Dear Blog Friends, The Cardiac Catheter Ablation on Nov. 3, 2020 is OVER and I am home doing okay. Thank so many many of you in the Blog and Facebook world for praying for success for me. I could 'feel' your love and I needed it.
At age 78, any kind of surgery or procedure is a risk --but I was willing to take that risk hoping that it would control my terrible Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation so that I could get back to a life that I want to live.
SO---I made it through, but even now (5 days later), I will admit that this was the HARDEST procedure I have ever had. It was very similar to the one I had 1.5 years ago --but this one just seemed to take its toll on me. I just hope I don't EVER have to have another one!
My new doctor said it was an 80% success --but there were a couple of areas in my heart he couldn't 'fix' due to the fact that it might have caused other damage. I like my doctor --and he seemed disappointed that he couldn't give me 100% success. He said that I may have to continue taking medications (which cause me so many other side effects such as stomach issues, eye problems, etc.) in order to keep the A Fib from coming back.
My response: I'll take the 80% --and pray for the best. BUT--I hate the idea of having to continue taking medication in order to stay in Normal Sinus Rhythm. But---I need to do what I need to do in order to stay alive and kicking!!!!
This is a really interesting book for anyone who wants to learn more about A Fib and Ablations, and especially what Steve Ryan says about doctors and people thinking that A Fib is no big deal and that it can just be ignored.... There are MANY types of A Fib and many people have one type or another. Some people only have problems with heart rate and others have the heart rhythm problem. Some can tolerate medications so that works for them. If one has problems with LOW heart rate, that's when a Pacemaker can help... Some can stay in A Fib constantly and never even feel it... ME? Ha--I'm in the category that I have high heart rate PLUS rapid heart rhythm, and cannot tolerate the heart medications... NOT FUN!!!
My danger when I go in and out of A Fib is possible STROKE. That is why I am on Xarelto (blood thinner) and will be on it (or some blood thinner) for LIFE... The Xarelto doesn't have any side effects except terrible bruising plus the fact I have to be very careful not to bleed... Someday I may qualify for a Watchman, which is a gadget they put in you to prevent strokes. That may help me to get off of the Blood Thinner. BUT--that's in the future IF needed.
My STORY: In early 2018, I was diagnosed with Persistent (ongoing) A Fib... I spent a year totally in A fib --only taking Heart Rate Medications given to me by a Cardiologist to keep my heart rate from going too high or too low... That was a miserable year for me. In 2019, I left my Cardiologist and went to an Electrophysiologist (specialist) asking/begging for help.
When first getting A Fib --I knew NOTHING about any of this. One of
the first things I learned is noting the difference in Heart Rate and
Heart Rhythm, and how it is related to A Fib. Rate of course is how many Beats Per Minute your heart is
beating and Rhythm is the improper or irratic beating (either too fast or too
slow) of the heart. My biggest problem has been a rhythm problem, although when I do go into A Fib, my rate goes high also. Scary for me --and prevents me from doing 'much' travel for fear that I will go into A Fib on a trip/away from home.
I also learned the difference in a Cardiologist and an Electrophysiologist (EP). A Cardiologist works on the plumbing in one's heart and an Electrophysiologist is the electrician of the heart. OH how I wish I had known this when I first got A Fib... I wouldn't have wasted that first year!
With Dr. Bradford (my first EP), I first had a procedure (March of 2019) where they shock the heart, called Cardioversion (which immediately put my heart rhythm back to normal --for the first time, since early 2018). She also put me on an Antiarrhythmic Drug (which I had NEVER been on ) --to help keep my heart rhythm normal. After that in June of 2019, I had my first Ablation --which worked well, and I stayed 'normal' (rate and rhythm) for about 8 months. That is when I told everyone that I had my life back... Felt Normal and GREAT!!!!
BUT--in 2020 (what a year for most of us), I started having what I call A Fib attacks again, off and on with no specific cause/reason. My heart would race and my heart rhythm was very erratic, making me feel horrible until it would quit finally on its own. I had 9 attacks during 2020.
Dr. Bradford moved to North Carolina, so Dr. Meriweather became my doctor. After seeing him for the first time, and having him learn my story and my desire not to take drugs (with horrible side effects), we decided to do another Ablation. SO here I am!!!!!
Sorry to be so LONG and so WORDY ---but IF I still have you with me, the bottom line is: 1. I am doing okay --and will continue to feel better with each day; 2. I will keep moving forward in my life making the adjustments needed, and not give up; 3. I will TRY to stay positive; 4. Please try to understand that A Fib is complicated and many of us are struggling BIGTIME... One person's A Fib is NOT like someone else's.
One more thought: I read that by 2030, there could be as many as 12.1 million people in the United States with some kind of A Fib. As in Cancer and Diabetes and other diseases, more money and time needs to be spent to help those of us dealing with A Fib also.
Here are three links you may be interested in: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation;
Have an awesome week, and thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. I truly hate to complain about having A fib since it is NOTHING as serious as what some of you are going through healthwise. But--it's my story which has altered my wonderful life BIGTIME. Sad thing, as in many diseases, there is NO cure!