Hi everyone, it has taken me a long time to find somewhere to share stories, thoughts and experiences with others in a similar position. And it feels good!
I have been active throughout my life, playing every sport accessible to me. My first experience of any cardiac issues was at around age 18, I think I had overindulged on beer one evening and found my heart racing and struggling to catch my breath. It was only a brief episode and I soon recovered. A few months later, I was competing in a county golf match. I had just sank a winning putt and suddenly my heart started to beat rapidly. A team member took me to the nearest hospital. They rigged me up to an ECG, and decided to blue light me to Gloucester Royal Hospital where my heart rate was slowed from 220 bpm in AF, back to sinus rhythm.
With no further diagnosis or medication, I carried on with my life, not thinking about it too much. At 20 I successfully joined the police force and started my new career with West Mercia Constabulary. During my first year, my cardiac symptoms started to repeat. With no official diagnosis, and the force doctor unable to pass me fit, I was unfortunately discharged.
After this knock back, I decided I needed a diagnosis otherwise my life would continue to be disrupted. It took years of 24 hour heart monitors, beta blockers, chest x-rays, ECG’s, and cardiac imaging to finally get to see an electrophysiologist. Dr Rajappan was fantastic, looked at my notes, and could see it was having an impact on my life. Being unable to play football with my son and go trampolining with my daughter was heart breaking. He offered an ablation to study the heart and see what was causing my symptoms.
I did have a rough time leading up to the ablation, divorce and diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, however I was actually positive about coming out the other side even stronger.
I had my ablation on 21st Jan 2015 (then 31) and finally found out what was causing the symptoms. I had an ablation for Atrial Tachycardia and probable AVNRT. These tachycardias were degenerating into Atrial Fibrillation and causing a dangerously high irregular heart rhythm.
It took around 2 weeks to feel myself again, however the team at John Radcliffe were amazing.
I have since had lots of palpitations, I am unable to sleep on my left side and unable to push myself physically as it reproduces cardiac symptoms however it has not gone into an abnormal rhythm since the ablation 3 years ago.
I feel I need to see my electrophysiologist again soon as it is starting to impact my life again, however I have not given up hope in getting back to full fitness one day. Thanks for reading, and look forward to reading everyone else’s story.