Medical Update

It’s been a funny few weeks for me with lots of medical appointments, tests, uncertainty and a bit of stress. This is due to two separate issues.

The first relates to my eyesight. Earlier this year I went back to our local hospital for a routine follow-up at the low vision clinic. They had previously suggested I try a set of glasses to make my vision a bit less blurry, and initially this worked fairly well although didn’t make any real difference to the actual visual acuity. 12 months on and I have been finding it a bit awkward using the glasses. Although they improve things on the right eye they are actually making it worse on the left than without them.

I had my suspicions as to why this would be the case, but on further examination it was confirmed that the cataract on my left developing nicely.

Initially I was told they would just remove it. However a second consultant felt it may be risky in that retinal detachments are an increased likelihood with my particular eye condition. The third consultant I saw felt that it would be OK to remove, but that there may be little point as it looks like the underlying structure of the left eye is deteriorating anyway.

The outcome from this is basically we will have to wait 6 months and then review the situation.

The second major issue I’ve been dealing with lately relates to the new ITU heart health checks. You are now required to undergo an ECG and other basic tests prior to being certificated as ‘fit to compete’.

I didn’t think this would be particular difficul to sort outt as I’d not had any heart issues or signs of problems in the past.

However the first ECG completed at my doctor’s surgery showed a possible anomaly. I was a bit concerned but presumed they had just done the test wrong (which they had) or that it was just something to do with year’s of endurance training.

I was then sent for ultrasound scans to look at the structure and function of the heart. This showed no issues. I then saw the consultant who was happy until he did a repeat ECG as this still showed an issue with the electrical signals of the heart.

After a series of 6 or 7 further ECG’s and modified ECG’s I finally got the all-clear and my form signed…What a relief!

Over-all it’s probably a good thing that these checks have been brought in. It would be very unfortunate if I’d had an underlying issue, didn’t know and had a major problem at an event…I don’t want mouth to mouth resucciatwon from any of my Guides either to be honest!

However, there a few issues with all of this. The first is that I could have been stopped from going to Denmark this week for the Multi-sport world champs, but still been allowed to push the limits at the national champs 2 weeks later! In fact I could race at any domestic event or even an Ironman race.

The second thing is that it’s probably not worth going to your GP for these tests unless they are experienced with athletes, as there is a fair chance the tests will show an issue for many athletes.

Thirdly, I think these things can cause unnecessary stress/worry and affect your training and racing whilst you try to resolve it – it was a bit strange racing the Arctic One Parati in May and the national cycling championships in June against this backdrop.

Anyway it’s done and dusted now so the season can continue as planned:-)



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