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Rookie from Turkey
I'm a 9-day old AF rookie all the way from Turkey. I'm 47 and have been exercising many kind of sports since my childhood days. Nowadays, mainly running some half and full marathons, strength & conditioning workouts plus yoga as active recovery.
I always had some palpitations, minor chest pain and the likes, therefore never skipped check-ups (including BT scans too) on regular basis and -all the times- been told that my heart was in perfect shape to maintain my active life.
Until that Sunday night, 9 days ago...
11PM that Sunday night, I woke up with some major and unmanageble palpitations and waited until morning with a hope that it will soon get better but it did not. Then I drove to the ER at the regular hospital that I always used to go and faced the reality that my heart had been out of sinus rythm and went into AF. 3 hour-long medication did not reverse it and I've been moved up to the cardiological intensive care for further protocals. It took approximately 5 hours to get back to the sinus rythm through ongoing medication either taken orally or through vascular access. Doctors kept medicating for an extra 4 hours and then discontinue. From that point on, they started closely monitoring my situation for like 10 hours. Finally, I was discharged from the hospital and allowed to drive back home.
Yesterday morning, I went to see my Cardilogist, who had been on holiday during my episode, to find out that:
1. I was a lucky one since my heart shouted that it had been hit by AF. She underlined there are incidents that AF comes without any syptoms but can be a cause of stroke or more serious heart diseases. At least we know who and where the enemy is...
2. My prescription only includes beta-blockers and anti-arythmics but not blood thinners which was shockingly surprising to me. I even challanged her (BTW. she is a Professor, specialised on arthmia) that without thinners, I would have much bigger risk of stroke based on the things I've read on Internet. She very bluntly highlighted several times that each AF was different and it was "stupid" to treat each AF'ers in standart ways. Some patients might desperately need thinners but some don't, simply based on several other factors.
3. Keeping a healthier mind is key. Otherwise, you will not be able to sleep efficiently, lose appetite (ie. not enough carb to feed to your heart) and always be in a negative mood only thinking and talking about your conditions which there is nothing you can stop it from being there! Hypochondria should be the last thing for any AF'ers to experience. Therefore I'm also given some light medications to keep my mind well.
4. Exercise in ways planned by your doctor helps a great deal. There are even some athletes that have been carried on playing with or without knowing that they had been an AF'er such as Larry Bird. We are not superstars but much simplier human beings therfore I already said a heartbreaking "Goodbye" to marathon. However this doesn't mean that I will quit running either. The formula I've been proived by my doctor: 220-47 (my age) = 173 is the maximum calculated HR (MCHR). However in my conditions; I'm adviced to start running on 50% of the MCHR which is around 90 BPM, almost a fast walking pace. If all goes well, I'll start increasing the % until 75% which will give me enough pace to start jogging at least.
5. And finally, do not waste your time reading some bosh staff at Internet. I'm writting this post HERE (i.e. a very well trusted and informative publishment), as this was also suggested by my doctor as a part of my progress plan. Where I live (ie. Turkey) is full of some silly content regarding AF unfortunately. At every article I've ever read, there was major drama which made me feel even much worse. And believe me, after a while your body start emulating eveything you read. I cannot tell you how many times I thought my brain had been shot by clot or my energy levels had been sub-zero. But it was all illusive because of the things I've been exposed to heavily.
To cut a long stroy short: I'd never wanted to end up being an AF'er. But whatever happened happened and there is nothing I can do to send this back. I'm new and aware that I will have some tough times along the way. However, I have a plan and intention to make things as comfortable as my conditions will allow.
Nice to meet you all, Emre
depotdoug, August 20, 2019 7:51am EST
Excellent post cardiac history and life’s goals. Keep us in touch.
We in the AFIB community are about you. Really!
Spencer, August 20, 2019 8:52am EST
Emre - Good mindset. I was in a similar situation as you being very healthy and then struck down by AFib. On the blood thinners, I would have pushed harder as this does not but lower my risk of stroke with few side effects if the drug duration is not very long. Remember this is an electrical problem so you can not exercise your way to health (by this alone), but your mind can have a considerable impact. Keeping a positive mindset and high-quality sleep are your best options. Exercising is part of the mindset. For me, the AFib made it impossible to exercise, and I was having other issues that destroyed that mindset. I wound up with much more health care than I needed to reduce my AFib.
Good luck. Come back and tell us how it goes. We have lots of experience in drugs, cardioversions, and ablation.
depotdoug, August 20, 2019 9:02am EST
Can’t help but respond. We are exceptionally learning AFIB prevention or deterrent people’s. Experience in drugs, cardioversions, ablation(s), sleep 💤 quality. And trying to get our E.E.C. Excessive Exercising Compulsion in daily. In my case EEC is limited I’m driving to Indianapolis from Ft Wayne a whole 102 miles. No exercising req’d.
Headed to my Prostate Cancer 3rd time recurrence Medical Oncologist Consult/evaluation/& treatment ASAP. Does Cancer treatments, medications, radiation, surgery affect or effect cardiovascular cardio rhythm AFIB issues. Yeah!! I’m going to the best closet IU Simon Cancer Facility Of IU Health School Of Medicine.
Will keep you AFIB friends updated. Doug
Spencer, August 20, 2019 9:09am EST
Good luck Doug
rfedd, August 21, 2019 12:59am EST
Hoping for some good results Doug. Keep us posted.
depotdoug, August 21, 2019 6:01am EST
Well AFIB friends support team, HERE IT IS!
Yesterdays visit w/IUHealth Med/Oncologist Dr Adra went extremely well. Bettter than expected in a certain way.. Please read my rough notes. Dr Nabil Adra was wonderful . Answered all my ?’s. Told me me my best treatment was Agressive with 1st starting an anti-androgen Med next week. 2nd Sept 10 start Lupron Depot inject: to hit hard my Prostate cancer cells everywhere they are.
My Dr Med/Oncologist IU Health is actually really wonderfully treating me with “What is” and not “what if”.
He is so caring and proactively reacting IU Medically state of the art med attack plan. I love that.
Yes his RN’ took newest Blood CBC/ total body chemistry, new PSA total, and Testosterone levels. Results 08:00 Thursday!
Next up 09/10 re-visit for Lupron @ IU Cancer pavilion clinic and a complete Genomic blood investigative tracking test lab.
Dr Adra is hitting me with all of today’s most modern best best-est techniques! Great! I repeat my 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT scan in 4-5 months too!
Yesterday’s experience was a What Is day. I’m being treated by some of The Worlds best medical knowledgeable experts and testing.
MellanieSAF, August 21, 2019 9:06am EST
Welcome to our group, which is a good source of information about afib. Your attitude is wonderful, and it sounds like you have a good well-trained doctor (some of the best afib doctors I've met are in, or from, Turkey).
Regarding blood thinner, it sounds like afib may be your only risk factor for a stroke. If you don't have heart failure, high blood pressure, or underlying heart disease, and since you're well under 65, then you may not need a blood thinner.
And, decreasing your exercise, and keeping it under control, is typical for helping manage afib.
Please keep us posted about your progress.
emrefaks, August 21, 2019 11:31am EST
Depodout & Spencer - I wish you both best of luck...
emrefaks, August 21, 2019 11:32am EST
Mellanie - I'm really motivated by the piece you put together up there... Much appreciated, really...
MellanieSAF, August 21, 2019 12:37pm EST
Thank you. One of the Turkish doctors that I know is Professor Dr. Oztekin Oto in Izmir, who is President of the Heart and Health Foundation of Turkey. When I first met him at a surgery conference in 2009, he invited me to come speak at his conference in Antalya later that year, but I was not able to make it work. I see him often at medical congresses in Europe, and will likely see him at the European Society of Cardiology next week as he is the President of the European Society for Cardiovascular & Endovascular Surgery.
And my dear friend, Tina Baykaner, a fellow at Stanford University working with Dr. Sanjiv Narayan and Dr. Paul Wang, trained back home in Turkey before her fellowship at Stanford. She is phenomenal!
Thus, I have very high regard for Turkish physicians.