Category Archives: AFIB and TOF

“It’s Nothing You’re Fine” Words That Can Trigger a Heart Arrhythmia Victim

Atrial Fibrillation, Ectopic heartbeat and other palpitation patients know the feeling

Woman standing on beach in front of waves. Arms open.
Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

I’ve had open-heart surgery to correct my Tetralogy of Fallot defect. They cut open your chest with a saw. Then they go-ahead to cut and patch your heart so that it works as it should.

The 10 plus cardioversions I had later in life were not bad at all. Time spent in hospital just feels like a waste of time for me. The intensive care units are the worst. Shure, they monitor you the whole time, but those beeping heart monitors are irritating. I know it’s in my best interest that they check up on me the whole time. But why do they have to take your temperature at 04:30 in the morning?

Then the taking of blood at 05:00! What a way to wake up, with a needle in your arm. I’m not complaining just stating a fact.

Sorry for that. In any case, cardioversion is when they put those paddles on you and say “clear”. They shock that 50 or 100 joules through your body. Sometimes 200 joules.

With my recent cardioversions, they also did a TEE. Basically, a pipe in your throat to see what your heart looks like. Looking to see if there are any blood clots. Don’t worry they use a date rape drug on you. I don’t remember anything. Cool.

The ablation is where they punch a hole in your groin stick a piece of metal up your arteries into your heart. Burning stuff inside your heart so that your heart stays in rhythm. I’ve had two of them. I’m extremely thankful for all the above.

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
― Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

Only One Scar

The only big scar is the zipper on my chest. Let’s say the first cut was the deepest! I don’t have scars for the cardioversions. The ablation scars are very small and, well let’s just say they are not visible.

I’m relatively in shape not overweight and physically function 100%.

The problem I and other heart patients have with their heart is that it’s not visible. I know it’s like that with many illnesses. The small problem that creeps into our minds is that if your heart stops beating. You get the picture.

“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
― Woody Allen

Only a few minutes. That’s how long you can survive without a heartbeat. Then if everything goes well they still have to revive you back to your “normal living state”

Like many heart patients, I hear and feel my heartbeat. Strange to explain but we just do. It’s like a superpower. To infinity and beyond!!!! Got carried away with the superpower thing.

I can feel my heartbeat. Mostly when it’s out of rhythm.

You’re fine!

It goes both ways. Sometimes you’re not fine and you want to cry it out. Pleading to them that they must feel your chest your pulse your heartbeat. It’s not fine I’m in a state! A bad state.

Other times you really are fine. Then the comment is uplifting encouraging. You feel and act as if you’re the strongest and fittest person in the room. You can move mountains. You easily forget the unfortunate many or few incidents your heart was out of rhythm or Ectopic.

I know there are the strong ones. Those who can go on with their lives even if they have an Ectopic Heartbeat spell. Even when they are not in normal sinus rhythm. They go on regardless. That depends.

It depends on how bad your heart is out of rhythm. It plays a major factor. Mine has gone from just feeling a bit uneasy and not able to exercise as I want to. But also a racing heart when I climb stairs.

Or, nearly fainting. I know others have that small problem holding your conciseness. It’s sort of troublesome. Fainting when your heart goes out of rhythm. It messes up your day. It’s the blood. There’s not enough of it getting to the brain.

“Reality continues to ruin my life.”
― Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

Ectopic heartbeats

It’s nothing you’re fine. My doctor, your doctor says it’s benign. Yes in almost all cases it is. Many people experience ectopic heartbeats, some worse than others. The problem is telling your head that your heart is alright when your heart is bouncing, fluttering, and giving “hard” beats.

You feel your heart doing its own thing, skipping, fluttering missing beats. The phrase inside your head goes. “You’re fine it’s nothing”. If a doctor said it, it must be true! But your heart keeps bouncing around.

The trigger has been pulled. Even if my heart is OK, my head is now asking “It’s something, are you alright?” The management of anxiety must begin. Don’t go down that road of asking too many questions, just live every moment.

Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Atrial Fibrillation Notebook

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash


When did these palpitations start? How long did they last? What did it feel like? Could I identify possible triggers? What medication did I take, how much? Did I take my pulse?

Record it here

These are only a few of the questions your doctor could ask you.

What about all the questions you have for him? My first few appointments I had question upon question. I don’t remember all the answers.


Keep all your experiances in one place.

All the questions, the answers, medication types and quantities. Possible triggers.

Keep it in this Notebook. Get it HERE

Please share this email, and if you buy this notebook leave a comment.

Unexpected Cardiac Ablation

I was only meant to go for a consultation but things turned and a heart ablation was on the cards.

Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash. Example of operation theater.

My heart went out of rhythm 5 times last year. The first one was on 6 January 2020.

I don’t smoke, not overweight, do not misuse alcohol, and don’t have high blood pressure.

But I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot(TOF). And I have had a long heart journey.

I had 4 cardio versions last year.

All of them were for atrial fibrillation (AFIB)and I felt blessed that my heart cardioverted after the joules were administered.

Some of my cardiologist’s comments.

Continue reading Unexpected Cardiac Ablation

The mental side of AFIB, Ectopic heartbeats, and arrhythmia

Fear, anxiety, and panic attacks are real.

Image for post
Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

I love my cardiologist. He keeps my heart in rhythm. He is the fixer. His knowledge of my heart and heart rhythm keeps me going. He has insight into what type of medicine will keep me in rhythm.

He has the tools of the trade.

The echocardiogram is also known as ultrasound and it scans the heart and also creates an image of the heart. It looks at heart chambers, movement of the heart, and also the heart valves.

He uses his electrocardiogram to record the electrical signals inside my heart. The stethoscope is used to listen to my heart. Listening for any heart murmurs or such.

Other test’s

Continue reading The mental side of AFIB, Ectopic heartbeats, and arrhythmia

My Cardioversion experience and recovery.

This was not my first AFIB episode or cardioversion.

Image for post
Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

I feel it!

Many people have asked me how I know if my heart is out of rhythm. In my case, I feel it. In many of my previous episodes, I even know the precise moment it goes out.

In nearly all the cases I hope and pray that it’s Ectopic beats(I have written about them previously) but this year I’ve had 4 AFIB “attacks”. I call them attacks others call it an episode. Well, they attack me. My life changes immediately after I feel that beat go out.

I start thinking about my work, cycling, time in the hospital, “farm” work, church meetings, my wife, my life, children, and mother.

It changes everything I have planned for the next few days. Previously it was “sort of easy” because it was an easy in and out of the emergency room. But no! corona is here and now every man, child, dog, cat, chicken, and whatever must be tested.

What now?

Continue reading My Cardioversion experience and recovery.

A Mother’s experience- Tetralogy of Fallot(TOF)., Tetralogy of Fallot
My mother with her Tetralogy of Fallot son .

Tetralogy of Fallot and other stress

I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. I’m 48 now. I work in Law Enforcement and have been in many scary situations. I’ve had open heart surgery, one ablation, 8 cardioversions. A few car accidents and a motorbike accident. Then there also was that near-drowning incident and a few cycle falls, blood stitches and all. Sorry, Mom that I make you stress so much.

After my Mom read my blog she decided to write about her experience with me as a “blue baby” who had Tetralogy of Fallot. She had to go through a lot to raise me. Here is her letter:

My Mother’s perspective

Janco was born in a nursing home in Sasolburg South Africa in January 1971. My pregnancy was normal and my GP was satisfied with my progress. It was a normal birth.

But when Janco was born his whole body was blue. I was concerned but my GP said that some babies are blue at birth. At home, Janco was a calm baby. My second concern was that Janco only drank a little milk, then stopped as if it was a big effort to drink the milk, he was then tired and fell asleep. My third concern was that his nails and lips were blue.

Continue reading A Mother’s experience- Tetralogy of Fallot(TOF).

TOF, AFIB heartbeat and Anxiety journey

TOF, AFIB Heartbeat and Anxiety.
TOF, AFIB Heartbeat and Anxiety journey

How has my TOF, AFIB heartbeat and Anxiety made my life “interesting”?

I have this urge to catalog my TOF(Tetralogy of Fallot),  AFIB heartbeat and Anxiety journey. Why?……Hmmm. Just to see it there. On “paper” or rather a screen. To remind me to be grateful to so many people, to know anything is possible. To thank God.

So I write because it gives me perspective, insight and possibly hope to others too. In this journey, there were a few times that I thought THIS IS IT!! No hope! But every time there was something. When I saw how my heart made my shirt bounce and felt like I was going to die, but miraculously I lived! (At age 23) It made me grateful for everything. Could my curse be a blessing? Continue reading TOF, AFIB heartbeat and Anxiety journey

Happy to be in Sinus rhythm, Hallo from Bloemfontein

Wonderful to be in sinus rhythm! Woohoo!

I have not been so active on my blog because we moved to a small holding (something like a very small farm)outside Bloemfontein. Busy with planting stuff, it was a nursery loooong ago and making the house and “plot” liveable.


Nursery at new home in Bloemfontein
Nursery at new home in Bloemfontein

Continue reading Happy to be in Sinus rhythm, Hallo from Bloemfontein