Friday, May 18, 2018
On Wednesday they will finally put a pacer in me. Have been expecting this for some time. I will have the procedure at 2 PM mountain time. I will be awake for it. They will first open a vessel in my neck and feed two electrical lines down into my right ventrical and left aorta. They then do a small charge to see that conduction occurs and the lines are seated. Then they make a small slit under you collar bone, attach the lines, and test it. The last step is to slide the silver dollar sized pacemaker into the pocket under your collar bone, and sew it up. After that is accomplished, they will make a small pen sized incision in my pec to remove the loop recorder that has been in place for the past 13 months.
Not concerned about being awake for it. They give you stupid pills to relax you. Did that for the catherization. They need you awake so that if you feel any pain during any of it you can inform them. The hard part is another recovery. For two weeks, not allowed to raise my arm over my head or lift anything heavier than a milk carton. Don't know why they always use that analogy. Then I can at least do some walking for two more weeks, and then I am free to go back to any and all exercise activities. Doc said I wouldn't try to do heavy exercises or squats though, as this can push the pacer out of its pocket. I said look at me.....do you think I do that?
So that is that for now. This pacemaker will stop my bradycardia where my HR drops into the low 30's. It will be set somewhere between 50-60. Secondly, it will recognize the problem that appears often to trigger much of my afib, and that is PVC's. I have more of those than my current Afib load of around 1.5%. Thirdly, this pacemaker has something called reactive ATP which is supposed to reduce afib reactions, so all in all, am hoping this gives me some degree of exercise tolerance that I currently don"t have. The pacer battery should go 10-13 years, longer than I will be alive, is bluetooth encrypted/secured to allow them to use a smart phone to change settings, upgrade, and read data. Had to make sure Deb couldn't be able to shut me off with her iphone! So that is that!
Friday, April 13, 2018
Had Cataract surgery on my left eye with a lens implant on Thursday. Tender and a bit blurry yet, but no real pain. Worst part is another 6 days free of exercise and special care. Vision in right eye is 20/20, but this eye appears not to be quite as cooperative. 20/60 a few hours after surgery, and seems sharper today, but certainly not 20/20. Hope is to get to 20/30 and not need to have a contact in that eye, and escape the need for glasses other than readers for close up stuff.....
Heart remains another matter. Still have mild Afib, which in general is not bothersome, except it horribly limits endurance exercise. Heart rate does not seem connected to activity in any meaningful way, and my exercise tolerance is horrid. The other problem remains the bradycardia that occurs in the hour after the exercise ends, falling into the high 30's for now. Before last ablation, when 4 months of work got me to being able to jog 30-40 minutes, it dropped twice to 32 and 31, which does not feel very pleasant. I plan to see the EP after we return from Padre in late may to see where I stand. If the problem remains Afib, I would try one last ablation, but only by Dr. Natale, the nations best, in Austin Texas. If they determine that the problem is more with the AV node, your hearts computer that controls it electrically, I would push for a pacemaker implant to take over the electrical function. So for now, just gotta be patient and do what I can do.....gym and recumbent work fine, walk jogs suck, but I will keep doing what my heart allows..........
Thursday, February 1, 2018
My favorite song from the new Rick Springfield album.
Saw the EP today. First I had to put on a mask cause I foolishly listed that I had a cold/flu. Surprised I wasn't sent to a room to be washed down like a hazmat exercise....
The Medtronic dude came in first and ran all my data. afib is around 6 tenths of one percent. So no real change. He noted I have been having some PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) as well. Not really sure that my exercise heart response is actually afib.
My EP came in and my first question was whether when doing the electrophysiology study prior to the burning, if they were able to determine if my AV node (your heart's spark plug) was scarred as much as the rest of my heart from those forty one years of running abuse. He indicated it appeared to fire properly, but force is impossible to measure. Yes, the inside of my heart is scarred up. He said if the AV node was not working properly, he'd have put a pacer in me.
So, he would like me to let my swollen heart heal a bit and start trying more jog walks. So long as my HR stays below 160, try not to get concerned about it. He thinks it will improve with a level of fitness. If it again goes into the 30's in the hour after exercise, than a pacer is probably coming. The truth is that I have an old heart that is wearing out. Early stages of heart failure. How reversible is it? Only God knows, and God don't care about me......
Friday, December 15, 2017
There's gonna be a time
when it's all behind you
There's gonna come a time
when your hands been played....
There's gonna come a time
when no one will remind you
There's gonna come a time
And that times today....
It's been a cold December thus far after an awesome October and November. We had a nice 20 minute blizzard a week ago, followed by sunshine that melted it all within an hour. Otherwise, the drought remains sadly intact.
It has been 16 days post ablation. Some of the bruising has abated, but it will be two or three months before it fully resolves. Groin pain is gone. Today was the first day at the gym where I could resume spinning on the recumbent. Had to wait until my plugs had healed so that the pull wouldn't cause me to bleed out. Afib is still there, and some days walking are perfect, and some days the fib comes partway into the hike. Will be another 4 to 6 weeks before I find out if it resolves enough to try walk/ jogging. If this fails, my options become much more difficult. Another ablation, a mini maze procedure, and/or a pacemaker. Not worried about what will come......I have dealt with this pretty well and will handle whatever I have to. If this had hit me in my 40's, I would have been a psycho. So, as always, the waiting is the hardest part.....
Thursday, December 7, 2017
See those fault lines
Lay down like land mines
It's hard to relax
So they shaved me up, and drove a bunch of cameras, burning catheters, and fluid catheters inside both sides of my groin up into my heart, and proceeded to burn away. A week later, I am all black and blue, and as the hairs starts growing back, itching like a bitch! Pain in my groin is minimal, and slight burning in my chest has resolved. Did approximate hour long hikes yesterday and today, with today's hike being better, with a lower heart rate and no fibbing. Afib still minimally remains, but seems muted. Hope over the next 8 weeks the ablation lines scar and the afib either resolves or gets so minimal, it doesn't effect my exercise activities. If it does, a pacemaker may still be in my future.
Will probably return to the gym a week from today, but there will be many activities I cannot do. The recumbent will pull on my groin too much, so certain weights and walks on a fully inclined treadmill will be what I will be able to do.
And yes, I DO fill up the sock!
Thursday, November 30, 2017
4 Minutes 30 Seconds.....about how long it took to ejaculate the first time a girl gave me a handie in high school, and yesterday, the exact amount of burning time done on the 13 sites during my ablation. Such a huge rigamarole for all the scheduling, pre testing, meetings with hospital registration and nursing staff, two days at a hotel, and probably a bill to medicare for a couple hundred thousand. The doctor was considering doing a pacemaker implant at the same time as the ablation, but felt confident that he got the remaining offending spots. I would have preferred to get that done. If needed, it will require another month long recovery, and I have had enough of those.
So I am home now safe and sound, and will have to take things very easy for about two weeks. The afib is still there, and as occurred the last time, you have to go two to three months before the burning scars over and you have definite results. Not much I can do about it now other that wait and see, and then take the next steps that are possible in the future. The energy, both physical and psychic, to keep preparing for what you think is coming, valve surgery, pacemakers, ablations, etc, just has worn me down a lot. I feel appropriately powerless, a state that is always uncomfortable for me. So again, will keep trying to just do what I can do......
Thursday, November 2, 2017
But I, ain't done nothing wrong, no
Still I, can't find my way home....
So I saw the EP today and he apologized for his staff dropping the ball on my bradycardia symptoms which caused me to quit my sad little bit of running back at the end of July. He went in depth and said afib is an ugly beast that can hide everywhere in your heart, and even in some places where it is unsafe to ablate, like near your sinus node. My afib, is slightly elevated to one percent from a half a percent back in May, but obviously better than constant, like it was prior to the first ablation. Of course in my lucky case, it is most prominent during exercise, and also results in the occasional bradycardia like I experienced back in July where my heart rate dropped to 31 and 32 respectively after two 40 minute runs. In a funny side note, the medtronic guy says they had me set at 30 as the low alarm, so I missed it by that much......
I am scheduled for another ablation on November 29th.When they are finishing, they will remove the linq loop recorder and also implant the medtronic single chamber pacemaker below my collar bone, and hook me up. This will be set to go off somewhere in the low 40's in case my sinus node tries to kill me again. If ablation two is successful, it may never go off and become a larger more expensive HR tracker. He said it is better to be safe, and since recovery from installation is about two weeks, the same amount of time as from the ablation, why not have the recovery be concurrent. So, I hope this both kills the damn afib and stops the bradycardia, but only time and God will tell.......Will 2018 be the year of the Tom?