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My Progress

Hello! This is basically my kind of on-line journal of my recovery. I originally started out my recovery with walking about 4 times a week for around an 40-60 minutes. I have since (returning from Stanford University) decided to work on getting my heart rate and legs built back up. Going from a competitive tennis player 5 days a week to absolutely nothing for 6-8 months takes a toll on you.
What I am doing now is a combination of some light weight lifting and treadmill/exercise bike and mountain biking around my neighborhood with my son and daughter. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to bike and I actually can! My legs are burning, but they need to get back to where they used to be! I keep forgetting that you just don’t bounce back after 8 months of doing very little. Why I waited so long? I was concerned about my circulation and if I was going to get any improvement. I actually feel better when I do get the blood flowing!
4/9/04: Worked from home today. I work for MCI Telecommunications, going on my 17th year! Mowed the lawn this late afternoon. Man, the back of my legs were sure hurting. I also notice that on some days, my chest feels a bit sore. However, once I take my blood pressure medications, it seems to go away. I take my Blood pressure meds twice a day.
4/10/04: Went for a walk and tried to run around a bit. Still feeling sore after 8+ months in my calves. I also went for a bike ride with my son. I still need to get over the fact that I haven’t really done anything for so long and that it’s going to take time to rebuild my legs and cardiovascular strength. My real love is tennis and I actually feel now that I could carry on some 4.0 doubles. I was a 5.0+ singles player.
4/14/04: Hope you all had a nice Easter! Listen, my site is working! I got my first call today from a young man of 32 years of age who had his ascending aorta replaced. Wow… what a story.. I will have his story posted soon! Please send me your story so I can post it!
4/17/04: Went for about a 3 mile walk yesterday around the lake near my house. It’s about a 1/4 mile plus a tad more around it. I still hope to someday be able to run around it one time. At this time, I can get about a quarter of the way around before my calves start burning. However, I can walk all day around it. I had T-ball practice after that and then came home and mowed the lawn. It’s a very hard to mow the lawn now as pushing the lawn mower, even though my lawn is fairly flat, my legs ache from pushing it. Needless to say, I went to be around 8:00pm last night. I went for a ride on my new motorcycle yesterday. Just up the street and back, hope to get my license soon for an occasional trip.
4/21/04: Walked around the lake 8 times. Tried running around it on my last lap, still can only get about 1/4 a way around. Out of depression medication.
4/22/04: Walked around the lake 8 times. Ran on last lap, almost to the half way point. If I run a bit faster and more legs than slower job with more calves, I seem to be able to get further. Got my depression meds today.
4/23/04: Walked around the lake 8 times. Posted my new vBulletin message board up on the site tonight!
4/25/04: Mowed the lawn, rediscovered that my mower had a 5 speed transmission and that now I can keep using it instead of having to pay someone. I was getting too tired just pushing it. Also discovered that I have gained 15 lbs since my incident! Yikes! I am really going to try and get back under 200lbs and stay there. Have a doctor’s appointment in Thursday with Dr. Sandra Gan, cardiologist.
4/27/04: Really exited that I am getting a lot of responses to this website. More stories and questions just keep coming in! That’s great! I really feel that if I can help one person, it will be worth it. It’s about 7:37am and I need to go down stairs and hop on my lab top to go to work for MCI. Finally, we are out of bankruptcy! Now, we just have to make sure that we don’t get bought out before we get any stock of the new company. Have a great day!
4/28/04: Wow! We had an incredible wind storm yesterday afternoon. The power was out for about 6 hours! I went for my walk, but only made it around the lake 3 times as I thought the trees my fall over. It’s great, I get new inquires almost daily now! I still am needing to get my weight down to under 200lbs and used to weigh about 205 before the accident, now I am about 214lbs. I am not lifting any weights and my energy level is not that great. I find myself tired a lot. August 22nd, will be my one year anniversary and I am hoping to continually get back into shape. I might try swimming as that doesn’t work my calves as much. Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day in Everett WA today!
5/5/04: Had an interesting last couple of days. My mind seemed to wonder all over the place. I was feeling a bit down. However, I think it was tied to me not walking. So, I have walked the last couple of days and starting doing some dumbbell curls again. Yesterday was exciting, we went to my son’s new kindergarten school and my daughter also wants to go there now. It’s the North Shore Christian Academy and it’s a wonderful school. It’s going to be a struggle financially, but the way my son and daughter’s eyes lit up and the excitement that they had was more than money can by. After seeing what an advantage these kids have in learning, I can’t see why I should not do everything I can to make sure that they get the best education. Turns out my wife is a teacher and she will be a “sub” there to help us get a break on their tuition. I just pray that GOD will watch over us and help us. I really believe GOD was at work yesterday and everyday in this opportunity.
5/8/04: Went for a walk early this am. Been working on learning Fireworks and Dreamweaver programming for building websites. I mainly use Front Page, but want to learn more about this. I like building web pages! I had my appointment with my new cardiologist, Dr. Sandra Gan. I like her! She was very nice and basically said that I need to keep an eye on my blood pressure. Get an echo cardiogram every 6 months for the rest of my life and a CT scan once a year for the rest of my life. I need to get my weight down, too heavy right now at 215, should be about 205 or less. My daughter’s ballet teacher, Mike Jordan died last night and Saturday’s practice today was really tough and especially last night. He was also my wife’s teacher too. Going to the Moto X games tonight with my family and neighbors. Should be cool seeing the motorcycles flying through the air. Tomorrow is mother’s day. I am so thankful to have a super mother who is a miracle from God, not to mention my wife too! She’s super too!
5/10/04: Walked 12 times around the track yesterday at the middle school by my house. Drove over to Eastern Washington for mother’s day with my wife’s mom. My parents were in Canon Beach, OR. Up early today to learn more about my web development stuff. I really like building websites and learning about how to do it. My daughter has a softball game this evening, hope it doesn’t rain. I have my Echo Cardiogram on the 18th of this month. GOD is GOOD!
5/12/04: Went back to my tennis club yesterday. I did about 15 minutes of light weight lifting and I mean very light, a bit of leg work. My legs have really seemed to have lost a lot of their strength and stamina, which makes more sense. I then went out on the tennis court and served some balls and practiced my backhand down the line. That was and still is my favorite shot. That lasted about 15 minutes and then I went back and did the stair machine for 5 minutes. That’s what really gets my calf muscles and what I need to work on. I still have this thought in the back of my mind, “is it possible to tear my aorta again”? However, I am honestly not sure. My aorta is pretty much tore the entire length of it and I don’t really know if I could? But, I just think that I will have to continue to be aware of it, but push onward and upward! I feel like this morning, I want to go back to the club and do the same thing I did yesterday all over again. Today, I am picking up my mountain bike and can start climbing the small hill by my house and riding with my kids. Or, we can now all ride as a family. Late Evening: I went to the club, hit a basket of serves and two baskets of backhands (about 50 balls each basket), did some light weights and the stair machine for 10 minutes. Starting to wonder? Can I play again? I am thinking I could play down a few levels at the 4.0 range and try it. Or 4.5 doubles. I was a 5.5 singles player. Good night!
5/15/04: Last night was the father daughter dance for my daughter’s brownie troop. We had a blast. It was a HoDown theme! I had to go out and get a cowboy hat and cowboy shirt! Well worth the money for the rewards and memories that my daughter and I shared. The smile on her face was priceless! I am so thankful to GOD for the ability to have been able to attend! I want to attend many more with her! I love her so much. Also had softball games and T-ball games yesterday! Fun! I saw my tennis buddies at the club yesterday, including the guy I was playing when it happened. Plus saw all my doubles friends too! I REALLY wish that I was playing competitive tennis again. But, I would take my daughter’s dance over it anytime! Hey.. pass my motorcycle written test… Finally, my 4th attempt! Every time I would take it, I would miss 6 questions and you could only miss 5. So, yesterday I missed “0” which you would think I should do considering I had memorized all the questions:). I was thinking about going biking for a while today, but it’s raining. I might go to the club again and work out a bit or take my kids swimming today.

5/18:04: Worked from home today. Worked out for about 20 minutes, did step machine on lowest level and hit some tennis balls. I also had my Echocardiogram this morning. The person given me the test said that he did not see a bicuspid valve, rather a deformed tricuspid valve. I contacted my other doctor and Stanford and he basically said that they were the same symptoms. Both my doctor and the tech said that the valve did leak some, but it was apparently normal. My daughter had her first softball tournament game tonight and they won!

5/24/04: Whoosh! Time has been flying. Between my daughter’s softball, ballet recital and my son’s birthday party on Sunday, them my sister in law’s tonight, I am beat! The dads ended up having a go kart race on Saturday, that was fun! My brother beat me, as I beat him at my 40th b-day party. Man.. 14 laps of driving, and the smell of gas fumes, I had to go home and lie down for an hour or so. Did not get a chance to exercise any the last couple of days and I am peaked at my highest weight ever of 215lbs! That is not good! I don’t need my heart having to work any hard than it needs too! What’s really weird is I was getting about 1-2 stories every day for the past 3 weeks and I have gone almost a week without getting any? Strange? However, that might be a good thing as an AorticDissection is no fun! Oh well, off to bed! Take Care!

6/4/2004: Wow.. It’s been a while since I posted. I have been doing pretty good. I am starting to walk more again, hitting some tennis balls and might work back into some light doubles. I mowed the lawn yesterday, plus mowed my mother in laws and replaced her front porch light, had our T-ball Jamboree for my son too! It was a busy day. This morning I got a story of Chris Bedham and it was very sad. It’s absolutely CRITICAL that the ER doctor’s are 110% sure that they have made the proper diagnosis! Which in this case, he was told he had pneumonia and it turns out it was a tear in his aorta and they sent him home. Well, as we all know, when you have a tear, the clock is running full steam ahead and you have little time (especially if it’s an ascending aorta tear, or valve too). Which is the unfortunate thing that happened to Chris. He was sent home and died a few day later. Their family sued the hospital and won, but they really lost their loved one. I honestly have not made it back to the hospital to find out who my ER doctor was and to thank him. I am going to do it this next week. I hope others can learn from this tragic event that the single most important thing to do is make sure the ER doctor’s are competent in their diagnosis!

7/11/04: My daughter’s 9th birthday today! Yippee! I am so proud of her! I have been busy at work and trying to lose some weight. I have also played about 6 sets of tennis. My calves still ache, I am wondering if they will ever get better? I hope and pray that they do. I can see myself leaning more toward doubles or mixed doubles. I also tried to go water skiing last week and I could not pull myself out of the deep water, but my arms, lats and shoulder’s were sore for 3 days! I have my CT scan due next month and my 1 year appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Brevig. I am glad that this site is helping people learn more about dissections. That was my main goal was to help people learn more and to be able to get help and know what to look for in the ER room and the questions to ask. If I can save one person’s life, it was worth it. I had to sell my motorcycle to pay off my American Express bill. But, I really miss it and feel like I am between a rock and hard spot about getting another one. I feel guilty about riding it, even though I don’t plan on riding it that much, but at the same time, I like the feeling and rush it gives me and the alone time to reflect on the mountains and water and flowers. Any opinions? Oh well, life continues one day at time. Oh.. I thought I would stop taking my Lexapro depression pill for a week, YIKES!!!!!!! I felt terrible about the 4th day and had to actually leave work and come home and get my pills and I found out from the pharmacist that you can quit that cold turkey. Lesson learned!

8/22/04: It’s my 1 year anniversary today! Thanks to the GOOD LORD, I made it this far and hope and pray for many more years. I recently had my one year check up and my echo cardiogram looked fine. No concerns about my slightly deformed valve. I also had my CT Angio done and that looked fine as well. It seems to have stabilized and that’s good news as well. I just need to keep my blood pressure under control AND.. work on getting myself back into shape. I am about 20 lbs overweight from the 1 year that it’s been. For some strange reason, I had this mental block in my head that I had to make it 1 year before I could really begin to do anything. Crazy! Oh well, as I said, I am VERY thankful to my LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST for giving me a second chance at life!

10/26/2004: Wow.. time’s been flying! I just had my 42nd birthday, or my second birthday as I refer to it. Thanks GOD! I have started to play some tennis again, I am playing some doubles twice a week and it feels pretty good. Also, I bought a total gym and have been using that some as well. I really like it! Works going great and even my folks and family say that every time they see me, they can see my old self coming back. My kids are still in soccer and it’s so much fun to watch their games!
9/12/09: Just celebrated my 6 year anniversary! Watching the US Open Tennis tourney today! Played yesterday!