Chest Pain

02.14.2008 | 12:44 pm

This is going to be a kind of melancholy entry.

A week ago or so, I started having some pain in my chest. It felt like heartburn, but lasted a long time. Like multiple days.

I let it go for a few days, then started thinking about it: the one thing my family didn’t need right now was me in the hospital. And then I started thinking about heart attacks. And of course once I started thinking about heart attacks, I couldn’t think of anything else.

Finally, I went and saw a doctor. They asked me a barrage of questions, and I answered enough of them "no" (Have you been nauseous? Have you had pain in your arms?) that I started realizing that my big fear — that I had had a heart attack — probably wasn’t something to worry about.

They did an EKG and said my heart’s great.

Then they did a blood test and said they’d phone me with the results.

I was embarrassed over the fact that I had worked some chest pain up, in my head, into a heart attack, and decided not to say anything about it in my blog.

Today, though, I got the results back — in the form of a phone call from the receptionist — from the bloodwork. I have high cholesterol. Really, really, high cholesterol. Except for the good kind, which is low.

I asked if I maybe should come in.

"No," said the receptionist. "We’ll write you a prescription, and you should start a low-fat diet and start exercising."

"You mean, lower than the 20-25g of fat I eat daily right now, and more than the two hours of exercise I do right now?" I asked.

"Do you eat a high fiber diet?"

"Yes, I do. Quaker Oats sends me a "thank you" card every year," I said. Actually, I just made up the Quaker Oats thank you card part just now, which is too bad, because that’s a good line.

"Well, we better set you up with an appointment," she said.

"Better make it a long one," I said. "I never did my 40-year checkup, and my left wrist has been hurting for four months now. Let’s take care of everything in one shot."

"Four months? Why haven’t you come in before now?" she asked, not unreasonably.

"I don’t know," I said, cleverly. "I keep thinking that it will get better soon."

So, anyway, I have an appointment with the doctor this Monday, where I expect I will get a Lipitor-ish prescription. Which I assume I will need to take for the rest of my life.

I have no illusions about my age — I know I’m 41. I knew that I had high cholesterol (though I didn’t know it was this high). But I’m still bummed about what feels like the first step of a slippery slope.

I’m about, I assume, to start taking a pill every day for the rest of my life. Not something to cure me, but to fight off one of the effects of age.

From here on out, I can only expect to have the number of daily pills increase. One for my cholesterol now. Next up, something for arthritis. After that, I’m sure, the prostate. And after that, something else.

This must be what a midlife crisis feels like. I’d better go buy myself a really, really nice bike to help me feel better about myself. And pronto.

PS: You kids get offa my lawn.


  1. Comment by TIMK | 02.14.2008 | 12:55 pm

    I think might still be available.

  2. Comment by Robyn | 02.14.2008 | 12:58 pm

    Fatty – I know exactly how you thought about it. I’m of the school of thought that if it’s not better in two weeks and I can’t stand it any longer, then think about maybe making an appointment in a week or two to discuss it with my doctor. Then in the meantime, maybe it will go away. My husband is of the school of, “Oh, I coughed, I better get in to see the doctor today.” I guess I got my attitude from my mother who once took me in to discover I had had walking pneumonia and who also used to give me Everclear along with my cough syrup to help me stop coughing and sleep. Anyway, now that “we” are over 40, I guess we better start taking things more seriously. And I feel your pain about the daily pill. I’m on synthroid since I no longer have a thyroid. I always worry about what would happen if I got stuck on an island and couldn’t get any more synthroid. I don’t think I’d die, but I’d be fat(ter) and sluggish. By the way, I just discovered your blog from the bloggies – love it! I even voted for you…

  3. Comment by Ant | 02.14.2008 | 1:03 pm

    Carbon fibre has been scientifically proven to reduce cholesterol levels but up to 25% with a single purchase.

    Time for the SuperFly – and not just the base model either! Get your hands on the fanciest one you can.

  4. Comment by Less Fat Mike + 10 lbs | 02.14.2008 | 1:09 pm

    Check what you ate before you got the blood drawn. It can affect the results.

    Take it from someone in the know. Taking a drug for cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes just gives you another level of goals associated with cycling.

    And go easy on the Big Macs.

  5. Comment by Bob | 02.14.2008 | 1:16 pm

    Yeah, I just found out I have high cholesterol two days before I turned 36. That’s when my oh-so-very-kind mother called to tell me that if my life expectancy is 72, I’m officially middle-aged.

    A new bike sounds good…just don’t get a convertible corvette…too cliché.

  6. Comment by Boz | 02.14.2008 | 1:16 pm

    They’ll give you a statin like Lipitor to get your gunk level down at first, along with the diet. I was on it, but developed muscle and joint pain after a while. I quit it and the pain left, but is slowly returning to my shoulders, so maybe that wasn’t it after all. Maybe I’m just old and worn out. I sure would rather be taking a pill or 2 than the 3 shots-a-day for diabetis. Wait, I still do take pills along with the shots. I just can’t win. Good luck with your latest malady, stay on the funny side.

  7. Comment by cholestercyclist | 02.14.2008 | 1:27 pm

    I’d get a second test and opinion before taking any drugs which are bound to have lots of bad side effects. At least ask your doctor what they are. If he doesn’t know, run away.

    Since you’re doing all the “right” things, the high cholesterol reading is likely to be either a mistake (happens all the time), or a symptom of some other problem.

  8. Comment by JimB | 02.14.2008 | 1:29 pm

    Yesterday I had to look up the word uxorious…….I resemble that remark.
    Fatty, I have managed to make it to early 50’s without a daily pill. What is going to happen when, due to age, you forget to take your daily pill?
    Sad, but hey, any reason to go buy a new bike. My advice to you from a guy who is paying the nut on two kids in college right now, BUY all the stuff you want NOW!

  9. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 02.14.2008 | 1:33 pm

    Check out the You (the owners manual, the diet, the extended warranty) books. Most of the nutritional stuff in there is old news to us cyclists, but they spend quite a bit of time on cholesterol – different drugs and treatments.

    PS: Make sure you also put up the “No Dog Poop” sign along your walk.

  10. Comment by UtRacerDad | 02.14.2008 | 1:35 pm

    Last year I started on High blood pressure and Thyroid meds. It sucks, I will take them for the rest of my life, no breaks.

    It is a pain, and I fell your pain.

    Getting old sucks some days.

  11. Comment by Bluenoser | 02.14.2008 | 1:36 pm

    Just don’t be bent over with one hand on your hip and shaking your other fist at the kids.

    And there are no kids or lawn at the home.

  12. Comment by TomE | 02.14.2008 | 1:37 pm


    Get it checked again. Did you fast the night before the test (for a good 8 hours)? What were the HDL and LDL numbers and ratios? Sounds like you might not have done that. That will throw off the test results. And no, I’m not a doctor, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night….

  13. Comment by bikemike | 02.14.2008 | 1:42 pm

    i turn 50 in april, haven’t been to the doctor lately.
    i’m starting to have aches that are complaining about having aches. i gotta go for a physical soon, i know.

    wish you the best, man. we gotta take care of ourselves. everyone that hasn’t had a check-up in the last couple of years, GO. make sure you go to one that understands sports medicine and not someone who’ll freak out when they see a resting heart rate of 40 bpm.

  14. Comment by graisseux | 02.14.2008 | 1:46 pm

    Well, sounds like it’s time to trade in the Ridgeline for a Caddy, hike up the pants, and buy an RV so you and the Mrs. can move south every winter. I hear there are some good RV parks in Palm Springs and Lake Havasu City. Oh yeah, don’t forget the trailer with the golf cart. Be grateful you’ve still got your mind and, I assume, your continences–numbers one and two. Wearing diapers could certainly hamper any future Leadville plans. Or maybe they’d keep saddle sores at bay?

    Old age is inevitable. I should know, I just turned 28 yesterday and I swear the elasticity of my skin is only 90% of what it used to be.

  15. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.14.2008 | 1:46 pm

    A lot of cholsetrol problems are genetic….so if it runs in your family……sorry!

    On another note, we are off to a dreadfully slow start to the LAF $50,000 campaign. If you want to do something really nice for Valentine’s Day, click on the LAF banner ad to the right, or go to:

    Not to depress anyone, but here is this week’s info:

    Cancer Statistics
    There are more than 10.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States today. This number has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The number of survivors will grow as the population ages and progress against cancer continues.
    Incidence and mortality
    1.4 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.
    560,000 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, or more than 1,500 per day.
    Nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer during their lifetime.
    Within the next decade, cancer is likely to replace heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S. It is already the biggest killer of those under the age of 85.
    Today 65% of adults diagnosed with cancer will be alive five years after diagnosis, up from 50% in the 1970s.
    African-American men and women have the highest mortality rates for all cancer sites combined.
    While dramatic survival improvements have been achieved in patients diagnosed with cancer at age 15 or younger and steady improvement has been made against a number of cancers common among those over age 40, little or no progress has been seen in the adolescent and young adult population. In fact, among those aged 25 to 35 years, survival has not improved in more than two decades.
    Cancer costs and insurance coverage
    The overall cost for cancer last year was $206 billion, which includes $78 billion for medical bills, $18 billion for lost productivity from the illness, and $110 billion due to lost productivity from premature death.
    17% of Americans younger than age 65 have no health insurance coverage and 24% of Americans age 65 or older only have Medicare.
    Source: American Cancer Society

    Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone……don’t eat too much chocolate. Feel better, Elden! We need you!

  16. Comment by blinddrew | 02.14.2008 | 1:56 pm

    And get a walking stick too, you need one to shake threateningly at those kids. And you can also use it to shake threateningly at the doctor! I’d still get another test just in case though.
    Does make me worry a touch mind, i don’t do half as much exercise, eat about 20 times as much fat and my arthritis kills me on the damp days. And i’ve got another 8 years to go to catch you up

  17. Comment by RadioFlyer | 02.14.2008 | 1:57 pm


    Take a look at taking fish oil pills (Omega-3). These are supposed to raise your good cholesterol (HDL). I started taking these about a month ago after a blood test. Even my cat is taking these now! Our vet told us that fish oil is good for the cat’s joints.

    Also, alcohol (1-2 drinks a day) is supposed to raise the HDL, but it doesn’t help the triglicerides much.

  18. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.14.2008 | 2:00 pm

    graisseux said: “Old age is inevitable. I should know, I just turned 28 yesterday …”

    [whistle] Personal foul! Dude, don’t you know the rules of this game? You aren’t allowed to join in the griping about getting older unless you are as old or older than the person who started the griping. None of us 40+ people will have any sympathy for your 28-year-old skin unless you have some rare or disabling medical condition. Now take a seat on the bench. ;-)

  19. Comment by neilro51 | 02.14.2008 | 2:04 pm

    I’m hurtling towards 60 at breakneck speed. Had the stents put in a couple of years ago, daily pill(s) regime now, but that just spurs me on. Father time is going to have a hard time getting his talons in my ass, he’ll never catch me! Did 4 centuries last year and a week of RAGBRAI and pushing it harder this year. We don’t have to take this old thing lying down!

  20. Comment by TIMK | 02.14.2008 | 2:05 pm

    Great, now the ads on your site are starting to reflect Geezer meds. Sigh.
    And your comments section is starting to sound like a bunch of old folks sitting on the porch. Let me go ahead and mention Rush Limbaugh on here so we can add that aspect as well.

    I hope your doc’s visit goes well.

  21. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.14.2008 | 2:14 pm

    Fatty, I’m sorry but I have to cancel my subscription to your blog. I can’t take it anymore. Your skill at expressing the fears that haunt me as a 40+, mediocre cyclist are doing me severe psychological damage. My ego, already worn down over the years, can’t take any more. I came here for the humor, and I’m impressed how you make real life so funny, but I need the more inane type of humor – you know, like Seinfeld’s jokes about the silly and harmless minutia of every-day life. So please, more vapid laughs about cycling and less delving into subjects so close to home. ;-)

    P.S. I had my cholesterol checked about 10 years ago. I was nervous it would be high, but it came back below average. And there’s no way I’m having it checked again – I’m riding that one bit of good news to the grave! ;-)

  22. Comment by Jenni | 02.14.2008 | 2:15 pm

    Go vegetarian! I’ll send you some recipes.

    Try not to worry. In fact, I’ll send you some positive vibes to calm your spirit.

    + + + +++++++++ +++++ +++++++++++ ++++++++++++++ + + + + + + + +

  23. Comment by I never said | 02.14.2008 | 2:15 pm

    Lipitor can now be part of your recipes, goes well with peanut butter.
    Instead have one in a public place and try to look cool and edgy.
    No hell, look middle aged and rage against it, use proper gears and head for the hills
    I don’t know

  24. Comment by Shuf | 02.14.2008 | 2:19 pm


    You need to eat more oatmeal. I am 52 & reduced my cholesterol count substantially by eating oatmeal 4 times a week. I sure do not want to be on cholesterol reducing drugs the rest of my life.

    Good Luck.

    PS I hope you guys ride the STP. I live in P & will ride it one of these years.

  25. Comment by Northern Neighbor | 02.14.2008 | 2:21 pm

    I started on Lovastatin 2 years ago when I turned 48. It lowered my LDL 100 points with zero side effects. For me it has been no big deal. BTW, some are questioning the efficacy of statins in otherwise healthy people. See

  26. Comment by Born4Lycra | 02.14.2008 | 2:42 pm

    Bikemike I turn 50 in April as well. My invites start with the quote “I’m going to live forever – so far so good”. My skin is actually gaining in elasticity it is now stretching way further than it used too. FC as for cholesterol not sure what your reading’s were but there is plenty of hope. We have a margarine here which lowers cholesterol and the medical powers that be try allsorts of alternative methods before hitting the pills. I also know of some people who only took a course of pills while other “lifestyle” changes they made took effect. My understanding regards fasting was that it was more in relation to the triglycerides than cholesterol as it takes a fair amount of time to alter cholesterol levels.
    So cheer up Elden (brian) you know what they say – Always look on the bright side of life.
    P.S. I had high cholesterol and a high ratio way too much bad stuff and hardly any good stuff coincidentally around 40 too. It appeared to be a real concern for my Doc. It took some time but my readings have been fine for the past 9 years or so no pills just a few months following Pritikin style ideas without going over the top.

  27. Comment by Marrock | 02.14.2008 | 2:43 pm

    I’ve outlived three doctors so far so I’m pretty much given up on them and being of any use to me.

    I figure I’ll be fine for quite a long time and then, one day, I’ll just… stop.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with that.

  28. Comment by DNAtsol | 02.14.2008 | 2:45 pm

    It appears fatty and I are psychically linked. I start riding and my bad cholesterol goes down and good cholesterol goes up right about the same time as Fatty’s goes the opposite way. Thanks Fatty,

    P.S. As if more medical advice needs to be given, my doc does sports meds and he put me on 2000mg of niacin/day (built up over several weeks) rather than up my statin dose. That really got things going in the right direction – use the no flush version or else you feel like you’re going through what I can only imagine manopause might be like (not a typo hee hee).

  29. Comment by Rachel | 02.14.2008 | 2:47 pm

    You know, we are mortal. It’s not a big deal. Just be grateful for modern medicine…look at where it’s gotten us so far. A few little inconveniences here and there, but sheesh! We’re living a heck of a lot longer and healthier than 75 years ago.

    Anyhow, it’s very common to take a pill your entire life for a lot of people, starting at a much younger age than you. Please don’t feel a mid-life crisis is due.

  30. Comment by Frank | 02.14.2008 | 2:52 pm

    I’m not sure, but don’t you need to fast before a blood test like that?

  31. Comment by monkeywebb | 02.14.2008 | 2:55 pm

    I prescribe the STP…

  32. Comment by DougG | 02.14.2008 | 2:56 pm

    I turn 50 last year, but refuse to believe I’m older than 30! Not any any meds except for the odd Advil after a hard ride or game of hockey. As a Firefighter I’m astounded by how many medical calls we go were the patient is on several meds and years younger than me.

  33. Comment by Seventeenthirteen | 02.14.2008 | 3:02 pm

    Hi Fatty,

    First post. I come here every day for my daily (or nightly, it’s 11pm here now) pep talk. But not today. Sorry to here you’re feeling down.

    All I can say is that you are obviously a bright guy who looks after himself (generally, apart from the banana desert thingy) and that you should trust yourself and use your own judgement when it comes to doctors. Think for yourself. If a test result sounds funny, question it. You’re not going to drop dead tomorrow, so cheer up and get to thinking about what you’re going to ask on Monday. Put that doctor on the spot.

  34. Comment by chtrich | 02.14.2008 | 3:15 pm

    Keep testing until you get the results you want. :-)
    Hope you can avoid the meds.

    It would be really sad if this site turns into a healthy food blog.

  35. Comment by isela | 02.14.2008 | 3:19 pm

    First off, really smart that you went to the MD to check on that chest pain. It is best to be on the safe side and although you were concerned about the extra that it would bring to the family, it is best to get it fixed early (if there had been a problem with the ticker).

    As to the test results, maybe a second test would be appropriate in your case. If it turns out the same way, I guess a pill a day won’t be so bad for an extended life span.

  36. Comment by Fan of Susan | 02.14.2008 | 3:21 pm

    Hey Fatty – just adding to DNAtsol’s comment. He’s been on Lipitor for years and it lowered his LDL somewhat but didn’t raise his HDL. The niacin seems to have been much more effective in both directions and it looks like he’ll be coming off the Lipitor pretty soon. Sorry, I feel like I need a funny exit line here but I got nuttin’.

  37. Comment by Not a cyclist..... | 02.14.2008 | 3:22 pm

    I heard statins make your poo smell 10x worse than normal, as reported by a 50+ woman I know that has a total cholesterol of 300+. Really. She also smokes a pack a day, doesn’t exercise, and eats an Entenman’s product at least once daily. She stopped taking the statins years ago and is still alive, so don’t panic. BTW, we are all dying to hear what your numbers were. Please post!

  38. Comment by Bluenoser | 02.14.2008 | 3:28 pm

    I’m 50+ Fatty, My count was up awhile back. I race, I train and take my vitamins. It was garbage in, funny blood. Good stuff in, nice blood.

    Cleaned up what I was eating and well the count is very good now. It’s not so much what you are eating but what is in it. Start reading labels.

    Go get ‘em.


  39. Comment by cyclostu | 02.14.2008 | 3:30 pm

    I have to agree with Boz. Be REALLY careful with the statin type meds. My dad knows a guy who took it and had a case of the “rare” side effect where he is now in chronic pain for the rest of his life. Be sure to get a second test, opinion and do the research online before you agree to take any of that crap. Remember: they only PRACTICE medicine – it’s really guesswork in a white coat. (Apologies to anyone in the medical community who might start sending me hate mail.) And this is a great excuse to buy a new bike. :)

  40. Comment by Jorge | 02.14.2008 | 3:41 pm

    High colesteral might be a side effect. Get your thyroid gland checked.

  41. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 02.14.2008 | 3:44 pm

    The midlife crisis bug bit me 3 years ago when I ditched a 15 year career and went to university at 38.

    And you sir, have already had your midlife crisis too. That was obvious to rest of us when you shaved your head and bought the new truck.

    If you condition continues to deteriorate I strongly recommend you emigrate to Australia. We haven’t even invented cholesterol here yet.

    P.S. Turn that music down.

  42. Comment by leroy | 02.14.2008 | 3:49 pm

    Cheer up! But if you can’t, I highly recommend the nice bike.

    Years ago, before I was middle aged, I was told my bad cholesterol was so high my blood type was “Ragu.”

    Okay, I stole that line from somewhere I can’t remember (another sign of aging).

    I take Lipitor and my cholesterol came down a lot — not perfect, but a lot.

    Then I broke my shoulder. Not bad enough to keep from riding, but enough to warrant a daily non-steroid anti-inflammatory something or other (Diclofenac Sodium).

    Three months of that with the Lipitor and my cholesterol levels were great.

    They remained within acceptable levels even after stopping the anti-inflammatory.

    (Some studies have shown that Diclofenac Sodium lowers cholesterol, but it is not prescribed for that — too many risks to consider it for long term treatment of cholesterol.)

    Now wait until you need reading glasses. I’m almost there. That’s gonna make me feel old.

  43. Comment by DNAtsol | 02.14.2008 | 4:14 pm

    WOW talk about weird karma. Big Mike in Oz said “The midlife crisis bug bit me 3 years ago when I ditched a 15 year career and went to university at 38.”

    I finished university @ 38 3 years ago and am just starting my 15 year career (@ a university – have I really finished??) :D

  44. Comment by Miles Archer | 02.14.2008 | 4:44 pm

    What you really need is some EPO.

  45. Comment by Vince | 02.14.2008 | 4:59 pm

    I had a college friend who was an avid mountain biker (he went pretty much every day, year round, in Utah) who suddenly started having chest pains. After messing around with the school doctors for three months, he went to see a specialist. After about five minutes, the specialist announced that my friend had acid reflux and prescribed some medicine that pretty much immediately fixed the problem.

    My typical experience with a doctor goes something like this:
    Doctor: What’s wrong?
    Me: I’m sick. (insert more detailed description of my ailment here)
    Doctor: It’s a virus, there’s nothing we can do. Now give me your money.

    I love my doctor.

  46. Comment by Wanderer | 02.14.2008 | 5:07 pm

    You’re actually a lucky guy. I’ve lost track of the number of 40 year old healthy guys showing up at my hospital with “a little” chest pain then having to go on for bypass surgery. Luckily you have several things on your side: you exercise, don’t smoke and try to watch what you eat. Compared to many you’re A-Ok. Most are smokers, with diabetes and lung disease from smoking, so you’re doin’ ok.
    I agree with many thoughts above though. First, get your lipid panel done fasting (I know it will be hard for you to not eat for more than 8 hours, but you’ll get a better result.) Second, if it still comes back high, talk to your doc about other methods, besides drugs, to try first, they’re out there and not all docs are beholden to Lipitor, yet. Third, don’t despair, statins are not yet considered “performance enhancing drugs”, even in the Masters class. So being on them for awhile may help immensely.
    One caveat though, it may be genetically related, in which you’re screwed by your parents (once again…male pattern baldness anyone?) and will have to battle it for the rest of your life.
    Good luck!
    Tom – cardiac RN

  47. Comment by mgr | 02.14.2008 | 5:18 pm

    You went in for chest pain and came out with, “Probably nothing to worry about?” And they gave you something else to worry about instead? Back the truck up – you need a better answer to the question you went in with!

  48. Comment by Little Joe | 02.14.2008 | 5:23 pm

    Fatty, I totally understand.

    I’m 25 and I have high cholesterol. My Dr. panicked when he saw my results, insisted I go on a super healthy diet (he was afraid to prescribe me something) and exercise a ton (which oddly enough let me to your site!)

    And currently, my left wrist is in a splint because my doctor can’t figure out what the hell I did to it when I fell off my mountain bike!

    Remember, good eating and exercise do more for your body than any prescription. My cholesterol dropped drastically after 2 months of fruit, nuts and berries…. well, not ALL nuts and berries.

    Good luck Fatty, and don’t worry. The slope isn’t slippery yet! If it IS, at 25, I’m doomed!!!!

  49. Comment by Jill | 02.14.2008 | 6:39 pm

    Um…you should refer to your post “Why I am Fat” from 2/8…odds are a diet change to source v. prepared foods, esp low glycemic, would make a huge difference. Good luck!

  50. Comment by Terri | 02.14.2008 | 6:39 pm

    Eat Sproketboy’s muesli everyday. Don’t forget the flax seed.

  51. Comment by Printenv | 02.14.2008 | 6:44 pm

    Well, I am not going to tell you what to do or anything of the sort. I also may be saying what someone else said before, but I am to lazy to make it through all the comments. I just want you to know that I can empathize with you. When I was 22 I was told I had high cholesterol. 220. I went to the gym to lift weights 3 days a week, biked 6-7 days a week (when it was summer) and then was on the treadmill 3 days a week during the winter. I ate very well and they told me that there wasn’t really anything I could do to change my diet for the better. I got stuck on meds because it is high and genetic.

    Well, now I am 27 and 6 months ago my cholesterol was 421 (tri was 800 something). Yup, I was a consultant and traveled every week out of state and ate 3 meals a day at a restaurant, apparently that isn’t good for you. I also kinda gained 50lbs in the process and didn’t work out anymore. No idea though my cholesterol went up ;)

    Well as of yesterday it is like 380 my triglycerides are still in the 700s. But I have lost 25lbs (30 more to go) and have been working out now. I don’t want to die of a heart attack. I want to die because I had to fight a bear or something cool. So going to the Dr is not a sign of weakness, you found out something was rather amiss and now you can fix it and live to die fighting a bear or something more cool than a apathy related heart attack.

    Good luck.

  52. Comment by Don ( | 02.14.2008 | 6:56 pm

    Oh man… OK, where to start? I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, a lot of it comes from now deceased family members health. I’ve always been Blessed with awesome health, save the arthritic knees from years of skateboarding. I found out this year I have exercised induced asthma which is fine since I don’t exercise, oh wait I ride my bike, enjoy swimming and like to go up stairs when I need to without having to use an inhaler. Furthermore I hit thirty a few years back and now sh__ hurts that I didn’t know I even had!

    The post came at a weird time, as I turn 33 in March and have my yearly setup for the beginning of March. I’m doing the blood work, well I should’ve already been in so the could pull the blood for it, and I’m going out of my mind waking up everyday with something different hurting just in time for the “big day”. I kind of have an idea where you’re coming from.

    One question is how is it that you make all of the really serious stuff, ya know the life or death type stuff seem like you just sit there and laugh riotously about it? Seriously, its like the more serious the problem the funnier you make it sound. Do you just have a crazy good outlook?

  53. Comment by Kathy | 02.14.2008 | 7:04 pm

    Growing old sucks — but it beats the alternative.

  54. Comment by COLO29 | 02.14.2008 | 7:13 pm

    Sorry about the cholesterol thing, usu related to genetics.
    If you want the endurance athlete/medical (PA-C) perspective and have questions, concerns, or just need some “non-official” medical advice, feel free to contact me.
    Take care and good luck,

  55. Comment by Marrock | 02.14.2008 | 8:38 pm

    As my dear old dad used to say before he left this sh*tty world: “I feel like a 20-year old, I just can’t get my hands on one”

  56. Comment by Rant | 02.14.2008 | 8:39 pm


    Definitely get a second test done. And like the others have said, definitely make sure to fast for 12 hours before the test. Otherwise, those numbers aren’t as meaningful.

    Good luck with it. There’s much worse things than having to take a statin from here on out. If it keeps you on the bike, and keeps you with your family, it’s all worth it. Imagine what could happen if the cholesterol thing is true and you don’t treat it. Wait. You already did.

    Best of luck,


  57. Comment by Vince | 02.14.2008 | 8:47 pm

    Glad to hear it didn’t turn out to be worse.

    Watch out for Dr JellyFinger!

  58. Comment by roadrash | 02.14.2008 | 8:52 pm

    Instead of going the mid-life crisis route for a bad blood test, just try denial.

    It seems to be working for Landis, Hamilton & Ullrich…

  59. Comment by Philly Jen | 02.14.2008 | 9:08 pm

    Yeah, everything KanyonKris said — if 40 is the new 30, then 28 is the new barely legal.

    I work at a university, but refuse to join the gym there because collagen poisoning (like testosterone poisoning, only perkier) just makes working out seem utterly futile.

    I prefer flaxseed meal to the actual oil. Yummy on oatmeal, or in smoothies. Mmmmmm, mmmmmango smoothies.

    Besides, did you see the latest from the NYTimes health blog? The Lipitor will give you a complete get-out-of-jail-free card on any future acts of brazen stupidity. “The Lipitor made me do it!”

  60. Comment by wesman | 02.14.2008 | 9:09 pm

    Don’t believe the hype! There’s information out there! watch this little video. it’s fun and short you should be able to handle it. don’t break a hip.

  61. Comment by boots | 02.14.2008 | 9:21 pm

    Fatty, There are worse things than having to take a palmful of pills daily. I know, I take 15 – when I remember the schedule! But I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 11 years ago and am STILL RIDING. As somebody already said, it beats the alternative!
    Susan, you are going to love Italy.

  62. Comment by Juneau Eco Mommie | 02.14.2008 | 9:37 pm

    Don’t feel too bad fatty! My husband is 40, has had 3 sudden death incidents where he has been revived 2x. He has had a defibulator implanted for 8 years and takes 8 different pills everyday. All due to lyme disease that he found out he got when he was young. So every time his body feels slightly off he’s aware of it. Don’t be ashamed you over reacted, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Continue to count your blessings, my hubby the former Marine does every morning he sees our beautiful son and takes a breathe. Take care!! **Peace

  63. Comment by Little1 | 02.14.2008 | 10:20 pm

    Hey Fatty. Thanks for getting the chest pains checked out! my dad had a car accident 2 years ago, the paramedics thought he was just a shaken old man and called me to pick him up, they assured me i could take him straight home and he was fine. after 5mins I knew he had, had a stroke (i’m a fitness consultant/spin instructor have done loads of work with post stroke patients) took him straight to his doctor. turned out he had, had 2 strokes!

    We have a product here in SA called “Oat Bran”, that sprinkled on cereal, coupled with Flora “Pro-activ” margerine have reduced Cholesterol levels dramatically!

  64. Comment by Stephen Waits | 02.14.2008 | 11:40 pm

    Stay away from big pharma drugs man.. they’ll just kill you faster.

  65. Comment by Anthony | 02.15.2008 | 12:22 am

    Hey Fatty, I’m a recent reader, only the last few months or so, but would like to offer my props. 41 ain’t so bad man. Plus, the way it seems the community really rallied around Susan and her issues proves you guys are good people. So take the time to reflect on the good you’ve done for everyone, and how admired you are, before getting bogged down, cause life ain’t so bad when you’ve got good people! I live in the Bay Area, CA where people take their cycling entirely too seriously (myself included sometimes) and to read your blog gets me stoked just on bikes in general. Anyway, just wanted to try and brighten the day a bit. Take care.

  66. Comment by TheLurker | 02.15.2008 | 12:48 am

    Cheer up old chap, getting old is an awful lot better than the alternative. Anyway everyone knows that cyclists generally live forever :)

  67. Comment by Paul | 02.15.2008 | 2:01 am

    Let me add to Wanderer’s post (I wonder if he was the educated technician where I got my Cat Scan). Had all the stuff you said, at age 51. Blood pressure in 3 months had gone ballistic, cholesterol always bad, and wasn’t exercising. Go to my daughter’s boss, the cardiologist. Lots of tests (gotta get all the baseline data). Soooo, the Cat Scan finds a small blockage, and the tech says, “Yea, I had that. I was exactly your age then, had your numbers, and then blew off what the doctor told me to do. 2 years after, driving out of town had the heart attack. Lucky to make it back to town. You ARE going to follow the doc’s orders, RIGHT?” Uhhh, yea. & I have: the meds, the diet, the exercise, the stress, etc. I now feel better than when I was 30, & riding lots. Sat 2/16/09 will be my first official attempt to ride a Double Century (Butterfield DC in SoCal). Do all the stuff, man.

  68. Comment by Big Boned | 02.15.2008 | 3:13 am

    I agree with what everyone says – get another test. I did, still am on the pill, but feel it’s a small price to pay to keep seeing my wonderful wife every morning. You are doing the right things, and as you say it’s probably genetic. When I found that out I went and kicked every older relative I could find THEN I started chasing those damn kids off my grass.

    Paul – good luck on the double. I’ve done a bunch of them and the two bits of advice I’d give you: remove “attempt” from your description of what you are about to do (you gotta believe man!) and don’t spend more than 10 minutes in any rest stop (an object in motion tends to stay in motion).

  69. Comment by Lee | 02.15.2008 | 5:24 am

    Fatty, I went vegetarian myself (my wife too) 3 years ago at age 38, my cholesterol has dropped 30 points and I feel great, too. They have so much imitation meat stuff that tastes good it’s really easier than we thought!
    Bon appetit!

  70. Comment by Lee | 02.15.2008 | 5:25 am

    Wow, didn’t know I could go “outside the box!”

  71. Comment by Pammap | 02.15.2008 | 5:30 am

    Changing the subject, Fatty, did you know Leadville CO is under the threat of a tidal wave?

  72. Comment by eunicesara | 02.15.2008 | 7:07 am

    I’m shooting for 120 – years, not miles! I was told I had high cholesterol, get this, when I was having an eye exam at around 27 years old. Seems that old people with high cholesterol get something called “cholesterol rings” around the iris. It’s a white ring around the iris. I had been on the Stillman Quick Weight Loss Diet (all protien, no veggies, no fruit, no fat – 8 glasses of water a day) a few months before, and I certainly didn’t have any problem gobbling up steak or prime rib (yum) not to mention high cholesterol tidbits like shrimp, back in the day.
    I didn’t have any blood tests done, but I thought it was pretty amazing that someone in a medical profession, other than an Osteopath, took the time to be that observant.
    I haven’t eaten mammal meat since 1982, and I haven’t eaten shrimp because it says not to in Leviticus (or is that Deuteronomy?). Anyway – a quarter century later (years not miles) the “cholesterol rings” are gone. Still haven’t had a blood test, don’t like doctors, even nutrition concious Osteopaths, and my daily handful is calcium, l-lysine, and multi-purpose vitamins. Everyday.
    Red wine, for medicinal purposes only, of course;)
    You’ll be okay. You’re not old, yet.

  73. Comment by Harvey [Chubby Old Roadie] | 02.15.2008 | 7:27 am

    Good Morning Fatty,

    Yes, when you become middle-aged [which is the new young], you start having [or, more precisely, NOTICING] various symptoms and small twinges [young brains don't notice]. You should neither ignore them nor become obsessed and let them rule you. The cemetaries are loaded with guys who ignored the chest-arm pain/pressure, shortness of breath or other symptom. You’ll adapt to the new reality. Incidentally, do you still have the chest pain? Could it perchance have been stress… hmmm? Or, might it be related to your crazy water diet [i.e. reflux]??

    Anyway, you’re obviously in great condition but cholesterol isn’t always “controllable” without meds, especially if it’s purely hereditary [Norwegian/Scandanavian heritage is a powerful lineage for high cholesterol]. I had a friend in your shoes. Now he’s very old, active and healthy [basketball is his thing, not biking] and his cholesterol is still stratoshpheric. Cholesterol doesn’t automatically equal heart disease.

    My very best friend is 81, has hiked in the mountains his entire life. About 5 years ago he had some post-hike chest pressure, didn’t ignore it ;) had multiple bypass surgery [no heart attack], a little therapy, did everything he was told and went back to hiking, snow-shoeing etc. He’s still a volunteer Trail Maintainer in The Catskills… happy ending – Priceless.

    As I’ve followed the various posts here, I’ve realized that most of your constituents are what I would consider “young” and revel in riding single or double centuries. It make my eyes water. I’m 63 and prefer to do 25-35 mile loop rides from my home in Eastern Mass/RI on my loyal TREK Touring Bike. For me, 50 miles is a day trip. I’ve learned to spin guided by a heart monitor [instead of my cadence] so that the hills [well, they're hills to me] don’t [literally] kill me. I guess you’d consider me a recreational/touring non-triatheletic roadie kinda guy but I do love riding, enjoy your blog and am trying to lose weight along with you.

  74. Comment by swtkaroline | 02.15.2008 | 7:32 am

    You scared the hell outta me, Fatty. Glad to hear it’s manageable. A pill a day is far better than surgery or…other alternatives. Does sound like a second test is in order though. As long as you’re getting the 100% check up done, why not order another round?

    All this talk of healthy eating is making be feel really uncomfortable about my “breakfast” of a mocha and cup of yogurt. I must scurry off to find something crunchy and branch-like to eat.

  75. Comment by CLBlood | 02.15.2008 | 7:41 am

    At age 53, after being awake for 48 hours with chest pain, I made a Saturday visit to a nurse-practitioner at my MD’s office. She diagnosed costocondritis (phonetic) and prescribed Advil. Sunday I was in an emergency room, and Monday my gall bladder was in a jar. I “road” 5200 miles last year and am not on any prescription medication. Without the 2nd opinion, who knows?

  76. Comment by Boz | 02.15.2008 | 8:01 am

    CLBlood amy be on to something – Gall Bladder is pretty common at your age, especially if you have eaten a greasy diet for awhile. A lap-chole might be in your future, but I hope not. Have you ever thought that it might just be gas?

  77. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 02.15.2008 | 8:19 am

    Stephen Waits, that may be the worst advice I have ever heard anywhere, anytime, and in any arena of human interaction.

    I just thought you should know.

  78. Comment by judi | 02.15.2008 | 8:29 am


    Supplements are awesome. So what if you have to take a handful of them every day. They slow the aging process BIG TIME! I bet if you start taking about 4000mg of fish oil a day you won’t have to take blood pressure meds.

    Glad it wasn’t your heart. Doesn’t matter if you exercise or not. People drop dead running marathons. You gotta take care of your heart. It’s the most important muscle.

    I also have been taking arthritis supplements since I was 34 years old. Helps all those aches and pains.

  79. Comment by WMdeR | 02.15.2008 | 8:42 am

    I’d have to fifth (or sixth) getting a second round of blood tests done, under controlled conditions, to make sure the cholesterol values are accurate and to determine if there isn’t something else driving the cholesterol results.

    Doctors mean well, but are human, and can suffer from tunnel vision. For example, I’ve got an auto-immune disorder that has eaten my thyroid. Yep, I’m on a lifetime of maintenance drugs that are a pain to keep regulated, but before I got that sorted out, my former doctor wanted to put me on statin drugs (for high cholesterol), something or other for anemia, and anti-depressants for constant fatigue and depression.

    It took a sympathetic veterinarian to point out that, were I a dog, she’d diagnose low thyroid function given that constellation of signs. One knob to rule them all, one knob to bind them. I went on thyroid medication (more or less over my doctor’s objections–I shouldn’t have to specify my own prescriptions and insist on a script!), and all the blood values went back toward normal. Then I changed doctors. If only all the weight went away too….

  80. Comment by eavesdropper | 02.15.2008 | 8:43 am

    my dad takes lipitor for his cholesterol, but it also has really reduced his arthritis pain. (the generic lipitor does not have the same effect for him.) so you may be able to stick with one daily pill for a while longer.

  81. Comment by DrCodfish | 02.15.2008 | 8:47 am

    OH God! … Doesn’t all this cheering and commiserating and ‘oneupsman sob story’ telling, and ‘inspirational story’telling just make you want to unplug the damn confuser?

    I went over the waterfall last year at age 58. Up till then I had been a successful health care resister (drove my wife nuts). Then, rather than ease into it like you I went in over my head. Now: 3 daily meds (all for lung and respiratory probs) and feel tied to my “inhalers”. SHIT!! I hate that word! INHALERS are for old people, sick people, not people like ME!! ME, ME, ME! (isn’t it all supposed to be about me?) Seems over night I became my Mom!

    Remember, two sources of cholesterol; diet and genetics. In your case you can throw all the blame at your incredibly poor choice of parents. “It’s all their fault!” (no problem associated with ME! …right?). Does that make you feel any better?

    Then there is the infuriating discussion with the doc: “Well, maybe it’s time you slow down a bit, don’t try to do so many of these ‘extreme’ bike events.” Boy, if your bad diet and crappy genetics don’t get your BP up, that discussion sure will. If you hear even one whiff of that, start looking now for a doc that is (or considers him or herself to be) an athlete.

    I’m not there yet but assume that at some point my philosophy will change from “It’s a race to the finish” to something like “I can outlast the next-to-the-last guy.”

    “Hang in there” takes on a whole new meaning.

    Yr Pal DrCodfish

  82. Comment by DoubleD | 02.15.2008 | 9:04 am

    With your penchant for mayonnaise, what did you expect?

  83. Comment by cb | 02.15.2008 | 9:15 am


    Was in a similar situation (although older) as I am sure many of your readers have been. Started on the drugs and three months later all was well. Began getting somewhat lethargic a few months later to the point I didn’t really feel like exercising at all. Went back to the doctor and my cholesterol was back to the pre drug levels plus some.

    I decided that a serious change was in order. Quit the drugs against doctors recommendation — started seriously low-fat (typically less than 5 grams per day) and high fiber (should own stock in Fiber One) eating — and controlled exercise. Normally less than one hour always keeping an eye on my heart-rate for intensity.

    Ten months later I am down 50 pounds and more importantly have dropped over 90 points (258 – 164) on cholesterol.

    Can’t wait to hit some hills this spring if the ice ever goes away.

  84. Comment by Tina C | 02.15.2008 | 9:16 am

    Thank God you already eat low fat and exercise like a maniac! Can you imagine if you didn’t?!?!?

    It may be inherited. Blame it on the parents…

  85. Comment by KT | 02.15.2008 | 9:23 am

    Fatty, don’t feel bad, my boyfriend’s doctor insists he’s got a white blood count problem but can’t understand why he’s so healthy; he eats right, bikes a lot, and lately we’ve been doing yoga and pilates together.

    I started having the cholesterol/kidney function/liver function/etc etc tests about 5 years ago. 5 years of turning in incredibly good results, they decided they can wait until I turn 40 (4 years to go!) to do them again, unless something changes health-wise between now and then.

    So in my case, the cheeseburgers-fries-red meat-wine-beer-cocktails-veggies-sunflower seeds-tofu diet appears to be working just fine.

    Definitely get a second opinion; the fasting tests suck but afterward you get to eat a good breakfast. :)

  86. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 02.15.2008 | 9:39 am

    Hey fatty,

    So sorry to hear the bad news. :( , but I think I agree w/ one of the posters above that referred to your recent long-term enjoyment with delicious foods. lol

    You’re eating healthily now and excercising, but it will take time for it to affect your body. Give it a little time before doing anything drastic and get a second opinion.

    BTW, I saw this article on MSN about leadville, and thought of you. Perhaps you should plan to cycle this years race in a biohazard suit or take scuba gear with you…

  87. Comment by Ka_Jun | 02.15.2008 | 9:53 am

    Hey Fatty, 32 w/ high cholesterol here, ask your doctor about if high doses of time release niacin would work for you (I take 2000mgs/day), dropped my numbers from 200 to 160.

  88. Comment by Jeff | 02.15.2008 | 10:03 am


    A similar thing happened to me and I almost died…I don’t mean to scare you. I am 40, and for a couple of months I had symptoms of a swolen-feeling sore throat when I started my rides, then it progressed to me gasping for air and tightness in my chest within two minutes of my ride starts so I stopped and went home. All in the while I was seeing my doctor to try to figure it out (I thought it was a trout bone stuck in my throat getting infected and/or a side effect of a medication that I just had started).

    The EKG looked great because I was at rest. When I went in for the treadmill, my symptoms started within two minutes and my doctor called the paramedics and sent me to the ER where he had a Cardiologist waiting. They did an angiogram, found that my left anterior descending artery (the “widow-maker”)was 95% blocked. They did an angioplasti, installed a stent and I am now ok. But the fact of the matter is, if I didn’t have the treadmill test done, then in the very near future when I would have exerted myself, I would have had “a massive heart attack and died.” Says both doctors.

    The EKG doesn’t show much when you are at rest. If you have arterial blockage, you need to be working on the treadmill for it to show up.

    The angioplasti was not bad…I was out of the hospital the next day. The Lipitor seemed to fatigue me when I started riding again, so I started taking it at night, rather than in the morning, right before a ride start. The bottom line, I lived to ride again because I caught it before it got me. Do the treadmill.

  89. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.15.2008 | 11:45 am

    Seems that old people with high cholesterol get something called “cholesterol rings” around the iris. It’s a white ring around the iris.

    Elden has a huge white ring around each iris – Ever see his riding shades?

    No advice here, Fatty. I’m about 54, and though fatter and hurtier than at 40, and though I need a total knee replacement, I’m here to tell you, getting old, isn’t that bad.

    Remember – halitosis is better than no breath at all!

    You’ll pull through. (Get it, “pull through” is a pun on a cycling blog!)

  90. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.15.2008 | 11:47 am

    Oh, BTW, Elden and the other guy with a sore left wrist – Every time i have had a long-term sore left wrist, it has been a broken navicular bone. YMMV.

  91. Comment by RB | 02.15.2008 | 12:10 pm

    A daily pill (or several) is not that bad. I am still in my thirties, but a few years ago, due to preganancy developed epilepsy (apparently this happens), now I am on daily medication (actually twice daily). It has made me feel better and it is just part of life.

    My mother, on the other hand took your attitude, “I don’t want you having to take daily medication for the rest of you life.” You know a friend of mine who since died of cancer at 28 had the response, and the better perspective, “Is it better you total the car?”

    We all take things. You probably take vitamins everyday. What’s the dif? Just be glad the pill is for something controlable like mine. I have been described by one of my doctors a resistant to taking medication, on the other hand, I am greatful for it.

    On the other hand, I did however, get tested several times and try several different things before settling on the great medication I have know. So I do think you might want to get retested. I also remember reading an article a while back which indicated one study result that people w/genetically high cholesterol, who are doing all the right things may not benefit from medication. If you are resistant to drugs you may want to check into that. If I the study was not duplicated, or it is to risky, my suggestion is be thankful you have something that can be controlled by medication and man up. It doesn’t make you old, just responsible.

    I do think, by the way that you are pregnant: heartburn, peeing, and grumpy. Maybe that is the test you should have.

  92. Comment by Caloi Rider | 02.15.2008 | 12:35 pm

    ****************Attention: Fatty***********************
    Hey, just a thought or ten (and Botched, please correct me if I’m wrong on any or all of these points):

    I may be from some wacky school of thought here, but I don’t think a low-fat diet is such a good thing—particularly not for someone who exercises in his aerobic heart rate the majority of the time. First off, fat (including saturated fat) is usually the primary source of energy for people who exercise in aerobic heart rates. Second, again correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that most ingested fat doesn’t get stored as fat anyway. Most of your cells use fat in their cell walls (mirrored fatty acid chains to be specific), so new saturated fat is a necessary part of recovering from exercise.

    Here’s my understanding of the cholesterol conundrum: most cholesterol doesn’t actually damage your cardiovascular system. Low HDL is a big concern, but high LDL isn’t as freaky. Cholesterol is like your body’s band-aid for inflamed blood vessels. It’s not the cholesterol you need to get down—it’s the inflammation. I’m not anti-carb, but it’s my understanding that a really high-processed-carb diet can be inflammatory. On the flip side, a higher vegetable, healthy fats and healthy carbs diet is supposed to be anti-inflammatory.

    So what do you do? Quit eating simple-sugar carbs like candy, soda, etc. Avoid trans fat (or any other partially hydrogenated or interesterified oils) like the plague (read the labels, you’ll be surprised how many foods contain this junk). Fruit is high in simple sugars, but it has accompanying antioxidants, fiber, etc. that make it worth eating, so keep eating fruit. Eat more veggies, more oily fish, more monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), and don’t completely toss out saturated fat (again, read the labels—there are healthier butters, etc., out there).

    Last thing, I swear. I know you’re busy, but you might be curious to read some things about the controversy in the scientific community over cholesterol-lowering drugs and the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis. I’m not an expert, as I’m sure you already know, but even the experts’ advice is being called into question nowadays.

    As for my personal numbers (and I realize these aren’t fantastic), my LDL was at 123, but my HDL was 61 at last check. So I can’t tell you how to lower your bad cholesterol, but I know a thing or two about raising your HDL.

  93. Comment by Harvey [Chubby Old Roadie] | 02.15.2008 | 3:36 pm

    OK Fatty, Codfish is right, the range of serious, helpful, en/dis-couraging supportive comments has been excessive. To wit, apropo all of your recent rantings on diet, health and aging, observations by the famouslt clever:
    Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.– Mark Twain
    Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential foodgroups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.– Alex Levine
    I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.– W.C. Fields
    I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.– Bob Hope
    We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. — Will Rogers
    Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.– Winston Churchill
    Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty … but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. — Phyllis Diller
    By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.– Billy Crystal
    My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.– Rodney Dangerfield [somewhat off topic but cute anyway]

  94. Comment by Harvey [Chubby Old Roadie] | 02.15.2008 | 3:38 pm

    Say Good Night Gracie

  95. Comment by Stephen Waits | 02.15.2008 | 5:27 pm

    @BotchedExperiment: Suit yourself! Me, I avoid everything from big pharma. Doctors these days mostly amount to drug dealers, or even pushers. I’ll use them for diagnostic reasons, and that’s about it.

  96. Comment by Lee Wolfe | 02.15.2008 | 11:27 pm

    If the EKG did not pick up anything then you are probably alright…but you never know. Make sure you have a full stress test. Have them put you on the tread mill and walk/run for 20 minutes and see what your ticker does.

    About 8 years ago I started having chest pains and upper abdominal pain. I was 250 pounds…which would have made me about 60 pounds over weight. Three docs said it was not my heart. Then about 3 years ago I finally start to want to get healthy. My new bike and a great diet were the answer. I eventually got down to about 205. I was feeling great and I was thinking of joining the local club.

    Then one day…blam…chest pain…side pain…shortness of breath. Rushed to the hospital… All tests showed no heart or lung problems. Over the next year and a half I kept having the same problems and then I began to experience bad heartburn, massive acid reflux, weird fevers, side and chest pain, shortness of breath more often and all sorts of lower bowl issues because of the massive acid and bile build up.

    Finally my wife…a nurse practitioner…talked to a doctor who squeezed me in to his clinic. He did a full work up and took a massive medical history and did about every blood test known to man. The only thing he showed was high cholesterol, but not too high. He then ordered a chest and abdominal ct and an upper GI (I’m jumping in front of a truck before I do another Upper GI!!). After it was all said and done the only thing they found was a rotten gallbladder!!

    It appeared mishapped…not cancer…and had several small stones in it. They did surgery a week later and I now feel great. Its been 4 months and my digestive tract is almost back to normal.

    This doctor later explained that people who eat a really high fat diet…oh boy I really did that!!…and then decide to rapidly cut their fat intake and then lose a lot of weight will many times have this problem. The gallbladder does not know how to operate in a healthy diet, produces stones and the regular massive amount of bile that no longer serves a purpose…well not that big of a purpose.

    Just thought I would share that.

    6 Doctors and about $20K in medical bills later I’m back on my bike.

  97. Comment by Wendy | 02.16.2008 | 1:50 am

    ^running around on your lawn^

    I believe that it was Lipitor that my friend Dave took and it really helped his cholesterol. That, and he met his wife in a South American country where they almost always have soup for dinner… that seemed to help too, by his way of thinking. Who knows if it was the soup that helped. Maybe it was the wife?

    Maybe you need more lard in your diet? (jk)

    Hey … that’s a pretty dang great idea to give away money if you don’t make your weight loss goal. At this point I am just posting my weight on my blog every day … but if it cost me MONEY to not meet my goal … hmmmm …. I can see that being pretty dang effective.

    And don’t feel so bad about getting worked up over chest pain and deciding it was a heart attack …. two weeks ago my ears got badly plugged up with a cold, and since they are STILL plugged up I’ve already decided I’m going deaf.

    I can’t hear! Seems logical to me.

  98. Comment by Dobovedo | 02.16.2008 | 9:00 am

    Everyone who is blowing this off because an EKG did not show anything… please read. Sorry for the non-smartass comment, but this is not a joking matter.

    Chest pain can come from a myriad of sources, as you all have noted. But what nobody paid attention to was the mention of wrist pain. And why not? We all feel pains in various places because we ride, or sometimes because we don’t ride. But the two symptoms together are not to be ignored.

    Well… 5 years ago I was out riding and started feeling pain in my wrist, similar to carpal. Except it seemed wrong. It varied with intensity of riding. And not in a more vibration, more irritation kind of way.

    Went to the doc. EKG was fine. She said… “but that wrist pain worries me”. She sent me for an ultrasound. It was fine. She said… “but that wrist pain still worries me”. She sent me for a treadmill test. That test showed things were ‘mostly’ fine, but something wasn’t quite right. Now we’re getting somewhere. A 2nd treadmill was done, this time with a (whatever they call it) scan before and after. Something was definitely wrong. It took a heart catheterization to reveal I had CAD: 3 blockages in my arteries. They were fairly far from the heart, hence the difficulty in diagnosing. 1 was only 50% closed. The second was 80%. The third was 98% (I couldn’t believe the pictures they showed me, and I was “a walking time bomb”.

    Did I mention I was only 34 at the time? I had lost about 40 pounds and been exercising for 4 months after 10 years of doing nothing. I also owe my life to the fact that I changed my lifestyle. If I hadn’t started riding, I may never have been active enough to trigger that pain without it being a massive heart attack.

    Like many people, my cholesterol was sky high, but my doc didn’t just dismiss the NORMAL EKG and send me home with pills. She took my described symptoms (wrist pain) seriously and I owe my life to that decision.

    For the past 5 years I have aced treadmill tests, I ride 10,000+ miles a year, and I am healthier than I have ever been. My cholesterol is still a little bit high, but I am on zero meds. You can go out riding in your jeans, but you can’t outride your genes.

    Oh, and despite my 5 year clean bill of health, I’m having trouble getting life insurance and pay out the ass for my health insurance.

    Elden, do not take this lightly. “Probably nothing” is the dumbest thing a doctor can say. Make sure it’s “definitely nothing” and THEN work on the cholesterol.

  99. Comment by will | 02.16.2008 | 11:08 am

    I am sorry to hear about the high cholesterol.

    But I really encourage you to at least try steps to reduce it that don’t involve medication – it’s a bit American to happily expect and accept to be medicated.

    I’m in cheese land and reducing cheese and processed meats (salami, pepperoni, etc) significantly reduced my cholesterol. Apparently Cheese Fondue every night is not good.

    Best of luck,

    PS – I am also 41 (chronologically), but still 12 and a half mentally. Although 74 my scalp-wise.

  100. Comment by Jim K | 02.16.2008 | 5:24 pm

    I had a heart attack and it was 2 months before I was hospitalized. Ugh!
    You need to do some research on high cholesterol, Especially whether reducing saturated fat and trying to cut out all transfat would help along with watching cholesterol intake. Also as has been suggested fish oil capsules 1000-1200mg size. Talk this over with your doctor after you have done some research.
    You probably can still bike even if you should have a heart attack in the future, but check with your doctor.
    My doctor wants me to exercise as much as possible, but no vigorous exercize, and pull over and sit down when I get tired.

  101. Comment by jeff bean | 02.18.2008 | 11:32 am


    Have you been able to read all these comments? Wow. Wish you luck getting that cholesterol down. It should be like a Leadville 100 training program — only easier.

  102. Comment by flossy | 02.18.2008 | 2:21 pm

    I had my gallbladder taken out in December and the tag for that is fair, fat and forty. Forty is rapidly approaching but at least I can stave off the fat tag. I ordered a new roadie during my sick leave convalesence.

    Good luck with the cholesterol thing, mines still high after loosing 13kg and taking up a more vigorous
    and active lifestyle.

    40 is the new 30!!

  103. Comment by Evin | 02.18.2008 | 4:28 pm


    Read most the comments, thought you could use fair balance. 43 luckly no cholesterol issues. However 2006 Bridge to Bridge event in Mtns of NC 10000 ft gain/century we lost a rider, 4 miles from the top. Geneticcly predisposed to elevated cholesterol. Guy was in great shape 43 as well. Issue was plaque build-up in the coronary artery. His Father and Grandfather died at an early age as well.

    I happen to sell one of the statins. (in the interest of full disclosure)

    A lot of references to side effects here. True you should be aware of risk benefits of drug therapy. But as a point of ref, 25% of all deaths in the entire US were attributed to complications from Atherosclerosis in 2004. More than all forms of Cancer combined!!!

    Statins can be extremely beneficial, and are an ideal option for genetically predisposed individuals. Do fast prior to your next bloodwork. 12 hours is best. The holy grail of statin therapy is plaque regression. Studies suggest that regardless of baseline 50% reduction LDL and a bump in HDL are your best shot.

    Fish oil help with HDL, Costco brand was rated the highest of all brands. Also seems from my personal experience, resistance training can have a significant impact. One test as a rider exclusively, (40)HDL borderline low, one while hitting the weights 17 point increase. The advantage of high HDL is that it acts like a vacume cleaner to LDL. Also see if you can have the advanced testing done to evaluate particle size. Not all LDL are created Equal. Small dense=danger, large fluffy=Not so bad. Either a Berkleys lab profile, or a Lipo-med profile.

    Don’t sweat it, just address it and move on.

    Best Regards,

  104. Comment by pantaloonfan | 02.19.2008 | 7:00 am


    From a personal acquaintance, I would suggest you start taking a time release niacin supplement, along with omega 3 capsules. The niacin is the single most effective nutritional supplement for dealing with cholesterol.

    If you haven’t had it before, you want to start either with the time release, or the lowest dose possible (break tablets in half or quarters) to keep from getting too much of a flushing of the skin.

    Also, rice flour/rice bran as a supplement to normal dishes, or in lieu of flour to thicken sauces can do a remarkable bit to help cholesterol, as can adding flaxseed to salads and baked goods.

    Worked for my father, who dropped from very high to safe levels of cholesterol, and who was also very thin, got lots of exercise, and did not eat a high fat diet. It’s funny how it happens…

  105. Comment by cholestercyclist | 02.19.2008 | 8:09 am

    Statin drugs can cause muscle toxicity:

    and are probably unnecessary in the vast majority of cases:

  106. Comment by Harvey [Chubby Old Roadie] | 02.22.2008 | 6:08 am

    Fatty, just incase you or your readers need a review:;_ylt=AmK0E_ulPJOQgFP6ZBVddUms0NUE

  107. Comment by Kafryn | 02.24.2008 | 2:55 am

    Hey, Eldon – I’ve known that I’ve had high cholesterol since I was in my early 20s (notso hotso genes, I guess), and now take a statin (Zocor). First tried different forms of niacin, but had real problems with nausea/vomiting. The nausea problems continued for many months (!) when I started taking Zocor. Ginger tea (just simmer some fresh or dried ginger in water – make it as strong as you like/can tolerate) or crystalized ginger (in case you want the sugar/extra calories or something you can easily carry w/ you) enabled me to keep food down during that time. If nausea becomes an issue for you, maybe ginger will help.

    BTW, my cholesterol levels are less than half of what they were before I started taking the statin, *and* began exercising seriously and eating more mindfully (exercise/diet had never helped before, but they seem to work synergistically with the drug).

    Good luck – and many years of happy riding!

  108. Trackback by Do somas show up in aurine test. | 04.28.2008 | 3:26 am

    Prescription somas at pricing of 19.99.

    Somas past exam papers. Somas. Somas soil bed. Somas with carisoprodol doese t contain codeine. Somas do they have codine in them.

  109. Comment by Andrew B. | 10.22.2008 | 9:08 pm

    I am have a tugging feel around my sternum. I really don’t know what could cause it. It feels as if someone is pulling down on my diaphram. It only happens when I’m usually sitting down. I feel as if maybe something could be lose in my chest, it seems scarey. If you can leave a comment on my email if you have any clue or idea what could be causing it.
    Plz Help.

  110. Comment by Apple Ipod Touch Games Onlin | 05.30.2011 | 9:04 am

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I literally would want…HaHa). You definitely put an alternative spin on a topic thats been discussing for years. Great items, just great!

  111. Comment by Allistair | 08.3.2011 | 2:16 am

    I’ve had a rough experience with chest pain. It turned out to be serious, and you can read about my experience here on this Youtube video:

    The only discernable problem I had before my op was high cholesterol: 7.2

    My experience may not be typical, but I feel I have to tell others about what I went through, even if it causes a lot of alarm.

    I wish you all the best.

    Allistair, UK


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.