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Common Ground

Friday, March 08, 2013

Update time!

Saw the cardiologist nurse practitioner earlier this week. And the news? Frustratingly less than conclusive. But in many ways it is pretty positive...even if it DID send me into a bit of a funk this week, struggling to see the glass as at least half full. I remind myself of the far more difficult medical conundrums others manage to navigate. I've seen clients who have neurological conditions which render them in excruciating pain 24 x 7 who would be elated to find that their medical problem was terminal!

Still, I spent the better part of a week or longer moping...stuck in a mood of "if-I-can't-do-what-I-wanna-do
-why-bother-doing-anything" mode. Yep, a pretty bad case of stinkin' thinkin'. Good news? I finished the anti-coagulant injections in the belly and am only taking oral Coumadin. Bad news? My belly is a multicolored mess with a nasty hematoma the size of a grapefruit bulging out where I must have bumped it...making me VERY self-conscious and wincing when making a number of movements. And you know, since I'm already in a *mood*, I am of course all OVER that half empty glass! Been avoiding the fitness center. Not good, I know.

More info from the NP: she offered a helpful metaphor so that I could better understand my atrial flutter. The heart as a house: you got plumbing and electricity. My plumbing, from what they could tell, appears in pretty good shape. Good news! However: my electricity is less than optimal.

Even after the cardioversion (shock to the heart) during my holter monitor study of my "corrected" heart rate, my heart rate dipped down to the 30s again and there was one point at which my heart STOPPED, for nearly three seconds. Sobering!

Atrial flutters such as what I have are very unpredictable and the cause of the condition is likely never to be known. REALLY hate not being able to KNOW this!

In all likelihood, my condition will deteriorate over time and require an ablasion and pacemaker to prevent my heart rate from dropping dangerously low. Since I've come around to understanding that a pacemaker is not a bad thing, if I had my druthers I would almost just as soon get it over with and have the darned thing put in.

But my condition is not serious enough to warrant this. We must wait. Watch. Monitor. Wonder. Ugh.

And in the meantime for the next few months I must take the Coumadin due to the previous lengthy period of atrial flutter there is potential for all sorts of clots lurking throughout my body which could wreak havoc and potentially kill me.

So my Coumadin paranoia continues. My road cycling days are delayed. Registration is opening up for upcoming summer cycling events and I dare not put my money down...at least just yet. We're heading into the 50's this weekend and bike club members are posting all sorts of rides they're going to be doing...sigh.

The good news about my condition is that it is not the kind of heart problem that will take me out at moment's notice, ala Jim Fixx. The very worst case scenario she painted was that after exerting myself my heart rate could potentially drop so low that I might pass out with an episode of syncope. Given that I went for at least months with this condition without ever experiencing anything close to that I suspect the odds of syncope are very long for me.

So okay, I've got my full clearance to return to the fitness center with no restrictions...great news! But you know our buddy Newton: an object at rest tends to stay at rest...? The challenge now is getting back in action and doing what I want to do, sans road cycling.

While waiting for my belly to heal a little more (say, another week...?) I'm going to commit to getting out for walks, Nordic walking and build back up to jogging. The Binghamton Bridge Run is coming up early May...it will mark my 3rd year doing my one and only annual official 5K. As most of you know...running just ain't my thing...! :-) But gotta mix it up!

In that spirit, I got out for a 70 min. chunk of Nordic Walking through Otsiningo Park which very quickly gave me just exactly the boost I needed! I had forgotten how wonderful it was to get out into nature and "lose" myself into the music, movement, skies and sights! I could put all this medical stuff a zillion miles away!

Near the beginning of my walk Sergio Mendes' "Funky Bahia" just had me smiling and grooving! Even though the song conjures warm summer images, the weather was sunny, snow almost gone, hinting at warmer weather on the horizon...be forewarned: you're gonna wanna clap, sing along and MOVE your body!


How do you Nordic walk and move to the groove at the same time...? Dunno, but I had fun trying! :-)

Later a remixed version of Incognito came up...couldn't remember the name of it. but the remix is WAY better than the studio version...funky, jazzy bass hooks, snappy drums and then the vocals...I recognize the title from her singing and I laugh out loud as it seems to be a "message" for me: "It Ain't Easy!" Unfortunately it doesn't appear to be on YouTube, but if you happen to have Spotify you can play it here:

Incognito – It Ain't Easy - Tom Middleton-Cosmos Remix

A speed walker passes me by and I feel a stab of envy over his pace...he's making tracks faster than that jogger who passed me earlier! I make a feeble attempt to try and keep up for a little bit and then just let it go. I'll build my speed up. I'll get there! Later he loops back passes me on his return and I compliment him: "Nice pace!" He smiles as he goes.

Bruce Hornsby's "Valley Road" comes up and I smile some more, thinking back to that video he made with his band while performing this number and all the townspeople, hog too! are just boogying along to the song: "Walk On!"

Here's the original video...I remember it from the days when I used to catch a little VH-1 now & then:


You just can't watch that video without smiling and feeling better! Heck I even smile over the stones that have hitchhiked their way into my sneakers, remembering how that feels all over again!

Near the end of my walk I'm approaching the large field with several soccer fields end-to-end where I practice my cross country skiing when there is enough snow. Today it is filled with geese grazing among the blades of grass poking through the last of our winter snow and Paul Winter's song, "Common Ground" begins. It is from the 1979 album of the same name and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with musical preferences along the New Age, ecologically-minded and multi-cultural influences. Mr. Winter is the global ambassador of peace, good-will and sharing across all people and animals. Unfortunately this is another one that isn't on YouTube, but you can hear a little snatch of it at Amazon...and check out the praise others lavish for this album!



"Voices are calling 'round the earth.
Music is rising in the sea.
The spirit of morning fills the air,
guiding my journey home.
Where is the path beyond the forest?
Where is the song I always knew?
I remember it's just around the bend,
in the village the music never ends.

In a circle of friends, in a circle of sound.
All our voices will blend when we touch common ground.

Somewhere is the melody we need.
There is a certain harmony,
Even a rhythm in the trees,
in the song that we've always known.
As every road comes to its end,
So every path must cross again.
Now I'm returning to my heart,
back to the song that is our own.

In a circle of friends, in a circle of sound.
All our voices will blend when we touch common ground."


Heartfelt thank you's going out to my SparkFamily, my "circle of friends" with our Common Ground!

My walk today reminds me, for all the angst and aggravation I've experienced through my body, I am still SO FORTUNATE to have a body that feels SO FINE to MOVE!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • _VALEO_
    Good to read this update!
    Try to stay positive, and make the best of it! I love my Nordic poles too, even if it can't compete with your cycling... see it as a great way to feel your body, the nature around you...

    I know what races mean to you. Why don't you volunteer this time and root for the others?

    Due to my health condition, I couldn't take part of any cx country skiing race this winter (not sure I'll be able in the future), but I've supported the racers on the side in my snow shoes. It is a great way to feel a bit part of it!
    2873 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/14/2013 6:30:14 AM
    No matter how long I am away, when I return to Spark I know you will have posted something motivational. I am sorry to hear you have been experiencing these health issues...hope your improvement continues! What impressed me most about this blog was that you carried your reader through the whole gamet of emotions-I almost felt like I was living Kubler-Ross or maybe even Erickson's developmental stages in fast forward. While the story itself is powerful, the way you capture the reader and carry them "through a journey" in a single blog entry is motivating. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all of the gifts we tend to overlook daily. Best to you!
    2875 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3528530
    Good to see an update, sparky bud. Many prayers and healing thoughts your way, keep taking care of yourself and being proactive and just doing what you can do, and keep us posted on your progress. Ouch to the hematoma, I am glad you are done with the heparin injections! Most of all, I am glad you are taking care of yourself and keeping within the limitations you have to work with right now. Keep up the good work.
    2876 days ago
    I know afib/aflutter is hard to deal with, especially when you are limbo between diagnosis and seemingly appropriate treatment! But you are doing great, and excercise is one way to solve any issue!
    2876 days ago
    I am glad you got out and got fresh air. Its mentally good for you, too. You will learn to get the Coumadin thing under control. It will (almost) become second nature.
    Keep pursuing your dreams. I have faith in YOU!
    2877 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9136158
    Hello D,
    Hang in there, I have clients whom get their first pacemaker well into their 90's and oh my guess the energy that returns. You gotta keep doing the little things that keep the wiring and plumbing thumping..
    2877 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/10/2013 1:19:10 PM
  • L*I*T*A*
    all the best to you......
    you can di this..........
    believe you can and you will........
    blessings and hugs..............lita

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2877 days ago
    Stay positive. Illnesses and conditions tend to make us remember we are not in the drivers seat completely. But, I'm guessing you are ready to start driving for a while. Be cautious but persistent! -Namaste my friend!
    2878 days ago
    Nothing like some nature-bathing and crankin' the tunes to help when life is feeling a bit . . . out of control.

    You've got more info which helps but it's not entirely the news you were hoping for. Waiting and watching: never fun, not at all. We want to "do" something, right now preferably, and deal with it and get it over and move on and . . . . yeah.

    And it's tough not to be able to line up the biking.

    Thinking of you, Don: wishing you well.

    2878 days ago
    Wow, you would have thought that one would have to get worse to get something to make them feel better.

    You have the right to be in the blahs for a bit but glad that your positive attitude has prevailed.

    Good luck
    2878 days ago
    My thoughts are with you as you learn to deal with your condition I have full confidence that you will work it out and find a new fitness regimen. emoticon
    2878 days ago
    That sure is a lot to deal with and not having a clear cut answer can be so frustrating. Glad to hear you are cleared to get back at it and found the activation energy to get started. Keep it going!
    2878 days ago
    Hi there!

    I wanted to share that my Mom has been living **well** with A-fib (an irregular irregular rhythm as opposed to your AFL regular "sawtooth" rhythm) since the mid 90's.

    It was first converted by meds and then we moved forward to cardioversion. Two years ago was the first time cardioversion didn't take and she began taking Pradaxa (anticoagulant) to help control it along with other heart meds (beta blocker).

    She is very active (for someone who is in her late 70's!) with her AquaRitis classes and Tai Chi (and the rest of her busy schedule).

    As you have discovered, this doesn't mean the end of your active life as you know it, just that you may have to reconfigure what and how much you're physically capable of and how you go about achieving that level.

    I encourage you to pay attention to what your body tells you as that will be your best indicator.

    I wish you continued success on your journey.


    2878 days ago
    Take it a day at a time - remember to pace yourself.
    2879 days ago
    Ouch, that's a lot to digest....at least knowing some of what ails is better than not knowing anything. Yeah, you may never know it all, but go with the best advice you've got.

    Ease into it and build yourself back up!

    2879 days ago
    Good luck to you! emoticon
    2879 days ago
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