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A good day I can walk up to 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).  It takes around 2 hours. Doing this I feel good, alive, strong, and I feel independent. This was my dream when I started to train my way back after having had surgery for my acute aortic dissection type a. I took me almost one year after surgery before I for the first time made the full 5 kilometers.

A normal day I walk around 3,5 kilometers.  (2,2 miles). That usually takes around 1,5 hours.

Going uphill is hard. Two different things make it tough. One is that the new surgically crafted heart valves are leaking, not too much, but still. The second is my medications and pacemaker that combined with a nonfunctioning sinoatrial node keeps my pulse at a steady low-level of around 70 bpm even when it would need to raise in pace. I think it is mainly the betablockers that keeps my pulse down.

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A bad day, like yesterday, I can hardly walk 20 steps before I have to pause. Those days I usually only tread on the lawn of our own back yard.  I would say that one or two days out of seven in a week are such days. And five or six are normal or good days.

Sometimes it is a sharp cutting pain in the chest on the slightest effort that puts an end to any plan of a walk in the woods or on the fields nearby. Yesterday it was not pain, but a feeling that the heart had no power when putting a workload to it. Like there is a small bag around it, and when starting to exhaust it, the bag is tightened and starts to squeeze around the heart and it becomes more and more difficult for it to beat. After ten to twenty steps I had to stop and pause.

A slight cold gives cause to the same symptoms.

Well, to be honest, after the beating the heart has had my first 48 years alive, the last 30 years constantly abused by fat food, nicotine, caffeine, and stress hormones in enormous amounts, and the last 15 getting very little exercise, it is a wonder it still has the capacity to keep me going.

Finally also the beating the day I got ill, when the rip in the inner layer of the aorta going towards the heart destroyed what was still functioning in the heart valves, and then the trauma when some guys opened up the chest and started to work on the heart with a lot of instruments in stainless steel.

It took me a month or two before I dared to watch an OHS (open heart surgery) on youtube. The first time I had to stop, lay down flat on the floor and almost vomited from thinking that what I just saw on the screen was what had been done to my heart just a few weeks ago.

Today I can watch it, but I do not do it anymore (it makes me feel bad and sad). I am so amazed of how the body can be handled, and that repairing the heart and aorta is almost like plumbing and piping, but in organic matter, and that it really works.  Unbelievable. Fantastic. Amazing. Wonderful.

The enclosed youtubelink is to the film I first saw, and having seen this (please do not faint) combined with knowing that battery in a pacemaker sending signals 98% of the beats my heart does (without it my heart would stop) makes me think it is a miracle that I can do my 3,5 kilometers (2,2 miles) almost 5-6 days in a week.

At about 10:40 into the film you can see the synthetic tube put in between the heart and the reamining damaged aorta. Knowing this is there – I think it is a miracle to wake up every morning.

Thank you God, thank you life,  thank you Science and thank you Dr Vincenzo Lepore in the Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the whole cardiac team around him. I appreciate every single heartbeat I got since 1 october 2012 (I can actually feel every single one). Thank you.

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