Life After Abdominal Aortic Surgery: Two Years On And Two Days Before The Lake Placid Ironman Race 2012


Hi folks,

Chez Ollie I found this excellent document on abdominal aortic surgery from the NYU Medical Center, but it begs the question, “What is normal activity?”

The Lake Placid Ironman is a delightful trip down memory lane for me. Each time I return and continue my work towards qualifying for the Hawaii Ironman, which is not my prime motive, I always meet new and interesting people. My real reason, however, for repeatedly undertaking this somewhat challenging race is that it motivates me to push my training limits to a healthy level. And I do consider this to be a healthy level of exercise tolerance, if carried out intelligently, with due attention to body awareness, and with professional guidance as appropriate. When you leave the hospital, and you have recovered from your surgery, you are really left to work out what is safe for you, personally, for the rest of your life. What can you consider to be ‘safe exercise for better health?‘ The hospital staff will provide advice, such as the following, extracted from readily available online sources, as shown in the figure above:

Chez Ollie

But in some cases it was your ‘normal, full activities’ or lack thereof, that helped take you into surgery in the first place. For endurance athletes (and power lifters) it is a different question, “Is it safe to return to my previous level of training?” Is the activity in the video below normal for a person one year after abdominal aortic surgery? It was for me, but I did it slowly and carefully as I was the first in the world to try it with an AAA stent graft and I could tell that I was still not fully recovered from the aortic aneurysm surgery even after one year (I am now!) – what would you like to be doing a year or two after your abdominal aortic surgery?

We each have to answer these questions for ourselves, which is why I started this blog and wrote my Aortic Surgery Recovery Guide (only $9.99). The hospital staff saved your life, now it is up to you to work out where to go from here.

In the final (or two-year) analysis, what has the Lake Placid Ironman done for FitOldDog, apart from being great fun, feeling satisfying to complete, and introducing me to inspiring people?

  1. The 2010 Lake Placid Ironman race saved my life by providing me with the second clue that I needed to self-diagnose my abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  2. The Lake Placid Ironman race provides me with an annual reference point for my general state of physical health.
  3. As a goal oriented person, this race keeps me motivated to exercise.
  4. The Ironman race generates the data I need to demonstrate what can be done with an abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft, which I publish on this blog, and thus provide inspiration to others in life-threatening situations.

The question, “What has the Ironman done for me?” reminds me of a Monty Python clip from ‘The Life of Brian‘, which always makes me laugh.

You know, when the going gets tough in an Ironman, or in life in general, be it divorce or cancer or whatever, laughter can save your race, and maybe even your life, so don’t underestimate it’s value.

-k @FitOldDog


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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.