Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Shock

Monday 3/7/11 @ 11 a.m. I was descending a mountain and without warning my ICD (defibrillator) went off and gave me a jolt. It felt like an explosion inside my chest with someone kicking me and trying to get out. It was instantaneous, BAM, and it's over. There is no physical pain afterward and the subsequent emotional affect was the hardest thing. I kept it upright, probably because I've been on the bike so long and I'm always expecting the unexpected between cars, squirrels, etc. Doc said most people driving swerve or have an issue, and he was surprised I didn't crash, but if I was driving I probably would have been relaxed and swerved.

After it happened I rode the 7 miles home at a less than recovery pace. It definitely hit me emotionally when I got home and I was a mess. Luckily my buddy Scott Gordon came over and talked to me and calmed me down a little.

Tuesday 3/8/11 Went to the Doctor. They uploaded my device data. In the past 6 weeks there were about 16 times where I had minor arrhythmias which my ICD monitored and was able to normalize my Heart Rate and bring it back down, but this time it lasted too long and wasn't able to bring my HR back down so I got the shock.

Diagnosis from the Doc: Take a beta blocker (limits/lowers heart rate) before you ride and go out and ride

Wednesday 3/9/11: Wake up to great news that I've been selected to do tour of Greece (Hellas) a UCI 2.2 stage race. Mentally the idea of riding my bike is still kinda scary. I go out and do my morning ride, 2 hours, but absolutely no mental capacity to be able to go hard.

Friday & Sat 3/10 and 3/11: Training Camp. It was definitely a mental hurdle to still go and do training camp after what had happened. I went and was glad I did. I had an awesome time with the guys and got a lot of great miles in and I was able to ride hard, but on most of the climbs I wasn't able to hit the mental switch and kill it. Legs felt great, but didn't have the mental capacity to really push myself and go at threshold on the climbs.

Today I made the decision not to do Greece. It would have been awesome to go to Greece, but now just isn't the right time. I'm taking it day by day and just enjoying riding the bike.

Prior to 3/7/11
I did Tour of Bahamas Race at the end of January and was surprised at how well I felt. I had only been back on the bike for about 6 weeks and felt good in the race, finishing both stages, going with some moves, and getting in the big break in the road race which eventually got brought back.

I got some great training in during february with lots of long rides and started to get some good intensity stuff in. Each day I was getting more and more comfortable on the bike and really starting to believe the doctors who were saying it was a freak thing and that my defibrilator should never go off. It was such a suprise when it did go off. I was doing a quick 1.5 hr ride before work. did a 15 min climb at a low tempo pace, descended, and then a 10 minute climb at threshold. I started the descent and a minute or so later I got the shock.

As the doctor said it can go off anytime as there is no rhyme or reason to why my heart goes "crazy." They can see what is happening, but don't know why it happens.

I'm also participating in an ICD study for those who have ICD's and participate in athletics. I called in to update them with all the info. Hopefully the study's results will help others and allow those who have ICD's feel more comfortable about participating in athletics or at least knowing what to expect.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Free CPR classes

For those that live in Howard County the HoCo Department of Fire and Rescue will be offering free CPR classes to the public on the 2nd and 4th Saturday's of each month. Call 410-313-2016 for info. I encourage all to attend.

Looks like they're never going to know exactly why I went into cardiac arrest, hopefully a one time freak thing. Apparently my defibrillator/pacemaker records everything my heart does and when I went in earlier this week they uploaded all the data from the device and said everything looks great. They could see a few minor arrhythmia's that were short (5 beats, so probably only 1-2 seconds), normal, and nothing to worry about. When they told me I just had one at 11 a.m. that morning it was obvious it was when I was riding and during a 15 min climb, and like they said I wouldn't even realize I had it.

Been back on the bike for a month and pretty much back to normal, it's been crazy and I can't believe how fast I was back to having great health and being on the bike. Modern Medicine is amazing.

Been contacted by other athletes who have also suffered sudden cardiac arrest, and it'll probably be a slow process, but were talking about hopefully setting up a website for discussion and raise funding/set up a non-profit when we figure out what type of direction we want to take with it. Looks like the first step will simply be to set up a website/forum for those with similar occurrences to talk about what happened and living life afterward.