Dec 8, 2012 will be one of my most memorable date as it was on this very date when I expired from a massive heart attack. I just lucky to be revived and hence, now I am back.
While I was still in the hospital, on my 2nd week after the surgery, I was already referred to the Physiatrist for the start of my cardiac rehab. Unfortunately, while having my rehab activities, I was having some blood pressure shoot ups, such that my cardiologist had to defer my activities. Twelve days after my by-pass operation, I was sent home.
On the next day, I was eager to resume my cardiac rehabilitation but then my cardiologist wanted me to rest first until my follow-up visit. At home, everyone wants me to rest, do nothing, eat, sleep. But I am not this kind of person. I needed to do something. Thus, I started helping babysit my nephew who was 9 months at that time, except that I am so weak I can’t carry him. Then, to continue doing some exercises, I bought a 500mL water bottle that I used as weights for my brief and simple workouts.
Six weeks after my surgery, I had my first stress test. At 10 mets (maximum exercise), I had some signs of arrhythmia in the form of premature ventricular contractions, not only in singles, but in quadruplets. My cardiologist had to stop the test and then she prescribed me to only do exercises between 6-7 mets. The only thing I liked doing in that prescriptions was “walking for 5.5 km” or “biking for 16km.” I was then prescribed also an anti-arrhythmic amiodarone. I had to submit to the prescribed exercises. I was on the treadmill most often, checking on my heart rate every now and then and avoiding it to reach more than 150 beats per minute. But the stubbornness in me started to pop out after just few days. From an initial slow run of 5.5mi/hr, I increased it to 6.0mi/hr, then to 6.5mi/hr within a week.
At about 2 months post-surgery, I was already able to do 7 to 7.5mi/hr, still without informing my cardiologist. But she told me I can only do 6 mi/hr because that was the speed during my stress test when I started to have cardiac arrhythmias. Unknown to her, I was still increasing my speed. Until I decided to do some long distance running with the aid of ipod/iphone Nike+ Running app. I know this might not be exact but it was something I could work out on while still on the road to recovery.
I started first with a 5K run, initially finishing it in 30 minutes, until slowly increasing my speed and as of now, my fastest is at 27 minutes. I further increased it to 10K which I initially clocked at 1 hr 5’38”. I kept on trying to outdo myself, until I was able to finish a 10K run at 56’50”. All of this on a treadmill. I know this still needs a lot of improvement and soon, hope I will be able to achieve this. I also hope that I can do an actual road run but I am not in a hurry. Aside from this, I have also started lifting weights, initially smaller weights, until I am able to life almost the weights I did before my surgery. The only limit I am as far as weight lifting is my fear of my sternotomy to crack open if I keep increasing my loads.
People get surprised when they see me running on treadmill. They always keep on asking “kaya mo na ba,” “okay ka lang,” “may clearance ka na ba sa doctor mo” and other similar questions. Of course I know they are concerned but I can not allow myself to be babied forever. If I wont push beyond the set limits, I will not be able to be at my present status now. While there may be some advantages/disadvantages of being a person with disability at some times, I want to strive, to live as normal as possible.