I'm really sad seeing some of the posts on here, since it reminds me of what did happen with me, and how much worse it could have been had I not insisted on certain things and finally taken matters into my own hands and went for a private ablation.
There are now many much more knowledgable Cardios and EPs than when I first had AF (which was 1994, and worsened until I had an ablation in 2002), so if you are lucky enough to have such care then great. But I see that there are still waaaay too many folk getting poor or even the wrong treatment.
My AF worsened over many years and I started reading up prodigiously and educating myself until in about 1998 I discovered from one of these support forums about "vagal AF" which was me totally. By understanding this, I found I could have more of an effect on preventing or terminating AF attacks than the drugs made. I knew I had gastric problems but did not know what they were, and my GP and a G/Ent referral got nowhere. I persisted and eventually I found by chance that I had a wheat intolerance which had clearly been bothering me for years, and all that vagal hyper-stimulation I am sure made my descent into AF worse, or was possibly very much a reason why I "got" AF in the first place. But my doctors at the time did not adopt any particular relevant mode of treatment for me and didn't even seem to know about vagal AF (this unfortunately seems to be still rather too prevalent)
But all the time as my AF progressed from once every few weeks for a couple of hours and unbothersome to eventually nearly full-time and highly symptomatic (the doctors' phrase for giving me serious grief and made me feel awful all the time), the big thing I had heard about was that although ablation was the big new thing at the time (it didn't exist for AF when I first presented) it was accepted that AF ablation was difficult and had a success rate of only 70% or so for paroxysmal AF, and much lower for permanent. I was extremely concerned I was reaching the point where I was becoming permanent (I think I would have been had I stopped Flecainide). I finally took matters into my own hands. I was under a Cardio in London, whom I had been seeing privately, but I even bypassed him and knew of one of the early ablation "names", faxed him and got a date for the operation. Once that had happened I hooked back in via my Cardio (as I needed some pre-tests and a TOE), to normalise it back within the system.
I had my ablation, it failed 2 months later (I knew this was a risk and not unusual), I had a top-up abaltion and I have been AF free now for 15 years.
If your AF is bothering you (and there are plenty for whom it's not really a big deal) sometimes you just have to recognise that the person who you need to listen to is yourself. There are some great doctors out there who have the specific knowledge AND access to good facilities. There are also many other very good doctors who are currently being crushed by the weight of demand but are still trying to do their best. And there are some doctors who do seem to have given up fighting the system. But the more you are in contact with the latter ends of that list, the more essential it is to think about your situation first and take appropriate action.
Good luck all