Venting

RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
I just need to vent a bit. This has nothing to do with you, or with Rovers, it's just that the new NAS-ROW looks so good, I've got to abuse the privilege and go on a personal rant.

I'm 44 years old. I am a high school history teacher. Yes, I do work about 10-12 hours a day, plus weekends. It isn't myth, but we get paid well, and we get our summers off! So I call it a semi-desk job. I keep active, but I have not been very good at actually exercising most of the last 20 years. I typically run a bit in the summer, but get tired of it once the time change hits, and it's dark, cold, and wet by the time I get home. Mostly, I just don't have the time. This summer I finally made it from Spring Break all the way to September, running just about every other day, sometimes more. I managed to go from 11 minutes per mile to 8 minutes per mile for 6 miles at a time. So.... I still suck, but at least I feel good. I haven't done much for the past three months. So now I'm 170 lbs, and 'normal' but not 'in shape'. Anyway, this is all background.

In high school, when I thought I was invincible, I remember getting odd feelings about the way my heart would act sometimes. But it never affected me. However, about 5 years ago, I was suddenly hit with a set of several 'incidents' where I came close to fainting due to sudden heart fluttering and a rushing beat for no reason. It often happened while I was trying to sleep, and that really sucks. I went through a battery of tests, and the cardiologist basically told me that it is a "common" thing; some kind of blend of tachycardia and arrhythmia, but that nothing could really be done until it gets so bad that they could really pin-point a cause. He said I wasn't going to die of this, yet. Heart monitor for a month. and a half-dose of a beta-blocker per day.

I don't remember exactly how long, but after cutting out 70% of my caffeine, and dropping alcohol for a while. (The coffee was the real culprit.) And then being fairly consistent with exercise, or at least cutting down trees as much as I could, the problem really went away--until Tuesday evening three weeks ago. On that day, I had a sudden 'attack' and then another, and another, and another. In the past, they would hit hard, then go away. By the time I got to the hospital, I almost needed a wheelchair. It took a good 6 hours for it to stop, and then for me to recover.

It is a very strange thing. I often get an indescribable feeling out of nowhere, for no reason, that it is coming, then it hits, and I nearly go down for about 10-15 seconds. Then I go into a phase where my body feels like it's been beat up. Odd feelings, in arms and legs, neck, etc... And after about half an hour, I suddenly "recover" and feel normal. I could describe it like getting minor cramps all over, or like feeling like the arm or leg is going numb (but it never does) or like wearing a pair of tight socks, or a too tight t-shirt. And my heart often beats at 120+ for no reason. Or it just feels completely out of control, the way your stomach feels just before you have a bad case of diarrhea.... yeah.... The real problem is that for the last three weeks I've had only two days where I didn't, at some point during the day, suddenly feel like I'm dying.

Which leads to the reason I'm venting. I told you all of that just to be able to vent now.

Basically, it sucks. I thought I would get to 80 years old before feeling like I'm 80 years old. I know this isn't true, but it feels like my life is basically done now. Like however much time I have left really will just be spent in a state of exhausted sedintary existence. Even if I don't die, what the hell am I going to do now? I don't feel safe going out on my own. Camping? What? I could decide to just screw it and go all out till I do keel-over, but I've got two kids, that's not fair for them. I was finally (as of the last few months) coming to the point in my life where I could actually afford to overland the vehicle I've been building in my mind since that night in 1995, when I came upon a Camel Trophy 110, the only other vehicle heading north on I-5 through central California at 2:00 in the morning. And I had just started flying again after purposefully staying away from it for 20 years to build a life and family instead. And I look around and I see loads of people who are overweight, don't eat right, never exercise, are 10-15 years older than me, and I'm now really, honestly jealous of them. How do they do it? How do they even walk around with so much energy? Heart problem aside, if I so much as eat three big meals in a row, I feel like just giving up the ghost. No. Really, what's the secret?

OK, rant over. I just had to get that out to someone besides my pour wife. Sorry it had to be you. I need to refocus on what's important in life, and a bit of a rant helps because it calls me out on my piss-pour-pity-party for the snowflake that I am. And just so you know, since it isn't going away, and since it is causing me to have to leave work in the middle of the day, etc... I'm going to request another heart monitor, and maybe another set of tests. I'm already back on my prescription, but it seems to lower my blood pressure too much. In other words, I need to wrap my head around the fact that I need to get on living with it, because the one thing everyone tells me is that it isn't going to get better.

And now for a few questions, just in case working on Rovers is anything like working on your health:
Do any of you have this type of condition?
Have you noticed that indigestion triggers it?
What have you done to try to have a normal life in spite of the condition?
Were you like my dad, who got it cured in one simple procedure?
What did they need to do to be able to pin-point the problem?
What questions did you ask your cardiologist at this point?
What else you got?

Thanks,
 

4RF RDS

Well-known member
Had a similar condition since 2007. Been defibrillated many times and cardioverted many times. It really sucks and puts a cramp in your quality of life. Finally had cardiac surgery and nothing since. Been a year without any issues and getting my life back on track. Get it properly diagnosed (I had mine correctly diagnosed and treated since 07). Being in the medical profession I was able to self disgnose and confirmed it via independent ECG. That is where you start, get an ECG stat. Likey you’ll need a holter monitor as well (small wearable ECG for a few days). Also you will,likely get a stress test to see it it precipitates the problem.

Many, if not most cardic issues like you have decribed are treatable and or curable. It sounds as though you may have some sort of rapid arrhythmia disorder. This could be either supra-ventricular or ventricular in origin. Ventricular (bottom chambers of the heart) can be very bad if sustained, atrial (top part of the heart) less so. Both are quite treatable depending on cause and the area of the heart involved. Treatment can be as benign as pharmacology to, ablation surgery to a pace maker to an implantable defibrillator. Questions to ask the doc? What is it? What causes it? What do I need to do? How do we fix it?

Get thee to the cardiologist with haste. Good luck
 

RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Dang... sounds like you know what I'm talking about.

Just so you know, I've done all the blood tests, stress test, halter monitor, ECGs, EKGs, and a CAT scan.

OK, this next bit sounds really odd, but the correlation is so tight, I can't ignore it. Right now, I'm at work, standing at my desk. All morning I've had a raised heart rate for no reason. 90-110. So I have odd feelings flowing through my body, weakness, shaking, etc... But at least 95% of the time, I also have indigestion, like acid reflux. It is so closely tied together, that I often see an instant improvement in my heart condition if I simply burp. Done. Day goes back to normal till I eat again. I know that sounds odd, but there it is. Been keeping a log on it....
 

4RF RDS

Well-known member
And nothing from the ECGs or Holter? As in the doc didn’t say you have xxxx. If it correlates to your digestive tract pehaps you have other issues in your gut. I also have a hiatus hernia which did not help the cardiac issue either. Gastric reflux is very uncomfortable and if you have that you should consider getting on Rx to get it udner control. It masks and obfuscates sysmtoms. So much of my symtomology subsided when I decided to take early retirement (also coinsided with getting my cardiac issues fixed) 😉
 

RDavisinVA

Well-known member
This is not venting, it's sharing and seeking among on-line friends.
I know this sort of thing can scare the hell out-of-you.

You need to have this condition diagnosed properly if it hasn't been done already.
Medical technology is and has evolved by leaps and bounds, especially in the field of cardiatric (heart) care.

You need to have someone explain exactly what is happening inside your heart.
If no one knows, don't accept I don't know, am not sure, and so on,
You can wear a heart monitor that will record what is going on with your heart or have a small recording device surgically inserted that will record 24/7.

Most heart conditions can be treated with medications or corrective surgical procedures.
The most common cause of what you describe in post 1 is Atrial Fib which is very treatable, but without proper diagnosing you won't be sure.
Start taking an 81mg of aspirin daily and ask your doctor if you should take a blood thinner to avoid a stroke.
Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, and seafood.
Avoid anything made with white sugar or flower.
Do NOT eat anything that contains hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Do NOT drink any carbonated soft drinks.
When you get indigestion dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water and drink it a gulp at a time.
Avoid very cold liquids like ice water.

Like fixing any broken Land Rover, discover the problem and then work with a good cardiologist to decide how to fix it.
 
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RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
So I had just mentioned that I was having symptoms this morning, and also acid reflux (I think... it's pressure that comes back up, no pain, just a sort of needtoburp feeling). I took an alka-seltzer and almost instantly felt better. Heart rate now at 75 while up and moving around.

Thanks for the advice. I've done everything that you both are saying to do, except that with your advice I know I shouldn't just leave it at that, but go back and insist on more testing, and another round of wearing a monitor.
 

RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Almost forgot: do NOT drink any carbonated soft drinks.
Right, I hate that stuff anyway. Been off that type of junk almost 100% for at least 10 years. And although I'm not on a strict diet. My coffee is only 25-30% regular, and I only drink about 12 oz a day. I am back to only 1-2 drinks per week, and over the past few years I've been moving towards organic. However, in the end, I seem to have very few issues with what I eat anymore, but I get very uncomfortable if I over-eat anything. Cholesterol and blood sugar and all that are normal.
 

RDavisinVA

Well-known member
Putting 2 - 6" pieces of 4X4 under your 2 headboard posts to elevate your head while sleeping can help.
Ask you doctor if you should take something like Nexium to eliminate acid reflux.
Ask you doctor if you should take iron as antacids block iron absorption.

Be aware that even small amounts of caffeine can interrupt normal sinus rhythm.
 

4RF RDS

Well-known member
i second the assertion to be very cautious ingesting anything with caffiene. Best to just cut it out totally. It is THE perfect stimulant to start an arrhythmia. It is most definitely not a benign drink... if you like the taste go decaf. Same thing for most cold remedies, and decongestants as well as antihistamines, best to cut em all out as they all can and will cause cardiac issues.
 

BarryO

Well-known member
FWIW, I've known two people with similar symptoms. One was a boss many years ago that struggled to determine the cause. It turned out to be a allergy: he'd like to have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, and he eventually figured out it was the sulfites in the wine. He switched to organic and it went away. The other more recent case was due to stress. A lifestyle adjustment was in order. Fortunately you have good health care; good luck in getting it licked.

As to feeling like life is over, man I can relate. Four years ago, after more than a decade of being in poor health (morbidly obese), with hard work I got into what I think was terrific shape for someone pushing 60. That summer, I climbed Mt. Adams in a single day (and left a few 20-somethings on the team in the dust). A week and a half later I climbed Mt. Rainier. My daughter was living in Chicago so I ran in the Marathon there without training for it, just off my base level of fitness.

A few life changes over the past couple of years caused me to get lazy and I slid back a bit, but I was using January 1 as the start of 5-6 month program to get back into shape. Then the accident happened. After 8 weeks of hopping around on one leg and being wheelchair bound, my muscles have forgotten how to walk; they've atrophied, and my knee won't bend much. But the worst is that you don't completely recover from this fracture. Thus the first thing one of the surgical team said to me post-op was that they were the "bearer of bad news". The response to when I asked when I could jog again, it was "huh? er..." or as to hiking, "you don't mean hiking downhill, do you?" I feel like I've instantly become elderly. I'm going to give my physical therapy the best effort I can, but it's hard sometimes not to get discouraged.
 

RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
It's amazing that you ran a marathon. I can't imagine having the time to train, let alone run one. That's like hours out of your day!

I ran yesterday. First time in three months. I had been fairly consistently at 8 minute miles. Yesterday I did 1.6 miles at 10:35 per mile. I didn't push too hard, but my heart was at 150, which is about what it used to be for 8 minute miles. Even when I was in shape a few months ago, I couldn't imagine going more than 10 miles in one go. I don't know how you guys do it!

I'm going to try again this evening if I can get off work before dark. We'll see how it goes......
 

abraded

New member
Total bummer to be dealing with this at a relatively young age. That being said, what you are describing will likely be very treatable.

The frequency of episodes you are describing should make your overall condition relatively straightforward to diagnose--if it has not been done already. But, you really need to be seen by a physician (probably a Cardiologist/Electrophysiologist ultimately, but if you're having daily episodes and not sure what to do, start with your PCP)--make that a priority. Until you have a clear diagnosis, and treatment plan, exercising is NOT in your best interest.

When this happened, "By the time I got to the hospital, I almost needed a wheelchair. It took a good 6 hours for it to stop, and then for me to recover." What were you told was going on, and what was the recommendation for further treatment/evaluation?

I'll PM you my contact info, as I'm in the Portland area and happy to help you navigate who to see if you're having trouble with that aspect.
 

Uncle Douglas

Well-known member
My daughter has had ablation surgery three times. She's only 22, first surgery was when she was 7. I remember her first tachycardia event vividly like it was yesterday, the inability to help her was one of the most humbling events of my life. The neural pathways that cause tachycardia remain a mystery but the correction surgery is nothing short of star wars futeristic technology. The nerves abilty to regenerate is a continuing problem.

The initial pre surgery consult when the mortality risk was explained and we as parents and my daughter all had to concur. When I asked my 7 yr old daughter if she understood, she responded that "yes I understand, my chance of dying during the surgery is x%", that was staggering. She was on the table over 6 hrs the first time.
 
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RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Amazing, Uncle Doug. I hope she is doing better. I know how it feels to have a kid in a 'situation'. I hope I can figure out a treatment as well.
 

Topperkenobi

Active member
Man, sorry to hear about what’s going on.
Don’t get discouraged. There has to be an explanation and a solution.
Definitely what you need is a cardiologist that specializes in electrophysiology. It is a subspecialty in cardiology. If they told you it has to get worse for them to do something, it’s BS. Do they want to wait for you to have an event while driving your truck and smash it against a wall? No. Push them to give give you an answer.
Have they done an electrophysiology study? Basically they get a probe inside your heart and they map all the wiring out. They can see which areas are hot for arrhythmias and if necessary ablate them with microwaves or just freeze them. If they have questions they can simulate the arrhythmia with a drug call isoproterenol and identify those abnormal pathways.
There are other drugs that they can use instead of beta blockers to prevent these arrhythmias. Sometimes the arrhythmia is caused by sodium channels. Sometimes potassium channels. Sometimes calcium channels. There are drugs that they can switch you to see what is causing them.
Stroke prevention has to be a must in your case. You are at a higher risk. When you get those events, the longer they get, the higher the chances of forming a clot in your left atrial appendage. And some of that can get dislodged and go places and occlude them.
When we say take aspirin 81mg, that applies to the majority of the population. For a small number of people it may be too much. Blood tests like a thromboelastogram or a platelet function test can tell you if that if safe for you.
Burping is helping you? Great. Read about valsalva manouvers. Basically is your own way of stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system to slow down your heart rate.
What tests have they done? Holster? transesophageal or transtoracic echocardiograms? Checked your adrenal glands for pheocromocytoma or your abdomen and lungs for carcinoid? Your thyroid for hyperthyroidism? Etc.
Have you discussed doing an ablation? Or a MAZE procedure?
I always tell my patients to ask questions. Don’t trust us physicians blindly. We are falible. But questions get our minds to work and we can get to a solution or an answer to a problem.
And remember, you can always ask for a second or a third opinion. Don’t get married to one physician if you are not satisfied.
 

javelinadave

Administrator
Staff member
I have a definitive weight that triggers my acid reflux. If I exceed it by even a pound or two it acts up. When I diet down it goes away. Perhaps you have a threshold that will end your reflux. In my case, coffee, carbonation, alcohol and fried foods had no influence on my reflux. It is purely a product of body weight.
 

MountainD

Well-known member
I have a mulitiude of issues and some of the symptoms you are describing are spot on but I was amazed at some of the things that I went through.

First--in regards to acid reflux--I am 100% in JavelinaDave's camp---when I am overweight I get acid reflux, when I am not, I don't. That simple.

But the heart thing. I have had run away heart beats as well as arrhythmia that would make me want to involuntarily pass out. I never fully lost consciousness, though. But I 100% felt like I was fainting and it was happening even while driving. I will get back to that in a second.

For the run away heart thing---I would exercise and my HR would stay above 100, often 120-140 resting. It turned out I had a (inoperable) blockage at the junction of the LAD and Peripheral arteries. Since it was right at the union, they could not do a stint and surgery was deemed too dangerous compared to the results to do anything. I was put on both Lisenopril (ACE Inhibitor) and Labatalol(beta blocker). I did all the stress tests as well as heart monitors and finally an angiogram to find the blockage. With those two meds, my heart rate is "throttled" and my blood pressure reduced. It was found that I also have Mitral Valve Prolapse. Strange thing, though--even with all of those things, the ekg never showed a cardiac event that would explain my passing out! (I wore a monitor for several days and several events).

So why, particularly when driving, would I have this passing out feeling? Not just a feeling--I would start to slump and many a time did I pull over to the side of the road in almost an emergency proceedure and shift into park as I thought I was about to lose conciousness. What was the trigger? WELL, it wasn't what I was expecting and my path to discovery was even more remote. What we now think was the cause was that sometimes my mitral valve didn't work and my heart would get more blood than typical in it which would be passed on the next beat. When this "bigger" heart beat happened, I felt it. I was already self conscious of my heart, so when I felt it, I would (unknown to be) have a little panic attack as an internal anxiety event got triggered. Psychoanalytically I induced a physiological response in my body and the effects of the anxiety/panic attach was to feel like I was passing out. WTF!

So I started looking introspective and the engineer in my head said to take it easy--your heart just beat harder, you felt it, and it is nothing more, nothing dangerous and nothing to be worried about. I knew that in my soul. That was 8 years ago and I have never had that response again--I still feel the heart beat, but I don't freak out and the passing out feeling has never returned. My cardiac surgeon said they call the condition "consciousness of heart beat" and it isn't as isolated as I thought--but different people react differently to it.


But here is the big thing. Attitude. I know you feel old right now--worn out before your time. But skip that thought and concentrate on the great things that you still can do regardless of the shit that happens to you and your body. Your wife, your kids, yourself and friends. All things to prize as is the time that you spend with them. Take the tests, take the precautions, but don't dwell on that stuff.

4 years ago, as many of you know, I got bit by a mosquito and got neuroinvasive West Nile Virus--but after a month in the ICU and a month relearning to walk, I was released from the hospital. I have bi-lateral diaphragmatic paralysis which means I can't breath well, I wear a POC (portable oxygen concentrator) a lot of the time, and sleep with a machine on. With 80-85% less breathing than I once did, I can't hike, climb, ski, bike... even going on a creeper on the truck is hard as fuck because I have difficulty inflating my lungs when I am on my back. I'm only in my 40's. My liver and kidneys don't get the oxygen that they need and will fail early, but probably not before the right side of my heart enlarges and fails from the pulmonary hypertension. Those are just facts. Am I happy? Just ask my friends--I am. It doesn't upset me and I plan to do as much stuff and as fun stuff as possible--within my limitations. Same goes to you--you are allowed to feel bad, temporarily--but snap out of it and just be a better person to everyone--this life is short enough as is to waste a second like that.

And always remember---everyone always has something. You may not be able to see it, hear it or feel it, but I guarantee everyone has a mountain to climb in this life. The folks that climb with a smile on their face and in their hearts are the one's that are winning...
 
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RBBailey

Well-known member
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Thanks, good input, good advice. Being able to rant and vent for a bit did set me straight!

I also think some of the issue is a panic response. When I feel it coming on, I often realize that I stopped breathing because I'm trying to listen to what is happening....

And I also know what you mean to feel the heart doing something it shouldn't, but not be worried about it. That's actually been what life was like the past 5-6 years. Lots of little bumps in the night, so to speak, but they come and go in a second or two, and even when running I just monitor things and keep going.

But that really changed over the past three weeks. One of the things that is happening now is that I'm getting mild cramps/tingling in leg and arm before hand, and a slow rise in heart rate. I can feel 'off' like this for some time. Like most of last night and this morning. But this can come, and can go at the drop of a hat for no particular reason. If it does not go away, eventually my heart starts fluttering, and I have to stop whatever I'm doing and sit down. Most of the time the heart flutter/race only happens for 5-10 seconds or so, but then leaves me feeling exhausted till suddenly, I snap out of it and I'm in recovery.

I'm going to the doctor in a few hours. Could not sleep last night, and by 1:00 I knew it would be worthless going to work since it was not going away.

Other than a sort of fluttering heart, and a racing heart, I often feel as if my heart is not going through the full cycle of a beat. That is, instead of thump-thump, I'm getting one large CLUMP per beat. As if the systole and diastole are trying to go at the same time. This was the first consistent symptom I had years ago.
 
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