Recovery From Major Surgery May Take Longer Than You Think, But I Suspect That Luis Has It Nailed

Collage of images of Luis M Torres, older athlete in Spain

Luis M Torres, athlete in his early 60s, lives in Spain. Nothing stops this guy! Find him on Twitter.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”  Albert Einstein

Hi folks, welcome to my thoughts!

Luis M Torres and FitOldDog on the podium after a successful race.

Old guys on the podium, each after a successful race, and talking to each other, even though they live 1000s of miles apart. Life is a team sport.

I do love to think, and I especially like it when I’m proven wrong with respect to some set idea in my head. Of course, I’ll kick and scream before I change – hell, I’m a misoneist, like the rest of us. I don’t do so well with feelings, however!

If you follow my training diary, you’ll notice that I recently decided to drop the hilly Lake Placid Ironman race in July, in exchange for the new, and very flat, Maryland Race in September. This decision to follow my son’s advice was based largely my struggles to return my bike wattage output to pre-surgery levels, and the tough time I’m having bringing my running back. Both are slowly returning to par, but slowly is the key word. My endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft repair occurred in December, 2013. Five months later, I still feel the after effects of this physical invasion into my body, including the anesthetics – bodies don’t like being invaded.

The key to successful surgery recovery, athlete or not, is patience, a plan, and the study of body awareness.

Luis M Torres in wheel chair after bike wreck.

Luis after a bike wreck, not happy. Nor was I, after I found my aortic aneurysm – I missed the running most, oddly enough.

For instance: yesterday, I was pushing hard in a 4,000 yard swim set, when I had an ominous feeling. I thought, “I wonder what all this body torque and increased blood flow are doing those hooks that hold my Cook Zenith stent in my aorta. They could trigger a dissection, or the whole thing could dislodge, if I push it too hard?” – I backed off, just a tad, and the ominous feeling (warning?) receded.

In my opinion, this wasn’t paranoia, it was a warning, with appropriate evasive action.

So, what about Luis M. Torres, a 61-year old athlete who broke the neck of his femur as a result of falling off of his bike.

Luis wrote to me a while ago for my thoughts on his recovery, as an older athlete (61) seeking input from an even older athlete (70). My advice, was once again, “Take your time, think about the stresses involved, and try to avoid applying too much load, too soon, to the neck of that femur.”

Luis M Torres having magnetotherapy.

Luis having magnetotherapy to encourage bone growth in the neck of his femur. He’s getting great treatment in his home country, Spain.

I recommend, (1) fully understand the issue, which is no problem for Luis, an anesthesiologist, (2) ride a trainer for the first few months (don’t want to fall off that bike again, yet), (3) a controlled program of weight training, with input from a sports physiotherapist, (4) water running once the hip is solid (months), (5) bone growth stimulation, as in the case of my friend, Stacey, (6) consider a few Feldenkrais sessions, and finally, (7) if in doubt go slower, not faster.

If you want more detail, Luis provided his timeline as a comment at this link.

Latest update from Luis, after having one of the screws removed (or backed off?), via Twitter on May 18th, The surgery was very good and now I have some pain in the wound but better sensation in the hip.

As I get older, I notice that there are fewer and fewer athletes in my age group. The magic of the Internet is bringing us together, which is quite a gift. Thanks for contacting me, Luis – makes me feel less alone on this lovely planet.

I hope to meet you at a race one day.


Kevin aka FitOldDog



  1. Luis Torres says

    Thank you Kevin for your excelent report, obviously age has a price and more for us, as older athletes. All the recent research shows that exigent physical activity and proper nutrition are the cornerstones for a good quality of life. It is true that many of us make a level of physical activity very above which make many young people, like Kevin, I or my 51-year-old sister that after finishing the Lanzarote ironman will the ironman of Zurich in less than 1 month.
    Age also carries the risk of injury more due to accidents (as in my case) or disease (such as Kevin), but this is the moment of truth for us, or you give up and you start passive life of a “retired” or you rebel and fights for a recovery that back you health and competition.

    According to Kevin, after a serious illness and surgery, especially if the problems it is in the cardiovascular system, the resumption of physical activity has to be clearly monitored by a competent physician and who knows how to understand the concept of exercise = health, but also avoid that we run a risk, so there are lots of different sports and competitions that lead our body to the limit without exceeding it, but when the injuries are from the musculo-skeletal system, I think that only the early physical activity accelerates the recovery and prevents that the rest ruin our body and make it very difficult to return to the competition.

    I encourage Kevin that, in September, will you do the competition and I hope that someday we can compete together and prove that age, injury or disease can not stop us, we believe that sport is the best way for living more and better

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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.