Monthly Archives: August 2013

Digifit Testimonial

About a month ago, I posted about how I was using Digifit to continue exercising while keeping my heart rate low. The editors over at Digifit contacted me about doing a little testimonial for their blog. Check it out!:                 

It is just really incredible (and strange) that, so far, this has been one of the most positive experiences of my life. I know there is a hard road ahead of me, But I can also see some rewards up ahead as well. I have many ideas that I can’t wait to explore and share with you.

I really don’t know when I was happier than now.





Just an Update

The Margarita Throwdown Winners!

The Margarita Throwdown Winners!

I haven’t posted in a while. Work started a few weeks ago, so I’ve been super busy starting the year off right with a new group of 8th grade science students. I’ve been continuing my workout plan, so cycling, climbing, and light weightlifting/ core workouts, all while keeping my heart rate under 140 BPM. In addition to keeping my heart rate under 140, I also make sure that I do not ever strain. With weightlifting, it is easy to be straining under too much weight and still have your BPM low, so I must manage both. BTW, when I say light weightlifting, I really mean light. I have always been more into light weight, high rep anyway.

Bike BBQ/ Inland Empire Bicycling Alliance Margarita Throw-down Victory! Redlands is graced with a pretty cool cycling scene. Behind Augie’s Coffee Shop (where I write most of my posts) is Bike BBQ, a place where people can use tools and seek expertise from volunteers on how to fix and maintain their bikes. They even sell bikes/ parts for a very good price. These two cycling organizations threw a contest where cyclist teamed up with bartenders and used stationary bike-powered blenders to make margaritas. I am proud to say that my bartender friend Bryan Bruce (From Caprice Cafe in Redlands) and I won with a very interesting jalapeño/black sea salt/pineapple foam Margarita concoction. Check out the video at the bottom of the post to see how it went down. The quality isn’t too good, but you’ll get the idea.

Inner Evolution Yoga: My friend Phil owns Inner Evolution Yoga in Redlands, CA. We used to climb a bit together. When he opened his studio a few years ago I helped him paint the ceiling. I even worked there for 2 weeks as the front desk guy while he was away on a retreat. When Phil read my blog and saw what was up with my life right now, he gave me 10 passes to his studio. Yoga is a fantastic form of exercise that will also aid me in breathing and relaxation techniques that will be very useful leading up to my surgery. Thanks Phil, and if any of my readers live near Redlands, check out his studio.

False Alarm: The other day I had a little false alarm. I had a sudden onset of a sore throat thursday afternoon, and being the researcher/ hypochondriac that I am, I googled it and found this article, and this one too. In my head I understood that the chances of an aortic dissection with only a sore throat as a symptom is possible, yet extremely rare. I also knew that if it was a dissection, and I ignored it, I would die. As I was freaking out, some people said, relax it’s nothing, others said that I should go to the ER just in case, and I just didn’t know what to do. I realized that If I didn’t go to the ER, I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I just drove myself to the ER thinking that I’d be home by midnight if everything was okay, and that’s exactly what happened. It is a little embarrassing that I freaked out so much. I did learn about how Aortic Dissection can be diagnosed with a blood test called D-Dimer. Really interesting actually. This is what they did for me. The other option is a CT scan, which subjects the body to a large amount of radiation. I’m calling this experience ‘My Dry Run’.

Required Reading


My required reading.

I’ve entered an awkward time. As an 8th grade science teacher, a new school year is typically an exciting time, filled with new ideas and expectations. Luckily, despite the fact that my thoughts are occupied by heart surgery, I still have that same excitement. Still, I sometimes fear that I’m not focusing on preparing for work as I should be. That fear, just like many of my fears of heart surgery, are fueled by the unknown and anxiety. My amazing girlfriend came with me to school to help me set up and decorate my classroom. My incredible mother bought me a Juicer because she knows I want to eat healthy. I have a strong support network, and I will be ready. Tomorrow is the first day of school. My approach this year: To have so much fun. This year is a wonderful opportunity for me as a teacher. We will be implementing the new standards, which means more labs, hands on activities, and technology. In order for me to balance recovery and work, I must embrace the chaos of both, relax, and have fun with it. I plan to come out on the other side a better teacher, friend, climber, cyclist, yogi, person.

Getting Stoked on Science

Non-heart valve post: I had a great reminder of why I love my job today. I was listening to my favorite show, StarTalk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it happened to be one of his shows that he answers questions taken from his fans via Facebook & Twitter. Well last school year, my 5th period honors class submitted a question, and it ended up on the show! Listen to the whole thing or just fast forward to 30:00 to hear our question!

The Gimp Monkeys

I first saw this video at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival. Three climbers, each missing one or more limbs, climb the route Zodiac on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. I remember tearing up while watching these inspiring dudes, And I imagined myself in their shoes (or prosthetics). Then it dawned on me. I AM those guys, or rather I could be. I am going to have a prosthetic aortic valve. Now, I want more than anything to be like them. Climbing will not be easier, but it will not be impossible. Nothing will be impossible. After my heart surgery, I will climb El Capitan.



C.R.E.A.M. (A Man with Plans and a Dream)


Just me and my bicycle

I had a little bit of inspiration today. My buddy Mark (at around 3:30am) adapted the lyrics of C.R.E.A.M. by Wu Tang Clan for me. It was both hilarious and touching to wake up to the message. The message from Mark got me out on my feet and on my bike. I rode my bike up the Redlands, CA classic route ‘Sunset Loop’. It’s just about 12.5 miles, but lots of hills. I usually hit it as hard as I can, so I’ve been avoiding it lately because I was unsure if I could keep my BPM under 150. I did it, with the exception of one big spike, which I hope was a glitch because it came out of nowhere. I’m getting much better at focusing on my breathing. I usually average 15-17 mph on this ride, but today did it in 12.5 mph. It’s all about getting on the bike and riding right now, not how fast it is done. Thanks Mark, and Thanks to everyone else in my life who have been so supportive and inspiring.

Adapted C.R.E.A.M. lyrics by Mark:

Cash rules everything around me
C.R.E.A.M get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’all

It’s been thirty some long hard years of still struggling
Survival got Tony bugging, but he’s alive on arrival
Tony grew up with a coronary crime side
The aint got much time side and you aint heard half of it yet
Tonys got bulging arteries, and crunked up valves
Stayin alive was no jive
Times for Tony was ruff and tough like leather
Doc figured out Tony’s blood went the wrong route
So Tony went callin up this one, meeting with that one
So then Tony hooked up with sick ass plan and went all out
Under the knife to install a kick ass robo-valve

They say that writing blogs can help you maintain to overcome all the heartaches and pain
Leave it up to Tony to be living proof
To kick the truth to the hip blogisphere
And stay awake to the ways of the world cause shit is deep
But shorty’s running wild,learning science, drinking juice
And ain’t trying to hear what Tonys kicking in their ear
Neglected for now but yo, it gots to be accepted
That what, that life is hectic