Waiting by the telephone…

It’s been an informative few days and I have had so many pm’s asking for an update.

Tuesday afternoon we drove to Launceston to meet the cardiologist who has replaced Dr Z ( whom I consulted back in March and reluctantly signed the CT angiogram form).

The Charles Climic is located in the former Launceston General Hospital, up a hill with minimal parking. The hairdresser in the building seems to have more allocated parking spots.

I feel sorry for the incapacitated trying to get a spot for their car.

Once inside it is all very clinically pleasant. We were not kept waiting long and we met Dr Pal, the man whom I hope is to be my hero.

He has an impeccable educational background at Oxford where he has won lots of awards for a variety of academia and research. He finished his training at Flinders University hospital.

I immediately warm to him as he speaks in a sincere, kind, warm and empathetic manner. He tells me what he needs me to know with simple words, models and sketches. He points out the concerning aspects of the scan.

The three major arteries all have disease. One is severely calcified and stenosis (blockage) one is moderate to severe and the third moderate. Crap crap crap.

They cannot remain like that as I’ll likely suffer a catastrophic event…I always thought catastrophic events were earthquakes, floods, fires but with your heart it means heart attack or cardiac arrest.

Dr Pal explains that the scans are one dimensional and he needs to look inside my arteries via the catheters used in an angiogram.

He explains that the reason I have advanced coronary artery disease and no apparent symptoms is due to the level of my fitness. A less fit person would have had angina pain, but my heart compensated by making stronger heart muscle and learning to do more with less available blood to the heart. I have a higher exercise threshold tolerance.

He said that is why sometimes you hear of fit sports people dropping dead with heart issues. It is only upon autopsy that the underlying conditions are then revealed.

That is scary. So the ‘ordinary’ person with less fitness gets warning signs, but fitter people do not necessarily. Think about that fit people…..

The next steps involve patience on my behalf as I want to get cracking on getting better. Cracking probably not a great choice of word if it ends up open heart surgery.

I am booked in for an angiogram but his first available spot (he operates one day per week in Launceston) is Fri Aug 5th….but….he has put me onto his wait list for the first cancellation. I would likely find out the day before.

It is Thursday now, the phone has not rung…..🥲

Secondly, he has tentatively booked me into his next operating list in Hobart in August at the Hobart Private.

When he does the first angiogram there are three possibilities it seems.

The first is that he can place stents and I can start recovery.

The second is a look and see to check the percent of blockages and then schedule me into his Hobart session where he would drill out the crap from the arteries and then place stents.

The third possibility is a look and see to check the percent of blockages and then refer me to Dr Ash Handikar, cardiac surgeon in Hobart, for open heart surgery (by passes). That could be a 2-4 week wait upon referral as the only cardiac theatre is at the Royal Hobart and more catastrophic cases can bump yours.

I’m nervous about needing wait my turn as I want to live.

I did ask about walking and has said I can a few times per day for 20-30 minutes but my heart rate must stay under 90 bpm.

He has put me on the usual cocktail of drugs. Doubled the statins as I’ve tolerated the lower dose from March. Despite not having high blood pressure or heart rate, a beta blocker to depress both and aspirin to thin the blood. My pharmacist son Luke explained to me why.

In case he gets a cancellation I have already completed the pre angiogram bloods and paperwork for admission into Calvary.

The journey has started and now it is a waiting game.

I need to chill….

I am very thankful for all the support I have received. So many messages and athletes asking me about the test as they want to push their doctor to refer them to check.

That is great and my aim to increase awareness for all my fit friends. This disease is so prevalent and hides within the fit. If you have a family history of cardiac disease please start the discussions.

I do feel let down in many ways by my cardiologist of over 10 years as all he ever did was the stress test and ecg. If he looked in the file notes the family history was there, but even he judged me by my fitness.

Empower yourself with knowledge, ask the questions and maybe avoid being in the position I find myself.

Big hugs to Sue M for her regular phone calls. We have reminisced about our fun times together and maybe that’s a blog in itself. She told me she loved me, as did Pauline B. I love them back 💕

I’ve had conversations with each of the kids, and I need their loving support and encouragement.

My rock, that’s Tony and today is his 61st birthday. A quiet night at home as I cannot risk Covid. That could stuff things right up. He is having to be careful as he is the one out and about. We are planning to head over to our Berry Patch and sit outside for a meal on Saturday, rugged up!

The beta blockers do help anxiety. They make you tireder but I’m not sleeping any better. I am practising deep breathing as I lay awake thinking….

With the slow down of metabolism with the beta blockers I’ve reduced food portions as weight gain is common. So many potential side effects.

Maybe the phone will ring tomorrow. 🙏

28 thoughts on “Waiting by the telephone…

  1. John Dobson

    I am eleven weeks post surgery with Dr Ash. at Calvery in Hobart. Nice fellow to deal with. Not something you would volunteer to have done. But is a routine operation these days. Then you may have stents so no real recovery with that. All the best

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh John that is great to hear that you are recovering well. Yes, time will tell what transpires – my message is to all those young fit people who think that they are invincible…..take more ownership and interest and do not assume your health is all ok.


  2. Nephew Puggers (aka Chris Wade)

    Dear Auntie Sharron,

    The curse of fitness! With your family history it really should have been something your cardiologist was badgering you to have done, but it’s equally so easy to ascribe your parent’s heart disease to lifestyle factors over genetics… but damned glad you got your sprint finish elbows out and demanded it. And switched cardiologist too👍

    Beyond the gorgeous walks and peppermint tea have you had any luck with yoga or meditation as a way of getting better sleep? I’ve never had the patience for it but my elder brother swears by meditation as being helpful in managing his stress levels..

    I really, really hope you get the phone call from Launceston or Hobart well before August so you know what you’re dealing with and they can choose between the pipe cleaners, a couple of lengths of copper tubing, or the plumber’s payday🥰 I hear Oxford medics known more than just the Latin names for everything!

    Lots of love from London,

    Nephew xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well you made me laugh for sure….that last para…

      I slept ok last night. First night. Woke at 2 am…again…but this time got back to sleep until 445 am…my usual rising time.

      I will google what you said…I’ve been so busy exercising had no time lol….in my dreams.

      Yes I’m pissed that I was found the right thing bi annually and this test not pushed onto me.

      Thanks for your support and bonus points for making me laugh!


  3. Jeff Seger

    Hey Sharon:

    I heard the news about your condition on a zwift group ride on Friday. I’m glad to have been able to find this blog and get the straight story from you “directly” since so much gets lost in translation. I’m going through some cardiac stuff myself right now although so much less serious (silent persistent Afib). But there’s so much in your story that parallels what is happening with me. No warning signs that I recognized. Doctors didn’t see anything amiss until I bought a fitbit in April and it detected it.

    So now, no riding on the road because of the blood thinners, stay out of the red on the trainer and oh my God the waiting. 3 weeks since we decided that an ablation is the best way to go and I still don’t have a date for that.

    Like you, the high threshold for discomfort hid the warning signs. However the continuing to work out even though it was feeling like a slog every time has probably kept me from having a stroke.

    I’m sending you all the good energy I can muster and I look forward to seeing you back on zwift as soon as you can. I know that you’re going to kick this situation’s ass, because that is just the kind of person that you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, brother in arms Jeff, I hear you!!!

      It sucks doesn’t it. I have people saying, sorry you are not well and in denial as I feel fine ( bar the mental stuff and beta blocker side effects).

      I bought a Fitbit last night for my walks and just doing stuff around the house. I know precisely where my HR is on Zwift but not other stuff.

      Re riding on the road…my goals is to still tour but I’m selling my road bike as zip interest in smashing that out anymore. I only want to do chilled coffee rides and touring.

      I have done a 30 min ride with d bot a few times keeping my Hr under the imposed limit. I felt guilty doing it but it helps my mind.

      Best wishes with your ablation


  4. Andy Bolton

    Kia Kaha Sharron. Really looking forward to riding with you when you lead the Monday morning Mink ride again. There’s something about being offered time in the Mink Dungeon alongside kids learning to play the recorder 🤙🤙🤙👍

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ian Stuart

    Hi Sharron, just read your post on Facebook about your arteries and am deeply concerned. Despite your condition you are still thinking of other athletes. I hope you get your call soon and that the procedures goes well. All the very best, Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam Essfahani

    Sharron… I’ve just stumbled across these blogs. Heard whisperings on Zwift but with no detail. Know that our love, prayers and best wishes are with you for a speedy recovery. Thank you for having the courage to share your experience with the world in the hopes of others taking time to do these health checks. Especially you fit people! Never knew all our hard work could be covering up underlying issues. Take care my love. Keeping your spot warm on Zwift… till next we get to roll together 🚴🏼‍♀️🚴🏽‍♀️ Much love Sam Essfa xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chip Hoyt

    Dear Sharron,

    Having experienced two cardiac operations eight years ago this month, I’m writing to say in principle I understand the concern and feelings you’ve expressed in this post.

    My surgeon is a cyclist and upon pronouncing me cured, promptly fired me as a patient and told me the next time he sees me it’d better be on a bike.

    I hope for the best possible health outcome for you and as a result you have a long, happy, healthy life. Cardiac advances are a glorious thing! Please try not to worry. Listen to and comply with your physician’s instructions.

    All my best wishes,

    Chip Hoyt ❤

    PS: I hope your doggy’s leg is improving too. Nothing more noble or pure than the live they give.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you Chip, and whoot woo on your health and outcomes post surgery. There are so many brilliant and positive stories out there!

      Yes Khaleesi has improved heaps with anti inflammatory meds and is keeping us on our toes, and eternally entertained.


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