Into the Heart of the Alps

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My AFib Survival Story

I am 56 years old.  I suffered from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) for 30+ years.  Despite having AFib, I led an active outdoor life – trekking in Kashmir, backpacking extensively in Alaska, and hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps.  My husband Bob is an ultra-runner and is very active.  Although I was always the out-of-sight slowest on the uphills, I wouldn’t let AFib stop me from getting to the top (that’s where the views are!).

The longer I had AFib, the more noticeable the symptoms (fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations) became.  In the last few years, it had become difficult to climb a set of stairs without wheezing and getting dizzy.  Much of the hiking in the Wasatch (our local Utah mountains) was no longer possible. 

Michelle Hiking in Peru

In 2009, I did a trek in Peru during which I was dizzy much of the time and had to stop to catch my breath at every switchback.  At the top of the 15,000’ pass, I decided there had to be more options for this condition than my previous cardiologists had identified.

After much research, I found Dr. Nassir Marrouche and the CARMA Center.  Based on his ground-breaking cardiac MRI methodology, he concluded that I had a good chance of being cured of AFib through an ablation.  He did the ablation in November 2009 and I have been AFib-free ever since. 

I can ride a bike again for the first time in 20 years.  I am taking adult ballet lessons.  I am walking uphill virtually every day while carrying on a conversation.   Last weekend, I finished a 25K trail race and loved every step of it.  No more dizziness.  No more wheezing.  No more “out of control” heartbeats.  Life is SO GOOD!

The Reason for this Blog

This summer, my husband and I are starting a grand adventure to celebrate my new-found heart health and to let the world know that Atrial Fibrillation exists, it’s dangerous, and it can be cured.  Come back next week to learn about the adventure (hint:  it involves a lot of uphill and beautiful scenery). 

Until we leave in late June, I will be blogging regularly about the adventure, my training for it, my history with AFib and about AFib in general.  Once we’re on the adventure, I’ll be blogging more frequently about the journey and sending pics.

Here’s how you can help:

  • “Join” me virtually on the adventure through this blog.
  • Let others know about the blog and about AFib.
  • Share the AFib and other resources we will provide here with others.
  • If you’re an AFib Survivor, share your story by creating your own profile! Click Below:
Atrial Fibrillation Profiles
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