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Retired ... for now

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I had my follow up at Hopkins and the news was not good. The extensive clot is still there and the axillary and subclavian veins have re-closed since the balloon venoplasty. I suspect the re-closing was what I perceived as a strain in the thoracic area a few weeks ago. Vein reconstruction surgery is not a good option because it would require a bypass with only a 50% or less chance of success. So I need to grow some collateral veins; I may already have some since my arm is not all that swollen. But there is some fear for my left side, which is showing some pre-thrombolytic symptoms.

I will have another ultrasound on both sides in 2 months. If the left side is showing more signs of damage than last time, I may have another first rib resection at that time. That surgery may have a better likelihood of success than the one in December if we avoid a clot. Or I could just use a conservative approach ... The downside of that is that I think I would have anxiety over getting another clot/ruining another vein. And I really couldn't swim without compressing the vein further. Streamlining is ultra compressive. And of course my sister had bilateral VTOS.

I have been in the water some. But just kicking with my arms at my side is not very inspiring. My dr said that I could start some swimming, but I am leery about my left arm. I have been on the treadmill regularly; did 14 miles the other day after the bad news. So I am going to put all thoughts of competing aside for now. I may pop into the pool to see friends from time to time. But I am basically retired right now. Maybe next year I can re-assess. Without the primary veins on the right side, it is unclear whether I could ever return to my previous form.

On a happier note, I have a trip to Paris and environs planned in April. And I had a really kick ass 2016 before the VTOS reared its ugly head in October. The Fina rankings have come out and, in the 55-59 age group, I ended up with:

SCM:

50 back #1 (WR)
100 back #1 (WR)
50 fly #1 (WR)
50 free #1 (WR)
50 breast #4 (NR, that was subsequently broken)
100 breast #8

LCM:

50 back #1 (WR)
50 fly #1 (#WR)
50 free #1
50 breast #3

SCY (1 meet, done with a blood clot)

50 fly (NR)
50 back (NR)

Adios for now! I wish everyone well in their swimming endeavors.

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Updated March 28th, 2017 at 10:04 AM by The Fortress

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  1. Karl_S's Avatar
    No doubt not the outcome you were looking for. A small suggestion: See this as an opportunity. Take the opportunity to focus yourself mentally (and perhaps physically if appropriate) on something that you have wanted to do but didn't have the time to devote your attention to. If you become absorbed in an alternate passion, time will pass more effortlessly and who knows, you may find yourself not only recuperated, but refreshed. Swim intensity waxes and wanes in life, but the waning periods are an opportunity explore another passion.

    Swimming or not, feel better soon.
  2. flystorms's Avatar
    Ah damn, Fort, that has to be frustrating news for you, I'm sorry. I like Karl's ^^ point thought. Redirect and maybe something else will come up. I hope you're able to recover soon. Sending good thoughts!
  3. tjrpatt's Avatar
    Sorry to hear that. Hopefully, swimsuit manufacturers won't go out of business without your techsuit business. It was fascinating how you had all this success by coaching yourself and no one to train with on a regular basis.
  4. knelson's Avatar
    I was telling my wife about your TOS last night and, strangely, she had just taken the deposition (she's a court reporter) of a doctor and the subject was treatment for TOS. Apparently this doctor considers the rib removal method obsolete and doesn't use that method anymore. Although it sounds like the technique he does use requires a very long recovery period (something like 18 months). I'm sure different doctors have different opinions on this and you probably know more about the subject than you ever wanted to!
  5. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    No doubt not the outcome you were looking for. A small suggestion: See this as an opportunity. Take the opportunity to focus yourself mentally (and perhaps physically if appropriate) on something that you have wanted to do but didn't have the time to devote your attention to. If you become absorbed in an alternate passion, time will pass more effortlessly and who knows, you may find yourself not only recuperated, but refreshed. Swim intensity waxes and wanes in life, but the waning periods are an opportunity explore another passion.

    Swimming or not, feel better soon.
    Good advice. I'm not sure what that is yet ... I've been in limbo for 6 months now. I will mull. In the meantime, I trip abroad is bound to perk me up.
  6. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by flystorms
    Ah damn, Fort, that has to be frustrating news for you, I'm sorry. I like Karl's ^^ point thought. Redirect and maybe something else will come up. I hope you're able to recover soon. Sending good thoughts!
    Thanks Fly! I can always take this year off and then re-assess.
  7. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tjrpatt
    Sorry to hear that. Hopefully, swimsuit manufacturers won't go out of business without your techsuit business. It was fascinating how you had all this success by coaching yourself and no one to train with on a regular basis.
    That made me laugh Tom!

    I think I just embraced HIT training and SDK before it was fashionable. And I am likely genetically pre-disposed to excel at SDKs, which transformed my swimming.
  8. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    I was telling my wife about your TOS last night and, strangely, she had just taken the deposition (she's a court reporter) of a doctor and the subject was treatment for TOS. Apparently this doctor considers the rib removal method obsolete and doesn't use that method anymore. Although it sounds like the technique he does use requires a very long recovery period (something like 18 months). I'm sure different doctors have different opinions on this and you probably know more about the subject than you ever wanted to!
    Interesting. Do you recall the name of the doctor? I suspect he was talking about neurological TOS. Venous TOS accounts for only 5% of all TOS cases, and decompressing the vein typically works. Neurological TOS is much trickier. Unfortunately, for me, it took way too long to diagnose and catch the condition despite all my efforts.
  9. pwb's Avatar
    Oh, Leslie, this was not what I wanted to read. Swimming will always be there for you and we all hope that your treatment is successful and brings you back to the sport.
  10. knelson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    Interesting. Do you recall the name of the doctor? I suspect he was talking about neurological TOS. Venous TOS accounts for only 5% of all TOS cases, and decompressing the vein typically works. Neurological TOS is much trickier. Unfortunately, for me, it took way too long to diagnose and catch the condition despite all my efforts.
    I'm sure you are correct. I'll ask my wife for the name of the doctor.
  11. Doug Martin's Avatar
    Leslie, you are leaving a big void in Masters swimming, beyond your prowess in the pool and many world records. You were an informed source on training, technique, suits, nutrition, drylands, tapers, and many other subjects. When friends of mine ask for sprint workouts, I refer them to your HIT blog. Thanks for all that and I hope to see you back in the pool and on the forums someday. 55 is still young in Masters swimming.
  12. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Oh, Leslie, this was not what I wanted to read. Swimming will always be there for you and we all hope that your treatment is successful and brings you back to the sport.
    Yeah it's not what I hoped either. The clot just was not caught soon enough and I had a huge first rib which could have been damaging the vein for years. My dr is going to schedule the surgery on my left side. So I will be out for a long time. How is your rehab going? Shoulder better?
  13. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Martin
    Leslie, you are leaving a big void in Masters swimming, beyond your prowess in the pool and many world records. You were an informed source on training, technique, suits, nutrition, drylands, tapers, and many other subjects. When friends of mine ask for sprint workouts, I refer them to your HIT blog. Thanks for all that and I hope to see you back in the pool and on the forums someday. 55 is still young in Masters swimming.
    Thanks Doug. Means a lot. The thought of starting from scratch is a bit daunting. But you never know ... Congrats on you #1s in the 50 frees!
    Updated March 29th, 2017 at 12:36 PM by The Fortress
  14. pwb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    How is your rehab going? Shoulder better?
    I am back in the water on a limited schedule, but progressing well. I'm taking it slowly with no plans to even consider competing before the fall.