How AF is effecting my life

Hi guys, I am new to this forum.

So here goes... when i was 15-16 i started noticing how hard my heart would really pound when doing short bursts of exercise but kind of thought this was normal. I got to the stage where it would really annoy me keep hearing the "whooshing" noise on my ears etc so i went to see my gp and referred me to a cardiologist after telling me it was all in my head and i was just anxious. After my cardiologist gave me 24hr heart monitor the results came back to be fine no abnormalities so i brushed it off and carried on with my life like normal. A few months past and I remember running up stairs and noticing my heart was really skipping beats and adding extra beats so i led on my bed and the out of no where BOOM! My heart felt like it was boldging out my chest and was going crazy i thought i was dying i ran in to my dads room and was shouting dad im having a heart attack! We called an ambulance and was off to a&e was then confirmed it was AFIB. It lasted about 5 hours then went back to sinus rythum. I had gotten so used to my heart pounding that when it went back to sinus rhythm i thought my heart had stopped. I was put on flecinide 50mg as a "pill in the pocket" and bisprolol 5mg after this i noticed i was always sleeping and had no motivation so i stopped taking beta blockers and learned to manage what triggered my af.

A few years passed and no more episodes until i started drinking and it would be the following morning id have an afib attack so i stopped going out with mates on a nights out. I also noticed i would have short afib attacks whilst having intercourse but ive learned to cope with it.

I am now 22 and i just feel my afib getting worse by the day. I get skipped beats all the time and what i think is palpitations. After my last afib attack February last year was the worse one i had been on a night out drinking the following morning i was in a&e with afib like ive never had before i was light headed really trying to catch my breath and a heart beat of 200-230 bpm really thought my heart was going to give up on me it scared me so much. Ever since then i take a low dose of bisprolol 2.5mg and i have completely stopped drinking. Now i just feel my heart is just going to stop beating soon with all the palpitations i have and skipped beats. Touch wood I haven't had an attack since and i have been religious to no alcohol which is annoying because all my mates are going out partying and i feel out of place if i dont drink. I was in a&e last week with apparent atrial flutter. I am just so fed up of feeling like this its killing me slowly i swear. I only turnt 22 a couple days ago surley its not a good thing to be suffering with a heart problem at such a young age? It's seriously knocked my confidence and the countless times i have broke down to my mother is crazy.

I have been offered cardiac ablation at john radcliffe hospital in Oxford in march and im so scared! Does anyone have any tips before my operation and also dealing with afib related anxiety? Im also taking magnesium 125mg per day.

Thanks for your help :)

16 Replies

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  • P.s sorry about the grammer :D

  • So sorry to hear your story Ollie, I really feel for you. Anxiety is part and parcel of this condition and little wonder, it's our hearts after all. But as we are told many times afib won't kill us but it sure feels like it at the time.

    I do hope you have an excellent EP (electrophysiologist) as there are really some amazing doctors out there.

    There is a young ice skater who had this condition and it nearly ended his career. He had an ablation and the change in him was remarkable. I will try and find his name as his story was documented in the press, you may want to read it.

    With regard to anxiety my EP asked my GP to refer me to a clinical psychologist who specialised in health related anxiety. I found this really helpful and she gave me some excellent coping techniques. You could ask for short term meds in the lead up to the ablation which may also help, Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy may help also.

    You have a good future Ollie, the medics will work hard to get you back on track. Have confidence in them. You will get this sorted. Take heart things will get better. Best wishes. X

  • Karen Christensen may be the name you are looking for......good luck Ollie....I can imagine it's very hard not doing all the things young men of your age..but persevere and with the right treatment and sensible, but boring lifestyle changes, you will probably outlive your mates!!

  • Hi Ollie and welcome to our forum. You'll find lots of good advice and support here, because we know exactly how you are feeling and understand your symptoms well.

    Like you, when my AFib first started I wondered if I too would die but guess what people don't generally die of it! That's good news isn't it? However, it really is a hateful condition and the only thing I can console myself with is there are worse things to have e.g. cancer, lose sight or a limb. People have had half their faces eaten away by cancer and thank goodness we still look normal! So I try to be grateful for that and would chose this condition over those.

    Have your tried alcohol free drinks when you go out with your friends?

    I'm glad to hear you are having an ablation, this should really help. I've had three and was so much better with each one. Believe me, you have nothing to worry about having one and you will soon feel so much better. I'm just about feeling back to my normal self before my AF started over 11 years ago.

    Always here for you, so never feel you are alone.

    Big healing hug.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean,

    Thank you for your reply, i am yet to try alcohol free drinks. Im really glad you have had successful ablations. Im just a big worrier as it is my mum tells me that all the time but its just that voice in your head that really gets to me and i think the worse.

  • OK Ollie relax!!

    Yes AF and anxiety are good bedfellows but this is not the end. At your young age ablation MUST be the right answer. A lifetime of drugs is not ideal for anybody let alone a young chap like you. Ablation is a procedure rather than an operation and not too invasive. I had three actually before my AF was sorted nine years ago and I will be 72 in March. Just be aware that it may need repeating and that you will not be leaping about for a few weeks. It takes three months at least for the heart to fully recover after ablation and lots of odd things can happen in that time so don 't despair if they do.

    I suggest that you go to AF Association website and read all about ablation as knowledge is power to fight fear.

    Just a few tips for when you do have your ablation. You will have to lay flat for about four hours after the procedure so make sure that you take into hospital a small bag (bum bag type) to hold your phone, some tissues, lip salve (your lips will be dry)and anything else you think you might need plus also a sport type drinks bottle with tit so you can slurp some cold water laying down. Much better than trying to drink through a straw from a cup!

    Ask us anything here and we will try to help.

    Bob

  • Hi Bob, thank you very much for your advice and your reply.:D

  • Hi Bob, why would more than one ablation be necessary? I mean...shouldn't the first attempt of been successful??

  • You are young and fit Ollie, some people on this site say they were out cycling a few days later. After my ablation last July I felt fine immediately afterwards. It's best to take it easy for a week or so afterwards, depending on how you feel.

    Jean

  • Hi Ollie, sounds like your having a tough time and it's completely understandable. It's sounds like you're trying to take control and that is fantastic - well done. Stopping drinking is a great step I appreciate you feel it's stopping your night outs but it is the right decision.

    Don't worry about the ablation I've had three and would have more. The moment you go into the room where they do the ablation you see the professionalism and relaxed manner of everyone and you know you are in safe hands.

    Anxiety is a key issue and you need to address it otherwise it will be that that holds you back not the AF. You can get counselling from then NHS although there is usually a waiting list. I am currently going through this and with this support AF is not at the front of my mind anymore and my life is coming back. I've also found mindfulness really helpful. I thought it would be rubbish but after a few sessions I can see the benefit. I use the headspace app where you can get a trial for free.

    Good luck and use this site to get more support, help and advice.

  • Hi Ollie try not to get too down about the situation you are in at the moment. I feel for u as my AFIB journey started when I was in my late teens and I have spent 30 years trying different drugs, doses and going out of my mind trying to identify triggers as to why it happens. I am still here ! I am happily married with 2 wonderful kids grown up now and have a great life when in Sinus Rhythm ! My advice to you would be not to waste time trying different drugs like me, if you are offered an ablation go for it. I had my first 3 months ago and today had my follow up appt, still not sure if a total success but it has improved my quality of life, I have to go back and maybe have to have a touch up ablation. The ablation itself I found uncomfortable but will go through it all again if need be. I have gained comfort and great advice from this forum over the past few years and decided to post for the first time after reading your post. There are many wise nice people on this forum ! I wish you good luck and I know it's difficult but keep smiling Cheers Rich ☘️

  • Thanks Rich:) i just hope to get off the beta blockers soon as im just so tired all the time and i have more than 8-9 hours sleep every day and i dont have a stressful job at all i sit in a chair all day basically. You know the one thing i am scared about is my partner and i are expecting a baby in august im so excited but if im tired after getting 8-9 hours sleep now im going to have a massive shock in august so i hope to be off the meds by then.

  • Hi. Ollie

    Big hug first

    Sometimes in life we go through things and yes its awful to think your Afib has started so young

    But please dont despair this is your journey and although you might nit see it yet along the way may be a blessing Somehow thats what i have always noted in life

    I had my first episode at work so i was lucky jn that sense and quickly put into resus in A & E

    I was so upset i have always been fit and healthy ,,,,, but i realised that it was a blessing in disguise as i was studying working doing overtime and running a family i could have had worse

    I pushed my body too far after the shock i completely turn my lifestyle around so j am gratful to afib

    I can understand you being upset about nit going out with your friends

    But trust me not drinking alcohol is the best move you can ever make in your life and when u get older u will realise the blessing 😀

    Maybe as suggested in other post try non alcohol drinks

    I say research and gain knowledge don't be just limited in one school of thought look at all areas

    You are a fit young man remember that 😀🌺keep us posted we all here for u

  • Hi Jamila, thank you for your support:D

  • Ollie Buddy the beta blockers made me feel exactly the same. Go for the ablation that has been offered and by August u maybe feeling on top of the world! Just remember it will get sorted and look forward to the birth of your baby and congratulations! 🎉

  • Thank you very much Richard! I will write a post of my results in march :)

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