Part 3: What’s happening now?
In the beginning, I was set up with a cardiologist who I am sure is more than competent in what he does. He is a cyclist so there was a kindred interest of sorts there. He was not a strength athlete nor had he worked with competitive athletes so I was hesitant to continue care with him. I already had an appointment with my current doctor set up as well so I decided to see that thru. What I found, as I mentioned before, was not an athletic doctor, but a scientist determined to figure out what happened, not just treat what had happened. That intrigued me because I wanted to know as well. I am not a heart attack victim or a stroke sufferer, my situation posed a unique problem.
Starting rehab was frustrating for both myself and the rehab technicians. They had been given specific guidelines for my sessions. My heart rate was not to exceed a certain level and I was limited to the types of exercises I could do…no lifting of any kind. I’ve been told again and again that I need patience with this process. But that has never been a strong point of mine and I know I need to push to get certain compromises. My doctor tells me I am scaring the rehab people because I really am so far out of what they normally deal with they either let me go or reign me in to point I can’t really count it as a workout. Someone just told me this is my new “endurance” event. I believe that but I also know there must be a solution move past this. Sitting idle doesn’t work but pushing things past the level of being safe and smart doesn’t work either.
I am at the point I can ride for about an hour, supervised on my trainer, tough out a slow 5K, or knock out a strong 30 minutes of rowing. That’s progress to a certain degree. But frustrating knowing where I was. It is very confusing to my mind, and I would imagine anyone dealing with the same thing, to have one singular event reduce your hard work and training back to what feels like the beginning. My hope is my muscle memory really has stored good information.
Additionally, training at all without any supplements…no pre-workout, no BCAA’s, no Creatine, has changed how I feel during and after my rehab sessions. I do get a small amount of post workout protein. My diet has resorted closer to my Paleo regime, not completely but I am discovering the foods that have adverse effects on me. Dairy and grains really mess with my stomach, and obviously I must keep my sodium down.
To date I have gotten no responses for information or training stories form any athletes or doctors dealing with patients like me. There really seems to be a black hole in this regard. I did discover a number of sports cardiologist or organizations that offer sports cardiology are catering to “younger athletes” as they put it, either pediatrics or athletes younger than 30 years of age. Not sure why the cut off but the last time I checked the largest age group in Ironman was 45-50 years of age. Things that make you go hmmmmm. SO, as of today, no new progress on finding cardiac rehab holy grail of knowledge. I will continue to patch together whatever I can to get back to where I was.
Update: I was in rehab today (09/6/17) talking to one of my physical therapists and she agreed with me that there really is not program or plan for athletes. Everything is primarily geared towards geriatric patients or simply those that have had a “repair”.