I’ve always been a risk taker, when it comes to my physical ability. I played college sports, I’ve competed in Rodeo sports, I’ve made my body work, and I mean work hard. I’ve worked through a day bleeding from a wound that required stitches when I returned home 10 hours later. I’m a lot of things, but afraid, not so much.
In mid June I noticed my WOD times were suffering and I didn’t feel as strong as usual. I backed off my weights, cut metcon times when needed, but nothing seemed to feel 100% right. By mid-August, I began experiencing a nagging burning and tightness in my upper chest, which I attributed to exercise induced asthma, allergies and every other logical excuse I could think of at the time. In mid September, the 17th to be exact, I had a pain in my sternum during a workout. This was new. My wife, daughters and a family friend insisted that I go to the ER. We did, and I was told I had an abnormal ECG. I spent my birthday, three days later, getting poked, shot up with radio-active isotopes, and jumping on a treadmill for a nuclear imaging stress test, which I failed rather miserably - with the same pain recurring. On September 23, I underwent angioplasty and much to my surprise, I had a 95% blockage in my LAD, left anterior descending artery. The doctors implanted a stent in the heart’s artery blockage and I was released from the hospital the next day, even though I coded during the procedure and required ‘the paddles’ to be revived. It should be noted; the doctors agreed that my fitness literally saved my life.
So here we are, after angioplasty. I was told the day of my release that I could walk as much as I wanted. In fact I was encouraged to walk. So I walked. In the seven days, after angioplasty, I had walked approximately 100 miles. The following week, I nearly doubled the first week’s numbers. My diet has been pretty good for the past 10 years, but after angioplasty, it’s even better. I take my meds, I eat well and I walk. Lots. The two-week follow up appointment with the cardiologist went great. With the exception of working, I was all but released to resume normal activity, with a caution to not lift heavy for two more weeks. I was elated. Excited to get back in to the gym and do some Metcons, to do body weight movements, to push myself, to get that buzz that we all know and love. The only thing holding me back was... I was nervous, afraid of what could go wrong, concerned about having the Fred Sanford “big one”, even though there was no LOGICAL reason to be worried. I was fixed. I was better than I had been for years! Why would I worry?
Now I GET IT! I get why people want to try CrossFit, but talk themselves out of it. I get why people are afraid to walk in the door. The unknown is a frightening thing. Our brain tells us that something can and likely will go wrong! I’m here to tell you it’s bullshit. I get it, I’m not marginalizing your fear, or concerns. I GET IT, but it’s bullshit.
The third week, after angioplasty, I went for it. I put on my brave face, my armor – aka heart monitor - and I went for it. I did my first, after angioplasty, WOD. I survived, I thrived, and I’ll be better the fourth week, this week to be exact. The fear is waning. Though I am cautious, I’m doing it every day, plus walking a few miles. I continue to listen to my body and it’s not saying much other than it’s not use to being sore. I’ve increased my WOD times, I’ve added some light weights and pull-ups to the mix and it’s going great.
Don’t be afraid, I GET IT, I get WHY you’re afraid – the unknown is scary. But don’t be. You can do this. I can do this. We can do this together ~