Paul Edwards story of how cycling and a heart pacemaker helped return him to robust health
In 2002 I ran the London Marathon and I thought myself as being reasonably fit at this time. I worked as a long distance lorry driver, spending six weeks away from home and delivering to almost every country in western Europe. I enjoyed the job and I made a lot of new friends.
It was during such a trip in 2003 that I started to feel unwell. I had spent the night at Cardiff Gate Services. The following morning I felt my heart slow down to such a rate that I was forced to take a sharp intake of breath. There was no pain with any of this.
Paul cycling home along the North Wales coastal cycle path
Over the next three years the irregular heart beat gradually got worse and worse and after many visits to the doctor, he reluctantly agreed to check my condition properly. The following day I saw the clinic nurse who wired me up to one of those machines that gives a trace of your heart beat. The trace revealed a serious heart defect. Within two days I had an appointment with Mr Waterfield at Bodelwyddan Hospital and five days later my pacemaker was fitted.
I'm now 52 years old. When the pacemaker was fitted my body weight had ballooned to twenty three stone. I now weigh in at sixteen and a half stone. I'm 6' 2". Over the past twelve months, cycling, plus regular visits to the gym, has helped me shed a lot of this weight .
I found cycling hard at first, mainly because I wasn't fit, but I'm a 'stayer': I don't give up easily and right now I'm fitter than I have been for many years. I thought that having a pacemaker fitted was the end of the world. Believe me, it's not. It's changed my world around completely and I'm very grateful to the doctors and nurses who gave me back my quality of life.
My wife of 28 years, Karen, has seen a vast improvement in me. She saw me struggling upstairs and being out of breath at the top - even turning over in bed made me blow a bit!
I'm back to my 'old self' again and enjoying going to work on my bike.
Paul and his wife Karen - their smiles speak volumes