Sunday, September 18, 2011

The struggle to re-frame

When lame stuff happens to Maddie and she gets super mad and angry, I try to tell her to re-frame -- that how we react to lame stuff is a choice. And that we really can't control much. So being able to re-frame a crap situation into something non-sucky, is a choice we can make.

That's damn sensible and easy advice to give to an 8 year-old girl with trivial-seeming 8 year-old problems, but not so easy to dish out on my 40 year old self.

As it turns it out, that lame cramping in my calf is a stinking blood clot. Wtf? Blood clots are for old, sedentary people, right?

Friggin heck.

The bottom line is that I'm on blood thinning drugs for 6 months, which means no bleeding, which is kind of side-hobby to cycling for me. Not that I'm awash in blood on a regular basis or anything, but I fall and wreck quite a bit and I get a bunch of little scrapes and cuts on a pretty regular basis. Especially when I'm mountain biking or trail-riding. So 6 months of chilling the frig out is kind of lame.

But here's the kicker: two months of non-"vigorous" activity. Basically, vigorous exercise could dislodge this clot, or a chunk of this clot, out of my thigh and into my blood stream, which could work its way into my heart or lung. That's super bad. So I'm really pondering the idea of "vigorous."

I know what it means to me. Basically, that's a heart rate that makes me pant and puff. The doctor said riding bikes mellow is ok. But no hammering. Liza, of course, asked the doctor what he though about me commuting daily. And specifically, about riding up the south hill every day.

He said that for even fit cyclists, it's probably not a great idea. But he also made a point of saying that he really wasn't sure. Blood clot patients never ask this question and there's zero research on such stuff as it's pretty much impossible to test. I have another pulmonary doc that I'm going to see next week. I'll needle him with this.

But I'm pretty sure that by riding my mountain bike in low gear I could go up the south hill at a just-above-resting heart rate. Certainly nothing approaching vigorous.

Communing is the biggest hurdle I see for two months of non-vigorous riding. The commute angle just sucks by any other means. But maybe I just need to re-frame.

On a side note -- let me just say this: I'm one lucky mofo to have good insurance. The shot that I need to stick myself with for the next two nights costs $1200!!

32 comments:

Christopher Grande said...

WHAT THE HELL!!! NOOOO. 6 months is too damn long, tell your doctor to work harder. Sorry to hear about that though, get better soon. Reminds me how grateful I am for being young and serious-health problems free.

Jacque Hendrix said...

Hey Man, I DO NOT want to see you in my emergency room. So be easy. As your doctor stated nothing vigorous and basically keep your heart at it's resting rate.

I'd even go so far as to say no commuting to keep that clot where it belongs and out of your heart and lungs.

Hank Greer said...

That sucks, but it's also fortunate you were diagnosed before something really serious happened.

I suppose this could be an opportunity for you to inventory all your bikey stuff, build a shelf and bin system to store it all in, and create a system for tracking it when you loan it out. Fine tune your welding skills. Create videos and slideshows of cycling events/races for the organizers. Brew some beer. Paint that wrong-colored spot around the thermostat.

Tarik Saleh said...

Whoa,
work on the getting better part. Walking is good too.

Best of luck and fast recovery. 6 months is nothing really.

Cozette Livingston said...

Good luck Johnny!! I hope the blood clot goes away in 6 months. My niece Erica has had one in her leg for 2 years and she's still sticking herself with that needle. They thought it had gone away, so she was on cumadin this summer, but when we got back from our WA trip, they put her back on the shot. It's hard for a 12 year kid not to play basketball or ride her bike or wrestle. I wish you good luck with this thing!! Big hugs cousin!!

Kevin Soderquist said...

That is a bummer John and thankfully an arena I've never had to enter. Keep those pedal strokes to a min for a while and take it slow.

Rachel said...

Aww man, talk about lame.
I'm glad you found out before something bad happened though.

At least you can still ride your bike somewhat... coast down the hill in the morning and bus back up it in the evening.
And at least it's the end of the bike season and not the beginning?

Take it easy, John. Maybe things will clear up quick and you'll get to go riding again sooner than you think.
In the meantime, maybe the bike hang should start early this year, and you can build all sorts of cool shit for your dusty bikes, or teach some more P2P classes...

Jonathan Eberly said...

Holy shit John this sucks so hard. I hope you get well soon. I will ride the piss out of the rbt for you. Man I feel really bad for you. Cycling can be such a big part of ones life it can be hard to imagine one without it.

Be sure to keep us all posted about your recooperation. Holy shit John this sucks so hard. I hope you get well soon. I will ride the piss out of the rbt for you. Man I feel really bad for you. Cycling can be such a big part of ones life it can be hard to imagine one without it.

Be sure to keep us all posted about your recooperation.

bihlbee said...

Major suck, sorry to hear. You are welcome to hop on the back of the tandem in a non-vigorous mode and at least see the sights.

Beth Mort said...

that just plain blows.

Stephen Morgan said...

Wow, good thing you had that checked out. Hope you recover quickly and everything gets cleared up! At least you got a sweet MC time this year!

Jason Gilman said...

Sorry to hear this news John, but very glad to hear they caught it before it manifested as a PE. Mary had one of those about 10 years ago. Needless to say, pretty scary and unexpected for us. The silver lining of that was that we learned she had a genetic clotting factor before we started having kids and her doctors were able to factor that in to make sure everything went smoothly during her pregnancies thanks to the power of daily injectable blood thinners like Heparin and Lovenox (is that your insanely priced one?). As I recall Lovenox was kind of magical in that you didn't have take it as often and fiddle around with the correct dosage for your weight- it just worked, but the non insurance price was ridiculously expensive and we had to get a special letter from her doctor because our insurance didn't normally cover it because of its price.

Pondero said...

That is certainly frustrating news. Like Tarik said, you'll get through the six months. Make sure you get rid of that of that thing, and move on with your life. In other words, focus on your health.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I was totally not thinking "blood clot" when I read the previous post. Good luck John. Take it as easy as you can. Just remember, that clot is in a better place now...wade

Pax said...

Jeez John - that's just plain lousy. Great catch tho. As Tarik & Hank said, 6 mo will prob fly by in a (retrospective) blur of OCDish bike related & other projects. 6 mo, not the end of the world Buddy of mine threw a clot at 30 yrs + 4 days & stroked but it was caught in time: now finishing his PhD, running ultras, babe on the way -all good after a seriously tough couple years.

rory said...

so, since you really cant ride up hills without risking your health, i got the perfect bike nerd solution for you: an electric motor front hub. get past that initial "i want to ride unsupported" idea, because you can't, and get back to the lets go out and have fun part.

yes, i think this is exactly what the sunn needs.

rory said...

oh, and to keep with the blog post theme, you should add to my previous comment:

I think you need to re-hub, and not re-frame

Not said...

That sucks, I hope you get better soon.
I think Rory is right, it's a perfect time to try an electric bike. I usually consider them tools to help people remain obese, but your situation seems exceptional.
Another interesting possibility is a motorcycle. You already have most of the skill set anyway.
- Ventura

Ken Paulman said...

Funny, I had the same thought on the electric assist. Maybe your fate is to bring "street cred" to e-bikes? I know Siobhann's really interested in one now that we live at the top of a hill.

Also - I'm with the others on erring on the side of caution. You have a family that needs you.

Stine said...

So glad you're okay and you got help before it was a gnarly satellite of cardiopulmonary doom!

Everytime I've had to take a break from riding (and I've had two 3-month situations with ZERO BIKES), the time has flown by-- at least we're heading into the less-glamorous season...

Tom Horne said...

I was on blood thinners for six months after a pulmonary embolism (arising from getting up and about way too soon after a broken foot from going over the hood of a car that pulled out in front of me). I was totally off the bike for the whole six months because I was advised that if I injured my head, it would be near impossible to stop bleeding in the brain. I spent a lot of time bored, watching television, on my road bike on a trainer.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

John

Follow the docs advice, take it easy, don't overdo it and don't risk an injury that could cause bleeding. I know it seems like forever right now, but in the bigger scheme of things, six months isn't much.

All the best to you and your family.

Michael said...

Take care of yourself.

If it were me, I'd be off my bike for a bit.

Riding in Reno said...

There aren't too many good cycling blogs to read to begin with....use the down time to post on all the mods to the fleet. They'll all be prepped for winter riding by the time that 2 month window is up, right!

D. Scott McSpadden said...

Man that blows! Is beer still on the safe list of things to do?

EvilElf said...

You are definitely not in the DVT mainstream.

I like the electric motor front hub idea!

Alcohol is also a blood thinner if that helps.

hypnotism techniques said...

I hope your legs would turn out okay and I do hope the your recovery would be fast so that you can back and do cycling again.

wileydog said...

Holy crap! Take care.
But it's CX season! arghh!
Scott

Anonymous said...

There is at least one non-strenous activity that I think you should consider...thought Liza should probably be consulted.

Take it easy bro - I need you to stick around for a while!

Z

lazyeye72 said...

did your doc look for reasons why you are having a dvt at your young age? Factor V leiden etc? You don't want to do this twice, right?

Anonymous said...

Sad to see the you are now "not cycling spokane."

Hope you get back in the saddle as quickly as possible.

Nate

John Speare said...

Yow. Thanks all for your niceness and good info. I'm overwhelmed. Really. Nate: i took the "not" out of the titel. It ws supposed to be tounge-in-cheek, but didn't seem that way according to some emails I got.

I'm mid-way throught the week and being flooded with information and doctor visits and I'm trying to normalize all in my head.

Once that normalization happens, I post an update with what i know.

Thanks again friends.