I got diagnosed on a Saturday and the doctor was quite straight with me: "Do you want to live happily ever after? You have to steer clear of sugar and start going to the gym".
No more alcohol, no more pizza.
Life seemed to be over for me.
... Fade black, and roll back to just a few hours earlier that very day ...
When I took the first sip from the glass you see here on this page, little I knew it would have to be my last. But that is how Life plays its music, am I wrong? It's easy to understand events, but only in hindsight. Hindsight's a bitch. In hindsight, I could have made that last glass last longer.
Atrial fibrillation is not a bad diagnosis. You don't die of it right away, and there are plenty of chances you will not die at all. It's manageable. Doctors know the human heart quite well and know how to fix it.
There is surgery and medication that you can choose to start on and go along with your life almost as nothing happened. At least for a while.
Also, AF usually strikes in your late 60': there are just a 0.1% of lucky guys like me that get it when they are young.
I'll explain the "lucky" part later.
But while the doctor was taking the time to drive me through the inner mechanics of the electrical glitch that is messing up my heartbeat, I really began to focus on one important question only:
Do you want your heart to get a quick fix,
or do you want to heal?
You guessed right. There is a profound difference to it. Surgery and medication are just quick fixes, they put a temporary patch on this problem. They are the medical equivalent to the famous duct tape.
Duct tape is often the only way to address an immediate problem. Without it, you can't manage. And I'm fully aware that I will likely need surgery to address the immediate symptoms of AF, and I will do it as I'm no fool.
Duct tape doesn't last forever
My doctor was honest enough to drive me through a possible course of the disease that will likely force me into daily medication with beta-blockers and/or blood thinners, together with heart surgeries that may have to be repeated over the course of my life.
Not complicated surgeries, but still surgeries. Also, the quality of my life will start to slowly decrease, and I will feel the illness more and more.
Until one day a stroke will take me out.
Healing, the hard truth
Healing is a different story altogether, and it is the personal experience that I'm going to share with you through these pages. Healing is a process of profound change in habits and values, and I'm quite tense and a bit scared of it. Curious as well.
Healing is a process of profound change in habits and values.
Drinking my last glass of wine was the first step into a journey that is going to reshape my entire being. Physical and spiritual. Well, that sounds all too serious. Let's just say that I'm going to change my habits a lot.
My lovely wife embarked on this journey almost 4 years ago. She's healing from another inflammatory condition, and she's pushing me on a healthy lifestyle path ever since.
Although I like the way we eat at home, I've never been able to renounce my beers or my chocolate bars when alone or with my friends. I simply didn't see the point of it. No immediate consequence, no problem.
No immediate consequence,
And here comes the hard truth that 2 cardiologists tell me: inflammation kills 20 to 30 years after. We start dying of it early in life, but we don't see the signs until it's already too late.
Healing is the process of becoming well again. AF won't be cured with meditation or just a healthy salad. That's a chronic disease and I'll have to deal with it together with my doctors.
But I can take action and heal myself from an unhealthy lifestyle that will bring me more pain and diseases. I can work my way to good habits, a better mindset, and a more relaxed and mindful experience.
And that doesn't mean I'll have to become a freaking monk!