As part of the second annual “I Am CardioSmart” contest, the American College of Cardiology is encouraging patients who are living well with heart disease to share their stories to inspire others to take charge of their heart health.
Patients living with high blood pressure, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, a congenital heart defect, coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack are eligible to enter the contest and one lucky winner will receive a trip for two to Washington, DC, during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
During my free Medicare physical five years ago I learned that I had afib. I had watched the nurse do my EKG and thought she looked concerned. My doctor very kindly told me what I had and immediately scheduled me with a cardiologist who ordered my first echocardiogram. I was terrified as I read the handouts I received from my doctor. I went to pick up my new prescription and because I was still in a daze, I left my wallet on the counter and just walked out. I thought this meant I would possibly due any day. I met with my best friend to tell her that we weren’t going to be able to do all the things we had hoped because I had afib and would surely die soon. We all cried together.
I had my first echo and first appointment with my cardiologist. He is a wonderful man but quite plain spoken. He told me everything I could do to treat my condition. He wanted to do a cardio version to which I replied “No thanks. I read about that and it’s too scary.” My doctor asked if he was in charge or I was in charge. I gave up control that day and decided to let him lead and I made a decision to do everything he suggested. He wanted me to get two knee replacements so I could be active. I did that and had successful surgeries with no problems. He told me to Lise weight and I did. He mentioned exercise and I committed to walking six mornings a week which I still do. He explained the importance of warfarin monitoring. My internist monitors and I have never missed an appointment for blood work in five years.
Recently I saw my cardiologist for a routine check and he was amazed with my compliance with his treatment recommendations. He was delighted with my management and treatment. He said he wished all patients would follow his recommendations.
My afib is the silent kind, persistent, always with me. The cardio version didn’t work on me. I have no discomfort and no awareness of my afib. I gave regular echos and I take medicine for blood pressure and also a statin. My numbers are good across the board. I have mitral valve leakage also but no symptoms. My orthopedic surgeon says my replacement surgeries have exceptional outcomes. I worked hard in PT to gain strength in both knees. I had needed the replacements for 15 years and had become sedentary because if knee pain.
Now I am a different person with lots of energy and I have faith in my treatments to manage my afib. I’ve stopped thinking I would die soon. It feels good to write this history of my journey with afib. I’ve come a long way.
I’m active in my church and I exercise, I watch my food intake and I take medicine as prescribed and make all of my appointments with my internist for check ups every three months. Truly, I have never felt better. This still amazes me considering that first day I learned I had afib when I thought it would be fatal in the near future. I do subscribe to the afib newsletters and I try to stay informed but the biggest thing for me that I think contributes to feeling confidant in my health is good medical care and a joint decision to work with my doctors to maximize y health in spite of these conditions. Life is so good!
Thanks for sharing your story with us. If you would like to share your story for the CardioSmart contest, please visit the “I am CardioSmart” Patient Contest.
deeing oon pradaxa for 6 months….all is well///do not feel my a.f…..a bit worry about the outcome…howlong on that drug/////will be careful not to bleed//////i am 80 years old and in good shape otherwise/////anxiety is the only problemwith a.f…..accepting is also very important……