I’M A FOOL

I have a dual chamber pacemaker that was installed in July to combat Sinus Node Pauses. Healthy heart...multiple echocardiograms, stress tests, EKGs, blood work over the last 15 years with a clean bill of health for my heart...minus my wonky nodes of course. I was told to go back to normal activities. 

Over and over I fall for PACs and PVCs. For years now I've suffered from both. This week was no different, the worse case that I have been through. Starting Monday I was feeling that wonderful  "bubble" feeling in my chest, the "rolling" feeling of a "skipped" beat. I can endure a lot. 20 years in the Army, four combat tours, facing the most horrific tragities on the battlefield...however, my warrior mindset falls short and fear overcomes me. 

Typically my PVCs or PACs will last a couple minutes, maybe even an hour at the most. But, I went through three days straight of interrupted rythem this week. Finally on the last day I emotionally broke. Doom and gloom set in, I cried, I panicked, I had a full mental breakdown...because I thought I was going to die. My three straight days of worry were not met by a relief phone call by my cardiologist, even though I called and assured his secretary that I needed a five minute phone call to feel rest assured that I wasn't going to perish. Nothing. 

So finally, I checked myself into the ER on Thursday night at 6pm and went through all the same crap that I've went through in the past...here it comes, the dame bloodwork's, EKG (they could see the PVCs and PACs), ran an interigation on my pacemaker,,,nothing, all normal. 

"Mr. Ramage, what you're experiencing is called PACs, they are not life threatening, maybe you should see mental health to learn how to deal with them."

I left the ER feeling like a fool...they won again, my nodes kicked my ass and made me a fool for letting them win, and the Doctors won because they took seven hours of my time away that I'll never get back. 

Of course my heart is beating just fine today, only now I fear the next "episode" of blunder beats...

Who's had days of PVCs and or PACs and "wins" when this happens by not freaking out?

Thank you, 

Michael  


9 Comments

You’re not alone

by JillG - 2022-02-12 16:28:34

I have days like that where I freak out about everything my heart is doing. You're not aline. I pray you can overcome those thoughts and not let them cause you anxiety and steal your joy. 

PVCs and all

by Gotrhythm - 2022-02-12 16:56:24

Did you ever get your "sinus pauses" taken care of? Just curious.

As far as dealing with PVCs, there are lots of things you can do that may make them less frequent, but, in my experience, nothing that will make them go away totally.

Don't get dehydrated.

Limit or eliminate caffiene.

Get enough sleep.

Have your magnesium checked. Some people are helped by magensium supplementation.

Here's what not to do:

Don't get upset by them. The more angry or anxious you are, the more frequent they will be.

Defining the problem in terms of a competition in which you win or lose probably won't help.

Instead talk sense to yourself. Nobody is dying here. Having a bunch over several hours will make you feel bad, but they won't kill you.

In your military carreer you must have had a lot of experience with staying calm under fire. Think of your PVCs as a new arena in which to practice that skill.

Thank you for your service.

Got Rhythm

by Hyperfocussed - 2022-02-12 17:09:23

Thank you. Yes, I got sinus node pauses taken care of...no more passing out. 

NOT A FOOL

by athena123 - 2022-02-12 20:32:37

HI, IVE BEEN THERE MYSELF. WENT TO A FEW CARDIOLOGIST, RAN SAME TEST AND GUESS WHAT! HEART IS IN SINUS RYTHYM AND IS STRUCTURELY FINE. WHAT MADE MY PVCS BAD WAS MY ANXIETY. IT DOES WONDERS ON YOUR HEART LIKE PVCS. IT RELEASES ADRENALINE AND ACTIVATES THE VAGUS NERVE WHICH I THINK PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN PVCS. A THING THAT WORKED FOR ME WAS I GOT ON SOME ANXIETY MEDS FOR A SHORT TIME AND I STARTED TAKING SUPPLEMENTS LIKE MAGNESIUM, ELECTROLYTES, AND ALWAYS STAY HYDRATED. EXERCISE IS KEY AND IF YOU NEED TAKE LITTLE ATIVAN TO RELAX YOUR CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, ITS NOT WORTH SUFFERING AND YES PVCS SUCK BUT ARE NOT LIFE THREATENING. YOU WILL GET BETTER TRUST ME I HAD THEM FOR A WHILE TOO, AND STILL DO BUT NOT AS BAD AS BEFORE. GOOD LUCK 

Yes!!

by MinimeJer05 - 2022-02-13 02:50:01

Hello,

I think I'm experiencing the EXACT same thing. I have no idea if they're PVCs for sure, but the general feeling of "I just feel extra crappy today" or "my heart is really sensitive and racing tonight and waking me up and making me not sleep and just worry". Sometimes, I can shut it out and ignore it and it eventually goes away, sometimes it ruins my day/weekend. 
 

I've been trying real hard not to let it get the best of me. As others have said, hydrate, balanced diet, sleep, less stress. All key items that can be easier to manage on some days.

I'm sorry that you're going through this and I hope things get back on track for you soon. 
 

Know that you're not alone and we are always here to support. Feel free to send a message if you ever need to chat!

Take care

Jer

MinimeJer05

by Gotrhythm - 2022-02-14 12:08:19

I think dealing with PVCs, PACs and other assosorted non-life-threatening arrythmias is easier if you have objective data about what's really going on. You don't have to lie there and wonder what's happpening which leads to worrying about what's happening. There is comfort in knowing.

So have a talk with your doc. Tell him/her you need to know, not just be reassured, know.  In my experience, cardiolgists will answer any question you ask directly but will volunteer nothing. And they are not--no, none of them--mind readers.

Learning to meditate is also helpful. Fortunately for me, I was an accomplished meditator before all this heart stuff started up. But it can be learned at any age. As far as I know, meditation won't make the PVCs go away either. However it will help you maintain a calm frame of mind allowing you not to get into a PVC leads to worry leads to more PVCs leads to more worry loop. I hink you're pretty good at talking sense to yourself. With meditation you can learn to just notice it without adding judgement,( Oh! This is bad!) or resistance, (I hate this! I wish it would go away)  or anxiety (On no! Is this the Big One? Am I about to die? Should I call 911?) to it.

For some reason PVCs are most likely to happen to me just as I am drifting off to sleep. Others here have reported the same thing. Needless to say that wakes me up. Then I drift off again and then another PVC. They can make it very hard to go to sleep--something else you should tell your doctor. Getting enough sleep is important to your health. I found a very small dose (one-half of the smallest adult dose) of Xanax was sufficient to let me go to sleep.

Hope this helps.

Gotrhythm

by MinimeJer05 - 2022-02-14 16:50:05

Hello,

Your comments definitely help! I think I am going to try to persue meditation as I think that would definitely help me "make sense" of it. As you said, being able to notice it without passing judgment on it could be a big key here.

I am also going to mention to my general doctor that my difficulty sleeping has only increased over the past few months. This same time last year I was going to sleep roughly around the same time (9-10pm) and my body would just naturally remind me "oh hey you're getting tired, time for bed" and then within 10 mins, out like a light and generally waking up feeling refreshed and ready for my day.

Now, I find myself laying awake for 2-4 hours at a time and if I do manage to get to bed, I am up 2 or 3 times just laying awake and almost always waking up feeling tired and just exhausted.

I did recently test for sleep apnea (and was approved for a CPAP, which I feel will help me without a doubt), but the machine is on back-order for 2-3 months. I've always been a snorer (my wife jokes about kicking me at night), but it never bothered me until recently (when all of these medical issues seemed to align) and now sleep is something I desperately miss as being a "normal" part of my life.

Take care

Jer

use an oximeter....

by BOBTHOM - 2022-02-18 09:48:32

I almost always have an oximeter with me and when I feel pvc's or flutters I clip it on my finger and usually see an elevated heart rate. It reminds me to just stop, sit still, and take deep breaths.  Just relax and let it slow down. Sometimes it means laying down and taking a nap.  I've also have COPD and have found that periodic use of an emergency Albuterol inhaler helps!  Just don't over use and be careful as it can also cause erratic beats so use with care.

Nope.

by PacedNRunning - 2022-02-19 20:50:15

Once I was told they are harmless I never worried again! Once they tell Me not to worry. I don't! Plain as that. Why worry for something you don't have too. Worrying makes you age and get wrinkles and ulcers. More other medical problems 

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