Archive for the ‘training’ Category

So, I saw my new COPD nursey yesterday. She’s a real sweetie but I’m not sure how poorly she thinks I am. Apparently, I’m stage 3 COPD, there’s only four so I’m nearly at the top already: Actually, that’s not funny but humour helps me deal with it. She went on to review my spirometry results and was confused that I had improved. It must have been a good air day methinks.  🙂 Nevertheless, at under 50% this is still less than one lungs worth (I know it’s not strictly true but in Podge’s world this works for me 🙂 )

Nursey upgraded my medication, I’d been on the same stuff since being upgraded from Asthma to COPD and asked if I would like to consider Pulmonary Rehab. I asked if this was where they taught you how to breath cos if it is, I assured her I had been breathing now for 62 and 2/3rd years. But I did understand what was meant so I agreed.

She then asked if I ever got down. Well to be honest, yes I do, and yes I do have the same thoughts described in the linked article above, thus:

  • Am I getting an infection in my lungs?
  • Is this the start of something really bad?
  • Am I developing pneumonia?
  • Will this lead to a stay in the hospital? (this week, it nearly did)
  • Am I going “downhill,” will I ever feel better again, or is this “it?”

I’ve had all of these thoughts and in fact just a few months ago I had entered what I term, the Valley of Despair, though I never shared this fact. But then, I read an article about a guy in Australia  (#copdathlete) with COPD but who’s lungs were operating at less than 30% (mine are 47%) but had recently completed the New York Marathon. Boy, did he inspire me and boy, did he lift me from the Valley of Despair. Spurred on by his achievements, I duly entered the Great South Run 5K  (22nd October) and the Great South Run (23rd October). and started walking lots. Why did I enter both. Well my rational is if I can complete the 5K but not up to the 10 mile then at least I’ve achieved something. If I compete both, well, that would be an achievement and half for me.

Anyway, back to the recap and me getting down, Nursey asked if I wanted anything for it, I guessed she meant anti-depressants and not Laphroaig Whisky so I politely declined the offer on the basis that such drugs was not a road I was happy to go down. And no, I didn’t want a Counsellor either. She recognised my stubborn independence and assured me that if I needed help or just to talk, to phone her. For that I was grateful. She even offered my an option on a district nurse checkin in on me at home if I required. Again, I declined but with thanks: I spend 2.5 hours each way computing to and from work so not sure when I would get a chance to see a nurse anyway.

Anyway, just three days after seeing Nursey, I went downhill, badly, and I took myself to the surgery where upon they sent waiting patients home so that they could look after me: Three of the thoughts above were once more in my head. Nursey tried to persuade me to go to hospital but I didn’t want to but she told me in no uncertain terms that if I declined again I must call an ambulance. Nursey has ever since been phoning me at home just to make sure I was ok (Podge likes Nursey).

5-days after I am still not too good (going to the bathroom leaves me out of breath) but hope to return to normality come Monday and once again I can start my walking regime for the great runs (or maybe walks).

I’m hoping that the new drugs will work, the steroids & antibiotics are beating the crap out  of this current infection and my weight is dropping: In the last there months, I’ve lost 7kgs so I’m well happy with that. And, now that I’ve consumed all my sherries I will once more cut out milk. In the mean time, the walking will continue and have upped my daily target to from 10,000 15,000 steps (at this rate, I’ll be walking to work).

Stay in touch and I’ll keep you posted on my progress and although today I don’t quite feel up to it, wish me well for the runs in October.

Poor Podge 🙂

 

The Colnago Ge Dream still performs as well as it did in July last year and with little or nothing done to it. I love my Colnago. I need to get back on my Colnago: maybe my Colnago needs a sister or brother like a C50 or C60. In fact, I’m sure it does.

Having had my long awaited Cardioversiuon only to be told it had failed and my heart was still bouncing about like a good’n I was [naturally] a little depressed but, depression solves nothing so I wallowed for a short while then looked at what I needed to do to ensure the 2nd attempt was a success. Weight loss was the obvious answer and I have made a start on that , having lost 8 lb. already but I still had another 20+ lb. to shed.

Against all this, I have had to endure[!] watching the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and now the start of the Tour of Britain. I so, so wanted get back on my bike. Well, this weekend, as result of numerous events, was the 1st weekend Debbie and I had where we actually had no commitments whatsoever. And by way of bonus, the weather was good. That was it, I had made my mine up I was going to try a bike ride.

Saturday came, Saturday went: no bike ride, but lawns cut, so not so bad. Sunday was my last chance but the morning found me feeling tired, physically so a morning ride was out. Come the afternoon however I was going to do it. I got my bike out, pumped up the tyres, heart rate now 150 bpm so I sat down and go my breath back. Maybe I’ll just ride to the end of the road and back. “Go for a ride” said Debbie “And when you get back, we’ll sit down and have a Desperado”. That did it.

Dressed in Khaki Shorts and Caribbean shirt complimented with brown sock and black & grey cycling shoes, I looked every inch a supreme cyclist (none of my cycling kit fits me at the moment). And so, I donned my cycle hat and I was off. After all this time off my back, getting back just seemed so natural and better still, even though I hhd neglected her of late, the Colnago behave and operated like a dream.

Muy intent was to do 3-miles but as I drew close to home I veered off, determined to another two. Heart rate was surprisingly average but my chest ached so I wasn’t going to push myself. After about 1.8 miles I turned left off the main road and stopped to let tractor go by. He signalled his thanks then slowed does so that I could catch and draft him, but the heart wouldn’t allow so I gave a thumbs up to say thanks then waved him on. All in I did 4.8 miles which given the circumstances isn’t so bad. Let’s just hope this is the first of many progressively longer rides.

RideSlide

Property of PodgeThePuffer (PtP) – Unauthorised use is very, very naughty.

Go Podge, Go

So, 06:45 Sunday Morning: His Podgeness rises from his pit to have an early breakfast before seeking out his trusty Colnago Geo Dream Bicycle  ready to venture out for his first ride a for a long time now.

At 09:00, His Podgeness makes his second cup of coffee (no milk, no sugar) and a cup of tea to take up to the slumbering Mrs Me.

At 09:45, His Podgeness makes a second cup of tea for Mrs Me as she still hasn’t arisen, only to find that she stirred after all and threatening to come downstairs to shatter the peace and solitude. Hmmm, thinks Podge, maybe I should wait and give her company over breakfast.

At 10:30, the decision is taken to go to Waitrose to get some BBQ provisions – the day is after all beautifully hot and sunny. So, His Podgeness puts his bike away and readies for shopping.

12:15, His Podgeness and Mrs Me return laden with food and wine, sits down and has a cup of tea. Podge gets his bike out again.

12:45, Master Matthew rises from his pit after a heavy night out on the tiles celebrating his birthday. No ride just yet, have to give Matt his pressies.

13:30, Master Nicholas arrives from his night out, no reason, just a night out.

14:00 discussions switch to grass cutting; His podgeness seeks out some appropriate attire for cycling while Mrs Me dress’s for mowing.

14:30, at the hint of grass cutting, Master Mathew and Mistress Alice (Matt’s superior half) slope off to the pub arranging to meet Master Nicholas at the local cinema.

The Momentous Moment Arrives

14:50, His Podgeness finally, sets of on his bike: there really should be a fanfare here at the moment but such temptations are to be resisted.

15:15, Master Nicholas helps Mrs Me out with the grass cutting by taking the mower round to the font garden for her (she’s already cut the rear garden), then he also slopes off.

15:40, His Podgeness returns. Sweating like he’d been on a trek through the Amazon Jungle and barely able to lift his leg over the saddle to dismount. “I did it” he announces, “I completed my first ride of the year”

Unauthorised use of this image is VERY naughty. @ Podgethepuffer

Unauthorised use of this image is VERY naughty. @ Podgethepuffer

That’s good said Mrs, I’ve cut the grass. Go and have a shower and then we can both sit down for a nice glass of wine. Perfick, just perfick.

Ride stats:

Distance: – 9.3 miles / Average Speed: – 10.6 mph / Average heart rate: – 156 bpm.

And so, there we have it, 8 hours after getting up, His Podgeness eventually went for ride.

Go Podge, Go

As John Wayne might not have said 🙂

I have a confession to make. Back in 2013, I wrote a post called [Milk: Good Food? Bad Food?] where having suffered from a number of chest infections a good dear friend of mine who, if she is reading this will probably throw her arms up in despair and come round to box my ears, advised me to cut out milk and related products. As I so wanted, nay, needed, to get back out cycling and I did actually quite like the idea of breathing, I did as I was told and the differences were remarkable. I’m not saying I was cured but my breathing did improve and yes, I did get back out on my bike and did actually build up to doing 50 – 60 miles rides so that I could take part in a 500 mile cycle challenge though France which consisted of 7-days cycling included 70, 80, or even 90 mile rides. And it felt so good. Podge was back in the saddle. Still fat, but back in the saddle nevertheless.

Sadly, having completed the cycle challenge, my bike was returned to the garage and I fell once into a life of dietary abuse. Yes, I went back to milk products. The lure of Shreddies and CoCo Pops was just too great.  It’s important to note that I could of course justify my actions thus:

  • Shreddies are full of roughage so good for weight management;
  • Scientists, doctors & professors had responded (mainly via LinkedIn) to my article on Milk  to say that there was little or no evidence to suggest that Milk was bad for respiratory problems;
  • Shreddies gave me energy;
  • My breathing was fine now so no need to worry;
  • I had my 60th Birthday and my Wedding Cruise to get through;
  • I liked my Shreddies.

Naturally, and conveniently, I ignored the fact that so many other people with respiratory problems had also responded to my post to the effect that Yes, Milk had been shown to be bad and cutting it from their diets made dramatic improvement.

Thinking back, I find it curious that those in the know (doctors, professors, etc.), really don’t know and those supposedly not in the know (those that actually suffer) actually do know a great deal: They certainly do know that when they cut out milk, the difference is quickly apparent.

Of course, through those winter months and of course my two P&O cruises, all milk related matters faded into obscurity. I’m sorry again Liz. And I gorged my way around the Canaries. I abused my digestive systems all through Christmas and then I just went overboard (no pun intended) in gluttony as we sailed around Australia and on to Singapore.

Then, in March, my health took a turn for the worse which was exacerbated (see, I do know big words) by the worst air pollution London (where I work) has seen for many, many years. This time however, I was really bad, to the point of being frightened, almost to the point of wishing I didn’t have to breathe any more. The Vets, sorry, doctors, put me on a course of steroids and antibiotics. I ate all these up but there was no improvement: walking from bedroom to bathroom still left me fighting to breath. The Vets 🙂 gave me a load more steroids and some seriously sting antibiotics. I ate all these. Still no change, though I diid notice the antibiotics had a strange effect on me, with each tablet having a similar effect to that of eating a tin beans: In hindsight, thats the only effect they had on me. I was still struggling. I went back to the Vets. They were perplexed. I had no infection but I was clearly fighting to breath. So they tried  putting me on water tablets(!). These were supposed to help get rid of any water retention (I made the mistake of telling them that I had developed Cankles while on holiday, which I normally do). Still no effect. I’d had enough: I didn’t know what to do: it was genuinely getting me down, and frightened. And then I had a eureka moment.

As I sat on the Sofa, tucking into my bowl of Shreddies, mixed with Cheerios, I suddenly remembered what I’d been told back in 2013 (sorry again Liz) and I’d actually advocated. Milk, yes, Milk is bad for people with respiratory problems. And not just milk, but products related to milk, such as cheese, which I happen to enjoy as well; though not with my cereals of course, were also bad. And as I sat there, ‘enjoying’ my breakfast even though every spoonful was followed by a fight to draw breath once more, I knew the answer: I had always known the answer. My dear friend Liz had given me the answer yet I’d fallen by the wayside once more. Some people are addicted nicotine (I once was myself, cue COPD); some people are addicted to alcohol (I’m not, but I do like it, honest, I’m not, I just like it, a lot 🙂 ); some idiots are addicted to narcotics (best of luck to them): I however am addicted to Milk, and I needed to kick the habit: I’ve beaten Nicotine addiction so milk should be a doodle. And so, with that thought, I made the  break.

24 hours makes all the difference

24 hours really does make all the difference because having taken milk and milk related products out of my diet, the very next day saw a marked improvement, an improvement that has continued to be so on a day by day basis. My breathing is easier, I’m more relaxed and almost a pleasure to be around. I’m not cured, but I’m getting better. I’m still fat but I’ll get thinner. I’m still old and, I’m glad to say, I’ll get older (a couple of times over the past couple of weeks I did wonder about that). I’m still ugly, but then the Good Lord decided that ugly I would be so I’ll probably stay ugly. Though, as I have told Mrs Me on a number of occasions, I am quite a catch so maybe not so ugly after all. The main point is, my breathing is improving and so long as I stay away from milk, and lose a bit of weight, my breathing should continue to improve. I hope so, I’ve a garage full of bicycles screaming out to be ridden.

And so with that, I really am getting of my milk and riding my bike.

And I don’t care if the effect is Psychosomatic or the consequence of withdrawing milk, the result is the same: I can breath.

Go Podge, go.

 

 

I’ve recently been talking with a respiratory friend of mine who says that milk is bad, really bad. In fact all dairy products are bad. [This conversation was brought about by my recent bout of chest infections and my sulky reference to how COPD sucks :-)] She told me that I must give up all dairy products if I wanted to help my lungs and get back out cycling. Now, my problem is that I like my breakfast cereals and they need milk; I like coffee and that ‘needs’ milk; I like tea, custard, chocolate, cream cakes, hot chocolate with whipped cream; I like it all but it was not being able to have my the breakfast cereals that really hurt me. It was suggested that I tried Soya Milk: Well, I’ve tried that stuff before and I’m not trying it again. So, in desperation I asked my friendly respiratory lady if using lactose free milk will be a good alternative. Her response was very sternly thus:

Lactose free is just as bad, sadly – it’s the cows’ milk protein as well as the lactose that causes many problems.

Lactose is a milk sugar that we don’t produce an enzyme for after infancy (lactase). No other mammal drinks the milk of another species – they are not designed to and neither are we.

Cows’ milk protein contains bovine lactalbumin a and b that we also don’t have enzymes for and cannot digest. What happens is that it leaks through, undigested into our bloodstream where it shouldn’t be (because of leaky gut – hence the Saffron* also helps to prevent this) and your bloodstream and immune system treat this protein like an invading bacteria (because it is labelled Cow, not Human) and attacks it, usually having been primed to do so in infancy.

Giving babies (especially our generation, but it is still bad today) cow based formula sensitises us to CMP when our guts are immature. Babies’ gut walls are designed to be leaky, to let all those good white blood cells and antibodies through into the bloodstream, that we should have been getting from our mummies. Giving cow, soya, wheat (rusks), corn based foods younger than 4-6 months sensitises babies to these foods; gives them food and other allergies and makes them ill because their immune systems start fighting them instead of viruses and bacteria.

Hence the reason why I am also a qualified Lactation Consultant in my spare time, helping women who are struggling to bre*st feed.

Most of us (around 70%) covertly react to cows’ milk protein, because we were bottle fed or given formula in hospital at a very early stage, even if human-fed the rest of the time.

It is at the root of most of the chronic diseases of the western world; asthma, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

* I had been previously recommended to drink Saffron Tea

She also told me to breath the fumes of Calvados, and even drink it as well 🙂 as the fumes have been shown to kill off TB Bacteria. I haven’t got TB but I’m more than happy to go with this last one and, given the sternness of the response and my needing to get back on my bike, and breath well of course, I decided to go for it and cut out dairy products. I’ve cut out all milk related products altogether and today is the last day of the first week without milk. How do I feel? Effin Brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to run a marathon, nor am I ready for any significant cycling but after the past 6-weeks I am genuinely feeling so much better.

From a dietary perspective it hasn’t been that much of a challenge although splitting up with breakfast cereals was probably the real wrench. For a few days, I replaced these with sausage and egg rolls (yummy) but this can’t continue so it will be toast & jam from now on and maybe fruit but definitely no milk.

Next week, I shall start out on the turbo trainer (indoor cycling) to start to get my legs moving and stretch my lungs and go from there. I’m not going to rush but I’m still targeting next years the 2014 Remembering D-Day Cycle Challenge.

Another bloody good reason for sorting myself out is that I’ll be 60 next year and I’m not ready to start being old, though the ‘Victor Meldrew’ part of being old does have it’s attractions. 😉

As for COPD, well, it still sucks and I still challenge the diagnosis, even though I know they [the doctors] are probably right.

Must keep pedalling: Must keep pedalling.