Exercise & the Transplant Patient


I am a HUGE advocate of exercise for those people who are on the waiting list, as well as those that are post transplant. For some reason, I don’t write about this topic very often. Regardless, this post is dedicated to EXERCISE.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I wasn’t a fitness “freak” before or since my heart transplant, but I always have exercised or fitness walked in some form or manner.

What made me a believer was this time-line ……

  • April 27th – walked 18 miles at work & during the day
  • April 28th – major heart attack
  • April 28 thru May 20 – bi-pass surgery, coded a 100+ times, heart transplant ~ was flat on my back the entire time, in a coma for a majority of this period.
  • May 20th ~ 9 days post transplant, two therapists come take me for a “walk” ~ THIS WAS A VERY HUMBLING EXPERIENCE, my legs were GONE in 3 weeks. Was like trying to stand up on rubber bands, I almost went head first into the wall.

I promised myself that I will exercise, exercise, exercise just in case I ever land back in the hospital for an extended period again.

Beyond learning how to walk, I did take a “Cardiac Rehab Phase II” class. and I joined a gym to get my Phase III rehab …….. I still belong to the gym and workout 3 or 4 times a week. last week I was away, and I really missed my workouts. Granted, a couple of kids, 2 and 4 years old, can give you somewhat of a workout, but it’s simply not the same.

I do cardio every visit, and also do some lifting on the Nautilus machines. I continue to wear a pedometer every day and track my mileage. Granted, I don’t do 18 miles a day any longer, but I can walk 7+ miles in a day.

If you are on the waiting list, or if you are post transplant ~ PLEASE EXERCISE AS MUCH AS YOUR BODY WILL ALLOW YOU. It will help in the long run.

Don’t become a “Couch Potato”!!

New treadmills @ my gym!

New ellipticals (I HATE these, LOL) & A couple new bikes.

About DAP

I am a heart transplant recipient and these are my stories and thoughts. My desire is to assist others pre or post heart transplant in anyway possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have a question.
This entry was posted in General, Heart Transplant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Exercise & the Transplant Patient

  1. Helen says:

    I, unfortunately, have become a couch potato in the 7 years since my transplant. Actually it started with my first big rejection four years ago. But this post is a message for me to get up and get moving. Thanks for the encouragement. H.

  2. Mike Symanow says:

    I was born with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. in early 2008 my heart began to burn out. In september of 2009 my heart finally reached the end. I was placed on the Transplant list. I was sick enough I could not leave the hospital. I lived in the hospital for 7 months. During that time I became extremely mal-nurished. by the time of the transplant I was extremely weak. There was not enough fat to administer the cumadin shots required in the ICU. When I left if is sat on the ground I did not have enough strength to get up my self.

    I am 25. For the first month after the transplant I lived in a hotel across the street from the hospital. During that time I built up enough strength to easily move around. When I came home I joined a gym down the street from my house, Life time fitness. The decisions and life style I chose has paid dividends.

    4 weeks post transplant. Began swimming 8 laps break each pool cross.

    8 weeks post transplant. Returned to Taekwondo training. Swimming 1 mile every day. Returning to taekwondo is the single best thing I have done. The training strengthened every part of my body. after a month training 6 hours a week I had no strength or endurance problems.

    12 weeks post transplant. Friendly sparing at Taekwondo, Weight lifting every day, swimming 2 miles every day. I have some good friends at taekwondo who I trust to fight. I still get brused and hurt but I trust these people to not seriously damage me.

    At this point my physical activity exploded. Since then I have gone hiking, paint balling, kayaking. My physical abilities are almost boundless. I returned to college and completed the last 2 class required for an engineering degree. I am now an electrical engineer.

    6 months post transplant. RUNNING!!! since thanks giving I have began running. I have never been able to run any distance. Since thanks giving I have run 10 miles every week. My new years resolution is to run 11 miles a week for 2011.

    Every day I lift weights and run; sundays are my rest day. I train in taekwondo 3 times a week 2 hours at a time. I have ranked up 4 times since the summer. My physical activity and age has kept much of the negative effects of the drugs from hurting me. I have no swelling, my blood pressure is where it should be ~120/70 and the symptoms of a de-nerved heart are minimized.

    Everything I have wrote is accurate. I spent 7 months sitting/laying in front of the TV. My biggest fear is that I will let something pass by and one day I will wish I had acted differently. Every day I am alive is a gift, and I will take advantage of every moment. In the near future I will run a marathon, climb mount Rainer and complete an adventure race.

    To all my transplant brothers, do not become a potato, seize the moment, there is nothing that you cannot do. You simply need to want it.

    Mike
    CCF 1469

    Anything is possible

  3. Chris Umstead says:

    Dear Mike .. it is nice to hear that you are doing well. You are truly gifted both physically and intellectually now. Continued good luck.

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