Friday, December 28, 2018

3 Weeks Post Ablation

I Ran

If you're from my era you may be thinking I'm throwing it back to the Flock of Seagulls song from the 80's!
Oh yes it was all about the hair, the music and the clothes. Well nothing really changes over the decades, but definitely styles change. However I digress. What does this really mean?

The actual meaning of this post is that I actually went out on Boxing Day with the Arboretum Hill Club and ran 5 K from the Fletcher Wildlife Centre along Colonel By towards Hog's Back Falls.
I have to say it was nice to be outside as the last few days I've actually moved from walking on the tread to a light jog to an actual outdoor run.

You may think this recovery is fast, but in all reality when I was given clearance when I was recovering after my Ablation my EP told me that I could resume my activities after two weeks. It's actually been three weeks Even though all my readings were about a month. So I split the difference and decided that I was ready to try and do a very light run and gauge how I felt.
AHC 2018 Sunset 6K
It was some light snow and a nice trail to path run. I managed to maintain a slow pace and was looking to run 30mins, but I managed to last 41 mins out and back. I paused for a couple of photos, but in general a good 1st run after 3 weeks.
Kelly and Michelle with their fur friends

Dan Runfie is back!

I can see the beauty in evening runs
Conservation Pond at the Fletcher Wildlife centre
If it's on Strava it counts!
I will continue my recover/rehabilitation and keep going. I'm hoping to increase time and my frequency of outings, but as long as I'm running it is therapy!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Two Week Post Ablation

2 Weeks and Curling for Security

Today marks another milestone where it is now two weeks since I went into the Heart Institute for my Ablation. I don't have much to report, but I think my body is doing what it is doing. I have moments where I feel like I could try to run a 5K, but then again I assess my breathing and my leg muscles that went through some torture having the catheter wires run through me and I remember I'm not 20 anymore. So slow and steady is the recovery path.
I have been getting out and was able to see my coworkers at the RCMP curling club the other day and it was nice to see them. 
I didn't curl, but Mei-Ling was recruited to play on a team of 3 that needed a fourth so she was in! 
I took some photos with my smartphone and I have to say it was interesting the unique form and techniques of curling by novices. I'm no expert curler, but definitely they had a good time.

So tomorrow I will be trying a walk on the treadmill and see how I feel and try to do a progressive walk. More to follow.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Run Ottawa 4th Annual Light Run

Escape to Downtown Ottawa

This past Thursday, December 13th I ventured out to connect with the run crew. Yes, yes NO RUNNING was repeated to me by several people. Cam and I drove downtown together and not knowing where to park we got to Parliament nice and early. Of course I took a chance and parked in a spot where the sign was questionable as it was a loading zone, but also a sign that was no parking between 7a-7p yet there were all these cars parked there. So Cam and I rolled the dice and I squeezed into that spot.
We walked up to the centennial flame and waited and watched a bit of the light show on the hill until we saw some runners starting to appear. I met some of my fellow TA ambassadors Tegan, Jennifer and of course Tracy.
Centennial Flame

Centre Block
Christophe was the first to see Cam and I and shortly after Lisa arrived. Then more started to come and they were ready to get ready to run the route.
Merry Runners

More Joyful runners

Lisa explaining the route
While the group headed out Cam and I started towards the Byward market to the Ottawa sign. Of course standing outside and not running was cold so we took a detour into the Chapters to warm up before heading to the Ottawa sign.
War Memorial on the way to Chapters

Of course the usual group photo at the market. There were actually two groups, but we only got the 1st. I think Lisa stayed behind for the 2nd.
Great turnout
Cam and I started back and headed to the Brixton Pub but took more photos along the way.
And yes we saw some of the last group of runners.
Some of the runners

Same crew

Lisa found some run buddies

Rideau Locks by the Chateau Laurier

Blurred shot of Stephen and Mireille

Jenny leading

Lisa and blurry Nancy in her costume
Once we saw the last runners head back Cam and I walked and I admit I was huffing and I'm sure the minimal elevation, my legs and my lung capacity isn't quite where it should be, but given it's only been 8 days since my Ablation.

Locks again, but in the distance you can see some runners
Once we got to the pub it was surprising to hear they only had one server on duty. She did well and deserved to be commended for handling our large crew.
I had a delicous Brixton Burger, but who am I kidding I was starving after that walk.
It seemed like a good time was had by all and everyone enjoyed their Christmas cheer and company. 
For now I continue the rebuild.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

One Week Post Ablation

It's been One Week

Sitting here typing this post and reflecting on the title of that Barenaked Ladies song "One Week" I have nothing but positive vibes everyone has been sending me through social media. But I have to give HUGE props to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Ottawa Heart Institute that took care of me. For the most part the Ablation was uneventful from what I can remember of the actual procedure, but my posts following depicts what I recall so if you missed that post then scroll back to that one 😉
I really do appreciate the fact that we have the Heart Institute and all the technology advancements and to you my friends and family that have conveyed your well wishes to me. So Thank you! 🙏🙌

Last night I actually went out of the house to drive my youngest to the Tanger Outlets to finish some more of her Christmas shopping. We started at Bath and Body works and then while she was at Ardene I went to Under Armour and looked around before leaving and finding her at Ardene.

Selfie at Bath and Body Works
Once we left Ardene I needed to take a break from the walking. After all it has been the most I've done since last week. So we stopped at Van Houtte for a Hot Chocolate.

Hot  Cocoa for two
Apparently today is Hot Chocolate Day so lovers of hot beverages and chocolate enjoy! For now I'll still be taking it easy. It was a rough at the start, but yesterday I was feeling pretty good. I'm hoping I will be at the Run Ottawa Light Run. (I won't be running) but to meet up with my Team Awesome 2019 team members.

Team Awesome 2019
For the time being rest and recover. I have my good days and bad days. Today I'm a bit tired, but I'm hoping it's just temporary since I woke up a bit early and couldn't get back to sleep.
In the meantime, I'll keep updating on my recovery and let you all know how I'm doing in the days to come.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Day 3 - Post Ablation

First Shower

My last shower was the morning of my procedure and of course early in the morning. I was warned and reminded that after the procedure I would need to keep the area dry for 72 hours. So my procedure was on Thursday so that meant I could actually have a shower on Sunday! Well today was that day and having a shower was great but tiring. I never realized how much effort it was to shower, but it was good to feel somewhat human again. I had a much better sleep on top of that and my breathing seems a lot better. If I had to measure it would be about 70%. My friend Therese stopped by today and brought me a special delivery of her gluten/dairy free chocolate chip/pecan cookies w/ Sea Salt. If you have not been to any of the Bushtukah trail runs where she makes these cookies then you'll have a lot of FOMO because these are my favourite cookies of hers. So come out on Saturday's and you can sample some of her famous baking from scratch.
And Yes I had four before I had to put them away as I would just sit and eat them all!
Oh and back to recovery, my one puncture wound is still healing, but hopefully it will slow down but with the blood thinners I'm not sure how long it will take to fully close, but since I'm not clotting as much it may take longer for that and of course all the bruising from the surgery.

Day 2 - Post Ablation

Rough Night

After leaving the Heart Institute it was nice to be walking around and being a bit mobile. Albeit a tad sluggish to get around. Breathing wasn't exactly pleasant, but moving slowly was the new norm for the next several days.
I got home and hung out with Dad for a bit as he must have waited for my return. We just sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet. I took out Taylor's Yak woven quilt and wrapped myself in it as I was chilled while Kiera filled my water bottle as I needed to stay hydrated.
It was an uneventful evening and we all got Dad caught up on his Y&R and the Bold and the Beautiful. It was about 10p and I was finally getting tired, but getting chilled. I proceeded up to bed, but it wasn't easy getting to sleep as I may have had a fever and found myself chilled all the time with night sweats. I must have gone to the bathroom several times in the night, but each time it was tough to breath and get a restful night. I had taken some more Tylenol, but eventually the drugs and perhaps the fever broke and I was able to sleep a bit longer.
By the next morning I had slept better and I wasn't feeling so chilled. I did get breakfast in bed so that was a bonus. My day was spent watching TV with Dad before he left so it was episodes of Bones until noon and the  it was time for lunch before he headed back to my sisters.
Nice visit and he wanted to stay to keep me company as I was recovering. It would have been nice but he did t need to dote on me as it really should be the other way around 😁

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Complex Ablation

Heart Procedure

December 6, 2018 is a new milestone in my life. I opted to do something different. Well that doesn't sound totally different about me, but it was life changing along this journey.
When I was diagnosed I was left with choices. Choices that would change the direction of my lifestyle of fitness and the goals I wanted to achieve. As you've been following me along this journey you know this was the right choice for me. It may not be the right choice for others that suffer from Atrial Fibrillation or Atrial Flutter, but to me it was the right choice. So having a premiere facility like the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and its many advancements in technology I knew I would be in the hands of professionals.

Surgery Day

Ready to go!
My day started out early as I had to be at the Heart Institute by 6:30a.
Sorry we're not open yet!
I was given instructions to not bring any valuables and to only wear loose clothing to leave in as the hospital would provide me with a "robe" and "slippers". Yeah the robe...the typical open gown you tie with straps. Slippers...well yeah they were just boot covers. Well let's just say they tried to up sell the apparel. 😞
We arrived nice and early at 1st floor and follow the green hearts.
Green Heart

Day Unit that way
Well we weren't the only ones following the green hearts as there seemed to be quite the waiting room of people to get into the Day Unit. Of course it was well after 6:30a until one lady made arrived and announced that only patients were allowed in, but needed their health card and prescriptions ready. I must have been the fourth person in a line of maybe eight or more.
The crowd gathers
Once I presented my card and provided my address and date of birth I was weighed and measured...again. I was then brought to a nice Lazy Boy and pretty much told to strip and put on my lovely robe and slippers! Yep those up sold hospital gown and booties.
I met my nurse Patricia who put my bracelets on and then confirmed my history and everything in her binder to make sure I was there for an Ablation and not something else. 😉
Then came the fun part. You guessed the groin shave! She asked if I did that and no I did not. The privilege was all hers! I'll leave you with that image.😇
Next she put in a line for my IV for me.
IV and my ID
Of course during that time my nerves were getting to me and I must have visited the washroom like three times. Until finally an orderly came to take me down to the Cath/EP lab. I said goodbye to Kiera gave her my glasses and away I went. So there will be no pictures from this point and only your imagination.
We travelled down a few hallways into the new wing of the Heart Institute where all the state of the art equipment was. It wasn't very far, but as soon as we approached my final destination I was fitted with a lovely blue cap to wear for my procedure.
Once I arrived I met with several people. First up was Karen the nurse who had a special message for me from Kristin from my hometown who left specific instructions with Karen to take very good care of me...Aww Thanks Kristin! ♥
Then I met the attending anesthetist Ben then his supervisor which I can't remember his name. Another radiologist, Caroline I think came to ask me questions. Eventually Karen came back and lowered the rails and said come on in! I'm like I have to walk to the operating table! Ok then!
Here I am in this very cold operating room with my "robe" and "slippers" and new found bathroom cap. I was stylin'
I get up the edge of the table and Karen says I need to wire you up so basically stripping me down and of course noticing the ink on my back. Anyhow, she warned me some of the strips would be cold. Oh man it was like having a bunch of ice thrown down your back. That type of feeling. there must have been a series of patches. I proceeded to get on to the table but it was a most bizarre table as it was slender and wider near my feet. Oh and before I go on the EP lab I was in wasn't my physician's normal room and he wasn't too pleased with that. It's interesting how doctors get a feel for equipment for their procedures. Anyhow, back to the was apparently missing a piece so I had to sit up with all these wires hanging off me and of course naked and shivering as it was freezing. I got some warm blanket as they inserted the missing piece and I was able to lie back down. The sleep doc asked me a question about if I had kids and I said yes I have two teen daughters. His reply well sheesh no wonder why you have AFib! 😄 
His attendee started getting his line ready while I was still being wired up with all sorts of monitors.
The last thing I remember once they got all the monitors in place was I'm going to give you something to relax and bam I don't remember a thing after that. All I know is that it was about 6+ hours for the procedure. They had to go through both sides of my groin, but they were able to isolate my veins which meant they had a clear path to get to the left atria that was the cause of my AFib.
Image by the Mayo which shows the Ablation procedure
All I recall is being very groggy and I don't know who it was they were calling me to wake up and squeeze someone's hand. I don't know what was going on, but I have some recollection of the breathing tube ext-abated and then no clue when I was wheeled into the recovery area. I do know Kiera and Mei-Ling were there, but I was so out of it I didn't know what time it was or what was going on. I do recall moments of going in and out of consciousness as I had an oxygen mask on and recall asking for some pain meds as my chest was on fire. Kiera made sure they gave me something for it, but it must have helped as I passed out again. It seems whatever they gave me really knocked me out.
My nurse Mary Jane eventually encouraged me to try and sit up, but I wasn't in the mood and had zero energy. She offered me a chicken salad sandwich but warned me to eat slowly since I was still weaning off the anesthesia and they didn't want me to hurl. But it was nice to have some food and ginger ale, but my throat was still sore. Eventually the doctors came and checked on me, but before Kiera had to leave for her PT appointment. So they mentioned the procedure and answered most of her questions and mine, but basically off for a week and then maybe another week to 10 days and I'll be ready to get back to my regular routines. I was shocked and more so Kiera to hear that I could return to my regular activities after a couple of weeks.
Once Kiera left I was alone until Mary Jane came and introduced Donna who would be my night nurse. Then Jaimie and Jay came to visit to keep me company. They even brought me a donut. We chatted and I got to hear Jaimie's story of her Ablation. They kept me company as it was hard for me to carry on a conversation. It was nice to see some friendly faces other than nurses. Jaimie had to leave for an appointment.
I was trying to get some rest and then Taylor came to visit and also brought me a gift. I was surprised to see her as she no longer works at NRC, but we stay connected via FB. She brought messages from her coworkers and Shifawn and her man Dave. It was a nice visit and then the girls finally arrived. I had to explain what an Ablation was and how I got to where I was in the Heart Institute.
Once all the girls were ready to leave I asked my night nurse Donna for the happy drugs so it was a T3 and Toradol (sp) some anti-inflammatory that might take the edge off. It worked for a bit until about 3a and I needed another jolt. I have to say it wasn't the best sleep, but I managed some despite the chest pain.

At some point DD18 posted on my IG

And a Snapchat

Central line for the drugs

Of course it took some time to get back to sleep, but eventually I must have dozed off. Morning came and yet another new nurse, Diane, was pretty sure I was ready to go! Sadly the previous nurses failed to prepare me for my departure. Apparently I was to have a lesson on how to treat my wound and care for it while at home. Also after a visit from Dr. Simon Hansom he was supposed to remove my sutures, but forgot after he left my new card if anything should happen that I would show this card to anyone at a doctor or ER that they need to talk to my EP before doing anything.
Eventually a new doctor just happened to be passing by and was asked to remove my sutures...imagine my joy! Let me add rubbing alchol on sutured wounds in the groin area...not so fun! So after carful removal of the sutures I had fresh dressings applied and I was ready to have some breakfast!
Scrambled Egg patty

Mmm..Bran Flakes

Healthy choices
Surprisingly breakfast was good, but I guess post surgery you're only allowed to have a small amount of food so this was appropriate.
Last item before I was to be discharged was to have my ECG so before I was allowed to dress I had to wait for one final test to make sure my sinus rhythm was normal. The tech arrived and she was a joy as of course she was Asian and we joked around a lot as he applied more patches on me as she captured my ECG and from what I'm told it was normal. I joked that she should print out one and autograph it for me, but she wasn't buying it. Oh well.
So Diane came back and said you're clear to go and check out of Hotel Heart Institute.
Straight outta Ottawa
It was nice to leave and get caught up on social media throughout my stay. In fact, my post on FB certainly triggered a lot of awareness and it seemed like I had thought I had shared my journey, but I'm new to this so hopefully people will catch on as continue to write.
Thanks for tuning in; sending well wishes; thoughts and prayers and I'll keep posting on my recovery.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pre-Op before the Ablation

Pre-Op Appointment

This past Monday, December 3rd I had an appointment to visit the University of Ottawa Heart Institute to meet with the nurse and the anesthetist.
Also I met a research assistant that is working with a principal researcher that wanted me to participate in a research study that is a randomized clinical trial for finding out if doing a double ablation. Since this is a random study or blind study I will not know IF I am in the group that has the ablation x2. I won't know until the study is complete which for my participation is a year, but the study is a year from my participation, but there is a large candidate pool and from the information I was provided this is across the country and the UOHI has about 150 potential participants. Of those it will depend on which group they are on.
So I'm all for science and decided to be one of the test subjects so this is either going to be beneficial or status quo and I won't know until the study is complete.
I felt by participating that I could help improve on patients that have Atrial Fibrillation like myself have a higher success rate of not having a repeat procedure which may or may not be required. It all depends if the doctors get it on the first try. In my case, I was already told that this could come back when I get older, but in the meantime I feel like I have more to do in my running and activities to be hindered by a faulty ticker.
Now onto the actual appointment as most of the time I was actually waiting, but before the waiting let me add that Ottawa drivers when there is a bit of snow, rain or anything out of the ordinary the 417 grinds to a crawl and giving yourself extra time sometimes isn't helpful I was about 5 or 7 minutes late for my appointment, but the waiting room was already full of patients. I figured that using the PaybyPhone app on my phone so I can extend my time at the UOHI easily which is a great option. But before I sat in the waiting room I was sent to get blood work done. So off to another waiting room and then to get two vials of blood drawn. Then back to the original waiting room to wait my turn. My appointment was 9:15a. It was about 10a by now. After say another 20 mins I was called into an exam room where I then waited another 10 mins and then I met the research associate representing the study to fill out my consent and go through my medical history to see if I qualify to participate. After we signed the documents it was another wait for the nurse. I think by the time I saw her it was another 15 mins and then she popped her head in and said she didn't forget me, but she's waiting to hear back from the triage nurse on whether I need an echocardiogram or not. It turns out that they will use and ultrasound in the procedure so I'm good. So Lori, the nurse, began to take my vitals and all my medical history and background on how I came to the Heart Institute. If you've been reading my blog up to now it's been a very quick journey.
Lori explained to me in great detail on the actual procedure and my mind was blown at how much information there was. The books they give you are a far cry from a nurse explaining to me the very intricate details of an Ablation. So to all you nurses I give you 🙌 huge kudos for putting up with patients like me. Of course I'm left speechless as there's so much information to digest that I hope that what she has told me will go by the book.
Meanwhile as we were chatting my meter had expired AND I still had not seen the anesthetist yet. I tried to use the app to extend, BUT due to City of Ottawa regulations two hours was the max! So like a gamblin' man I rolled the dice and waited and hoped I wouldn't be dinged for a ticket.
After several minutes I met Peter the retired anesthetist.
He went through my stats and asked me if I'd been under before. I told him my lovely vomiting incidents when I had my broken leg as a kid and my tonsils out. Very nauseating. His reply...we have better drugs now! 😄
He would take all my information and basically checking if I had any dentures or dental work which I did as there's a chance something may happen if they stick a breathing tube down my throat.
Otherwise I'm going to have a long nap with lots of tubes and wires everywhere and thank goodness I'll be out like a light.
So overall I'm in perfect health and unless an emergency happens the day off I can't get bumped.
So this will probably be my last post for now until I recover. Thanks for following the blog so far. I hope to turn this into more awareness and my road to recovery as I begin my journey into my running and seeing how this Afib Asian will benefit over the next year once the Ablation is done!