Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Overly Long Story...Stop Reading If You Nod Off!

I had a brief bout with panic attacks around the ages of 19-22. I
did have
palpitations back then but they seemed a lot less
frequent and went away when I was on the
meds. So the Drs. just
chalked it up as anxiety. I took
Xanax for awhile and then turned to
Klonopin which seemed to completely cure my panic disorder. I had
EKGs back then that were completely normal. So I went on living
my "bulletproof" 20's with no more problems.

Fast forward to my 30's...

Several years ago, I started taking a nasty OTC weight loss
stimulant, which had
Ephedra or (Ma Huang). Big NO-NO! I noticed the increased palpitations; especially at night when I would lay down to go to
sleep. I also noticed that any time that I would drink alcohol
excessively, I would get
palpitations from that as well. Still
taking the stimulant with
effedra, I went in to see my family Dr.
and he immediately told me to throw that garbage in the trash! They
did an EKG in his office which showed that I was in
AFib. He then
sent me to my first
Cardiologist appt. and they made me do an echo
stress and
Holter for 48 hours. Heart structure looked great and
Holter produced only a few skipped, premature beats but still in
NSR...I was bulletproof again!

Nearly 4 years passed and I went in to see the family MD again and mentioned in passing, that I was again having
palpitations at night. I also
explained to him that I had developed a Starbucks addiction over the
past few years and had been drinking A LOT of caffeine. Keep in
mind,during this entire 4 year hiatus; I was jogging 3+ miles
regularly,playing full-court basketball in a church
other symptoms other than night
palpitations. No fatigue, trouble
breathing, etc. He said cut back on the caffeine, did another EKG,
yep...back in

So new trip to the
Cardiologist, prescribed me Digoxin, this time
a 14 day monitor, and echo in his office. Heart again looked good
just had a very slight enlarged
left atrium 44cm. but looked normal.
The monitor results however, showed that I was pretty much in
AFib the entire 10 days that I wore it. His thoughts were
to do a TEE and
cardioversion. ..I PANICKED!! What? I have 3 small,
beautiful kids at can't shock my heart! I was also
freaked out because of my age. It's so rare for folks in their 30's, I had heard.

So it was on to the
EP which they too concluded, cardioversion
would be best right now given my age, lack of symptoms, etc. He
prescribed me
Coumadin to get my INR between 2-3.
Also a calcium blocker and high blood pressure medicine which I have
never had
hypertension but he said it was good for rhythm as well
Lisinopril and Cardizem (if I remember correctly) So I went from never taking anything other than my anxiety pills for a brief time to 4 heart drugs now...NOW I WAS REALLY FREAKED

So, I decided to go get the ever-popular, "second opinion". Boy, did I like this Dr. better! She became my local EP and gave me the courage to "nip it in the bud" once and for all....that's what I did!

I then decided that an PVI ablation for my then 34 yr. old, chronic a-fib heart was inevitable.. .I had come to accept it. But, it gave me hope because I saw the daylight at the end of the tunnel! My EP wanted to cardiovert me, but why?? I didn't see the point if I'd just convert again. I knew that I have been in chronics a-fib for at least 1 year at that point. However, I had been relatively asymptomatic, perhaps due to my age? I was currently on only Coumadin (trying to get INR between 2-3) and Digitek then.

My dilemma then became, who??? Who would I get to this procedure? My local EP didn't perform them and she honestly couldn't recommend anyone in Dallas with a long, sustained, successful track record.


Some of my fav 'fib' urls:

We are finding that Gen X and even Y are now getting hit with this news and it's not just the "Boomers" and their parents anymore!