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Thread: Returning to Riding After Heart Surgery?

  1. #1
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Returning to Riding After Heart Surgery?

    I'm about two weeks away from getting a new aortic valve in my heart. I'm very healthy, and am going to have the "crack open the chest, cut it out and replace it" option. Minimally-invasive and TAVR procedures are not for me because I'm so healthy, or so the docs say.

    I won't be able to drive a car for six weeks after the event. As to riding, it'll be Winter in Boston so I had not planned to be doing much riding anyway. I would hope to hear from anyone who has had this kind of surgery and returned (or not) to riding. I figured I'd be good to go sometime in March, but perhaps I'm being too optimistic.

    Any advice or experience anyone has I would certainly welcome. If it's easier or more private, a PM on the Forum, or to my real email address: jgamelpi at gmail.com would be great.

    Thanks - John
    John Gamel
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  2. #2
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    John, I cannot comment on your plight as never having experienced it. All I can offer is a prayer and best wishes for speedy recovery.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    When they are bringing the chest back together John, make sure they use the stainless wire. Don't let them skimp
    Good luck my friend.
    Gary
    "I bought a ticket to the circus, I don't know why I was so surprised to see elephants" Norris Church Mailer
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  4. #4
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    John, I cannot comment on your plight as never having experienced it. All I can offer is a prayer and best wishes for speedy recovery.
    Thank you for thinking of me. I do appreciate your prayer and good wishes. I'm hoping for the best, but things happen as we all know. If something goes awry, well, I've lived a good life, & think I've been kind to others for most of it.

    John
    John Gamel
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  5. #5
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    When they are bringing the chest back together John, make sure they use the stainless wire. Don't let them skimp
    Good luck my friend.
    Gary
    Thanks Gary. I just learned that for some patients titanium plates with screws are used to close the sides of the sternum. How cool would that be?
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
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  6. #6
    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    Nine heart surgeries in the nineties, 8 angioplasties, 1 five way bypass after a full arrest on the table while they were doing operation #8. Defibrillator failed to revive me, CPR for 50 minutes.

    That night the surgeons told my wife that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving...for three days. That was 18 years ago.

    Since what you are having is non-emergency surgery, I bet you will come through this just fine. Speedy recovery to follow.

    My incident took place in summer, no ability to ride after my recovery. But took the winter off and went on a lot of high mileage rides the following summer. Played a lot of golf too!

    Hang in there!

    PS. After that open heart gig, docs also predicted possible 90% permanent brain damage...they might have been right with that prognostication.
    Bill Johnston

  7. #7
    2014 R1200GSW Rich's Avatar
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    Good luck, John. My spouse had half her liver removed in July so we know the seriousness going on in your life. We will be thinking of you. Keep a positive outlook and know that others are pulling for you.

    Rich

  8. #8
    Just want to wish you good luck and heal up for a speedy recovery and you should be back riding soon!
    Dave M.
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  9. #9
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    All the best for your surgery, John and prayers for a quick and complete recovery. With good health on your side, I'm guessing your recovery process will exceed any expectations you may have.

  10. #10
    Registered User gfspencer's Avatar
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    I haven't had heart surgery but I did have a radical prostatectomy in early July. With that particular operation the hardest thing to do is to feel comfortable sitting on a motorcycle/bicycle seat. I am pretty much recovered now but the riding season is about done. I expect to be riding a lot more come Spring. I'm 70 so your recovery time might be shorter. (I was in decent shape. In addition to riding I did SCUBA.)

    Good luck.
    2015 R nineT

  11. #11

    90 Days

    John,

    A friend of mine had triple bypass two years ago and had to wait 90 days to get back on the bike. He was in his early 60's at the time and not in the best of physical condition though moderately active. His operation was towards the end of May and he got back on the bike in August and has been riding each season since. The primary issue was allowing the sternum to re-knit. No surprise that he feels much better post-op now that he has efficient blood flow.

    I was able to return to riding very quickly (few days?) after being dead for four minutes and in a coma for a day and a half from a sudden cardiac arrest event. Insert a defibrillator (the size of a pack of cards with wires threaded through an artery), glue the incision shut, and walk out the hospital the next day. Like SeabeckS, my spouse was warned of the likelihood of brain damage but it's hard to impact something that isn't there . Too bad you can't go the less invasive procedures.

    Today's technology is amazing so while anything can happen the odds are waaaaay in your favor. Good luck and you WILL BE back on two wheels!

    David

  12. #12
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeabeckS View Post
    Nine heart surgeries in the nineties, 8 angioplasties, 1 five way bypass after a full arrest on the table while they were doing operation #8. Defibrillator failed to revive me, CPR for 50 minutes.

    That night the surgeons told my wife that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving...for three days. That was 18 years ago.

    Since what you are having is non-emergency surgery, I bet you will come through this just fine. Speedy recovery to follow.

    My incident took place in summer, no ability to ride after my recovery. But took the winter off and went on a lot of high mileage rides the following summer. Played a lot of golf too!

    Hang in there!

    PS. After that open heart gig, docs also predicted possible 90% permanent brain damage...they might have been right with that prognostication.
    Bill - I like your story a whole lot. Seems like my single valve replacement will be a minor event compared to your series of surgical encounters. Thank you for the recounting. I hope as you say: "speedy recovery to follow." I hope this is a minor event. I'm hoping to be back on my RT in early March (if there's no snow in Boston).

    Thanks again - John
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  13. #13
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Good luck, John. My spouse had half her liver removed in July so we know the seriousness going on in your life. We will be thinking of you. Keep a positive outlook and know that others are pulling for you.

    Rich
    Thank you Rich. I'll come back with a post-op report and then I hope a 2000-mile ride report in April.

    More importantly, I hope that Missus Rich is doing well now.

    John
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  14. #14
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMNH View Post
    Just want to wish you good luck and heal up for a speedy recovery and you should be back riding soon!
    Dave - Thank you for your kind thoughts. The docs told me me no driving for 6 weeks and no riding for 12. I think that puts me into mid-March for riding. I hope the snow is gone by then.

    Thanks again - John
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  15. #15
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powwow View Post
    All the best for your surgery, John and prayers for a quick and complete recovery. With good health on your side, I'm guessing your recovery process will exceed any expectations you may have.
    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers powwow. I was out in your area this summer as I have a daughter who works as an NP at OHSU in Portland. I hope I'll exceed expectations for recovery which are pretty high now.

    Thank you -

    John
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

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