Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sleep Study and Bell Let's Talk

Sleep Study Results

Mark this date in your calendar January 29, 2019 has been the snowiest January since 1999. Shattering the previous total of 93cm and so for 2019--97 cm #winning 😒
So of course with all that snow that meant traffic chaos and the penultimate slow ass drive to get to my appointment at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus. Ok so the appointment was set at 9:30a and of course there had to be at least some snow clearing that needed to be done as I didn't want to shovel. Well cuz yeah Heart condition and not a great idea; however, given the time and knowing traffic I did a quick clearing for my car and enough for the others to be able to drive out to get both kids to exams; well actually one to exam and the other just to visit. And the final occupant didn't need to get out, but there was a path.

Commute and the Results

 I left the house at 7:40a and I started up Waze to plot my course. Of course it knew exactly where all the shortcuts to take, but what Waze doesn't know is that some of the sketchy neighbourhoods it took me through were not even plowed so did it save me was an adventure. I went from Old Richmond road to cutting through Bell's Corners and then on Baseline through another neighbourhood to do a loop through another neighbourhood to get to Lincoln Fields to the SJAM where I got to Island Park and through ritzy houses and century homes with again streets not plowed. Remember, recovery from heart surgery and of course now with elevated HR. 😡
I finally arrived at the Civic and I have to say the pathways and roads were actually well maintained. However, parking was absolutely non-existent.
It was to the point where parking attendants were doing Valet since in the actual tower it appeared there was zero spots left yet they were still letting people into the parking garage. So I passed the attendants and just took my chances and drove up to the very top and SCORE there were still spots left. So I pulled into the first spot and time...9:15a Oh did I tell you that they wanted me there 20 mins before my appointment? gah!
OK so of course I was nowhere near the actual entrance near where I need to be so I walked from the parkade to the main entrance and chivalry was out the door so sorry lady in the wheelchair for some parkour moves around you and weaving between you crazy people wanting your Tim Horton's double double fix.
I went to the information desk and said where's the Sleep clinic again? I know it's 1st floor and kind volunteer lady said I think you need to go to Elevator that's the letter so I went super sonic to the elevator and since this hospital is ancient I felt the elevator was not even moving...oh there were three all slower than a new bottle Heinz Ketchup. 😕 
When an elevator did finally show up I went up the one floor, yeah yeah I could have found a staircase and went up, but didn't want to get lost in a hospital that seems somewhat has fifty wings.
Oh and what time was it when I actually got to the check in??? yep it was 9:25a
Oh and was anyone actually at the desk? absolutely not, but there was one guy ahead of me and we both waited and then another patient arrived. So here we were three dudes waiting to be told we have Apnea and show me the money!!!

No I kid, but the reception lady finally made an appearance and took my health card and gave me the 20 questions security check and gave me a clipboard and goes yep fill this two page questionnaire out!! 😒
So I took the clipboard and and filled out the sheets and handed back the clipboard and was called into one of the rooms where I met Dr. Leech.
I sat down and she was pretty empathetic at the slow commute and the parking and pretty much tried to calm me down as it was apparent I was stressed out. We joked about the drive and the morning, but for what it was worth it was a long morning and it was only 9:45a.
So we went over my results and of course I have sleep apnea, but it was quite the interesting conversation as the way I answered the questions and then the results reveal was intriguing to her. To be honest I answered the survey questions honestly to how I've been feeling the past couple of weeks so there wasn't really any deviation. Also the sleep study was a week before I was going for my Ablation so there really wasn't much correlation to my AFib to Sleep Apnea or is there??  She could not confirm that fixing my Apnea would help my heart, but in general and more long term it would be better for me. Of course having a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine setup to help me breathe through the night will be intrusive.
In general, I did not provide them with a lot of actual sleep and more REM sleep. So they took what they got from me and saw from me sleeping on my back I was prone to go into Apnea 29x/hour to about 15x if I was on my side. So the little sleep I did provide them gave them these really interesting numbers. But if I did give them more sleep I'm not sure if the numbers would be in my favour.
So we got side tracked slightly as she said that I exhibit signs of a man with apnea that weighs like 250 lbs.😮
Not only was I surprised she threw out an actual "fun fact" that apparently Asian males and females for some reason are more prone to have Apnea. I'm like really? I feel like being profiled a tad. BUT what was surprising is that she said she had an Asian woman around 90-100 lbs soaking wet...yep Apnea. So part of me is thinking this is just a way to get CPAP machine sales up. The other part of me is in disbelief, but of course one cannot watch oneself not breathing while sleep. 
Here we are...what are the next steps?
  1. I totally ignore this and wait and see what happens with my post Ablation healing and see if there is some benefit. Note that there isn't any evidence that links AFib to Apnea that she was aware, but it's still early in my healing
  2. CPAP. Try it for 30 some odd days and see how I feel.
  3. Which she believes is the right fit is a mandibular dental appliance. BUT the only catch is that I have to be sure the CPAP is of zero benefit and I need a 2nd choice.
So she wrote me up some scripts and said to get in touch with the clinic that will provide a free rental to try and then see where to go from there. But I let her know that I'm still waiting for a follow up and that I'm going to hold off until at least next week.
Oh don't worry I'll be posting that lovely experience when I get the CPAP. 

Bell Let's Talk

If you follow my social feeds of Twitter and Instagram then I won't take too much digital space and just say check out my feed on Twitter / Instagram @ottpak where I share my story and via this blog about me! Feeling defeated and down and using this space to try and find some way to articulate the emotions I have and put them into words on a screen. I merely pointed out that my family and friends were there and although a big corporation like Bell makes a big publicity deal out of this, but the message is clear. Use your voice, step up and be heard and share your story. It doesn't have to be to me or a professional, but confide to someone and just be there. I relied on my friends and family as support and they heard my cry. They were there and will still be there so I give 🙌 to them and give them 😍 for being there. #BellLetsTalk #EndTheStigma

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cardiac Rehab - Setback

Six Weeks and some change

Dec 6th 2018 seems so far away now. But yesterday January 22nd I visited the Heart Institute for the first time since leaving after my Ablation. However, mother nature stymied me and it was a Polar Vortex the past three days so that meant traffic was a lot slower in addition to black ice and of course the usual winter long drives. I even gave myself extra time and it still took a lot longer to get to the destination. Long story short I pulled up to the meter parking and if you've used the PayByPhone app I punched in the 5 digit number and maxed out my visit and away I went. I was only a couple of minutes late.

Rewind to around January 13th when I registered my last run for the Lululemon 40/80 challenge and sadly ended my RORunStreak, but I did manage to log in just over 40 K for the Lulu challenge which meant a nice discount for the girls!
However since I started back running and HIIT training my HR has been spiking higher than normal

Now back to the Cardiac Rehab centre. I met with Roxanne, a physiotherapist, who asked me A LOT of questions and basically my fitness activities. So here is pretty much the laundry list of what I do.
  • running
  • HIIT training a la OrangeTheory Fitness (run, row, body weights)
  • snowshoeing
  • trail running
  • snowboarding
  • cycling
  • skating
Given that I used to train almost 5-6 times a week I was getting about 2-4 times, but of course with the RORunStreak I was trying to get back to where I left off prior to the diagnosis.
So in addition to the in person questions I answered a questionnaire online prior to my appointment and we went over that as well. Apparently that one was about stress and depression. Of course I didn't realize those questions were being scored! 😨
Here's the bottom line--my scores indicated stress and depression!
My reaction was mixed. Part of me was stunned and the other part of me was anxious! It was like a flood of emotions that it was happening again. The palpitations, racing heart, crack in my voice. 
So now what?
Roxanne informed me that the Cardiac Rehab centre is not just for getting you back to a more healthy lifestyle. They have a variety of programs:
  • Nutrition counselling
  • Stress management
  • Smoking cessation
  • Vocational counselling
  • Psychological counselling
  • Social work counselling
I was quite surprised and apparently I'm covered by this if I so choose. We talked a lot for more than an hour on options, but ultimately this is my plan of action.

I will beginning a Brief Program, but before any of that I need some bloodwork done and in addition to that I have my sleep study report to follow up with. That will most likely be in a future post.

Once I get the blood work done then my next step is another Fitness Stress Test. 
Roxanne wants to measure my fitness level at just a walk and see how my heart handles the exercise. After all it is a test of my fitness. Keep in mind the last couple of weeks my heart rate has been abnormally high and has not been able to come down. So we will see.
Next will be a follow up appointment with a new PT names Guy-Anne and then we'll see from my test results what I should be doing.
Once I get onto the program then I will have a follow up several weeks on my progress. However, before I could leave the rehab centre I had to have all my vitals taken and after Roxanne showed me how to check my pulse/heart rate and to recognize that my heart is skipping a beat. So after Roxanne consulted with a nurse they decided that I should get an ECG just to make sure that everything is going according to my EP's plan. I just have to remind myself that the healing could take as long as three months or more before my heart figures it out.
So I took my lovely requisistion and went around the corner to another waiting room and waited for my turn for the ECG.
I had about 35 minutes left on my meter and as I checked I was given number 64. Guess what number they called when I got there for ECG. 48!😧 I waited and when they got to like 54 I ducked out and fed the meter as the time was ticking! Of course time ran out again, BUT my number was called. So now what?? I rolled the dice again as I always do when I come to this place and the gamble paid off as |I got my ECG and rushed it back to the rehab centre and gave it to the admin and went on my way. I left there pretty much three hours later and not really the answers I was hoping, but more of a reality check that I'm not quite ready. I messaged the usual crew Kiera and of course work my results and I was offered by Therese to help me read my ECG or at least interpret to me what all those waves really mean as Normal has been a long way since my Ablation. I did learn about the alphabet. P QRS and T. It seems one of those letters seems to be missing in my ECG. What does that mean, well according to Therese my heart seems to be trying to work around the Ablation which may be trying to go the opposite direction that the electrical charge wants to go. So for those that haven't been following along AFib basically means that my electrical system in my heart isn't working or more that it's overworking/stimulating my heart; hence the high heart rate as of late. Of course the EP will need to verify so I went online to my ottawa heart page to see if there was anything on my ECG or a report, but nothing, but did find other interesting diagnostic reports and my operative summary. Very cool to read these. I didn't understand a lot of the lingo, but it was all medical jargon.
So for the moment I have been fasting and await with probably my elders aka other seniors for the line up to get blood drawn for my blood test.
Oh joy! In the meantime I now just relax and take it easy!😒

Sunday, January 6, 2019

One Month Anniversary - Nuun, Bushtukah, RunToBeer, and OTF

One Month Post Ablation

Today January 6th it has been one month since going for my Ablation to correct the Atrial Fibrillation. Although I will be monitored over the next year nothing feels better than being able to do my running and returning to my activities. 
In fact today I returned to OrangeTheory Fitness to do my HIIT workout to see how I felt. Today's workout was a Strength workout and some base running with hills. After all the #RORunStreak the last five days I guess this workout was a good way to mix it up. I lasted the full hour and it seems my HR wasn't too bad, but there were not a lot of major pushes or all outs, but of course I was on the cautious side. 
30 Splats
This was actually quite a busy weekend with
Bushtukah, RunToBeer OTT & a BIG announcement.

Nuun Ambassador

So you're looking at the newest 2019 #TeamNuun ambassador. If you've ever done Ottawa's race weekend it is their electrolyte drink of choice. They have a variety of flavours and have added even a performance style drink that I've been using for trail runs and also for my cycling to add a bit of carbs and electrolytes.
I received the official announcement Friday and I'm excited to share how important hydration is in any sports. I preach this a lot to my girls as it is key. Our bodies are made up of over half water. So when you work out you sweat and you see all those commercials with the coloured sports drinks. Nuun is different and you just add it to water in a form of a tablet and its effervescent way of dissolving easily. As part of this new ambassador role I hope to combine this with Team Awesome and help out other athletes in "muuving" over the next year and staying hydrated and of course being Awesome.

#TeamNuun Ambassador

Bushtukah Snowshoe & RunToBeer Ottawa Chapter

My weekend started with a double workout kind of day. I know it's just a bit crazy after only a month ago I was at the Heart Institute on the operating table!
But I think today's technology and the type of procedure has allowed me to return a lot quicker than an average person. Then again I'm not your average person! 😏
Well I didn't want to overdo it at the snowshoe run so lucky I was late and just lollygagging at home and then forgetting where I was going. Of course trying to put on the gaiters and snowshoes is not exactly a quick action like snapping into a pair of skis. But I caught up to the walkers and made my way to watch as the walkers were feeding the chickadees. I managed a nice 2K walk/run and I was able to see Celia and Peggy and went back with them. Also who am I kidding I really looked forward to the cookies!
Snowshoe have to try it!

Feeding the Birds

Peggy and Celia only ran in snowshoes for 1k of 2k

One more cookie before RunToBeer
After the snowshoe it was off to the hi-tech area in Kanata to get a sneak peek at the new Calabogie Brewing Company and try my hand at a 5K run/race.
It was nice to see that I can pick up my pace and I'm impressed I'm still running continuous. After the last six months of running paces 7:30/km or slower it was nice to quicken them even if it didn't last the full 5K, but I'm still on the recovery/rebuild. I may end up going back to those paces as I want to make sure I do NOT overdo it. As I am positive those close to me will be watching me carefully and reminding me.
I had a great time and even better when I saw Vlad and Tim running right by me on the other side of the road and an even bigger surprise seeing Tatiana taking photos at the end.
To the brewery

The following were taken by Tat and she caught me off guard as I really wasn't expecting her to be there. So some candid photos courtesy of her site

Seriously WTH


The flow

My hair sparkles 😂
It has been quite the busy weekend and now we prepare some colder temps again and of course snow! A lot of snow in the forecast. Apparently as I type this there could be 10-20 cm of snow starting Monday the 7th to Tuesday! Before I sign off I recieved in the mail the other day that my Doctor has recommended me to take part in a Caridac Rehabiltation Program. So I've left a message and will let you all know how that works out.
My parting words...#StayHydrated 😉

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Year in Review

4 Weeks Post Ablation

As of December 31st to today I've RUN almost 18km!
It has been four weeks since I had my Ablation and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm participating in the #RORunStreak and it's only Day 3. The purpose is to encourage others to run in January to motivate and inspire runners that winter running isn't that bad. I did all 31 days last year and it was flagged in my #YearInSport from Strava as my busiest month and it was!
Overall the bruising is subsiding and after a night out with some friends one of which is a PT said I could work the tight areas gently and massage them out. BUT I didn't feel comfortable with that so I've been doing some mild stretching and knowing to listen to my body. So far so good and my goal right now is continue to run continuous to remind my muscles that this will work. 😄

2018 Year in Review

2018 started off much like this month by participating in the #RORunStreak basically run a minimum of a mile indoor/outdoor and it counts.
Let's break down the race highlights:


Richmond Road Race was a race I wasn't going to do last year, but my friend wanted to swap out and take over volunteering as she was sick so I took her place and ran the 10K. I will just say it was cold!


Winterlude Triathalon - Team Bushtuakah Trail Runners
This was fun with Therese and Phil, but sadly the x-country ski was cancelled so the course turned into a Duathalon and the 8K skate turned into 12K and the skier chose to skate or run so Phil pace Therese. We placed top 10. A lot of fun, but cold!


Hypothermic Half and Around the Bay. Both of these were great highlights. The Hypo Half was "fun" what's not to like about going in loops to do a half marathon? Well you get to see your running friends pass by each loop AND the post run brunch is great!
Around the Bay: well that was my 1st official away race and it was fun from rooming with RBSri and hanging with my RB's to meetup with some Team Awesome people.


Somewhat low key and highlight of this month was a couple of Run To Beer speaker series and a Pancake Prediction Run. The Prediction run was fun as no electronics and you had to guess your time. Challenging but it was fun. Also this is when I decided to try Peak Performance training and started working on building speed and working on pacing in Zone 1 heart rate zones.


Busy month of Peak training and my 1st ever trail race with 3 Beavers and of course Ottawa race weekend and the Voyageur Challenge. 
The trail race was a 3 hour how many loops can you do in 3 hours. Yeah that was tough and muddy but I had a blast!
Race weekend!! What can I say my first multi race event. 3 races  over 2 days. 5K, 10K Saturday and the 1/2 on Sunday.
Lots of fun memories and the culmination of meeting up with Team Awesome. Well most of them and of course being a VIP for the event.


Well this pretty much will bring me to the point of starting the blog, but this month was more peak training and the start of meds for my hypertension. This month was a healing month and of course the lead up to the diagnosis of my Atrial Fibrillation. The other highlight was the Ashley's run and my 2nd Perth Kilt Run where someone took my Kilt and I ended up with a Kilt that was way too big for me. Very comical and definitely not exactly the best when running. 

So the rest is pretty much the start of the AFib Asian blog and big highlights of the first six months of the year.
The last six months are what you already know if you've been reading my blog.
So I'll focus on the Best 9 or Top 9 photos that my followers on Instagram liked.
Best 9 on Instagram
Starting on the top left corner
1 - Being selected for Team Awesome for a 2nd year
2 - Canada Army Run Commander's Challenge 3rd year in a row
3 - Marathon du P'tit Train du Nord
4 - Flat Dan ready for the brisk cold temps for the 1/2 Marathon at P'tit Train du Nord
5 - The 5K at Canada Army Run
6 - The 16th anniversary of my mom's passing
7 - The Light Run with Run Ottawa members and a week after my Ablation (I walked)
8 - Flat Dan w/ the run gear for Canada Army Run Commander's Challenge
9 - At the start of the ill, injured and disabled runners for the 5K

Definitely the Canada Army Run seemed to get a lot of likes, but no surprise in the City of Ottawa as there is a large civil servant population and people liked those photos. Not arguing at all.

2018 was definitely a humbling year with big goals to aspire to, but then having to park those goals and fix an important organ in my body. 
I thank you all for following me and hope you continue reading my blog as my journey isn't over. I won't really know the full success of the Ablation until the healing is done and I have symptom free. Basically no more AFib! Here's to comeback year and of course my 1st Ultra!!!