My calf tear turned out to be a blood clot (DVT). Four doctors in UK and US thought it was just muscle tear, but the ultra scan showed a blood clot. Apparently blood clots can be quite serious if they move up from legs to lungs. (though clots in the lower leg, are much less likely to move) The nurse in the DVT clinic told me no cycling for 2 weeks. I didn’t have the heart to say, I’d just had great fun cycling to hospital, racing a taxi up Divinity Road with one leg. If there is a record for one legged cycling up Divinity Rd hill, I probably have it. Though I guess this is a reminder some things in life are more important than even hill climb records, one legged or two.
It will mean a good 4-5 weeks off the bike, and another 3 months of visits to doctors for blood tests and medication to make my blood have a higher INR – which means the blood clots less easily – so it’s not good news if you get a cut, harder to stop bleeding. But, this helps to defuse current clot and prevent a repeat.
The irony is that blood test and haemophilia are my worst phobias. I have no fear of death, but mention blood tests, syringes, and bleeding, and something subconscious leaves me a quivering wreck. If you know about George Orwell’s Room 101, I know exactly what I would face – repeated blood tests. In the past few years, I’ve even said to myself quite a few times “I’m so fortunate not to be a haemophiliac” – So it’s an irony I’ve ended up on the Haemophiliac ward. Anyway, like most things you fear – what you repeatedly face – you find they are not so bad after all. Blood test are becoming routine, if I can’t enjoy them – at least they don’t leave me feeling like a ghost, devoid of life energy like the first one did.
A Note on Blood Clots
Some people are more predisposed to blood clots – often the elderly. (DVT is one of those things you read about and presume can only happen to other people) In my case the cause of the blood clot was the twin factor of suffering an accident a few hours before a seven hour transatlantic flight. I don’t think there will be any problems in future (as long as I don’t have another accident the morning of the flight). But, I might invest in some of those DVT socks just to be on the safe side.
Re Planning the Season
The season was definitely going very well. In particular, I really enjoyed some of the longer hilly time trials, like the Circuit of the Dales and Buxton Mountain TT. With some of my best ever form, I was planning to enter national 50 and National 100 later in the year. I think I would have had a reasonable chance of a top 10 position. Now, I will have to leave these for another season, leaving no clear goals until the hill climb season. The good news is I don’t think 5 weeks off will adversely affect the hill climb season later in the year. I’m sure I can reach peak performance for the end of October, even with quite a lengthy mid-season break.
Surprisingly, I haven’t been too put out by the abrupt change to season. In one sense it’s disappointing, but I haven’t thought too much about it. Fortunately, there are quite a few other things to do apart from cycling. It’s actually nice to have a bit more time for other things. (Also probably helped by the fact it’s raining cats and dogs and it’s not exactly inspiring to go out on the bike this morning) Part of me feels aggrieved for slogging through the long winter, only to be off bike now the ‘nice weather’ comes – but to be honest, it’s not an impossibility Jan and March may prove to be the best months of the year in terms of weather!
Well, if your slogging through the rain, at least be thankful you haven’t got your leg up and a pair of arms full of needle holes – there’s always someone worse than you!
p.s. if my mother reads this. I wasn’t really racing up Divinity Road on the way to hospital, I just put that in for artistic effect.