A strange episode: Greetings, forum friends... - AF Association

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A strange episode


Greetings, forum friends!

I seem to be in an odd phase of life with AF lately. I suppose it's not too surprising, given the ending of the relationship with my acupuncturist and his treatments a couple of weeks ago. I know that it's ultimately for the best, but I think that my body may be having a bit of trouble adjusting to the absence of what was good for me in those treatments. Plus it's a shock to the system when someone you like and trust basically turns on you. I've had a few delayed waves of sadness and disappointment about that.

The past few days, I've gone from feeling absolutely wonderful one day to waking up in AF, either in the middle of the night or the next morning.

This morning the episode started at 7:30 and lasted 8 hours, and this was after taking 150 mg of Flecainide in total for PIP. My HR was unusually elevated for a few hours, up to 115-125 with really no exertion. I was supposed to go teach my college class, but decided to cancel, as I was concerned about feeling dizzy and driving. All in all, an unusually rough episode till the switch flipped back to NSR and everything changed and now I just feel that zombie-like feeling of fatigue + drugs, like an AF hangover. I ended up taking 25 mg total of Toprol, which is a lot for me, but it did ultimately bring down my HR to normal. Huge relief! I feel so anxious when HR is so high.

It's tough figuring out what to do when I have an episode before a class. A few weeks ago, I taught with my HR up to 115+ the entire time, but the dizziness today really had me concerned.

I'm mainly sharing this because I don't have many people close by to talk to about these episodes and it does feel helpful to share about it. I'm not really looking for advice, but any words of support and kindness you might like to share would be much appreciated. It does make it easier to deal with it all. Thank you for being here.

13 Replies

I hope you’re feeling better soon. I like the phrase “AF hangover”. I’ll add that to my vocabulary. So even though you didn’t teach your class, you taught me something. I sat in a business meeting once in atrial flutter with my HR at 150bpm (I’d tried extra meds which didn’t help). I couldn’t concentrate at all and was in hospital a couple of hours later.

Hidden in reply to Kaz747

Thanks, Kaz. So grateful that things settled down. When the episode is significantly different, with HR so high, it makes me uneasy. I do think it was better for me to stay home than to be out driving. Hoping I can sleep well tonight.

Kaz747 in reply to Hidden

Wishing you sweet dreams 😴

Dear Nella, I feel for ya. I carry the PIP Flec and when I have to take 300MG all at once I feel wiped out for 2 days recovering when I am back in NSR within hours. The Toprol makes me really too tired to barely function so I gave that up early. We all share what you are going thru and we are more like then not when it comes to AF. Some have it worse than others. That sounds like you. I regularly exercise with HB in the high 130's without incident for quite a while. Trying to get my stamina back up to pre AF. Adapt and improvise to your new routine. It'll get better.

Hidden in reply to RiderontheStorm

Thanks for your support and kindness. Wow, 300 mg is a lot. My system is pretty sensitive and I've experienced that too much Flec will actually trigger an episode, so it's tricky. My EP once suggested trying 150 mg PIP initially to stop the episode sooner and it ended up being a 15-hr adventure. I've been good with 100mg + Arnica , with the episode stopping within an hour or 2, so this one spooked me with its intensity and duration.

My HR has actually been good for a while now, so the elevated rate today was concerning and I felt I needed the Toprol to bring it back down. I get so anxious when it's high like that Grateful it did eventually work.I've been trying to slowly build up to the exercise I used to do, which is basically brisk walking. The tricky part is that lately I can feel great while out walking & go a little farther, only to have an episode that night, so I try not to push it too much.

Morning Nella, we're just waking in the UK. The way you feel when you have your attacks of AF is perfectly normal. We all get a little anxious when it strikes because for one thing it's a darned nuisance. For me now after 13 years of attacks I know that the more I concentrate on it the worse it gets. If I should become aware of my heart now I immediately start doing slow, deep breathing, feeling my stomach rise as I inhale. Can you think of anything that may have triggered your attack? Make a list of what it could have been and keep it to check against should you have another. Artificial sweeteners were a sure trigger for me. Will PM you. Jean

Hi Nella. I see you're having a rough time again. Thinking about you 🐱

Hidden in reply to TamlaMotown

Hi TamlaMotown, thanks for your kindness. Feeling much better today and grateful for that. I appreciate being able to bounce back!

So sorry you're having such a bad time. It's such a difficult condition to deal with as you're never sure how long the episode will last or how you'll feel when it's over. If you have the extra worry of your teaching commitment then it's quite an additional pressure on you. I do hope that you're feeling better and understand why you've posted - it's very scary and it's difficult for people who haven't experienced it to know what it feels like.

Really hope you are feeling better now?

Even though we know there are millions of people all over the world suffering with this horrible A.F. - it does make you feel very alone and scared while suffering an attack.

Be calm, try and be happy and count our blessing s when nsr kicks back in eh? 😊

Hidden in reply to Lizie-Loo2013

Thanks, Lizie-Loo. It's an odd little chapter. More frequent episodes, yet I'm feeling better in between than I have before. I'm in the process of sorting out possible triggers. I appreciate your kindness and support. It helps!

Were your acupuncture treatments for your Afib and if so, what was done? I've had very positive results from acupuncture for occasional lower back issues but hadn't thought of it as being of potential help for my occasional Afib attacks.

I live in Hawaii but am currently at a second residence I keep in Berkeley. If you were successfully treated in No. Cal. for Afib I would be tempted to ask who you went to if it didn't sound from your posting that he is a difficult person to work with.


Hi HiloHairy,

Well, isn't this interesting...I'm in Berkeley, too! I just decided last night to start researching local acupuncturists to see if there are any who have experience treating AF.

I've had acupuncture off and on over the years, but started working with my now former practitioner 2 years ago. I intuitively knew it would be helpful. At the time, my immune system was rather weak, which was the result of the ablation I'd had at the end of 2013. It did stop the AF episodes, but packed a punch on my immune system.

So he set about strengthening me in general through the weekly treatments and the various herbal formulations he prescribed. This combination really did help me a lot. I still take an Herbal Anti-Viral and have literally not had so much as a sniffle in 2 years. If I feel the slightest bit weak, like something might be hitting me, I take more of the AVR and it goes in and basically eats up any virus. Amazing stuff. Fortunately, I've connected with a lovely acupuncturist who is willing to be my source for these herbs, since patients can't buy directly from the company. I just bought a 5-month supply at the wholesale price, so feel good about that.

In 2017, a series of stressful encounters with a few different people in the timespan of a few weeks nailed my heart and the AF episodes started occurring again. The same acupuncturist treated me, adding herbs to nurture my heart and keep the blood moving and calm my system.

At the end of 2017, I had my 2nd ablation, this time with the support of acupuncture and herbs, so it was an interesting chance to see what difference it made in the overall experience. This ablation was done by a different EP from my first, in a practice that prides itself on updating their ablation technology. For instance, they only poke one hole in the groin rather than 2 and their ablations only take around 2 hours. They do this to make it as comfortable as possible for the patient.

The 2nd ablation experience really was great. I woke up feeling reborn free of the awful symptoms. Because they were so fast, I wasn't in such a fog from anesthesia. I'm sure the acupuncture helped in that my system was stronger in general.

Another way I was helped by the acupuncture was in detoxing from the anesthesia and medications. Treatments and herbs have helped with this. I still take a blend to detox the kidney from the effects of Flecainide.

So that was all great, but the past few months have left me confused, at times sure acupuncture was really helping and at other times wondering if the herbs were making it worse.

I kept having episodes after the ablation, maybe once a week. A couple of months into my recovery, I discovered that I should not have been taking the 2nd dose of herbs past a certain time in the day (which the guy had never told me!!), so I was unwittingly making it harder on myself. The herbs were causing insomnia and then AF would be triggered. That was annoying.

The treatments have always been very helpful in helping my body recover after an episode. It's common post-episode for the mid-back area to be really tight. The heart qi gets all locked up during an episode. He'd sometimes use cupping to free it up and get the qi moving again. The episodes were really not strong at all and were tolerable.

Then a dermatologist gave me a steroid cream without fully discussing it and that definitely set me back in terms of recovery from the ablation. The acupuncturist helped detox me from that, but I never have fully recovered from the good progress I'd been making.

And then some of the herbs seemed to actually be bugging my heart and I was paying a small fortune for the combination of all of them. I wondered if somehow they were contributing to the episodes getting triggered.

Then I had a few weeks of dealing with practitioner's changing behavior and odd communication, the lead up to him complaining about my insurance and kicking me out. It's sure hard to relax when the practitioner seems to be playing mind games.

So now I've gone a few weeks with no acupuncture and I'm concerned about having episodes more frequently. I'd like to see if starting fresh with another practitioner who has treated AF will help lessen the frequency of the episodes. I can see how the post-episode treatment of unlocking the tension does help.

Also, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (York Cardiologist, not the American Dr. Sanjay Gupta) has a few videos on YouTube about acupuncture and AF.

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