Heart Fixed (f*** yeah!)

When we last left our heroes, Greg Smith was going to Texas to to live his awesome retired life. I was going back to Virginia to work for a cool company that does cool stuff. And I was going to see a heart doctor.

As many of you know, I’ve been seeing doctors for decades for my arrhythmias, and finally in 2018 I had a cryoablation to fix my AFib. But that ablation apparently did not fix (and was not designed to fix) a separate, hidden arrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). From previous conversations with my heart doctor, I was unsure if we’d ever have a chance to tackle it. Lots of unknowns. So I was surprised to hear my doctors say he had the information he needed to go for a fix now. He said, “Take your time and let me know if you’d like to pursue another ablation.” I took exactly zero seconds before telling him to sign me up.

From here, things moved very rapidly. My previous AFib cryoablation took months to set up. This one took just a few weeks. This was another ablation, but a different kind that was actually easier. Heck, they even woke me up during the procedure and I was able to feel an ablation in progress. It was interesting feeling having someone speed up, slow down, and eventually microwave (actually more like AM Radio, but they did burn that sucker) part of your heart. It was especially nice to have Emily, one of the nurses, be the voice in my head while I was awake, soothingly telling me what was going on and answering my questions. Textbook. Out of the hospital that same day.

So fast forward a week after the operation. Back on the bike. Three weeks. 80+ mile rides. Today. In my appointment today, my doctor says to do whatever the hell I want. Intervals, super long rides, he’s good with it. He even used a word that doctors basically never use. He said I’m “cured”. Let me break that down for you. AFib? I’m a whole lot better, but not cured. AFib gets more common as we age, and someone who went through cryoablation is apparently no exception. He said he doesn’t expect to see me back until at least some time in my 70s, maybe much longer, but there is a chance I’ll be eventually be back. But SVT, the condition I just had ablated? Apparently, when they fix that, they fix it good. If I end up coming back, it won’t be because the condition popped up again, it’ll be because someone screwed something up. If nobody screwed anything up, I won’t be back (except routine follow ups).

What does this mean for me and my cycling and the Great Divide (this is that kind of blog after all). Today, it means I lose a little more weight, I do more weightlifting, I do more intervals, and I take long rides. I basically do off-season building up to my strongest self ever. In the late winter and spring, I start riding some of the hardest events I’ve ever ridden, but they’re short. A day or three at most. I do these all year. Next winter, I once again go through a build phase and make myself even stronger. 2021, I attack the Divide again. How will that work? I’m not sure. Greg McFarland has some ideas that sound promising. It’s possible there might be some interest from Greg Smith, Dean and/or Chris. But I’m not done with this route. However it happens, I do intend to conquer this thing.