The Run Home

After you pass your stress test!

What do you do once you’ve passed a stress test?

With a new found confidence that nothing was seriously wrong, I decided to run home after work. The run from the Perth CBD to Meltham Station was just over 6km. It would be a good, medium range run and after a pain free stress test what could go wrong?

And, true to form … nothing happened. 

Perhaps it really was just heartburn which a few more doses of Gaviscon would fix and it’d be back to the normal life.

Life was good.

June 29

Stressed? Not me!

Stress away!

I have done so many of these.

The exercise puts stress on the heart by increasing the speed and incline every 3 minutes. They also take your blood pressure and ask if you’re feeling any discomfort. Sounds easy but the incline gets you.

Blood pressure is good. 

No discomfort.

The test continues uneventfully and I step off. 

Once again I have bettered the previous test without any discomfort. Which is weird because the last few casual runs have always caused discomfort.

But the stress test doesn’t lie!

This is, surely, all a storm in a teacup!

June 29.

The ED

I arrive at the ED and checked in. My GP has called ahead. They’re expecting me.

Chest X-Ray. Echo test. Blood tests.

I’m not in a panic and am more curious than worried.

The tests begin.

  • Chest X-Ray – fine.
  • Echo – fine
  • Bloods – fine

The consulting doc suggests a stress test – basically a running test on a treadmill with lots of wires, graphs and pretty flashing lights. I’ve done quite a few but this time may be different.

I make a stress test appointment for Thursday.

I walk the 2km back to work.

June 26. Midday.

That’s Weird

After the Elleker Half Marathon it was time to start training for Munich. Start slow. Build up. Nice and easy.

The first indicator there might be a problem was a heart rate of 168 early in the run. That’s the rate you hit after quite a few hard kms. But it settled down and on I went.

That’s a bit weird!

No issues other than the awkward heart rate at the beginning.

The next run the same. The increase lasted a little longer but it settled eventually. Was I living on borrowed time?

At this point, what was to come didn’t even enter my mind.

The Beginning

June 3 Albany, Western Australia. Elleker half marathon.

I wasn’t ready for this. I hadn’t really prepared at all. And you just don’t decide to run a half marathon! But I’d paid my fee and it gave me an excuse to see my 90 year old dad.

We arrived late. I didn’t have a great warm up. We headed off for the 21.1km. But even without proper preparation it was a good run on a beautiful winter’s day. No personal best but also nothing that indicated what was about to come.

My wife came second in her event, winning fifty dollars!

Heart Surgery in 100 Words

I wanted to write about my experience of having heart surgery at 55. I’d been doing my best to ward it off. Clearly a failure!

I’ve always wanted to write. But committing to a post everyday and trying to make something interesting is always a challenge.

So I’ve decided to compromise.

I’ll write but each post will be no more than 100 words. That way, even if my writing sucks and you read it, you’ll only lose a few seconds of your life! Sound fair?

* This post, including this note, is only 99 words!

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

This is a bit of journey after some major surgery. So a little background may be in order.

For a while now I would call myself a runner, if not for the sole reason that if you ask me what I do outside of work, running will be the answer.

That doesn’t presume I am good at it. If you look at my race results I am always in the lower half of the rankings. I rarely challenge for a top 3 spot unless there are only 3 runners participating – true story!

The first weekend in June saw me complete the Elleker Half marathon in Albany, Western Australia. It was nothing remarkable and it was my slowest of the three half marathons I have completed.

After that I started training for the Münich Marathon. These were slow and short runs so relatively easy for someone who runs regularly. The only problem was I was getting chest pains. Then some jaw pain and finally some quite painful headaches.

To make a long story short a few examinations later including a stress test that showed nothing and an angiogram that showed 3 severe arterial blockages, it was determined I would need a triple bypass.

I have had a cholesterol issue for a few years, due to family history and thus I had done a lot of amateur research into the problems and solutions of high cholesterol. I took a while to accept that statins were a part of my life so that struggle has been completed.

There were a couple fo solutions, dependent on the placement and severity of the blockages. One being having stents put into alleviate the blockage.The other option being the triple bypass.

While the bypass is way more invasive, I am glad we chose this path as it is a more “complete” solution. When my cardiologist mentioned this it was like he was trying to convince me when I was already convinced.

In addition to the bypass, I finally gave up fighting the other diagnosis that I was diabetic. I was at the low end of the scores but I had flipped over to become a “known diabetic” as per my referral stated to my dietician (like I was a “known criminal”).

And just to add the cherry to the pie, I was also diagnosed as having severe sleep apnea! Bring on the very sexy face mask and hose and bedtime!

I don’t think I’ve ever bet on a trifecta before but here were three diagnoses that I needed to deal with and all having life threatening or life impacting consequences.

It’s now almost seven weeks since my surgery and, thankfully, I’m still breathing. It’s also Father’s Day here in Australia so quite happy that I made this one.

The journey from here is to manage the diabetes (aka the blood sugar levels) and the cholesterol (aka the blood lipids).

And, just to make things interesting, there is a lot of research going around that saturated fat and LDL cholesterol and other associated evil organisations do not contribute that much to atherosclerosis and diabetes. (I’ll add links to these as I collate them). It seems that every week there is a contradictory report.

I’m seeing a dietician who has me on the Australian Dietary Guidelines diet which I am attempting to follow with its grains and serving sizes and keeping away from the dark forces of saturated fat and its cohorts.

So you’ll see the subtitle to this blog is “what works for me”.

I’m almost convinced, from a consumer point of view, that everyone should look after their diet and regime. Find out what works and do that.

Vegetarian, Low Carb/Healthy Fat, Carnivore, Australian Dietary Guidelines and the list goes on.

I’ll continue to post on my own journey, list some interesting studies and videos. But, I’m not a doctor, I don’t pretend to be one, I’m doing what works for me. Which may be a bit of everything.

One thing I am also convinced of, for what its worth, is that diet includes lifestyle. It’s not just about the food.

If you read “The Pioppi Diet” by Aseem Malhotra & Donal O’Neill you’ll note that early on they clarify “diet” within context and they “include many things – the landscape, the sea, quality of life, culture, the work and many other things.”

So, to me, in addition to my food intake there are a few other things I need to address, all of which have complete libraries written on in themselves.