FitOldDog’s Risk-Benefit Assessment Philosophy For Surgery Recovery And Sports

Hi folks! Welcome!

At the heart of my philosophy for surgery recovery, and subsequently getting on with your life, is the risk-benefit assessment.

Recovery Guide AmazonI decided to write this blog post in response to a conversation with my brother, who has a decidedly low opinion of my Surgery Recovery Guide. Fortunately, I respect his opinions sufficiently to take them into serious consideration. To quote from his review on the Amazon site:

“As it stands it is more auto biography than guide and I would find very few people who might remotely benefit from it.”

I am not interested in defending my product, as my real interest lies in making it effective, so a revised version may well be in order. However, it does contain the kernel of my philosophy of life – you are responsible for your life! Not your doctor! Not your coach! Not your parents! Not your kids! You!

Here is the relevant and critical statement in my e-book:

“After major surgery (mine just happened to be aortic), which can be dangerous in itself, there remain two major concerns once you have fully recovered from the process, these being, (a) risking your life by doing something that is not a good idea with your kind of surgical repair, and (b) not doing anything you want because you are scared of breaking your body again.

You can mess up your life through action or inaction – classic human paradox!”

The King Within

I enjoyed this book and encountered some valuable ideas.

I consider the individual (patient?) to be responsible for their own risk-benefit assessment, though he or she may choose, unwisely in my opinion, to abdicate all life decisions, especially with respect to exercise and sports, to their physician. In a way, this is giving up on your life, whether you have some medical training or not! Your doctor has other things on her/his mind, than your desire to play golf or run marathons, when advice is handed down (out, up?); fear of litigation and ignorance of your sport not generally being the least of these, even with the best doctor in the world. Furthermore, you have 24 hours a day to consider your situation, and learn from it, whilst your health professionals may be limited to minutes or, at most, hours.

Furthermore, you live in your body, so becoming aware of your situation will give you the best chance to ask the right questions, such as:

Chez Ollie Willbe isn’t trying to escape from the prison of his mind, like human primates, he’s just trying to escape!
  • Does the torque in my spine during the drive stroke make golf more dangerous than running marathons, if I have an ascending aortic aneurysm?
  • If I’ve had intestinal surgery, exactly how long will it take before I can return to the diet I love and that I know is good for me?
  • Does a doctor, or anyone for that matter, really understand the biomechanics of my situation – if so, can I find that person?
  • If I have a coronary arterial stent graft, and as the heart muscle is nourished with blood during early diastole (relaxation phase of heart beat), what really is the best blood pressure range for my heart? Does anyone know, and if so where is the research, as I’d like to read it?

    Interesting book with very interesting ideas. From:

    Interesting book containing very interesting ideas that are relevant to post-surgical recovery.

  • Do I really have to take beta-blockers, with all their attendant risks, just on the basis of statistical studies?
  • Am I really communicating adequately with my doctor?

If you feel that you cannot trust yourself to make big life and death decisions related to your health, why not read about your psyche first, and then start to explore it? It won’t be what you think it is, I promise, or if it is what you thought it was you’re not questioning yourself deeply enough.

Have fun, anyway, life is too brief to waste, whatever you’re dealing with.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. ‘Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour’ (Mark 6:1-6).

  2. This is good. It’s hard for us patients to do our own risk/benefit assessment though, because we are woefully uneducated about the science. Most of us rely on what the medicos tell us. I’m almost past the sell-by date for my back surgery to fix the herniated disc. My MD then said it would last about 15 years. So, am I being stupid to consider a backpacking trip again? I don’t think so because I’ll greatly reduce the weight I carry on my back and the distance I’ll go. Me modifying the risk. I don’t think most MDs study biomechanics. Point being, we have to self-educate a lot, consult experts in various modalities, make some adjustments, and then get back on the horse. So to speak; I haven’t been back on a horse since the back surgery. I miss that too.

    • Reassess often. The world moves on. What was your surgery, exactly? Then again, horses, like Wizards, are fickle and quick to anger (well, jump around in a random manner!). I rode some as I considered it my duty as a veterinarian to be able to ride, to the point of studying dressage, and I found horses to be quite interesting creatures. Did I understand them? Not too well! Maybe I was overanalyzing? Did they understand me? I suspect that they did.

  3. They’re like big dogs, in a way.

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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.