My new job is going well. With my new job came new insurance. So I no longer go to kaiser Permanante. My new insurance allows me to go to Loma Linda Medical Center’s Heart Institute, which has come highly recommended to me. Last week, I met my new cardiologist, Dr. Bansal, who is very experienced and has seen many heart surgery patients in his years. He is also in charge of echocardiograms at Loma Linda. Meeting with him for the first time went well. He looked at my surgical reports, and asked me about my history. Thoroughly. He wrote down almost three pages of notes. I never felt rushed. He instructed me to go in for some blood work and an echo so that he can establish a baseline of heart health for me.
The other day I went in for my echo. The tech did a thorough job. What happened next blew me away. My doctor came in and read the echo right in front of me, and discussed the results! He pointed out features of my prosthetic valve and graft. He showed me the sutures, which looked fine. I’ve never experienced this type of immediate response regarding echos. Normally, the tech does the echo, and you go home and wait over a week to hear from your doctor. Though I found my way to Loma Linda due to circumstance, I am so happy with he level of care I have received already.
Another piece of good news. A few weeks ago, I talked with Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Larry Creswell of the Athlete’s Heart Blog. He seemed to disagree with my previous cardiologist’s conservative approach to recovery. My previous cardiologist had me on a year of strict physical restrictions. She didn’t even want me to do yoga. I understood the reason to be cautious due to my circumstance, however it turns out that these restrictions were not based on any sort of evidence. Larry did not tell me what to do, since he is not my doctor, however he gave me insight to the variety of professional opinions on the matter. When I asked my new doctor about restrictions (without mentioning my previous doctor), he gave me the normal routine, which is slowly resuming activity after 3 months after surgery. I then mentioned my previous doctor’s cautious restrictions and stressed the fact that I had 2 surgeries, and he said, “Nope, it is the same.”
This does not mean I am going to go hard right away. I will ease into exercise very slowly. Just because I feel that I can do it, doesn’t mean I will this time. I’m thinking that I can slowly work up to (close to) normal strength by 6-8 months post surgery. Also, I plan on doing a more broad exercise plan, involving more yoga and less weight training.
How am I’m Feeling? I feel pretty good! I’m less down in the dumps these days. I have to admit that my last surgery took some of the wind out of my sails, but I’m recovering. I took my bike out for a spin yesterday. You can see my workout here. I was able to easily keep my heart rate in an acceptable range. FYI the huge spikes in heart rate that immediately go down are errors due to wind or vibrations effecting the chest strap.
I’ll just keep on goin.