First Walk / Jog
Baby steps…. So, the latest ECG and Echocardiogram show some small improvements.
My Ejection Fraction has risen slightly from around 40-45% to around 50%. That’s going in the right direction and might continue to improve over the coming months.
The ECG does show pathologic Q-waves which indicate permanent damage to my cardiac tissue. This was somewhat expected and the fact that they are still there now almost 6 weeks after my heart attack means they aren’t going away – hence the ‘permanent’ nature of the damage.
Recovery and Rehab
I think the doctors are fairly happy with my progress. Rest and recovery is still the primary objective but I think the majority of that should have taken place by now so it is time to start rehab exercises to start strengthening things again. I think it takes a little longer for the stents to become properly embedded into my arterial tissue so I still have to avoid anything strenuous.
This means I start weekly cardiac rehab sessions next week. This is classed as Phase 3 of my ‘journey’. Phase 1 was while I was in hospital. Phase 2 was the 6 weeks of recovery I’ve just been through. Phase 3 will be the guided rehab and phase 4 will be continued unguided rehab afterwards.
I was also given the go ahead to add some more activities to my daily ‘exercise’. These are in the form of very gentle, very short, jogging intervals into my daily runs and some very low intensity turbo trainer sessions.
I did the first of these today by adding 9x 30sec jogs into a short walk. In some ways the stats are impressive. Not impressive from a speed or distance perspective, but impressive from the level of restraint I showed. Each ‘interval’ was only 30 seconds. Each interval was at a slow jogging pace (8:00 – 9:00 mins/mile) and each was separated by a minute of walking recovery.
The good news is that there was no additional chest pain. The underlying discomfort was still there but it didn’t get any worse. I did feel a little more short of breath after the first interval than I’d expected but it was OK after that. My legs did feel a little weak and there were a few shooting pains in them too but nothing major.
My heart responded as expected too. My heart rate increased nicely with each interval and more importantly recovered back to where it was on each of the recovery intervals. I wasn’t pushing it so my heart rate never really got into a training zone but it is at least a start. My heart rate will be throttled somewhat by both the heart damage and the medication I’m on too. I guess I’ll have to find out what it is actually capable of now during the cardiac rehab sessions of the coming weeks.
It was barely an exercise session really but it is at least a start. Hopefully it won’t wipe me out too much but I’ll probably find that I’m more tired than usual this afternoon!