Update on my heart

It always feels a little odd, sharing my medical news with random strangers on the internet. However I started this blog with the desire to share my particular story as a runner with a heart condition and maybe to encourage people with heart conditions that it was possible to run and be active. CLEARLY I am not a doctor and I am not an expert and I would NEVER recommend disobeying your cardiologist if he tells you not to run. But for those of us who are healthy and strong, yet have this underlying condition, running is not necessarily a bad thing if managed carefully.

For a brief overview of my own heart condition, click here. Last year’s update is here.

Last week I had my annual echocardiogram and today I went to see my cardiologist to get the results. I couldn’t decide whether to get an interval session in early that morning, in case he told me never to run fast again, or to wait till afterwards and maybe celebrate with a run. I chose the latter, but I rocked up at the hospital in my running gear 🙂

The news overall is good. My heart has not got any bigger – which is his overall indication of whether or not I’d need valve replacement surgery, something that will inevitably happen with time. My regurgitation hasn’t worsened and is still above the desirable level for people with perfectly healthy hearts. The aortic root hasn’t increased particularly. He had a very slight concern that, during my echo, my heart threw a couple of extra beats in there, so I was told to come back if I had any ‘flutters’. I have flutters VERY rarely but not frequently enough to worry either of us.

I was very honest with him about my running. The amount I do, my average speeds, my speedwork speeds, hills, that kind of thing. I love my cardiologist because he doesn’t just suck in his breath, shake his head and tell me not to run. He nods along and doesn’t look overly concerned, so if ever he does tell me not to run, I’d have confidence that he means it for a reason rather than just as a default setting! I’m insured with Kaiser so I mentioned I was training for the Kaiser Half and he may be running it too, which would reassure my Mum!

So overall, he told me to keep going and to keep myself as strong, healthy and fit as possible. I came away really grateful and positive and happy…and celebrated with hill repeats! As you do.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy says:

    I think maybe in the back of my mind I knew you had a heart condition, but I didn’t know the details. (I just read your heart history post). I’m so happy that you are able to continue staying active and that you have a doctor who is understanding. And of course very happy that you are as healthy as you can be!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you! It’s not something I talk about a lot as I’m pretty healthy so it’s rarely an issue. But I think it’s important to talk about it when relevant!!

  2. Jen says:

    Yay! Such great news! And I love that you celebrated with hill repeats.

    1. Cathryn says:

      When I lived in London, I used to celebrate with a giant English Breakfast. All the fried food, whilst my heart was good. Now it’s hill repeats!! 🙂

  3. Angela says:

    Awesome!!! Always reassuring to get the blessing of your doc. Glad all is well!! 🙂

  4. Sharyn says:

    Thanks for sharing. I think it’s really important to see real stories of people with chronic health conditions positively exercising (within their limits) and staying healthy. 🙂

  5. Nicola Johnson says:

    The BEST early Christmas present! Glad the ‘ol ticker is behaving itself and looking after you! Xx

    1. Cathryn says:

      My ticker is officially ready for Vegas, baby!

  6. Layla says:

    This news made me smile. I’m glad your heart is doing well, and I’m glad you have a doctor who sees the big picture. My uncle has done many marathons and triathlons, and about five years ago he had a stroke in a snowstorm, which prevented him from getting help for a while. His doctors said the reason he lived is because his body was in such strong shape that it just kept working until he could get to a hospital. I think your doctor sees that if you keep your body strong and healthy, all the organs will hold themselves together even if your heart has a flutter or needs a little more attention.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, I am really grateful for a cardiologist who treats me as if I have a brain. And you’re right, a strong body is always a good thing. Glad your uncle survived, that sounds awful!!

  7. Grace says:

    Glad your heart is doing ok! (Your cardiologist sounds awesome. Love doctors like that.)

  8. Bean says:

    So happy that you heart is doing good! I love that the doctor does not default to no running.

  9. Great news 🙂 It’s good you found a doctor who understands and supports your running. I don’t know here, but, in France, doctors are so cautious! I mean, even without heart condition, once Mathieu came to see our doctor because he had knee pain and his solution was: don’t run. He said he didn’t understand why people chose to run… so, imagine if you had that kind of doctors!

    Also, I think it’s nice you share this part of you with us. It’s a good way to show everyone that even with a health issue, there is ways to stay active. Keep going!! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you. Yes, I’m really grateful for a doctor who doesn’t just knee-jerk and say NO RUNNING!!

  10. dlubi says:

    Congrats on this great news!!! So happy for you! Awesome way to celebrate too – you rock!

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