I have been having one of those months where Im getting ALOT of irregular beats that hurt and Im feeling overy drop, thud and squeeze. Tomorrow Im supposed to go out all day on a boat and stay for a few hours on a private island about 20 minutes off the mainland. It is my absolute worst nightmare since when I get a bad run of skips it scares me to death and I think Im going to have a heart attack. I am diagnosed with just PVC's and PAC's but they come in groups and like I said, they can be painful which is awful! My husband is seriously ready to divorce me becasue I dont like to go anywhere becaseu of them. There is no way Im getting our of going tomorrow so I could really use some advice. I know Ill take my BB before I go but that doesnt always help. Does anyone else get agoraphobic like this? Ay ideas??? THANKS!!
I am guessing that you have seen a cardiologist for your condition and he/she has reassured that you this is not life threatening?
This being so, you just have to try and get on with your life. I am sure it is very frustrating for your spouse to deal with this.... Agoraphobia or panic attacks can only be addressed by facing a situation head on. Each time a situation is faced it gets easier... by running away the uncomfortable feeling you get is only reinforced .. Anti anxiety or SSRI medications (anti-depressants) can help a lot but do not solve the issue...
I think the best thing you can do is go out with your husband on the boat, to the island, accepting that you will feel uncomfortable initially and try and relax into the situation, focus on positive things like how lucky you are to be able to take a boat trip on a beautiful day to a beautiful island. Many people lead such wretched lives through no fault of their own, or are seriously ill, that they would trade places with you in a heart beat (excuse the pun).
Try stopping both coffee and chocolate for a couple of days. I suffered for about 30 years and the day I quit the above it stopped. I still get skipped beats but no panic attacks. I carry a .5 xanax with me and within 15 minutes they are gone. Good luck, I hope I never have another attack and hope you get better......
Carey, I sympathize with you. I think if you feel uncomfortable in going on a boat to an island off the mainland for a few hrs, you shouldn't go because it will just cause you undue anxiety. You are already stressed out just thinking about it. I don't think your husband has much compassion.
On the other hand, nothing could happen on the island and it would give you pride and power that you conquered the fear and went on with it anyway. I feel the same anxiety you do prior to many events, where I imagine the worse happening. I push through and most of the time my fears do not realize themselves. And if they do, I breathe through the palps and I survive. You will too. I had a lot of trepidation prior to going on an Alaskan cruise - the long flight, the extensive transfer to the boat, being on a boat for a week in the middle of nothing, etc. And I had less palps than ever.
I think your husband's frustration is not necessarily lack of compassion, just frustration since he wants to see you do things in life with him. My husband's refusal to just sympathize and let me succumb to my fears and anxiety, I think is a good thing. Thanks to his insisting that we go ahead and do certain things I don't want to do, has resulted in my having wonderful "life" experiences. You can always cover yourself by carrying an Ativan in case you lose yourself in the fear. In the end, you don't know how you'll be unless you try. And even if you go and feel the undesirable, you will survive. Tthis will only give you reassurance for next time when you encounter this fear. You'll remember how you managed being on a boat and on an island and you made it through. Face the fear and do it anyway.
I have an extreme fear of being away from medical help due to my PAC's. I get terrible panic attacks when driving alone or even riding in a vehicle that is far away from help. I refused to get on a boat ride with my students (field trip) last month b/c last year, I had a panic attack while on the boat with them. What's funny is, NO ONE knew I was having a panic attack while I was on the boat. (My partner teacher knows I suffer from them and she had no clue I was having one, I told her afterwards and she said I handled it amazingly well). I had all the terrible feelings but was actually able to control the attack so no one would know. I decided last week that I was no longer going to let panic control me...In the 16 years I've had irregular beats, I have always survived them. I ventured out driving alI alone and have been doing so since last Tuesday. If I feel my heart, I just pick up my cell phone and call someone which takes my mind off of my heart. I now realize if I need to, I can pull over if I feel too bad and call for help. Friday, my husband and I drove to Houston (about an hour and a half from our home) to a graduation at Reliant Stadium...I didn't have one ounce of panic, and believe me, help could not have gotten to me for anything in that afternoon traffic! We drove to Houston all spring for my daughter's softball tourneys, and I had panic everytime we went. You have to face your fears and trust that SHOULD anything happen, your husband is going to get you help. You have to take one day at a time and know that you have the strength and will to overcome this. Like a previous post said, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate and I always travel with cold water and crackers in case I need them. I always bring my xanax in case I need them. Maybe you could take pictures or find someone new to talk to to help keep your mind off of your heart. I hope you have a wonderful day! I wish it was me going out in the boat today...You can do it and you're going to be fine...Let us know how your day went when you return! Best to you!
I'm chiming in late here but I just wanted to wish you luck. I think a lot of us have been in the same situation you are in and it's not a good place. It's very difficult but try not to give in and let panic take over. It will ruin your life. You will difinitely be uncomfortable when you push yourself to go places beyond your "safe zone" but that is the only way you will get over it. Take care and good luck.
Well, I went and I did just fine. I did have alot of anxiety on the way but mnaged through it. I went to see my EP yesterday since I have been having so many skips that im feeling. He said you will never, ever die from PAC's or PVC's. He said something has to happen to your hearts function to make them dangerous. He did say that the PAC's can morph into other things but I cant remember if he said you would have to have heart damage on that as well -- anyone know?
Carey, i just wanted to let you know, I went into a-fib the day before yesterday. I let my husband talk me into going to a much -anticipated family reunion in the hill country of Tx... the closest city is San Antonio about 80 mi away. Normally my "attack" would have stopped by now but I am taking new med and my attack is continuing. I am just about in the panic mode as it is approaching the 48 hr mark and we are not due to leave here till Mon. There are no hospitals anywhere near here except a small one in a little town about 40 mi away. I don't have any clonazapam as my "new" cardiologist Dr didn't want to prescribe any. The reunion is no fun because all I can do is sit around and basically do nothing. I'm worried that this anxiety is keeping me in a-fib longer. Any suggestions? I'm seriously thinking about having a beer or a margarita but I'm afraid it might throw me into a more dangerous rhythm...
Oh my gosh -- Ill say a prayer for you. I dont have A-Fib so I dont know any tricks to snap out of that. If it were me I would call my DR asap and ask him what to do. There is no resaon for you to sit there and suffer.
I have seen it all over 20 years with A-Fib. Anxiety is a major part of it. I ran into something my former cardiologist is involved in called Earthing. So far no arrhythmia for about 7 weeks. It is basically a half sheet at the foot of the bed or could be used on one side. Skin has to touch. It is the same as walking barefoot on earth. When you go on your trip take your shoes off and walk on earth, beach, grass or concrete. The earth has free electrons. They can't get past our shoes because they insultated. There is a book recently released called Earthing, by Ober, Sinatra and Zucker. I could go on. I must say I don't recall more than a few skipped beats during this period. They are doing more research but think it helps reduce arrythimas. Good luck and don't worry.
I certainly have empathy for what you are going through; it is for this purpose that I signed up at Medhelp to hopefully make folks like you feel more at ease.
Your cardiologist is right in informing you PVCs (and PACs) are harmless in healthy hearts. If EKG or Echo indicated a healthy heart, then you are mostly out of the woods.
I say mostly because there is one other concern: make sure your electrolytes are in normal ranges. Low potassium or high calcium can cause dangerous tachyarrhythmias. A simple blood test will rule out these problems.
I feel compelled to write because I have had a history (almost ten years, since I was 21) of PVCs and PACs. A normal EKG and Echo ruled out structural heart problems; thus,I know my heart will not ever degenerate into V-TAC.
However, my potassium levels have gotten dangerously low in the past, in which PVCs could become a problem. For me, getting more potassium and less sodium in the diet has been absolutely key to reducing PACs and PVCs. Oranges, bananas, spinach, and potatoes are high in potassium. Any prepared and processed foods are high in sodium. Also, reducing stress and anxiety (a lot of which can be accomplished by understanding PVCs are not dangerous in a structurally normal heart) will reduce PVC and PAC incidence.
At any rate, you should know with a normal EKG or ECHO and normal blood values there is absolutely no threat of a catastrophic heart event, no matter how frequent these PVCs are. Anthony Faber, Ph.D.
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