Name: Jeffrey Randa
Age at time of Dissection: 48
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 8 December 2011
Tell Us Your Story:
This is a follow up to my first post about 6 years ago. Re-reading it, I am humbled by how humbled I was as I wrote it, and reminded of how lucky it is to survive this trauma. I am glad to report that my life has almost entirely returned to normal over the last 6 years, despite the severity of my dissection.
Bit by bit, over the years, I have returned to weightlifting, although I have learned to do it much differently than before (no “Valsalva” maneuver), taking the time to breathe through every rep. My cardio conditioning is fair to good, meaning better than average for my age, but probably not as good as it should be given my AD; I’m working on it.
And that’s really the point of my post. It seems that many people find this site soon after they have surgery. I was wounded when I made my first submission, and even my typing suffered as I wrote it. I thought I’d never be strong again and that I was going to forever be hobbled.
When I finally did make it back to my weight bench, the 45 pound bar felt like a ton. I’m not out to get huge or lift tons of weight anymore, and even now, as I age, I’ve backed off a bit, but a few years ago I was able to dead lift 350 lbs and breathe through it rather easily.
At one point, my cardio conditioning was much better (that tends to go in cycles) and I could run a few miles without killing myself. I can still outrun and outlast almost anyone my age.
As I recovered from my surgery, I thought I would be frail and weak forever. That’s not necessarily the case, and you MUST make the best of what you have. Never give up, quit or otherwise surrender. Fight to be the fittest and strongest you
can. Nothing good will come from just sitting, or, worse yet, just sitting and eating all the wrong foods.
I do think it’s important to take one’s time, but also to work at becoming fit. Walk. Walk a lot. Do some strength training. Eat well and enjoy life, but do it intelligently (everything in moderation (including moderation) remember?).
As I sit here now, I cannot think of any limitations that my AD has imposed on my life or lifestyle. I think one should live fully, albeit mindfully, at that.
In the early days of my recovery, I was taking every day as a gift. I sometimes lose sight of that now, at least for a bit, but then I remind myself how lucky I am to be here, how easy it is to be gone, and the wisdom of the old adage, “Don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s all small stuff.”
Carry on, my friends. Remember, the best revenge is to live well…