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I cannot remember when my AF started as it was insidious – I would have weird events that passed. When I was in my late 30’s early 40’s I would have these strange feelings and unable to do anything, sometimes twinges in my heart and they often happened at night. I would call the ambulance (this was before ambulance had ECG machines) and end up in ED and by the time I got an ECG I had reverted. Soon I was diagnosed with ‘Stress’ which I knew was not true but it is often used as an out for doctors when they can’t find a physical cause. They suggested Valium and other anti-anxiety drugs which I never took.

One day in 2000 I was driving home and felt my heart racing – the pulse was so fast I couldn’t reliably count it. I happened to be passing an ambulance station and stopped in, they did my BP and pulse and rushed me to hospital with tachycardia. It was only when they gave me medication for to reduce my pulse rate did, they find AF and so the journey began!


Medications that didn’t really work or only for a brief period. I wasn’t until I saw a cardiologist that specialized in Electrophysiology of the heart that I was recommended an ablation. I was told the first one may not work which turned out to be true, however the second one was very effective lasting 15 yrs. I think it would still have been effective had I not been on a trip where I didn’t have much sleep for over a week, dehydrated and drinking too much alcohol (which can cause dehydration as well).

In March 2020 I had my 3rd ablation. This time I had post ablation events and was sure it was not going to work. In April of that year, I needed a Cardioversion, the first one I have had and from my reading these are often not a long term solution for someone in my position. However, I am still managing without going into AF. I have ectopic beats especially if I am dehydrated or if my heart rate is slow. I remain on blood thinners and a small dose of Sotalol (40mg twice a day) as well as my BP tablets.


Although it’s been going on to 2 years that thought in the back of your mind when you get an ectopic starts to give rise to that demon thinking its coming back. I know it will take years before it isn’t a thought anymore. I fear that I will go back to the time when I couldn’t care less if I died – not that I was suicidal – but the feeling was so terrible and I was so incapacitated I just didn’t care. Thankfully that thought left as soon as I was back to sinus rhythm.

Now I try and consider any event as part of the journey. Medicine has come a long way and I know that there are still options and believe that in the future there will be effective treatment to control or cure this condition.

The take away messages for me are:

  1. I am very unlikely to die from this
  2. Worrying too much about it limits my enjoyment of life
  3. Work out the triggers – not to give up something I enjoy if it’s not contributing to the problem
  4. What natural therapies can assist such magnesium
  5. Support groups are great but I don’t believe everything I read as many people have several health issues which they may not disclose
  6. It’s OK to get another opinion or several until I find someone who specializes in my condition
  7. Worked out with my specialist what was normal for me and when I should take myself off to hospital.

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