em-pow-er: to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
Learning to live, not just exist, with AFib over the last few years has been the most vexing/challenging/rewarding/frustrating/joyous roller coaster ride I could have ever imagined in my life.
For those of you who suffer from, or know someone who suffers from AFib, you know what a draining and demoralizing condition it is… it sucks our life force, our energy, our joy, our peace of mind. It makes us feel weak and vulnerable, tired and irritable. It makes us feel, well, like less than…
If you were like me, when I would become symptomatic I could feel myself withdraw from the world around me, to become insular, detached and depressed…
If you’re also like me, and reading this, you also have a desire to deal with your AFib as naturally as possible, or learn about a few things that may help.
A lot of people have asked me what was the key to turning things around, because I don’t I appear to have a heart condition, and I certainly don’t look the person I did a little over four (4) years ago (almost 50 lbs. lighter).
Early on, despite the severity of my diagnosis, as I was weighing the treatment options being laid out before me, I discovered I had a deep-seated fundamental belief that allowed me to make two fundamental choices that I empowered me to do the rest of the work required to control, manage and all-but-eliminate my AFib.
Core Belief: We have the innate ability to heal our bodies far beyond that which traditional medicine and tradition would have us believe.
“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” ― Deepak Chopra
As sobering and as disheartening as my diagnosis was, I was somewhat surprised to find a place of stillness and faith in our ability to heal ourselves. I remembered the visualization exercises I used to help accelerate the healing of a shattered left arm (five breaks below the shoulder) that occurred as a result of a what-should-have-been-fatal car accident when I was 17 years old.
I mean, if I could make the cast come off my arm after 6 weeks as opposed to the 10 to 12 weeks the doctor had told me just by visualizing little construction crews laying rebar and cementing the fracture points three (3) times a day every day for three (3) weeks, then I perhaps I had a chance to heal my heart as well.
This core belief led me to make two pivotal decisions that provided the foundation for my self-directed “as natural as possible” management of my Atrial Fibrillation.
Decision 1: I was responsible for causing my AFib.
Whether or not this was 100% true one cannot say… I know that I did not help myself with a self-destructive stress and anxiety-laden lifestyle and behavior patterns, being an obsessive, compulsive, perfectionist and control freak. I was a workaholic, and successful, but I had wrecked my body and my central nervous system with years of dependence on caffeine, cortisol and adrenaline to help me power through the challenge of the day or week, the next big project, etc.
Nobody told me to be that way… I just was that way.
Taking a step back and taking responsibility for having caused my Atrial Fibrillation EMPOWERED me to make the necessary changes and to have the drive to do what I could to reverse it / control it / manage it / etc. This was the biggest key… because had I not done that, I would have just felt like a helpless victim, like I was powerless, saying “why me” or “poor me”, etc.
Rather, I was able to say, “Okay, what’s my plan?” and start trying to figure out how I could start getting off the five (5) drugs my doctors put my on when I refused the ablation procedure.
Decision 2: I would become more concerned about my health and wellness and in solving the “riddle of my heart” than I was about my career… that I would value the key relationships in my life more than ever and carry a sense of gratitude that this diagnosis was in fact a strange gift.
“Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined. ” ― Deepak Chopra
The journey of naturally treating my AFib has been one of enhanced self-awareness and perspective… it has helped me become not only healthier and happier, but to become a better husband and father, and ironically, better at my career job.
Over the last 4+ years I have literally disassembled, examined and reassembled myself, disposing of all the bits that don’t support my health and wellness goals or support me in living the rest of my life on my terms. This has been an equally painstaking, painful and rewarding process, and I am by no means done, but the value of this enhanced self-awareness is priceless.
Subsequent blog posts will highlight specific things I have done and practices I have implemented over the last 4+ plus years that have helped me get to where I am today.
I’ll share specific details on the daily practices, diet & nutrition changes I have made, the supplements I take, the types of fitness and exercise practices that have helped or hindered my healing, etc. I’ll also highlight particular products that I use and recommend, as well as what HAS NOT worked for me.
We’re all different… we all have different versions of this depressing and life-sucking condition, but I believe we can all benefit by an exchange of information and experience. I am blessed to have experienced the level of recovery I am enjoying and I am honored to share my experience with you.
I look forward to the opportunity to continue support you on your AFib Health & Wellness journey.