Coming up on 2 months post surgery & I have nothing but the highest recs for Dr. Koonlawee Nadamanee. Surgery is really, really cool---basically the operating room is like something out of Star Trek---about as high-tech as you can get. Procedure lasted 4 hours. Dr Wee does NOT recommend just a simple PV procedure---do a bit of research & the results of his mapping technique vs PV speak for themselves.
First day after I was a bit sore, and ginger as had some bruising/swelling where the catheters went in on my groin. Had intermittent & frequent Afib for about 1 week after---historically my Afib would die out after 12-18 hours--these were going away after 10-60min---however they were pretty frequent--2-3x a day. I was told this was normal. After 2 weeks I wasn't experiencing Afib anymore, and was cleared to begin gentle exercise. Of course I went for a 2 hour ride day 1 & scared the crap out of myself--60 minutes in went into the highest Vtach I've ever had--300+ HR for about 20 min---just couldn't shake it. Really not a good feeling. Off the bike for another week. Then I started slowly again. Total mileage in November was 110 miles. Post Vtach episode, went into Afib once more---day after Thanksgiving (due to caffeine, travel, lots of wine, and lots of pumpkin pie & holiday sweets). Self corrected after 6 hours. Took myself off Coumadin on December 1, as didn't want to risk riding & crashing while on it. Doc was fine when I told him 2 weeks later as my chance of stroke from clotting from Afib was extremely low.
December was very good---slowly built the bike riding up, and got in 2 runs. 450 miles in December, including some very high efforts. Only went into Afib once---day after xmas, eating lots of left-over xmas chocolate after heavy wine drinking on xmas day. Self-corrected after 30 min. January has been very good---almost 1k miles on the bike, and only went into Afib once---day before yesterday after digging myself a serious hole with 4 straight days of high intensity riding/racing, and 200+ miles (with one big night of wine drinking the day before I went into Afib). This episode last 20 min, but then came back in the middle of the night for about 4 hours. However I was absolutely exhausted by the miles/effort on the bike + the usual triggers (for me) of alcohol + caffeine + sugar.
The difference between before & after is night & day. Pre surgery I was going into Afib 3-4x a week, with each epsiode lasting 12-18 hours. ANY hard efforts on the bike would trigger it mid-ride--and was starting to experience some scary Vtach episodes (watching your HR on a anerobic climb skyrocket from 180 to 250+ is not a good feeling).
They say the total healing time is up to 6 months. Maybe with PV. I'm at about 90% of where I was fitness-wise pre surgery. The rest in November was good for my body, however I gained 8lbs, and am having a heck of a time dropping them so far in January.
There was an article that just came out that said that if meds don't work, you should have the surgery. I don't know anyone for who the meds work enough to let you train at a high level. The surgery is great, and Dr. Wee is one of the 2 Docs in the US I would have trusted (the other is in San Fran/Austin). Make sure you have good PPO insurance though, as the surgery is REALLY expensive.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers