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How do I cope with All this (AFIB)?
My name is Rob and I am 43 years old. I was diagnosed with Proxysmal AFIB 23 June 2019. At the time I was a Heavy drinker, Obese, Sleep Apnea you name it. That day changed my life forver. I was 384 pounds, retired military and using ptsd as an excuse to destroy myself. When it hit my wife and two youngest kids were on vacation and I was home with my oldest son. I woke up feeling tired and exuasted and then BAM, hello AFIB. After a trip to the ER and 3 days in the hospital I was released and put on a gambit of medications. I knew I would have to make a change in my life and I did. So far I have lost 90 pounds and have not had a drop of alochol since that day. I eat VERY healthy now and am active to the degree of not raising my heart too high. I still need to lose 120 pounds so I know the road will be long and full of more hospital visits.
The reason I joined this community is because I want to know that I am not alone with this Anxiety. I cannot seem to shake it. I am on meds for it, and have been on meds for PTSD but damn. every little pain or jump in pulse I am at the ER.
I am starting to ease back and realize when something is anxiety and something is not.
I do however have a question for anyone and all in here. I keep having chest pains that feel like little pricks on the upper left side of my chest near my arm pit and around the front. I also have pains that are in the center and on both sides sometimes but mainly near my heart. Had CT Scans, Gamma Scans, Xrays and blood draws and all show nothing so it was diagnosed as Plueracy. Doc put me on a nitro patch in case but holy hell, still happens, and if it is plueracy what is it from?
Anyway, I wish you all the best and suppose I will be in here often. Take care all.
grandscheme, October 30, 2019 8:03am EST
Cabreezy, you rock bigtime! This is wonderful: "So far I have lost 90 pounds and have not had a drop of alochol since that day. I eat VERY healthy now and am active to the degree of not raising my heart too high." Good for you. From my own experience I'm a big believer in taking charge of what we can, in whatever way possible, as self-care helps the process.
Are you also treating the apnea? Many people here will say that a CPAP has made a difference. I have very very mild apnea but am getting fitted for an appliance in a week or so. As I've said elsewhere on this site I'll do anything I can to try and prevent episodes. That includes no alcohol, plenty of water all day long and a regular regimen of exercise suited to my system.
I'll bet your heart is applauding your excellent efforts at change.
No thoughts about the pinpricks. A question: You said you asked your doc, but is that an internist or your electrophysiologist or cardiologist?
ANXIETY: I've been there and it's a mini nightmare. But the anxiety is the nightmare much more than the actual afib (for me). Afib is so common that if you polled everyone in the supermarket, or everyone at your favorite football stadium, you'd likely find that 40 percent also have boring old afib. It's a terribly annoying, dismaying condition but not a crisis generally. (For some people it might be... I know a few people who have it and it's mostly dreay stuff.)
Yesterday I noticed our neighborhood craftsman (in his 80s and with afib) lying on the ground measuring someone's patio step for replacement, then carrying out the job.
My antidote is to walk (I don't know if that's an Rx for everyone), or talk with someone about some other subject (sometimes my afib has gone away during a pleasaurable conversation with some friend), or watch some funny film or video. My go-to are old Johnny Carson clips of animal visits. Laughter is good. Anxiety, not so much.
In years past, before ablation, I used to have episodes that lasted a week and I could feel them, and I still went into a very stressful job every day which was a 45 minute commute.
Love your heart, cut panic from your vocabulary and keep on with your fantastic self-care!! Thank you for your service. Every positive step you take will help greatly. Bravo.
BethClark, October 30, 2019 9:34am EST
Cabreezy, so sorry to hear that you have joined our club but blown away at the changes you have made so far. I can't speak to the chest pains that you have but I can speak to the anxiety. Anxiety about aFib happening is very much part of this condition for most people. I was afraid to leave my house for quite a while in case an episode happened. Two weeks after I was diagnosed with aFib I had to pick up my daughter from the airport 30 minutes away from home. I had knots in my stomach and I thought I was going to throw up. Four months after my diagnosis I had a second episode. At least I knew what it was that time. The doctor added flecanide to my meds and I've not had any episodes since for 4 1/2 years. So being on the right treatment regime--the right one for me--has really helped the anxiety. It might take a while for you and your doctors to figure out the best treatment for you. Learning more about the condition is the other thing that really helps and you can learn a lot from this forum. Is my anxiety gone? No, I'm still a work in progress. I don't think about the aFib when I'm out and about in the local area. In the last year have gone on a couple of overnight trips with friends when either they or I drive. I know my friends will have my back if something happens. I used to think out where the hospitals were in the area where I was going. But don't seem to do that anymore. I still won't go on public transportation in case I'd get an episode then. But pretty soon I think I might try going on a short plane ride to see my daughter.
But, back to starting out on the journey where you are. It helped me early on to have a plan for what to do in case an episode happens. When should I go to the ER is a common question that we aFibbers have. Some people "ride it out." My symptoms with aFib are so pronounced that I can't imagine that. Talk to your doctor about that. My doctor told me to go to the ER but he also told me that aFib isn't life threatening so I don't need to rush to get to the ER. I had the impression early on that a bump or cut could start uncontrollable bleeding. I made some visits to my primary doctor early on convinced that I was in trouble with bleeding. But it turns out that bleeding stops for me from small cuts as rapidly as before the anti-coagulant and I don't really have more bruising than before. I have wacked my head pretty hard a couple of times and had a CT scan after one of those times. No damage except my pride. I do stay off ladders now, however, not wanting to test this bleeding from more significant injuries.
It's a journey to learn to live with this condition but many of us are able to resume our lives pretty well. You've already achieved some great things getting yourself to a healthier you. Congratulations!
Myrna, October 30, 2019 1:18pm EST
Pleurisy, lung problem, google it and ask your dr for more information, how did you lose so much weight? Multiple health problems are no fun, just have to do what you can sort it out and do the best you can, good luck.