Aneurysm, Diabetes, Heart Attack, Serious Injury, Feeling Your Age?


Hi folks,

Well, almost a year has gone by since I started this blog in response to fear for my life. I continue to search for endurance athletes with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) stent graft, without success. Since my graft placement, I have completed both a half and full Ironman race, with no apparent interest from the manufacturers of my stent – maybe they are scared I will croak on the course and bring them bad publicity for what is a wonderful, life-saving device. I still find this an odd response, and I have yet to find one other person in my situation. There must be one, surely?

UK National Health Service AAA Screening Program. From:

The diagnosis of AAA is improving, and treatment with a stent graft is becoming a standard procedure if the aneurysm exceeds 5 cm in diameter. Yes! It appears to be 5 cm for health insurance purposes, whether you are a tiny woman or a huge guy – now, does that make any sense? At least a screening program has been initiated for older men (not for women due to the actuarial tables, I guess) in the United Kingdom, but not in the United States. Interestingly, the only other endurance athlete with an AAA (not stented) that I have found to talk to is a woman, Pauline. Most importantly, Pauline pointed me in the direction of the AAA Awareness Facebook Page, of which she is a co-organizer. When you don’t feel alone anymore you feel better – you just do. Furthermore, if you know anyone who is at risk due to relatives with such an aortic defect, encourage them to have a screening test. My eldest son, aged 42, had his ultrasound done recently.

If you are struggling with a health challenge but would like to work out again one day, retracing the journey I made by following the progress of these blog posts from the beginning, may be helpful. I also strongly recommend that you read two books, which will provide both support and encouragement because they describe the difficult journeys of two authors, one who fought a cancer that even infiltrated the brain (Lance Armstrong) and went on to win the Tour de France, and another who recovered from an aortic aneurysm requiring open-heart surgery (Benjamin Carey) and one year to the day after his surgery completed the New York marathon along with his surgeon, both being first-time marathoners. These books are:

It’s Not About The Bike – My Journey Back To Life” by Lance Armstrong.

Barefoot in November” by Benjamin J. Carey.

You can also find support for your endeavors on blogs specifically designed for your condition, or you can start one if such a service does not yet exist. Here are some examples of sites of potential interest, and for further information consult the ‘Useful Links Tab’ or browse the Internet.

Heart disease, The Athlete’s Heart Blog, Cardiac Athlete

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) AAA Awareness Group, AAA Stent Grafts Discussion Forum

Cancer – Athletes Kickin’ Cancer, Athletes For A Cure

Diabetes – National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American Diabetes Wholesale

Aging – Chez Ollie, Chez Ollie, Masters Track

We make the key choices in our lives, but we don’t have to do it alone. I am grateful for all the people who have helped me to overcome this serious health challenge, especially the fear, and bring me back to Ironman training. Apply the same process to your life-challenging medical condition, my friends. Find your peers and talk to them if you are as scared to death as I was, or if you just need input from people who actually understand how you feel. If I can help you with this process, please let me know via my website, Old Dogs in Training LLC or on this blog.

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. Glad you found a kindred spirit in your post surgery recovery and journey. I know your spirit motivated me, post colon resection, to get back to exercising, not at an Ironman level, or what I could do at 40, but I’m moving again. I feel great too.

  2. Keep it up Marsha, as exercise sure helps. If you are interested in writing an invited blog post any time, just let me know. Have a fun New Year celebration. Cheers, Kevin

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.