I went to the doctor this morning to have a much delayed physical check-up. This is a must if I am to continue my wanton biking ways, as I do have a heart condition to take care of. It has been this way since 2000, when I was first diagnosed with a coronary artery disease. In fact, as I have posted elsewhere, this is one of the compelling reasons why I took up biking as a sport.
Biking has helped me maintain my weight, which I have been struggling to control since the time I became conscious of my weight, and that would be during my early teens. It has also helped me keep my heart relatively healthy, even as I suffered a heart attack in August of 2004. In January of 2006, exactly on the day of my son’s 6th birthday, I had angioplasty.
This visit to the doctor was actually prompted by a sad news I read in the PCN forum, where a post mentioned a biker who suffered heart attack while biking uphill towards Antipolo, last Sunday, May 27. He was of the same age as me and had the same history of artery disease, according to one of his friends who posted on the forum.
This news prompted me to look at my condition again.
As you may have noted on my posts, here and here, I have been going uphill mountain biking for two consecutive Saturdays. The first one was up in Montalban towards the Grotto of our Lady, going down to Wawa.
The second one was up to Licao Licao through Nabutas. I haven’t finished writing the account of this second trail ride, which in fact I did not finish entirely because I had to bail out of the last stage. I didn’t tell any of my biking buddies then, but the real reason for bailing out was I felt palpitations of the heart during the last uphill climb following a single track ride through a private farmlot, and this was a signal that I have been pushing myself close to my limits and I better stop.
I have also mentioned that my wife and kids were in the province and they came back the following day, Sunday, May 20. Ah, my free days were over, but oh well, those days were good while they lasted. LOL.
On days when I could not bike to work, I lift weights, just dumb bells with 10 pounds each. I do the usual curls and everything for around 3o minutes. I do it before my full breakfast of oatmeal with a sprinkling of cinammon ( a tip from fellow TOF marshall and a diabetic himself, named Eric Vergara). On this particular day, Tuesday May 22, I think I overdid it and I was unusually tired, panting and rushing my breath. Then there was this knot on the pit of my stomach, a tight feeling the was usually present only when I am stressed out specially in the office.
I did not mind it, as this has happened before and no untoward events followed. It would usually cease after relaxing and if it happened before a bike ride, it would be totally gone after the ride. I biked to work as usual that afternoon and as soon as I arrived at the office, the feeling was gone.
But at dinner time, just as I was about to go up to the second floor pantry, the tightness in my stomach returned. I wasn’t able to eat all my dinner because of it.
I went to the clinic to have myself examined by the doctor. He knew of my heart condition so after asking how I was feeling and taking my blood pressure, a very normal 110/80, he advised me to take motillium, a medicine for some stomach disorder. He further advised me to have my stomach checked by a gastroenterologist and go to my regular doctor at the Philippine Heart Center for my regular checkup. He gave me a prescription and some medicine and I felt better.
But I am like one of thousands of others who would only have the courage to go to the dentist when my tooth is aching and when it isn’t, well, forget about the dentist then, totally. It’s just the same this time, only it is about the heart and the stomach. Since I was feeling better already, I forgot about this doctor’s advise. Until I read last Sunday’s post about a biker dying of cardiac arrest on the road while biking.
And so this morning, I visited the doctor.
P.S. Since I have diabetes too, the doctor scheduled me for a blood test tomorrow morning. Included is FBS (fasting blood sugar) test which means I would have to fast for at least 12 hours (the site I linked to here says 8 hours only. I wonder why my doctor wants to prolong my agony?). In practice then, my last meal of the day would be at 7:30 tonight so I could have my blood extracted tomorrow, at the earliest at 7:30 am. I already feel hungry right now…