Hello to all,
I am new here and relatively new to A Fib. I am a 34 year old
male with no history of heart disease. I am healthy otherwise just
slightly overweight. I have also been very active/athletic most
of my life. I have never smoked, used to drink heavy in college but
now am just a social drinker and never used any illicit drugs.
So here goes my story...
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
infrequent 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...
4 years ago, I started taking the deadly OTC weight loss
stimulant, Metabolife. 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 Metabolife 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!
2 months ago, 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 league...no
other symptoms other than night palpitations. No fatigue, trouble
breathing, etc. He said cut back on the caffeine, did another EKG,
yep...back in AFib.
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
persistent 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 home...you can't shock my heart! I was also
freaked out because of my age. It's so rare for folks in their 30's.
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 to 2, which I am currently on.
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
(forgot the names of these off-hand). Cardizem is one of them I
think? So I went from never taking anything other than my anxiety
pills for a brief time to 4 heart drugs now...NOW I'M REALLY FREAKED
OUT! I have cut out all caffeine in the last few weeks and have
begun a diet to go from 230 back down to 190. But, I am too scared
to exercise because of the condition even though they said moderate
cardio is fine for now.
I am going to see another EP for a second opinion on Monday and I
am just really terrified by all of these recent, turn of events in
my life. I am to the point now where I have calmed down somewhat
about the cardioversion but it still worries me. What if the shock
flatlines me? What if it sends me into VFib or some other crazy,
worse rhythm? I have been reading about ablations, cryotherapy, etc.
One side of me wants to just do the cardioversion, get back in NSR
and stay there hopefully forever, with the help of Rythmol (sp?) or
maybe no more meds. Another side of me says, let's just do the
ablation now because of the better cure rate and be done with all
meds. Another side of me says, do the cardioversion and if I do go
back into AFib, look at what even new and improved techniques are
available in 5-10 years.
I am here obviously for lots of advice and courage. Maybe I am
being too much of a wimp and irrational about all of this? Please,
please help me feel better about this condition and share any,
personal stories, similar or not with me. Sorry to write such a
long,detailed note but I wanted to cover everything. The most
important thing in my life is my family and being there for them
long term. I just need to do whatever it takes for me to see those
grandkids and great grandkids one day! :)
I sure do appreciate any feedback and stories. If there is any
one out there that is relatively close to my age and have
experienced this, those would be some comforting replies as well.
Thank you all in advance and God Bless!