Aortic Patient Versus Athlete With Stent: Take Care How You Label Yourself As It Will Create Your Reality

Willbe with deer skull, looking death in the face.

Hi folks, welcome to my blather!

Stacey wearing a bone growth stimulator

FitOldDog’s friend, Stacey, who is recovering from spinal surgery, has a great attitude to the pain and discomfort – she’s wearing a bone growth stimulator, by the way.

There are many ways to look death in the face, but the real trick is to look life in the face.

Aging comes with all sorts of health challenges, including the possibility of aortic disease.

If you label yourself as an aortic patient or cripple, that’s what you’ll be, a prisoner of your aneurysm, stent graft or other type of repair, or whatever other issue you are facing for that matter.

When I first found my abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and was subsequently diagnosed with a 6.9 cm bulge in my aorta, I thought my life as an Ironman-distance triathlete was over – I saw myself, literally, as an aortic cripple. Then I remembered that as teenager I labeled myself (with the help of certain family members) as short and ugly – that sure didn’t help me in the dating scene.

FitOldDog's Aortic Patient Website

FitOldDog’s inspirational and informational books for aortic disease patients. Click image for link to site.

Many years later I shed this false label, and never looked back. The same goes for my stent – I’ve done everything I can think of to protect this remarkable device, and I’m back to living within the minimal constraints it imposes, such as NO heavy squats in the gym, no rowing, no activity that induces severe pressure in the region of my stent, and reducing hip flexion when training as best I can.

Some say don’t train – just go for gentle walks! My response is a loud, “Whatever!!!” The real problem is that aortic surgery patients receive little or no advice on how to live their lives after their surgery, which is why, I

  1. Continue to blog about it here.
  2. Wrote my surgery recovery guide.
  3. Comment on the AAA Awareness and Survivors of Aortic Dissection Facebook pages.
  4. Have created a new landing page directed towards educating and encouraging aortic surgery patients as they proceed with their lives, with the collaboration of Alan (4.2 ascending).
Transcending Fear by Brian Germain, a great book.

Click image for link.

If the medical community will not or cannot provide guidance, as aortic patients we have to guide each other based on our mutual experiences.

If you have a health challenge, make sure you carry out a rigorous benefit/risk assessment with all the help you can find, determine your level of risk averseness, and that of your family and consider other relevant life situations, and live. If you’re scared, read the book in the adjacent image, and do your homework, and you’ll be fine because you’ll have a life.

You may, just may, kill yourself in the process, but that is better than a living death of inactivity and fear.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Alan Martins says

    I totally agree, was also told not to play golf and go for little walks!
    What? If I’m going down, it’s going to be with a smile on my face. Live life!

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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.