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.