I am generally feeling a little better every week. Looking back, I am so much livelier now than at week two, but even then I was so improved that I was ecstatic about my progress.
The last existing wound seems finally about to heal; I’m not sure whether there was a problem, but the scab has been loose and repeatedly came off in the shower. I have been mainly in NSR with a few short instances of Arrhythmia but nothing to worry too much about.
The Amiodarone does not appear to have caused any problems, although people tell me how healthy I am looking, which possibly be due to excessive sun exposure. Hopefully not, as I have been keeping indoors on the few sunny days we have had so far and venturing out covered in factor 50 and an unflattering cap on the cloudy days.
My six weekly review with the cardiologist is next week and will include an ECG and an X-ray.
I needed to check on my Amiodarone usage; the discharge papers said discontinue after six weeks and my appointment with the doctor is at six weeks and a half. I called the research nurse, to check. There seems to have been an error with the papers and I should remain on the drug for at least three months. I will need a repeat prescription, and should ask about it at my review session next week.
I also asked about the AF from yesterday. I was told it is not considered to be AF until at least three months after the procedure; I should just consider it to be my heart adjusting during the blanking period.
My second ablation will not be scheduled next week; I will have a further review at three months and will be placed on the waiting list then. I may well be the first to undergo the second ablation as the previous person is struggling with warfarin and is not close to being suitable for the procedure
Although the option was open to me to take the train, I thought that driving to Birmingham would be the easier option. The day started badly, I knocked the scab off my last remaining wound in the shower and didn’t notice until the blood showed through my shirt. I had to wait for the bleed to stop coming through the plaster before changing the shirt. I set off at 7:30 for a 10:00 meeting, allowing extra time as I was expecting slow traffic. Luckily, the radio informed me of an hours delay on the A38, so I took my less favoured route down the M1. Unfortunately, there was a lane closure on the M1 and a crash on the M42; I went via the M69 and arrived a mere five minutes late.
The course was quite stressful, Safeguarding and Prevent, involving role-play with professional business actors.
We left thirty minutes before the advertised finish time only to find the Aston Expressway closed and gridlock around Birmingham. I arrived home after another 2 ½ hours to a cup of tea. The Kardia told me I was in AF, although not as bad a trace as previously; there still seems to be a noticeable P wave.
Not sure whether this was related to the long day, the drive or the course, but I had not been feeling too good all day. Finally back in NSR after a few hours; this is probably nothing to worry about.
This is my first long working day out since the ablation; catching the 07:01 train with meeting due to finish at 16:00. I didn’t sleep particulary well; I imagine this was due to worrying about missing the train.
In the shower, I managed to scratch the last wound that is not completely healed; the instrument port wound on my left side. It bled for a while, but not too much and stopped quickly enough to allow me to put my shirt on and not get blood on it. There is still a bit of redness behind the cut and I am starting to wonder if there may be a slight infection there, as the other wounds have healed over.
I turned out to be the only one present who had reviewed the document we were amending prior to the meeting; which meant that I was heavily involved in the discussion throughout the day.
The meeting finished an hour early, allowing me to get an earlier train. On the way back I managed to read a magazine and not fall asleep, which was a small victory compared to recent journeys.
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.
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.
This is probably nothing to worry about and it was back to completely normal in the morning.
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.
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.
Two more bike rides over the last couple of days, feeling really good. Now thinking I should cut back a little, just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should.
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.
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.