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I just wanted to drop a message because I’ve gotten so much enjoyment from this site, even though I haven’t posted nearly as much over the past year or so.

I went to the doctor several months back with some chest pain and shortness of breath. If figured it might be stress related, as I had been going through a long, difficult divorce (is that redundant?) and some job struggles. Even though I’d been trying to manage my stress, I knew it might have not been enough.

Turned out that was it, but they sent me to the hospital to have a few tests just in case. After a couple months of tests and follow up, I was told I need to have open heart surgery next week. My aorta is dilated and the valve is leaking. So I have to have a graft done for the aorta and may have to have the associated valve replaced, which is even more risky. It’s pretty serious stuff, although the odds are still pretty good that I’ll survive it and be okay. I’m 41 and in pretty good shape, so hopefully that helps some.

My doctor told me after the tests that “your divorce might have saved your life. People with this issue generally don’t know they have it. It just bursts and they die.” So, needless to say, I feel very fortunate, especially after remembering how I’ve pushed myself on my singlespeed recently.

Sure does put things in perspective. I spent this week trying to wrap up a lot of loose ends, seeing some people I want to be sure to see, etc. I have two kids and they’re obviously concerned, as is everyone else I care about.

I have a lot of faith and I know that there is a purpose in this, and I feel I’ve been very blessed in life. And I feel confident that things will work out fine, although of course it’s still a little scary. Either way it goes, I know that God can be trusted and He’s ultimately the one who I’ve given my life to. So it’s not really a matter or chance anyway. He’s never let me down, and He won’t now. However it turns out. (Please don’t make this aspect the point of this message. Just sharing my beliefs because of how they affect this. Not trying to convert anybody. :) )

Anyway, I’m going to try to get in one ride over the weekend. Isn’t it funny how something like riding a mountain bike is still something that I felt I wanted to try to fit in? There’s something about it that almost feels spiritual to me, so it will be great to spend an hour or two appreciating it. I sure appreciate all that God has done for me.

If any of you are the praying type, I’d appreciate any thoughts and prayers. Hopefully in a few months I’ll be back in action, although my chest modeling days are probably over. :)

Here’s a pic of me from AZ Spring Fling a few years back. Hopefully I’ll be back here in a month or so, assuming all goes well.

With the holiday madness upon us, I hope that you all are reminded how blessed you are too.

Joel
 

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Best of luck and lots of healquick vibes!

I have two uncles who have had valve replacements and both of them are doing great now. Are you going with the pig valve or the mechanical one (or something else)? I wish you the best of luck and know that you'll be back in the saddle quickly!
 

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Good luck with that...

Billy Zoom said:
I just wanted to drop a message because I've gotten so much enjoyment from this site, even though I haven't posted nearly as much over the past year or so.

I went to the doctor several months back with some chest pain and shortness of breath. If figured it might be stress related, as I had been going through a long, difficult divorce (is that redundant?) and some job struggles. Even though I'd been trying to manage my stress, I knew it might have not been enough.

Turned out that was it, but they sent me to the hospital to have a few tests just in case. After a couple months of tests and follow up, I was told I need to have open heart surgery next week. My aorta is dilated and the valve is leaking. So I have to have a graft done for the aorta and may have to have the associated valve replaced, which is even more risky. It's pretty serious stuff, although the odds are still pretty good that I'll survive it and be okay. I'm 41 and in pretty good shape, so hopefully that helps some.

My doctor told me after the tests that "your divorce might have saved your life. People with this issue generally don't know they have it. It just bursts and they die." So, needless to say, I feel very fortunate, especially after remembering how I've pushed myself on my singlespeed recently.

Sure does put things in perspective. I spent this week trying to wrap up a lot of loose ends, seeing some people I want to be sure to see, etc. I have two kids and they're obviously concerned, as is everyone else I care about.

I have a lot of faith and I know that there is a purpose in this, and I feel I've been very blessed in life. And I feel confident that things will work out fine, although of course it's still a little scary. Either way it goes, I know that God can be trusted and He's ultimately the one who I've given my life to. So it's not really a matter or chance anyway. He's never let me down, and He won't now. However it turns out. (Please don't make this aspect the point of this message. Just sharing my beliefs because of how they affect this. Not trying to convert anybody. :) )

Anyway, I'm going to try to get in one ride over the weekend. Isn't it funny how something like riding a mountain bike is still something that I felt I wanted to try to fit in? There's something about it that almost feels spiritual to me, so it will be great to spend an hour or two appreciating it. I sure appreciate all that God has done for me.

If any of you are the praying type, I'd appreciate any thoughts and prayers. Hopefully in a few months I'll be back in action, although my chest modeling days are probably over. :)

Here's a pic of me from AZ Spring Fling a few years back. Hopefully I'll be back here in a month or so, assuming all goes well.

With the holiday madness upon us, I hope that you all are reminded how blessed you are too.

Joel
That is very serious surgery for 41. Have you gotten a second opinion? One more thing, make sure the hospital where your going performs at least 200-300 open hearts a year. The quality drops off below that level.
 

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I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve several years ago and told I may eventually have to have valve replacement surgery. So my thoughts and prayers definitely go out to you.

Look forward to seeing your first post-surgery ride post.
 

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Billy Zoom said:
Anyway, I'm going to try to get in one ride over the weekend. Isn't it funny how something like riding a mountain bike is still something that I felt I wanted to try to fit in? There's something about it that almost feels spiritual to me, so it will be great to spend an hour or two appreciating it. I sure appreciate all that God has done for me.

Joel
Not funny at all, after family and friends, it would surely be first on my list if I was in your spot. Of course, having friends on that ride would kill 2 birds with one stone!

Here's to getting well soon, and many more bike rides to come!
 

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Thanks for a great post that reminds us what is important in life. Most people in your situation get angry , cynical and run and hide. You have put a positive face on a tough kick in the gut. You will be in my prayers and and hope we will see you out there next summer raging on.
 

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Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Make sure you post updates on how you are doing through the healing process.
 

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hey joel,

good luck with everything. really hope it all works out alright and you'll be in the saddle soon enough.

no better time then winter to be off the bike anyways. ;)

let us know how it went?
 

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Billy Zoom said:
If any of you are the praying type, I'd appreciate any thoughts and prayers. Hopefully in a few months I'll be back in action, although my chest modeling days are probably over. :)
My prayers are with you. My mom had this surgery a few years ago and recovered well, you should do the same.

Good luck and happy recovery training.
 

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Amen, brother

Excellent attitude to have. Put it in His hands, and trust that the God-given skillful hands of the surgeon will repair the damage. You'll be in my prayers.

Bob
 

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Seems like a bunch of heart stuff is going around. Hope everything goes smoothly!

Biking is helping me through a rough time, too. Nobody here thinks it's unusual to ride in response to stress, which is what I love about the biking community.

And as long as we can ride, it's a good day :cool:
 

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Good luck and rest well. I'm a firm believer that God doesn't give us anymore then we can handle, it seems that you have a handle on this with him.
My thoughts are with you!!
 

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Thanks for sharing that. You have a lot of people here who will be awaiting your return, so heal quickly!!!
 

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Better check with your doctor before your last ride, I had a friend, Bill, who had the same problem but it was diagnosed as "acid reflux". He was riding one day and felt really weak. His riding partner went for the pick up truck and by the time he got back Bill was just about ready to pass out. Bill died on the way to the hospital. Best of luck and good luck. Heal up and get back on the bike. I wouldn't worry about the chest modeling, "chicks dig scars", right? ;)

Mark
 
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