A Fib Part 1: Warning Signs And The First Attack

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – Something is not Quite Right. If you recognize the terms Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) and Cardiac Ablation you’ve just hit the sweet spot of the internet, so welcome. You know your problem and you most likely know your possible solution, ranging from lifestyle change, drugs, or the ultimate being a cardiac ablation.

However, it may have taken years for you to think about the cardiac ablation solution, after a series of trial and error of pharmaceutical solutions. Chances are, if you are an American, as opposed to Canadian, you might have already had your cardiac ablation years ago.

If you are reading this, you are looking for knowledge and, hopefully, a credible personal account. You know your condition, or at least are thinking about what to do about it.

Perhaps you are looking for a story of a long suffering victim of A Fib. Well, you have found one here. A victim of 14 years of this insidious cardiac condition.

Although we might get into more detail later, why don’t we say A Fib is a rather simple, irregular rhythm of the heart. It stops, starts, races, and then starts again, until in it is in normal sinus rhythm.

Initially, it is terrifying but, like most sufferers, you become accustomed to it, perhaps even disgusted by it. When and where it will strike next may affect your social life, travel plans, and the simple issue of driving from Point A to Point B.

The fact that some studies have shown that 38% of A Fibbers suffer from anxiety and depression is illustrative that A Fib not only affects the body but the mind as well.

Now, at this point, assuming of course you are aware of A Fib, I must start off in a bit of a philosophical fashion.

Are you expecting the cycle of birth, life, and death in a linear and predictable fashion? If so, you are unprepared for life.

Life is not a simple path. It is off the wall for most of us. Loss of a loved parent at an early age, sexual abuse, addiction, suicide and depression and, yes, A Fib. Life is rarely orderly.

How can I relate to you my battle with A Fib?

It commenced some 14 years ago with a few strange, and something not quite right, heartbeats for a few moments, then a few minutes, for a year or two. And then, on a fateful occasion some 12 years ago, based on a wildly erratic 4:00 am heartbeat, a trip to the emergency department at Toronto’s Mt Sinai Hospital.

My physician had been keeping an eye on these irregular heartbeats and had eventually referred me to a cardiologist who could not detect the abnormality, as none showed during any tests, including the wearing of a Holter portable monitor for 48 hours.

I was released from emerg eight hours later with some trite expression of, “You’ll go home and sleep like a baby.”

If you have ever had a vicious A Fib attack in the early morning hours, like this, you may be terrified of going to sleep again.

Ok, so there have been gradual warning signs, you are an A Fibber but, sooner or later, be prepared for a nasty attack with an erratic heartbeat that will leave you in shock and perhaps in a hospital ward.

But, listen to me.

This is part of your new normal. You’ve got to deal with it and adapt to it. Basically, your initial solution is pharmaceutical or, at the end of the road, a more drastic cardiac ablation.

Next: In order to journey through A Fib, you need to understand Chaos Theory, because you are now part of it.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen