T’s Heart Journey: Atrial Fibrillation

It has to be bronchitis…I had it in the fall, so this would be the second this school year…Respiratory infections are part of working with kids, part of being an elementary teacher…That’s why I’m out of breath every time I walk…Bronchitis…Heart Disease…Atrial Fibrillation…

It wasn’t bronchitis. I had fluid in my lungs, and my heart rate was very erratic. My blood pressure went as high as 150/90. When I went to my doctor that day, it saved my life. Then, my panic set in as I waited for the ambulance…

I have errands to run…They can’t send me to the hospital…I need to stop at Dollar General…

My plans after that doctor visit didn’t include a 3-day hospital stayI still put other people and activities before my health. I had the usual teacher-guilt about missing school just to go to the doctor. Even though I was having a hard time breathing, I still felt guilty. (That sounds so stupid now that I’m saying this out loud.)

I spent two hours in the emergency room going through various scans and tests. The doctors explained to me that I had fluid in my lungs and in between my diaphragm and stomach. They diagnosed me with congestive heart failure. At this point, the doctors needed to get rid of the fluid in my lungs. They also needed to figure out what caused the fluid.

I was diagnosed later with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). I’m still learning all of the information that I can about AFib. I will say that I feel thankful to be alive and to have great doctors. They’ve explained to me what it will take to get my heart rhythm back to normal. I’m taking medication (blood thinners, blood pressure, etc.) to keep me from having a stroke or heart attack. It has been a tough time for me, especially because it’s a lot to digest. According to my cardiac specialist, it’s rare to see someone my age have AFib (49 years old). It’s actually helpful in treating my heart disease (still feels funny to say that). So, let this journey begin!

If you are living with AFib, this website has very good information and support for the disease ?? StopAFib.org.