Ultrarunner fighting Atrial Fibrilation (AF)

This blog has pretty much always been about running ultras, mostly Hardrock. It still is but now it is also about running after AFib. I was forced to miss Hardrock in 2011 due to the onset of AF but my long term goal was to get back to running milers. And hopefully help any other runners with AF who stumble upon this site. I never made it into Hardrock in 2012, or 2013, or 2014. I didn't have a qualifier for 2015. I ran Fatdog in Canada instead. That was tough. I finished my 4th Hardrock in 2016 and now I'm back to try for the magical number 5.

If you want the history of my AF the heart problems all started back on May 25 2011: http://howmanysleeps.blogspot.com/2011/05/out-of-hardrock.html

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pre-op tests

When is a DNS for a favourite race a good thing? I have had to pull out of my ambitious plan to run the 100km at Glasshouse. It will be just over a week after my surgery so no chance of running it. I hope to still fly up to hang-out and help out on light duties. But this is a good thing because it means I am starting on that long road to hopefully getting my health back.

I go to Melbourne tomorrow to have some tests in preparation for the ablation. The main one is a cardiac CT scan. I have seen plenty of these but to be on the other side of the fence is a little daunting. They will use a 3D reconstructed image of my heart to help plan the approach to the region they need to target. They will also use ultrasound via an oesophageal scope and an image intensifier. These are tools of my trade, although not my area of expertise, but I still don't feel all that comfortable about them.

I have volunteered to participate in 2 clinical studies during the procedure. Although after reading all the consent forms I am not so sure that was such a good idea. But I am a firm supporter of research so could not say no to the request. Besides I was so excited about getting a surgery date they could have asked for my left kidney and I probably would have said yes.

The first one involves swallowing a tiny camera inside a capsule: a pill-cam. It will take pictures of my oesophagus. This will be repeated after the ablation to see what damage the scope does to my oesophagus. Here's hoping not much.

The other involves measuring the levels of my blood gases during the actual procedure, which they would do anyhow. To improve accuracy of the catheter that burns my heart, the anaesthetist will regularly suspend (read stop) my breathing to reduce movement of my heart. If it means more accuracy, hell they can suffocate me. Well perhaps not quite.

Sometimes it is better to be ignorant about what is going on. Someone at work asked me if I wasn't a little worried about all this. I said given the alternative that wasn't even a consideration. I have been hanging on for this treatment since I realized I had a problem. Let's just hope it works.

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