Working towards fitness

I had a couple of rides out at the weekend; not completely flat, but with very little climbing.

Saturday was a steady solo in gloomy weather, but Sunday was a very warm day.  I left it until 4:30 and doused myself in factor 50, which seems a strange thing to have to do in the UK in May.

I am finding it difficult to keep to 120 HR, not because my heart is out of control, but because I feel healthy enough to go faster.  However 130 still makes me short of breath in the way that 165 would have done 18 months ago.  I am still only four weeks on from the operation, so I am continuing to restrict myself on HR while trying to go further and more often.

Four weeks post-ablation

This is the second week back at work, and I am still not quite as motivated as I should be.  Most of the tenderness has gone, but I still feel a little muscle soreness on the front of the chest and sneezing is quite painful.  My scars are disappearing nicely and I have remained in NSR for seventeen days.  I have been exercising regularly, from a half mile walk around the block on the first day out of hospital, to 18 miles along the valley on the bike this week.  I am managing to keep the HR below 120, although the only advice I had been given was not to go so far and get so tired that I couldn’t get back home.

No issues with the drugs so far, although people have commented that I look quite healthy, with colour back in my cheeks.  Hopefully,  this is more to do with the return to NSR and feeling better than it is to UV sensitivity.

One small issue, late last night I used the Kardia and got a slightly irregular trace, which the software decided was normal.

Normal but 05-05

This is probably nothing to worry about and it was back to completely normal in the morning.

Three weeks post-ablation

It is now three weeks after the first ablation.  I still have light bruising on the two main chest incisions and from the cannula on my right wrist.  There is the odd bit of discomfort, but I think this is muscular bruising rather than related to the heart itself.  I am very pleased with my progress, but my speed of recovery is apparently not unusual.

After the procedure, I was in and out of AF for a week, but have been consistently in NSR since 18th April.  My resting heart rate has changed significantly; before AF it was 57, beta blockers reduced it to 47, but post-op it has risen to 66.  I now feel much better than I have for over a year; the brain fog/depression appears to have gone, as does the constant urination/thirst and the breathlessness.  It may not be wholly due to the ablation, I am now taking my Bisoprolol in the evening rather than the morning and I think this is working better.

I was told to exercise within reasonable limits; to raise HR slightly but not continue until exhaustion.  I walked every day for ten days then tried a little light cycling, although my definition of light may not match that of others.  I have managed a couple of ten mile rides along canal paths and have deliberately held back rather than push myself, keeping to a max HR of 120; my pre AF max was 184, perhaps the breathlessness would return if I pushed it a little more.

I remember how awful I felt on the second night after the ablation (which now feels like it was months ago) and I cannot believe how much of an improvement I am experiencing.  I am so pleased I opted for the procedure.

Back at work

Easter is over and I am back at work, as are the kids.  I am working from home for a few days, but still need to be up at 7a.m. to ensure the kids get to school.  There are 144 emails waiting for me, but only a couple actually need any action.  Everybody, including my boss, is being good and telling me to take it steady.  I became very tired in the afternoon, but think this is due to being lazy for the last couple of weeks rather than the illness or the demands of work.

Looking back over the last fortnight, (which now feels like several months), I find it difficult to believe how far I have come from the low point of the Sunday two days after the ablation.  The pain inside the chest has gone, and I can only feel a little tenderness around the entry points.  I have been consistently in NSR since half way through the morning of the 18th.  I am told that the other person to have the same procedure was in NSR permanently after his operation, so I am hoping the lesions have settled down now and my current state is not just due to the amiodarone.

I have my appointment with Dr. Hunter booked for 24th May, six weeks and five days after the first op.  Hopefully, there will be no waiting list problems and could have the second op at the start of July.

Ablation day +14

Good night’s sleep again. Considering first post-op drive and gentle bike ride.

Went to do the weekly shop with daughter, without problems and visited my mother.

My bike ride was along the valley, deliberately avoiding all climbing.  The significant element of this ride was the HR, a maximum of only 119 instead of 145.

Bruising remaining visible on the two largest entry points and still feeling bruised internally, but nothing particularly painful.  Early days, but now considering the first op to be somewhat of a success; I feel really good, the brain fog and lethargy appears to have gone and I feel much better than I have for nearly a year.

NSR Trace 21-04

ECG from this morning.  HR 20 BPM higher than usual, but rhythm almost normal and P-wave getting stronger.  I’m hoping this is more to do with the ablation than the amiodarone.

Ablation day +11

Woke up in AF, but NSR after an hour and remained in NSR all day

Off to the doctors to have stitches removed; wounds clean, scar tissue forming nicely, nothing more to do. Discovered that I should have been told to stop the colchicine if I developed diarrhoea. Oh well, I’m OK now so may as well continue..  Called in to work and let them know I would be off for another week.

Overall, I walked a mile into town to the Doctors, then a mile around town on a fruitless hunt for a non-embarrassing hat (for sun protection, needed because of the amiodarone), then home, followed later to the shop and back for bread.  So approximately four miles in total.  I was allowed not to use the compression stockings any more.  Appointment with doctor on Thursday to get sick note for second week.

Pictures taken after removal of stitches; the bruising was more widespread earlier, but entry wounds were covered by waterproof dressings