Sunday, May 23, 2021
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Lots has happened since my last post. The heart is well and I'm feeling great. My wife did test positive for Covid. I tested negative but the whole house had to quarantine. Fortunately none of us got any sicker that a bad head cold.
Other than that nothing else special going on. We did have a nice Thanksgiving and we have done some hiking as a family as well as some solo hikes by myself. Also been hitting the trail with Larry. I've been averaging about 20 miles a week and doing no less than 5 miles at a time. the longest hike I've done so fare was a little over 9 miles.
Anyway here are some photos from the past month or so in no particular order. everything from hiking photos to physics problem solving examples I did for my son..
|Market Square Ice Rink|
|Larry (Roaring Run)|
|Whites Woods Par Course|
There is so much more and I will share more later.........
Had my 5th ablation this past Wednesday. Dr. Natale addressed the issues that were causing me issues.
My LAA had a reconnected circuit. He has worked my LAA 3 times now and hopefully this will be the last until I hopefully get a watchman down the road. My LAA is smaller than most so he has to address ablating it a different way than usual. There were also a couple smaller areas he addressed that fired off afib but weren't sustained.
Traveling during Covid is like taking part as an extra in some sort of weird Sci-fi movie. Where only a few people are aware of what's going on.It's easy to tell who those are as they are the ones wearing Tyvek suits and full head covering masks and rubber gloves. These folks also spend an abundance of time cleaning their gloved hands with hand sanitizer. While the rest of us are obviously ignorant to the situation that we find ourselves in.
Anyways, our trip home from Austin was pretty boring. Had a two hour layover in Atlanta and a 2 hour drive home from Pittsburgh international. So it was a long day to say the least. I did sleep really good last night though. Bed at around 11pm and out of bed @2pm today. I really needed it as I hadn't slept much since finishing up night shift Monday morning. Not counting surgery I was averaging about 4 hours a day this week.
Our stay in Austin was pleasant but shorter than normal. We stayed in the downtown this time. Things were pretty quiet there this time. I'm sure it was mostly due to Covid and the normal afternoon/evening crowds we are used to seeing are people leaving work and hanging out. Who aren't there now due to working form home. We did spend part of an afternoon on South Congress wondering through the small shops there.
I'm feeling really good today and looking forward to a week or so of just being. I can't express enough how appreciative I am of Dr. Natale and his team. As well as the staff at St David's. I really tried to convey that to everyone but still feel I need to do more
Still sluggish today. I can't say that I have ever felt the same following an ablation. Each time has its own little nuances.
One major difference this time around was my fitness level going into it. Not nearly as fit as I was back in 2009 but a far cry better than 2018 & 2019. Actually I would like to completely forget about 6 months worth of 2018 if it were at all possible.
Still sluggish today. Didn't sleep as well as I thought I would last night. Heart rate is rather low. Lingering between 54 and 64. I am currently only on Elequis and 25mg of metoprolol. I should be able to toss the metoprolol at the end of my blanking period so 3 months of governed heart rate which I am more than happy to deal with.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
I'm really lacking at this blogging thing these days but I'm going to make an effort to improve.
Lots has happened since July. Besides Covid, shut downs, insanity, TP shortages, etc. Back in June I started having some off days on the bike. Heart rate seemed normal. However, I was unable to get my heart rate up over 132 a couple times when out. I chalked it up to the 25mg of metoprolol I take twice a day. But as the month progressed so did ectopic beats and a run or two of afb. Nothing while exercising though. It was always while just sitting around or when I first wake up. This went on throughout the entire month of June.
I spoke to Dr. Natale in early July and he put me back on flecanide for 10 days then wanted me to stop it after that again. Which I did. Once I stopped things seemed normal again and I got back to the bike. I also started paying attention to see if I could decipher what was going on or if I could pinpoint a trigger which if you have afib is like looking for a unicorn. Triggers are mostly non existent. And if you think you do have one figured out it will surely turn out to be that its not in most cases. There are a few out there though that will trigger an event.
I am about 99% convinced that other than the events I have when waking the others are most definitely triggered by eating. Not any particular food but how much and or how fast I eat. Since I have been watching these 2 things my episodes have disappeared for the most part. I'm still having ectopic beats and have had one really short run of arrhythmia on the bike the past week. I have an appointment early November with Dr Natale to hopefully finish off whatever else is lingering.
Riding & Hiking
Still riding, hiking and traveling on a pretty regular basis. As regular as working 7/7 schedule, with OT mixed in allows. As I mentioned above. I did experience a brief episode last Saturday towards the end of the ride. We had done allot of climbing including one ridge climb. This is the first time I allowed my Heart rate to go above 150 bpm. At about 3/4 to the top of the ridge I saw 173 and backed way off to not let it go any higher.
Towards the end of the ride I got split from the group as I hesitated at an intersection and had to wait on some traffic to pass. So I sprinted to catch up but still felt good at this point. A few miles down the road though my HR jumped to 188 bpm for about 10 seconds or so the right back to 149 bpm. Not sure if it was as short run of afib or a run of ectopic beats. My wahoo HRM just does HR nothing else. I felt fine the entire time and the remaining 5 miles were uneventful.
FORBES STATE FORREST
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
The heart has been ticking like clockwork. only the occasional epileptic. I have added D3 to my regiment and continuing to limit my calcium intake to see if that puts an end to those as well. I haven't been on the bike since September 2019. I have been having a hard time finding my way back to cycling since my last ablation. So much has happened along with time since I have been really regular with my cycling. I'm hoping that once the weather breaks the desire will come back.
I have been getting to the gym about 5 days a week though so I am getting good exercise. I am also doing allot of high rep sets and combining 2-3 exercises per muscle group. I'm avoiding any really heavy weights though as that is also tied to afib. The Gym is where my fitness addiction started so this is good.
Here is an example of what I am doing for my exercising. For chest my total reps need to be at least 60 total per exercise. I do 4 sets of 3 exercises. Bench Press-Dumbbell Fly's-Inclined Bench Press all done consecutively without rest in-between.
Bench Press : Olympic bar no weights 50 reps (warm-up) followed by 20 reps @135 lbs.
Dumbbell Fly's : 20 reps @25 lbs
Incline Press: 20 reps just using an Olympic Bar no weights (45 lbs)
I finish up by doing another 50 chest presses with just the Olympic bar. Today my total reps were Bench: 100 w/o weight and 65 @135 lbs. And 80 reps each Dumbbell Fly's and Incline Press.
I'm also dealing with a bad case of Bicep tendinitis. The doctor seams to think it will be ok in about 3 months. Someways I can barely lift my arm and other days it hardly bothers me at all. Surprisingly its not the gym days when it hurts the most. Its when I take a day or two off is when it really flares up. I have done some research and asked Dr. Google for some good ways to speed my recovery along. He suggested hanging from a bar my help and by golly it has.
Turns out Dr. Google has an associate shoulder surgeon that has allot of his patients try this passive exercise befog he will do surgery. You can read about it here. These guys also talk about it. They have allot of good videos covering a plethora of subjects. I'm amazed at how much better my shoulder is compared to what it was before I started passive hanging. I hang for about 30 seconds between each set of exercises. I also hang at the end of a workout for 3/4 times for 30 seconds each.
All Gyms Aren't Created Equal
Yesterday was a long day. Checked into St David's @ 0530. Was in the EP Lab @0600. As always the EP crew was upbeat and fun right up until the point I was out and woke to pleasant nurse in recovery. I really thought I would be able to get to sleep early last night but as usual that wasn't the case. I finally requested a sleep aid and was out shortly after.
My wait for a room was going to be a while so once I was fully awake she ordered me lunch and brought my family back to visit while I was waiting.
I can't say enough about the atmosphere at both TC&A or St. David's as the staffing is fabulous.
Dr Natale was very pleased with how things turned out. He confirmed all pulmonary veins were isolated from previous procedures. And successful isolation of posterior wall of the left atrium using roof and inferior posterior lines. He also ablated along the left atrial septum, floor of the left atrium, left atrial lateral wall and interior roof of the left atrium. He also isolated the coronary sinus and left atrial appendage.
For those that have been following along since last year you will remember that Dr Natale did work on my coronary sinus and LAA at that time as well. I also had an organic afib episode that originated in my LAA while he was working his craft on my coronary sinus. This was after he had already done some work on the LAA.
As you who are veterans to this process here will already know how difficult the LAA is to ablated due to its consistency and proximity to other vital organs. This limits the the time that he can spend there. So even though he had twice visited my LAA there was still a little work to be done.
Also, most benefit greatly from a single LAA procedure which may or may not completely isolate the LAA. The plus side to that is that not only does this eliminated Afib in some patients. It also increases the possibility that the LAA will still function properly eliminating the need for long term anticoagulants.
He did have some issues ablating my LAA as he normally uses a 15 mm lasso but it could not be engaged because the entrance to my laa is too small. So he just used the regular catheter and went into the left atrial appendage and isolated it that way by moving the the catheter around the interior.
When we talked this morning we went over everything that he did as well as possibilities for the future. Chances are at this point I will either be on long-term anticoagulants or we need to have the laa isolated with either of watchmen or a lariot sutcher approach. His concern at this point with a watchman would be sizing as there only two sizes and the fact that my laa entry is so small could be an issue. But that's all down the road.
He sent me home only on 25 mg metoprolol and 5mg Elequis twice a day. He does not want me taking the Flecainide unless I need it.
Had another great trip to Austin and as usual TCA and St. David’s did not disappoint. My procedure last Thursday went off without a hitch and we had som good quality time in the city.
We left for the airport the night before our flight. The flight was early so we got a hotel with long term parking so we could get a good nights sleep and be able to do some site seeing the first day there. Unfortunately things didn’t work out quite as planned not a single one of us slept the entire night and our flight was at six, and the bus to the airport was at 4:30 AM. So that was a complete bust.
We however did catch our flight without a hitch. Of course TSA had to give me a pat down obviously they don’t like cargo shorts. They also gave my wife a hassle for the sweater she had draped over her shoulders she had to go back and take it off and put it through the x-ray. My son had zero issues walked right through no questions asked. It was a far cry better from last year‘s fiasco so I’ll take it. One thing I will say about the TSA on our flight home the TSA in Texas were much friendlier folk and what we experienced in Pittsburgh.
Our flight to Atlanta was good but of course Delta overbooked our flight from Atlanta to Texas and were asking for people to volunteer for a later flight. At this point we were still going to get to Austin before noon so the three of us decided that we would take the bump and the $200 per person comp. However, as time progressed and the need for more people to get off the plane we ended up with $400 a person so that was a pretty good payday.
We arrived in Austin around 11:30 AM and caught a Lyft to our hotel. I will say the hotel is pretty nice. It was located within walking distance of Saint Davids it would’ve been a nice launching point for some sightseeing if that was our only reason for being there. Whatever I have in my family with me I need to somewhere for them to be entertained and I thought they could use the pool. Unfortunately the pool in the photo didn’t quite match the pool in the pool on the premises. It actually looked Olympic size in the pictures but more like a kiddy pool in person. I explained the situation to the hotel clerk and she seemed fine with the fact that we did not want to stay there but we had a heckuva time finding an alternative.
After about an hour and several phone calls we did finally find a place that was only marginally more expensive but had a larger pool and a nicer room. So we caught a lift to that place and we all crashed. We all finally woke up around 10 o’clock which was too late to head to the city so we just decided to order in that night.
I had an appoint with Dr. Natale the following morning so we got up early and headed to Saint Davids so I will be on time and had breakfast. But a half hour for my appointment We headed for Dr Natale’s office. I signed in and before I could get sat down they called me back to the room. I met with one of Dr Natale’s nurses and we went over all the issues I’ve been having this year lead me to be back to their office. Dr Natale soon showed up And we went over what he Expected to find the next day during the procedure and what he would be doing.
After the appointment we headed downtown and spent the rest the day there starting on SOCO and ending up at the bat bridge.
SOCO, otherwise known as South Congress is a very nice part of town. Lots of eclectic shops with good restaurants and music venues mixed in. You could easily spend the entire day just in this area. One of my favorite stores on the street was Big Top candy. They had every kind of candy that you could imagine. Every variety of gummy you could think of and bins of chocolate covered everything by the scoop. Along with bottled sodas, hand dipped ice cream and milkshakes. Veritable sweet tooth heaven. For those of you into motorcycles I highly recommend revival cycles right across street from the candy store. Definitely another kind of candy for sure. Custom bikes clothing and parts galore.
After spending several hours on South Congress we ventured towards this city center. We started out this part of the journey with lunch at a Cuban restaurant. CUBA512 was the name of the restaurant and the service and food were outstanding.Once we finish lunch we walked up to the capital building and spent some time there. Following that we headed further into the city to what is known as the dirty six. The dirty six is the oldest part of six street where lots of older restaurants and establishments are. This is also where the college students spend a lot of their time. Lots of bars and restaurants with live music. They also shut the street down traffic after 9 o’clock. I would also recommend this area for an evening Outing. We popped into a blues bar and listen to music for a while while we are waiting for a final destinations open. The Museum of the weird.
The museum of the weird is another one of those oddities in Austin. It’s a quirky little place with quirky employees but it was fun and worth the $36 tour. Lots of old movie wax figures and a little performance put on by the tour guide. After the museum tour we headed for the Bat Bridge.
The Bat bridge was a bust for us so I'll post this link to what we expected to see.
The Ablation the next day went off without a hitch. More work on my LAA and coronary sinus and that wrapped things up. We spent a couple more days hanging at the hotel then flew back to Pittsburgh.
We had a late flight out of Austin on Sunday so we headed back to SOCO for some Mexican food and some great Blues music. Guero's Taco Bar did not disappoint. I highly recommend if you are ever in town. https://gueros.com/#about
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Tickets and reservations are made for my July trip back to Austin for my 4th and hopefully last ablation. I'm excited and ready to put this chapter of my life behind me. Hopefully forever.
I'm also excited as I will be able to see and have my ablation done @ TCAI's new Electrophysiology Center.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
This event really sapped it out of me. I was completely wiped out through the following day into the evening. So much so I took the elevator at work and did nothing when I got home from work. This is the issue with afib. It almost always gets worse instead of better. You may plateau but it will eventually take a stronger hold.
The Date Is Set
Friday, April 19, 2019
The event happened @ the 18 hour mark of being awake and lasted for an hour. I took a Flecanide since I had so little sleep and didn't want to chance not converting on my own. This event lasted 1 hour as the other 2 about 1/2 hour.
I was able to have the April 1 event captured on a 12 lead EKG. I was at the gym when I went out of rhythm so I Gathered up my son and headed to the local ambulance service. They have 2 centers in town and I just happened on the one that only schedules transportation. After spending a few minutes trying to tell them that I didn't need an ER just a 12 lead EKG they said I should try their other office.
So back to the truck and across town the their other facility. I walk in and they are having a paramedic class. One of the instructors came out into the hall and I again start explaining my needs. Their first response was to ask if I wanted to go to the hospital. After a few minutes of explaining that all I needed was a 12 lead EKG before I convert back to NSR. That I did not need a hospital that was going to charge me $1000, maybe or maybe not get to me before I converted, then try to admit me the finally got the comfort level that I was aware of what I was doing.
They took me over to the Paramedic side of the building and they briefly explained my situation and what I needed and the manager grabbed their Portable EKG and lead me to their lounge. They hooked me up and got a recording. I thanked them and made my way back to the truck and converted back to NSR without meds, so I was out of rhythm for about 30 minutes same as last time There was allot of other conversation and banter in between, mostly them trying to tell me I should go to ER. They were also confused why the doctor would not want me to go to the ER. I tried to explain the situation but they didn't seam to understand. I did appreciate their concern though.
I am currently waiting to hear back from Dr. Natale's scheduler to set a date for a touch-up ablation. I was offered a May date but decided to wait for something a little later. Hopefully June or July at the latest. She is waiting for him to release his dates for those months.My family wants to come along so I think we will make it a road trip. My son and wife can both drive so I can relax coming home. This ablation should be a walk in the park as the main focus will be on the LAA and the completion of its isolation. I have never felt to bad following any of my ablations so all should be good. We will just meander home from Texas and pass through Nashville and Memphis. Probably catch the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.
Such a Disappointment
Saturday, March 23, 2019
I got out on the bike 3 days last week. First day was cool, the second day in the 70's and the third day back to the 50's with wind gusts in the 30's. That third day wasn't a whole lot of fun. I ended up with almost 80 miles over the three days. I hit the road the first 2 days and took my gravel bike on the third. Ended up in whites woods for the tail end of Fridays ride.
Coal is alive and well in Pennsylvania. They have been talking about putting this coal loading facility in for a long time now. They finally got it up and running last year. Since I was unable to ride last year this is the first time I have been past it. They bring coal out of the mine on the right side of the road the convey it across the road to load trains.
|Coal loading facility|
|Coal pile waiting to be loaded|
Third days ride ended up in whites woods. Was supposed to be a recovery ride but the high winds put a quick end to that. The woods weren't much better since the trails are still soft from the spring thaw.
|Me and a tree in Whites Woods|
I did have a half hour long event that I converted using Flecanide. This was after I had sent the Zio back and had not yet heard from my doctor. I did get a recording of it on my Kardia but again it is indeterminable what exactly what the rhythm was. I'n not in the lease worried though as the worst case scenario is I go back to Austin and have Dr. Natale sort it out. We discussed this possibility following my procedure and as anyone that has dealt with this knows this is not uncommon. I also talked to Shannon shortly after all of this came about and we had a nice conversation.
All of this of course has pushed back my visit to Austin to have another TEE done to ascertain the function of my LAA and see if I will be able to come off of the Elequis. So until then it will be life normal and being able to capture any oddities along the way.
Back On The Bike
Sunday, February 10, 2019
I have thought of some other design changes I would make as well that are geared to those wearing it who are more active. These ideas would also benefit those with skin sensitivity as it would allow for re-positioning of the device every couple days. I may send them a suggestion or two as this is what I used to do for a living at one point in my life. I also verified that my addition of the Kinesio tape was successful as when I removed the tape it basically fell off and started blinking orange. The Kinesio tape was also less irritating to my skin.
The time frame for me to wear it ended Wednesday. I will then send it back and the results will be sent to Dr. Natale for review. If all is well I will come off of the metoprolol and be scheduled for a return trip to Austin for a TEE (Trans-Esophageal Electrocardiography) to check the function of my left atrial appendage. If that is ok then I will be able to come off of the Elequis.
Cycling In Place
I' been sick now for the past several days so really haven't had much chance to use the new setup but I'm feeling better and should get back to it this week. I also start my seven day break this coming Wednesday so I'll have lots of time to focus on this as well as some other outstanding projects I have been neglecting lately.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
The past year of life has had allot of ups and downs but in the end it has all seemed to work out. I haven't noticed any arrhythmia's and my back, though it still hurts some times, is no where near where it was.I have yet to start using the indoor trainer but I have been doing allot of walking and climbing the stairs at work. I think I may try to get on either the trainer tomorrow or the spin bike. I have been getting to the gym regularly though and that feels good.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
We visited Phipps Conservatory The Cathedral Of Learning. And the Creche in Downtown. Then we headed for Ross Park Mall for some shopping and a photo with the fat man.
|Cathedral Of Learning|
|Cathedral Of Learning|
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Working on month number 5 now. It seems just like yesterday I was in Austin having my ablation done. I'm still sending weekly reports to Dr. Natales office and everything continues to look good.
I've been keeping up with my Mg and K supplements and that appears to be keeping the eptopic beats at bay. I hope that things continue on that path. I suspect that one of these days soon that they will be having me stop the Metoprolol. Truth be told I have missed a dose or two lately with no ill effects.
Not much else has been happening these days. I'm going to hit the woods this morning as it is deer season in my neck of the woods. I have one more night shift so I wont spend more than a couple hours on stand today. Maybe I'll catch a woods nap if I'm lucky.
Friday, November 9, 2018
Saturday, October 20, 2018
This is the point where apprehension sets in. Of course I don't want to be on these drugs anymore, but I also don't want to have another procedure if I can help it. They said that I could just stop the Flecanide but I am going to taper off of it over the next week. I, as well as many other afibbers are firm believers in not stopping the drugs that promote NSR cold turkey as many have experienced rebound for doing so. Of course they usually convert back to NSR in a short time, but if that can be avoided, why not. Besides that, we all know that Afib begets Afib so why chance it. I've been on them since January so what is a few more days in the grand scheme of things.
The taper I will do will be to reduce my intake a little bit every 3rd day. I am currently taking 200 mg a day so I will start with 175mg for 2 days, then 150 mg for 2 days, 125 mg for 2 days....etc.
During this time and for an unknown period of time afterwards I will remain on the metoprolol and elequis.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
So for two weeks I literally felt like a ticking time bomb between my heart and pain. On the bright side, yes there is one, I converted back to sinus rhythm on my own after about two weeks. So I was able to cancel the cardioversion that I had scheduled for tomorrow. I have also been going to physical therapy 3 days a week which also seems to be helping with the pain.