Post Your Story

Help Motivate Others

I know that for me hearing of someone else who has had heart problems still getting out there and riding, touring, racing even, really motivates me. Here then will be a sort of online support group for those of us who still need to turn a crank over to feel alive. So, I really hope this can become a place where others can share their stories. Do you have a cardiac problem and still ride? Did you overcome your fear of exercise after cardiac surgery? Has cycling helped avoid heart problems? Please post your story here or send me an email and I’ll be happy to post what you have to say.

Eric

10 thoughts on “Post Your Story

  1. I’m a 55 year old male , Surfed for 37 years, Been riding bike for about 25 years. Weigh 180 have not smoked in 20 + years. Total cholesterol of 182. Thought I was in good health till the widow maker came to visit one night about 3:00 am in the morning. I was awakened with a elephant on my chest and dripping wet with sweat. I new I was having a heart attack so I ate a aspirin and called 911. I felt myself slipping over the edge but the lady @ 911 said I would not die on her. Rescue squad got there stabilized me and we were off. Blood pressured bottomed out twice before reaching the hospital , But eating the aspirin and a good cardiac hospital saved my life. So 1 month 1 day after stent placement in my RCA which was 100% blocked, I took my first post ride ,Only 55 min on a single track but it is better than being worm bait.

  2. WOW your a lucky guy! Stoked you did the right thing. I’m sure being active helped as well. Glad your back on the trails. Hitting the surf again was tough for me, having hold my breath and duck dive or being in the water and having to paddle in…..I’m over it now though. Thanks for your story.
    Eric

  3. Get a second opinion!

    In May 2007 I had major shoulder arm/shoulder surgery, no problem, back on the bike feeling great off work back on the bike best shape of my life! Cyclocross season comes along and I cant breathe, feels like I have holes in my lungs, goes on through the season now its May 08 ad I`m commuting to work ridin hard and I cant breathe as well as have pain in my chest when HR hits 165, Doc gives me several inhalers to use saying I have a bacteria infection in my lungs, still there I go to the clinic not my doctors office and see a PA she says its not your lungs its your heart I say no way and continue what I was up to, on 7,14 she calls wife and says get him in for emc stress test, have test done on the 15th doc wont even look at me gets out the paddles and tell me to lay down, steps out and returns saying I have contacted a surgeon and called your wife you will be having an emergency 5 part bypass to repair your arteries. What I gottacal my boss I gotta, I gotta, you gotta get to the hospital now!

    I had the surgery and after 1 monthI was in the rehab, which I feel is so important, I was cleared on 10/17/08 to enter my first cyclocross race of the season, I wore a heart rate monitor and remember seeing 189, I thought wow I dont have asthma, I can breathe!

    This was a great comeback only to be erased in December, had the same problems return, stress test showed that all arteries had collapsed or blocked I was back in having a second open heart surgery in six months!

    I feel 100% now other than the crash I had 0n the 23rd requiring surgery to my left arm/shoulder!

    You can do it and I feel as we as have been told, cycling saved my life!

    Guy Smith

  4. Hey Guy,

    Thanks for your post. We’ve been in touch via twitter but I never really knew your story.

    That’s a wild tale. I know for a few months before I had my heart attack I had feelings probably similar to yours except being in Southern California I thought it was smog. I’d take a deep breath after a race (bmx) and it hurt my lungs and kinda burned. My doc later said that was a warning sign. I know you inspire me by getting back on your bike and racing again.
    Thanks,
    Eric

  5. In 2005 I had a mild heart attack that led to a triple cardiac bypass. I was horribly overweight and sedentary. My life was a mess. I lost 30 pounds through surgery and cardiac rehab. I had hoped I would be on my way to a better life. I soon slipped back into bad habits and regained all my weight and was again sedentary.

    In 2008 at the urging of mcardiologistst I took control of my life and had bariatric surgery. I made a commitment to transform myself and became a very active person. As part of that transformation I began cycling. I soon found out that I loved cycling. It lead me to form a cycling club with other bariatric patients. As we enter our third year of cycling, we have grown to a cycling club that encourages people to lead a healthy life, be active through cycling and above all enjoy life on a bike and with fellow cyclists.

    I have lost almost a 100 pounds and have maintained my current weight for 2 years. At my last cardiologist appointmentcardiologistgist remarked how amazed he was at my health turnaround. He said he could not ask for a better health report. Cycling changed my life and has enabled me to change the lives of others through my advocacy of cycling for health.

    I invite you to check out my personal blog which tells my story and how I embraced wellness as my vision as part of my recovery and growth, http://beariatric.com/. I also invite you to visit my cycling club’s web site and get an idea of our philosophy and approach involving people in cycling for health, http://www.spinoffcyclists.com/.

    Thank you for this blog aevangelismgelizism about the value of cycling to improving heart health.

    Tom

  6. In October 2010, I had 15 heart attacks in one day. The case didn’t present like anything the Heart Institute had seen before so they had a challenge to get them stopped before they killed me. It’s still something of a mystery as my diet was fine and I was still playing hockey twice a week. I had been recording my food intake for the previous year. Blood pressure was a bit high but supposedly under control. They did tell me that, if I hadn’t been in such good shape, I would likely have died on the table. I now exercise (walk, Nordic walk, bike, stationary bike) about two hours a day and all my vitals appear to be very good. I am now 69 years old. I did lose 41 pounds. I now weight what I did 40 years ago.

    I am anal about what I eat, my daily exercise, weight and vitals. I keep a detailed log which I summarize for each doctor’s visit. I write a blog (heartsurvivor.ca) & tweets (@heart_survive) to help others and I am writing a book about my heart experiences.

    I have gathered so much data on my diet, food values, exercise, vitals, etc. that I have been thinking about developing an app for others.

  7. What! 15 heart attacks! WOW. Could it have been metabolic syndrome? Thats is what I had, little over weight, slightly high BP & stressful life even though I worked out regularly. Great to hear your still doing so well now. AN app would be great, I’d use it. Keep up the great attitude and efforts! Thanks for posting, Eric.

  8. My Friend Loren sent in his amazing story…

    by Loren Stephens
    My Odyssey to return to the top level of masters bicycle racing after open heart surgery and subsequent heart attack

    I am an elite level masters cyclists in the USA. I have earned many podium finishes in masters time trial and criterium and am a past California State Masters Criterium Champion for 65+ men.

    I was diagnosed with degenerative mitral valve disease (60% leakage) in April 2010. On July 1, 2010 at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center I had a 7.5 hour open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve and to do an atrium reduction. My heart was removed from my body in order to make the repairs. I spent 5 days in ICU and a total of 7 in the hospital.

    After getting out of the hospital I struggled with some A Fib problems. I ended up having to be cardioverted out of it. I have been AF free since.

    I was able to start training on the bike in September 2010. In late September I had a ventricular tachycardia event while riding and passed out cold. My Doc said I was lucky to be alive and took me off the bike and put me in cardio rehab.

    After cardio rehab I was given the OK to start training on the bike again in preparation for the 2011 racing season. I was making great progress until February 15, 2011 when I had a heart attack on a training ride. After a stent and few days in the hospital I was out and found myself back in cardio rehab.

    After completing rehab I was given the OK to start riding the bike again. I have been riding mainly to gain back my old levels of endurance.

    In December 2011 I started working with my long time coach again and started full on training in preparation for racing USA Cycling Masters Nationals in early September 2012. I have no restrictions other than the fact that I’m on Plavix which will limit my racing for the first half of the 2012 season. I have raced a couple of races just to test my fitness. In June I raced the California Senior Games and came in 2nd in the 40K road race which also qualifies me to race at the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland. My next races will be USA Cycling Masters Nationals in early September 2012 in Bend Oregon and the Huntsman World Senior Games in early October in St. George Utah.

    Not bad for a guy who was told he would never race again. I proved them all wrong.

  9. I am now 7 months post op – Mechanical Aortic Valve replacement and single by pass. This of course necessitates warfarin for life and I was worried about a return to Mountainbiking due to the increased dangers of bleeding both external and internal. I discussed it with my cardiologist, weighed up the risks and am back on it full gas! It took a bit to get my confidence back and I took a bad fall first time out which necessitated a visit to the A&E after facial cuts and a head knock. I was checked out very quickly (you jump the queue as soon as you mention the magic words Heart Surgery and Warfarin :-) ) and non judgementally and was back on the trails within a week. I now take the additional precaution of wearing a light body armour vest and always have a small First Aid kit handy when Im riding and other than that Im right back to where I was before. So,if you are debating wether or not you need to give up on your passion the answer is – no you don’t – maybe adjust things a bit here and there and get right back on it. – Best of Luck
    Charlie

  10. 38 year old marathoner, half ironman finisher. Have been plagued on and off for the last few years with arrhythmias. First had atrial flutter in 2009, was corrected after 3 ablations. Finished a marathon less than 2 months after the third ablation. Now I’m dealing with atrial fibrillation. Had a first ablation in September, it failed, now planning for my second. I just keep getting up each time I’m knocked down. It’s definitely frustrating bit being inactive is just so much worse. I ran on Sunday for the first time in 6 months. I managed to squeak out 3.5 miles at a pace that was emvarrasingly slow, but I’m just happy to be out there doing it. Hoping my next ablation does the trick, and that I can get back to doing what I love to do.

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