at the gym. I expect that, from my last echo, I need some combination of a mitral valve repair/replacement,  a maze procedure for the Afib, and or a pacemaker.  Whatever I have to do to try and get my life back and try to hang around for my bride, my brothers, and my boy, I will do. I won't blog any further until I know what the path forward is.....

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Afib Bear Is Winning....


A rough week for the old heart. I managed two forty minute jogs, one thirty, and one fifty , but in all instances, my heart rate ranged from 150-180. Unlike the weeks before, my heart rate no longer seems to want to reset after the first five or ten minutes. So either my Afib is worsening, or my cardio myopathy is worsening, or both. Can't tell you how frustrating it is to work three months to get to a place where you think you have reasonably resolved this and you are at least jogging again, to have it all fall apart.
So, tomorrow I will call the EP in El Paso for an appointment, and see where I stand. If he does not have any reasonable answers, then I will try and get an appointment for a cardiac workup in Phoenix at the Mayo Clinic Cardiac Institute.  Just not ready to throw in the towel yet.....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

12 Week/3 Months.....From Nibbles To Bites!




So week twelve turned my nibbles into bigger bites, and those bigger bites felt much more comfortable and less taxing than their smaller brethren. On my four run days, I got my first interval up to 32, 40, 43, and in tonight's cool evening air, 48 minutes. The pace is spectacularly slow, as I am trying to keep close to the mafetone method of base building, and keeping my HR at all times below 123-125. So now we will see how long it takes to get to a full hour keeping my pace this slow. I am operating at a pace about fifteen seconds a kilometer slower than when all this Afib misery began. Once I hit that hour, the pace of these runs should improve while still staying in this heart range. Once no improvement occurs or regression happens to the pace in this heart range, then you can add some shorter cruise intervals. But that is probably many months off yet.....
I love to go on those people of walmart sites, and the best and oddest ones always seem to come from florida. There has to be some absolute shallow end of the gene pool folks living there, but this picture surely takes the cake. Now I tried to think of a witty caption for this, but is just so freakin odd, that it is hard. How about "hey buddy you eyeing my gal?"....."she promised she'd never leave me!"...."she is an absolute firm body"!  I give, you try!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week 11: Nibbling Away!


Made a bit more progress this week, especially on Saturday and Sunday. Getting that first interval closer to thirty minutes, and the second one closer to ten. After that, it is just a struggle of short intervals and short walks. Gotten fractionally close to covering my goal of 8K in an hour as the first goal, and then getting it in one non stop run around 55 minutes at a HR under 125. No goals in mind after that, as I still struggle with that damn Afib for the first five or ten minutes of every run.
Weather is still not cooperating. Monsoon season is overdue, and the ten day forecast does not reflect any cooler days or days of rain. Just have to keep shuffling along......

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Week 10: The Three For One Rule!


From my 41 years of running, I have always prescribed to the three for one rule....for every week you miss, it takes three weeks to get back into the shape you were in before you missed. So, after missing five months, it certainly feels like it is gonna take fifteen months to get it all back. Not sure that's true, but it feels that way! Getting in a bit longer intervals on the early part of my workouts, but in the end, coming up to about the same overall distance covered in the hour of activity. The fact that the heat remains boundless, struggles continue.  Certainly doesn't feel like a big breakthru is coming, more just a damn difficult grind. But, still not a lot of quit in me, so I will keep slogging on.
This fourth of July seems really sad to me.....we are in the midst of real damage to our democracy.....We have a childish narcissistic sociopath for president, a congress focused only on corporations and the rich, cyber attacks by russia that go unpunished, and an all out assault on the media, who has protected us from tyranny for two hundred years. Democracy is fragile and it would not shock me if we take it for granted and give it away in the next twenty years.....