2/22/11 Don't I have enough to deal with?

After coming home last Thursday, the four hour drive was both tiring and welcome, as it meant the 10 day hospital stay was over.  I could get on with the original purpose for going in there in the first place, namely to see if opening my veins would help my underlying condition.

We went to dinner on Friday night after a day of rest, and it felt good to do that, even if it was difficult to walk and move.  10 days of not moving really takes a toll on the human body; it just isn't designed to be motionless.  Saturday I spent the day at home, but got up every once in awhile to walk around the house.  Feeling a little improved from the day before, I was hopeful that I was on the mend.

In the middle of the night sometime Sunday morning, me heart went out of rhythm again, triggering all kinds of panic.  I understand that 40 million people have heart disrhythmias, and I understand that Atrial Fibrillation is common and not life threatening, and I certainly understand that since I am on Coumadin for the time being that a loss of rhythm isn't a risk for clotting.  But anyone who has ever gone through a bout of A-Fib doesn't see it that way.  It isn't normal, and it takes away another measure of one's quality of life.  When the heart produces 75% of its normal cardiac output during A-Fib, walking and talking makes you out of breath.  It's just so unnerving....

Make no mistake here.  My goal isn't to survive life until one day in my 90's I fade to black.  I have a son who is thirteen tomorrow who wants to play catch or volleyball with his dad.  I have need to fly, motorcycle trails to explore, hills to climb, and work to do.  My goal is to eliminate MS from my life, and all of the surrounding challenges that comes with it.  And once I do that, tell everyone I can about it so maybe they can share the same thing.

So when I am trying to recover from a 10 day stint in the hospital that included a cardioversion, my heart going out again isn't just an annoyance to me.  Perhaps I take it too hard, but I freak out and I want answers.  Any setback makes me mad, but when the heart goes, I really get irritated, angry, depressed, and then eventually, logical.  Kathy and I are pretty logical people inherently, so after a few hours of being bummed out and angry, we started once again to think this through.  Kathy and I hunted and hunted for answers and connections.  Here's what we came up with.

I never once had a problem with my heart rhythm until I had the hernia surgery in 2008.  Since having a few bouts of A-Fib, I have had my heart tested, and it's clear there is nothing wrong with it structurally.  My heart is in great shape.  The condition is obviously plumbing or electrical, or some combination.  Recall my hernia surgery came about as a result of me straining to move my bowels during the time before I knew I had MS.  During the past couple of years, I have had the A-fib condition come and go, and it has always resolved itself within a day or so except for the first episode after the hernia and the recent A-Flutter condition I had for the 3 weeks since Januar 28th.  Removing those two episodes, there has always been some kind of digestive correlation, so we started looking there.

There seems to be two underlying types of Atrial Fibrillation: Vagal and Andrenergic, and I seem to fit the classic case of Vagal (Google it).  Vagal A-Fib seems to be caused by an irriration or disruption of the Vagus nerve, which supplies motor controls to all the organs except the adrenal glands, from the neck down to the second segment of the transverse colon.  The vagus also controls a few skeletal muscles, which are listed on various medical sites.  This means that the vagus nerve is responsible for several jobs, such as heart rate, gastrointestinal, peristalsis and sweating, among other movements of the mouth.  Based on my own sensation, this information, a pile of other research of blogs and other people's comments, etc. we came to the conclusion that my paroxysmal A-fib is likely vagal and can be controlled by diet and the corresponding reduction of invasion of the vagal nerve in the intestinal region.

Putting it to the test, I started the Master Cleanse Monday morning.  This diet is the old lemon, syrup and cayenne pepper diet that so many swear by but so many think is a joke.  The one thing not in doubt about the Master Cleanse is it clears a person out within a day or so.  The digestive system ends up with nothing to do, and the body simply ejects all waste.  By 1:00 Monday afternoon, my heart was back in rhythm again, relieving me and Kathy of the instense stress caused by having my heart out.  It picked up my mood, improved my blood flow, improved my ability to walk around, and made me not so short of breath.  Personally I think this is a better option than the medications or a cardiac ablation that so many cardiologists rush for when they see a patient with Atrial Fibrillation.

I doubt this will be my last episode of A-Fib, but I think we learned without a doubt that there is a correlation, and this sense of knowledge leads to control and ion turn eases the anxiety, especially given my overall state of recovery from last week's hospital stay.

I'll stay on the cleanse for a little while, as I can use it to lose some weight and empty my waste out a little more.  Right now as I write this, it's about 9:00 on Tuesday morning, and I feel pretty good.  I am sitting up as I write, I'll be heading into the office in a little while, my headache and temple pain is a little less this morning, so I feel pretty good, all things considered. 

I really hope that my veins stay open and this is the last I have to deal with clotting or scar tissue, so I can turn my attention toward repairing the lesions actually causing the underyling MS condition.  CCSVI is a huge part of it, but I had to just deal with some additional complications, and I once again thank God I live in this country only 4 hours away from a doctor who understands the role veins play in the condition of an MS patient.  Many thanks again to Drs. Michael Arata and Todd Harris at Pacific Interventional for having the knowledge and fortitude to keep workng with me last week.  I know I was a huge disruption in their normal practice and I'm so thankful that they didn't hand me off to someone else who doesn't share this view. 

If my veins stay open, I think we will have the one major ingredient taken care of in this quest.  I felt it back in October, and I want to feel it again.  Since surgery inside my brain is not a viable option yet, the next step is going to be turning toward more focus on the role of blood and oxygenating the vital sections of the brain.

1 comment:

~lisaluluquinn~ said...

very glad to hear you're out of the hospital...hope it stays that way for awhile.