My Brilliant Plan Has Evidently Failed

10.5.2005 | 4:40 pm

As a person who has elected to be known to the world as "Fat Cyclist," I would think it’s safe to say that I have very few illusions about my how I look, where my blood pressure is, and what my cholesterol level is.

I would think that, but I would be wrong.

You see, at my fattest, I assumed that my cholesterol level would be high. And since every time I get my blood pressure checked, the checker says, "Woah, you’d better talk to a doctor about that," I’d assumed my blood pressure is a little high, too.


Brilliant Plan

But I had a plan: don’t go see a doctor until I’d lost the weight and gotten full-force into healthy mode. And that’s pretty much where I am now. See, I’m not really fat anymore — I still have about ten pounds to lose, but that ten pounds will put me into my "serious racer" weight range.

So I figured it was safe to go see a doctor and get the lab work done, to verify that I am, in fact, a superb human specimen.


Don’t Panic. Well, OK. Go Ahead and Panic.

You know, there’s nothing quite like a voicemail from the doctor’s office to completely freak you out.

My blood pressure is high. My cholesterol is high. The doctor would like me to make an appointment to see him at my earliest convenience.

That’s all the voicemail said. So I, quite reasonably I think, have interpreted that to mean: "You are the middle-aged poster boy for a heart attack."

So, I called the doctor’s office this morning and set up an appointment for my earliest convenience, which is not until tomorrow at 5:00pm. This, conveniently, gives me 31 hours to blow this waaaaay out of proportion. Which is what I intend to do. If at all possible, in fact, I intend to have a heart attack before the doctor’s appointment, just to underscore how seriously I’m suddenly taking all this. Which is to say, I’m as serious as a heart attack. Literally.

OK, I’m done with that joke now. Let’s move on.


The Dumb Thing

You want to know what the dumb thing is, though? I’m not worried about short- or long-term medical implications, I’m worried about how this is going to affect my riding.


Today’s weight: 161.8 lbs.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 4:56 pm

    um. what else would you be worried about?

  2. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 5:42 pm

    Don’t let him ‘push’ his drugs on you. Your Doctor is under tremendous pressure to do so. Change your diet instead.If you are serious about your diet ( not just losing weight but quality of food) for a while and you still can’t get your BP and Cholesterol down, then and only then should you even consider drugs.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 5:55 pm

    It’s not uncommon for halfway fit cyclists (otherwise known as halfw’its) to have slightly elevated BP to go along with a low resting heart rate. If you keep riding and dieting until you have the classic gaunt racer’s build, you too will become a halfw’it, and you’ll be able to rationalize your high BP as the inevitable result of your amazing cycling prowess.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 6:04 pm

    um, if you die, I got dibs on you gps system.

  5. Comment by kris | 10.5.2005 | 6:21 pm

    I’d be worried about how it’s going to change my diet.Confucious say: Life without nachos makes one chippy.Wow, that’s bad, but I’m still posting it. I know I don’t have to tell you not to listen to this so called "craig" on changing your diet, because you won’t anyway. Good luck tomorrow.I do agree with craig on the drugs, though. The whole drug company/doctor dynamic is a large crock of bs.

  6. Comment by Kenny | 10.5.2005 | 6:23 pm

    You are now lighter than I am. I better get my butt in gear or you’ll be kickin it at fallmoab2005. Speaking of FM, do you need to borrow my paragon? I’ll be riding my rig.

  7. Comment by agreenmouther | 10.5.2005 | 6:25 pm

    Oh fatty. A rather ominous soundtrack is playing in my head as I read this, realizing that it is probably the beginning of the end of your love affair with mayonnaise.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 7:51 pm

    …and the world’s greatest cake, and brownie shakes, and cheese bloks…it’s rice cakes and oatmeal from here on…and maybe some nitro glycerin.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 8:08 pm

    Actually…what I really wanted to say about your looming health concerns is this: diet and exercise may have something to do with how your health plays out in the end…however, you can’t beat genetics. Brother #1 has no heart issues, brother #2 has had three heart attacks, brother #3 (me) nothing–clean and clear. We all have similar diets, similar exercise patterns (actually, brother #2 is the most active of the three). The only perceivable difference is the amount of sleep we three get. #2 goes to work at 3:00 am, and has for 20+ years. #3 eats any and everything in copious amounts regularly. I know your mom struggles with HBP, as do your sisters…that might explain some of the jitteriness, but I digress…Dad died of a heart attack at 76. He had stopped eating the things he loved some 25 years before, and I am not certain that made any difference. He still fought heart disease from a pretty early age. Now, his dad, and his dad’s dad died at fairly early ages–you guessed, heart disease.Don’t sweat it…you will be fine, and it won’t cut into your riding life…brother #2 rides more than ever….

  10. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 8:33 pm

    I’m sorry that I said something snarky yesterday on your blog. This is all because of me, isn’t it?(Do take care.)

  11. Comment by Zed | 10.5.2005 | 9:00 pm

    The South Beach diet maybe?

  12. Comment by Unknown | 10.5.2005 | 9:14 pm

    Mmm, yeah, maybe you’ll have to start holding the mayo… that’s one of the things about your health regimen that blows me away.Anyhoo, you’ll be fine. You’re on the right track to great health with all the riding you’re doing – despite whatever the Doc says!Fatty – your last comment cracked me up! Cuz it’s so reminiscent of like when you have a really bad crash… and you get up all bloody and cut up… and immediately look at your bike to see… DID I HURT MY BIKE?!?!?! (know what I mean? hehe)

  13. Comment by Ariane | 10.5.2005 | 11:57 pm

    But if you really must drink in the mayo, try Nayonaise. It’s like Mayo only as envisioned by Nasoya, the tofu gods. No cholesterol, anyhow. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Really, it’s pretty good…. Hey– where are you going?

  14. Comment by Daniel | 10.6.2005 | 1:30 am

    That’s really worrying, dude. Never mind; perhaps you’ll get a chance to do Gently Humorous, Yet Touchingly Staunch Heart Disease Patient posts. Not quite up there with cancer, but it beats being totally healthy in the pathos stakes.Can I have your bikes when you die?

  15. Comment by AO | 10.6.2005 | 2:03 am

    It’s probably not too early for the rest of us to start thinking about a slogan to put on rubber bracelets to raise awareness of high BP and cholesterol. I wonder if they would sell better now, or after you die? If we can’t get them made until after you die, we don’t have to share the massive profits with you…Please, don’t be selfish and die before we come up w/ a catchy slogan.

  16. Comment by Susan | 10.6.2005 | 2:35 am

    Good luck with the doc tomorrow dude.

  17. Comment by Unknown | 10.6.2005 | 3:29 am

    There is absolutely no evidence that a low cholesterol level prevents heart attacks. I have marvelous cholesterol levels and always have and I was SHOCKED when my caridologist said that but I have followed it up and researched it and it’s true. Ditto salt. I’ve read research that shows that cutting it down or out helps very few people in regulating BP.I use olive oil almost exclusively in cooking and in place of butter on bread, veges, etc. I use it to cancel out some bad (but tasty) fats in other foods. It’s an acquired taste, but I love it. We need a certain amount of fat in our diets and if you aren’t getting enough good fats and oils, I am told that it can also raise our cholesterol and stop weight loss.At this point, I use SOME of "their" meds… like Plavix (because I am post-surgery) and an 81 mg. aspirin daily. Then I go the "roots and berries route" and I am taking (on a full stomach) cayenne capsules to keep stuff from sticking and forming blockages and to clear out anything that may already be there (and sprinkling a little on various foods), garlic/parsley (don’t let them kid you about the addition of the parsley…I still smell like an Italian in love), lecithin (big FAT capsule-looking things) to help cholesterol levels and help the other roots and berries work, ginger capsules, and while my BP has also always been marvelous, i.e., about 110/70 or so, I am taking hawthorn to help the heart and help keep BP low. Too much of the hawthorn will drop it too much, but as far as I’m concerned, this is safer than all their chemicals and c-r-a-p like Coreg and Crestor that cost the EARTH and kill you in other ways. I also take a lot of other supplements.I hang out in an Alt. Meds. discusson on SeniorNet where there are a lot of helpful people with a lot of knowledge about this kind of thing, without practicing medicine without a license. You’re not 50, but anyone can go there… it’s public. You can’t post if you aren’t registered, but you can read. And if you register, you can post, ask questions, etc., you just can’t join and give them money so you can use their computer education centers worldwide (like you would need that!) There is also a "regular" cardio discussion.See if you can find a copy of a book called "Left for Dead."Be okay, you hear? Hugs,MuMo

  18. Comment by Unknown | 10.6.2005 | 3:40 am

    P.S. (Like the prevous comments weren’t excessively long, eh?) What you have done in losing all that weight is one of the very best steps you could have taken and it may be that your BP will adjust. Can you lose any of the stress in your life or somehow learn to change your reactions? I can’t… but some folks can. Adrenalin constricts the whole system and so does caffeine. Calcium/magnesium has been a good combo for me in that it helps me rest better, keeps my bones strong AND my muscles, and the heart is one of those, and the magnesium makes sure the calcium goes where it belongs and doesn’t go where it doesn’t belong and is a good relaxer of muscles (leg cramps?) without making them weak.And as a sort of famous doctor once said, you have to be your own advocate because your doctor has a different agenda. Which is simply an echo of what someone else already said in these comments. Ask questions and insist on answers and being listened to and HEARD.

  19. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 10.6.2005 | 4:44 am

    Don’t worry about it. All 4 of my grandparents were overweight smokers who were warned about heart attacks their entire lives. We just said goodbye to the last one at 99. Not a heart attack to be seen. Cancer got the lot of them. You’ll die when you’re good and ready, and from whatever cause has your name etched on it. Keep eatin’. Keep Smilin’. Keep bikin’. Gotta go. It looks like a truck on the wrong side of the road coming out of the fog up ahead.cheersBIG Mike (skinny on the inside)

  20. Comment by Carolynn | 10.6.2005 | 6:30 am

    Of course we all KNOW it is Momma’s fault. But does son-in-law have to put it in print???? Like the othe son-in-law is tender and caring, only wanting to get yo bikes. Good family you are in. Hummmmmm, could that have something to do with the B/P?

  21. Comment by DM | 10.6.2005 | 4:06 pm

    I fell off a cliff once, onto the frozen Ottawa river. 25 foot drop, easily. Hurt like a bitch, the ankle felt very bad indeed. No-one was with me, and there was no way up. What was I concerened about? My camera, god, is my camera ok? The camera was fine, so all was copasetic.Hell, I broke my pelvis in two places in London, and was pleased that the bike wasn’t scratched.O dear o dear…cheers,c.

  22. Comment by sam | 10.6.2005 | 5:23 pm

    I would have to agree with Al Maviva my BP is way High bet my resting rate is like im almost dead. As far as the cholesterol forget about it…Im with you on the Mayo it goes on everything and not the fake mayo crap the real Helmans

  23. Comment by Michael | 10.6.2005 | 6:18 pm

    I disagree with Craig regarding hypertensive and cholesterol lowering drugs. Doctors prescribe these things because there are lots of really good scientific studies showing they reduce morbidity and mortality rates. In fact there is some evidence that it can increase the life expectancy of people who don’t even show clinical hypertension or blood cholesterol problems. I’m nearing 30 yo and have discussed with my doctor going onto some of these medications as a preventitive measure.Someone else mentioned genetics and I believe hit the nail on the head. I’m a healthy weight and always have been but have borderline hypertension as do other members of my family. Good work on being proactive and getting your health sorted out. Better to know these things and get some treatment than ignore it.Oh and darn you. I took my road bike to the velodrome last weekend for a few hours and now I want a track bike again.Take care.

  24. Comment by Unknown | 10.6.2005 | 7:48 pm

    just to respond to the reponse belowDid I say he should NEVER consider taking drugs?No. I think he should try other methods of lowering his cholesterol and BP before he hops on meds. Meds are the easy way out, for everyone. Most doctors have little nutritional education (3 credits in med school). Work with a nutritionist first. I do not see the point in downing your lipitor with a glass of Mayo. And yes, I have a family history of high BP and Cholesterol. I guess I am the lucky few who can control it with diet.My motivation? Not taking a bunch of pills for the next 50 years.


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