Runner looking to regain as much capacity as possible

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Hi, I was diagnosed back in December with bilateral PEs and was on thinners until just last month. Now my doc is willing to try an aspirin regimen and see how that goes. 

Prior to developing DVT in my leg, I was a fairly competitive long distance runner and cyclist. Its driving me crazy that I can no longer perform even close to the level I used to be. 

My doc tells me I should gain some/most of my lung capacity and threshold back if I'm lucky. My question is, what if anything can I do to try to encourage my lungs to heal? I try to do some kind of workout everyday but its a fraction of what I used to do. Is higher intensity cardio going to help retrain my lungs? 

I have people tell me all the time that i should be 'happy I survived' and I shouldn't push it. I'm only in my early 40s and I'm not ready to hang up my running shoes just yet without a fight. 

thanks for any info, regards, 

D

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Well, I have got a few years on you and probably wasn’t that fit to start with. Still on thinners. I had a high number if large clots in both lungs, so the odds were against me.

    Got most of my capacity back, took a while though. Funnily enough, the best exercise was a brisk walk. Longer and longer as the days went by.  

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    • Posted

      Thanks for that Peter. I am five months in after an unprovoked bilateral PE. I was relatively fit - did the National Three Peaks just two years ago but now struggle going up stairs sometimes. I hope my lungs get sorted (it messed with my head more) and get back up the mountains soon
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    • Posted

      Hi Darren,

      At my 5 month aniversary, I took the dog for a walk and had to sit down half way up a 30 foot incline. Not good.

      It took a long while, but I probably had everything against me.  I used to smoke many moons ago, that can’t have helped and the sheer quantity of blood clots would have slowed the recovery down a lot. But I had to run a few hundred yards a couple of days ago (runaway dog) and you know what...I didn’t even give it a thought, despite almost 30 degree heat. 

      So the message is that recovery is quite possible, it just takes time.

      Good luck with yours.

      Peter

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  • Posted

    Thanks for the replies. This definitely is frustrating. I was hoping I would start to see some improvement by now. We also live at 7,400 elevation so that's not helping. 

    Peter, I'm glad to hear you got most of yours back. I also had several large ones in all nodes of both lungs. Its challenging to be carrying more weight with less fitness all with lungs that just won't perform.

    I notice that every hill seems so much more difficult than it used to and that my HR just spikes when I used to be able to just power through them. That to me suggests that my lungs just aren't able to get enough o2 to handle the load. 

     

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    • Posted

      Yeah, it’s the hills that get you (see above post). I got very good at finding walks that were largely flat. 

      I have a sneaking suspicion the healing happens in it’s own time. The good news being that you will continue to get better for quite some time, the downside being that you are not in control of it.

      Important to stay positive (not easy I know, I had my moments) and to stick with an exercise regime of “little and often” .

      Good luck.

      Peter

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