Seven Weeks After Surgery: Progress & Milestones

driving-car

Seven weeks down since my triple bypass and this week my surgeon gave the all clear for physical activity and driving a car. Yeah! There’s a milestone for you. Main thing is, if it hurts–stop. The low-grade fevers continue but not nearly as bad as last week. My surgeon has scheduled me for a thoracentesis on Tuesday. This is where they make a small incision in my back and then run a cath inside my chest cavity and drain fluid trapped inside. This is the only thing they’ve found that could be the source of my fevers. As a extra precaution I’m getting referred to a infectious disease doctor. I hoping the thoracentesis clears things up!

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday were my cardio rehab days. I don’t know all the names of the equipment they have me use so I’m not going into detail on that. I’ll just say it’s a mix of cardio and weights.

Since the fevers weren’t as bad this week I did get more walking miles in. It felt good to get back out there, even on the hot days. Well, everyday is a hot day when it’s July in Georgia but some days are better than others. Next week I’ll be back to work so my walking miles will drop again. That’s OK. Only two weeks until I retire!!!

This will be my last post that will be titled as a post surgery update. Since I’ve got the all clear from the surgeon the next phase will be rebuilding. It looks like my cardio rehab will continue until Labor Day anyway. I’m pretty optimistic that by Labor Day I’ll be able to start running again. Fingers crossed!

So here’s the recap for the week:

July 8th – Sunday

Nothing. Fever finally broke but I felt too drained to do much.

July 9th – Monday

Cardio Rehab.

July 10th – Tuesday

5.01 miles       1:33:20           18:37 pace

July 11th – Wednesday

Cardio Rehab.

July 12th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab.

July 13th – Friday

4.93 miles       1:40:47           20:27 pace
I stopped several times to talk to people and forgot to pause my watch. Pace was probably closer to 18:30

July 14th – Saturday

5.00 miles       1:37:30           19:29 pace
Don’t know why but I got a bit of a sunburn on my face and shoulders.

Six Weeks After Triple Bypass: A Bit of a Setback

Hard to believe it’s been six weeks since my bypass surgery. Overall, things have gone very well. You may recall my daily boughts with low-grade fever. As a precaution to another issue I was taking two Motrin twice a day and guess what? The fevers went away along the my annoying right shoulder pain. I can’t remember if I mentioned the shoulder thing but I think I did. The Motrin dosage was for two weeks. Shortly after going back to my normal medication routine, the low-grade fever returned.

On Tuesday, just a few hours after my five mile walk I started to feel bad. Headache, body aches and a low-grade fever. At first, I started with Tylenol to help. It helped some but didn’t really get rid of the fever. On July the 4th, I pretty much just lied around watching Wimbledon and sleeping. Later in the evening I took two Motrin and then I sweated the night away. By morning the fever had broke.

No Cardio Rehab on Wednesday because of July the 4th but on Thursday I wan’t feeling my old self but good enough to do my rehab for the day. I got held up to leave because my heart rate was too high. When I woke up I noticed my heart rate was higher than normal. I guess the fever had caused my heart rate to go up some.

In just a few hours after rehab, guess what? The fever was back. I contacted my Surgeon and another chest x-ray was ordered. I haven’t heard the results yet but if this x-ray doesn’t show somthing I think I’m getting referred to a infectious disease specialist. In the meantime, I’m back to the Tylenol and resting. That was pretty much my routine thoroughout Thursday through Saturday. No walking. Not eating much. Just watching tennis and sleeping.

I don’t know why exactly but around 11 p.m last night (Saturday evening) I decided to take two Motrin to see what happens. Well… for the next four hours I sweated my butt off and the fever was gone! I got up this morning feeling much better than I have in days. Things were fine all morning but my early afternoon a very low grade fever started again. I’m pretty confident two Motrin will kill the fever but until I can find the cause of it I don’t want to stop it completely. I took a couple of Tylenol in the early afternoon and I’m about to take two Motrin this evening. After that, I’ll just wait and see what happens.

I already have an appointment scheduled with my Surgeon on Wednesday. This is supposed to be our last visit where he releases me, I go back to work and work with my Cardiologist in the future. With the fever thing I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

Not much happened in week six after bypass but here’s the workout rundown for the week:

July 1st – Sunday

5.15 miles        1:34:55          18:26 pace

July 2nd – Monday

Cardio Rehab: Too much to keep track of the machine names. I did it!

July 3rd – Tuesday

5.17 miles       1:32:57           17:38 pace

July 4th – Wednesday

Not a damn thing.

July 5th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab: Again, I did it!

July 6th – Friday

Not a damn thing again.

July 7th – Saturday

Nope. Still didn’t do a damn thing.

Five Weeks After Triple Bypass

IMG_4250My fifth week since triple bypass has come and gone and I started the week with Cardio Rehab at University Hospital. I decided on my rehab days I’ll limit most of my physical activity to just what the staff at the hospital give me to do. On non-rehab days I’ll continue my five mile walks. I have rehab three days as week: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. It seems like rehab days are easier than my five mile walk days. I’m imagining this will change in a few weeks.

Short post this here’s the workout rundown for the week:

June 24th – Sunday

4.99 miles        1:31:22          18:21 pace

June 25th – Monday

First Day of Cardio Rehab: Didn’t do all the much but answer a 100 questions.

June 26th – Tuesday

4.89 miles       1:31:47          18:46 pace

June 27th – Wednesday

Cardio Rehab: 15 minutes on bike, 15 minutes on treadmill.

June 28th – Thursday

Cardio Rehab: 15 minutes on treadmill, 15 minutes on bike.

June 29th – Friday

5.04 miles       1:31:43          18:12 pace

June 30th – Saturday

4.78 miles       1:26:28          18:05 pace

 

 

A Little Late: 4 Weeks After Cabbage!

pexels-photo-301599

Week five is almost over and I’m just now getting to my recap of week number four after my coronary artery bypass graft, also sometimes called “cabbage”!

First off, week four was just downright HOT! I think every day the heat index reached 105 degrees or above. I tried to get out as early as I could but still, by the time I finished the actual temperature was in the 90’s already. I have no idea what the heat index was.

My mornings are going by pretty quickly. By the time I get up, eat some breakfast, get dressed, go walk, cooldown, and shower it’s time for lunch already. I admit my afternoon and evenings are becoming a little harder to keep myself entertained. The afternoons are mostly reading, listening to music, napping (but not much this week), and surfing the net. It’s Ok, but I’m ready for a little more variety. I still have two weeks (as of this writing) before they will let me drive a car. Not that I get out that much anyway but it would be nice to get out a little more.

I’m feeling fine. Getting stronger everyday. I’ve got nerve endings in my upper chest area that are firing off like crazy. Sometimes I can’t stand anything touching my chest so I’m walking around without a shirt on as much as possible. One advantage of being a male I suppose.

I started the week with a fast paced walk of 2.39 miles at a 15:29 per mile pace. Now I have to admit it wasn’t exactly a walk but it wasn’t a run either. I’ve never tried speed walking and I’m pretty sure this wasn’t quite it either. Anyone watching me probably thought I was a dork. It was mostly a running posture but both feet stayed on the ground all the time. I did OK, but I probably won’t do that again. I’ll just wait until I can really run. Anyway, here’s the week’s rundown:

June 17th – Sunday

2.39 miles          36:58          15:29 pace

June 18th – Monday

4.12 miles       1:19:34          19:16 pace

June 19th – Tuesday

4.51 miles       1:24:03          18:38 pace

June 20th – Wednesday

4.52 miles       1:24:34          18:42 pace

June 21st – Thursday

4.87 miles       1:23:20          17:05 pace

June 15th – Friday

Rest Day

June 16th – Saturday

5.01 miles       1:25:42          17:05 pace

I MADE IT TO FIVE MILES!!! I haven’t had any hard, fast goals since my surgery. I’ve just gone out and taken it day by day. I don’t know about you but I think getting up to five miles of walking in four weeks after bypass surgery is pretty damn good!

Week five after surgery will include Cardio Rehab at University Hospital three days a week so my schedule will be changing. Five miles will most likely be my maximum walking distance for awhile. My plan for now is to just continue on like I am as much as possible. When the day comes I can run, I’ll just add running as a segment of my walk. As my running time increases I’ll probably eventually cut back on my total workout time. That’s my plan for now anyway. Good chance it will change some as I continue to progress. Time will tell.

 

I Was So Wrong!

compare

Just take a moment and compare the results of a run I had just before I found out I needed triple bypass heart surgery and a walk about two and a half weeks after my surgery. Notice there isn’t that much difference between the walking and running pace.

SPOILER ALERT: Just this morning, I went on a brisk walk of about 2.5 miles and my pace was 15:29 per mile. Not running–walking!

I’m trying to figure out when the signs of heart disease first appeared and honestly, I’m starting to think I never will figure it out. I’ll take a stab at it and say it was maybe the fall of 2015 but I really can’t explain to you why that might be the case. Maybe after a few more months or years even things will become clearer. Until recently, I attributed any slowdown in my running performace as just a sign of old age.

Backing off my mileage last summer and then pretty much coming to a complete halt to my running while I fought off a three month respiratory ailment spell certainly confused things. I blamed the layoff, respiratory ailments and some weight gain for the poor performance this year. Now that I’ve had some time to evaluate things with some passage of time it seems to me I WAS SO WRONG!

Yes, all the above contributed to my poorer performance but I can see clearly now it was much more than that. Hindsight is truly 20/20! I should have gone to the doctor much sooner than I did. Thankfully, nothing serious happened before I finally went to the doctor. I wish I had some sage advice for anyone wondering if they are having heart ailments but I can’t. Because of my active lifestyle my body created collateral arteries around my heart to supply blood so the symptoms just were not the same as someone with a sedentary lifestyle. I’m blessed that those extra arteries helped me continue to live a normal active life. The other side of this is had I continued to run without some sort of medical attention I might not be here today posting on this blog.

I’m a survivor! My progress after just three weeks post surgery has really been amazing. The active lifestyle before surgery and after have both allowed me to achieve great results so far. I’m not 100% yet and will be many more weeks from now before I am. People ask me if I feel better now but honestly, I feel about the same as before. I’m not sure when I can run again but I’m expecting some speed boost once I get 8-12 weeks of running behind me. This is when I’ll know if the bypass surgery made a difference. I’m expecting it will!

Two Weeks After CABG

Another week has gone by and I’m seeing improvement everyday of the week. Since my last post I’ve had an appointment with my Cardiologist and he’s happy with my progress. He even told me to go online and look for a race at Kiawah Island, South Carolina that is held sometime in late November or early December because I’ll be ready for it!

Still had a low grade fever in the evenings so they did some blood, urine lab work and a chest x-ray and nothing showed up there. Interesting to note though, I haven’t had a fever the past two days so maybe whatever it was is gone now.

My walking duration and pace have increased quite a bit since when I first got home from the hospital the week before. I’m breathing easier and feeling stronger. My wife has been tagging along with me but I can now go by myself. That’s good because my wife can’t keep up with my pace anymore. I’m not bragging, it’s just how quickly I’m progressing.

Here’s my rundown of walks for week two of open heart surgery recovery and rehab:

June 4th – Monday

2.41 miles          57:09          23:41 pace
1.02 miles          23:45          23:16 pace

June 5th – Tuesday

.34 miles           6:03           17:45 pace (Test conducted by Physical Therapist)
2.40 miles         49:09           20:27 pace

June 6th – Wednesday

1.02 miles         18:41           18:23 pace
1.01 miles         19:53           19:41 pace
1.02 miles         24:32           23:57 pace

June 7th – Thursday

3.14 miles     1:08:49            21:56 pace

June 8th – Friday

1.04 miles       17:30             16:51 pace
1.01 miles       17:30             17:19 pace

June 10th – Saturday

3.89 miles    1:25:12            21:54 pace

June 11th – Sunday

1.94 miles      31:53            16:24 pace

This week’s progress has made me realize how wrong I was about my running performance and health prior to my open heart surgery. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it but I’ll say more about this in my next post.