Life after ablations - achievements - AF Association

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Life after ablations - achievements

pottypete1 profile image

I was replying to jedimasterlincoln the other day about his successful return to uniform work, fundamentally saying “never let the bas/@rds win”. His is such an uplifting story.

After my last ablation and my hernia operation last year, I have been slowly but surely trying to return to normal physical life. It is never going to be like it was before because I have conductivity problems which lead to severe shortness of breath climbing hills or stairs, in fact my EP thinks I would be better off with a pacemaker.

However 5 weeks ago I thought I had put on too much weight, with the sedentary life I was leading, so I started walking every morning early and managed to build up to 5k per day. I have now lost nearly a stone and I weight 13st 9lb.

On Thursday we came to Madeira for a holiday, a place we have been to a number of times in the past. The climate is temperate and never gets too hot or too cold.

We used to like walking along the irrigation channels called Levadas although some have precipitous drops only protected by vegetation such as miles of Agapanthus which of course are beautiful.

The last time we came here was 5 years ago and I was very apprehensive about trying even one of the easier walks as in places there a lots of flights of steps.

Anyway not wishing to be frightened of a challenge, off we went this morning.

Back at the hotel now and all’s well. My health App on my phone states that today I have achieved the following:

Walked 11.4Km

Taken 17885 steps

Walked for 2.30 hours

Climbed the equivalent of 34 flights of steps.

I was very breathless at times and had to keep stopping but I did it.

This time last year I had resigned myself to never being able to do anything like this ever again and was convinced that my days of physical exercise were over.

Never give up is the moral of my tale.


38 Replies
BobD profile image

Well done Pete, so pleased for you. I would love to be able to walk that distance but knees have about 1/2 mile before I have to sit down. Oh for those far off days when I used to run up and down (mainly down ) the fells in the Lakes.

Keep up the good work.

in reply to BobD

? time for some shiny new knees Bob?? I was distance restricted as you describe but I can now walk miles with my new ones - life changing.

Pat x

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob

Yes my wife has bad knees too. So we have great fun walking now what with her knees and my hesitation. She found that by losing some weight it took the pressure off the joints and helped a lot.

She did the Great South Run some years ago but now cannot run and has to be very careful going down steps or on uneven ground. It can be very painful as the cartilage in her knees is not doing its job thus leading to arthritis which she also has very badly in her hands.


Exactly. Well done!



A serious amount of steps well done, no doubt lots of beautiful scenery helped. So long as there was a [naughty] ie (coffee shop) at the end, I might just make it - good on you.

Pete that is wonderful news! I'm so pleased to hear how well you've done. Did you feel better after losing weight?

I've walked the levadas too, been up in the chair lift to the botanical gardens and pushed down the hill in those sliding basket things. You know what I mean.

Crumbs where are you off to next?


Yes I do feel much better after losing the weight, I did also adjust my diet by a reducing the carbs.

We took the chair lift to Monte and then walked most of the way to Camacha along the Levada.

I would need GA for the WIcker Toboggan ride. The landing at Funchal airport is enough. It is said to be one of the most testing runways for pilots particularly on windy days with bad crosswinds. On landing all the passengers clapped. It was not good for the heart rate.


Fanbloomintastic Pete, maybe you could get a job with sledge run in Funchal, down hill after all....😉...enjoy the rest of your holiday gently pushing the envelope!

Well done, an achievement and a half. A good lesson for us all, thanks. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Uplifting Pete - so happy to read such a positive post. I often think of what you have been through and it makes my odd discomfort fade away.


That is great stuff. A huge pat on the back for true grit!

Good on ya Pete!

Congratulations! Brilliant. That is lovely to read. Brought a smile to my face.

That's brilliant. Thiugh next tme you lose weight don't go on holiday somewhere famous fior cake...

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to DueNorth


It is not so much the cake it is the tempting hotel food. I am being as good as I can with trying not to eat too much of the wrong things.

We are only here for 7 nights so should be able to continue my new regime when I get home later this week.


I can recommend Reids Palace for afternoon tea, expensive but well worth it for the experience.

Thanks Jean

We are at The Cliff Bay Hotel right next to Reids. I can see it from our balcony window.

Because we have been regular customers we get a very good afternoon tea here too in our deal.

Of course I also have to respect my new health regime too. 😜


Sounds like yours is a good hotel to stay. From what I can remember we sat on the balcony overlooking the garden and sea at Reids and were served by white coated waiters, I love special places and prefer spending money on eating rather than alcohol. Will look up your hotel.

You're on holiday and are allowed to forget about eating healthily for one week. You have to get your money's worth! Lol.

Have a lovely time.


Well.done Pete! You story ,as well as Jedi,epitomises fighting spirit.....and you are always supporting others on here.

I hope you enjoy your holiday


wishes and thank you xx

17,885 steps. Inspirational stuff - keep it going when you get back . I have a 'walk 30 step then stop and blow' rule for going uphill. Have just got back from slowly trundling around Austria - the man who invented ski/chair lifts should be given a shed load of medals.. but they have all got cafes at the top selling cakes and coffee..

Haven't been to Madeira but it is very tempting and my wife would like to go. When is the best time of the year to go?

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to Ianc2

Although Madeira never gets very cold winter circa 16-20 day it can be very wet in the winter.

I think from June to October is best but August is normally the hottest so I avoid August sometimes 25 - 30, it never gets as hot as the Mediterranean which is why it is so comfortable.

Your idea on the steps uphill is worth remembering, I did have to keep stopping going up steps but not planning, it was of necessity.

My heart problem of poor conductivity means that during a lot of my resting moments, especially at night my heart rate is in the 40s. The consequence is that when I put it under pressure by serious exertion I quickly get very breathless and when I stop I perspire significantly. Luckily I don’t suffer BO but it is still quite an unpleasant phenomenon.


Well done, it just shows that sometimes it’s our heads telling us we can’t do it. It’s sounds a lovely place. I probably walk that many steps in a year 🤣

Well done! Onwards and upwards!

thank you Pete for your uplifting message!

What an inspiring post Pete - well done on everything you have achieved! Though, as a very nervous flyer you have just highlighted an airport I should never travel to. I once flew into Innsbrook on my own for work, same problem there, I thought the plane was going to break up midair. I had to cancel my appointment that night and spent the time trying to convince my husband to find out times and costs of travelling home by train. In the event it was fine.

Like a lot of things, being nervous of flying is a natural thing.

Rather like when we try to not go into blind panic when AF rears it’s ugly head human nature being what it is we should not allow the uncontrollable mind games get the better of us and send us into panic mode.

Regarding nervous flying I tell myself that although the airport may sometimes be difficult, the pilot has to also get it right at all the easier airports too.


I was curious and just checked and on a short list of 20, both Innsbruck and Funchal airports are listed as extremely challenging for pilots due to cross winds and terrain, in fact only specially trained pilots are allowed to fly into Innsbruck.

They are specially trained to land at Funchal (or to give it its correct name “Christian Ronaldo Airport) too. Until 1986 the runway was much shorter. It is said to be the 3rd most dangerous in Europe and 9th most dangerous in the world.

Having now frightened you it had to be said, all take offs and landings must have been successful in all the years or we would have heard about it.

If the pilot is unable to land they have to divert to Porto Santo military airport nearby.

Worth it as far as we are concerned.


Keep up the good work. After my ablation for flutters in August, it has taken me about 10 months to get back into my normal walking pattern. I thought I was the only person to have this problem, but my PCP said it can take a while to get better:) Have a wonderful day

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to dwright12

It is almost 2 years for me since my last ablation in August 2017 and it has been a very long and hard path to tread.

Admittedly I had a hernia last year and had to wait 6 months for the hernia repair operation followed by the convalescence from that. This didn’t help.


I guess we are on the mend now:)

Well done Pete! A very positive message for us all.

Im so pleased you have managed to do what you want ed to do. You must feel satisfied. I think sometimes we just have to suck it and see! I know that my AF can start when Im sitting doing nothing or equally when Im walking up a hill, so I might just aswell carry on within reason otherwise we are just exsisting. X

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to dedeottie

A cautionary tale.

I think you are right but it is easier said than done. It is sometimes mind over matter.

However it is also very important to try and know your limits.

I used to be a very strong swimmer and I would happily go for a swim in the sea here. I had also had decided that my days were over for that pleasure.

However after my successful walk I foolishly decided to climb down the ladder and give it a go yesterday. There is no beach here so it is instantly very deep water.

It was a good job the safe area controlled was delineated with a rope. Within seconds of letting go of the ladder I had drifted about 6 feet and it really was as much as I could do to swim straight back to the ladder.

I was aware that my blood pressure had shot through the roof as my tinnitus kicked off at >100db.

I managed to climb back up the ladder and was thankful that the rope had been there otherwise I may not have been here as the lifeguard was typically chatting.

Moral: know your limits.

Pete 😀

Oops, a lesson learned I guess. I was also a very strong swimmer but dont enjoy swimming slowly( within my limits) not long ago I decided to give some serious length swimming another whirl. Oh dear me , I should have left that firmly in the past because I just couldnt do it. I was exhausted after only a few lengths and could feel my heart rate going up by the minute. So Im back to my walking and low level gym activities. However I am finding that Im enjoying some of the weights machines at the gym. I guess its just trial and error. As long as we are doing something that satisfies the desire to do physical activity, we cant go wrong (I hope!). X

Very well done you!

My plan after returning to my full contracted role is to walk more - I used to regularly hit 8 miles a day at work and 5 on my days off - and lose the weight I've gained in the last year through desk work and trepidation about going too far out and about and getting into difficulty.

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