What Better Time To Write About A Life-Threatening Health Challenge Than When You Have One And Are Fortunately Not In Kona?

Hi folks, welcome!



Physical and emotional challenges provide an opportunity for growth, so don’t waste them by feeling sorry for yourself for too long. Maybe have a glass of wine, whine a little, then pick yourself up and get on with it.

My cycling partner, Sue, who daily deals with people receiving a cancer diagnosis, said, “Kevin, these things make us better people. In fact, of every 100 women in our practice receiving a cancer diagnosis, 99 become better, more understanding people. They have a clearer vision of life that one cannot gain without enduring such experiences.”

That little red patch is generated by laser-Doppler calculations, revealing pulsatile pumping of my blood into the aortic aneurysm, by-passing the protective activity of my abdominal aortic stent graft.

That little red patch is generated by laser-Doppler calculations, revealing pulsatile pumping of my blood into the aortic aneurysm, by-passing the protective activity of my abdominal aortic stent graft.

About 24 hours ago I learned of a major setback. My aortic aneurysm is pumping itself back up again through an endoleak – the red patch in the adjacent ultrasound image. My aortic swelling was 6.9 cm diameter when I found it (thanks to Ironman) three years ago (5 cm. mandates immediate surgery),  1 year later it had shrunk to 5.0, last year an encouraging 3.8, but now it’s back to 5.0 cm. and there is a clear jet of blood pumping into the space between my stent (Rupert) and what remains of the outer layers of my aorta. Let it pump too high? Rupture and death – bummer! I hate it when that happens.

Repair of some kind is on the way, but what to do in the meantime?

Wait patiently, bring my blood pressure down, not go crazy, avoid traumas to my lower abdomen, and enjoy life each and every moment – time to walk the dogs and live to race another day.

FitOldDog proudly stands with his son Nigel, who captured a Kona Slot at the Louisville Ironman - 9:52, can you believe it.

FitOldDog proudly stands with his son, Nigel, who earned a Kona Slot at the 2013 Louisville Ironman – Time 9:52, can you believe it.

Oh! Yes! I can watch my son, Nigel (bib #1271), on Ironman Live, competing in the Hawaii Ironman race, which I missed a month ago by one roll down slot in Louisville – boy, was that a stroke of luck. Racing Hawaii with an endoleak would be a bad idea. But if I’d earned the slot (by running faster – I missed it by 16 minutes), I’d be out there now, racing with my son and blithely unaware of the leak. Bad idea!

It’s funny how things have a way of turning out for the best, even when they are things you really don’t want to happen at the time.

Deb is worried, but what better companion than an ER nurse to help get things moving along.

Deb was really worried, but right now she’s glued to Ironman Live.

The thoughts and feelings that knowledge of this leak have evoked are truly fascinating. It’s not like I’m dead yet, but my ego mind dishes out imaginary catastrophe, while my logic circuits plan survival, and my last will and testament for that matter. Furthermore, emotions come and go, and go up and down, following their characteristic wave forms.

A little voice inside me says, “OK, Ironman triathlete with stent, FitOldDog, what are you going to do to stay safe AND in shape until this critical plumbing problem is fixed, whilst continuing to enjoy each day as it comes along? Are you man enough for the job?”

Back to Ironman Live. Nigel (Bib 1271) is out of the water in a slow time for him, 1:02:22, but it’s a rough swim, and he’s holding close to 24 mph on the bike at mile 30.

It’s true, I’m a proud dad (proud of all my sons, in fact).

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Bob watson says


    Pauline informed me of your new plumbing problem. I’m sure it can be resolved and you will be back training quickly.

    It was our intent to drive down to your neck of the woods for training, social and or dining and drinking. Unfortunately Pauline is one of the great procrastinators so this will likely not happen. We will be spending January in Florida, and you are on way so who knows. Feel free to apply pressure to Pauline.

    All the best

    Bob Watson

  2. Leaking! that’s not good, but fixable I’m sure. Surgery – ? bummer indeed. Be safe.

  3. I love your positive attitude. It helps me to read this on a day when I am feeling overly anxious about my splenic aneurysm. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Dianna, no man (person) is an island! It does help, though I have my ups and downs, also. I think that we all have to help each other – basically bootstrapping ourselves along. My pleasure if I helped a little. It is another lovely day here, in North Carolina, and not working out until the leak is fixed will give my body a much needed rest. Pity about the NYC marathon, but you can’t have it all. Cheers, Kevin

  4. So your aorta is too wide and my left cardiac artery is too narrow. Hum… I guess we were always opposites…
    Stay safe.

    • Phenotypic variance is what keeps species going and life interesting. -k

      • Translation please

        • Translation? Well, you have genotype (the genetic code of your DNA, though it’s not as simple as that), and phenotype (who you actually are with all your strengths and weaknesses, foibles, diseases, intellect, the works – your phenotype is you). The you of your phenotype is a product of your genotype (and other encoded things) and your environment (which means everything and anything that happens to you, including weather, parental interactions, how you lay in the womb, education, mates, diet, whatever). Phenotypic variance is the fact that different members of a species, or types of Trevor (if there could be many), are all different in many little and big ways, and so would have different survival likelihoods under different environmental changes (with the accent on changes). The codes in our body are wobbly, not precise, and we are constantly changing our code due to mutations induced by radiation, chemicals and other factors. This fact makes us all different and thus increases the chance of our species or group surviving the next environmental change/catastrophe. This is a big deal in Biology. Read some Dawkins – he’s great. -kevin

          • It was a “jest”.
            This I can translate if it is unfamiliar to you or to those with the Phenotypic variance that prevents them from seeing things as such.
            (Like several bosses I have worked for)

          • Have read Dawkins, eg “The Gad Delusion”.
            He is good but a little too angry.

        • Well, yes, the religious community irritated the shit out of him. -k

  5. Sorry to hear you’re going to need surgery. Do look after yourself! Matthew

    • Hi Matthew, yep, those are the breaks. Can’t really workout until the leak is fixed, which will give me lots of time to think about other things. I’ll do some gentle swims, working on technique, but not running or cycling. Thanks for your support. Cheers, kevin

  6. When will it be fixed?

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.