Sunday, August 4, 2013

Heart Attack Check-up: Not the news I wanted

It's been almost six months, (23 weeks to be precise) since my heart attack and last Friday I visited the Cardiologist for my check-up.

Going to the Doctor, I was very positive and believed that I would get the green light to up the training and even get the go ahead to return to Ironman racing or at least Half Ironman racing. The week before I had some blood test done for him to get the results in time.
Since the attack I followed the Doctors orders to the T and taking my meds without missing one tablet.

(Picture above is what the meds do to my Blood pressure, my new low BP, day in and day out. Some days it drops to 90/60) 

Training wise I also followed his orders and didn't go over (the ridiculous low) 130bpm that was set as the maximum.

When I got there he did a resting EKG as well as one while I was running on the treadmill. When the Treadmill test was at it's peak my heart rate was peaking at 159bpm. I was a little worried but thought if the heart should stop now I am at the right place, at the Hospital in the Cardiologist consulting room, not in a car on my way to the airport. After this he did examine me and also did a Sonar of my heart.

While doing the Sonar he told me that there is some damage to the heart but it is very little. Then it was back to his office where he studied the EKG and giving me the feedback.

According to him I must be thankful that there is almost no damage to the heart. I thought that here comes the good news but instead he told me that his advice to me would be to never do racing again.

He said I can continue the way I am training now and can slowly increase the time/distance but very slowly and he would advice me to stick to 130bpm but can go to 135-140 max but just for short stints and not often. But no more training/racing as what I was used to.

That is not the news I wanted to hear, I was there to get the green light. What I don't understand is that he said he is very happy with the blood results and the EKG looks very good and there is almost no damage to the heart. He even reduced my medication but no more endurance Triathlons or racing!!

When I asked him if I can up the heart rate to the 150 range and if I can do at least a Half Ironman in the future his words to me was, "Now don't be silly"

I suppose that is reality, training 3 to 4 times a week at 130bpm max, become a social jogger, biker but that is not me. He is a very good and well respected Cardiologist and I have a lot of respect for him and he is probably right but I don't want to believe him.

This weekend I've decided to get a second opinion. I know you don't get Cardiologist specializing in athletes with heart issues but I am going to see if I can get one who might be working closer with athletes with heart issues. One thing I noticed at the consulting rooms was that my age must have brought the average age in the room down by about 30 years. I was the only "young" guy there, all the other patient looked 70+. Not saying that this is influencing his decision but surely I am in better shape than his average patient.

For now I will stick to his advice and enjoy our Holiday to Norway coming up end of the month but will then see if I can find another Cardiologist for a second opinion.

The hardest part now is to stay positive. Leading up the the check up I believed that I would be 100% but not getting good news is a big blow. Triathlon is not everything in life but it is something I enjoy immensely.

 The important thing however is that I am still alive and enjoying my family everyday and is Blessed by their love and care.


  1. Good call on a second opionion. Looks like you need to go back to MAO training. I keep mine around 130 or less on bike and 135 on run and I can get some good speeds. Maybe just need to retrain your body?

    with that said, you are right, your blessed with family. It is known the endurance athletes die younger, so maybe pulling back isn't a bad thing. Just eat well and train for fitness / health.

    Good advice, I wish I could take my own advice. haha

    Look forward to hearing about the second opionion.


  2. Good idea getting a second opinion. With a bunch of old people in the waiting room, doc might just be playing it cautious to avoid being sued if you have another one.

    You are truly blessed to get a second chance.