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I'm 51, and just had a 5x coronary artery bypass graft (cabg) surgery with no prior symptoms

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#21
Tom Hampton

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Quick update. I was readmitted to the hospital last Friday morning for uncontrolled bleeding in my lower leg vein harvest site (its worse than it sounds). While getting that fixed my heart reverted to atrial flutter.

The leg bleed is now controlled and I'm learning to walk again. I made a lap around the ward today (with a walker) and hope to be released tomorrow.

My heart rhythm is still in flutter, but they have change my drugs a little and want to give the heart time heal and possibly convert to sinus on its own. That may take a few weeks. If not, then we will discuss options at that point.

Its a twisty road this open heart surgery thing.

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#22
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Its a twisty road this open heart surgery thing.

Hopefully with your road racing experience, you'll navigate the twisty road well.


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#23
Tom Hampton

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Dunno. I'm still here, so...

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#24
Tom Hampton

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Headed home. Heart is back in sinus rhythm. Leg is much better. Today is day14 post-op. One week to possible release back to work.
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-tch
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#25
Alberto

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best wishes on a speedy recovery!


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#26
Tom Hampton

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A cardiologist friend said:

Work towards Day#30...then I'll tell you look towards Day#90. On THAT day, you'll likely be back on the bike and walking/jogging on the TM. I never allow my patients to swim in the first month...but then...



Today is day 27. So, I'm three days early... But, I'm there.

It's been a really good week. Today I saw my surgeon, and was given clearance to return to work, and drive. In addition, my range of motion restrictions were lifted. Previously, I'd been told to keep my elbows below my shoulder and in front of me, and most twisting movements involve basically keeping my hands together. So, its good to be able to move normally. My cardiologist lifted all heart rate restrictions a few days ago. So, my only remaining limitations are lifting more than 10 lbs and running.

Yesterday, I started zwift (online virtual reality thing connected to my treadmill) walking. I walked 4 miles in Richmond in 1:15. Today I walked 5 miles in 1:20.
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-tch
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#27
Alberto

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How's the recovery going?


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#28
Tom Hampton

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Hey there!  Thanks for asking.  Sorry....haven't been around here much lately.  I can't race at the moment for various reasons.  I've been iRacing a fair bit, though.  I've gotten totally carried away spending my racing budget on a sim-rig.  

 

Recovery is going well.  

 

I'm back at it running, just slower. This week... 47 miles running, 30 miles walking. That's my second 40+ mile week (in a row) running since before surgery. My heart rate is back to my normal pre-surgery ranges.
I had a bit of a hiccup in May and we had change some of my drugs around... Thus loosing some ground with 3 weeks off. So, after some good progress in April, I'm retreading that ground in June...only with moar heat 1f525.png. Nevetheless, I've managed to do 420 miles of running since open heart surgery (just under 600 for 2020 including 140 pre-surgery miles in January). I'm already at 120 in June.
I entered the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee (1022km / 634 miles by Sep 1st). At 220 miles into the race (as of today), I'm still about 20 miles behind...but, catching up 3-5 miles per day. I'd like to complete the race back across Tennessee (1269 miles)... There's a very outside chance. But, I'm on target to complete 1000 miles anyway.
 
 

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#29
Steve Scheifler

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That’s amazing Tom, good to hear you’ve made productive use of the lockdown!
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#30
manthony121

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Sorry I'm a bit late to the party.  Your story sounds kinda similar to mine.  I was 59 when I needed cardiac bypass x 4 for asymptomatic disease.  The sequence began when I was with my wife, visiting my son's psychiatrist.  (He has some learning issues).  Somehow, the conversation turned to my lack of attention to my borderline hypertension.  So, the psychiatrist whipped out her BP cuff and checked it, and, sure enough, it was up.  A few days later, I was in my Primary Care doc's office, and a routine EKG showed a *slight* abnormality in one lead.  So, they set me up for a "stress echo": an ultrasound of the heart while exercising.  THAT showed one wall not moving *quite* the way it should, so they set me up for a cardiac cath.  The cath was on a Thursday.  The woke me up after the cath and said, "You're on the OR schedule for tomorrow morning".  I had a 95% blockage of several of the vessels, and a 100% blockage of one of the minor ones.  Apparently, at some time in the past, I had had a "silent MI", with a small area of damage.

 

Surgery went well, but it was a Friday afternoon when they finished, and I was slow getting off the ventilator, so they left me intubated (and well sedated) until Monday.  My post-op recovery was uneventful.  7 months later, I went to my SCCA license school, and started racing.  My repeat cath study, one year ago, was A-OK.

 

Unlike you, I was not much into physical fitness before this all happened, but I would routinely go up and down several flights of stairs without pain or shortness of breath.  My lipids run high, but there is no family history of heart disease (before now).  So, yes, I feel very fortunate that my first symptom was not a massive, fatal heart attack.

 

Regarding the screening tests that someone had asked about, the biggest issue is the accuracy of the test.  No test is 100% accurate, and will have some "false positives" and some "false negatives".  If you screen a large population for a disease with a fairly low prevalence, using a test that has even a small number of "false positives", you wind up in a situation where a positive result on the test is more likely to be a "false positive" than a true one.  But, you have to do further testing to confirm the results of the screening test.  If that next round of testing involves any significant risk, you can easily cause more harm than good chasing false results.  If nothing else, it increases the expense, which means less money for other things like making sure kids have vaccines, etc.  Like many things in life, the situation is complex, and the "right answer" is not always easy to find.

 

Anyway, glad you're doing well.  Here's hoping we are ALL back at the track, soon!


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#31
Tom Hampton

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That’s amazing Tom, good to hear you’ve made productive use of the lockdown!


Thanks, Steve. I don't know that's its amazing... Maybe it is. I'm just stubborn. I'm good at mindless suffering.

Honestly the whole ordeal is a bit of a mind-f#ck. Over the weekend I've been talking to a friend who went through a similar ordeal recently, and relaying my experience and thoughts. I was telling him that Every weird sensation makes me wonder if something is happening, again. Maybe it's a bit of ptsd, I dunno. But, it takes a while to learn to trust your body. Not sure how long cuz, I'm not quite there. I just keep pushing through, though. What else can I do?

Most of my chest is numb-Ish. But, it also has some discomfort and irritation. Apparently, those who have significant acute post-surgical pain, are also likely to have long-term pain. It's a weird combination. Also, overusing and straining the inner chest wall doesn't get "sore" like muscles do, it's more like to feeling of a heart attack. So...yeah, when I overdo yard work and crap... That's my reward.

But, at this point I've had most tests that you can have which have all comfimed that all is good. I've had a 24/7 realtime ecg monitor on since June 1st. That ends on Friday. No problems found.

I will say that if ANYONE wants to talk about their (or a family member's) ordeal I'm available via PM, and will gladly give you my cell. My experience has been that there is precious little info out there about what it's like as a patient. I've read most of what's out there...its not much. Which is kinda weird for the leading cause of death in the US.
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-tch
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