Reward Vascular Surgery Magic, Plus Thoughts On Right Heart Insufficiency!

Modern vascular surgery is like magic!

Saved my life, and my love of Ironman, twice!

vascular surgery: Tara, this warms my heat.

This message warmed my heart, too. It’s from a recent Tweet. Tara (Dr. Mastracci) and I actually met on Twitter, through a common interest in the New York City Marathon – Can you imagine, meeting your vascular surgeon on Twitter? The world IS changing! Now I know how to say thank you, to all the people who saved my life! From the inventors and researchers, to fellow patients in clinical trials.

Live Life To The Full!

What’s the point of fixing your heart, if you don’t use it to the full?

Vascular surgery reminds me of bike repair, and a comment by Victor Jimenez, of Bicycle Lab.

Victor, who built my triathlon bikes, said one day, “Kevin, I love it when you guys come in, because you destroy your bikes. You ride them into the ground. It makes my work feel worthwhile!”

My first vascular surgery, an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, was carried out by Joe Fulton, and his team, in 2010, at UNC Chapel Hill.

vascular surgery: FitOldDog's first vascular surgeon.

Thanks again, Joe!

I ruined Joe’s handiwork, in a bike wreck, at the World’s Half Ironman Championships, in Las Vegas, in 2013.

That’s how I got to know Tara, and her team, at the Cleveland Clinic.

Here she is:


The key to my post vascular surgery success, is body awareness training. It allows me to explore the issues, listening for body messages, before they become a problem – these messages can be subtle.

This applies to any health challenge. Especially for older athletes.

For instance, a friend of mine, an avid cyclist, in his early 70s, just had a massive heart attack, followed by four stents.

vascular surgery; cycling magazine

He looks wistfully, at a magazine on his living room table – I think, “Take your time, and you’ll be back, my friend.” I understand, I’ve been there! Patience!

My response was to think, “Which is worse, in his case, left heart or right heart weakness – clearly right, based on the symptoms!”

In that case, what are the real risks?

vascular surgery; fitolddog's new coach, Frits Massee

Frits just said, it’s OK to say that he is my friend and cyclist, featured here – he’ll get there, I’m sure. He just signed on as my new Ironman coach. I need coaching, that’s for sure!

My first, mental impressions, for people with right heart insufficiency, following stent placement:

  • Excessive venous return. Stay off the stationary bike, and select exercises that don’t overload venous return from the body to your right heart. Don’t overload your right pumping mechanism. Think it through!
  • Have a very careful plan for migration from passive to active recovery. Think it through!
  • Listen to your doctors AND your body. Sometimes your body knows best, but listen to both sources!
  • Question every pill you receive! I don’t blindly trust pills, even though some can save your life! Be informed!
  • Watch that diastolic blood pressure, which is when the heart receives it’s blood infusion. Think it through!
  • Think about timing and size of meals, in relation to exercise and venous return – I need to research that thought, it’s non-trivial!
  • When depressed, know that it will pass. This is normal!
  • Before returning to any sport, do a thorough benefit-risk assessment.

Learn to listen to your body!

Works for me!

Thanks again, Joe, Tara and all the people who make modern vascular surgery possible.

Saving my friend and I, to ride again!

Oh! Yes! Don’t forget to stay in shape and eat right.

They’re the best pills you can take!


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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.