My Surgeries Journey

This has been quite a year for me physically.  It was almost exactly one year ago that I had cataract surgery, first on my left eye and two weeks later on my right.  Since then I have had two ablation surgeries and a cardioversion for atrial fibrillation and last week I had a colonoscopy.  That means in the last year, I’ve been under anesthesia six times.  That is a lot.

The cataract surgeries took maybe 15 minutes each and were outpatient procedures.  I am really happy with the results.  Before the procedures, I was wearing glasses and my vision was getting worse and worse.  After the cataract surgery, I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/30 in the other, and I know longer need glasses.  Dr. Stephen Cross was the doctor, and I’d recommend him to anyone.

I haven’t had the same success with my ablation surgeries.  I’ve experienced afib (atrial fibrillation) off and on for maybe 10 years.  If you’re not familiar with afib, it’s an irregular or fast heartbeat caused by something off in the heart’s electrical system.  Afib itself is not dangerous.  The danger is it increases the possibility of having a stroke and the treatment for that is taking a blood thinner like Eliquis.  I had what is known as paroxysmal afib which means it happens occasionally and converts to a normal rhythm in a fairly short period of time, maybe a few hours to a few days.  One of the best treatments for afib  when medications don’t work is ablation surgery.  It’s a fairly common procedure where a catheter is inserted into your leg through your femoral vein and up into the heart where the area causing the misfiring electrical signal is cauterized or frozen.  This requires an overnight stay in the hospital for observation.  The success rates are about 70 percent for the first procedure and about 90 to 95 percent for a subsequent procedure if needed.

Okay, I had the first one done in February and then I had more afib, plus heart flutters which is like afib, but not as severe.  So we did a cardioversion.  This is where you’re shocked back into normal rhythm.  This only takes about 10 minutes, but it still requires a trip to surgery with all that involves and more anesthesia.  It worked, but only for a couple of weeks, and the afib and flutters began again.  So in I went again for a second ablation on June 1.  Another overnight stay in the hospital and a week later I went into afib again.  Then I went almost six weeks with no afib and I thought I was home free.  But it was not to be.  As I sit here now, I’ve been in afib for the past 34 hours.  Before I have another ablation, I’m going to get a second opinion.  Maybe there’s more that can be done using medications.  And if I do have to have a third ablation, I’ll probably check out MUSC or Duke or the Mayo Clinic.  Any suggestions?  I don’t blame my doctor, but at this stage, maybe somebody else will catch something he’s missing.

As for the colonoscopy, I waited 16 years, and then noticed some changes that could have indicated colon cancer.  It took over a week before I could get the procedure, and that was a long week.  I was on an emotional roller coaster imagining everything that could go wrong.  Thankfully, the colonoscopy came out fine.  No cancer.  Not even any polyps.  But please don’t put this off.  If you haven’t had one in the last 10 years schedule it now.  If you’re high risk because of family history, it’s every five years.  If you wait till you have symptoms, it may be too late.  Getting this done before symptoms arise will save you a lot of anxiety and it could save your life.

This was a long blog all about me.  So if you made it this far, please accept my apologies.  May I just add that with all the aggravations, I can’t complain because there are so many people out there who are dealing with major problems.  Mine are minor. There is very little I can’t still do, maybe not as well as I used to, but that’s ok.  I just thank the Lord for how good my life has been and still is.

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