The burning question ….weeks 3 and 4

Thank you to the many friends who have sent me texts and pm’s asking how I am going in the last fortnight, particularly in the absence of no blog last weekend. I am most appreciative and thankful for your care and concern.

Simple reason for no blog….I was just very tired and my motivation levels were low.

The last fortnight saw many changes, with a major one being Tony returning to work and me fending for myself. Whilst I have excellent personal leave provisions, Tony has none and when he does not work, he does not get paid. His bank account has taken a large hit at my expense with a month off work pre and post surgery.

Survive I have and I have improved significantly although it is hard for me to see and acknowledge from day to day. However, I have charted my progress and can see my improvement.

My day starts something like this. I am awake by 4.30-5.00 am as I am uncomfortable in bed with chest discomfort. I am sleeping on my back with 3 European pillows lifting my upper body angle. My natural pre surgery position is on my side, but that is not possible currently.

Between 5 am and 9 am I am at my most alert. 9 am is drug cocktail time and I get dizzy and light headed and fuzzy.

I do my first walk before 9 am and my first day home I walked 320 metres (day 10) . This morning I walked 4 km (day 30).

I then rest for 2 hours or so, often falling asleep on my recliner.

Rest is a huge part of where I am at currently as I exercise my lungs and heart within defined acceptable parameters.

So to that burning question, and one the surgeon Ash asked me when he saw me a few days ago…..”is she back on the bike?”

Raw footage, uncensored .

So now you know. I started on Zwift on day 19. Per the guide below the question I raised with the cardio rehabilitation lady who overviews my rehab.

I had a cardiac rehabilitation appointment mid week on week 3 and sought to unpack the line re recreational. It was determined Zwift was ok, 8 kmh was 💩 and a short time…..well 😳🙈😀

Let’s say that as per the video, you have to sit upright and that is self limiting due saddle ergonomics. At 8 weeks I can lean forward and use the handle bars which will see and increase in power output and duration.

I talked to Trek this week and they are going to send a saddle to try designed for more upright riding.

I Zwift around lunchtime, rest, then do my afternoon walk then rest again.

I fall asleep during each rest period, as I do after dinner before I head to bed around 9 pm. I have my evening drugs then and I have some pain tablets around 1 am.

I am tracking my rehab and you can see the progress below. Day 10 I walked 320 metres in the morning and today, day 30 I walked 4 km. I am walking twice a day (most days) plus zwift.

I am being tracked by many on both Zwift and strava who are providing me with great encouragement. I rest/sleep in between each rehab episode.

Drugs are necessary and I have set up my own webster packs using disposable containers I used at Calvary. I have an am and pm container.

Two of the drugs are messing with me, causing side effects including dizziness. Dr Ash has has halved one drug and swapped another from am to pm, hopefully meaning the worst light head feeling is whilst I am asleep.

I am also tracking my blood pressure. Each morning it is around 90/70 which is particularly low and hence why the beta blocker can be halved. It will be interesting to see if this change makes me feel a bit more human.

I have been blessed with friends sending me cards and gifts including home made biscuits, cakes, flowers, scratchies, food hampers and so on, but two I want to share from the last two weeks.

The first is from Zwift Australia. A total surprise.

I loved the Zwift ribbon. Inside was a lovely hamper of goodies from Byron Bay.
The words were special.

Then there was this thoughtful gift from my daughter Hannah, who is also a physiotherapist. I get heaps of upper back and neck aches since the surgery and my hands get cold (beta blocker side effect).

The larger heat pack drapes around your neck and covers the upper back. Every person undergoing open heart surgery needs one of these packs made in Adelaide using lupin seeds.

My first social event was yesterday. I had a friend from my teenage athletic years undergo open heart surgery 12 days before me. He and his partner visited for lunch. We compared war wounds (literally) and stories and went for a walk to our local beach. Lovely to catch up as we both progress through rehab.

Tony, me, Graham and Narrinda

Certainly this has been a time of reflection. Cardiac blues are a thing!Whilst there are things that rattle/disappoint me as I convalesce and focus on getting stronger, I am trying to focus on the positives – family (my kids, cousins, uncle, aunt) and friends who have taken the time to show their care and concerns and keep my spirits higher. Huge thanks and hugs for your positivity.

The lesson is support those who support you. Let the others go. ❣️

The blog has been extraordinary. Over 10,000 unique visits. Words fails me. A topic that interests many.

The new cardiac zwifting Facebook page I established, Heartz, has attracted a nice core group. Two zwifters I have known for a few years have contacted me in the last week, both facing their own open heart surgery journeys and I will happily support each the best I can.

I need to change the cover page. I have a concept, but not the artistic ability!

That’s it for now, probably things I meant to say but have forgotten, such is my memory at the moment.

Hug those you love xxx ❣️

18 thoughts on “The burning question ….weeks 3 and 4

  1. Davis Jefferies

    I am so happy to see you up and about and especially on your bike. You’ve been greatly missed and our community, and I hope to catch you out on one of your rides. Hang in there, you’re one tough lady and I know you can do this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Don’t make me fly down there 😉 this ‘Tony’ shows up once a day or so right? Too soon for a little humor? I feel the frustration have a million ideas just can’t reshuffle your furnature from North America 🤔😳😂🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure he’s been amazing and know it’s a huge amount of things for both of you to do, just surviving this event of care and getting out of bed each day is a triumph!! It gets better but this is especially for you I bet HOW it will get better sooner especially mentally (easier to pedal somehow and then slowly grind your way back AND YOU WILL) that this futzing around with low chairs to hopefully sort out a possibly decent alternative (and hey maybe it won’t work…it’s just one idea of many)!. It gets better and you have us all in your corner even if we’re not in your hemisphere!! If it works it will be a nice fallback/alternative too if being on your arms later is hard to do day after day. I hope he’ll be happy that you’ll be happy being able comfortably do what makes you feel good and healthy. If this doesn’t work I have ideas about how to take Zwift and others up on their ‘anything we can do’ lol! I also know how you can have thousands of us reading your blog but we’re not there moving furniture trying t make meals together and all the things that were so easy before. Hang in there Sharon (and Tony)!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awesome. I’m not very good at asking for help….I always feel guilty….I am happy to help others but I tend to sit back when it comes to me.

        Yes it will get better. Mentally and physically. Fortunately I have a glass half full mind set and goals!

        I will send proof when the chair is moved 🙈🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      4. AND I know all about ‘I’ll do anything for others’ but not want to ask anything of them. ‘Asking for help’ IS hard for everyone for a slew of reasons. Truly it’s ‘strong enough to ask for help’ … and you’re very strong, right? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy

    Wonderful to hear from you again. I have been a nurse for years now retired, but I wish there were more people with your attitude to get up and go after such a massive surgery. I’ve seen many of them start well, but they peter out and go back to bad habits when the novelty wears off But you are made of stronger stuff! Wishing you all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ali

    So lovely to read your amazing progress Sharron and to see all the love and support that surrounds you – hugely deserved I might add! I missed seeing this blog until now and watching your video confirmed all over again just what an inspiration you are to so many! Totally selfless in helping others in similar positions whilst still recovering yourself – just TOP! The gifts from Zwift and Hannah were really lovely too. Sending love and hugs as always xx

    Liked by 2 people

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