Thursday, May 24, 2018


Happy Thursday...but wow, where did the week/month go? Memorial Day weekend already? I DO like the fact that summer/warmth is here, but it's just cruising past...wish this past winter had just 'cruised' on by :)
Just a quick update on my appointment yesterday...yep, another day, another appointment.

Like my new selfie? The iPod looking deal is my pacemaker/defibrillator, and if you look close, you can see all the wires heading from the unit to my heart...crazy.
What's even crazier is the size of my heart...the way I understand it, just below the 'unit' is my heart, that big shadow that should be the size of a lime...yea, 'severely dilated' may be an understatement...ugh.
Besides being shocked by looking at the size of my heart, was the conversation the PA had with me about depression and said that Zoloft was at my disposable. Really? Apparently upwards of 40% of patients with heart issues such as mine become depressed...? Funny, I don't feel that...yet. I do get angry from time to time, sad enough where I cry for a bit, maybe ask 'why me' to whoever will listen, but I don't think I'm depressed...but what is depression? Sad sometimes? Angry? Lonely, even when I'm not? ...well then, maybe. But, whatever...remember, I'm Derek Lindstrom!
Another quick note about yesterday...I didn't know if they were going to keep me overnight, so I took an Uber to my appointment. (Michaela was nice enough to meet me for a quick few before my appt...) But when I was done, I needed to walk, so I decided that I would just walk home, 12 miles.
Beautiful day/night for a walk, and I had just been told to NOT run, but I could walk I did! I ended up walking only about 5+ miles (1:20), as I was getting pooped, and I had a few 'spells' while walking...dizzy/disoriented and how I feel when I drink too much boxed wine, but scary. WTF? I got to a good stopping point and just took an Uber the rest of the way.
So, NO running, only easy biking...but what's going to happen if WALKING becomes a struggle? 2 words, 'Zo Loft'!   Walk link HERE.

...and what can I say about THIS guy. 
I met Gabe while coaching at LifeTime/Chanhassen...I think Gabe tries to send credit for his running success MY way, but HE did all the work...and he's gone from running 3:45 at TCM fall of 2016, to running the Boston Marathon last month in 2:56 and change...absolutely amazing...still in awe...and more importantly, Gabe has become an amazing FRIEND!
We share good times, but we also share the tough days. Gabe and his family have been to visit me a couple of times recently when I've been in the hospital, and now, knowing that I was struggling, did THIS for me:

Image result for go fund me

...and posted THIS on Facebook:

In 2016, my life changed drastically. My wife enrolled us in a gym. We changed everything. I lost a lot of physical, emotional and spiritual baggage and I found running.
In the winter of 2017 I met Derek Lindstrom, a running coach at Life Time Run - Chanhassen who agreed to help me try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He should have laughed at me as my marathon PR was almost 40 minutes too slow, but he didn't. Instead he coached me. I failed to qualify at Grandma'sMarathon - Duluth, Inc. that summer, but I didn't give up and neither did he. He believed in me in a way few have in my life. In September 2017 I DID qualify for Boston at the Marquette Marathon. Sure I ran the race, but Derek got me there!
He has become an amazing friend and now he is the one who needs help. I believe in him and will stick by him as well. Please take a minute to read about his situation and if you can, send a few dollars to get him back on the road to recovery! Love you Coach D!
Dude, you are the coolest!

...nap break...
Gotta tell you, naps are really starting to piss me off...not so much that I need them, but how I feel when I get up. I still get up too quick and get so light-headed that i need to lean against a wall to catch my bearings. I'm sure it's just the medicine, but it's getting old...hopefully I'll get to a point soon where I won't need them.
Crabby tonight? Yep...why did this happen to me? I'm Derek Lindstrom!
I had a long conversation with my sister earlier today, talking about God, or the lack there of. I wouldn't say I'm a non-believer, but I do question. I just don't understand how/why that it more about faith? If I were a believer, would this not have happened, or would I hear that it's part of 'God's plan' for me? It confuses me...maybe this is all a test? Can I come out of this a better man? A better friend...a better father? ...or just part of a journey. When life is done/over, will I be able to look back and say that I made a difference, a REAL difference in the lives of people? Probably not...I think that needs to change!
Maybe I deserve what's happening to me for how I've lived my life...maybe it's just the luck of the draw, either way, it sucks. Looking back, I could have been nicer to people, especially those closest to me. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

'As Far As You Know'

'As Far As You Know''s a song I'm working on. I'll post when it's done.
It's been a trying time for me, as you could imagine...though I'm doing my best to get by. I found myself crabby and emotional again today, I think partly because it's starting to sink in that I'll probably never run/race again...maybe an easy marathon down the road, but to lay it on the line at a 10 miler or half-marathon, yea, those days are done, and that makes me sad.
I think back to some of my best/favorite runs...the 1988 Big Bay Relay...our team got beat, though we ran 2:00:46 for the marathon distance for the runner-up spot, and I averaged 4:27 for my five 1 mile legs (We would go on to win 1989-2003, though our 1988 time was as fast as we could run...); 2008 when I ran the Lumber Jack Days 10 Miler in Stillwater in a solid time of 1:02 and change to finish the year with 18th fastest AG time in MN (45-49)...what makes that run insane? I was pushing Torun in a baby-jogger! Yep, WE ran 6:15 of those days when I was just 'on'! ...let's not forget the 2006 Baton Rouge Beach Marathon (3:04 and Master's win) or the 2013 Marquette Marathon (20 mile split about 2:20). What do these 2 races have in common? I was in piss-poor shape for them both, yet was able to get in a groove (with the help of some killer tunes), put my head down and just work through the shit the races brought me. Proud of my effort in them both.
In some ways I guess you could say I'm at peace with it, because frankly, I was having a hard time getting myself motivated to train the way I liked, which was all about pounding, just would have been easier to go out on MY terms, not dictated by a bad tick-tocker. 

So as you know, I had another procedure last week, the Right Heart joy.
Show up on Thursday around noon, check myself in and get prepped. This is supposed to be an easy deal, just run a catheter through my neck into my heart...that's it. ...and frankly, it was pretty uneventful, though I don't remember much, more the waiting around as they found a spot for me. 
I knew, however, that the later they kept pushing my procedure out, the better the chance I would stay overnight, again...and sure enough, I don't head in until 4 or so. Fuck, another hospital stay, at least give me some good news?

...and YES, good news, well, better than I HAVE been getting, but my cardiac index number was at 2.9 (On a scale of 2.6-4.0), I'm on the chart! ...however, another heart ultrasound brought me back to earth...2 words, UG LY. 
So who knows what the hell is going on...seems like everyone is still hinting at a new heart at some point, but I think they want to try a few things first. And by a 'few things', try resting HR HAD been 38 when I first was admitted in March, then 2 weeks ago they set my pacemaker at a minimum of 45, meaning that at night, that bastard is running, keeping me at 45. So now, I guess, it was time to take a gamble, and maybe I'm ready, I don't know...but they now have my minimum HR set at 70! Yep, 70...that's like spinning or walking type it's my resting as well. I even asked my cardiologist if that seemed a bit radical...'What's the worst that can happen...' Well, good point, I guess?
How have I been feeling with the new HR? Honestly, not much different...I still need to nap, I still get dizzy getting off the couch or out of bed...out of breath a lot and tired walking up stairs, but my heart is warm...
(Though on Sunday I rode 28 miles on the MTB on the Regional trail and felt solid, though was pretty beat up on Monday...maybe not one of my brightest moves...)
...nap break...
Woke this morning more at peace than what I was feeling last night, even after only 3 hours of sleep. Last night I was crabby, ANGRY, lonely...ready to beat the shit out of somebody, anybody! 
This feeling of feeling 'lost' really sucks, though I need to keep my health in perspective, as there are a LOT of people who are in a much tougher spot than me. 
This morning I'm thinking more about today's doctors appointment, trying to make/keep a list of 'issues' to bring with me...let's hope I get good news.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Can I?

I'm sitting here, 1:40 in the morning, wide awake...listening to some amazing music, thoughts of an appointment I had on Wednesday that I can't get rid of, or thoughts I don't want to remember.
If anything good will come from this journey I'm on, it's the fact that I'm getting back to the arts...writing more, listening to more music...I even penned my first song the other night...I'll post it soon.
As many of you know, I'm a music junkie, listening to whatever/ dive bar, or vinyl...I have no preference, but I like what I like. I posted a song on my Facebook page earlier today...a stripped down version of I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Sleeping At Last. Haunting...definitely worth a listen.
So, I had another appointment today. This was supposed to happen NEXT Wednesday, but because of my lack of energy and feeling overly lethargic, they moved me up to today/yesterday...I guess since it's past 12, we'll call it yesterday.
I ended up meeting with a doc from the heart failure/transplant team at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northern Hospital. ...he was pretty clear about things, what HE sees, what the team is thinking, but I was impressed that he knew all about my 'case'.
Much of what he said I don't understand, but what was clear is that they are still not diggin' what is going on, SO, at noon-ish on Thursday I will be heading back in for more fun. This time, (...ready for this?) they will perform a Right Heart Catheterization and I'll get a chance to meet with the transplant and LVAD nurses. Wait, what?
The procedure seems easy enough...after an ultrasound on my heart, they'll put me under, but not all the way under, and from what I gather, they'll run a catheter from the right side of my neck down to my heart and my...I forgot that part.
Stolen from Google: 'In a right-heart cath, your doctor guides a special catheter (a small, hollow tube) called a pulmonary artery (PA) catheter to the right side of your heart. He then passes the tube into your pulmonary artery. This is the main artery that carries blood to your lungs.'

Right Heart Catheterization

Well joy joy, doesn't that sound like a hoot.

Sounds like they're looking for heart function? But it sure looks like another overnight stay...I may as well just move in soon!
Three scenarios: 
A - Everything looks good, and maybe I go home soon after, or maybe just a quick 1 night stay. 
2 - I'm iffy-iffy, then I'll likely spend a couple days while they tinker with things.
D - I'm screwed, and I end up getting put on a transplant fast-track. Again, what?
Not sure if we're at THAT point yet, but I am already packed as if I'm staying for at least one night, if not a few. 

'How are you doing, Derek?' Well, honestly, this sucks ass. I don't think the initial shock from March 3rd has even sunk in, and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to be handling things. I feel like I have a clear head, a warm heart, but I get mad, I get sad, and I find myself crying a lot. If not for the support of friends and family, not sure where I'd be. Tonight has been particularly hard...
Why would this happen to me? I'm still thinking that maybe charts were mixed up at some point and that I have the green light to minute I'm training for Leadman, the next thing I know I'm meeting with transplant nurses...WHY???
Life has been SO hard on me, (...or maybe I've made it hard on myself) ...what happens if I don't get the news I want today or Friday, then what? 'You're strong, can do this!'...can I? 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Eyes Wide Open

Sorry about the long delay between blog posts. I'm trying to do a better job, keeping you abreast of my current health status, but life keeps getting in the way.
Like you, I'm still in a bit of shock that my heart isn't digging my body any longer, but honestly, after the way I treated it for so many races, so many times pushing it to the limit, I wouldn't like me either. But I'm Derek Lindstrom...if anything, I was going to be taken down by cancer, or HIV, or die a fiery death doing something dumb...but my heart? Fuck...
Let's go back to Friday May 4th, my latest appointment with my cardiologist at the Heart Institute...just a quick chat about the findings of the Holter monitor I wore for 48 hours in April...I was sure the results would be cool, after all, it had been 3-4 weeks since I wore the damn thing. 
Expecting goods news, but knowing how things have been going, I was ready...but was I really?
Turns out the monitor highlighted that my heart 'paused' 74 times during that 48 hours...some brief, some 3 seconds long, with the longest being 3.6 seconds...? 
Have to be honest here, over those 48 hours, I felt great...just an easy at home crazy workouts, no drinking, no fights (I know, surprising to me as well...)...sounds like the heart quit on me over and over...bastard.
"What does this mean, doc?" ...turns out she wanted to admit me, NOW, late afternoon on Friday, so they can keep a close eye (...and monitor) on me over the weekend so I can be ready for surgery on Monday where I'll get a Medtronic defibrillator and pacemaker combo-pack...what? But I have plans this weekend?, no you don't. 
I debate, saying I'll be fine at home...she has Michaela call me and ask me to please stay. (Michaela, if you don't know, is a dear friend and advocate of mine...helping me with appointments, and helping me realize how dumb it is to go home right now...) ...and Jen, who came with me to this appointment, promised to stay with me over the weekend if I stayed.
So I stay, admitted on Friday. (...but not before Jen broke me out of the joint for a few minutes to grab Panera!)
The weekend is a bit of a blur to me...still not even sure what I'm doing there...I feel fine...well except for the dizziness and crazy resting heart rate...other than that, I'm fine.
Friday night the HR gets down to 31, Saturday night down to 27...what? And in true Derek-form, I wanted to know what the record was...25? I can do that...? Still a joke to me until my eyes are opened on Sunday.
Sunday brought more blood 'donating' (Is there any left?) and an ultrasound/EKG thing...well this should be fun. On my side, jellied-up, the 'test-administrator', though I'm sure he has a title, uses one of those ultrasound 'balls' that they used on Tiffany's belly when she was pregnant with Torun, only this time it's there to show me pictures of my heart...he measured, drew tangents, explained what my heart was/wasn't doing. "See here where the heart looks like it's not doing/pumping anything at all? That's because it's not." Nice, thanks...dick. :)
Later that afternoon I meet with my cardiologist where she said the results show an ejection fraction now at 10-20%, they called it 15...why don't they call it 19, or even 20, I don't know...15 it it is.
How am I feeling? Well, Saturday and Sunday both I walked the halls for over 4 hours...30,000+ steps each day...obsessed? ...still feeling good, and if I hadn't seen the pics of heart, I could argue that I'm ready to go home.
Surgery eventually gets moved to first thing Tuesday morning...but I'm ready. Shaved, prepped, IV, no underpants under my gown, I'm ready to rumble...I'm wheeled into surgery, and then...I'm out.
...and honestly, that's all I remember. I wake to a room full of docs and nurses, and a big bandage on the left side of my upper chest. Guess that was it...but man, I could use the pain-killers, like, NOW!
(Such a pansy...) I get through the rest of the day, drowsy, Jen still there, but I feel like I got hit by a truck. Nauseous, dizzy, tired...I guess I'm not walking the halls today :(

The rest of the week went by so quick...I'm released early Wednesday, Uber home and nap like I've never napped before. I'm sore, nauseous and lonely the rest of Wednesday/Thursday, and made the mistake thinking I was ready to drive on Friday. I made it about 5 minutes driving until I had to stop on the side of the road and vomit...guess I wasn't ready.

So it's Sunday night...I had surgery 5 days ago, and honestly, besides the soreness around the site, maybe a light headache, I feel great! They set my pacemaker to never go below 45, and I know it's too early to tell anything, but I seem to be sleeping better, like I have more air...not even sure how to explain it, almost the opposite of being short of breathe? I'll update you soon after I have a better grasp of what/how I'm feeling post surgery, but so far, thumbs up.
Next step? I still have a bumpy road ahead, but for now, I feel safe knowing that 'I am Derek Lindstrom, and I can do anything!'

Monday, April 30, 2018


It's been 8 weeks...still not a lot of answers, but life is moving on.
I think at some point I was supposed to go through the 7 steps of grief/mourning, whatever they call it, but I feel like I am still in denial...maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and everything will be fine. ...well my ride today was a wake-up call.

The weekend before my stroke (Saturday Feb. 24th) I ran 14 miles...not fast, 8:37 average on a moderately hilly route...felt rock-solid for a guy who hasn't put in a lot of miles over the past 6 months, but getting out to run 14 miles has never been a problem, and it wasn't on this day either.
4 days later I really struggled on a simple hill workout...just chalked it up to being fat and out of shape. Should have listened to my body...3 days later I had my stroke.
Since that time, I really haven't felt bad. The pills seem to be kicking my ass and I seem to have lost a few pounds...but I am still power-walking 6 miles at a crack (Even sneaking in some light 'jogging' during those walks...shhhh) and riding 1-2.5 hours at least 5 times per week...not hard riding, but pushing maybe a tad more than I should.

It was SO nice out today that I decided to ride into work, an 8.5 mile route that I have done before, and holy shit, what a fucking train-wreck. From the first pedal stroke, I had zero power, almost like I haven't been on a bike in years. Medicine catching up with me? Maybe I've been doing too much (Boo)...or maybe...? Rode home after work and was sure not to push it, and I did feel better on the trip home, but wow, this morning sucked...

It's been a night of reflection, both in my personal life, and as an athlete.
As most of you know, I am an open book, wearing my heart on my a fault on occasion. Well you know what, life isn't always a rose sucks sometimes, and this is one of those times.
Why would this happen to ME? I'm Derek Lindstrom... Is this another test?  ...and if so, to what end?  Does God know that I AM a fighter, so maybe it's easier to put this on MY shoulders rather than someone else? Or is this something I deserve for years of maybe not being the nicest guy? Who knows...but it sucks ass.

No running? Ok, I can live with that...for now. I've run my share of miles/races...maybe it's time for someone else to win :) ...but the ride this morning was hard...what if I take a step back and start struggling doing simple things like power-walking, or riding a bike? Fuck, it's just riding a bike!
During my ride this morning I glanced down to the TomTom at one point...7.8 mph...? What? 7.8? You're a sad piece of shit, Derek Lindstrom! I used to RUN that fast!

I think back to only 3 years ago...I really wanted to run the NYC Marathon, and the only way to get in, as using the lottery system is next to impossible, is to run a qualifying time. So, I design a 7 week training plan, head down to San Antonio for the RNR Half Marathon, only needing a 1:32 to get in on an 'elite' bib, and qualify with time to spare...that's how easy it has been for years. Stay fit, and when it's time to race, run through a short training cycle and show up. So, to struggle on an 8 mile bike ride, fuck.

Am I swearing too much? I'm finding myself with a little more love in my 'broken' heart, but I also find myself with a bit of a 'harsh' side now as well...maybe I need the 7 steps?
I think back to my first marathon in 1981...or my first 50 mile trail run in 1989 (On 3 days notice...). Racing in Europe; my first 24 hour mountain bike race; my first Ironman...just go out and do it. Toe the line, race hard and see how you stack up. It was never really that I wanted to win more than the guy next to me, because we all want to win, but I HATED to lose...more than the guy next to me! 

...and in the end, maybe that attitude bit me in the ass?

Life has been a battle for me for so long, but I always had my running/racing. I could use a long run or ride as an escape, my time to just get out. Some people meditate, some smoke weed...I would just run. How do I handle the stress of life now?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"I'm Derek Lindstrom, and I can do anything!"

First, thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by my blog. I have had this blog for the past 8+ years, using it only occasionally as I was training for the 'next big race'...a race that never seemed to happen.
I've run/raced a lot...110 marathons, Ironman, probably nearly 700+ races in total, but over the past 5+ years, I truly have found myself searching for a race, a meaning.
I honestly thought that Leadman 2018 was going to be IT. I was excited, motivated...threw down my $855 to enter. Was training at a D+/C- level for most of the fall/winter, having limited energy to get out. Motivation, none. Always tired with an excuse. What a lazy piece of shit, I would call myself.
Fast forward to Saturday March 3rd, 2018, in Stillwater picking up Torun from swim practice, standing in the lobby of Stillwater Jr. when all of a sudden I felt odd, really light headed, to the point where I needed to lean against a wall so I didn't fall over. No arm movement and couldn't speak, though I was coherent, enough so that I could see and hear Torun, but I had no movement...I'm sure all the swim-moms I was with thought I was drunk. Lasted maybe a minute or so but gradually got feeling and such back, but what the hell was that? "You ok, papa?"  Still not feeling the best a couple of hours later, I drove myself to the ER, just to make sure I was OK to drive.
Park Nicollet in Burnsville, nope, they send me across the parking lot to Fairview where they run me through a hula hoop looking MRI...nothing. "Let's try one more test...", I hate when they say that. Well this MRI shows a dissection(?) in the back of my neck, a tear that could have been pooling blood, or where a clot had formed and let loose, possibly causing a minor stroke, but we need more tests. So, off by ambulance I go, to Fairview Southdale, for the night.
The next morning I'm treated to numerous texts...another MRI, much blood drawn, good god. Ready for this? "Let's try one more test..." Ugh.
This test, a TEE, gets me put out for just a minute, placed on my side and they shove some tube down my esophagus to take a peak at my heart...I came to not knowing they had done anything. My kind of test :)
Now I'm not sure when I got results, whether it was Sunday or Monday, but at least I got news. Severe scaring in the heart, a severely dilated left ventricle, a 6x8 thrombus (clot) in the LV...and an ejection fraction of 23%...wait, what?
I think basically what he was saying is that "You're screwed!"...wait, what?

So here I sit, Thursday April 12th, 2018, with no other news. I've seen 3 cardiologists and a neurologist, with 4 different conclusions. I found a cardiologist at the Heart Institute in Minneapolis that I really like, so I will listen to her...and her advice is to first get an ICD implanted, more to keep me alive in case the ticker stops. The ICD will jump start it, as I understand it. 
After the ICD, it's time for a biopsy to take a tiny chunk of the heart to see what the scaring looks like. After which they will do what they can to get my IF number up, (I'd take a 35 at this point) and if not, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

So, I could use a quick prayer from time to time. I want to grow old to see the kids graduate from high school, to get married...maybe get back to the point where I can jog with them, though those days may be done :(

Yea, no running, limited riding, and easy riding. I'm on blood thinners to help with the clotting, and I think they're afraid I may fall down, get a cut and bleed out...? Don't they know who I am? I'm Derek Lindstrom...I don't fall :)

That attitude, which has worked well for me for years..."I'm Derek Lindstrom, and I can do anything!" attitude needed to race well, to push through another hard workout. I remember riding with the Gear West Tri Team June of 2016, a ride that I will always remember, as will Jordan Roby. I show up ready to rumble, pushing the pace from the start, a KOM on Game Farm Road, and I pushed hard for 40+ miles...pushing, pushing, pushing, and I remember telling myself a couple of times on that ride, when I was going to be dropped, that "I'm Derek Lindstrom, and I can do this...I can pound these guys into the ground!"
Worked well THAT day, and on too many runs to count over the years...well, that attitude may have sucked the life out of me. So many times over the past few years I would suck up a workout, push through, pound, push, whether I had the energy to pound or not...turns out I did not, and that I was struggling because I was sick. But how was I to know? I assumed I was just getting older and losing motivation...turns out I was tired and struggling because my IF was half of that of other runners/riders. ...suppose that should make me feel better, but it doesn't.

Gotta run now, but I hope you take time to pop in and read from time to's going to be a battle, both physically AND emotionally. Reading that almost 40% of patients with heart issues such as mine run into depression, well I'm not going to let that happen...I'm Derek Lindstrom, for crying out loud!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hit the reset button...

Seems to be the theme, run/race well for a bit, only to get dinged up.  So here I sit, 3 months after my fibula stress fracture...chomping at the bit to get out there and run!
I ran 3 easy miles last night, but it was an ugly/painful 3 miles...pain at the fracture mark, only to move down into my ankle at around mile marker 1.
I have been staying fit (12.5 hourz last week) by spinning at Life Time, lifting, core, powerwalking while hauling a 90 pound sled in the cold.  I feel fit, strong...and ready to rumble, except for this damn leg. 
So, Boston?  Still not sure...if I can heal up quick, put in a little quality...maybe a long run or 2, I'll toe the line and roll the dice.  I won't be expecting anything, but to get to Boston again to run, vacation...visit with BPEC Race Team members.  I am registered and we have our hotel booked...besides the leg, I am ready.
What else has been happening? 
Race calendar for 2014?  I'm still thinking...if/when I get healthy, here is a quick list:
* Boston Marathon
* Afton Trail 25K (Pace)
* Voyageur 50 Miler
* Leadville 100 Miler
* St. George Marathon
* Ironman or 70.3?  How about 1 mile on the track?  So many races, so little time...

I'll try to be better at updating the blog this Spring...promise :)


Happy Thursday...but wow, where did the week/month go? Memorial Day weekend already? I DO like the fact that summer/warmth is here, but it&#...