Just when I thought there was nothing left for them to do for me, my amazing Electrophysiologist pulls a rabbit out of a hat and comes up with something.
One week to the day after being told I was a candidate for a heart transplant, but just not at this time, I had another shock. I was devastated, I felt lost and in limbo, I was anxious, depressed and disappointed. The device had been read when I went to the ER that day, we knew it was a legitimate shock so I tried to carry on all the time thinking that I was only reminding the people in charge of my care that I was something that they couldn’t fix. I felt like they all just wanted me to go away, mostly because of the way the ER doctor made me feel that day. The experience was dismal and it was the day I came to the realization that this was going to be my life and that I had better accept it and move on, something that I have not been willing to do, to this point, I was fighting for something that resembled my old life, maybe that wasn’t possible. The ER doctor told me that I shouldn’t bother coming in after a shock, that there was nothing more that they could do for me, he said I should wait to see if things got worse or I should come the next day…he saw no point in me calling an ambulance and making the trip to the hospital, we all knew my shocks were legitimate and not caused by the device, both Douglas and I were taken aback. His bedside manner left something to be desired.
Almost two weeks after the shock, I made an appointment to see my regular cardiac doctor, I hadn’t seen him since the decision about my transplant so it was time for a strategy session. When I walked into his office, he asked me if my ears had been ringing and mentioned that he had been speaking with one of his colleagues about my case. There was a procedure that could be done if I was willing to have it, a procedure I had two years ago that now had updated technology that could work this time. The procedure is called an ablation, it’s a rather routine procedure they do on people with arrhythmia, they go into the heart using a probe and they are able to burn the areas of the heart that are causing the arrhythmia. During that procedure, two years earlier, I was shocked 25 times, I had first degree burns on my front and back from the defibrillator pads used in place of my device, which had been turned off so they could better control the situation. I remember coming back to consciousness after the 5th shock crying and totally traumatized, they put me under and I awoke many hours later back in my room. They were cautiously optimistic that they were able to burn the appropriate spots but the doctor told Douglas that every time they moved the probe to find the problem areas, my heart would go into v-fib so it was difficult to tell. I had several shocks in the coming days, the procedure was not successful. It’s very hard day to forget.
That brings us to now.
There is a doctor in Victoria who has been consulted on my case. He is highly trained in Boston in the area of arrhythmia and ablation and there is a new probe being used these days. I’m told that the new probe has 5 prongs and is much better at mapping the heart and he thinks that they have a 40% chance of successfully finding the problem areas with the updated procedure. I am scheduled to be admitted to the hospital soon. The idea that I have a 40% chance of never having to go through another procedure, another shock or a heart transplant is what helped me make the very difficult decision to go through with this procedure despite how traumatic it was the last time we attempted to do this. Am I anxious? Yes. Am I terrified? Definitely! there are many things that can go wrong but I choose to focus on all the things that can go right. I remind myself time and time again that I will be in the best of hands and that helps a little. I can’t let my fear stop me from doing this, something that has a 40% chance of giving me my life back. I also know that this is the very last thing, there is nothing else except a transplant so I hope it works, I’m not ready to give up on this heart of mine yet.