I am not usually a fan of forums especially when it comes to health as sometimes you can read too much, but I have been surprised with this community and the great advice fellow AF sufferers have given.
I’m a 41 year old male, who up until last October lived a normal life.
So I was a police officer up until 2 years ago, and I was active and fit as you can imagine. I had been diagnosed with 2 TIA in 2010 and despite extensive neurological examinations and tests the cause was never found. I couldn’t even recall when they might have occurred.
So I was also referred to a cardiologist to see if that area was the cause of the TIA. I was then diagnosed with Bi-Cuspid Valve, which is now monitored annually. My BP and resting HR is usually as good as you would want at an average of 110/70 and 55-60 bpm.
But I constantly had lethargy which over the last few years has worsened considerably. I also get a lot of chest infection despite not being a smoker. Often I feel pretty awful with headaches especially in the morning. I get a lull at around 2pm daily and often find myself falling asleep if not at work.
One day at work I was called to a large fight and I saw a man with a knife attempting to stab another male, so I ran over and began attempting to get the knife from the attacker and whilst doing so I felt a feeling in my chest and I could only describe it as a quiver in my heart. But I had no time to think about it as I was in the middle of a life or death situation. I managed to secure the suspect and after a minute or so the feeling went. I put it down to fight or flight and the adrenaline of the situation. Then one evening I felt the same sensation whilst in bed, but it lasted only 15 seconds.
I was baffled by this and never sought medical advice as it was so short lived on both occasions. I then felt for example walking up stairs and talking to someone would cause me to be breathless. Then one evening last October I got up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and coughed sharply as I had a bad chest infection. The next thing I felt was the quivering again. I went back to bed and could feel my chest pounding. My HR was at 130 bpm, and I called 99 after 20 minutes. I was admitted to A&E and placed in the resuscitation unit where I was told I had AF. I was administered Flecinaide intravenously and whilst waiting for it to work I felt like I was passing out and my HR rose to 236 bpm. I was asked to perform vagal manoeuvres and it brought the HR out of the 200’s. I was told I would be cardioverted after 6 hours of waiting for the Flecinaide to work.
I was taken to a ward to wait for the procedure as it was a weekend and no one on the decks. Whilst waiting I fell asleep with sheer exhaustion and woke to find myself back in normal sinus rhythm. I was relieved to say the least, and was kept in for 4 days whilst being monitored. I was released and told I would be seen by a cardiologist and that I was to take 2.5mg of Bisoprolol. This did not agree with me as my BP and normal HR is pretty good, so I felt dizzy and was reduced to 1.25mg. I went to work as normal, but found I had a few episodes where I needed hospital intervention. One such occasion was after seeing the cardiologist who told me I could exercise as normal I was jogging and after about 5 minutes I went into AF. Straight to A&E and Flecinaide administered and this time it worked and within 15 mins I went back into SR.
My employer wanted me signed off work and I refused as I felt I could still work, but after another couple of admissions, I conceded and agreed to meet in the middle with reduced hours and light duties. This seemed to work, but again the AF reared it’s head. Then in March this year I had another episode and my employers Doctors told me I was not fit to be at work, and to be fair they were right. I was signed off and met with my cardiologist who stated I was suffering from A-Fib and A-Flutter and as such would be performing a Cryoballon Isolation Ablation and an RF Ablation.
I was prioritised due to my age and work situation and was admitted on 17th May 2018 for the procedures. I was sent home the following day and despite being sore I instantly felt like a new man. Gone was the lethargy that had plagued me, also gone was the bloated feeling I had after every meal no matter how small. I literally cannot recall feeling this good in the last 10 years. Until last Saturday when I thought I could take my young children bowling and had a very brief episode of AF. It reverted quickly, but whilst I knew I had to expect it at some point it was disappointing when it came.
I think every day since I have been getting AF episodes, whether lying in bed, on the sofa, walking. So I have decided to follow complete rest for the remaining 2 weeks I have off. But today I have been getting severe pains around my sternum and abdominal pains so I went to my GP who had a good feel around and believes the Rivoroxoban has caused my intestine to become inflamed. So I am taking 40mg of Ompeprazole as of today.
It’s amazing what a difference a week makes, and I feel both mentally and physically back to how I was before the ablation. I purchased an AliveKor EKG monitor today just to keep a record of when I go into AF. I am off the Flecinaide unless things do not improve, but I feel tired both mentally and physically.
It is so frustrating having two young children and when they ask you to play with them, you either have to say no or limit the amount you do with them. My partner I think is sick of me being miserable and I cannot blame her.
Part of me realises this is a long process and I am more than happy to be ablated again if required, just to get some normality back to my life, but I can’t help thinking “is this it, is this how my life is now?” I find that the hardest to deal with.
Well thanks for reading if you made it this far and I look forward to speaking with some of you.