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Activators beware! - update


More than 10 years ago a family member had a very serious and large abdominal tumour removed. The hill walking fitness they had going into the op was a noticeable aid to their ability to cope with this major procedure and their ability to make a strong recovery, before starting chemotherapy They are fit and well all these years later and still climbing hills.

Take it steady, but listen to your body and know what you are capable of, not what some text book says you should be like after x days or weeks.

So pleased you are already out and about.


Well the booklet suggests 1 to 2 miles as a target after 6 weeks. I managed 2 miles at 12 days post surgery with a brief stop part way along. A few days further on I am now walking 2 miles non-stop most days with the time to get around the circuit slowly reducing. All this is down to being reasonably fit before surgery. My progress has been discussed with the Papworth Cardiac Support Team and given the thumbs up. My only concern is rehab which is being handled by a hospital locally. I may need to persuade them that I should slot into their program at a higher level - I will find out next week.

Sleep continues to come in 75 to 90 minute parcels. This will improve and i understand may take another month to sort itself out. I am also losing weight, as indeed I did after having the stent fitted last year when I dropped from around 91kg to 85kg in one week. I have now taken off another 3kg, so I am monitoring this daily. I suspect it is partially due to muscle wastage as I am not picking up anything of any weight until my sternum heals.

I am working on a gradual program to get back onto the hills once I have healed and my XYL will initially assist with this. Just setting up a station will be an effort. In the meantime I need to get my interest in chasing into gear.

73, Gerald G4OIG


A brief update at the 6 weeks post-op stage.

The distance that I am able to walk is now more than 4 miles non-stop without any issues, but I am not yet carrying any load as my sternum is not fully healed. My speed is also improving and I am walking a local 2 mile circuit in half an hour which is as fast as I was pre-op over that particular route. It is no use asking the XYL to accompany me - she is too slow. :wink:

I am still noticing improvements daily and have plans for a lightweight activation maybe as early as next week, probably during the UK Activity Contest. I have an appointment with my GP on Friday and hopefully I will get consent to start driving again. Being able to drive again will also widen the scope for my walks and have other benefits as well, though I can’t see me doing a 5 hour drive up to Scotland for some time.

There is no sign yet of the rehab programme starting, but I was advised that they are over-subscribed. Obviously others need it more than I do, so the 8 week course might get shortened. The walk test I did some 4 weeks ago at the introductory visit showed I could walk at 4 mph with a heart rate of just 85 bpm, so I would think that the rehab work will probably be more targetted at getting my upper body back in trim. Thankfully my sleep pattern has improved immeasurably. Weight-wise I am maintaining 82kg, so maybe I won’t ever achieve the title of racing snake suggested by Andy (MM0FMF). Barry (GM4TOE), you need not worry too much! :smiley:

73, Gerald G4OIG


Hi Gerald, I have been threatening to get up the mynd for a while with the SG Labs 23cm transverter. It may also be the right time to crack out the recently acquired electric handbag to test in the UKAC as a double whammy!

That’s if you don’t mind company of course! Matt, M0IAW


Well done Gerald, keep it up.
You even have an offer of a pack horse from Matt. We’ll that’s how I read it. :wink:


Glad to hear you are moving in the right direction.

Well I’m heading down to your weight but slowly because of these new pills that make me piddle all the time and excrete excess sugar. Plenty of minor side affects like a dry mouth but that’s solved with more Gin/Vodka/Whisky! You should be ready for proper activations by the time I’m under 85kg.

Very nice… looks immaculate and far too nice to take outside. I’ll see about arranging a SOTA handbag event for September time.


Great news Gerald, keep it up - I timed myself on my last walk to the Market Arms in Banff and made just under 4mph but no pack. Hill walking pace is 3mph (5kph) which I can still manage - except on steep slopes when I wheeze like an old bellows and have to stop to admire the vista at regular intervals!
Sounds like you are doing better than the rehab programme would do for you - lesson here for everybody you warned in your header paragraph - attitude is everything!


Matt - I will need to see how the driving goes. The Mynd is fair distance from here in Northampton. I am thinking more like Bardon Hill CE-004 which is still 40 miles or so each way. I like the rig - haven’t actually seen one of those in the flesh. As Andy says, it looks too nice to take out, but you might risk it in some bubble wrap - just the once. :wink:

Neil - no sherpa required, just a lighter load than my usual 11kg +. :wink: Maybe the 817, a 2200MAH LiPo and a halo on a small pole. To have someone carry my kit would be a first - we can’t have that.

Andy - meds, don’t ask! 7 varieties at the moment and a review tomorrow. Hoping to “lose” a few!

Barry - it sounds like we are reasonably matched, though I don’t actually get that short of breath as the beta blocker cuts off my heart rate around 100 bpm, so acting as a performance limiter. Resting heart rate is in the upper 50’s, so I try not to stand up too quickly lest I kneel over. :slight_smile:

73, Gerald G4OIG

EDIT: 02.08.2018 The appointment at the local hospital this morning turned out to be more of a check up than a medication review. All went okay, so as Paul G4MD would say, it is onwards and upwards.


Another brief update at the 10 weeks post op stage:

The local walks are now taking less than 30 minutes for 2 miles and less than an hour for 4 miles. I don’t see there being much improvement on these figures unless I take up jogging and I cannot see me doing that. I am finding the ascents much easier than they were, so it looks like I need to get back onto some decent hills to get the benefit of the steeper gradients.

It was an excellent day for walking on Saturday 25th August, so I decided to give myself a 3 hour non-stop endurance test over a mixture of paths, some with some reasonable gradients. I achieved 10.4 miles with no ill effects and not even any significant aches after the exercise. So why am I not out on the summits? Well I would be were it not for my chest muscles which are not yet back to normal. I will be doing some trials with a lightweight pack once I have some guidance. I finally start rehab tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what they advise. Maybe they will have me jogging on the treadmill. :laughing:

73, Gerald G4OIG / G8CXK

P.S. I have driven the 250 miles up to Northumberland, 5 hours including a half hour break. No problems there. :slight_smile:


You’re getting on too good, slow down so we can help you get fitter! That’s what they will really be thinking.

Well done you, don’t think I want to go hiking with you now - put me to shame you will.

Don’t be wandering up those summits with your hands behind your back whistling away while poor Paul is dragging behind. I can assure you that the invisible daggers do eventually hit the mark. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

73 Neil

P.S. Cat has a date - eventually!


Good to hear things are finally on the move for Cat. It seems to be a very tedious process whate’er the ill. Several friends are currently standing in queues. :frowning:

As for me, I am seeing the Consultant in a couple of weeks - whether I get released is another thing, but Papworth is the least of my worries. The day after I am booked to do battle over my cholesterol meds at the local hospital who have taken over that side of things. Then I have a TTE (ultrasound heart scan) the following week. If they pronounce me alive, then I hope to sneak up a few summits, but I will use my G8 call so they won’t know it is me!. :wink:

73, Gerald

Edit 2018.08.28: Well I have to announce a Common Sense Award has been awarded to the British Heart Foundation who run the rehab course that I am on. They obviously matched the ability of everyone booked on the course and with quite a bit of effort we all managed the tasks set. I actually managed to get my heart rate up to 135bpm. Walking only achieves 110bpm as my legs are used to exercise, so it will be beneficial attending to get my chest muscles in trim.

Edit 2018.09.12: I now have the go ahead from Papworth to get back on the hills. My meds have been reduced and the ECG and X-ray were all good. I will be starting on a few easier summits (which might be some Scottish HuMPs) with a view to gradually building up my fitness stage by stage. The Ben definitely looks like being on for next spring. :grinning:


What excellent news Gerald.

Looking forward to the next s2s (or at least h2s) :wink:


Yes, I am really looking forward to getting out again Rod. I am starting to plan the next GM/SS joint activation with Paul which will probably be in December, but in the meantime we plan to be out in the two S2S events in October and November.

I would say that Papworth have been excellent throughout. The NHS at its best… and they are still there if I need them even though I have my passport back. :smile:

73, Gerald


Great news Gerald. Missed the edits above. The NHS do a grand job really considering the work load they have.

I’ve got the banners ready for your return to GM - not as a salute but more of a warning to others there’s a galloping madman tramping the hills.


At least you didn’t say Sassenach! Maybe I am becoming an honourary Scotsman - nah, perish the thought. :grinning:


Andy would need to check out your knees - no pale, weak, hairless knees allowed :wink:


Hmm, it seems that I am back. :slight_smile: Paul M0SNA accompanied me up Minch Moor GM/SS-133 and Black Hill GM/SS-253 (direct ascent route) yesterday and thankfully did not have to call out the emergency services. This activity came after a heavy gym session on Tuesday as part of my cardiac rehab and an 8 mile coastal path walk on Wednesday. Today I kept it simple with a 2 mile walk to bring the week’s total to a little more than 25 miles. The danger now is whether my knees will survive this workout - they certainly ached on the ascent of Black Hill. Maybe I will get my feet up tomorrow while the wind and rain pass by.

73, Gerald G4OIG

P.S. Backpack weight yesterday was 12.5kg


I have no direct experience with the pre-op Gerald but I can attest the post-op Gerald looked and behaved rather spritely!!

Well done Gerald and it was fun yesterday.

Paul M0SNA / W6PNG


Many thanks for the comment Paul. I have never been particularly quick on ascents and lengthy walk-ins to some summits have certainly shown me that it is getting to the summit that matters, not how quick. Better to arrive than not at all. I am fairly speedy on descents, but the work out earlier in the week certainly put a cap on that for the hills on Thursday. Not as though I would have walked away from you anyway - when with someone, it is always essential to travel at the speed of the slowest, both up and down.

As for the comparison with the pre-op Gerald, Paul G4MD will be the judge of that, but again, there won’t be any walking off into the distance by either of us. :slight_smile:

73, Gerald G4OIG


GM Gerald,
Pleased to hear you, and Paul (M0SNA), out and about again. Came across you quite by chance on 5.398.5 and was surprised and delighted to hear your dulcet tones from a hilltop after your ordeal.
I hope you continue to make rapid progress and I can look forward to the MD and OIG team calling from summits again soon.
73, Frank