It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I would brush off the cobwebs on this blog and post an update! I’m happy to report that things have been going really well lately regarding my heart issues. I’ve had mostly good days than bad. The picture I’m using for this blog post summarizes perfectly how I’ve felt the past month or so. It’s been fantastic!
A 25-Day Reprieve from My PVCs and PACs (and of course A-fib too)
In my last post I talked about my continual battle with PVCs and PACs. Shortly after writing that post I was blessed with 25 straight days of no PVCs or PACs – and of course I continued to be free of a-fib thanks to my successful ablation back in March 2015. This was the 25 best days I’ve had since my blanking period after my ablation. It was 25 days of total NSR. It was 25 days of total bliss.
It’s interesting how obsessive us afibbers are over our hearts. I mean, do normal people keep track of how many days their heart works perfectly normal…lol? As I was noting each passing day of NSR I kept wondering when it was going to end. When I got to day 7 I was thinking, “Is this really happening? Have I really gone 7 days without any heart issues? This is awesome! I can’t wait to make it 8 days tomorrow!”
As each day passed I was as giddy as a two-year old in a candy store. I couldn’t have had a bad day if I tried. That’s the beautiful thing about arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, PVCs, or PACs – when they are gone it’s nearly impossible to have a bad day as you’re just thankful to be in NSR! As afibbers, we have a unique perspective on life and an appreciation for just being “normal.” We don’t take our heartbeats for granted!
Not So Fast – My PVCs and PACs Put Me in My Place
Then on the 26th day my PVCs and PACs returned but not in full force. I had periodic episodes throughout the day and when they came they weren’t bad at all. They felt more like a flutter vs. the hardcore heart-pounding PVCs and PACs I usually experience. In short, they weren’t a big deal at all.
However, over the next few days they got really bad. I mean REALLY bad! In fact, for three days straight I had nonstop hardcore PVCs and PACs. It was the worst three days I’ve had since my a-fib days back in 2014. My heart was pounding so hard that I could almost feel my body rock when I lied down in bed. And because of that, I didn’t sleep much over that three day period. It’s kind of hard to sleep when you feel like you have a 15-pound fish flopping in your chest!
I took numerous ECG readings over that three day period with my AliveCor monitor and everything was “normal.” The readings always came back with several PVCs and PACs but no atrial fibrillation or excessive number of PVCs and PACs to be concerned about.
I don’t know what I would do without the AliveCor monitor. It was the one thing that kept me sane during those three days – well that and a lot of prayer. Even though I felt like crap, I had proof that everything was o.k. It gave me peace of mind – even if I felt like my heart was going to explode or stop at any moment! What also kept me going was my faith in God that “this too shall pass.” He has always pulled me through these difficult times so I knew He would take care of me this time too. I just had to be patient.
My PVCs and PACs Pass Once Again
Sure enough, on the fourth night my PVCs and PACs settled down quite a bit. Since I hadn’t slept much the previous three nights I decided to take an Ambien. I don’t like to take Ambien because it usually doesn’t work for me and makes me really groggy the next morning but I was desperate to try anything to get some sleep. That night it worked like magic. I fell asleep quickly and slept almost seven straight hours. I was groggy in the morning but I felt well-rested nonetheless.
After finally getting a decent night of sleep my PVCs and PACs had mostly disappeared. I only had occasional episodes throughout the day and when they struck they weren’t bad at all. It’s been a few days since and I’ve been basically PVC and PAC free! In fact as I write this I feel fantastic. Go figure.
While it sucks battling these PVCs and PACs occasionally, I’m just grateful that I’m blessed with “days off” from them (and from a-fib). Things could be worse. I could have hardcore PVCs and PACs all day, every day. I could still be battling atrial fibrillation. I’ve got it good and I know I’m very fortunate so I have no complaints at all!
I have my annual checkup with my local EP at the end of October. I’m also having an echo done on the same day as a preventative measure. I’m a hypochondriac of sorts so I tend to worry about these PVCs and PACs and what they might be doing to my heart long-term – even though I’ve been assured repeatedly that I have nothing to worry about. And because my dad died of heart failure I’m especially nervous about what might be going on with my heart “behind the scenes.” As a result, I’m having an echo done every year. I don’t expect them to find anything but it will just give me peace of mind.
Other than that, I continue to be a-fib free and life is great! I’ve got a lot of plans for this blog in the coming weeks and months so expect a lot more content – and not just content about me and my heart issues…lol. I want this blog to become more about you! I also have plans to greatly expand this blog and its footprint online.
For starters, I’m working on developing an a-fib forum and I just recently launched a Facebook page to accompany this blog. Be sure to follow the Facebook page as I try to post updates there daily. I’m also kicking around the idea of launching a podcast or some other kind of “audio content.” There’s more to come so stay tuned!
I’ll talk to you soon. Until then, I wish you all well and God Bless!
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Stayed up tonight reading many of your posts. Thanks so much for doing this blog. I’m going to read more of it in the coming days. I was diagnosed with afib about 2.5 years ago. I use AliveCor to confirm I’m in NSR because I too gets PACs and PVCs throughout the day.
I keep thinking I’ve probably had them all my life but now that I’m so ‘heart aware’ I notice every odd beat. I’ve been thinking about an ablation. I’ve seen about 5 highly recommended EPs in Miami but since the Metoprolol and Propafenone (low dosage of each) have kept me episode free for 2 years and without any noticeable side-effect, I’ve chosen to stay on the meds for now (the greater reason later).
My cardio keeps telling me that a small number of PACs and PVCs throughout the day are totally normal. I’m going on a 24-hr heart monitor tomorrow to gauge it properly. I often wonder how many other people have PACs and PVCs and they simply don’t notice it or pay much attention to it since they are not as ‘heart aware’ as us afibbers.
Anyway, I would love to chat with you some time if you don’t mind. It seems to me you have a wealth of information and I could tell you are a real good person.
Now the real reason for my ablation hesitation…I’m 44 and have a wife and 2 young boys so going under the knife for heart surgery (even if it’s become minimally invasive) scares the heck out of me. If I were alone in this world I would certainly consider it, but I can’t fathom the fact of going in and not coming out when my boys expect me to be there. So maybe I’m waiting on the science to get better while the medication appears to be doing a good job :-).
Let me know if you are available to talk some time. All the best to you and your family and may God continue to bless you.
Hey Manny! Thanks for your comments. Glad to hear the meds are working well for you. I’d be more than happy to talk to you privately via email or phone. Please initiate contact with me via my “contact” page. You can find a link to that page at the top right-hand corner of the main menu on this site.
Regarding your concern about having an ablation, I totally understand. That’s why it’s so important to find the most experienced EP you can find. I flew across the country to have my ablation done because the EP I chose was literally one of the best (if not THE best) in the world. Because of his experience, I wasn’t scared at all. Nervous, yes, but not scared.
I hope the meds continue to work for you for many years to come but if they start failing you, don’t hesitate to have an ablation. It’s your best shot at a true cure and a life without any meds!
I wish you well!
Yeah, those ectopics are a real pain in the ***. I’ve been quieting down lately with the cooler weather and not being so ridiculously dehydrated. July/August was bad – you can’t drink enough Gatorade! Love it when I get a back-to-back duo of PACs as I’m running up a hill – feels like I’m going down like a ton of bricks!
Stay on top of the supplements as we all know and try to find your inner zen. Don’t worry!
Hey Jeff. Glad to hear things have settled down some for you. It’s interesting you note that your palpitations were worse in the summer. I’ve been keeping a journal since early this spring. I note all heart activity (good or bad) on a nightly basis. Once I have a year of “data,” I’m going to see if there are any patterns to my palpitations.
I’ve talked to Shannon over at afibbers.org about this and he’s convinced there is definitely a “seasonality” to a-fib and palpitations. However, he says we may not all experience the same cycles. For example, one person may discover that winter is really bad for them but summer is fine. Then someone else might be just the opposite.
Glad for you, Travis, just keep going! Even most of the doctors say that PACs are not necessarily Afib related, in fact they could be something rather different. I’m pretty damn sure they are. I’m exactly in the same condition as yours – Afib free but constant PACs. Not so many, but annoying enough. I guess it’s just the way to say and to remember we’re not done yet with afib.
Thanks Marius. I’m sure you agree with me but it’s much better to battle PVCs and PACs than a-fib! As bad as my palpitations get at times, I’m just thankful I’m not battling atrial fibrillation right now:)
Have a good one!
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