For several years I've known there was something seriously wrong with me. Struggling up hills that I could practically sprint up a few years before. Getting passed by overweight guys that I would left in my dust previous years. Stumbling around like a drunk person, when I get over 10,000 ft. Sure, I'm no spring chicken, but I knew if was way more than that.
Problem was, no one could find out what was wrong. I had a congenital heart defect, but tests seemed to show it wasn't causing a problem. People, including doctors, were making some pretty insulting insinuations. I was just out of shape, or I just wasn't athletic, etc.
Turns out that no one was giving me the right test. There is one specific test for the problem I was having. That problem was my aortic valve was a mess. It would pass enough blood for normal activities, but not enough for vigorous exercise.
So, right now, I have a cow valve in my heart. I'm in the process of recovering. My hope is, my expectation is, that I'll be stronger than before the operation. I'll be able to hike faster, longer and higher.
I've been buying a lot of new outdoor gear. Way more than I probably need. On order are a new cycling jacket, new waterproof hiking pants, and new Asolo Thyrus boots. This valve only lasts ten years and I'll be nearly 75 then. I want to make the most of those ten years.