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Tue, Jul 21 3:07pm · Mental health meds for someone with heart problems in Heart & Blood Health

Focalin can have some fairly nasty side effects, and with the symptoms you've been noticing, your doctor needs to know about them as soon as possible. Your prescribing doctors name and phone number is on your medication bottle. I would advise calling and ask to speak to his triage nurse….tell her/him you are having possible bad side effects to the medication. They will speak with the doctor ASAP and get back to you with his recommendation. And please let your family know what's going on! It's thoughtful that you don't want to worry them, but trust me, THEY would want to know so they can help you. Let us know how you're doing, OK? I'm sure either a change in dosage or a different medication will be the solution, but please let SOMEONE know you're having problems!

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hello Martin I am SO glad my posts are getting through to you. I was more worried than you can imagine. I think I may have gotten something mixed up in my post to you this morning. When my cardio ordered the Xeralto, I looked up side effects for ANTIARRYTHMICS, which do carry more side effects, but now I realize the Xeralto is an ANTICOAGULANT and all I've found for side effects of those are some concerns with bleeding. I'm not real crazy about THAT either, but I am no longer terrified of taking the Xeralto. I will look forward to hearing from you when you have time to find me hiding under my bed. Linda

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

hopeful…..thank you SO much for emailing me. I am not the brightest crayon in the technology box and I fear I get myself lost quite often! Long story short, 8 years ago I had 2 heart stents placed as I have CAD they say was caused by having hypocholesteremia. After the stents, I developed PVC's and have spent these past 8 years learning to live with those and not be terrified. A couple weeks ago, I had 3 episodes of what I believed were PVC's that oddly began each night around 8-9 pm after I had eaten. They lasted about 3 hours and seemed to be one continues PVC! I also have panic disorder, so you can imagine the mess I got myself into! I called my cardiologist and he put me on a 72 hour event monitor. I felt like it was Murphy's Law, because during that 72 hours, I hardly pushed the button at all. For those 3 days I had less PVC's than normal. But this past Monday (the 10th) he called and told me I had AFIB!!!! He said he called in a prescription for Zerelto (sp) to my insurance company (I'm 67 and on Medicare and a supplemental plan) I am waiting for the meds to arrive, but have done some reading about these types of medications and now I'm scared to death to take them! I'm also sitting here waiting to drop dead from a stroke! I'm a mess. I will be going in for an echocardiogram in 2 weeks and seeing my cardio the next week. Can I assume that if he thought I was in imminent danger, he'd have me come in immediately? I live with my husband of 40 years and love him dearly, but he is not the most supportive person. I am so scared and feel so very alone. I had another episode last night. This one didn't start until around 11:30 pm while I was lying in bed reading and went on until almost 3 am. This one had a bit more of an "ebb and flow" feeling to it, but I had another major panic attack which I know just makes everything 10X worse. I'm sorry for rambling. Guess it's obvious I need someone to help me. Thank you, again. RubyWitch

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hi hopeful, thank you for replying so quickly. Rapid heartbeats are fine if you're playing a rousing game of tennis, but when they come out of nowhere while you're laying in bed doing nothing does make them VERY intimidating! That your mother, who is 92, bless her heart, has been on Xarelto for 2 YEARS (I had no idea it had been out that long) and has done just fine on it, has given me a slight nudge toward calming down. Thank you for that. However, I had no idea that 3 hours was considered somewhat freaky for an episode of AFIB and now I'm really scared again. I wonder if my panic and all that adrenaline being dumped into my system is not prolonging them? When I had those 3 episodes before calling my cardio, I DID tell his triage nurse how long they lasted. Perhaps that's why he ordered a 72 hour event monitor? He told me on the phone the monitor had picked up a 6 hour episode! What's scary is that I didn't think I was having very many PVC's while wearing it…..maybe 10-20 all day! How could I have not felt 6 HOURS worth? If I can't tell if I'm in AFIB, how do I know to go to the ER? Oh dear……..I'm REALLY scaring myself now. I would truly appreciate you talking to Martin. I will gladly take all the support and advice I can get! I can't thank you enough for reaching out to me. I'm still very, very scared but at least I don't feel so alone anymore. Linda

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hello Martin, thank you for such a quick reply. You and Teresa are really kind and caring people. It is too late today to contact my cardiologist. I'm sure if I called his office, there would be somebody on call, but I have no doubt they would just tell me to go to the ER. So far today, I have only had a few very short PVC's, or what I USE to call PVC's. I no longer know WHAT to call them. But they haven't been "bothersome" nor have they freaked me out. They feel just like what I've been living with the past 8 years. These recent weird runs have only happened in the evening AFTER I've eaten a fairly large meal and then just sprawl on the couch watching TV or reading. I think if you've read my posts, you know I have panic disorder and the more I think about it, the more I realize that when these episodes begin, SO DOES MY PANIC. Because I haven't met with my cardio yet and talked about this in depth, I am really just out here dealing with a whole lot of "unknown stuff" and "unknown stuff" scares me really bad and makes the panic come. When I first began having PVC's, I would have terrible panic attacks and I could feel the PVC's getting stronger and lasting longer. Once I started to get use to them and accept what my cardiologist said about them……that they were benign and because my heart was structurally sound, I should just learn to ignore them. Which I did. (More or less) One I reached that point, the panic attacks stopped, at least as far as the PVC's were concerned. I think I was going to make a point here, but I've gotten myself lost, again! I think I was going to say something about how I think this new diagnosis has scared me so badly, my panic attacks are really strong and that is why these episodes are lasting as long as they are. Last night, I did some of my relaxation breathing and my heartrate went way down, but then I began to OVERTHINK AND STRESS and it started back up again. I had stopped reading and turned the light out, so I was just laying there in the dark with my mind going a million miles an hour. I finally turned the light back on and started reading again. Very soon after that, my HR returned to normal, I read for a little while longer, turned the light out and went to sleep almost immediately. I slept for almost 10 hours as I think I was emotionally exhausted. And now, here I am today, 8 hours later and have had only a few mild PVC's. But I can feel my anxiety building as I think about "what's going to happen tonight?" But that's how my panic disorder rules me……….it just picks away at me and the first odd physical sensation I have, it's game over. I am on an anti-anxiety medication but normally only take it in the morning. Tonight I think I will take some in the evening and eat a much smaller dinner and not lay down on the couch.
If I WERE to go to the ER, what would they do? I know they'd do an EKG and if I was in AFIB, what would they do? See, it's that damn "unknown" that scares me so badly.
May I ask why you are on Coumadin and not one of the newer meds for AFIB? Having to have your blood checked every month, isn't that more of a hassle than taking a pill? But the pills and their side effects scare me, and I wonder if going the coumadin route wouldn't be better for me with my panic issues? I am SO confused right now. And bye the way, I am so happy that your stroke was "mild" and that with some PT you are back bowling a near perfect game.
I don't know if I'll feel better with a diagnosis of AFIB over PVC's. My cardio, who knows I'm anxious, always made a point of reassuring me that my PVC's were benign and that definitely helped. Now I don't have a clue where I am. Right now I feel like a blimp that has come untethered and is out of control.
During the week I feel like I can readily connect with my doctor, but the week-ends are a dead end. At least, I THINK they are. I've never tried to contact him after hours or on the week-end, so I don't know. Guess I just figured it was Urgent Care or the ER. And while I live in a rural area, we are only about 1/2 mile from the fire station which is very up to date and has two EMT units. The station is now also manned 24/7, so yes, there is help very close by.
I have seen my cardio every 6 months for the past 8 years since the stents were placed. I've done 2 stress/echo's, I've worn a Holter twice which showed nothing……….how did I suddenly develop AFIB? Or was I misdiagnosed and it has just now gotten worse?
I am sorry this post has probably rambled and I have so many questions. Thank you for caring. Linda

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Martin I wrote you a response that took me close to 2 hours and when I hit "post reply" I just got a little circle thing going around and around. I was afraid to do anything, so I just left it to hopefully fix itself, but when I came back to it 2 hours later, the entire message was gone! I have no idea what happened, but I will write again tomorrow.

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hi (again) Martin……I was wondering if my post that "disappeared" was simply too long? Or perhaps accessing this site from my email page messed it up, but that's how I've contacted both you and Teresa each time I've written. Well, we'll see what happens with this one. I'm going to keep it very short and just ask a few questions. I would really like to know what AFIB feels like for most people, and how long their "episodes" last. To me, it feels very, very similar to my PVC's, but I get a lot more. It seems to happen on and off all day and well into the night. Most times it seems to settle down by the time I'm ready to turn out the light or it is very faint and I'm able to fall asleep. (As long as I can keep my anxiety under control) My PVC's use to happen a few times a day, and then it might be several days, if I was lucky, before I had more. Now, as I said, it's every day. Is this a really BAD thing? Could the fact that this diagnosis is less than a week old and has me so scared, caused my panic disorder to trigger it? I received the Xeralto from the cardio and was terrified of taking it because of side effects. I took it and have had absolutely no side effects. I honestly think I was mistakenly looking at side effects for anti-arrhythmic drugs, which DO seem to have an abundance of side effects….I think I was scaring myself for nothing. Martin, I'm going to close this now in case I lose this one, too. When I went to the Mayo Clinic Connect site directly, I couldn't see where to log in and I could find our discussion. I need some help with navigation as well. I hope you get this……I'm working myself into a panic again. Thanks so much Linda/RubyWitch

Sat, Mar 28 10:17am · Atrial Fibrillation (AFib): How can I manage it? in Heart Rhythm Conditions

I've just been diagnosed with AFIB and I'm terrified. I joined the Connect group but when I finally find my way to the AFIB discussion group, there doesn't seem to be a place for me to post. I REALLY NEED SOME SUPPORT. Thank you