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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A-fib Diaries!


If the browns lose out, they could tie the lions as the only 16 game winless team in NFL history....quite an accomplishment!
I know it has been a while since a posting, primarily because I needed to educate myself before taking on this  topic. On Nov 7th, I went into persistent A-fib. Didn't know I was in it. Just knew something was terribly wrong with my pulse. I normally take about 20 minutes of running to get into the 120's on heart rate, and unless doing speed work, stay generally below 130. I would run a quarter mile and have a HR of 135, and a half mile later, 155. Had to stop and walk, and it wouldn't drop below 120 in recovery. Thought maybe I was getting the flu or something. On my 65th birthday, I was seeing my GP for the results of some tests and to redo scripts, and after doing an EKG, he immediately sent me over to a cardiologist who told me I was in A-fib. He did an echo cardiogram and said that I had both A-fib and arterial flutter. So both the right and left chambers of my upper heart were beating iradically. He immediately put me on xralta, a blood thinner, to reduce the risk of stroke. Since then, I have seen him and another cardiologist in El Paso, and researched my ass of about this condition. I have some congenital genetic heart issues that helped set this up. It is a progressive disorder that must be addressed, or it will take a good 5 years or so off of your life. The protocol ahead is as follows. I started a rhythm medicine yesterday that I will take for two weeks ahead of Electric cardio version that is scheduled for Jan 3rd 2017. At that time, they will attempt to use shock to restore my normal sinus rhythm. Odds of this working are almost 100 percent. Problem is, that staying in rhythm is incredibly variable. You can be back in A-fib before you even wake up, or stay in rhythm for a more extended period. Problem is that only about 12% of people stay in sinus rhythm a year out, because the causes of the A-fib have not been addressed. I will remain on rhythm medicine after the cardioversion. The bad part about these medicines is that they all have very nasty side effects, so you don't want to remain on them for too long a period of time. My treatment plan calls for catheter ablation about a month after cardioversion. This procedure places a catheter camera combination into a vein up into your heart where they attempt to burn about 40 sites in your heart to stop these aberrant electrical signals from interfering with the normal signals that run your heart. I jokingly call it the Peyton Manning effect....you are trying to stop him from yelling "Omaha Omaha" and trying to change the play. The procedure takes about two hours, and leaves you feeling like a horse kicked you in the chest. There is a period of three months where you find out if it worked or not. This is how long it takes for the scarring to settle in to stop these nerve firings. Chances are around 60% that it will resolve your A-fib. If not, you can have the procedure done again, and that usually gets you to a resolution of around 85-90%. If that fails, there is a surgical procedure called a mini-matrix process, and then ultimately failing all that, a pacemaker. So that is where I am at. No running or weight lifting for a while, just some daily walks. Feel trapped inside my own body. As the smashing pumpkins once sang, "despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage"!

2 comments:

TerribleTerry said...

well hopefully your cage doesn't become "Obeast" and out of shape since you can't really do much to stay in shape for a while. hang in there pop!

Terrible Dad said...

surely will get out of shape.....trying to walk an hour or so daily and trying to avoid eating much, so we shall see!