My Heart Procedure

Today I went in to have a heart procedure called a Cardiac Ablation, and I have lived to tell the tale.  Honestly, it's a routine procedure and very low risk... so low risk in fact, that it's an outpatient procedure.  People are always shocked by that... yes, they were in my heart, and then sent me home.  But, they went into my heart through catheters, not by opening my chest.

It all began back when I was pregnant with Jonas.  I began feeling my heart rate accelerate spontaneously, and couldn't figure out why.  Sometimes it was after running after Marco, but sometimes it was while sitting on the couch.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  So, I told my doctor and he sent me to the cardiologist that set me up with a 24 hour heart monitor.  As luck would have it, I did not have a single episode during those 24 hours.  The doctor kinda brushed it off saying that sometimes our bodies react strangely to pregnancy.  So even though it kept occurring, I didn't worry about it to much because I figured it was a weird pregnancy side-affect.

Then in December, when I became hospitalized in Miami for pneumonia, it started happening again.  This time it was extreme.  On the first day, my heart rate popped up to 185 and stayed there for over 20 minutes.  The nurses had to call a Code and everyone rushed in with panels and equipment.  They gave me a shot that  literally stopped my heart for a second or two before it came back to normal.  It scared the CRAP out of me.  It felt like an extreme pressure on my chest.  I immediately started crying because I was terrified.  The next day, my heart rate was flopping up and down... 180, 80, 175, 90... etc.  They told me they were going to have to inject me again with the heart stopper and I was dreading it.  Thankfully my heart gained control and we didn't have to.  But before they sent me home, they had an arrhythmia specialist come see me.  He explained that I didn't need a cardiologist... what I needed was an Electrophysiologist.  Talk about a specialist!

I made an appointment with the ONLY group in Greenville to specialize in arrhythmia.  Luckily, as I went in for my appointment, I was having an episode, so they were able to capture it on record.  My heart rate was at 183 for over 20 minutes while I was in the office.  The doctor, Dr. Rubenstein, explained my condition in detail and gave me my options.

He said that the heart is an electrical organ.  With every pulse, it releases an electrical cell, that travels from the top section to the bottom section, thus creating the boom-boom... top-bottom.  What seems to happen to me at times, is that the electrical cell gets stuck in a track and doesn't travel in it's normal pattern... that's why we get a rapid heart rate... boom-boom-boom-boom... top-top-top-top.

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything I do or have done.  It doesn't happen when I'm angry, or running, or because of any medications I've taken in the past.  It is completely random and can happen to anyone.

My options to fix it were to either take a daily dose of medication or to have it fixed by doing the ablation.  Obviously, I chose the latter.  I made this decision because 1. Once it's fixed, it's fixed... it will not ever come back, in that spot.  and  2. I wont have to take any sustaining meds.  I was afraid that I'd have a heart attack while having one of those episodes, and Dr. R told me that although it wouldn't cause a heart attack, it would eventually cause heart failure.  Our hearts are electrical, like a battery.  When it is overworked, it dies sooner rather than later.  I need my heart to die as LATE as possible... I have a lot of work to do with my babies!

So, I went in today to get this thing over and done with.  I was nervous.  They prepped me and took me in to the OR.  Once there, they began wrapping me in a bunch of tarps (I was thinking about Dexter... sick, right?) and started my drugs.  They gave me one dose, but it didn't seem to make a difference, so they gave me another one... and that's all I remember.  I woke up hours later in the recovery room with my mom at my side.  I slept longer than I was supposed to, but when they tried to wake me, I was too groggy to do anything.  They went in through both my groins and my neck with catheters, so I had bandages covering those spots.

I'm still feeling sore and tired, but I'm doing well.  I can't walk up the stairs, so my amazing knight in shining armor, Mauricio, is carrying me around.  How romantic!  I should be back to normal within a day or two.  Thanks to all of you who have Facebooked me with prayers and kind words and thoughts.


D-L said...

So glad everything went well!

Unpolished Parenting said...

I bet that was kind scary - so glad to hear it all went well!

And that's awesome we are vacation twins!! :) Maybe we will end up running into each other on our kid free break next year!!

Anna said...

I am so glad you are doing alright, Nicole!!! I was praying for you :) <3

Heloisa said...

What good Nicole!
It's been huh?? - All things work together for good to them that love God !.....
May God continue to bless and guard your health! I am always praying for you, Maureen and the kids!
a kiss in this beautiful heart!