Steve’s Inbox: International Mail & A-Fib Awareness Month
Many people email me for advice and support. This past week was quite the international experience for me. In addition to emails from the US, I also received emails from Syria, South Africa and Ecuador! Let me share a few with you.
The A-Fib Patient in a War Zone: Someone in a war-torn country was trying to find medical help for his A-Fib. A doctor started him on a heavy dose of amiodarone for his A-Fib. I told him about the toxic effects of amiodarone, but recognized that he was lucky to find any kind of medical help in a war zone. I couldn’t find any EPs still practicing in his country, but did find two centers in an adjacent country not at war. But I don’t know if he will be able to travel there. Please think positive thoughts/pray for him.
Airport Rendezvous: A traveler described a chance meeting in an airport with a well-known EP. This was more like a ‘sign’ than a chance occurrence. This wonderful EP answered her A-Fib questions and referred her to another EP near her for an ablation. She wrote that talking with the ‘airport’ EP helped her make the big decision to have a catheter ablation. (She had been looking at another surgery treatment option which I suggested might be overkill for her.)
Our A-Fib Support Volunteers were so supportive and helpful that she decided to become a volunteer, too.
A-Fib Support Volunteers in Action: Another woman described an all too common frustration with her primary care doctors and cardiologists who didn’t take her A-Fib symptoms seriously. They wouldn’t even refer her for a cardioversion. She was helped a lot by getting in touch with five of our great A-Fib Support Volunteers who had widely different experiences. They were so supportive and helpful that she decided to become an A-Fib Support Volunteer herself.
Amiodarone Advice: Another patient wrote that his cardiologist put him on a heavy dose of amiodarone when he first started having A-Fib episodes. I recommended the patient get a second opinion, that amiodarone is a very toxic med usually only prescribed as a last resort or for short periods of time like during the blanking period after a catheter ablation.
Negative Feedback: I warned someone about an EP whom I had heard negative things about. I referred the patient to a ‘master’ EP in his area for his ablation. I also told him to give his long-suffering wife a hug from all of us. All too often spouses of A-Fib patients put up with a lot and often feel alone and overwhelmed. I told them about the wonderful story “The Spouse’s Perspective: A Young Wife and Mother Copes with Husband’s A-Fib” in our book “Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure.”
September is A-Fib Awareness Month: As you see, there are many, many A-Fib patients out there seeking help and answers for their particular situation. A-Fib is not a one-size-all kind of disease. But A-Fib can be Cured! You don’t have to live a life on meds! Won’t you pass on our message to others with A-Fib and their families and friends? Send them a link to our special FREE report: The Top 10 Questions Families Ask About Atrial Fibrillation.
—Your A-Fib friend, Steve