For The Faint Of Heart (Catchin' Up - Part I)

Been debating how far to go back in time to catch myself up on past events. In many respects, I should just let the past be in the past. On the other hand, the saying goes: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” This is one past I don’t want to repeat…

…again. Since I’ve now repeated it once.

So let’s start all the way back in May 2013 just before I moved to East Asheville. There are a few posts from there forward, mostly about the major running events (marathons) and a few big rides I had done. But there is one in particular that may have some bearing on 2017:

Liberty Ride Blackout (An Unexpected Part III of the “Enduring the Deluge” Saga)

That post is a lengthy rant about the 14 hours I spent at Mission Hospital ER after blacking out during a group ride. I won’t replay it here, but that hospital visit resulted in numerous tests, including a stress test, that came up negative for any kind of potential heart problems. The final diagnosis was fainting due to dehydration, too much caffeine, and hard effort in the sun and heat, followed by a rapid drop in heart rate at a stop light.

I let it go at that, and went on about my usual routine. A marathon here, a marathon there, including a sub-4 hour, my one and only.

Fast forward to February of 2016. While out on a typical evening ride over to one of the local group runs, I stopped at a red light and as my heart rate dropped, I felt like I was going to pass out. Ever since that ride in May 2013, this had re-occurred every once in a while. I never thought much of it, just realized that my heart rate has a tendency to drop quickly back towards a fairly low resting rate of around 50.

It was happening more frequently though.

So this time when I talked to my girlfriend, an RN, and she suggested I get checked out, I agreed she was probably right. An EKG at my family practice doc showed something might be a little bit off, and I got more concerned. The doc ordered a stress-echo test. The test came back “normal”. In fact, I made it further on the treadmill than I ever had before.

There was no real explanation of what was going on with the occasional faint feeling, and I learned to slow down rather than stop suddenly, or to keep moving a little bit to keep the heart rate from dropping to quickly.

Over time however, the frequency of the fainting feeling and the “depth” of it seemed to get worse. I still didn’t know what to do about it however.

Fast forward again to last December… ish.

At some point over the winter, I’m not exactly sure when, I started to have pain in my chest, just below the left armpit, and also in my wrist.

Shades of 1992.

And I had just celebrated my 14th Angioplastiversary.