1. I will be able to ride at normal "vigor" within a week or so.
2. I have to be a very careful rider.
The long version.
I'm going to leave out a ton of detail and technical terms, mostly because I'm lazy, but also, this *is* a bike blog.
Item 1: I will ride soon
My clot goes from my ankle up to my thigh.
The way these go away is to thin the blood so the clot stops growing. When the blood thins, the clot will sort of solidify along my vein and my vein and body will slowly absorb it over a few months. The whole "don't ride vigorously" advice refers to the chunk of time when your clot can still form. As it forms, bits can break off. Those bits can mess you up: think exploding brains, lungs, heart messy. So I'm taking blood thinners. Right now, I'm injecting myself twice a day to get my blood level to the right number. A couple times a week, I'll be going to the clinic to get a blood test to figure out the blood thinness number. Once I get to the right number (hopefully next week), I'll quit the daily shots and just take a pill to maintain the right blood thinness.
That's when I'll be able to ride with vim and vigor.
Note I also have some dietary restrictions and a requirement to drink 2 beers a day. Really. The blood thinning medication is sensitive to alcohol. So you have to commit: either no drinking or drink daily. But no in between. And no more than 2 drinks a day.
I'll be on blood thinner for 6 months.
Item 2: I need to be super careful
The whole blood-thinning thing is freaky. The concept is simple: it just means it will take longer for my blood to clot if I bleed. That's not a big deal when you cut yourself and the wound is external and easy to apply pressure to, stitch, or cauterize.
But it becomes a huge scary deal when you consider that your brain is just a big ball of fat floating in a delicate web of blood vessels. Apparently, folks on blood thinning drugs can knock their heads relatively not-hard and get internal bleeding up there. That's freaky. There's additional internal bleeding scenarios that are also freaky, but the brain one is the freakiest.
So, this is where the whole risk thing comes in.
I'm going to ride. From a risk perspective, I don't think it makes sense not to commute by bike, but then go and commute by car instead.
I'm not, however, going to ride a bike in the following scenarios for the next six months:
- Trail riding/mountain biking. The fact is: the fun of mountain biking for me, is to push my technical limits. As a result, I wreck a lot. Mountain biking w/out going fast/pushing my comfort level, doesn't really appeal to me. This includes pump tracking and drop-bar-off-road-tom-foolery. But it does not include National Forest-type riding, which is really just long rides on dirt roads.
- Drunk. On a two-day-a-beer diet, this is unlikely, but for the sake of completeness, it should be stated. To be clear, I don't ride around drunk. But one great benefit of being a bike-riding-beer-drinker is being able to occasionally have one too many at Benidittos and burning it off on the way up the hill. No more of that for the next six months.
- Racing. Cross racing is out. That's a heart breaker. But each season I've raced (and I've only raced a few races a year), I've gone down at least once. I'd love to reason my way out of this, but it's not going to happen.
- Fast descents. The idea of wrecking in this scenario is scary anyway, but even with a Nutcase dork helmet, going down at 30+ MPH would probably kill me.
Also, there are 3 known causes (stasis, trauma, heredity) for blood clots and one unknown (shit happens/life is a mystery). I can't find anyone in my family that's had a clot before, but the pending blood test will clear up the heredity issue. If it's the unknown kind (and about 20% of clot patients fall into this area), then is more likely than not to be a once-in-a-lifetime issue that will go away if I don't screw up the therapy.
2 final thoughts:
- Cars and driving still sucks. I've been driving all over the place for the last 4 days. It's no wonder our world is so mean and angry and stressed. I forget how much I rely on the bookend rides every day. No matter what kind of gooey shit I have to deal with at work or at home, there's always a bike ride around the corner. Not having it has been lame. And imagining it for months on end was making me pretty anxious.
- My friends and family are rad. Aside from the visible comments on the last post, I've gotten emails, FB posts, and calls from tons of people offering support, electric bikes, weekends of rack building, bourbon drinking, hangs, and just straight-up support and "dude that sucks, get better" notes. It's cool and it really mattered. Thanks.