There’s nothing quite like physically, and emotionally preparing yourself for a procedure twice in about a month and then not having it at all.
June 8th was my original procedure date. On June 7th, I received a call telling me my procedure would have to be rescheduled to a later date due to equipment failure. Better safe than sorry, but I was only figuring another week or so. They then said the next available was July 13th. I was devastated. How much longer could I go on feeling like this? I was exhausted. I couldn’t bare having to go through all these emotions for a second time.
July 13th came quicker than I thought it would. On July 12th I was waiting for the call to confirm the procedure. It was the second time I took a week off of work, the second time I lost a few nights sleep, the second time I was scared, the second time I felt brave, the second time my emotions were on a never ending roller coaster. Later that day the call came. I was surprised when the nurse said they were planning on doing the battery change on my defibrillator along with the ablation. She said it would most likely be around an 8-hour procedure. I instantly became uneasy. I was so nervous. I was trying so hard to be brave because the only person more scared than I was, was my mom.
That morning came, and as my family gathered at my house at 4:30 in the morning it became so real. The drive in was silent, the tears came and went the entire way. Ben Rector’s new single “Brand New” was playing as I watched the most beautiful sunrise behind the water tower. I remember thinking to myself, “this song is so relevant in hopes I feel brand new after this”.
We arrived at the hospital, the nurse took me in to get started. I met with a few doctors and anesthesiologist. The nurse said that their plan wasn’t set in stone. That’s when my doctor came in. He said that he was weary about going forward with the procedure. I couldn’t believe it. This time I had made it to the hospital, had an IV in and was ready to go. After brainstorming with his team, they decided it would be best to do an electrical study before deciding. The plan was for me to be put under sedation while they tried to map out an abnormal rhythm that they felt confident they could stop. If they could, I would have general anesthesia and undergo the ablation. If not, they would change my battery and call it a day.
Not knowing what they were going to do was actually less scary than knowing I was going in for the ablation. I said goodbye to my mom, dad, and brothers. I don’t like going back to that moment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I was brought into the operating room and hooked up to 4 different heart monitors. The one directly in front of me was probably a 52 inch, flat screen. They administered sedation but before I was quite out they started to try and induce arrythmias. I remember seeing my heart rate climb and watching the monitor while my rhythm became abnormal. I wanted to be asleep so bad. I didn’t want to feel any of that. Finally, after about 15 minutes I was out.
Upon waking they were prepping me for the new defibrillator. At that point I knew that they weren’t able to map out what they needed for the ablation. I laid there feeling defeated and empty. “Is there ever going to be anything that will fix me”? The battery switch seemed to last forever. I was in and out of sleep, and dreaded being awake. I didn’t feel pain but I felt pressure, and a lot of it. I remember telling myself how sore I was going to be that next day because the amount of force they were using to take out the old device was insane. The team was great, everyone in there made me feel as comfortable as they could, but I am not looking forward to that procedure again.
Once they finished and I was a little more alert the doctor told me that he wanted to send me to another team at Brigham and Women’s who were more experienced in doing more complicated ablations. He said he wasn’t able to induce a monomorphic arrythmia (meaning one spot in the heart sending out an abnormal rhythm) but instead all they could induce was polymorphic (multiple spots) runs. Polymorphic ventricular tachycardia doesn’t have a good success rate when it comes to ablations.
Since then I’ve decided to wait. I will get my genetic test results at the end of this month. I don’t feel comfortable putting myself at risk for a procedure that’s not gaureteed to work. Hopefully I will have an answer that brings a more promising treatment along with it. My biggest fear is that nothing will turn up but I will cross that bridge when I get there.