7 Weeks Post Bilateral Thoacoscopic Ablation (mini-maze)
Just reporting in that I am doing much, much better. No episodes of a-fib and heart is staying steady. I've recovered from my pneumonia, an infection that came after that, and have returned to work on a limited schedule. I go 5 hours/4 days a week to start. After being down for most of the 7 weeks, it's been a challenge to be up and about but I am appreciating being able to do it. I nap when I get off work and go to bed early as I don't want to have a health relapse. My tests have suddenly come up that I have hyperthroidism (possibly from the amiondarone). I didn't realize that hyperthyroidism can cause a-fib so who knows what came first. I continue to lose weight (nearly 40 pounds in 2 months) as food tastes off and when I'm tired I get nauseated.
All this said, I am grateful to be feeling better and to be returning to my life as I knew it (only without the a-fib thus far).
Hope the rest of you are doing well! thanks again for the support through this.
I've been thinking about you and wondering how you are. So glad you are getting back to normal and afib free! Congratulations! You should be proud of how you've come thru this very difficult experience. You are very brave. Wishing you continued good luck and health and no afib.
Thank you Delta! Yes, just passed the 7 week, 3 day mark. 7 weeks was when I had problems before, so it feels good to get through those weeks.
How are you doing? I've been thinking about you and hoping you remain a-fib free.
and FORWARD we go...
hugs your way.
Congrats! That's great news about the A-fib. I hope food starts tasting better soon.
Does it feel weird to not have A-fib anymore? It has been 2 weeks since my a-fib ablation and so far my heart has been very quiet and I'm pretty sure I've been A-fib free. It feels so weird because I still expect to feel it when I lie down at night. Just wondering if you've had a similar reaction.
I am having good days and bad days, as time passes it seems more good than bad. Still having stomach problems -- have to watch not to eat large meals or spicy foods, but that is getting better. Some pacs and pvcs, a few small runs of tachy, but so far no afib episodes -- today is 5 weeks out. I see the 2nd opinion EP in 7 weeks -- I am gathering information and trying to map out a plan if and when the next episode occurs. These good reports from you brave ladies are giving me courage that I can manage if I need to have an ablation. Glad you passed the milestone. Wishing you continued good luck!
I am so glad to hear you are doing better and have gotten over the pnemonia (pneumonia). I am sure you will just keep getting stronger and stronger every day but do keep it slow and steady. From what I understand hyperthyroidism can cause and elevated heart rate and if you had it your whole life then I can definitely see it being a factor in your afib. Best of luck getting that under control. Take care and stay strong.
Thank you all. Glad to hear we are doing good on being a-fib free for several weeks. Yes, it is weird. I find myself checking my pulse several times a day just in case. I just read that about hyperthroidism Michelle. I've only tested with it since the surgical ablation and they think it might be from the amiodarone. I see an Endocrinologist on Wednesday. In the meantime, I am enjoying losing weight though the nausea part could go away.
Yes, nearly 8 weeks out now...I didn't find the catheter ablations difficult but it's all comparative and next to the surgical one, they were breezes. Out of work 2 weeks, mainly getting my head back on straight and just feeling energetic again (as I remember).
Delta, be sure and let us know what happens when you see the next doctor.
Wishing you all the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So glad you are continuing to be well and getting stronger. You are an inspiration for the rest of us "might be" ablationees. If this drug increase holds me in nsr, I will stay with it for now. This whole incident has made me appreciate what good health I do have and what I can do. I had a really good day today and if I can string enough of those together, I'll be a happy camper:) Keep doing what you're doing -- it seems to be working! I will let you all know what the 2nd opinion doc says. If I need an ablation, my decision will be whether to go with my current EP at the smaller hospital or go to the large University Hospital we have here. Good points for both, I suppose. I am hoping I do not have to decide right away. Take care -- sending good vibes your way!
Feelin' groovy (to echo the 60's)! Yes, after 8 weeks and 3 days without a-fib I am more cautiously optimistic. My surgery would fit in 2) a bilateral thorascopic mini-maze (or ablation or whatever).
You had the open heart surgery. The recovery time for that is much worse I'm sure. My recovery from the heart was actually better, some pain, but it steadily improved. It was the pneumonia that nearly killed me!
9 weeks a-fib free tomorrow!! I conferred with my Cardio EP today and she wants me to taper off the amiodarone as it is causing hyperthyroidism. It will stay in my body for at least a month so it will get me past the 3 month mark they recommend after heart surgery.
She has okay'ed me to work 4 days a week/6 hours a day, up from 4/5 hours the past 2 weeks. I tried to get her to go to 4/7 but she said that we know stress exacerbates my a-fib and going off the meds, she wants me to have the best possible chance of this working.
I was a little upset because I didn't get paid for a month, and now part-time, but money comes second to health. I will be 66 next month, so will begin SSI in April. It will come back.
Thank you for all your support. I am getting more optimistic as the days go by. Realizing what a little box the a-fib caused me to live in and looking forward to expanding my horizons this next year...
I am SO happy for you! I know you went thru a lot and now it has paid off. You made a good decision in undergoing the surgery. Sometimes we have to make the leap and trust that we will be caught or learn to fly on the way down! Take it easy and cross all the t's and dot all the i's healthwise. You are one brave lady!!! Your posts give me hope and inspiration. Stay well -- I am rooting for you:)
Thank you for your enthusiastic post! How are you doing? What's going on with you?
Heading into 12th week (2 without meds) and feeling good. It's strange to be off heart meds after 14 years but nice too. Another week or so and I'll wear a heart monitor and if all comes back good, then I can go off the blood thinners too. Would be nice not to have blood draws every week!
It's a beautiful sunny day here and I'm going to go for a walk...exercise seems easier now too.
take good care! Prayers your way...
I'm glad you're doing so well. I am 9 weeks out and so far so good. I go for a 2nd opinion 3/21 and back to my EP for an echo and see him 4/12. So, we'll see what the verdict is. I am feeling over-medicated (brain fog and like I weigh a ton) on the Norpace and the Atenolol, saw my pcp today and he said wean off the Atenolol. My thyroid is low, so he increased that. I am considering ablation, so all the success stories are good to hear. I've had afib 10 years. I can see this getting to the point that all the side effects with the meds are no longer a good trade-off. Keep up the good work. Hugs . . .
Thank you and I'm glad you are 9 weeks out and doing well!! I look forward to hearing what happens with your second opinion on 3/21 and the echo on 4/12. I know what you mean about the brain fog, it's one of the chief motivators of my first ablation. Being off all heart meds for 2 weeks now (except the blood thinner), I can say that I feel more present than in 14 years.
I'm still hyperthyroid from the amiodarone even though I've been off of it for nearly 3 weeks (I guess it can take months to leave the body. Also, in checking my thyroid, they found one large nodule and several smaller ones, so I need to have biopsies. The good news is that even if it's thyroid cancer, the survival rate is extremely high. They remove the thyroid and put you on meds for life. (meds again!).
Be sure and let me know what is happening with you. I appreciate your support so much!
My EP mentioned Amiodarone, but I am not crazy about the idea. My Mom was on it with a lot of problems. Also if making you hyperthyroid is a side effect, I definitely would end up with a rapid heartbeat and related problems -- I do not need that:P I am feeling better taking the increased thyroid supplement. I seem to be more alert and feel better physically. I have been resisting taking more, as it always made my heart rate fast and increased my "skips," but maybe I should have tried it sooner. I would hate to think the low thyroid was the cause of my heart issues. I have a lot of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism, so we'll see how it shakes out. Isn't it interesting how they fix one thing and cause another???? Keep us posted on your thyroid diagnosis. I think they are doing great things with thyroid cancer, if it should come to that. Your support is appreciated also -- gives me hope:) Hang in there! Sending good vibes your way . . .
I am glad you are feeling better lately and especially not having the a-fib. Yes, it's confusing and frustrating the way one med helps one thing and then creates whole other problems.
I was leaning over (practically standing on my head) right on an incision spot yesterday and OUCH! Not serious, but hurts as I must have bruised it. Too often, I forget I'm not 21 and can't stand on my head, even if I am holding onto something.
I talk to my original EP Cardio tomorrow about work schedule. I've been on 4 days, 6 hours. I can see going back to 4 days, 8 hours, but hope she will agree to continue the 4 days per week. That Monday is MY day and I gain strength from not having to do anything but take care of me that whole day. As you can tell, I'm very possessive about Mondays:)
Keep in touch and sending hugs your way!
Yes, if I get my head below my heart, I get dizzy. The last 2 years I worked they offered an (unpaid) furlough day, so I took it and had Fridays off, working a 4 day week. I know what you mean about the "me" day. I don't think I could have worked the last 2 years without that extra day off. I hope it works out for you. Take care and don't overdo.
Had a phone appointment with my Cardiac EP last Tuesday. I am going to be on a monitor for 2 weeks, if all looks good, I can go off the warfarin for the first time in 14 years!! Is this exciting or what? I am now working 4 days/8 hours a day. It will take some adjusting to.
When I was messing around last week (nearly standing on my head), I apparently tore some scar tissue. It hurts when I bend over, sit down, or stand up, but I am trying to take it easy so it can heal sooner.
Looking forward to hearing what's going on with you.
hang in, it does get better is my experience.
I hope you can go off the Warfarin. It is a pain -- I am having some problems keeping my INR steady and need to call in tomorrow to ask about increasing my dose. It has to do with other meds affecting it. Sounds like you are back to normal on your work schedule -- it will get easier as you go along. I see the 2nd opinion EP Thursday. They upped my thyroid supplement and I am getting some skips and flutters. I am feeling better tho with the increase as I have been low for some time and was reluctant to change for fear of more irregular beats. I will post what the 2nd EP has to say. You are sounding better and better -- I am glad for you and it gives others hope that we can get better too. What a difference from where you were! Yay!
How did it go with the 2nd opinion EP? I hope they can do some serious healing for you.
I've been on the halter monitor for over a week and no episodes. If I can go another week, no more blood thinners. Which would be good, I've had a blood test every week (at least one) for the past 3 months. Feeling good most of the time, still get tired, but not as much.
I'm glad to say I am maintaining my weight loss, 40 pounds but haven't added any for awhile. I am having radioactive thyroid tests on Wed and Thurs. Depending on what they find, biopsies probably. More annoyed than worried as even if it is thyroid cancer, it's very treatable.
Hope you are well. Do let me know how you are please. I think of you often.
2nd opinion EP wants me to try Rythmol to see if less side effects and says he is not in favor of ablation at this time if the meds will do the job. I was somewhat bummed because I waited 3 months and probably spent -- maybe -- 10 minutes with him. I go for a echo April 1st and then back to my regular EP 4/12. I think I will probably try the Rhythmol for now in hopes my side effects will be better. I am looking into ablation, perhaps at the Cleveland Clinic, which is one of the best places in the country and close by. Logistically, it will be a little harder, but my son said he would help out. I am now just scoping out possibilities. Beaumont Hospital near Detroit has a big new cardiovascular center and has been one of the first places to replace heart valves via catheter and has a robotic ablation system. I am trying to formulate a plan, which is good, because I've been living in limbo for 3 months. I was disappointed in my 2nd opinion doc -- maybe expecting too much. I am attending a heart support group which has been a great help, as has this board. Thanks so much for your help and support. I will let us know what treatment plan I decide on. Glad to hear you are doing well -- I'll be hoping for the best for you. Sounds like you've reached and passed the point where you had the afib return before, so hopefully you are home free -- I'll be keeping a continuing successful recovery for you in my thoughts and prayers. Sending lotsa good thoughts your way:)
I know, how can they make decisions when they hardly talk to you? I've heard only good things about the Cleveland Clinic. How are the side effects on the Rhythmol or is it too soon to tell? Yes, I think they want to keep us on the meds as long as they are working so the ablation will be a next resort. I was on meds for 12 years or so and they kept me only having 1-2 episodes a year and fairly minor ones.
I wish we lived closer as I would love to make you some chicken soup while you are recovering. And watch old reruns of "The Golden Girls" and whatever else we felt like doing. I'm afraid I act like an injured animal when I'm feeling badly, just hide in the house and don't encourage company. But letting people help is a much better solution and I hope you ask for and get the help you need.
Hugs and a Happy Easter to you!
Ectopic (extra) beats are usually caused by excess salt intake, at least for me anyway. The 5 thinks that regulate and strengthen a poor electro-cardio output along the electrical firing pathways is Sleep (mainly growth hormone), Water or proper hydration 5 full minutes before exercising or exerting one self (Generally 9-10 oz. is enough to start) Salt or sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Our body hoards potassium so that's rarely low, We are are always severely low on magnesium, calcium from our bones, from milk, and supplements, keep us adequate, although you should have at least 6 oz. of milk a day or a small supplement, Salt has to be regulated to keep blood pressure down. So, here is what I do and it works. In the beginning, I took chelated magnesium 600 milligrams a day for 2 months then backed off to 400 per day from then on. (be sure you have good kidney here or you'll have real trouble) I increased my sleep to a minimum of 8 hours to sometimes 11 hours a day and even naps during the day. I kept my salt intake low during day and ate something small and salty before bed (one handful of potato chips. Why? Because salt is what produces hydrochloric acid and you stomach is the battery that the heart uses, so some salt before bedtime, helped me to sleep through the night ( I was waking up 6 times a night),
I also sleep on my side which interrupted my sleep apnea which almost everyone has some of, in certain positions. The water helps the blood cells carry more oxygen and also helps the transport of minerals and oxygen into the muscle cells (the Heart) during exercise to avoid skipped or half beats which can lead to atrial fibrillation if you push too hard. The heart has to have the correct amount of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium (salt) to have a strong, reliable electrical pathway during your heart beats. Sleep (human growth hormone) makes the heart repair well, eradicates stress in the heart muscle so that it is not easily excited leading to improper firing. To get extra sleep when you wake up immediately turn over and go back to sleep by never opening your eyes and never seeing the light and keep your mind dead or lightly daydream about nothing, don't think!!! So, in conclusion: Magnesium (chelated) 2 to 3 times a day with each meal, Milk and Calcium with vitamin D supplement, an occasional banana should be ok, very small amount of salty snack before bed should keep heart beat more solid during sleep, sleep on your side always, (sleep apnea), drink water before exercise and one hour and 1/2 before bed, sleep at least 8 hours or more consistently from here on out. Everytime you have dream sleep, some growth hormone is released, that's why after 9 or 10 hours of sleep you'll get a mild to moderate head ache. This all didn't eliminate my arrhythmias but did reduce them alot so I could live with their occasional presence now. At one time they were horrible and I thought I might die in my sleep, because my arrhythmias acted up when my heart was beating slow and when beating really fast, at both ends of my range. Now, I am able to exercise and sustain up to 125 beats a minute, without the half beats that made me have to stop. Through exercise I've brought my "standing" heart rate from 94 bpm to 78 bpm and my resting evening heart rate from 72 bpm to 63 bpm. So my injection fraction has gone up and my heart is pushing out more blood per beat and my muscles are recovering quicker and so am I, from exercise giving me more room on my upper register for more extreme physical work, like hunting, my passion in life. Try this it will help most of you, some dramatically!
P. S. remember, evolution has created a human body that atrophies every 3rd day without severe exercise, meaning 20 minutes of exercise (large muscle groups legs and core) at a sustain rate of 120 to 140 BPM, depending on your age. And, what I've learned: if you want increase muscle mass, endurance, strength or cardiovascular increase, any of these, you have to work out 20 minutes, twice per day, because once per day will only help you maintain your current state, but twice a day and you see gains right away and continue to see them.
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