On Exercise

Just Keep Running

I have not posted about exercise for a while now. And to be honest, I had stopped working out just before the Ireland trip. However, a few weeks ago, I resumed running. I also have added pushups and planking to my regime. Nothing severe or onerous. I’m keeping my heart rate from exceeding a 140 bpm average. And I’m not doing pushups or planking to the point of muscle burn. Moderations, after all, are what’s called for now that I have learned about my mild heart condition.

I do not plan to make regular posts about exercising. It serves no purpose and takes time that is better applied to other activities. Still, I wanted you all to know I was still working on my health.

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The Air Has Cleared

Just Keep Running

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Once More To The Pavement

Just Keep Running

Now that I know I’ve no blockages in my arteries, I felt confident enough to go for a plodding jog. I maintained a languid pace and never let my heart rate exceed 140. The average was 124. At no point did I push myself into labored breathing. Also, I didn’t feel “thickness” in my muscles. They felt relaxed and limber. In the past three years, I experienced, for lack of a better word, congestion of the muscles. It created a feeling of weight or resistance that bogged down my running.

Today, that wasn’t the case. I felt, again, for lack of a better word, release. There was no resistance in my steps or breathing. Let me stress – especially in my breathing. Even after the slowest of walks, my lungs would feel congested. Not today. Even my sinuses don’t feel as congested. Most important of all, there is no feeling of overwhelming exhaustion.

After the last three years of starting and restarting my exercise regime with disappointing results, I feel hopeful. I won’t make any wild claims of “halleluja! I’m cured!” but I am willing to say that I feel confident. I voiced hope things had changed in the past, but I didn’t feel hope. Today, I feel hopeful that things have changed.

No Blockage!

The Castle

I have just arrived home following my angiogram—no blockages to report. The procedure usually lasts about an hour. Mine took 20 minutes. They spent more time prepping than performing the procedure. Plus, I had to wait 90 minutes to ensure my artery clotted afterward to ensure I didn’t squirt blood everywhere. Personally, I thought they were being party poopers. What’s wrong with little blood spatters on the hospital walls? It fits with the Gestalt, don’t you think?

However, they did find a small buildup of fluid. So, while I don’t have to take any statins, aspirin, or nitro, I am prescribed Lisinopril. And I’ve been told to reduce my intake of fluids. No more than eight cups of water per day. That’s cool. Most beautiful of all, I am now expected to exercise. I had stopped exercising due to the fear of arterial blockage and the possibility of a heart attack. But that is no longer a fear, and I can resume exercise.

While arterial blockages have been ruled out, there is a need to learn about the cause of the conductive block reducing heart productivity. So, more appointments. Fortunately, reasonable levels of exercise, i.e., keeping my heart rate below 140 during workouts, are called for in combating fluid retention. Oh, and I guess taking Lisinopril should help me lose weight. All in all, a better outcome than I feared.

I Guess I Have A Heart

The Castle

Because two doctors have told me I had a heart attack. You can’t have a heart attack without a heart, right?

My primary was the first to suggest I had a “silent” heart attack. Since I have no memory of any symptoms, you know, tightness in the chest, pain in the left arm and shoulder, etc., I will take him at his word. All that has been happening is exhaustion with the occasional shortness of breath, which has been going on for about three years. And when I say occasional, what I mean is inconsistent. Sometimes, I must catch my breath when I go up the stairs—other times, no problem whatsoever. Also, I had been attempting to resume my exercise regime, but to no avail. Again, due to exhaustion which lasted up to three days.

Yet, I resumed working out recently, with no period of exhaustion. But, the stress test three weeks ago pushed me past any level I achieved during my workouts. I was exhausted for a week. And two problems were discovered. One is a block. Not an arterial blockage but a conductive block. Basically, it’s an electrical issue. The other was some damage to the chamber wall. However, the cause of both problems is in question. Did the block cause the damage? Or was the damage and conductive block cause an arterial blockage?

Today I saw a cardiologist. She also supported the “silent” heart attack prognosis and explained more about the conductive block. Further, she arranged for me to have a coronary angiogram to take pictures and measurements of my heart and its functioning, valves, and arteries. From what I can tell, I will be conscious during the procedure as they go from my left wrist and not my groin. I am very grateful for that. What is scary is her insistence on performing it as quickly as possible. Is there something concerning? She didn’t indicate anything specific, so I’ll chalk it up to my paranoia.

Ultimately, the goal is to repair and strengthen what I have joked didn’t exist; my heart. The cardiologist said I could resume “mild” exercise. By mild, it means still being able to converse while working out and so, walking instead of jogging. The problem – I enjoy jogging. The exhaustion I was experiencing, not so much. Finally, two medications were prescribed, a beta-blocker and nitro.