Two more days and 2018 will be history. As we are getting bombarded with endless lists of what we have listened to, accomplished and what not it’s time to reflect 2018 and how I perceived it. 2018 was a great year for me. The best thing that happened was picking up cycling. I’m getting more and more addicted to the sport and it’s fine. Where I was running more in 2017 the health benefits are much better when cycling. No more pain in my joints and/or muscles. That’s partially true. After a day of climbing on my bike, I can feel my legs burning the day after but not as much if I had run.

[btx_gallery images=”1642,1641,1640,1639,1638,1637″ no_of_columns=”3″ spacing=”5″]From where I ride…[/btx_gallery]

Getting really conscious about my health was another eye-opener. I realized I was way too heavy and all of this kickstarted to where I am now. More time in the gym and on my bike rather than sitting at my desk surfing the web with a bag of potato chips. Since I bought the bike I managed to ride it 1,000 Km., lost 8 Kg and feeling so much better.

New years resolutions

So what’s left for 2019? Well, I still have a long way to go before I reach my weight goal: 77 Kg. I currently weigh 91 Kg so that leaves 14 Kg to shred. Let’s sum up my new years’ resolutions:

  • Reaching my preferred weight of 77 Kg
  • Cycling 4000 Km
  • Quit smoking (I know…)

This is my short list. It could belong but the more resolutions you plan, the less you will fulfill. Should be doable.

100Km ride

Another thing I’ve set my mind on is riding a 100 Km ride. I’ve got one planned on January 1st. I’m doing this just to make a statement. If I can ride this I’ll be able to reach my other goals as well in 2019!

I hope you all have a wonderful beginning of 2019 and we’ll see each other here or on any other social medium platforms!

Happy New Year!

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I.

I suffered a minor heart attack and got bypass surgery

Not the blog post I had in mind but this whole event (actual strings of events) clearly made an impact on my life and my significant others. After picking up a healthy lifestyle and all of that disaster struck early Saturday morning at 03:00 AM. Prior this weekend we just got back from a two weeks vacation in France. We usually go to the Hague for a weekend to look after our friend’s home. Take care of their plants and make sure it seems inhabitant. This was this weekend. Summer storms just arrived as we left Maastricht. Thunder and lightning seemed to follow us all the way to the Hague. Halfway I’ve decided to take a route up north rather than continuing west. Pretty much a stressful ride as the rain and wind was so dense my view at some point was less than 50 meters. Not the best condition to drive through.

We finally made it around 20:00 PM. After unpacking everything, I was just tired. Tired from the ride. Exhausted from an already busy workweek. My little son (7) wanted me to sleep with him in his bed rather than with his sister. We’ve decided I would sleep with him on the first floor and my SO would sleep with the daughter on the second floor.

Lights out and I was gone.

27.08.19 – 03:00 AM

I woke up with intense pain on my chest. I first thought it was acid reflux, but somehow it felt different. I felt a cold sweat coming up. I came up straight and looked around. My son was lying next to me, still asleep. The pain was getting worse. I now had to push my hands on my chest to have some sort of relieve. In a split second, I thought: heart attack.

I left the bedroom and went into the bathroom. I threw some water on my face and neck, hoping the pain would go away. It didn’t. At this point, the pain was too much to wake up my SO on the second floor. I physically couldn’t go up another flight of stairs. I started calling her name. Over and over again. I was afraid to wake up our son as well. Finally, she reacted and asked what was wrong. The only word I could produce was ‘pain.’ She picked up her phone and started dialing 112 right away.

In the meantime, I stumbled downstairs to the living room and lay down on the couch. The pain was still incredibly intense. Like an elephant was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Within 10 minutes, the paramedics arrived. He asked me a few questions and told me to go sit in the ambulance where they could hook me up on monitors. Also, the hospital was just 700 meters away, so no worries. While I was laying in the ambulance, the pain was slowly going away. He couldn’t see any abnormalities on his monitor as well, but protocol with pain on the chest is to bring the patient in. So that’s what we did. My girlfriend handed me some clothes and my phone and wished me luck. She had to stay behind taking care of our twin.

HMC Westeinde – 03:30 AM

First thing was getting blood samples and an ECG test. Since the results for the blood test would take an hour, the only thing I could do was wait. The excruciating pain was gone, and I actually felt good, maybe a little hungry.

Within an hour, the ER assistant came back, and the blood results came back negative. This was when she told me they had to take another sample of blood at 06:00 AM. With the second batch, they could give me a detailed report of what actually happened to me that night. All I could do was wait, get some sleep, and hopefully, it was just something innocent. At 07:00 AM, the assistant, told me it would take a bit longer. Something with an emergency at the lab yadda, yadda, yadda.

HMC Westeinde – 08:26 AM

At 08:26 AM, the door opened once again. ‘Sir, we’ve found some elevated levels of troponin in your blood, which indicates that you suffered a minor heart attack. Therefore we need to book you in at the CCU’.

Great…

HMC Westeinde – CCU – 10:00 AM

My cardiologist explains to me I had an NSTEMI. NSTEMI is a type of heart attack. NSTEMI stands for Non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Sometimes an NSTEMI is known as a non-STEMI. Myocardial infarction is the medical term for a heart attack. ST refers to the ST segment, which is part of the EKG heart tracing used to diagnose a heart attack.

It was really minor as they saw just slightly elevated levels of troponin. So say your standard of troponin should be <0,4, mine was 0,41. If this level exceeds your standard than a cardiac catheterization should take place. The cardiologist scheduled me in for Monday, and he expected to find a clogged vain which could be treated with angioplasty. An additional stent would be placed, and if all goes to plan, I would be home on Tuesday.

Monday, July 28th – 10:12 AM

Before having my cardiac catheterization, I have a meeting with two cardiologists. They both explain to me once again what the catheterization is and what to expect. The younger guy is still cautious as nothing is assured he tells me. The older guy is convinced it’s just a small clogged artery and I’ll be dismissed by the end of the day.

Cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular conditions. During cardiac catheterization, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart.

Using this catheter, doctors can then do diagnostic tests as part of a cardiac catheterization. Some heart disease treatments, such as coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting, also are done using cardiac catheterization.

Monday, July 28th – 11:09 AM

I’m up. I’m being transported to the cardiac catheterization room, which looks similar to a standard operating room. There are three people present. A surgeon and two assistants. One of the assistants is prepping my arm as a catheter will be inserted in my artery through my arm. From there, it will find it’s a way to my heart. First, they inject contrast fluid so the veins and arteries will be visible on this huge screen. It felt like my arm was on fire. This strange warm, hot, tingling feeling rushed up in my arm. I kinda felt the catheter going up in my armpit. A bizarre sensation. On the big screen, I could see how the surgeon was moving the catheter through my veins. He worked pretty quickly as after 5 minutes he pulled the catheter out of my arm.

“I’m sorry to inform you that all three of coronary arteries are clogged where even one of them is fully closed already. Angioplasty is not an option. You’ll need a bypass operation.”

That’s it. I got a worst-case scenario. This means open-heart surgery.

Monday afternoon

My cardiologist made some phone calls to make sure I have priority surgery. I have the option to go to Leiden or Maastricht. Both hospitals have room to operate me within a week. Maastricht obviously has my preference as family and friends are close by. Arrangements are made, and I’ll be transported to Maastricht the next day.

 Tuesday, July 29th – 11:58 AM

I’m heading to Maastricht today. There is this ambulance service in the Netherlands, and all they do is transport people with a medical condition from a foreign country back to the Netherlands. Occasionally they also transport people (me!) from one hospital to another one.

They came early today. I was planned for 13:30 in the afternoon but the ambulance showed up around noon. Fine with me. I was ready to back to the South.

The ride itself was uneventful. Luckily the ambulance had these tinted windows so I could enjoy the view of the freeway and typical dutch landscapes. Around 18:00 PM, we arrived in Maastricht. I was booked at the CCU, and later that night, my cardiologist came by explaining what to expect. My bypass surgery was scheduled for Thursday.

A.

A quick update

We are four months into 2019, and it’s time for an update. The only reason for not updating this blog is that I’m sorting out my exercise regime. A lot has happened since the last time. I’ve completed a metric century (yay!), I’ve signed up for an Ironman (really) and got some new gear. I’m probably missing some things, but I’ll try to remember when writing along.

My first metric century

I rode my century on New Year’s day. Sounds crazy and it is. I got up early in the morning. My kids and wife were still asleep when I snuck out of the house. You can view my epic ride here. Since I have so many things to share I will make the century ride a separate post. I promise!

Ironman 5051

Yes, I’ve signed up for an Ironman. I’m participating coming August in the Ironman 5051 event in my hometown Maastricht. As you might know, it’s a swimming, cycling and running event. 1.5 km swim followed by a 40 km bike ride and finished with a 10 km run. I’m currently in full training mode. I’m not afraid of the swimming and cycling part; it’s the running I fear most. Running is something I should concentrate on, but I’m not. I still have four months to kind of master it, and I’m confident enough I will.

New Gear

With all these new goals, I had to buy new gear! Yes, the fun part. So I got myself a new Polar Vantage M which hopefully will help me reach my goals. The cool thing about this watch is the free app it comes with: the Polar Flow. It looks like Trainingpeaks, and I’ll dig deeper into this app in a separate post.

There you have it! An almost full update on the things I’m currently doing. You can keep track of me on Strava or if you are more of a visual person, why not follow me on Instagram!