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Old 10-25-06, 06:58 PM   #1
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You just never know!!!

I rarely post but I felt my story is worth reading. I am a 67 year old guy who rides around 4500 to 5000 miles a year. From my thirties till about 10 years ago I played alot of squash and racquetball and generally kept myself reasonably fit. About 6 years ago I started cycling again for the first time since my youth. For the past 4 years I have come to enjoy long distance cycling in the range of 50 mile to century rides.
I have always been in tune with my health. I have had annual physicals for the last 40 years with continual good numbers from my lipid profile. The cholesterol numbers have been under 200 with an excellent ratio between the HDL and the LDL. My blood pressure has always been in the 120 over 60 range. These types of numbers indicate a person who is generally considered to be in good health.
Well. 3 weeks ago, I was on a Saturday training ride with a group of cyclists. About 14 miles into a 58 mile ride, I felt some pain in my chest area that I had never experienced before. This,by itself, gave me some pause. We were riding at about a 17 to 18 mph pace, so I backed it down to 14 to 15 mph pace and rode the other 44 miles without discomfort. This particular discomfort concerned me so I went out the next day for a leisurely ride by myself somewhat wondering if this pain might return. Lo and behold, at about 12 miles the pain did return. It radiated slightly up my jaw and my left arm. I slowed considerbly and went straight home.
The next morning I went to see my primary care physician who immediately sent me to a cardiologist. They did bloodwork and some other things. The doctor told me that I had not had a heart attack and there was no damage to my heart. He said the next step would be a stress test but someone in excellent condition like myself might indicate a false negative. So, his recommendation was a heart catheterization to make sure all was well. I quickly agreed just to make sure all was well. Two days later I was on the table in Washington Medical center ready for the procedure to begin thinking that nothing was wrong but it was nice to make sure. Well, lo and behold, I had 90% blockage in my right coronary artery!!! The cardiologist placed a stent in the artery while he was in there. Everything else was fine.
A week later, he stressed test me and gave me a clean bill of health plus cleared me for riding my bike as I felt like doing. I am back up to 25 to 30 mile rides and I feel better than I have in a very long time.
IN all likelihood cycling saved my life. If I had been a couch potato this blockage would have slowly continued to develop to 100% and I probably would have had a massive heart attack sometime in the future!!!
The moral of this story is...... please pay attention to your body and the signals it can give you!!! I am glad I did or I might have had the big one some time in the not to distant future. Hey, perhaps it could happen anyway, but I feel good about my health at this point because he was in there looking around and he found and repaired my life threatening issue.
Forgive me for the long post, but if this causes any one of you to think about such issues then my post has been worth it.
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Old 10-25-06, 07:10 PM   #2
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Thank you so much for taking the time to post your experience. Your stats and experiences ring very close to home for many of us. Excellent lessons and advice you've shared that all of us can learn from.
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Old 10-25-06, 07:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the post. I guess no matter how "in shape" many of us think we are, the reality is that you can never be certain so pay attention to how things feel.
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Old 10-25-06, 07:59 PM   #4
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Yet another expression of thanks for the post, and it's nice to know that you (and cycling) caught things early enough to avoid a less than desirable outcome.
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Old 10-25-06, 08:06 PM   #5
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Dear God, what a story. Thanks.
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Old 10-25-06, 08:38 PM   #6
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A close friend of ours, age 60, had a similar experience about 6 weeks ago. Although not an athlete, she has walked daily for years, is not overweight, and has always taken care of herself. She has always done well on her yearly physical check ups.

We were attending a party at her house when she began having all the signs of a heart attack. Her husband called 911 and she was whisked away to a nearby hospital. She went through all the procedures you mentioned above, with same results and a stent was placed as well. They said this was not a heart attack, however they added that she was only days away from what could have been a "massive heart attack".

The only answer the medical people offered is that she has a genetic disposition to this type of problem.

Her doctors released her with no limitations after a week of rest.

Thanks for posting your story and I'm glad you're okay.
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Old 10-25-06, 09:18 PM   #7
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Glad you are O.K. Just had a friend your age that has biked forever have a 5 bypass job. Never heard of that before!

He was going to the "Hoter N' Hell 100", but didn't due to family visit. Doc told him if he had gone it would have been his last ride! He is in his 5th week of recovery.

He had not tried the heartrate recovery test himself (>12bpm in one min), was wondering if you had done this lately, and if it would show the problem you had.
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Old 10-25-06, 09:21 PM   #8
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Glad to hear everything turned out okay. It just goes to show we need to listen closely to our bodies.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
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Old 10-25-06, 09:27 PM   #9
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I'm glad you didn't have a heart attack. After my Dad had one, he was never the same. May he rest in peace. Watch your diet, good people.

無上甚深微妙法 .... 百千萬劫難遭遇..... 我今見聞得受持
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