Friday 13th March 2020
In June 2019, Ian Berry underwent heart surgery at The Royal Brompton Hospital in London to replace a defective aortic valve, after being diagnosed with a heart murmur in July 2014 at a routine health check.
As an Army veteran, Ian was used to a reasonable level of fitness and the toll of rigorous exercise on the body. However, he began to experience chest pains and shortness of breath at relatively low exertion levels, radically reducing his performance. Realising something was up, he went to his GP and was treated for moderate aortic stenosis.
Now, just over 9 months later, how things have changed for Ian.
“So here we are in March 2020, just over nine months since having had my operation and a point in time when it might be useful to review my rehabilitation.
The first few weeks following the discharge from the hospital were to be taken nice and easy with lots of walking and gentle exercise. I attended the 8 week post op cardio classes twice a week which allowed the Heart Care Team to monitor and control my level of exercise, and review my medications. At the end of August I had my first post op review with a doctor from my surgeon’s team, and they were pleased with the progress I had made. I was keen to be able to get back out on my bike and we discussed this. I was told that this would be fine but to listen to my body and not to physically over exert myself at these early stages. As such I started to mix my indoor cycling with some short flat road rides and set myself a target for the end of the year. I achieved this target on the 30th of December by 12km - which was a relief!!
So the period between September and the end of 2019 saw a significant increase in energy and mileage, most of which was done with ‘ride buddies’ but occasionally solo. What is most pleasing however is that this has, in terms of my heart, been pain free, for which I am most grateful. I remain conscious of a ‘Heart Healthy diet’ (not to say that previously had been a pie and chips every day type of person) and, having lost weight, I am feeling so much better than this time last year.
I fully appreciate that at 64 years of age with an underlying heart condition that things will never be the same again, but I have some challenging targets in the year ahead and am determined to achieve them.
Ian has made such incredible progress in such a short time. Stories like his are so important to Heart Valve Voice and the team here look forward to seeing how far he and his bike can go in the next six months.
Well done Ian!!