Got some good news for a change

Bill Mattocks

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I've had my share of health issues lately. In January my doctor discovered I had Atrial Fibrillation and ever since then, it's been one test after another, one specialist after another, lots of doctors, lots of hospital visits. Bottom line is that nothing they tried worked, and my AFib is pretty bad, so they're going to try an ablation on my heart Sept 9. 50/50 chance it will restore my heart to normal rhythm. Until then, I'm on blood thinners and various medications to prevent a stroke, and I can't work out like I want to in the dojo. My overall health is suffering due to that.

During the course of all this testing, they discovered that a condition I had in 2009 which I thought was gone never went away - sarcoidosis. So today I saw a pulmonologist for that. Did a breathing test and he listened to my breathing and looked at the MRI and PET scan results that showed granulomas in my lungs, and showed them to me. He said they're pretty minor, and I have no signs of inflammation, and my lung capacity is at 100% (which it wasn't when I was first diagnosed in 2009). So nothing has to be done. Yeah, I've got sarcoidosis, but it's asymptomatic, it may never go away, but unless something changes, I don't even have to do follow ups with him. Just keep an eye on my organ functions, which I have checked all the time because I'm also a diabetic.

So that's one less thing to deal with. Wish me good luck with the ablation coming up.
 

isshinryuronin

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I can't work out like I want
Then work out like you can. If the doc says it's OK, there are plenty of karate things to do that won't tax your heart: study and experiment with bunkai, practice footwork, help junior students, slow motion kata....

With your experience, knowledge and dedication, you are still an asset to the dojo.

This is a great opportunity to devote time to the non-physical aspects of karate.

The point is that you can still likely be productive and advance in your continued involvement with the art. Just adapt to the current situation, do what you can and don't lose heart.

I'm sure you've had some of these same thoughts, but a little encouragement never hurt. Good luck!
 

jks9199

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My dad had ablation. It worked well for him, and I hope it does for you as well.
 

seasoned

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Thanks for the good news update, Bill. Thinking of you and hoping for the best moving forward.
 

Olde Phart

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Yeah. Heart stuff can certainly put a damper on things when you got "plans." My bypass surgery happened in the middle of my trek toward Black Belt. In my 60's. Little shortness of breath that wouldn't respond to normal asthma meds, so it was off to the clinic for a heart cath. Woke up and found out nothing had been done and I was on my way to the hospital for some REAL surgery. Cut my chest open and then put back together with bailing wire. Basically had to take a year off from martial arts. Finally got the OK and it has been a real journey to catch back up. Still not as strong or agile as before ("then work out like you can" as Isshinryuronin says) but eventually made it to Black. If I don't wear a t-shirt under my dobok, my scar shows. They tell me I'm just showing off!
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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My dad had ablation. It worked well for him, and I hope it does for you as well.
Thanks! My electrophysiologist gives me about a 50% chance of my heart returning to normal rhythm just because I've been in afib for so many years (they guess). After the ablation, they are planning to put me on some fairly heavy drugs that force 'chemical conversion' as I believe they call it. The drugs are kind of dangerous, but apparently necessary. In other words, I may be getting sicker in the short term just due to the drugs I'll have to take. They tell me I'll likely never come off blood thinners regardless of the outcome. I'm kind of bummed out about that, but time will tell.
 

Olde Phart

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Yep. Blood thinners are a pain. EVERY time I get hit pretty good, or have a Hapkido pressure lock applied to my hand . . . anything similar, I can expect to have a blood bruise beneath the skin shortly. It's the nature of the beast.
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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Bill, best of luck with your ablation. Have you and your cardiologists talked about a Watchman procedure?
The first one I worked with was quite taken with it. I was not. For those who don't know, it's a passive device installed into the heart to close off a chamber of the heart where clots commonly form, which cause strokes (the reason I take blood thinners is to reduce the chance of a stroke). People who have had this done successfully can come off blood thinners, according to the literature. They will take aspirin as a blood thinner for life if successful.

I don't like the nature of the device and I don't want it in my body. I'm actually not thrilled about the ablation, but I was persuaded to give it a try. ONE time. I've spoken with a friend whose mother had three ablations before the last one finally took. I say no. One and done. If this doesn't work, then that's it. No more.
 

Olde Phart

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When I was in recovery after bypass surgery, I had a bout with afib. Man-oh-man it was scary. I'd had a few moments earlier in life when my heart seem to skip a beat or speed up for about 5 seconds, but nothing major. But after surgery, there was a period of several minutes when my heart raced uncontrollably. It was really scary, mainly because no one had described to me the possibility and the fact that they could fix it. It was nerve-wracking to say the least; with the wife banging on the call button and yelling for the nurse! But, after I.V. meds were administered, all was well. They released me with some meds to take for a few months but after that, since I hadn't had any relapses, even that was discontinued and I've been fine ever since. All in all, it worked out pretty good.
 

JowGaWolf

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Keep your spirits high and forward looking. The good news is that medicine is always trying to improve. In glad your medicine is version 2022 and not version 1970.

The fact that your lung capacity is better now than in the past is always good a good thing. based on what what you stated it sounds like you are in good medical care.
 
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