Sit down, get a cup of tea and read on if you have the stamina.
On the AF/Atrial Tachycardia front I can report that I have had no AF since my heart converted to Atrial Tachycardia early June and have had no Atrial Tachycardia to speak of since the ablation (No. 7) - 10 weeks ago. I do however get a number of ectopic beats each day that do frighten me somewhat despite my logical brain saying it is normal. Try telling my brain that. However, it is now approximately 5 ½ months without AF - a record for me in recent history.
Following the last ablation my concern was how to manage my convalescence.
Many ask the question of how soon they should start be more active after an ablation.
On this occasion for the first time I was able to really take it very easy for the first couple of weeks and rest as much as possible – Bob’s rules. I had found this so difficult in the past due to pressure of work and also my severe allergies associated with the sticker glue that had made my life a living hell on previous occasions. Having ice cold showers in the middle of the night to stop severe itching is probably not the best way to treat a body that has endured such a trauma to the heart. I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful anesthetist who I had met before who micro managed my care during the ablation thus avoiding any allergic reaction at all.
After the first two weeks I began to take small leisurely walks of up to 3k on level and even ground and I also engaged in more of my work. As the weeks passed I increased the walk to around 5k with some small areas of the walk uphill. This I found more difficult on the sloping sections. It was not so much a case of being out of breath but more a case of my legs running out of energy.
I thought this might be to do with my heart not being as elastic as when I was young and it seemed that maybe my body was finding it difficult to oxygenate my legs. I was really plodding and had to stop regularly. This improved and I started doing 5k walks 2 or 3 times a week and I was able to take of the sloping sections more easily.
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I took a four day break in South Devon and on day one we decided to undertake a walk that involved some level ground but also some much more strenuous sections on an area of the South Hams called Bolberry Down. In this section there was more uphill than level ground and although to start with I managed very well without pushing too hard but as each extra tough section came upon us I became less and less able to walk. Again it was not a case of breathlessness but more a feeling that my legs would not carry me. I really did plod this time.
I have decided that this was too much too soon and now am only going to do the mediocre walks but to try and slowly increase the work rate. I am now not sure what my limitations are and will have a discussion with my EP Consultant in December when I have my follow up appointment, hopefully I will be able to get some more guidance.
I have had 3 or 4 incidences of high heart rate that was slow to return to a slower rate was when I was in stressful situations and once when I had a sneezing fit. On one occasion the rate increased x 2 from my normal resting rate and it took about 3 hours to return to my normal rate. It was very worrying and indeed on the last occasion on Sunday last I had a panic attack and was shaking from head to foot. I think it was that fear that we all get of “here we go it’s back again.
In conclusion I think that we can all increase our exercise gradually and we should always listen to our bodies but at the same time it is important to try and avoid stress. The latter is easier said than done.