Tag Archives: cardiac rehabilitation

Week 7 – On The Road To Running

14 Aug

This week, I have had to do everything possible to restrain myself from breaking into a run! My walks, up to 4 miles at a time, are certainly faster and I feel ready to jog. Even though I love all three disciplines of triathlon, running would certainly be my first choice when starting to exercise again. It’s just as well that I’m allowed to run before cycling and swimming!

Wednesday will be the  8 week point in my recovery. 2 months after surgery means, for me, that I can run. I will be attending a cardiac rehab session at the local hospital, followed by a tentative treadmill session at my friend’s house. I’m not sure how nervous I’ll be but having upped my walking speed recently, my heart rate should be used to the exertion. As well as being sensible and listening to my body about how much I can push myself, I want to eliminate the fear I had when I stopped running back in March. Then, whilst out on a group training run I’d panic that I couldn’t breathe and be overly aware of my heart rate. All has now been fixed with my heart and I hope my confidence will grow during each run.

Emotionally, I have been up and down, but ‘the book’ says this is normal!! Let’s just say I haven’t been the easiest person to live with but I envisage this all to change when I’m back doing my usual activities over the next few weeks. I have decided to go back to work in the office the week after next and have at least 2 days off week. This experience has  made me and others evaluate the amount of time we spend working. Not healthy to work 7 days a week for months on end. Financial concerns mean a holiday isn’t on the cards this year but a renewed energy from me when I’m back in the business should cheer us along to Christmas and a possible Alpine break!

This week I have experienced a person staring at my scar for the first time. Others have told me that see people checking out my scar when I’m in public but up until now, I hadn’t noticed. My feelings were mixed. I found some humour in the situation and pride at what I have gone through. I also felt  a little sad that the scar could cause such a horrified look!

Having targets and deadlines is who I am. So my 8 week point next week, and the celebration of running that will accompany it is what has kept me going through this chapter. Over and over in my mind, I imagine how good it will feel to run again. The same with the scenario where I cross the finish line next April with my ideal marathon time.

Mental conquers physical hands down!!

Week 3 Recovery

16 Jul

2 weeks ago, my first walk was for seven minutes around the block. My longest walk is now 60 minutes! How quickly the body adapts when it is pushed a little further everyday.

Cardiac rehabilitation is something that has always interested me for both professional and personal reasons. As a nurse, I enjoy cardiology and learning about the heart. After any form of cardiac event (e.g. a heart attack) or heart surgery, a programme of rehabilitation is offered. I completed my dissertation on this subject, focusing on the care offered in the community and accessibility to patients. During my nursing career, I have attended several courses relating to the heart and this has given me a deeper insight into my condition. Not necessarily a good thing as I believe it is true what they say about nurses, they make the worst patients!

On a personal level, my family history of heart disease has always concerned me about the future of my health. My unspoken mission appears tom have been ensuring I take control of my health with healthy eating and physical fitness. Genetics of course have a part to play in determining illnesses in life. Environmental factors have a huge influence on your overall wellbeing. Given the opportunity to try to prevent a cardiac event, wouldn’t you like to do all you can, be it a life long exercise commitment, eating unhealthy foods in moderation and avoiding stress. This is certainly my aim!

My love for maintaining a healthy lifestyle has driven me through my ill health recently. A desire to get back to running safely is so strong that I know nothing will stand in the way. Confidence and determination is what sees you through above all else. If I had to give one piece of advice for marathon training (including to myself) it would be see yourself finishing. You have to visualise your aim clearly in your mind and this translates into a belief.

Yesterday, I went for a check up with my consultant, 3 weeks after my heart surgery. All was well and I had my questions answered about returning to exercise. Small issues and niggles can easily become larger worries when you are sat with nothing else to think about so it was good to dispel these concerns. I was told I can run again at the end of August, building up slowly. As my fitness as declined since the start of the year, I can empathise with those embarking on their first challenge or race. Each step further hurts so much. My head tells me that it is ok to push further every day and that my body will once again take me the 26.2 miles. Until you reach your goal for the first time, you have to rely on the fact that you are getting closer and closer to your goal.

My scar is healing well and all who see it complement me on how good it looks! When I am out and I have seen people looking at the scar, I am not embarrassed. I am proud of what I have gone through and am almost feeling glad that I have a physical reminder of what I have gone through. I am grateful that my ASD (hole in the heart) was picked up at an age when I am fit and able to recover well from a major operation. I am looking forward to a future with running, triathlons and hopefully getting a little faster!

To keep myself busy, I am planning what I will be able to do at recovery benchmarks of 6, 8 and 12 weeks. I am discounting my ‘bad days’ and focus only on the ‘good days’. At the end of the 12 weeks, I am planning a holiday as a kind of reward for successfully making it through a long summer!