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 with AF. I was forced to miss Hardrock in 2011 due to my AF but my long term goal was to get back to a level where I could enter the lottery for 2012. 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 qual for 2015. I ran Fatdog in Canada instead. That was tough. Now back to Hardrock.

The heart problems all started back on May 25: http://howmanysleeps.blogspot.com/2011/05/out-of-hardrock.html

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3 weeks post surgery

While they warned me I could have episodes and it would take a few weeks for my heart to settle, I was unprepared for just how crap I felt in the first 2 weeks after the ablation. I had several bouts of arrhythmia culminating in the one episode of full AF. I suffered major visual disturbances that created a shimmering blurriness around the periphery of my vision. Sometimes this spread across my line of sight and I could not read until it passed. This was transitory but very annoying. I had a growing headache through the first week which progressed to a full blown migraine one night, leaving me paralysed on the couch in the fetal position for hours. Apparently this is a known side effect of the surgery. It felt like that Mac truck kept backing up over me for good measure.

3 weeks out and I still have residual groin bruising and some tenderness in the area of the wound. My arm swelling and bruising have gone down but I still have altered sensation and get the occasional 'carpal tunnel' type pain/sensation through my wrist. And I still have dyspepsia and general heart burn type symptoms. I am blaming the medication (warfarin) for that rightly or wrongly. That is settling also, though. But importantly, week three brought a dramatic improvement in my wellbeing. I actually started to feel better despite the medication. Hy heart settled and there was no flip-flopping feeling. I could lie on my left side without inducing arrhythmia. I was back running easily a few times a week. I had more energy and a somewhat clearer head. I was getting excited that I had passed the worst and just perhaps I might have beaten this thing. Well the ablation might have beaten this thing. The Professor had told me that by week 3 I could ramp up my training back to what I was previously at. I even spent a very easy 5 hours walk/jogging on the Great Ocean Walk to remeasure some track changes. And boy did that feel good.

But a couple of days later my heart rate started misbehaving on my regular easy evening runs. It would rapidly accelerate for no reason and fall as quickly. Despite going very slow and walking to warm-up. Yesterday I had my first day back at work. I was almost supernumerary so not particularly stretched. I felt a bit fatigued but decided an easy 8km would clear my head. There was nothing easy about it. And when I got home I felt horribly nauseous. Something I hadn't experienced for a while now. I had a glass of cold soda water to help settle my stomach and I went straight into AF.

It only lasted a couple of hours but was enough to wring me right out and leave me more than a little disappointed. I guess I haven't beaten it yet.

Put HR monitor on and this is me sitting on the couch, not hard to guess when I came out of AF?

1 comment:

Alun said...

Hi Andrew

I've just read every entry since this imposter made its presence felt.

You're 'matter of factness' is pretty sobering and really puts some perspective on a few things that I've had to deal with over the last 24 months. Inuries are nothing by comparison.

My thoughts are with you and I hope your chi is strong at GNW.

Take care.