Jamaican Woman, 21, Living in A-Fib with Meager Treatment
It’s heart breaking to read about a young person with such a debilitating case of A-Fib, and who lives in a region with so little treatment to offer her. I am researching ways to send Ashley to the US for treatment. If you have any suggestions, Email me.
By Ashley Mogg, November 2016
I am age 21 and living with atrial fibrillation. I have been diagnosed with tachycardia (fast rate) AND bradycardia (slow rate). I live in the Caribbean. There is little expertise with such a rare condition. I’ve had consultations from many cardiologists both in Jamaica and overseas.
Currently I don’t have a specific adult cardiologist because my case is more complicated than what meets the eye. However, efforts are being made for me to get examined in the U.S. at little or no expense. WHY YOU MAY ASK?
My parents can’t afford the procedure or more tests. PLUS in September, I had an appendectomy. Needless to say it was a risky but necessary move. According to my anesthesiologist, my heart rate had to be increased twice while on the operating table. The biopsy then revealed a low grade NET (Neuroendocrine Tumor).
Thus motivating me to find this website [A-Fib.com] and share my story.
As a child I always had a rapid beating heart. My parents were told that soda has that effect on children, and I was no longer to ingest it. Thinking it was the soda, it was further ignored. I was very active in primary school and danced competitively, but I can’t ever remember having the symptoms that I later felt in high school.
Final [senior] year at 17, I had to partake in a sport. So I chose hockey. But after our first training, as we stood and listened to coach, I was feeling extremely unfit. My heart rate sped up and my chest got tight. My throat felt as if it was closing and I was starving for a breath.
Most Frightening…Losing Sight!
Then the most frightening thing happened—I started losing my sight!
Pitch black was all I saw. I could hear my friend talking to me through it but nothing else. I was in what the doctors called pre-faint or pre-syncope. It was so scary for me.
Testing by an Adult Cardiologist
I told my doctor, then she referred me to an adult cardiologist. The specialist did an echocardiogram and EKG and a stress test. The results of the stress test were a high 270 pulse, then lower the second visit. She prescribed a beta blocker, low dosage.
But my bradycardia was stimulated by it (in other words I don’t react well to beta blockers). I had pre-syncope as a side effect.
Then there were the holter tests that revealed occasional tachycardia some days (195 bpm highest) and bradycardia when asleep (35-49 bpm lowest). My last ejection fraction report was approx. 47%.
Choosing College or Health
At this point I am a veteran of these tests. I have been holding off on college. But if I am unable to get help, I will have to move onward. I had to choose between my health and my school and I chose school which was the wrong move.
I now understand health comes first. Therefore, the story continues. However, I would love to get more insight on cheaper solutions or other procedures.
The Emotions—Depression, Anxiety and Withdrawal
A few months after being told to cease sports because of my condition, my cousin passed away. And the emotional toll of A-Fib was great. I became extremely depressed yet anxious and regressed to feeling estranged from family and friends. I believe the medical term is clinical depression.
Being constantly told that my condition is bad by local doctors took its toll on my mind. Also, there was the fluctuating weight loss and loss of appetite. It is still so hard to keep the weight I had when I was 16. Sometimes I would get very thin.
My A-Fib is worse when I am active, i.e., fast paced activities, and when I sleep. I have yet to be in constant arrhythmia as it is occasional for me. It is most definitely tied to my stress/anxiety level as well.
Faith and a Purposeful Life
I am a woman of faith, but it takes prayers and positive thinking to keep living with peace of mind. I have to say though that I am in a better place of happiness and still believe in a complete purposeful life.
Educate Yourself―Find the Best Doctors Available. If you live in a country like myself where there are very few Electrophysiologists or heart rhythm specialists, find a reliable cardiologist as well as a general doctor who know your history. Do maximum research on your own and with your doctor and health care professionals. Stay informed.
The moment you notice heart abnormalities of any sort, get them checked out.
But DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE! However, make sure you are fully aware of the language your doctors use and what they are telling you, so you can follow through with your treatment or management plan. WHY? There are different types of arrhythmias and fibrillations. Yours might be different than others’.
Stay positive…You are NOT ALONE!
Ashley Mogg, Jamaica
Can you help Ashley? How can we arrange for her to travel to the U.S. for treatment? It’s such a shame that a wonderful 21-year-old woman like Ashley has A-Fib at such a young age. A-Fib is supposed to be an older person’s disease, isn’t it? I am currently researching ways we could finance Ashley to travel to the US to be treated. Do you have any suggestions? Email me.
Horrible A-Fib symptoms―but faith and hope. Ashley’s A-Fib not only speeds up her heart rate (270), makes her feel dizzy, tightens up her chest, causes her shortness of breath, reduces her ejection fraction to 47, but even makes her lose her sight like everything is going pitch black. She can’t play sports or go to college. Then her cousin died. It’s no wonder she went into A-Fib anxiety and clinical depression, and suffered weight loss.
Faith and a purposeful life. Through it all, Ashley became a woman of faith and a purposeful life. “It takes prayers and positive thinking to keep living with peace of mind.” Ashley knows she is not alone.
“You Are Not Alone!” Our volunteers offer you support! Do you need support from others who know what you are going through? Check out our A-Fib Support Volunteers and our A-Fib Positive Thought/Prayer group.
If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2017