FitOldDog’s Aortic Surgery Recovery Guide

FitOldDog's aortic surgery recovery guide

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FitOldDog enjoying his vegetable garden, after aortic surgery recovery is complete.

I do love my vegetable garden. If you need to calm down, mess around in the soil.

It is important to prepare for aortic surgery recovery. It takes training and planning, for an optimal outcome. Especially as you age. Older people really need more recovery time after a workout. And after surgery, because surgery is a workout – a tough one!

I was talking to an engineer at Cook Medical. Where they made my abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) stent graft. He said to me, Kevin, you have done so well with your stent. I think it’s because you were extremely fit before your surgery.

Well, I was fit. In fact, it was an Ironman race that saved my life. Odd events during the race caused me to realize what was going on. A 6.9 cm diameter, life-threatening, aortic aneurysm.

So I wrote my aortic surgery recovery guide, to help others along this road. It contains valuable lessons for anyone undergoing serious, potentially life-threatening, surgery. Especially when it comes to surgery recovery, and getting your life back on track, as you get older.

You leave surgery, and all those doctors, and return home.

FitOldDog finishing the Lake Placid Ironman 2011, after his aortic surgery recovery is complete.

First in the world with an AAA stent graft, at age 67. Getting slower, but still racing at age 72! Click image for video of my finish, with which I am still pleased.

Now it’s up to you to plan your aortic surgery recovery. And plan you should. In fact, if you haven’t had your surgery, you should plan for that. Essentially, get yourself in shape, both mentally and physically. Before the big day. It will pay great dividends when it comes to aortic surgery recovery, and regaining a healthy life.

Older people recover more slowly.

Older people can get out of shape physically and mentally. They will have an even harder time with surgery recovery. Preparation and planning become increasingly critical as you age.

Keys to a successful surgery outcome, include:

  1. Understanding the aortic surgery that is being done to you, and why.
  2. Remember that you are part of the aortic surgery team.
  3. Try to prepare yourself physically with exercise.Be grateful image
  4. Try to prepare yourself mentally with calming exercises.
  5. Build a support team, especially a key supporter who understands your condition.
  6. Have questions handy on a piece of paper for the surgeon.
  7. Get a second opinion, if you don’t fully trust your surgery team.
  8. You don’t have to like your surgeons, you have to trust them.
  9. Plan for each stage of the process. All the way through to surgery recovery, and getting your life back on track.

It’s your life, so it’s up to you to live it to the full!

OK! Got to go workout, and get the old body ready for the next race.

The older you get, the more health and fitness are critical for happiness.

Thinking of you. I know you’ll do fine.


BVSc, PhD, Dip ACVP, Plant-Based Veterinarian, 6x Ironman Finisher, and AAA survivor.


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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.