BWCA A-fib Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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yogi59weedr
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05/26/2024 11:57PM  
Spent 3 days in hospital last week with A fib. Got home then went to see the cardio guy. He sent me back to the hospital the next day. Put a tube down my throat and shocked my heart. I'm home now with a pretty steady 115/ 70 and a pulse of 80. Go see him again next Friday. Planning on coming up by myself around the 19th for a week to 10 days. Just going to fish the Ey area and south.

U think he will shut me down. Looking for A-fib advice....
 
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05/27/2024 07:06AM  
Based on my experience with a-fib, I'm wondering why you were in the hospital for three days. I was having severe discomfort after a go-round with Covid in '21. Spent the night upright on the couch unsuccessfully trying to sleep. My wife took me to urgent care, they hooked me up for an ekg, determined a-fib, knocked me out, hit me with the jumper cables, watched me a couple of hours and sent me home. I pretty much returned to my normal routine. We went to Kansas for a NASCAR race a couple of weeks later and deer hunting the following month was uneventful.

My experience was very minor. Your's sounds different in it's severity (3 days in the hospital) or you have a doc practicing CYA. Listen to the doc. Listen especially to the nurses; in my experience, they tend to be more practical. Most importantly, listen to your body. It will generally notify you when something is askew.
 
05/27/2024 07:40AM  
Sorry you are going through this and the poor timing close to your trip.

I have no idea what the MD will say, depends on the reason for A-fib, but I’ll echo Unas10 thoughts. Sometimes A-fib can be a minor problem, you watch…outside looking in yours doesn’t sound that way. Hope I am wrong, but follow their advice.

T
 
thegildedgopher
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05/27/2024 07:47AM  
Dang really sorry to hear it Yogi. I can’t offer any better advice than those above. I can offer a positive anecdote in that my old man was in and out or the hospital a bit a few years ago with afib, and once they got his blood thinner dialed in he hasn’t had any issues and has lived a normal life.

Since you’re not planning to be extremely remote maybe the Doc will give you the go ahead. Fingers crossed for ya. I’m sure the Ely area walleyes would prefer a break from the thumping you’ll put on if you do make the trip!
 
Chieflonewatie
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05/27/2024 07:49AM  
I thought A fib was someone from Illinois.
 
thegildedgopher
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05/27/2024 07:52AM  
Chieflonewatie: "I thought A fib was someone from Illinois."


Honestly that was my first reaction when I saw the topic. A FIB? Where?!?!
 
ManitouMan
member (7)member
  
05/27/2024 09:45AM  
Hey, I am a doc. 40+ years of practice. I also have done close to 100 trips to BWCA and Quetico. I have a chronic medical condition since I was 19.
I recommend a Holter monitor that you wear for 1-2 weeks before you go on your trip. It continuously records your heart rate/rhythm and lets you and your medical provider know what your burden of any abnormal rhythm there is or isn’t. Or maybe you have done this already. No alcohol and no caffeine. Have a inReach or like device to call in help if you do go on the trip. It’s hard to do a portage or otherwise exert yourself if you have a. fib with a fast heart rate.
Better to not go and do the trip when you have been stable for a while.
 
05/27/2024 10:02AM  
This is exactly the advice my sister got recently. She’s not a paddler, but she isn’t a sit on her hands type either. There are times when canceling a permit is unavoidable (I can’t believe I typed that)!

I’d at least talk with your physician and make a plan and see your options.
 
05/27/2024 10:19AM  
thegildedgopher: "
Chieflonewatie: "I thought A fib was someone from Illinois."



Honestly that was my first reaction when I saw the topic. A FIB? Where?!?!"


As someone who has lived on both sides of the WI/IL border...I thought the same!
 
yogi59weedr
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05/27/2024 12:02PM  
I seriously didn't think about it that way. I love humor and great minds think alike.
I'm not going to be doing any portaging. Just putting my boat in by myself.
No problem....

Farthest in going is south on Hwy 1 and fish Dumbbell, Silver Island and Crescent lakes. Do some scouting around that area. Hopefully snag a day motor for Moose into Prarie. Now that I think about that walk from parking lot to boat ramp, that might have to be rethunk. lol

My doctors stated no alcohol. They don't know me, but I'm not a big drinker. I do enjoy a few rums with dinner and pizza with beer. We're going to have to talk about...

I do wear a morphine patch for a severely broken ankle 17 years ago. I also have a prescription for middle grade hydrocodo. Got it filled January 12th for 60 pills. I still have 40 left. So I've taken 20 pills in approximately 125 days. And when I take one, I know NO ALCOHOL.

THANKS ALL. APPRECIATE YOUR REPLIES.
 
05/27/2024 01:17PM  
I wasn't feeling the usual me so adjusted my trip stayed in the Sawbill campground and took hikes and day trips. Occasional lightheadedness and short of breath and Fitbit started signaling Afib. I saw my doc upon return and started 7 months of treatment. The jumper cables didn't work, I hated the meds. Blood thinners and an active life do not play well together. After an ablation I was told it was never Afib, but a left ventricle flutter. No symptoms since and I am taking sustained paddles and hikes of 2 hours each so feel confident in wilderness tripping again. I do have a Garmin now and won't be doing the Hunters Island loop.
I share my story as encouragement there is life after heart issues. But also to encourage responsible choices. I was told stroke is the biggest risk, but I have no other heart or major health problems. Each of us are special so treat yourself that way.
 
deepdish71
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05/27/2024 02:59PM  
Chieflonewatie: "I thought A fib was someone from Illinois."

+1
 
05/27/2024 04:06PM  
Yogi-best wishes to you and I hope this is all soon in the rearview. Be safe and healthy.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
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05/27/2024 10:22PM  
Yogi, I'm sorry to hear about your A-Fib diagnosis. Anytime you're spending time with the cardiology department at the clinic or hospital, it's a pretty big deal. In many cases, however, something like A-Fib is very treatable with medication and you can just go about your business as usual, including canoe trips AND portaging.

You may (or may not) recall that I went through a major heart scare back in 2013 when I went down with a cardiac arrest. I was fortunate and blessed to be revived thanks to an AED and a person who knew how to use it. I ended up getting a leaking mitral valve repaired with open heart surgery. The valve is fine, but to this day, I'm still being treated for rhythm issues and A-Fib that comes and goes. I've had maybe three or four cardioversions, which is what they did for you to shock the heart back into proper rhythm.

In spite of all that, I'm heading out on Quetico trip #40(ish) in less than two weeks.

The types of trips we take now are far less strenuous than before. No more cross-Quetico trips or long trips into the Quetico interior. We keep our trips a little on the lighter side, but still enjoy the heck out of being in God's country.

I say all this, not as a story about me, but to share with you that your canoe trips certainly are not done, but you may have to make some adjustments as you go along. Listen to your doctors and be aware of what your ticker is doing, but don't be afraid to do what you think you can do.

I have the added bonus of having one cardiologist who is a Boundary Waters paddler. How about that for luck!? He gets it and knows how important it is for me to continue taking canoe trips as long as I can.

Your A-Fib diagnosis was likely a scary thing to hear, but you have a lot of paddling to do yet. Best wishes to you as you work through what you have to do.
 
05/28/2024 10:01AM  
I find these discussions mask the bigger issue about how we get to these premature stages of decay in the first place. Of course genetics and age play their roles. We come by those honestly. I'm referring to exogenous factors such as healthy nutritional choices and frequent movement which will delay poor physical and mental outcomes.

You heart is important but so is your liver. Most Americans have visceral fat - not the flabby tissue hanging off of you but the stuff in your gut that smothers your organs and retards their efficient functioning. Measure yourself around your mid-section at your navel. If that's more than half of your height, you're at risk of all kinds of issues.

Someone mentioned earlier about knowing your body. So true. Don't listen to Lizzo.

So many of us enjoy our wilderness adventures. It's why we're on this board. But let's face it, participation in this endeavour requires a level of health and fitness far beyond traditional leisure travel. Don't let the sun set prematurely on your outdoor goals. I suspect most of us on this board could easily buy five to ten more years of canoe tripping with the right approach to nutrition and lifestyle.
 
OldGuide2
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05/28/2024 11:21AM  
 
Jackfish
Moderator
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05/28/2024 02:12PM  
Old Guide... I'm answering your post respectfully, too.

I had to go back and re-read Yogi's original post because I thought he was merely stating facts about his current situation (which he was), but I noticed that he did ask for advice in his last sentence. My guess is that by asking for advice, he was looking for information from others that may have a similar condition.

If you re-read what you posted and compare it to what others have posted, I think you'll realize that your concern is a bit over the top. No one is going to do something based on "advice" they received on a canoeing bulletinboard. (Now Facebook might be a different story...LOL) The only thing everyone is doing by responding to his post is simply being supportive and encouraging.

The old adage of "I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night" applies with the same level of advice. However, there are several of us who have been through similar cardiology issues (or more) and can relate to what he's going through. However, that feedback means nothing in the big picture other than to let Yogi know that we support him in his efforts to get better and get busy paddling again.
 
OldGuide2
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05/28/2024 03:05PM  


 
RetiredDave
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05/28/2024 05:37PM  
bhouse46: "I wasn't feeling the usual me so adjusted my trip stayed in the Sawbill campground and took hikes and day trips. Occasional lightheadedness and short of breath and Fitbit started signaling Afib. I saw my doc upon return and started 7 months of treatment. The jumper cables didn't work, I hated the meds. Blood thinners and an active life do not play well together. After an ablation I was told it was never Afib, but a left ventricle flutter. No symptoms since and I am taking sustained paddles and hikes of 2 hours each so feel confident in wilderness tripping again. I do have a Garmin now and won't be doing the Hunters Island loop.
I share my story as encouragement there is life after heart issues. But also to encourage responsible choices. I was told stroke is the biggest risk, but I have no other heart or major health problems. Each of us are special so treat yourself that way."


Ben, I don't want to alter the direction of this thread because yogi deserves focused responses. But I am going through what I think you went through and I have lots of questions. Briefly, I've recently been diagnosed with frequent PVCs in my left ventricle, which has become very weak as a result. I'm on meds and have an ablation scheduled for August. I tried emailing you but I can't figure out how. Do you think you could email me?

Thanks!
Dave
 
Jackfish
Moderator
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05/28/2024 11:52PM  
RetiredDave: " I tried emailing you but I can't figure out how. Do you think you could email me? "

Dave, clicking on the little envelope under his board name will open an email for you.

Another way is just to hover your cursor over that little envelope and the email address will show up in the lower left corner of your screen. Write it down and start your own email that way.
 
RetiredDave
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05/29/2024 05:50AM  
Thank you!
 
ArkansasMike
member (15)member
  
05/30/2024 04:03PM  
I am a physician of 30 + years and have been going to the BWCA since I was in medical school. My much older partner came to see me after he retired around 75 years of age. He was in afib sustained. I put him on the standard meds and set him up to follow with the cardiologist. He then informed me he was leaving for the BWCA in two days and wanted my advice. I won't share that with you and he didn't listen to me anyway! He went on weeklong trip with numerous challenging portages and had no problems.

In general afib is a pretty benign disease. My ultimate question to my partner/patient was if he was OK with the consequences of going on the trip with a new diagnosis of afib. His response was " I could not think of a better way to go" He passed at age 85 last year. Had to quit going to the BWCA at age 83.

I know this does not help with your decision to go or not to go, but I think you ultimately have to decide what you can live with. Good luck, and keep me posted.
 
yogi59weedr
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06/01/2024 10:30PM  
Well shat...just went to my cardio lady yesterday. At 100pm yesterday she gave me the good news. I was in a normal and sustained beat. She gave me the go ahead to go on trip. Start exercise class in a pool get my bicycle out and start peddling..... Alls good......
Not....
I left her office, went to pick up a prescription.
Stopped for a bag of groceries and went home.
I unloaded groceries and BAM heart started racing pulse was 190. Called back to doctor and she said take a dose of medicine.motoprolow and if it did not go down go to ER.
Well it didn't go down, so ambo to the ER.
Half way there , I went back into rythem
WTF... Doctor said nothing more they could do so he released me... All good today, gotta set up appointment for Monday...
Geez what happened
 
jaimed
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06/02/2024 06:01AM  
Don't know state of medicine now-a-days but about 10 years ago I went through same thing. Thank god I didn't listen to those cardiologists and allow them to put in a pace maker!

When you get done with all their drama, get away from the cardiologists that are "plumbers" and go see an electrophysiologist. The cardiologists that are "electricians". Yes, there is a big difference.

I got an ablation and all has been normal for 8 years now. Whew! What a nightmare. It was a very simple procedure and fixed my problem permanently.
Their bs about coffee and alcohol is also just not supported by facts, just weak associations. I do think diet, exercise and getting away from processed foods as much as possible makes a big difference in overall health. There is a vagus nerve (sp?) running through the stomach that is associated with heart palpitations...I had heart burn issues before a-fib developed. ?

I take a whole body approach to staying heaIthy these days. I eat very clean and lost a ton of weight and work out 5 days a week. Never felt better.
At 61, I'm lifesaving certified, swift water rescue certified, WFR certified and canoe/kayak from ice out til winter again. Love it!

Now, eating clean in the back country is quite challenging. A good topic for another thread. Pretty much everything for extended tripping is terrible for you.
 
06/02/2024 08:07AM  
yogi59weedr: "Well shat...just went to my cardio lady yesterday. At 100pm yesterday she gave me the good news. I was in a normal and sustained beat. She gave me the go ahead to go on trip. Start exercise class in a pool get my bicycle out and start peddling..... Alls good......
Not....
I left her office, went to pick up a prescription.
Stopped for a bag of groceries and went home.
I unloaded groceries and BAM heart started racing pulse was 190. Called back to doctor and she said take a dose of medicine.motoprolow and if it did not go down go to ER.
Well it didn't go down, so ambo to the ER.
Half way there , I went back into rythem
WTF... Doctor said nothing more they could do so he released me... All good today, gotta set up appointment for Monday...
Geez what happened "


I am sorry, what a roller coaster.
 
06/02/2024 08:39AM  
The state of medicine is probably pretty much the same as it was ten years ago apart from the advancements in science and technology. In fact it's pretty much the same as it was 100 years ago when the field evolved into compartmentalized specialties pertaining to different organs and parts of the body.

Things are changing but slowly. Functional practitioners are beginning to emerge but they are fighting against overwhelming institutional inertia. To some, like you and me, it seems a no-brainer that overall metabolic conditioning is the key to preventing or reversing so many ailments. And as you point out, it begins with diet and exercise. It should not only be about fixing the leaks but preventing them as well.

Ultra processed foods are designed to keep us hungry. They contain ingredients like sugar (particularly fructose) which suppresses satiety signals in our brain. You might drink a couple of glasses of orange juice but you'd never eat ten oranges in a sitting. And check the ingredients of almost every processed food. They contain not only sugar but seed oils like canola and soybean oils. These oils were never conceived for human consumption. They should go the way of trans fats.

Fat cells are a defence condition the body synthesizes to prepare for inevitable fasting periods. But we don't fast anymore. Being fat is not healthy and should not be promoted as a source of pride. One of the reasons the US had the worst Covid outcomes was because of the poor metabolic condition of the population. Too many overweight people who are either diabetic or pre diabetic. The Covid polices in almost all western countries were nearly identical.

Learn about insulin resistance, your gut microbiome, your liver function and all of the common diseases that flow from the poor functioning of these processes and you will begin to understand how to right your health. No, there is no panacea. But we evolved in the last 100 or so years to become so unhealthy and plagued with diseases and ailments in numbers never before witnessed in humankind that we've become blind to how absurd the modern health paradigm has degenerated.
 
yogi59weedr
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06/03/2024 12:24PM  
Talked to the cardio people this morning. She is adding a rate control pill 2x per day. When I get back, I'm to wear a halter monitor for a week or two. Geez, why do they drag this out? I'm like, well, ya got a heart problem.... why don't we take a look at the heart?

Thanks for all of your replies. Just trying to get the bigger perspective from a group of people I admire.
 
06/04/2024 07:09PM  
Sorry about the roller coaster. Sounds familiar. I thought of it as consequence of uncertainty and a lot of unmet expectations during my episode with the cardiologist. Sorting out all the opinions and especially trying to make sense of a process knit together by lawyers and insurance companies (with the occasional input from the doctor) is stressful. Becoming a good patient requires being patient.
Best advice I can give you is manage the stress. If you are not familiar with polyvagal exercise I highly recommend you learn about it and how it impacts the body's natural stress response. If your company has an employee assistance program you can use it to get a personalized stress profile and plan for improvement. Kinda like going to a trainer to help you with a fitness plan only free.
 
06/05/2024 09:09AM  
Chieflonewatie: "I thought A fib was someone from Illinois."

Wait!!!!!!!! And now I just read above that we can apply "jumper cables" to a FIB and it fixes them?? What a game changer. I am headed to Auto Zone right now before the weekend!
 
yogi59weedr
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06/05/2024 06:27PM  
And to think that I'm changing g my route this year and driving up thru Wisconsin instead of Minnesota.
 
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