And so I fell down

It’s hard work trying to stay in shape on a continuing basis. Work, family, friends, habits and whims pull us in conflicting directions. We all have our individual compass which uses our motivation like the North Star to guide us ahead. Until that motivation sputters and coughs.

There is a scene in the film called “The Conjuring” which reminded me of the function of motivation. The wife of this demonologist couple says of evil artifacts that you can “destroy the vessel but you can’t destroy the Evil.” All you can do is hold it safe for awhile to prevent it from causing harm now. The same can be said about heart disease in relation to exercise. Being active can help keep it at bay or at least slow the progression, inactivity will kill you.

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I’ve been training hard for over a year now. Bringing everything I learned in Cardiac Rahab with me to every workout. I kept on track through Winter and Spring with my marathon training goals. Until I injured myself in three stages over the course of the Summer. During the Columbus 10k in June I was keeping up with the 8.5 pacer chatting about our various stories. He’d lost something to the tune of 50 lbs through running. I found an escape from anxiety in it. Toward the end someone encouraged me to push harder and lean into the downward sloping hill. While I ran at a faster pace I didn’t do myself any favors. It was later that week when I sprained my ankle on a training run which put me out of commission for a week. After I recovered I got back to my training. Marking the start of my optimistic marathon training program. Things were going well until July.

This part should be proof that no matter what age a man achieves … he can make really bad choices. So it was one of those moments on a Friday night where I was in the kitchen when my brain said “why not do some chest dips?” Did I have the equipment? No. But I did have a built in bar in the kitchen and a heavy island adjacent where I prep food and store a whole mess of cooking tools within reach. So I was doing chest dips. When the island started to slip away I remembered that the structure was built on… rollers. Needless to say I ended up on my ass but not before my weaker foot tried to catch some of the fall. THUD!

Men

For the next two weeks my ankle was swollen and angry about being twisted in an unnatural way. I took care of the injury with pro advice from a colleague using Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. During that time my activity level tanked. Running outdoors in the sun or summer rain is one of my great new pleasures. It makes me feel free and reminds me to center. You see I’d been thinking of closing my gym membership recently because I rarely use it anymore. But without the ankle I could not run. I know each skipped workout or bowl of kettle chips makes the Cardiac Artery Disease stronger. But I had lost the fight in me. Truth is I made it to the gym a grand total of three times in two weeks to swim and to use the rowing machines. Smack in the middle of July.

I underestimated the power of a simple sprained ankle over my motivation. It makes me think of the nature of motivation. Lifestyle in the face of life and death situations. Maybe not in the sense of immediately today but in relation to the nature of lifestyle. The everyday choices. A better way to have dealt with this would have been to acknowledge the situation and pivot. Switch to swimming 4 days a week which my gym offers. Or mix it up with rowing machine as that didn’t aggravate my ankle. As it stood, I swam twice and did the rowing machine once. Those are sad stats. But with all failure there is always a lesson.

The lesson is to be ever vigilant about thinking in fixed terms. Be flexible. Pivot. Don’t be hard on yourself for stupid choices. Acknowledge and move on and do better. Get help when you need it.

I had a pep talk with myself last week. Bucked up and got an x ray of my ankle. Everything turned out to be OK, no tendon or ligament tears, and ready to get back to the running trails. I plan to get back to the marathon training track this week. I’m going to make an effort to get back into forcing myself to workout indoors at the gym. Weights, swimming and rowing machines. It’s all about the balance of activity that has proven cardio-protective benefits anyway. I love running, but when I’m injured… I can’t let it stop me in my tracks either.

Ankle

Failure is a gift. Sometimes it gives us the lesson we need when we need it most. So here’s to stupid choices and looking optimistically forward.

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Magic Feather

Having sprained my ankle a few weeks back, story in the works, I was very cautious with my recovery as I still have some hopes that I’ll be able to enter the Columbus Marathon this fall if I’m lucky. I got an Xray by my orthopedic Dr and received the all clear to return to running.

A young buddy at work suggested using KT Tape which I used last night on a trial 4 mile slow run to test out the ankle strength. All went better than expected. I was even treated to a full downpour halfway through the run. The tape seemed to work well. I may or may not have needed it it but I felt a little safer using it and probably will for the next week or so while I get my confidence back. Magic feather in my case or not, it’s good stuff. You definitely want to shave or closely trim the area where you apply it to help the tape stick better and aid in easier removal. After EKG pad removal I have a phobia of the sensation of ripping hair out of my body when you remove whatever it is that is stuck to you.

I discovered one of my new favorite things last night. Losing my shirt during a summer storm while running… it’s one of those outdoor shower or standing under a waterfall kind of feelings. I hope to never forget that.

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Saying goodbye to my father in-law

It is said that during the process of death a person puts one foot in the beyond leaving one foot, momentarily, in the living world. Witnessing my father in-laws month long decline this week reminds me of this statement. The slow but steady change to his memory and physical stature all seem to support the idea that we dissociate from life as if we are preparing to leave.

My father in-law had four brothers and three sisters. One brother was the Bishop of Columbus and the other was a priest who was famous for being a champion of the poor and homeless. His sister Mary Lou was a free spirit and loved a good party. It’s rumored that she died with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Her post funeral gathering was the only true high spirited parties I’ve ever experienced. It was a mix of outrageous Opera folks, family and wild friends. It was a party that represented Mary Lou to the T. We were all there together as a family celebrating with her.

Uncles

There are parallels to my mother in-law’s stories of living in Linworth in the 60′s to living on Hunter Avenue with Eddie in the early ’90′s. Ed & Dee were a young couple starting a family back then. She spoke of the nights they’d party around the pick-nick table drinking beer with the neighbors talking into the late hours of the night. Waking up early to pick up the beer cans and clean out the ashtrays before the kids woke. Then there were our days in the crazy house on Hunter. It was a house divided into four shotgun style apartments. Over the course of 13 years we lived there so many of our friends became neighbors at various points that it’s hard to keep track of looking back. One thing was constant though, food, drink, art and laughter. From the moment I heard the Linworth story I had always wondered if it was some part of Eddie that he got from his parents. Living together with neighbors as friends. Good times.

Family

Other events we shared together at Hunter Ave include the whole family coming over for the Dooh Dah Parade/Eddie’s birthday. We lived on the route it took then up Second Ave.. Eddie’s nieces and nephews would throw water balloons at the parade. Running around our bohemian apartment having wild fun together. These soiree’s later morphed into larger scale outdoor dinner cookouts with cross neighbor participation. Mary Lou and her husband would attend some of these along with cousins and so many friends. It’s that kind of group. Not tight, but always orbital.

We moved on to Clintonville from Hunter Ave shortly after 9/11. We wanted more space so we got a house and proceeded to unfold into it. We continued the family party track there by hosting Thanksgivings in our big dining room along with Ed’s, epic, 70th birthday party just after his sister Julie died. All these events are vibrant still because we were all together to share those moments. Much like spending Christmas at Eddie’s sister Lorrie’s various homes. Those cozy days full of food, cocktails, kids and cold weather.

For those who think of Catholics as stodgy I have to say, you don’t know the Fulcher’s. They are humble to a fault and quick to lend a hand while sharing an infectious smile that usually morphs into a little laughter. It was with no surprise then that Eddie and I would often times end up going out on the town with Ed & Dee. We’d visit old favorite Italian restaurants of an earlier generation, pop into new hot spots in the Short North, or drop by a dive bar together and drink our fill as the evening turned purple then black. One night in particular we ended up at this place called Windward Passage. Famous for being a pick up spot for the senior crowd. It was a silver fox kind of place. Eddie called me at work while I was a sales rep for a wine company to meet he and his parents there one afternoon. When I was able to get there after my day I found all three of them lit up like lanterns but having the time of their lives. I caught up with them and had one of the best nights out in all my memory.

Of course looking back further into the days when Eddie and I had just met. Maybe a couple years into our relationship as he was graduating from OSU with an undergrad in Fine Arts. It was his thesis show called Suburb which dealt with, you guessed it, growing up gay in the suburbs, where I have my first memories of Ed & Dee (and Mary Lou). It was the early 90′s and we were all so young. But love and chance brought us all together.

Houghton

Some of what I remember through Eddie are things like Ed used to make the family breakfast on Sunday mornings when they were growing up. They’d listen to music by Johnny Mathis. Whose album covers gave Eddie some of his first love for modern furniture with Johnny sitting all hip and smooth as glass in a butterfly chair. That he faced a bankruptcy from a failed business and bounced back from it carrying his family with a strength that would not stop by working two jobs. And never tired, was there for his kids after his shifts for what they needed. Stories that he and his sisters still giggled about where one year, for whatever reason, Ed took the kids out for back to school clothes instead of Dee. They all came back looking Brady Bunch groovy and ready to rock the 1970′s school halls that year. The story of Dee saving the first receipt from when she served this young soldier in the restaurant she worked in as a waitress in Houghton Michigan. She still has that receipt… and the soldier today.

Mathis

We met Lorrie and our niece Lex at a Hospital on the West Side this past weekend to pick up Ed & Dee as they had decided to stop dialysis and proceed to hospice for the rest of his care. And while frail, suffering from what the nurses were calling “pleasant dementia,” and ready to bust out of there like it was a prison he showed his wife such tremendous tenderness that it brought tears to my eyes. After all that he’d been through, with his renal failure diminishing him, he still waited to help Dee to her chair. Making sure she walked first. Kissing her on the forehead as he helped her into her seat.

That’s love.

Love that even while you can’t remember your house, or wake up with some cloudy memory of a job interview you never had in your 20′s that you were somehow due for now in your 80′s and had to get dressed for, or when you start talking with long deceased loved ones as if they were there… you still feel that love for your wife at your base.

Then there’s that idea of having one foot in the living world and one in the beyond as we prepare to die. This collection of time encapsulated in scattered moments stored in the memories of three generations of family multiplied by all our corresponding friends, colleagues and neighbors are like lanterns lighting the way through the night in a persons absence. I wonder if we can somehow sense his foot lifting from the ground to join his other just beyond the light. With no small measure of dread for the loss of the man who gave us so much. But also with infinite gratitude for having been so fortunate ourselves to live with such a beautiful man to call father in-law, husband, grandfather, brother, neighbor, co worker and friend. The work Ed did in his life lives in all of us. It still does as I witnessed on Sunday when he was so tender with Dee. While he may have one foot in the beyond, he’s still very much here with us today even as he prepares for another place. If life is an illusion then let there be great lights, like Ed, along our path to mark the way.

Like so many parties he’s loved over his many years, we are all here to carry our various lanterns together in order to honor him and each other with laughter, music, good food, strong cocktails, keen style, devotion to those we love and simple fun. I think he would like that best.

Ed

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Gratitude for setbacks

So my ankle has been sore off and on since the Columbus 10k. I took some advice to push into the hill to run faster toward the end. While it didn’t hurt or feel injured I think I put some sort of new strain on myself. This has definitely put a cramp in my marathon training so far this summer. Still, I’m getting about two good runs in a week and only having recently felt sore enough that I needed to follow the R. I. C. E. plan to treat the symptoms. Hopefully this will abate and heal through the summer but I plan to return to swimming and weight training to keep mixing things up while staying as active as possible.

That’s the thing about setbacks though. They force us to get creative and be as flexible as possible. I’m taking mine as a reminder to not take anything for granted or fixed. Every day is a gift.

Today brought me to the farmers market where I picked up some heirloom tomatoes and made a killer sauce for pasta early this week. Note regarding the recipe, you can easily cut the oil to a fraction or eliminate it outright to make it very heart healthy. The peaches are destined for protein smoothies. It’s kind of cool to have a resource like the Clintonville Farmers Market to visit on a weekly basis through the summer months.

My meditation practice has begun to become a little more productive as well. I’ve been reading “Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings” by Stephen Levine which has been a game changer. This weeks was the Loving Kindness Meditation. Of particular benefit was the visualization of another person to whom you project positive energy upon. I really enjoyed that mechanism a great deal. It’s the closest I’ve felt to prayer in over 30 years.

And then there’s the Ohio sunsets that roll out over Columbus in the late hours of the day. These remind me again to keep gratitude in my heart and hope for tomorrow.

Sunsets Ice Tomato Sauce

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Invisible Brother

One late Ohio Spring evening I was riding in the car with my friend Eric after picking he and his wife Vata up from the airport. We’d not seen each other in 23 years. I remember his last words to me over the phone back then were “I love you” as we were young men preparing to part ways. I picked him up at Port Columbus and was met with one of those enormous bear hugs. One where the other person sort of falls into you for either support or gratitude of presence. A great big wide armed full chest kind of thing. It was as if no lifetime had passed between our last conversation and now. But his mom had died and he was here from Florida to bury her and mourn with his brothers and step dad.

We knew of one another in grade school. Our mothers were friends. His mom asked him to keep an eye out for me as I was a year his junior. Maybe because I was from a broken home that had recently reformed and taken a new orbit. I suppose he was like some invisible brother.

Eric was cavalier with women and a prolific lover. Something like our town’s version of an amorous super hero. I was the classic introvert… turned in on himself still awaiting the ramifications that identity would later manifest. Afraid of myself and the world around me.

We crossed paths again as he was dating a friend of mine named Joy who worked on the same school paper I did. She was the editor in chief, I was some sort of editor hanging out with the cool nerds. Joy invited Eric, myself and another couple of our friends to spend part of the Summer at her parents cottage on a lake somewhere in Michigan. I was the fifth wheel as everyone in the group had paired off and were dating. This was just after High School graduation. Everyone was setting their individual compasses on what we thought were the horizons of our futures.

I still remember the the laughter. Wooded walks on the soft pine needles. Stars in the non urban night sky. Sound of the waves from the lake mixed with the memory of all the hope and promise of our lives ahead as if it were a pair of new shoes wrapped in tissue as they sat unused in the box.

During that trip we became best friends.

Fall term came. Eric and I had enrolled in the local branch of the State college to save some money by living at home while completing key foundation courses. We’d hang out at night watching films, smoking and listening to The Smiths, Sex Pistols, The Cure to name a few. I remember walking the streets of our dying home town after midnight. One time walking on thin ice of the pond at our college branch. Once is enough. The deep noise from the grinding and cracking sound of the ice under you just before it sends you into the water sealing off your exit route is more than chilling.

It’s unclear to me now whether we realized that we were telling each other our stories all those nights. Allowing ourselves to dream. Sharing a space together to grow within. One of those rare childhood gifts. A friendship that came into being back in Michigan and never ended since.

Eric’s mother was dead. The tangible loss I felt from he and his family made me think of our own friendship in relation to our mother’s. Beautiful symmetry. When I dropped him off at his family home before the funeral he gave me another hug. This time he leaned into me and I could actually feel the gratitude, joy and sadness he was holding inside.

Driving away, I realized that we make friends not all at once, but over time. Thinking back to our time on the lake… it turned out that the compasses we’ve been using happened to be these friendships.

Round

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Jaeger Run for Pride 2016

I had another opportunity to run with my cousin Chelssie this past Friday. It was a beautiful Friday night on the eve of the Pride March. We were treated to sunny summer weather with a nice breeze. While I don’t run for time I was pretty happy to be 6th in my age group and overall 71st of the 234 men and women who I ran with that night.

In the wake of the Orlando shootings last week one of the things I enjoyed most was the spirit of gratitude toward the police shown by nearly all the runners for keeping us safe. In retrospect this may have been one of my favorite runs to date.

Interval Time of Day Chip Time Chip Pace Gun Time Gun Pace
Start 7:00:27PM
Finish 7:27:53PM 00:27:26 08:50 min/mi 00:27:54 08:59 min/mi

Jaeger Run Jaeger Run Jaeger Run

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Invincible Summer

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer,” Albert Camus

I know, first hand, that none of us are invincible. But I love the spirit of what Camus said. It reminds me of the reasoning that went on in my head to take on a bigger goal than I’ve faced to date. To run a full marathon in October 2016.

After a lot of thought, and a couple Dr. checkups, I decided to throw my running shoes into the mix with a group of other folks who I’ll be training with through summer/fall. And while the goal is to run my first full marathon it’s also to stretch my arms out further and open up to more new experiences. While I’m realistic about the outcome either way I’m already excited about the journey. Running has taught me to both relax and let go of day to day activities that cause us to build negative feedback and stress cycles. Meditation is also doing similar things. It’s the subtle state of mind shifts that come with these kinds of activities that make up a lifestyle and, can over time, remap your brain.

So I’m excited to be signed up for the Columbus Running Company’s running clinic and I’m following the beginner plan starting this Saturday. It’s going to be interesting running with a group every Saturday through summer and the beginning of fall. Given that I love sharing stories I’m looking forward to meeting new folks and hearing what motivates us in general.

Beginner-Marathon-Plan

What motivates me? Surviving and living well for starters. The folks I have the honor to call friends, family and co workers who fill my life would be right up there as well. Lastly, the ability to workout, read and meditate toward maintaining both a calm mind and healthy body.

So here is where the trek toward running 26.2 miles begins. Along with this I plan to further “veganize” my diet and, with any luck, go completely plant based.

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Finish lines & conversations

It’s an amazing feeling to cross the finish line of any race. It can sometimes be that desperate push to the end of a grueling experience or like turning the last page in a favorite book.

I finished the Columbus 10k this past Sunday and with the pictures having been published I’m reminded of what a great experience it was to run alongside the 9 minute pacer and talk with him and the folks around us through the race. Sharing stories together while running… that’s the best part of the experience.

Columbus-10k

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Anchors

While I still have my bad workout weeks I have decided to sign up for the Columbus full marathon this Fall. All these runs have a way of putting anchors along my path which remind me to eat right and, sleep well and exercise along a plan. As an added bonus however I’m really enjoying it and meeting a ton of good people along the way. So… here’s to doing something I never thought I’d do along the lines of 26.2 miles.

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There is nothing to fear except fear itself

In this article I hope to explore my own cardiac anxiety as a heart attack survivor in hopes that it will help others become better at differentiating anxiety from symptom. If I’m very lucky, maybe, help turn the page with some of you and get back to where we take back some of ourselves in the process.

Many of us experience anxiety, some on a next level than we can imagine. As cardiac survivors it’s common for this to take the form of daily, sometimes constant, fear of another event. I want to share with you the tools I’ve picked up that help me perform first a self-assessment when I realize that cardiac anxiety is occurring and then how I work through it.

Looking back over the past 14 months I feel like I went from a 33 year old guy, in my head at least, to a 48 year old heart attack survivor in a matter of 48 hours. There is a subtle emotional fault line that collides with reality when we are forced to face a life threatening situation. Something that very nearly puts a period in the last chapter of our book… and when it doesn’t we are left with the intimate knowledge that our killer is a built in feature of our bodies.

Reflecting on some of the stories I’ve shared, and heard from others, I feel like these can begin to sound like postcards from Sunny Florida. “Hi, things are sunny here on the beach! I survived!” There is usually a deeper subtext to these stories. The other side of the coin so to speak. A much darker one as it becomes something you carry with you at all times… like a worry stone in your pocket.

Postcard

It’s been 14 months since my first heart attack. During that time period I have worked with my health care providers to take the rabbit by the ears and dive head first into it’s rabbit hole. Between my cardiologist, my family Dr., the cardiac rehab team, a meditation teacher, a therapist, and a small army of friends/family/co workers I have explored more about myself than anyone should in one 14 month period.

I felt lost just after I was released from the hospital with a bright shiny new stent in my LAD region. Without the benefit of the lessons to come, I dealt with anxiety using only simple tools. One of which was to set my focus on something in my immediate future and part of my lifetime routine. For me this was getting up early, and in the quiet hours of the day, making a pot of really strong flavored coffee. The kind that makes you think of black paint. Of course I switched to decaf but it still has the same place and function in my life. Something that has not really changed. Something I could look forward to… something I could look at while averting my attention from fear. It’s a simple distraction technique but it works. Whatever that is for you, set your sights on it and put 100% of your attention on it in moments of anxiety. As the months progressed after cardiac rehab I turned to running which gave me the most peaceful release from myself, possibly because keeping myself moving with enough air in my lungs ruled out a lot of the normal mental static I normally experience. Physical activity, of any type, is a great way to dim the effects of cardiac anxiety. Another is meditation, which I’m terrible at because of my mental make up. 1000 thoughts a minute sometimes here. That said, I’ve got my practice down to moments where I can sit down, close my eyes and visualize an elevator descending from your head, shoulders, heart, stomach and hips. Stopping at each point, doors opening, fresh air rushing in with your breath and then making a return trip to your head. It takes all of 5 minutes but practiced daily can help calm the mind. The benefits of both physical activity and this style of meditation is that you don’t have to be good at it… you just have to do it and you get the benefits.

I picked up this next technique later in 2015, when I sought the assistance of a professional therapist to help me try to process the fact that I have heart disease. I know many others who have been heavily impacted by various heart conditions. But the one thing I have found we all are faced with is anxiety and or depression. Dr’s say this is it’s own stand alone risk factor and is primarily caused by the cardiac event. I had a more mild form of this experience but I had to face it, just the same.

There were times when I’d find myself completely consumed with the possibility of another event and tricking myself into feeling ill as a result. My head literally would get the better of me and I’d lose sight of the things in life that made it meaningful. My first trip to ER was on the day I was to fly out to Portland to be the best man in my buddy’s wedding. I woke up feeling anxious, and none of my tricks were able to shake it’s grip. That was at my six month mark from the day I had a heart attack. The second time was at the fourteen month point.

When is it time to go to the ER? The answer is anytime you are unsure about your symptoms be they mild or severe. I made the right choice in both cases. Thankfully both were false alarms. Again to be clear, when you suspect your body is telling you that it’s suffering heart attack symptoms…call 911. The reason I am writing this post however is to hopefully share some of the techniques I use to self assess and find my truth.

It was my therapist who helped me cultivate a technique to personify the anxiety. I chose to think of it like my mom- when I was a 15 year old boy. She was always there taking care of us and helping us to make the right choices… or at least not hurt ourselves on a good day. So when I felt the cardiac anxiety take hold of me I’d face it as if it were mom. I’d perform a self assessment (we’ll get to that in a moment) and then after I decided I was OK, I’d tell her I was fine and that I needed to get back to what I was doing.. which is living right now. It took time but as I practice this more I have been able to regain more control of my day to day anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I think about having a heart attack every day. But not so much in fear, more like a compass. Keeping me as centered on the road as possible, guiding me through the rest of my life.

Compass

Not only did the therapist give me this useful tool to deal with anxiety he also opened my eyes to the fact that this is a classic grief model. One where our goal is to embrace heart disease, or whatever diagnosis or life crisis, and accept it. The good part about that is once you have done so, you have your life back. Changed yes. But it’s 100% you in your head not grief, depression or anxiety. And that’s work worth doing.

I mentioned that I do self assessments earlier. These are something that my meditation teacher used to help me wrap my non meditative head around the practice of meditation. She kind of freaked me out because she was a super-hippy type. Very in touch with herself and disturbingly peaceful. I darn near think she could levitate if she simply regarded gravity, accepted it, and then decided she wanted to sit on top of it. Yeah… she’s that person. All in all an excellent example of life providing the teacher you need not the one you think you want. So, she taught me how to sit and listen to myself breath in a mindful way. It was perfect for me as I’m a problem solver for a living and my head tends to be a train that is hard to stop. I told her this and she said that’s OK. “Just regard those thoughts and let them be. Keep breathing and focus on those.”

I lived in a high rise in a historic building in Downtown Dallas for many years. When she introduced the idea of the elevator meditation I was better able to do this using the Davis Building elevators as imagery. She used this to show me how to breath my way down my body by “focusing” on your head, throat, shoulders, chest, arms, hands, stomach, hips, legs, feet and then back up. I do these now in tandem with my anxiety exercise to manage those feelings. It’s the results of the assessment that give me the answer that anxiety is asking of me. “Are you OK?” So far the answer has been yes. And that’s a powerful feeling.

Elevator

It was a colleague of mine who sent me a rather hefty email detailing his history with heart attacks and that of his father who had a series of 13. These guys are real men in my book. Anyone who can battle through all that and maintain hope and forward motion… well, that’s someone to look up to as a role model. It was one technique they use that caught my attention. It’s called the “4-7-8” breathing exercise. It uses diaphragmatic breathing in no particular rhythm really to lower your heart rate, improve oxygenation and clear your mind. Careful though, and while this has never happened to me, this can allegedly put you to sleep in 60 seconds. There are plenty of resources including video content on You Tube you can find by the 4-7-8 keyword in any search engine.

Wrapping all this up I wanted to impart my struggle with cardiac anxiety and the tools I have found to manage it. If you are struggling it’s OK to ask for professional help. With his or her guidance it may be determined that medicine may be a good course of action. You may be able to simply work through it or use some of the techniques I employ on a daily basis to manage it. Whatever it is though, take it seriously. Learn how to control it and live a long(er) healthy life. Always trust your body even though you may still be learning about new signals it’s sending due to heart disease. Go to ER if in doubt. Trust and truly partner with your cardiologist and family Dr. These folks are our allies along with the medicines they are putting at our disposal. I’m in regular contact with my team with questions about side effects, dosage, supplements, nutrition and exercise. Make sure you take advantage of these resources and make informed choices with help. Above all… don’t go it alone. Find support. In the absence of a network, know that you are not alone and that we are all out here fighting the same battle together.

It’s possible to take back our lives. All we have to do is use our heads, follow our hearts, make good choices, allow for failure but learn from them and, above all else, don’t look back.

As a footnote to that first ER trip… I was able to make it to Portland the next day. It was a beautiful ceremony celebrating two people very much in love. After that I climbed Mt Hood and Saddle Mountain and nearly drowned in the Columbia River.

In the end, that’s how I want my postcard to read… “Just wanted to say hi! I’m having a crazy time, riding rainbows wearing a cowboy hat and jumping through rings of fire.”

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Activity

  • Afternoon Run
    On August 28, 2016 1:06 pm rode 6.34 mi. during 01:27:06 hours climbing 70.54 ft.
  • Lunch Swim
    On August 25, 2016 12:30 pm rode 0.00 mi. during 00:20:00 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Lunch Run
    On August 24, 2016 11:55 am rode 2.78 mi. during 00:29:44 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Weight Training
    On August 23, 2016 3:50 pm rode 0.00 mi. during 00:40:00 hours climbing 0.00 ft.
  • Afternoon Run
    On August 22, 2016 5:22 pm rode 5.83 mi. during 01:08:02 hours climbing 80.38 ft.
  • Weight Lifting
    On August 18, 2016 10:45 am rode 0.00 mi. during 00:40:00 hours climbing 0.00 ft.