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Testing Complete, Preparations Begin

Thursday, April 30, 2015

By Paul Willgoss

Six months ago I was told that my cardiologist was a little worried about my pulmonary valve. It’s a standard problem for us Fallot’s patients and quite frankly I’d be worried if they weren’t worried. As I said in a previous blog, I was going to be tested.

Did I enjoy the exercise stress test? Hell yes… A week and a day after a half marathon, I turned up at the hospital ready for fun. The nurses and technicians looked a tad worried when I said I’d done the run so recently. The doctor overseeing things then asked if I was able to do everything I wanted to do, which is a dilemma point—did I?

a) Say no, I want to do a sub-4 hour marathon, or
b) Say yes, and say that I run marathons for fun.

In sympathy for the confusing picture I must present I went for option b and ran through (pun intended) the last 12 months of running and walking, at which point the doctor instructed the technician to double the rate of resistance on the bike—“Otherwise we could be here a long time.”

So I pedalled, and pedalled, and eventually huffed and puffed and eventually stopped pedalling. Asking how I’d done the doctor looked mildly amused and said, “You’ll have to wait for the full results, but you’re as fit as we’d expect for a normal person.”

The detailed results came through the other week, I’m as fit as anyone my age without a heart condition. Which as you can imagine has cheered me up to no end and probably helped the cardiologist decide that the valve is stable (with the MRI scan showing no deterioration of the valve as well) and should be left alone for now.

So it’s time to prepare to run. The mileage is increasing—first phase is up to the Liverpool Rock and Roll Half Marathon in June and then the serious mileage for the Chester Marathon in October.

Was I worried over the last 6 month? Yes—and that is constant worry for us GUCHs, very few of us will never need something else done to us, and I’ve got enough friends who’ve had valves replaced to know it will hurt and may take a while to get back to running. I know if I need the valve doing I’ll get it done, but if there’s no need then I make no apology for saying I punched the air.

The next appointment with my cardiologist is in October, five days after the Chester Marathon. I think that is poetic, or ironic, or probably both…

Note: Always make sure to check with your ACHD cardiologist before beginning any exercise routine.

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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