I went almost an entire month between my last episode and the episode prior to that. I was hopeful I could continue that good luck and make it to at least mid-to-late February before my next episode. I was confident I was going to make it to at least Valentine’s Day. Well, wishful thinking be damned. The beast struck yet again.
As usual, this one occurred at night. I have to say, getting these episodes at night all the time is really a drag. I’d prefer to have them first thing in the morning or just about any other time of the day, but I digress.
I was sitting in my recliner watching a little TV before going to bed and at 11:45 p.m. my heart just took off. I didn’t do anything to provoke this one either. I didn’t get up suddenly from my chair nor did I sit down suddenly in my chair or bend over. These types of motions are usually the immediate triggers for my episodes. I was literally just sitting there and the next thing I knew I was in atrial fibrillation.
I sat there for 30 minutes finishing my episode of The Game of Thrones (an awesome TV series by the way). I was surprised that the afib wasn’t that intense. I was able to sit there for the full 30 minutes without much discomfort at all. I thought maybe there was a chance I would pop out of it on my own.
Finally at 12:25 a.m., with my heart still pounding erratically away, I figured it was time to head upstairs to take an EKG reading and pop some Flecainide. The AliveCor monitor confirmed what I already knew:
I have to say I was furious after I took the reading – the kind of furious where I was tempted to punch a hole in the wall. I spared the wall but I did do my fair share of cussing and swearing. I was really pissed off for a few reasons. One, I was mad that I wasn’t able to go at least a couple more weeks without an episode. Two, I was tired and wanted to go to sleep so the prospect of being up all night and then being exhausted all the next day upset me. Three, I was just sick and damned tired of dealing with this crap! I had enough so I had to vent a little.
After my mini tirade, I downed 300mg of Flecainide and 600mg of ReMag (a liquid pico-ionic magnesium concentrate) and 360mg of magnesium glycinate capsules. I also took 20 drops of PureCalm. I’ve never taken this much magnesium during an episode so I was a little nervous what was going to happen. I don’t normally take the PureCalm either but I figured I would throw it in to see if it would help relax my mind and body since I was obviously stressed out.
I went back downstairs to sit in my recliner to watch TV. For the next two and half hours I watched the MLB Network. I’m a huge baseball fan so I figured I would use the time to see what was going on in the baseball world. As usual, it was a miserable two and half hours. The episode was pretty intense. And as usual, I had fleeting thoughts that I might have to go to the hospital because there were moments during the episode where I was feeling faint. Luckily those faint feelings only lasted a few seconds and they were far and few between.
Shortly before 3 a.m. I noticed the episode subsiding a little and I was getting too tired to watch TV so I figured I would head to bed. When I got into bed it felt like I had partially converted to normal sinus rhythm. I would feel fine for several minutes and then I’d have an afib run for about 15 seconds. I continued to go in and out of atrial fibrillation for about 15 minutes or so. It was interesting because it was like my heart was fighting to stay in afib – like there was this battle going on between my heart and the Flecainide. Who was going to win? Fortunately, the prescription drug ruled the night and right around 3:30 a.m. I felt normal again, although I still felt an occasional off beat here and there.
Having had enough, I turned the light off and crashed. When I woke up to the alarm at 7:45 a.m. my heart was in normal sinus rhythm and I felt completely normal – never mind I was tired as hell though. Oh well, at least I didn’t have to go to the hospital and for the most part I converted within three hours. That alone is a victory!
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my episodes are all over the place. I guess the only thing that stands out is that I was very tired the entire day and probably a little stressed. In fact I had to take a power nap I was so tired. Lately when I’ve had episodes I’ve also been very tired.
I also felt some “hard” palpitations right at the beginning of my workout at the gym that morning. It wasn’t afib-type palpitations but the kind I’ll get occasionally when I’m really tired. They’ll be really intense and last only a few seconds at a time – and I’ll only experience these palpitations on and off for a few minutes. I suppose they are likely PVCs or PACs. Whatever they were, I distinctively remember having them for just a few minutes right at the beginning of my workout.
After my workout, my day was consumed with atrial fibrillation and my upcoming ablation. The day started with an email exchange with my good friend and FORMER afibber, Steve Ryan. I was telling him I was second guessing my upcoming ablation and that I wasn’t sure I made the right decision. He assured me that I made the right decision and that the best thing I could do is have the ablation. I responded to him that I knew he was right and that I would never cancel the ablation but that I was just getting nervous about the whole thing.
Shortly after those email exchanges I talked to my naturopathic doctor. We discussed the game plan for the month as I approach my ablation. We talked about what supplements I should avoid or cut back on once I start the blood thinners. We also talked about some things I could take this month to prepare mentally and physically for the ablation.
Then a few hours after that conversation, I got a call from Dr. Natale’s nurse to discuss the game plan for the blood thinners I’ll be on this month leading up to the ablation. I was prescribed Eliquis and she was going over the instructions with me and of course I had several questions for her as well. I’ve been dreading this day for a long long time. I’m more afraid of these anticoagulants than I am of the ablation. I just imagine myself “bleeding out” and dying in a pool of blood. I probably watch too many sci-fi shows but I’m scared to death of these damn blood thinners.
She told me I didn’t need to start on them until next week but that I may have to be on them for as long as six months depending on how things go after the ablation. Great, just what I needed to hear…NOT! I just hope things go really well so I can get off of them as quickly as possible. My goal is to be off of them two months after the procedure. I’ll be turning to natural supplements to thin my blood after that. I refuse to take prescription blood thinners any longer than I have to.
Then I spent the better part of the evening researching homes for rent and hotels in the Austin area so we have a place to stay for the ablation. This was very time consuming and somewhat stressful as well because I waited too long to take care of this so a lot of the properties I liked were no longer available. I’m still searching for something!
The point of all this is I was consumed with my atrial fibrillation and the upcoming ablation for most of the day. On top of that I was physically tired all day. I suppose the stress of the upcoming ablation and my concerns about taking blood thinners, along with being physically tired, took its toll and put me into atrial fibrillation at the end of the day.
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I spoke with a good friend from HS the other night who was ablated 6 years ago. No AF and No meds since the procedure. Gave up caffeine and drinking also. His was done at Stony Brook NY. He believed that most who are ablated rush it in the first 2 weeks. He said you have to do absolutely nothing and stay stress free. That would for me mean not to work 1 minute or be involved in any daily decisions. I wonder if you should fly to Bahamas right after and hide for 2 weeks?
The Bahamas sounds pretty nice right about now! Thanks for sharing that success story. I’m definitely going to take it easy the entire MONTH after my ablation. I’m fortunate in that I work from home so it’s easy for me to take it easy. I just have to make sure I don’t get too stressed over work and home stuff. Physically, however, I’ll be just relaxing. I’m also putting together a plethora of supplements I’m going to be taking that first month to help with the inflammation and healing. We shall see how it goes.